Common Sense with Andrew Grey

September 14, 2015

Common Sense

Hi I’m Andrew Grey and I’m here today to talk to you a little about Love Comes Unheard.  This is the fifth story in the Senses series and as you might be able to guess, this story features a main character who is deaf.  The entire Senses series has main characters who are sensory impaired in some way or another.    When writing a series, sometimes a story plays off another one.  This is very much the case with Love Comes Unheard.  After Love Comes Around, I wanted to give Wilson his own story and give little Janey someone to help mentor and show her the way as she comes of age.  The amazing thing was that Garrett just showed up in my head as the perfect person to fill that niche.  I didn’t set out to create him or think about the kind of character I wanted, he simply showed up and knocked on the door of my creativity.

Wilson, from Love Comes Around, simply captured my heart and I really felt he deserved his own story and to find love.  He’s the perfect servant and very quiet about his life before working for Dan and what happened before he immigrated to this country.  Wilson deserves to find love in his own right.  He adores Dan and Connor’s three children, but he craves his own family, someone to call his own. Wilson is always putting others before himself, it’s part of what makes him good at his job, but he deserves to be the center of someone’s universe.

The stories in the Senses series all touch something special inside me.  For many years the Farm series was where I went when I needed peace.  I’d write those stories and they felt like coming home.  I think the Senses stories have taken over the warmth and comfort for me.  The characters aren’t simple, but the values and warmth in the stories always make me think of coming home to people I’ve known my entire life, the ones who surround us with joy, warmth, and encouragement when we need it most.



What I’d really like to know from you is which Senses series character is the one you’d like to be a part of your life.  I’ll offer a copy of the Senses story of your choice to one lucky winner.  Enjoy and enough warm hugs to last you through the coming winter.


Andrew Grey

Andrew Grey grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. He has since lived all over the country and traveled throughout the world. Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but the sink.

Get your copy of Love Comes Unheard today!

Forever Friends with Skylar M. Cates

September 11, 2015

forever friends

Hello there, I’m Skylar. I’m the person with the messy house, cute puppy, crazy, funny kids, and scattered coffee mugs. Dreamspinner says to introduce ourselves here, and I think this gives you some idea who I am. I’m treading chaos all the time, but I honestly love my life.

I feel lucky to be here with all of you today. I feel lucky with my family and my friends.

But not always….

Recently a friend hurt my feelings by repeatedly ignoring me and it got me thinking about the nature of friendships. I vented a little on Facebook and was amazed and humbled by how many people offered sympathy and support.

My books very often include a group of friends. As I get older and busy with my family’s needs, it’s harder to have a circle of friends in my life. In college and elsewhere, it was easier. But free time-  once you have a job, partner, and maybe some kids tossed into the equation- is tough to manage.

While my books always have a central romance, I often think the secondary characters are of equal importance. They are the ideal friends. Not in terms of being perfect characters—for they are often deeply flawed—but in terms of being there for each other, no matter what.

Isn’t that what we all crave? Good friends who don’t fade away. Who are there, always and forever?

In Lovers, Losers, and You friendship is of paramount importance. They help each other, protect each other, and remain loyal to each other throughout the good times and bad. From the zany fun of Andrew’s reality show entry to the heartbreak of loss, these guys stick together.

Friendship should be a two-way street and not a dead-end. I wrote that on my Facebook, and I still believe it now.

Just for fun, answer these questions below in a comment, and I will randomly pick two winners by the day’s end.


1. I can’t be friends with somebody who doesn’t like:

A. coffee B. animals C. books D. kids E. wine F. I can be friends with anybody


2. The most important quality in my friend is:

A. Loyalty B. Humor C. Compassion D. Intelligence E. Other quality


3. A good night out with my friends would be a night of:

A. Wine and books

B. The movies and lots of candy

C. A bar and some dancing

D. An evening of fine dining and conversation

E. Something much wilder


4. It is usually possible to remain friends with an ex-lover

A True B False


5. When a friend does this repeatedly, I would end the friendship:

A. Lies to me

B Holds grudges

C Breaks promises

D. Gossips about me

E None of the above. I am forgiving with my friends

F. All of the above. I’m particular about my friends


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it! List your answers in a comment to be included in the giveaway.


Prize: A ten dollar DSP gift card (two winners)


Feel free to explain some of your answers and share your stories of friendships. I always love chatting.





Buy links:


Where to find me: skylar cates

Twitter: @skylarmcates

Trusting a Vampire with J. I. Radke

September 10, 2015

Trusting a Vampire2

Ladies and gents, mortal and immortal, masters or mistresses—yes, even sacrificial lambs—whet your appetite and pull up a seat… The feeding hour is nigh!

Radke here with the release of DEATH AND THE MAIDEN.


Wow, I’m beyond thrilled to be here, finally opening the door on this world. DEATH AND THE MAIDEN was the second full-length novel I ever wrote and the obsessive days and manic nights spent on this hold a really special place in my heart. This trilogy, with DEATH AND THE MAIDEN as the first installment, was the defining moment for me as an author—it was the moment I thought, “Yes, I can write a book. And I will.” Little did I know it would not be the first to be published, and in all honesty, there was part of me that thought it wouldn’t make it there. At all. Ever. End of story was end of story.

DEATH AND THE MAIDEN’s origins are kind of funny and maybe a little cliché. But if I had to trace one key inspiration, the spark that lit the flame, it’d be Interview With the Vampire.

Yes, yes, I know, like I said, we’ve all got our clichés. ;)

I remember the two months consumed by DEATH AND THE MAIDEN and its prequel like this: a Los Angeles apartment complex called “The Palazzo” with lion heads carved in its courtyard fountains, lots of scary movies, lots of, fascinating vampire folklore anthologies, Schubert and Vivaldi, the Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law Sherlock Holmes, very little sleep and way, way too much caffeine.

See, it went sort of like this—when I was 16, I saw the movie with Pitt and Cruise. I was in need of something good to read, so I picked up the book next (and consequently read through half of my junior year classes). At this point, I never imagined I could write a book, myself. I wrote fan fiction, of course. And through countless nights staying up way too late, me and my partner in role-playing crime co-conspired to make this intricate vampire crossover idea that was not only really fun but really worked. So well, in fact, that when we hit the end—and we didn’t usually hit the end on anything, because we wanted to keep ideas going—I thought, “No, I have got to write this down.”

So I did, mostly. The first half. As a fan fic. And it went nowhere. It just sat on my computer because I was too scared to put it anywhere and fail the genre, fail the mythology.

Then the VC series took me hostage for good. When I was 17, while moving to Los Angeles, I saw The Vampire Lestat at Wal Mart and thought, “Why not?” Needless to say, I devoured it on the road trip. And I never stood a chance of escaping the rest of the books. See, when I write something, I like to read something with the same tones and atmosphere, to really stimulate me and get me in that place. So Anne Rice’s books—not just her vampires, but her other works, too—have always been my go-to when writing horror or gothic fiction.

That’s the history of DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, but it’s still unfolding. The second volume of the series is in the last stages of work right now.

I studied a lot of different vampire mythologies, too, trying to build and expand on my own once I picked DEATH AND THE MAIDEN back up. And I had a lot of fun making the mythology in DEATH AND THE MAIDEN unique in very particular ways—the sacrifice system, the science, the creepiness—but chiefly, when it came to sex. Because my vampires were going to have sex, damn it. In a perfectly vampire way.

So I leave you with some of the most important questions I asked myself when writing DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, questions I still ask myself:

What about vampires do you find sexy? What about them is scary? Would you trust one?


Death and the Maiden at Dreamspinner Press

Inspired By Reality with Sue Brown

September 9, 2015

Inspired by Reality

One of the interesting things about writing a series is how it develops from the initial book. Unless you plot out a story arc every new twist and turn is a wonder. You could call the Frankie series a collection of men and attitudes I’ve met in my life and wish they loved each other. And no, I’m not going to tell them I put them a in book, especially as some of them are very straight.

Frankie & Al was easy to write. I wanted to write a book about the sort of person I’ve always wished I was, in a situation I found myself in the eighties. Frankie has the confidence I wish I had combined with the flamboyance of a good looking guy I know. I put him in an insurance company – I worked in pensions – and going to the team-building exercises they made me suffer – hence Womb Weekend. Do companies still send their staff on team-building weekends? What do they make you do?

Of course, with Ed & Marchant I had to pick the boo hiss villain from Frankie. I was fascinated by Ed Winters. What made him the man he was? I think I felt sorry for a man who hated everything about his world. I wanted him to find his happiness with a man who gave Ed what he needed. Marchant was that man. They met in my local supermarket and Marchant recognised what Ed was from the start. Have you ever met someone and understood them from the start?

I think you could describe Anthony as a little man in a large body and as a sub, he’s always overlooked. I wanted him to find a man who wasn’t the mirror image of him. Sometimes you have a tall sub and an even taller Dominant. I didn’t want that. Leo isn’t anything Anthony is looking for and yet somehow it works. When you look at couples do you think “Yep, they suit,” or “What the heck? They look all wrong.”

Here are six men; from the confidence of Frankie, to a man who has hidden his entire life, to a man who just wants to be loved and… actually you can find out what he wants.


Frankie & Friends


My Frankie series will be out in paperback on the 9th September.



Frankie’s Series Collection:

Frankie & Al

Dumped by his boyfriend, Frankie Mason gets totally trashed and ends his night by falling in front of a taxi. He’s rescued by a man with beautiful green eyes who takes care of him until he’s put into an ambulance, but Frankie fails to get the man’s number. A few days later, he’s dragged out to a club only to be saved by Green Eyes again. This time, he isn’t letting the man go.

Ed & Marchant

Ed is miserable in life and at work, until he meets Marchant Belarus. Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a closeted sub. Marchant tries to draw Ed out of his shell, but nothing helps until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.

Anthony & Leo

Tony is unhappy at not having found a Dom of his own. He thinks he’s too big, too old, and too hairy—until he meets funny, toppy Leo, who also sells sex toys. When tragedy strikes and Leo offers his support, Tony believes Leo is the Dom he’s been looking for… until he catches him kissing another man.


Sue’s bio:

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. Sue discovered M/M romance at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favourite television series. The kissing was hot and tender and Sue wanted to write about this men. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.


Sue’s internet links


Lovers & Fighters Release Party Extravaganza! ft. Nash Summers

September 8, 2015

Lovers & Fighters by Nash Summers

Hey guys. I’m Nash. Thanks for stopping by.

I’m here to chat about my new novella that’s coming out tomorrow titled Lovers & Fighters.

You can also check out my pathetically small Pinterest inspiration board for Lovers & Fighters.


I wrote Lovers & Fighters about a year and a half ago. It was my first exploration into M/M contemporary in a slightly longer format. I have a tendency to write short stories. I think it’s because of my short attention span. I went through a lot of ups and downs with the story, mostly because I thought I created two almost unlikeable characters. Scott and Julian each have redeeming qualities, and hopefully most readers will enjoy their story despite their obvious flaws. Or maybe because of their obvious flaws.

At one point in the story, Scott reflects on his poisonous first love. I call the relationship poisonous because I viewed it as being manipulative, one-sided, and extremely unhealthy. I think a lot of people have been in relationships like this. Not necessarily abusive relationships, but ones where the love is so fierce yet completely unrequited.


Here’s a quote from Lovers & Fighters about first love, and first loss:

It felt to me like someone had ripped my heart out of my chest, like there was a vacancy there that I wanted to fill with all the bad things that embodied this talented boy I’d thought I loved.

My first love took me this way. It wasn’t an unhealthy relationship, and we’re still friends, but the kind of longing I felt at that time for another person was something indescribable, and almost torturous. I knew I’d never be able to go on without him in my life. Mind you, I was sixteen years old, knew everything about everything, and thought my life would fall apart if my best friend was angry with me. So, I wanted to write a story about that kind of overbearing love, not necessarily first love, but consuming love. Lovers & Fighters is the result.

A few lovely readers have said that this story isn’t a romance, and that it is, instead, a love story. That’s given me a lot of food for thought. I completely agree with them, and thinking about it now, I think a good majority of the stories I’ve written, or plan to write, could be considered love stories instead of romances. Which makes sense. In person, I’m not romantic.

Sometimes when people I know ask me what kinds of stories I write and I say, “Romance”, they’re surprised. It might be because I’m an atypical romantic. Romance to me isn’t flowers or rom-com movies or wedding rings (not that there’s anything wrong with any of those things, of course). To me, romance is companionable silences while driving through the rain down a dusky stretch of road. It’s listening to my favorite album and holding someone’s hand. But it’s also drinking beer and playing a co-op FPS together.

I guess I think the word romance can mean absolutely anything to anyone.


Thanks for stopping by! If anyone out there in the great, big blogverse would like to tell me about their first love, or even their ideal version of romance, I’d love to hear it.


- Nash

Getting Real with BA Tortuga

September 4, 2015

Getting Real


Hey, y’all. How’s goes?

So, I feel weird doing the whole formal intro thing, but waves. I’m BA Tortuga, happily married redneck in the high desert mountains. Turn ons are quilts, coffee, and gluten free Cheerios. Turn offs are assholes, slugs and the word peculiar.


Seriously, I’m here to bounce about my newest Dreamspinner release and the second in the Release series, The Articles of Release. Insert happy squeal (a la Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias): y’all, I’m a CHAIN! Eric is an injured soldier and battle buddy of Adam Winchester. He calls Win to ask for a place to stay and Win and Sage bring him into their lives, introducing Eric along the way to Sage’s trainer, Troy.

Instead of doing a lot more explaining, I’ll let the boys introduce themselves.


“Guess you didn’t serve, huh?”

“Oooh, tacos.” Sage peeled off and left him and Troy to check out the falafel rolls.

“No.” Troy gave him a look like he was totally out of his mind. “That’s never been on ye olde opportunity table.”

Eric bristled a little. “Yeah? You got something against soldiers?”

“Huh? Why would I? I’m spectacularly ill-suited for the job, that’s all.”

“Oh. Sorry.” He shrugged, his ears hot. “Still a little touchy, I guess. Sorry.”

“Dude, no worries. I’m cool. What looks good to you?”

“I think I want to try the falafel stuff. I always liked it when I was deployed.”

“Cool. I’ll get some hummus, I think. I have a client that wants me to try vegetarian for a few weeks, see what changes I see in my body.”

“You look like you’re doing pretty good.” Did he just say that? Maybe he had brain damage.

“It’s more for her graduate degree than any genuine interest in giving up brisket on my part.”

“Ah. Gotcha.” He was torn between liking Troy and being a little irritated at the earlier Army shit. Mood swings were hell. They managed to get a couple of little paper baskets of food, but Sage and Win were nowhere in sight. “Mind if I sit a minute?”

“Go for it.” Troy held out a hand to hold his falafel.

“Thanks.” He got settled, then nodded to the other side of the table. “Want to join me?”

“Thanks, but I’ll stand. Sitting’s a pain in the ass.”

Eric blinked. That was a new one. “Uh, did I piss you off? I didn’t mean to.”

“Huh? No. No, you’re totally good. Completely. How’s your falafel?”

He hadn’t even tasted it. What was it about this guy that got under his skin? “It’s fine. What, the trainer doesn’t want to be seen with the cripple or something?”

“Pardon me?” The asshole actually looked around, like he didn’t know what Eric was talking about.

“Well, it’s not like I wear a T-shirt, but the heavy limp is kind of a giveaway.” He could do sarcasm too.

“What the hell are you going on about, man?”

“I want to know why you would rather stand and hold your food than sit with me!” That came out loud enough to draw few stares, and Eric kinda felt as if he was having an out-of-body experience.

Troy’s cheeks went a dark red, and the man moved over and set his food down. “Sorry, man.”

Sage and Win were heading over, and Troy sat at the end of the table, sitting awkwardly at the edge, legs barely tucked under.

Eric tried to breathe, to calm the fuck down, but his fury hit him about the time Sage stumbled into the table and Troy damn near went ass over teakettle onto the grass. That was it. Seriously? Seriously, this motherfucker was going to treat him like a goddamn leper because he limped? Gonna fall onto the ground rather than sit with the crip like a decent human being? Fuck, the bastard was probably one of those liberal hippie types that thought every soldier was a fucking murderer and deserved what he got.

He’d just been doing his job, goddamn it!

“Jesus, just go, would you? Some trainer you are, being ashamed of a guy with a bad leg!”


“Don’t you fucking pretend that you don’t know what I’m talking about!”

“What the hell?” That was Sage, who always managed to look vaguely confused, which pissed him off too. What? Did falling in love give you the magical ability to live in fucking lala land? Huh? “What happened?”

“Just fuck off.” He wasn’t sure who he was aiming the snarl at.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Troy was looking at him like he had two heads and neither one of them were speaking English.

“What’s wrong with me? I’m sick of people humoring me and pretending that it doesn’t matter that half my leg is missing when they’re grossed out by it.” Eric kinda lost his shit, right there, slamming his hands on the table.

“It’s not missing.” The words from Troy were flat, dead still somehow, and didn’t really make sense.


Troy got up, stood like he was setting himself, then carefully pulled up the legs of his jeans, exposing metal rods disappearing into the motorcycle boots. “This is what missing looks like, just sayin’. Sage, Adam. Have some hummus. I got to go. See y’all Monday.”

And with that, Troy headed off, and with distance, Eric could see the odd gait, the way Troy held himself.

Sage stood there, staring like a goat looking at a new fence.


I was doing the promo work for The Articles of Release and one of the questions I keep seeing is “why”?

Why write a wounded warrior who hooks up with a double amputee?

Now, honestly? I’ll tell you my main truth. I don’t pick. I never feel like I choose these guys. They come to me and I write about them.

I know, y’all think I’m a nutcase and that’s not far from true.

I believe in ghosts. I believe in fairies. I believe in happy endings and I believe that the boys show up for me to write.

My second truth is way more personal and a little deeper. I write about people in challenging situations to work out my own shit. Seriously. I write about my love/hate relationship with Texas, I write about being scared and being angry and trying to figure out where the hell I belong in a universe that seems like a strange and dangerous world.

I write about losing things. I write about that a lot, because I’m worried.

You see, I’m losing my sight.

There, I said it. Out loud. In public.

I’m losing my sight.

I can’t drive anymore. I have special software for the computer. If it’s dark, you can’t trust me not to fall over things. I swear tinted glasses and huge sunglasses.

I can’t read my own paperbacks.

I don’t talk about it. I don’t talk about how goddamn scared I am. What do I do when I can’t see anymore and my wife needs me to do things for her? How do I work? Writing I can do, but what about edits? I don’t know how to deal with that and I’m scared to find out because that means it’s real.


I write to work out the lump that sits in my heart and says, “you’re totally screwed, woman”. I write men like Eric and Troy so that they can teach me how to be brave and look at my wife and say, “no worries, babe, we got this”.

So, why?

I write a wounded warrior who hooks up with a double amputee because I had to.

There was a story that needed telling.

I’d love to hear all y’all’s stories, too. Honest.

Much love, y’all.





What If? with Amberly Smith

August 28, 2015

Text here

Anyone up for a game of what-if? That’s how my story Marriage Most Convenient all started, what-ifs and friendship. I’m Amberly Smith and I’m really psyched to chat you all up.

My best girlfriend and I have known each other for over twenty years, since high school. Our kids are of an age, our spouses are proud geeks, and we’ve got the good dirt on each other. A while ago she showed me a listing for a military silo and the what-ifs began. We probably drank oolong tea and ate homemade ginger cookies, though I can’t recall for sure. It might have been a Saint Mark for me and a Long Island for her. The silo’s previous owners had converted the bunker-grade home into a beautiful retreat and had several acres to sell separately. What if you wanted to buy this place? What if you could only fly in and out because there were no roads? Where would you get the money? Who would you have to kill, sleep with, or marry to have that kind of dough? I like my creature comforts, I don’t want to live in the middle of nowhere, so what kind of person does?

The thing about what-if, it’s a game that can haunt you. Play with caution, fellow readers, play with caution. I wrote Marriage Most Convenient as a way of answering those questions. And because marriage of convenience stories, who doesn’t love those? From back cover blurb:

No bank is going to give a nomadic thrill seeker a loan. Even if Tom Flynn wants to develop and run a retreat for disabled kids. Good thing he is finally old enough to pull from his trust fund. However, it would mean settling down—because accessing the money requires him to be married—so he asks his best friend, Luke, to marry him.

So this is where the friendship steps back in. I love stories with banter, with characters who know each other well enough to see the flaws. Yes, there is still the excitement of new love, a deeper connection but with friendship? That complicates things, makes things more vibrant.

Luke Marten’s goal is simple: don’t go on one more crazy adventure with Tom. Knowing how successful he has been in the past, Luke has a backup plan: don’t fall in love. He’s a goner when Tom not only proposes but confesses to one seriously hot kink.

For their friendship to survive this marriage, they’ll need to face DOMA, conservative judges, and long held beliefs about each other. Talk about getting caught by the short hairs.


The story I’m working on now is different, futuristic sci-fi, but it also started with a question. What if the government figured out how to make super soldiers but no one man can hold all the abilities?


Now for a rousing game of what-if, your turn edition. What if you desperately need a vacation? How far would you go to get what you want? And, because all great adventures should involve friendship, who do you take with you?


You can also chat me up on Facebook, my website, Twitter or Goodreads.


Check out Marriage Most Convenient today!


Finding Your Guardian Angel with Diane Adams

August 27, 2015

Finding YourGuardian Angel

Hello, I’m Diane Adams and I’m here to share the second edition release of my book Rearranging Stars. It came out yesterday and I’m super stoked to have the book available again. It was published the first time in 2011, which was a long time ago, and yet not so long I can’t remember some details about writing it. One of those details is the song that inspired the book. Guardian Angel by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

I first conceived the idea for the book after listening to the song. Because of the title I found myself thinking about angels and it occurred to me how crowded the world would seem if we could see the angels following us around. My imagination drifted to the idea of being the only one who could see them. Of course a story about me seeing guardian angels would be ho-hum at best, but a hot guy like Grey, oh yeah, that was another matter. With the idea for his character firmly in mind I moved on to the stage of jotting down notes and began to flesh out the rules for the angels he could see. Soon after that Drake appeared to challenge the status quo.

It’s never easy to take a stand against long held rules and traditions. It takes a kind of iron will that not everyone possesses. Heroes are born from the people willing to step forward without thought of personal cost to make a difference. Sometimes such actions require the ultimate sacrifice. Those are some of the ideas I explored as I wrote Drake and Grey’s story.

Drake is an angel. Grey is human. They are not real but even in fiction some heroes emerge bold and bright and change the world. Others wake up each day care for the people in their lives and create a safe haven for the ones they love. Daily living requires a type of heroism that is often overlooked. I believe not giving up in the face of the minutiae of life requires more strength of heart than making a grand stand.

It’s fun to write and imagine beings like guardian angels taking special care of us. Of course reality isn’t populated by hot angels with magnificent wings, but the lucky among us have people in our lives watching over us. Those who love us not just during the best times but in all the times. They are sometimes those we expect, like family members, but sometimes a guardian angel turn out to be someone who takes us completely by surprise.

Thank you for stopping by today. Do you have a guardian angel in your life? Please take a few minutes to share the story with us. I’m looking forward to reading all about them and will give away a free book to someone randomly drawn from those who share their story with me.

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone at DreamSpinner Press who have helped with the rerelease of my book. Rearranging Stars isn’t my first time working with DreamSpinner. I published a few short stories several years ago. This is my first book published with them and I’ve enjoyed the experience very much. The editing experience was wonderful. My editors were supportive and helpful. My cover, created by the incredibly talented Paul Richmond, is a dream come true. When I saw the initial cover sketch I felt as if he had pulled an image of the passionate tenderness shared between Drake and Grey straight from my mind. The detail of Grey’s fingers tangled in black feathers. Perfection.


I am so proud of this edition of Rearranging Stars. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Get Rearranging Stars here!

Please keep in touch!

My website:

Facebook: Diane Adams

Twitter: @d_adams

The Cruise Is All About the Fun with Andrew Grey #dreamer

August 25, 2015

Dominic and I cruise for a number of reasons.  We love the food and the activities, but one thing both of us always count on is the entertainment.  And on a cruise the shows and music are non-stop.  Many times the two of us have spent the afternoon lying on the pool deck or splashing in the pool, listening to a steel drum band.  We’ve seen full scale Broadway shows like Hairspray and Chicago, as well as original productions.  We’ve also attended a number of smaller cabaret shows.  One of the ships there was an aqua theater with diving shows.  (Think sleek boys in Speedos)  Many ships also have ice rinks and those have amazing ice skating and dance shows.  (Think boys in tight pants jumping on ice.)  You get the point.


However the wildest show was The Quest.  It’s an adult scavenger hunt.  And let me tell you it’s nearly no holds barred.  The audience is divided into teams and when the host calls for something, the first teams to get what he wants get points.  Now, on our version, the first thing the host requested was a man wearing a bra and high heels.  Let me tell you, ladies were whipping off shoes and bras faster than I have ever seen in my life.  It was pandemonium.    Of course the next thing he wanted to see was a woman in man’s shoes and men’s shorts.  One of the guys took one for the team and dropped his pants.

However I never laughed so hard in my life when the host asked for the tallest and shortest men in each team.  Dominic was of course the shortest on his team and the two of them had to dirty dance.  Of course my sweet little honey bear hammed it up like there was nobody’s business, dancing with a six foot six straight man.  I nearly fell out of my chair.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get pictures so you’ll have to take my word on it.  But I can’t wait for our next cruise and I’m going to have as much fun as possible.

Of course no cruise would be complete without seventies night complete with disco and crew members dressed up as The Village People.  Believe me the fun lasts from the time we leave port until we pull in again.


When Past Meets Present with Kim Fielding

August 24, 2015

When Past

Does a certain place speak to you, resonate in your mind and soul? I’m Kim Fielding, and today I’d like to talk about a place that does that for me. Or, more accurately, places.

Nestled in the Sierra mountains and foothills are a bunch of small towns that originated during the California gold rush. Even some of the names are evocative of their history: Placerville. Twain Harte. Angels Camp. Chinese Camp. Sutter Creek. Jamestown. Copperopolis. And while progress has marched on there as everywhere else, when you visit, you can still see the remnants of life in the 1850s. You can still get a little feel of the past.

I’m lucky enough to live close to this area, and I’m especially partial to a few of the towns clustered along or near Highway 49. Columbia, for instance, was a mining boomtown that once boasted over forty saloons. Nowadays it’s a state park, although a couple thousand people still live there. I also like Sonora, which is just a few miles away. Some of the shops on the main street have the remnants of gold mines in their basements. My family is also very fond of Murphys. The main attractions for my husband are the zillion local wineries, but the kids and I love the caves, which you can explore as long as you’re willing to go down—and back up—a lot of stairs.


To get a very good sense of the history of these towns—and because I’m a wee bit morbid—I like to visit the old cemeteries. You can see the many places people came from before heading to California and trying to strike it rich. You get a sense of how very difficult life was. Take a look at this census from Sonora’s cemetery, for instance. Fascinating. And you find some mysteries. Were Joel Cumback and Jacob Giddis lovers?


These gold rush towns were one of the main inspirations for my new book—my 13th novel!—Rattlesnake. It takes place in a fictional town modeled loosely on Angels Camp and called, well, Rattlesnake. It’s a contemporary story, but a sense of the past haunts the protagonists just as it haunts the old town. I fell in love with Jimmy and Shane, but I also fell in love with the town, with the atmosphere. It felt so real to me that last time my family was heading to Angels Camp for the weekend, I was all excited about having breakfast at Mae’s Café. Until I remembered that Mae’s exists only in my fictional Rattlesnake and not, sadly, in real life. I could really have gone for one of her cinnamon rolls.


Rattlesnake releases August 31, but you can preorder now. And for a chance to win an e-copy of any of my backlist books—that is, anything but Rattlesnake—comment here and tell me what place is special to you.

I hope when you read Rattlesnake, the town will become one of your special places too. Meanwhile, I’m off to another of my favorite locations on earth, Croatia. Ah, but that’s a future story….



A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.

On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.


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