January 20, 2017
Hello dutiful Dreamspinner blog readers! I’m Hunter Frost and on January 18th, Cemeteries by Moonlight, my first novella with Dreamspinner Press was released out into the world. This book is part of the States of Love series and I was thrilled to be able to claim Louisiana as my state of choice. The story is set in New Orleans and revolves around a cast of quirky characters, anchored by the budding romance between a crime fiction writer and a cemetery tour guide. It’s noir-ish mystery at heart, with a dash of supernatural, steamy romance, and loads of New Orleans cuisine!
I’ve visited New Orleans at least five times in the past fifteen years and no one has to ask me twice if I’m up for another trip to the Big Easy. I’m ready now. Let’s go!
Besides the delicious varieties of food, the eccentric yet amazing people, and the nightlife filled with music and laughter, just the “feel” of the place is inspiring. It’s a difficult thing to describe, but something about being in such a history rich city, built on conflict as well as a melding of cultures, calls out to me. Maybe it’s because I consider myself part of the gothic subculture – though I don’t think dressing in black, wearing pale make-up, or dyeing your hair black is necessary to be goth (though I’m sure it doesn’t hurt ☺). I believe goth is a state of mind – the habit of attuning yourself to the romantic nature of humanity, celebrating the macabre of life and death, and loving all aspects of history and literature. But I’m getting too deep here, even for myself. I’m only trying to analyze why I, and many others, feel an instant connection to the Crescent City.
New Orleans and its often violent history make it easy to see why the place draws those hoping to catch a glimpse of the paranormal. Death and suffering is said to bring out the spirits! On one of my visits, a friend and I took a ghost tour, led by a wonderful woman with long graying hair and mischievous eyes, who took us all around the French Quarter. We stopped at numerous landmarks where horrible things had taken place listening to her recount the grisly details and describe the paranormal activity said to go on there. From vampire dens to psychotic lunatics torturing slaves, the stories were bone-chilling. Even though we got a bit of rain during the tour, it only added to the spooky ambience, and to this day my friend still claims a glowing dot we caught in one of our shadowy photos of the Jesus statue behind the St. Louis Cathedral is a ghostly orb and not a water spot. I guess we’ll never know.
That tour inspired the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc., tour company in my book. My characters give a variety of tours throughout New Orleans: Cemetery, Ghost, Voodoo, Vampire, and Garden District tours. Finn runs the Cemetery tour though he is well acquainted with the ghost stories of the region, and you get to hear some of those morbid tales if you read the book. It was a blast being able to translate those tour memories into my novel and I hope you get that same creepy feeling when reading it.
I know some ghost tours can be campy, silly, or overly dramatic, but I think it all depends on the guide. Have you ever been on a ghost tour? In what city? How did you like it? I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Check out Cemeteries by Moonlight today!
When a serious bout of writer’s block threatens to delay mystery author Drew Daniels’s newest book, his aunt offers her New Orleans apartment in the heart of the French Quarter as a writing retreat. She neglects to mention that it’s occupied by the enigmatic and sexy Finn Murphy, a cemetery tour guide with a penchant for Victorian attire and a Cajun accent.
A body discovered in an open crypt forces reclusive Drew to deal with Finn’s eccentric group of friends and his underlying attraction to the hot Cajun—despite warnings about Finn’s violent past. Drew might write this stuff, but he’s never had to solve a real-life murder. With a deadline looming and a killer on the loose, this retreat is proving to be anything but helpful for Drew’s novel. Drew can only hope he won’t end up a tragic tale for the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc. haunted tour.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Hunter’s early addiction to the smell of printed books led her to spend most of her childhood in libraries and bookstores. There she fell in love with stories featuring medieval castles, ghosts, and handsome heroes. Though writing has always been a part of her life, after college she went on to explore careers in graphic design, the culinary arts, and dog grooming before returning to graduate school to get her MA in British history. To pay the bills she spends her days working for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but to appease her overactive muse, she writes the kind of fiction that keeps her sane. She adores romance in all forms, but prefers her stories with two heroes that find their happily-ever-after with each other.
Hunter would rather watch Spaceballs (or any Mel Brooks movies really), despite being born in the same year as Star Wars. She loves Monty Python, MST3K, and cheesy rom-coms from the ’80s and ’90s. Her wacky sense of humor is only paralleled by her hopeless romanticism. She’s a goth at heart and a sucker for men with long hair. She adores everything British, but insists tea be drunk without milk. She’s a pescetarian with vegan tendencies and has two fat little cats named after her favorite beverage – Latte and Java. She dreams of coastal living, marshmallows, and Matt Bomer.
Feel free to connect with her through any of her social media accounts, or send her an email. She welcomes messages from readers and/or Brits looking to adopt.
January 19, 2017
I’m Bonnie Dee, author and sometimes co-author of numerous gay historical novels which you may see on my web site. The Mighty Have Fallen is my first foray into contemporary since my earliest attempt at writing gay romance titled Undeniable Magnetism. I decided it was time for a change of pace in order to keep my historical stories from becoming too familiar. Everybody needs a little shake up once in a while.
Imagine you were to lose not only one of your primary senses but your mode of earning a living, your savings, and your lover all at the same time. That is the fate suffered by Trevor Rowland, the protagonist of The Mighty Have Fallen. Acclaimed star of the London stage, Trevor is struck by a serious illness which leaves him inoperably blind. His boyfriend/ financial manager deserts him after bleeding him dry. Trevor is felled in every way possible and can hardly summon the will to drag himself out of despair and back into life.
Enter Jack Burrows, a hard working East Ender with whom Trevor shares lodgings after leaving a rehab facility. At first, Trevor is too self-pitying and angry to appreciate his friendly flat mate, but soon they forge an unexpected bond beyond anything Trevor expected to ever feel. Through Jack, Trevor finds a way to continue to use his acting talents in a manner he never would have dreamed of, performing a drag act in a nightclub.
I have been writing UK based books for quite some time although I live smack in the middle of the U.S. I jumped at the chance to be included in Dreamspinner’s new Perchance to Dream line, staffed by British editors. I learned from my editor, Sue Adams, not only figures of speech but habits of English folk that I never would have known. She helped me make Jack’s Cockney accent thick and authentic, which I hope readers will enjoy.
As anyone who has read many of my books knows, I really have a thing for cross class romance. While Jack and Trevor may not be separated by the enormous chasm dividing the protagonists in my current work in progress—a gay take on Pygmalion (aka My Fair Lady), their differing backgrounds still bring an interesting element to their love story.
As for featuring a blind protagonist, this isn’t my first venture into writing a disabled hero. I have a het contemporary featuring a blind hero and a het historical with a deaf hero. I’m interested in how the loss of one sense heightens the others. Which brings me to a question for this blog’s readers, if you had to do without one of your senses, which would you sacrifice? Please drop a comment here with your answer for a chance to win any one of my backlist titles. Two winners will be chosen from among the commenters.
You can learn more about me, Bonnie Dee, and my backlist of many romance books at http://bonniedee.com. Find me on FB at Bonnie Dee Author or Bonnie Dee. My Twitter handle is @Bonnie_Dee. I’m not the most active social media person but I turn up occasionally. Most importantly, please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter to learn of upcoming releases. Newsletter signup form
Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Hope you’ll leave a comment and then pick up your copy of The Mighty Have Fallen.
Check out The Mighty Have Fallen today!
Theatre headliner Trevor Rowland is at the peak of his career when disaster strikes. In one fell swoop, he loses his eyesight, his fame, and his boyfriend, who absconds with most of his money. Trevor must take on a flatmate, hardworking East Ender Jack Burrows, to afford the rent. Anger and bitterness have taken up residence in his heart—but Jack shines light into the shadowy corners with his relentlessly sunny disposition.
Jack introduces Trevor to a local drag club and convinces him he can enjoy the stage again. Trevor’s defences slowly come down as Jack becomes much more than a barely tolerated roommate.
But will Trevor’s fragile trust be destroyed when it appears he’s been manipulated yet again by a man he’s come to care for? Will he reclaim his life or crawl back into a shell of defeat? Trevor must learn to trust not only a man, but himself, once more.
About Bonnie Dee:
Bonnie Dee began telling stories as a child, the designated ghost-tale teller at sleepovers. She still has a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch, and a talking cat. Writing childish stories evolved into inventing fan fiction romances and later into writing for publication. Bonnie enjoys reading stories about people damaged by life who find healing with a like-minded soul. When she couldn’t find enough books to suit her taste, she began to write them. Along with frequent coauthor Summer Devon, she has written numerous historical novels, a couple of which have won Rainbow Awards for best gay historical.
Since giving up a day job, she has oodles of time to explore any plot idea that crosses her mind. Contemporary or historical, paranormal or mystery, the genre doesn’t matter so long as there is an abiding romance at its heart.
Street Team: www.facebook.com/groups/BonnieDeeAuthor
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January 18, 2017
Hi! I’m Reece, writer of In Your Court, in which recent college grad Ray happily finds himself in Vietnam for a week to teach English and play basketball. The kicker is that he knows doing any sport intensively will definitely cost him his health for a long while after it, but he needs closure with the sport that it broke his heart to abandon a couple of years earlier. To achieve it, he keeps his deteriorating spinal condition secret from people he shouldn’t.
The tall, dark and chewy guy who just happens to be well-placed to kick Ray’s ass for making good on that astoundingly dumb idea is Singaporean-Australian Xin. Xin’s a proudly upfront guy who gets frustrated by people not seeing others’ points of views clearly, and who’s struck with a bit of “Well, hello” at first sighting Ray’s joyous antics on court.
He can only do so much as a translator to prise open communication channels for Ray, though, or guide him towards a better future path. That’s something Ray comes to find through travelling – that there’s more than basketball out there and in himself, but he has to work hard to keep moving forward. Luckily, his athletic past has already primed him to be able to go above and beyond when the going gets rough, and Xin’s no pushover either. I have a lot of respect for athletes’ conviction to excelling in their sport, and anyone dedicated to learning new languages. Neither are easy!
Ho Chi Minh is somewhere I was lucky enough to work for a while, and a city of amazing contrasts: the bustle disappears and the place almost becomes a ghost town during every afternoon’s siesta; historic temples stand shoulder to shoulder with modern skyscrapers; amid large social crowds, everyone somehow knows your business sometimes before you do, so that everyone may look after one another. If an occurrence in the story sounds especially made up, it’s more likely to have happened in real life – such as the cab driver Ray sees navigating through a traffic jam by tapping out Jingle Bells on his car horn.
The improbably dreamy piano bar Ray and Xin visit is also based on one I was taken to by a friend. Hidden places like that, such as rooftop cafes accessed through shops or pop-up cinemas, abound throughout the city, but they might only be temporary. Because property taxes back in the day were calculated according to the width of the building that fronted the street, many homes in the city are “tube houses” (long and narrow, like you see in Amsterdam or Paris) and it’s not unusual for owners to open up their front rooms at their leisure to become a store that’s here today and gone tomorrow. Gardens or atrium in the center of tube houses help them “breathe”, so you never know – you might stumble upon a garden restaurant in the middle of a house. Imagine going on a baking spree and opening up your living room as an impromptu café whenever you felt like it!
As in any metropolis, less quirky aspects of Ho Chi Minh’s past also inform what you see there today. Damage from the use of the chemical weapon Agent Orange during the Vietnam war persists in society, having caused and still causing birth defects among people, which is something that deserves to be seen in fiction and elsewhere so it’s never forgotten. The disabilities of the children Ray teaches while in Vietnam are very different than his own, but his opinion that physical disabilities should always be acknowledged and supported by society at large comes from a place of empathy, and is one (I think) which bears repeating.
Of course, Ray hypocritically draws a distinction between how society treats disability versus how he treats his own disability…. He knows there’s support out there for him if he asks for it, so his silence isn’t about avoiding feeling guilty for potentially burdening others. He simply wants to bargain with his own body, by cutting loose and then paying the price. And where better to cash-in your well-being than a beautiful, tropical city while surrounded by awesome people? (Er, that’s a trick question. Treasure your health and travel safe, everyone.)
The excerpt I’ve chosen to share sees Ray decked out in a new suit in order to tag along at a meeting Xin has with charity benefactors. Hiding his worsening pain isn’t so hard while he’s enthralled by the sight of Ho Chi Minh’s streets at sunset, and seeing dapper Xin suited up helps too.
Have you ever experienced something that was so charming and surreal it sounds made up? Let me know below!
Continuing his explanation on the subtleties of Asian inner and outer relationship circles, he instantly loses me, because while I was feeling slick as hell in my new duds, all hell breaks loose behind my wide eyes the second they behold his bespoke Savile Row wet nightmare.
Fuuuuuuuck. That’s the only word for it, dragged out that long on my lolling tongue. As we walk to the hotel where the dinner is being held, the slurred syllable keeps pulsing through my head every time I catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye, or head-on, or after zoning out while staring. Yeah, fuck indeed. I’m fucked. Figuratively only.
I’m glad that all Xin catches is me looking away.
“I’ll get to the bottom of you,” Xin interrupts my self-critical reverie.
“How to pay you back properly for letting me hang out this week. I’ll fix you up.”
I’m unfixable. “Forget it. I don’t have any business.”
“You might after tonight. And everyone’s got business. Business is communication and everyone’s got value. Everyone deserves to be heard, so I matchmake the best people to let that happen.”
I’ve never heard the role of ‘middleman’ put like that. It’s not as cold as I imagined it would be… or Xin to be, now that he has that passionate flare lighting his amber eyes. “You really like your job, huh?”
“I love it.”
Good. Good for him. That’s how I feel—felt about basketball. My hands are sweating, and I take them out of my trouser pockets, flexing my fingers in the light breeze. The hand closest to Xin’s swinging hand stays uncomfortably hot.
Sunset drenches the city’s old French provincial facades in sticky tangerine light. Kids play street soccer and sometimes shuffle to give way for passing traffic, sometimes not. I’m learning that in concert with the unspoken bigger-has-right-of-way road rule, an overwhelming majority of weaker bodies can force a car to circumvent them, until they’re overpowered by a bus, which in turn halts for a truck. Traffic lights are suggestions. One cab we pass is honking its horn to the rhythm of Jingle Bells.
A handful of people’s elbows get knocked by people on slow-passing scooters, and when Xin drifts to walk on the outside of me, closer to the road, I move to his other side to be a barrier. I laugh when I realize he’s trying to do the same thing, the idiot, to guarantee my safety. All we’re doing is putting the pair of us nearer to harm’s way. I knock his shoulder with mine to lure him back in on the sidewalk. He takes the bait, knocking me, and we have this stupid giggling battle down the street, crumpling our suits in tandem.
Day three and I’m not just still mobile, I’m having fun. I hope reality will wait a bit longer to drop the hammer, but I can feel it lining up over my head, damn near blotting out the falling sun’s rosy glow.
Check out In Your Court today!
With a shot at happiness in sight, it’s no time to drop the ball.
A back condition ruined Ray’s basketball ambitions, but he wants one last opportunity to play before hanging up his sneakers. While volunteering as a coach at a special needs school in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, he meets Singaporean Xin, who works matching wealthy corporations with compatible charities. Xin helps the American navigate the local customs in order to see the smile Xin fell for at first sight, but Ray makes sure no one sees how hard it is for him to keep upright, let alone keep enjoying Vietnam and playing the sport he loves.
When Ray’s back pain becomes too great to hide, Xin accommodates him in Ho Chi Minh and in Singapore—and in bed. Ray wants to imagine a future for them but fears he’s damaged goods, and Xin’s obligations in Asia aren’t easily forgotten. Ray won’t be another charity of Xin’s, especially when Xin also needs someone by his side. Their romance will be cut as short as Ray’s basketball dreams unless he can close the Pacific-sized distance between them.
World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
January 16, 2017
Good morning, readers! We’re Chris Owen and Tory Temple and we are so happy to announce the re-release of our cowritten novel, By the Numbers! This book was first published in 2011, but it’s back with a beautiful new cover and a clean edit. We are really grateful to Dreamspinner Press for all the hard work they’ve done to get this novel out there again!
Tory says: Chris and I have worked on a few other books together, but this is definitely one of our favorites. Both of us have multi-dog households, so drawing on experience was easy. I will admit to never having lived with a multitude of puppies. Deuce is a brave man.
As this book developed, Chris and I realized that it was more of a happy, feel-good story, rather than one that had pages and pages of conflict and heavy emotional situations. For a while we pondered how to get more “oomph” in there in terms of angst. When Trey and Deuce refused to cooperate with us, however, we decided to just let it flow. Both men are calm and easygoing, so why not just create a story that was natural to both of their personalities? I would definitely characterize this book as light and fluffy and fun. (Not to say that they don’t argue, because they do. Sparingly.) It really left me with the warm fuzzies after we finished it. Here’s hoping you feel the same!Tory’s right — this is nice, cozy read, just the thing to enjoy on a cold winter evening, or while on vacation somewhere warm. Once in a while I really enjoy sinking my writing fingers into something that’s a happy love story. This didn’t start as one of those times, however; we did actually try for conflict in several ways. The gentlemen were having nothing to do with any kind of drama, though, so sweet story it is. Writers really can’t argue with the way the story wants to be. For a pair of nice guys they sure were demanding.
Trey is a hero, in many ways. He’s a firefighter, a single dad, and he’s brave enough to take on a puppy. Deuce might be almost as brave, as Tory said. He chooses to deal with puppies and Trey’s seven year old at the same time, after all. It takes all kinds of people to be heroes — we all need different things in life. Trey and Deuce need each other, it turns out, and they work through any struggles in order to be together, to be each other’s hero. Clearly, heroes can come in many forms. Have you ever seen an unlikely hero? Someone doing an unexpected thing that made them a hero in your eyes? Let us know, and you could win a copy of the ebook.
I hope you read the story and Trey and Deuce as the heroes they are. I hope you find your hero.
Check out By the Numbers today!
When Nathaniel, aka Deuce, arrives home to an apartment building on fire, he can only think of one thing: his pregnant dog. Luckily firefighter Trey Donovan rescues her, and Nathaniel is exceedingly grateful. In fact, he tracks down Trey’s station so he can show his gratitude properly—and explore the connection he senses between them. Trey’s interested, but a less-than-friendly ex-wife and the seven-year-old daughter he’s raising make things… complicated. Between everything on Trey’s plate and the newborn puppies Deuce must care for—while homeless—finding common ground won’t be easy. But the spark of attraction between them is too enticing to be allowed to fizzle.
First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2011.
About the Authors:
Chris Owen lives and writes in eastern Canada. She went to a bunch of schools, learned a lot of things, and now makes stuff up because not to do so is unthinkable. She’s fond of fountain pens, notebooks and day planners, and Steampunk fashions. Lately she’s been watching a lot of documentaries. Chris has a fondness for wool and for summer ales. The two work well together.
Chris is inspired by the day to day minutia of life and finds beauty in the way words go together. She likes texture and richness of experience. She is not shy. Her favorite vegetable is cauliflower. You can reach her at www.chrisowen.net and on Twitter at @chris_owen
Tory Temple lives and works in southern California where she happens to spend a lot of time around firefighters. It makes for excellent storytelling, so Tory definitely uses that to her advantage! She is guardian to three pit bulls who only attack with kisses, two snobby cats, as well as other assorted friends from the animal kingdom. (Husband included.) Her fondest wish is to be a stay-at-home dog mom. You can tempt her with promises of cheese and/or Mexican food. On Saturday nights, she is usually watching Netflix and thinking about how to get the newest firemen in her head to hook up. Tory loves reader e-mails and looks forward to hearing from anyone who wants to drop her a line.
January 13, 2017
Hello everyone. My name’s Taylor V. Donovan and I’m an author of gay romance and suspense. I’m here to celebrate the release of Six Degrees of Lust, Second Edition, and what better way to do so than with an excerpt from Six Degrees of Agony, the third instalment in my By Degrees series?
For those of you who haven’t heard about it before, By Degrees is a romantic suspense serial featuring a killer of gay men and the FBI team trying to catch him. It has an ensemble cast, multiple points of view, continuing story lines, and Special Agent Logan Brandenburg, FBI profiler extraordinaire and a favourite among readers.
His story has taken longer than I had originally planned. For that I apologize, and if you want to know the reasons for the delay, head over to my blog. I’ve explained what went down in several posts. He’s coming though. Finally! I’m diligently working on him, so, without further ado, here’s a little taste from his book. <3
Six Degrees of Agony
He’d looked everywhere. The backyard, the tree house and even the greenhouse, but he couldn’t find her. He had to find her. He had to explain to her that his moving out of the house didn’t mean he would abandon her.
He checked the basement and the kitchen, and then ran to the library in the second floor after checking the bathrooms.
He didn’t see her.
Logan raked his fingers through his hair and ran to her bedroom. It was empty.
Where the hell was she? Why wasn’t Megan waiting for him by the koi pond, just like he’d asked her to? She should’ve been sitting on her favorite bench by the pond. They should’ve been discussing his plan to find a job.
Megan thought he was running away—just like their older brother had ran away, but Logan was only going to college so that he could protect her. It was the only way of escaping. He’d attend classes and work any jobs he could find, and once he’d saved enough money he’d get a place he could afford and move out of the dorms. Then he’d come get Megan and take her away from this hell, and they would never have to see their father again.
Logan checked his own room and his brother’s old room. He checked the laundry room, the pantry, the dining room, the attic… he searched everywhere, and still wasn’t able to find her.
He ran up and down the stairs twice, looking inside every room and closet, yet always avoiding his father’s office. He went back outside, running as fast as he could. He was desperate. He couldn’t leave the house if he didn’t talk to Megan.
It wasn’t until he’d looked in the basement for the third time that he realized Megan had been sitting in the middle of a fire pit all along. There shouldn’t be a fire pit in the basement, and Megan’s entire body shouldn’t have been engulfed in flames.
Logan ran toward the fire pit at the same time Megan leaned forward and smiled at him peacefully. She blew him a kiss, and mouthed that she loved him. He tried to tell her to stop scaring him. To order her to get up and run to safety, but by the time he was able to pass the words through his constricted throat Megan’s features were melting.
Oh my God…
“Don’t touch it!” Logan’s voice was hoarse; almost hysterical. “Jesus, Meg, please. Don’t touch the flames.”
Logan’s hand only caught air when he reached for Megan in an attempt to stop her. Had she moved? Had she gone somewhere? Logan couldn’t see her.
He squinted and looked around frantically, then pushed the covers to the side and sat up so that he could take a better look. He leaned so far off the side of the chair, he lost his balance.
Logan rolled on his back, lifted his left leg almost to his face and held his knee with both hands. He closed his eyes and breathed through the sharp pain reverberating from his knee to his lower back. It was excruciating, but he was slowly gathering his bearings.
The base of an adjustable bed came into focus, followed by white sheets, and IV pole, and a blond-haired head.
No basement and no fire pit.
He was in Sasha’s hospital room.
Careful not to wake Sasha, he got up from the floor and walked around the bed. He kept his mind blank as he used the bathroom and washed his hands. Yawning and rubbing his eyes with the heel of his hand, he went back to the room. Once he’d made sure Sasha was sound asleep, he lay down on the chair and covered himself with the blanket Margaret had brought him.
He didn’t try to make sense out of the dream he’d just had. He knew what it meant and he knew why he’d had it. He couldn’t let himself think about it. His very sanity depended on it.
Enjoyed the excerpt? Curious for more? Then grab your copies of By Degrees. As I mentioned before, Six Degrees of Lust, Second Edition, released January 2. ☺ And for those of you who read the first version, I’d still recommend you get this one as well, as some characters were fleshed out and, even though the story arc remains basically the same, there are tweaks foreshadowing events in Six Degrees of Separation, which in turn leads to events in Six Degrees of Agony.
P.S. I’ve brought some copies to give away. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a set of electronic copies Six Degrees of Lust and Six Degrees of Separation, Second Edition.
Check out Six Degrees of Lust today!
New York City FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his immediate family and his job. After a marriage gone wrong he has stuck to a firm rule when it comes to relationships: he doesn’t have them. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable keeps him satisfied, especially now that he is in hot pursuit of a serial killer targeting gay men.
Former firefighter Machlan O’Bannon now manages a successful sports bar in Houston and after years of waiting he’s ready to stand up and be the man he always wanted to be: out, proud and drama-free. His politically-aligned family wants to keep him locked in the closet, but Mac just wants to meet the man of his dreams.
One man is as high strung as the other is laid back. A chance meeting brings the two men together, and one night of passion ignites a fire neither can fight. Their lives are not only miles apart, but as different as day and night. They don’t want to get involved, but they might not be able to keep apart.
First Edition published by MLR Press, December 2011.
About the Author:
Taylor V. Donovan is a compulsive reader and author of gay romance and suspense. She is optimistically cynical about humanity and a lover of history, museums, and all things 80s. She shamelessly indulges in mind-numbing reality television, is crazy about fashion, and passionate about civil rights and equality for all.
When she’s not writing or making a living in the busiest city in the world, Taylor can be found raising her two daughters and their terribly misbehaved furry baby in their home.
January 12, 2017
When I sit down to write a book, I don’t necessarily ponder themes. I usually start with a voice. A character will start whispering to me, their voice growing louder as the idea for that character slowly coalesces in my head. I then try to tell their story. It isn’t until afterward that I think about themes. One is always loud and clear. It has to be; otherwise my story would be pointless. It’s when I’m revising and refining that I usually uncover the other themes, and these are often like little messages from my subconscious—especially when they’re things that crop up in all my stories.
The theme I began with for Block and Strike, the reason I wanted to tell this story, was finding confidence. I started with fairly broad strokes, one being the title.
Max has been blocking (or failing to block) for most of his life. Jake has been striking. In other words, these guys are struggling. They’re prolonging the fight. Jake is supposed to know better, but sometimes we only remember how something works when we explain it to others. It’s in helping Max that Jake puts all the pieces together. Coordinated moves take more confidence and that’s what self-defense is all about: learning the moves, practicing them until they’re second nature, and then trusting your instincts—which is about the same as finding confidence. You have to trust who you are.
What if you don’t know yourself, or don’t like who you are?
Well, that’s another journey and another major theme in Block and Strike. Accepting yourself is something I write about a lot. It took me a long time to accept myself. I still have a few questions… and I know I’m not alone. Life is a series of questions, and so many of them are directed inward. While I can be philosophical about a lot of it now, at Max’s age (21) or even Jake’s age (26) I did a lot of mental and physical flailing. Life can hurt, and figuring out who you are, and then being okay with that, requires some bruising and scarring.
Max is ashamed of his sexuality and his perceived weakness. Jake is ashamed of the incident that landed him in jail, and the decisions that led up to it. Both of these guys need to recognise their strengths and accept their weaknesses. Learn that both of these aspects are important. That everything they are has value—which leads me to the third theme in Block and Strike, the hidden one I didn’t see until all was said and done: yin and yang, or balance.
Once identified, it’s obvious. I poke at it everywhere, from the lopsided beginning of the story to the house of cards set off by certain events toward the end. It’s in the opposing personalities of my heroes: Max is quiet and shy, Jake is loud and outgoing. It’s in their living spaces: Max’s apartment is a hole in the ground, Jake’s is nice and full of light. They even have a conversation about balance when Max discovers Jake’s tattoo:
Max smoothed his hands across the patterned skin, over the circle of two fish, each chasing the tail of the other. One was outlined in sinuous strokes of black ink, the other almost all black, unmarked skin forming the outline and suggestion of movement. Max had seen the design before, but not with fish. One dark, one light.
“Is this a yin and yang symbol?” Max traced the outline of the darker fish, his finger running over a strip of smooth, unmarked skin.
Jake glanced over his shoulder, as if he’d forgotten he even had a tattoo. His cheek rounded as he smiled. “Yeah.”
“Do the fish mean anything?”
“I liked the idea of one driving the other, or chasing. It could be either, right? That’s what balance is about. Movement. Life isn’t a spectator sport.” Leaning forward, Jake braced against the wall, hands flattened against the tile. “It’s also me, in a way. I spent a lot of time wondering who I was when I was younger. I guess we all do. Being attracted to both guys and girls had me spinning in place a little longer than most, I suppose. When I got the tattoo, it was my way of making peace with the duality of being, of not being what I sometimes appear to be.”
Max’s post-coital state lent both more and less meaning to Jake’s explanation. On the one hand, he understood it perfectly, and the confession—if it had been that—warmed him. He wasn’t the only guy to struggle with his identity. On the other hand, he didn’t get it at all. Jake was the strongest guy he knew. The most settled and even. He saw no yin to his yang, or vice versa. But he did appreciate the fact Jake had a new depth to him, a thoughtful, almost philosophical nature that made absolute sense. This was why Jake was kind and good. Why he took the time to do things right. Why he breathed easily and contentedly. Why he laughed and sang. Why he seemed to be such a complete person.
Jake turned around and slid his hands around Max’s shoulders. He didn’t pull Max into a hug, just rested with him in a loose and easy embrace. “We’re all struggling, Max. Each and every one of us. Every day. Some of us just hide it better. Or cope better.” He moved one hand up over Max’s shoulder to caress his neck, the underside of his jaw. “You’re going to get there before I do.”
Max shook his head.
An easy smile pulled at Jake’s full mouth. “Oh, yeah, you are, and I’m gonna be the one clinging to your coattails. I’m going to ride up with you.”
The hand at his jaw tipped his chin up so Jake could lean in to meet his lips. “Because that’s what I want to do.”
Not a philosophical answer, but honest.
I love this scene. It’s one I considered cutting on and off because it’s one of those quiet moments that maybe didn’t really need to be on the page. But every time I read over it, the idea of balance and self-acceptance resonated so strongly that I had to keep it. This is my story, right here. This short scene basically covers every theme in the book and I didn’t really recognise it for what it was until later. Some part of me knew it was important, though, just as Jake—while still struggling—gets it and wants to pass the idea on to Max.
Sometimes we don’t really know why we’re struggling or what we’re fighting for, but we do it anyway, because that’s what accepting yourself and finding balance is all about.
Reader question: What are your favourite themes in fiction and romance? What kinds of stories resonate most deeply with you? Comment for a chance to win an ebook from my Dreamspinner Press backlist!
Check out Block and Strike today!
Jacob Kendricks is three months out of prison, estranged from his daughter, and ready to get his life on track. Taking care of the bum curled up on his doorstep isn’t part of the plan. When he realizes the man has been assaulted, Jake takes him to the hospital, where he learns that Max is his downstairs neighbor… and that he could really use a friend. Keeping Max in the friend-zone would be easier if he wasn’t so damned cute.
Maxwell Wilson has been bullied for years, and the only person who ever cared lives too far away to come to his rescue. Now his upstairs neighbor is offering support. Max remains cautious, suspecting he is little more than a project for the handsome Jake. When he learns Jake has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, Max has to reevaluate his priorities—and muster the courage to take a chance at love.
Just when a happy future is within their grasp, life knocks them back down. A devastating blow leaves Max lower than ever and Jake wrestling with regret. They both have to find the strength to stand on their own before they can stand together.
About Kelly Jensen:
Kelly Jensen was born in Australia and raised everywhere else. Currently, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and herd of four cats. After disproving the theory that water only spins counterclockwise around drains north of the equator, she turned her attention to more productive pursuits such as reading, writing, writing about reading, and writing stories of her own. She also enjoys volunteering at her local library, playing video games, and holds a brown belt in Kiryoku, a martial art combining Shotokan, Aikido, and Tang Soo Do. Her family is not intimidated by her.
January 11, 2017
I’m so excited to be blogging at DSP today as my novella, THE APPLICANT is being released! It is a story near to my heart and I’m excited to give you a little “behind the scenes” information on how it was written.
You might notice at Forbes and Oliver’s romance in The Busted Labs series is not typical of most heroes. The actual timeline of their relationship is convoluted and confused because it jumps from present to past to future throughout the books. So you won’t be surprised to find that I wrote it at different times in my writing career.
In 2012 I wrote the short story “The Applicant (or Virgins, Robot Bears, and Other Disasters)” for an anthology published in the WEIRD SCIENCE anthology by Torquere Press. Then I wrote the novella, THE BREAK-IN in 2014, which was published by Dreamspinner Press. And finally in 2016, I dusted off the original “The Applicant” short story and expanded it to novella length to be published by Dreamspinner Press this January.
As “The Applicant” was owned by another publisher, Dreamspinner asked that THE BREAK-IN contain scenes which harkened back to the original story but were entirely new and therefore not in violation of copyright. This was a daunting task, but I accomplished it through flashbacks I wrote into the between times of the story—those moments that weren’t necessarily on screen because story pacing was affected or they were in the wrong character’s POV. Remember, “The Applicant” was a short story and by definition had to be short. Since THE BREAK-IN was a novella, I had much more room to expand, stick in moments that might be missing in the original narrative and also reverse the scenes to put them in Forbes’s POV. This made sense since by THE BREAK-IN, Forbes was the only person who remembered the time-travelling Oliver from the future.
However, when I set out to expand “The Applicant” into a novella, I faced an even more daunting task—including those new scenes into the already present text from THE BREAK-IN. I couldn’t do them from Forbes’s point of view because these were still Oliver’s scenes. So instead, I kept them as Oliver’s scenes but layered in more internal thought and action from Oliver. But that didn’t feel right either.
So, I changed the action. I altered the movement of the scenes. The dialogue stayed almost the same, but their actions were subtly different.
I did this on purpose because when I’m remembering, I can recall the majority of the dialogue, but I’m fuzzy on details. Was my partner standing on the right side of me or the left? When did I sit down or stand? Those things don’t register as much for me. So I used myself as a template. I thought Forbes and Oliver would remember the same scenes but slightly different.
There’s even a name for this. It’s called the Rashomon Effect. It explains differences in perspective and eye-witness error at crime scenes. Everyone sees a scene differently, remembers something someone forgot, or leaves out a detail someone else found vital. Our memory is shaped by our own biases, our history, and our desires.
I could have slavishly made each scene exactly the same, but I think this way is more realistic, more like what I would experience. So I hope you don’t mind that Oliver’s memories in THE APPLICANT are a little different than Forbes’s recollections in THE BREAK-IN. Hopefully it tells a better story and maybe one a little more like what you’d experience if you met a time traveler from the future.
So have you ever experienced the Rashomon Effect? Tell me in the comments below.
Don’t forget to sign up for my Rafflecopter Giveaway. There are prizes and gift cards!
How can something so cuddly and adorable be so destructive? The teddy bear robot decimating his lab is only the first disaster of the day for roboticist Forbes Pohle. If he can figure out how to end its rampage, he still has to interview applicants for the position of research assistant and convince the time-traveler on his doorstop that they should be making their future right now. Oliver Lennox didn’t travel back in time to have a quickie in the blast chamber—but it certainly is fun. This younger Forbes is a sweeter, more innocent version of his lover. And it will be hard to leave him behind in the past.
If you like sexy nerds, humor, plenty of action, and a love story not even time can disrupt, this romantic adventure has the perfect credentials for the job.
Excerpt from THE APPLICANT by Aidee Ladnier
Forbes Pohle worked the needle-nose pliers carefully behind the eye sensors of his teddy bear. He needed to make one little adjustment—
The buzzer on the door sounded, nerve-jangling and insistent, from the speaker overhead.
Startled, Forbes jerked the wire he was fiddling with free from its connection, rendering the small robot blind. The head-plate spring snapped, and the access panel clipped his hand as it closed. Forbes swore and shook his stinging fingers as the front door buzzer blared again.
Frustrated, he threw down the pliers and ran both hands through his mop of brown hair. Reacting to the clatter, the tiny robot turned its head left and then right before running off the table.
Luckily the teddy bear caught itself with its face when it hit the floor.
Undaunted, the bear scrambled to its furry feet and darted toward the other side of the lab. Forbes sighed at the sound of another imperative buzz.
“You won’t get the job if you don’t stop with the doorbell.” He stood and shoved the ends of his wrinkled white dress shirt back into his khaki pants. He typed in the power-down sequence for the bear before shutting the lab door and walking toward the front of the house. His visitor had graduated to using the door buzzer as percussion, the drone now going off and on in a jaunty rhythm.
Forbes still wasn’t sold on hiring a research assistant, but he wanted a lab assistant and he needed an administrative assistant.
Most of all, he longed for a friend.
Hiring someone wasn’t the best way to go about finding one, but working with somebody was a good start, right?
Forbes checked his reflection in the foyer mirror. The dark brown of his eyes was almost invisible against the bloodshot whites. His stomach rumbled, and he promised himself he’d take a break and eat as soon as the interview concluded.
At the next buzz, he spun and yanked open the large front door. Holy crap.
He wished he’d gotten a little sleep last night instead of staying up to tinker with the bear.
A wiry man stood on Forbes’s doorstep. He was dressed in a T-shirt, tight black jeans, black nail polish, and red Chuck Taylors. His strawberry blond hair was spiked up in front. The corners of his eyes and his freckled nose wrinkled.
Forbes blinked back his surprise and opened his mouth, expecting words to come out. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Come in.” Forbes waved him inside the house. “I’m Forbes Pohle. I’m the one who posted the job listing.”
The man grinned and held out a hand. “Very pleased to meet you, Dr. Pohle. I’m Oliver Lennox. Please call me Oliver.”
Forbes blushed at the title as he clasped Oliver’s warm hand. Forbes was a PhD three times over, but he hadn’t put that in the advertisement.
“If you’ll come this way, we can talk in the lab.” He turned and walked back down the hallway to the adjacent laboratory, assuming the applicant would follow.
“Oh, I didn’t come about…,” Forbes heard him say before he ran into Forbes’s back. To be fair it wasn’t his fault. Forbes had stopped short in the lab doorway.
During the few minutes he’d stepped out to answer the door, the laboratory had been destroyed.
Buy Your Copy Now:
About the Author
Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, fold origami, send ping pong balls into space, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.
You can find her on her blog at http://www.aideeladnier.com or on her favorite social media sites:
January 10, 2017
Will he kill the one who can save him… again?
Some books are out because the author wants to write them. Other books are out because the author’s muse insists. And yet, others are out because the character wants their story told. Thus was the case of Vespar, my wonderful anti-hero.
Do you like anti-heroes? I have to admit I love them. Ever since I saw the first Indiana Jones movie and watched as Indie was fighting the bad guys and a huge bad guy stepped up with a huge sword. Instead of continuing to fight with his whip, Indie groaned, pulled out his gun, and shot the guy. I’ve had a love affair with the anti-hero ever since.
So what is an anti-hero? A character that isn’t all shiny and bright – not your typical hero at all – who is thrust into being the hero. Such as Vespar is a killer. He was born to be a killer and had spent years honing his skills. And as he turns from Special Ops to Professional Killer, his intent is to do his job and then disappear until he has to do it again. Only his first professional kill is a man who throws his entire world off kilter and just might make him a hero, whether he wants to be or not.
It was kind of fun. Even though Vespar was very clear about telling his story, I sometimes felt as though I was dragging him kicking and screaming into being the good guy. He glared at me quite often.
I don’t know how other authors feel, but my characters become very close to me and when you have a character who you know is a killer who glares at you, it can put you off your supper… And he found ways to get back at me for it. He woke me up at 1 or 2 every morning to tell me his tale. He would be quiet all day long and then as soon as I got to sleep? He’d want to talk.
I loved writing this story and hope you enjoy reading it as well. This book is dedicated to all the anti-heroes I’ve ever loved
Vespar McKauley slid the blade along the stone and stared blankly at the room around him. While he noticed the utilitarian off-white walls and tan furniture of the hotel room, they were so bland that he paid them no attention. He had swept the room when he came in. There were no weapons that could harm him hidden there. And yet there was no way he would let his guard down entirely.
He lifted the long knife and observed the edge. Still a little rough. Not sharp enough. He flipped the blade over in his hand, stroked it along the stone, and gave it far more attention than he would any of his other weapons. For while guns had saved his life most often over the last fourteen years, Vespar still clung to his knife. There was something far more personal about a blade than a gun—the way it felt as it slid into skin and that moment of resistance as it finally punctured and slid home.
While he had only used the knife as a defense in the past, he hoped to use it more often. When he needed to.
A deep frown pulled the corners of his mouth downward. “Need to,” he grunted. A small amount of the fury he usually felt leaked through with that one reminder. He needed to kill. Not all the time, but as long as he could remember, that singular yearning had run his life. From his first deer at age ten to the last bastard he killed as a member of a covert-ops team in the Army, the desire was insurmountable. As if to agree, a small birthmark throbbed on his left shoulder, just underneath the clavicle.
His birthmark was in the shape of a sword with half of the blade missing. Maybe that was why he was so attached to his knife.
He thought—or perhaps wished—that his time in the military had fulfilled the compulsion to kill. There he was allowed to hunt and kill a mark every few weeks. Sometimes even more often. When he left the team, it was by mutual agreement. He wanted out because his time was up and he had mistakenly assumed his sheer number of kills had muted the killer inside. The CIA tried to recruit him, but he ran away from that option. There was no way he wanted to be a permanent killer. At least not then.
But six months later, Vespar had to admit he’d been wrong. The peace afforded by his time in covert ops lasted barely a couple of months before the need came back. Deep in his muscles, a tension began that could only be assuaged one way. The intense burn and throb around his birthmark intensified every day. And yet he fought it.
For some reason he could not understand, his body needed to kill, even though he didn’t want to. Vespar longed for nothing more than to find a hut in the middle of nowhere and live there for the rest of his life. But that was impossible. In just three months, the need kicked back in and he finally gave in to his anxiety and put his skills up for sale.
Now he waited for information on his target.
Who would you rather be on the run with? A perfect hero or the anti-hero? And is there a specific one that comes to mind?
Check out Vespar today!
About The Order of the Black Knights:
Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done—what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.
Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.
If the Knight pardons his enemy, he will no longer be cursed. If not, he will continue to live the same life again and again, and each life will make him harder and more unyielding. And each life will make it less likely that he can be saved.
Blurb for Vespar:
Special ops turned professional killer, Vespar McKauley is hired to take out Marcolm Rogers, son of his employer’s worst enemy. But Marc isn’t like any hit he’s ever done. He’s just twenty-one, he goes to a private university studying English Lit, and for fun he plays computer games with his friends. No drugs, no partying, no crime. The day he bumps into Marc and looks into his azure eyes, the world drops out from under him.
With his father in the Chicago Crime Syndicate, Marc and his mom have stayed out of the limelight, hiding from those that might harm them. He figures he’s safe at a small liberal arts university all the way across the country. Only midway through his senior year, he feels eyes on him and the shadows encroaching. Just as he’s about to run, he meets Vespar and experiences an instant attraction. When Vespar tells him he’s in danger and offers to protect him, Marc wants to believe him. But he’s been hunted before, and this time he isn’t sure he’ll get away. Especially when he finds out he is Vespar’s target.
About the Author:
Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?
She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.
Find her Online:
Website – http://mm.thiannad.com/
Blog – http://blog.thiannad.com/
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January 9, 2017
My name is F.E. Feeley Jr and I am the author of several books with DSP including Objects in the Rearview Mirror, Still Waters, Contact (with various other authors) and the book we are talking about today, The Haunting of Timber Manor.
But I already read that one.
I know. And I thank you. I thank you for reading it, possibly reviewing it, and I also want to apologize.
Okay, here’s the thing. I didn’t like it. I mean, I liked it well enough but I wasn’t wild about it. And that was my fault. Once the book released I began, as every author does even though they say they don’t, I started reading the reviews. And while most of them were great, some of them – a lot of them – brought up some seriously important issues over dialogue and pacing. So, after I wrote Objects the following year and Still Waters the year after that, as my craft began to mature – uh, how do I say this –
Once I stopped sounding like a dumb ass who didn’t know what he was doing and was in way over his head with this whole writer/ editor stuff we have to do…. once it sunk in that I had to like – help edit the work – then I begged DSP to let me go back and tighten it up.
And they – graciously – agreed.
I remember writing this big long email about how much I had grown as an author, how much my voice had matured, how much I would really love to go back and fix this and described – in detail – how much this would benefit the company -Elizabeth, much like Beatrice in Dante’s Inferno – looked upon my poor humble *snicker* self and gave me her blessing.
And here we are.
And boy, it wasn’t easy either. First off, I had someone help me outside of the DSP editorial staff. And then I was like – aww, yeah, see don’t sweat this, this is going to be easy. You all probably only need to go through this once more and we’ll be good to go.
Psssh – my ass. Three (much needed) edits later and someone who saw a huge time gap in the plot – and we arrived to the finish product.
I could beg off and feign ignorance – which I have in the past – over this book but it’s a pilot book in a series and that would should be the best or at least, on par, with the other two. I didn’t plan on it being a series. I had no idea that Memoirs of the Human Wraiths would take me down this lone path with two other standalone books – I didn’t know jack shit about what I was doing.
But that’s life, right?
I just felt like the readers deserved better. I feel like the company deserved better. And I deserved better.
You can expect some storyline alteration. A little bit of clarification. A little bit more maturity wise when it comes to the characters. Cleaner and more realistic dialogue and a tighter story.
To those of you who loved the story – who five stared it etc. thank you and thank you for sticking with me over the years even though I’m probably not the easiest person to live with, so to speak. Thank you for the positive feedback and the encouragement.
And to those of you who didn’t like it – this is really for you. I listened. I wasn’t able to address it directly with this novel in the beginning – but I did in the later works, so I appreciate what you said and hope that you’ll maybe give it another shot. If not – I totally understand.
Why do you write scary stories?
I’m seriously sitting here having a self-motivated interview. LOL *My other half looks like Katie Couric* I do this bullshit all the time. I have these whole scenes just go on in my head where there is this dialogue exchange sometimes with fictional characters – duh – or real life people while I’m going on about my day.
I believe in ghosts. I do. I believe in life after death, I’m not sure if the religious have it done 100 percent on what happens but I do believe in an afterlife so to speak. And as a kid – my head was always wandering around those places to the point where my mother worried about me being so macabre. I wasn’t a goth kid or really into the occult, I just felt like there was something there. Like I could almost sense it. In this new Gilded Age where we find ourselves there’s been this huge uptick in paranormal interest. Each channel on t.v. I swear – has some kind of ghost hunting related show.
Well, which one do you watch?
Me? I used to watch Ghost Hunters but quit after that handsome dark haired guy – Grant, I think his name was – left. I was totally crushing on him. I tried Ghost Adventures but Zach is so alpha persona that it turns me off. Like all those dudes grunt and yell so much I half expect a porno to break out at any moment. Plus, the first ever show – he got the shit scared out of him so bad he ran screaming out of the building. Like, now I feel like it’s all compensating for that. I know I probably pissed someone off saying that but I have this dialogue from that show going on in my head. Here’s an example:
“Dude, something just grabbed me.”
“Right here. Right here on my big muscle trainer ass. Point that camera right there,” he says as he leans over and he palms his right butt cheek. “Riiiiiight there. I hope it was a lady ghost.”
And I imagine some real ghost leaning against the wall talking to his buddy, “Dude, did you touch his ass?”
“Nope. But I think a porno is about to break out.”
Like, for real. That show is like what happens when Ghost Hunters met Abercrombie and Fitch.
But like the freakiest one I found lately – is Dead Files with Amy Allen and Steve could-you-be any-fucking-cuter-if-you-tried Di Schiavi. And it’s sort of funny – and freaky at the same time – but there was one episode of The Dead Files that may have come right out of this book. Not the wolves, or the romance, but the haunting and what the haunting was doing to a woman living in that particular house AND what the ‘entity’ looked like.
It startled me. I looked over to my husband and he looked at me, “Is that one of your books?”
So, from that point forward my obsessive nature allowed me to buy all 9 seasons and binge watch them. It’s really freaky and makes me wonder if I don’t know more than I know. If that makes sense.
Okay, then. Would you like to do a giveaway?
Yes. I would. And to do that, I would like people to answer a question.
What’s the scariest/ spookiest thing that ever happened to you? It could be a dream, it could be thought, it could be something you saw or a story someone told you. Or, do you believe in ghosts? Answer that question and you’ll get a book of your choice, from my backlist.
Where can readers find you?
Hahahaha. Do you really want to? Is this such a good idea? Okay. I do have a blog that I write stuff on. And before I give it to you, I am going to be honest with you. I am honest with you. I write a lot of poetry. Some of it bad, some of it good, I write about things that cross my mind. Things I feel deeply about. Sometimes it can be nice, sometimes I can be abrasive, but I struggle always to be honest. So – you know – just going in I am not trying to blow smoke up your ass hoping you buy all my books. That’s just not me. My blog is my place to vent, to scream into the void. So – you’re more than welcome to come and scream with me. The more the merrier.
I should probably create a facebook page with my name huh? I’ll get on that. Look for it. It’ll be there.
We can scream there, too.
Or whisper, if whispering is your thing.
Or if you want me to scream something for you because you’ve never done it before…or, if you need a place to scream and want to try it out before you go scream in other places just to be sure…I’m totally here to support you.
Okay, I’m done. Thanks inner Katie Couric and DSP for having me today. I’m going to go back to being just one person again. Have a good day!
Check out The Haunting of Timber Manor today!
While recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly receives a phone call from his estranged aunt, who turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Though his father had seemed guarded about the past, Daniel’s curiosity and need for family compel him to visit.
Located in a secluded area of the Northwest, Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. Her halls sit empty and a thin layer of dust adorns the sheet-covered furniture. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart.
Sheriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds. Seeing Daniel struggle, he vows to protect the young man who has captured his heart, and help him solve the mystery behind the haunting and confront the past—not only to save Daniel’s life, but to save his family, whose very souls hang in the balance.
About F.E. Feeley Jr:
F.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit. In the midst of chaos, he sought refuge in the written word. Through books, he was transported to far of places and while his body was trapped in a concrete world, his mind soared. He loved young adult novels such as R.L. Stein and Christopher Pike, but soon found his appetite whetted by the likes of Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz.
As an adult, F.E. lives in the Deep South, married to his wonderful husband, John. Together they are accompanied by their five-year-old German Shepherd, Kaiser. They spend time cooking, talking, and reading, drinking wine, and watching the sun set together from their patio. John is supportive and is always encouraging F.E. to keep on writing. So, as long as there is love, and as long as there is wine, hopefully there will be words.
January 5, 2017
Hey everyone. It’s great to be stopping by again. This time I’m chatting about my newest release, A Coal Miner’s Son. It’s part of Dreamspinner’s States of Love series. I think after reading the title, you might be able to figure out where my story takes place, but in case you can’t…it’s West Virginia.
I’ll admit this story idea had been floating around my mind for a while and when Dreamspinner put out the call, I couldn’t resist actually getting around to writing it. The story and the characters morphed as I put the words to paper, but it still turned out close to how I originally planned it.
I wanted to show how in a lot of the rural places of the Appalachian mountains, the people who lived there might not have a lot of money, but they take care of each other. They prove that you don’t need money to have a good and full life. They take their traditions seriously and family isn’t just those related to you by blood.
Coal mining is a hard profession. It can still be dangerous, even with all the precautions in place and new safety equipment being used. So many things can go wrong and men can get trapped down in the mines. Yet in a lot of the small towns in West Virginia, mining is the only option for the men.
As much as I wanted to show the mining, I also wanted to show how those people took care of their own. And also how much James wanted to be included in the family feel of the town. Being the owner’s son isn’t as important to him as being friends with Owain and the rest of the Rees family.
I love the idea of the States of Love series. The state itself becomes a character in the story, which is great. We can learn something about each state that makes it unique.
I might have changed one of the words for my title, but A Coal Miner’s Daughter is very much like what I imagined Cai would feel like, though he wouldn’t have put it into words—or song for that matter. Yet he’s proud of where he came from.
One of my works-in-progress is called Shangra-La in the Clouds and it takes place in Nepal. I wanted to write a story featuring a person who was born in Nepal and carries the very country in his blood. In many ways, it’s like the States of Love series and I hope to immerse the reader in the beautiful landscape that is Nepal. Not just the peaks of the Himalayas, but valleys, rivers and caves as well.
If I’m doing my job right, I use the words to create an image of the place where my men meet and fall in love. Whether it’s the rolling hills of West Virginia or the sweeping majesty of Mount Everest. I can imitate the accents of the Welsh descendants whose families were miners back in Wales and came to America looking for a better life or the accented words of a Nepalese Gurkha who was educated in Britain.
Have you ever read a book that made you feel like you were in the country/city/state it was set in? Like if you could, you would get online and buy a plane ticket to visit there as soon as possible? I’d love to hear where you’d like to go visit and if there was a book that made you long to go. Please leave a comment below.
Thank you for letting me come and chat with you all today. I’m including the blurb for A Coal Miner’s Son. I hope you get a chance to check it out today.
Check out A Coal Miner’s Son today!
James Callahan is the only son of Nicholas Callahan, owner of the Willow Hollow mine in West Virginia—but he’s never considered himself any better than the miners. He’s best friends with Owain Rees, one of the miners’ kids, and he’s been attracted to Cai, Owain’s older brother, for years. James gets the feeling he might not be the only one sensing the tension between them, but Cai avoids him religiously.
Cai has been working the mine since he was sixteen. He acknowledges James is cute, but he’s grown up privileged while Cai’s family has always been working class, and Cai fears that chasm is too wide to cross. When family drama pushes them together, will Cai and James see they’re more alike than they realized?
Take a leap of faith as two men from different worlds, employer and employee, rich and poor, discover that love transcends social barriers.
T.A. Chase lives in the Midwest with her neurotic but still wonderful senior cat. She believes there is beauty in every kind of love, so why not live a life without boundaries? Experiencing everything the world offers fascinates T.A., and writing about the things that make each of us unique is how she shares those insights. When not writing, she’s watching movies and reading. She’s also a part of a line-dancing group that takes over a bar on Tuesday nights and entertains at assisted living homes. It’s all about living life to the fullest.
She loves hearing from fans. But don’t be too upset if she doesn’t get back to you right away. Life has a way of making her lose track of days and hours. Don’t worry, though. You will hear back at some point.