Introducing Rye from Guarding January

March 11, 2015

 

 

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I thought I’d share an excerpt wherein we first meet Rye. This is the beginning of the Prologue:

Rye sat on the little chair in the waiting room, feeling like some sort of oversized gorilla.

There’d been three other bodyguards waiting when he’d arrived, but two had gone in and come back out in short order. The last guy ahead of him had lasted a minute or two longer. A tired-looking blonde had poked her head out as well, telling him she needed a couple minutes.

He glanced at his watch. He was between jobs and didn’t have anywhere to be, so it wasn’t like he minded waiting. This chair, though, was a little on the uncomfortable side. He shifted, the whole thing creaking ominously. It was small, and he was worried it wasn’t going to hold his weight.
You could say a lot of things about him—he was a solid guy, trustworthy, surefooted, and reliable. One thing you couldn’t say? He was small.

He debated getting up and standing over by the window or something, but he didn’t want Donna Heard to think he was antsy or getting cold feet. Reg Storm, who’d given him the heads-up on the job after he’d finished a stint keeping the rock star safe from a stalker, had told him Donna was a real stickler.

A ballbuster, even.

And obsessed with keeping her pseudovampire, crazy-assed-fans-sending-blood-in-the-mail singer alive.

It was a good thing he liked a challenge and didn’t judge.

He shifted, and the chair creaked alarmingly again. Okay, he was standing. Looking like he was restless had to be better than breaking the damn chair.

The door opened about the same time his ass left the chair. “Sorry for the delay. I had a phone call. Please, come in.”

“No worries, I’m sure you’re very busy.” He held out his hand. “I’m Rye Sommers.”

“Donna Heard. Pleased.” The office was classy, furnished with heavy, overstuffed furniture, way more solid than the stuff in the waiting area. “Have a seat.”

“Thank you.” He sat, nothing creaking or shifting in warning. Oh, thank God. That was just… ridiculous.

“Sorry about the tiny chairs out there. You’re… a big guy.”

That had him chuckling. “You did nearly have firewood there. Big is what you need, though, right?” Little guys weren’t bodyguards.

“Absolutely. And LJ is… challenging.” She leaned back, steepled her fingers, and was completely in control.

“Challenging? I’m good with challenges. Can you be more specific?” He knew LJ stood for Lord January. Lord. January. He’d seen pictures of the guy too. Skinny, tattoos, piercings, and makeup. Lots of makeup.

“First, tell me about you. About your specialties.”

“I’ve been bodyguarding for six years. I’ve never lost a client. I specialize in twenty-four/seven care.”

“And you’re comfortable with travel? This is a long-term position.”

Long term was good. It would be nice to have something a little more permanent; he was tired of bouncing from job to job.

“I don’t even have a goldfish for someone to feed while I’m away.”

 

Did I mention that it’s available in both ebook and print?

Sean

smut fixes everything

What’s in a Name?

March 11, 2015

So, in Guarding January, one of my main characters has several different names. He’s Jeff Smart, though at the beginning, nobody calls him Jeff. He’s Lord January, Vampire King, and Lord January is what all his fans and outsiders call him. His immediate circle calls him LJ. So when it came time for the blurb, the big question was, what do I call him? I think I struck a decent balance between having all three monikers mentioned without making it too confusing for someone who hasn’t read the book yet, but you’ll have to read the blurb below and let me know if I succeeded in that or not.

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Still, it leaves the question — when I’m talking about the characters, to I call them Rye and Jeff or Rye and LJ? I think I wind up using both Jeff and LJ…

Have you got a nickname and what’s the story behind it?

Guarding January blurb:

Lord January is at the top of the charts, only comes out at night, and is usually covered in blood. Say what you will, but the man knows how to put on a great show. But when the Vampire King is let out of rehab, the last thing he expects is someone forcing him to eat real food, hang out in the sun, and generally be a human being.

Rye Sommers, the best bodyguard in the business, has been hired to babysit a rock star whose biggest threat surprisingly isn’t all the hard drugs, desperate groupies, and crazy fans—it’s Lord January himself. But the closer Rye gets, the more LJ turns into sweet, gentle, caring Jeff Smart. He may still be the super-skinny, pierced and inked genius Lord January, but he is slowly shaking his death wish as he sheds the loneliness and exhaustion his stage persona saddled him with.

But as Rye falls in love with the real Jeff, he finds himself in over his head. He knows he can keep Lord January away from the drugs and the groupies, but saving Jeff might force Jeff to choose between his career as Lord January and his very life.

Sean

smut fixes everything

The Bodyguard Trope

March 11, 2015

I have always loved the bodyguard trope, though I haven’t written a lot of it. But I find it fun and sexy and hot.

With Guarding January, I started with LJ himself and Rye showed up — so it wasn’t even like I started out with that in mind. The characters always drive the show for me, but I was very happy when it turned out that LJ’s guy was his bodyguard and I got to play in that particular playground.

What is your favorite trope?

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Sean

smut fixes everything

Good Morning

March 11, 2015

Sean Michael here. I’ve got the blog today to tell you all about Guarding January, my latest release. It came out on Monday and I’m very excited as it’s my first publication from Dreamspinner that is also available in print!

Which begs the question – do you prefer ebook or print? And if you prefer it in print, do you still buy the ebook so you can read it while waiting for your print copy to arrive?

I will randomly choose one of the comments from this post at the end of the day to receive a copy of the print version of the book.

 

guardingjanuaryLord January is at the top of the charts, only comes out at night, and is usually covered in blood. Say what you will, but the man knows how to put on a great show. But when the Vampire King is let out of rehab, the last thing he expects is someone forcing him to eat real food, hang out in the sun, and generally be a human being.

Rye Sommers, the best bodyguard in the business, has been hired to babysit a rock star whose biggest threat surprisingly isn’t all the hard drugs, desperate groupies, and crazy fans—it’s Lord January himself. But the closer Rye gets, the more LJ turns into sweet, gentle, caring Jeff Smart. He may still be the super-skinny, pierced and inked genius Lord January, but he is slowly shaking his death wish as he sheds the loneliness and exhaustion his stage persona saddled him with.

But as Rye falls in love with the real Jeff, he finds himself in over his head. He knows he can keep Lord January away from the drugs and the groupies, but saving Jeff might force Jeff to choose between his career as Lord January and his very life.

It’s available in ebook and print formats.

 

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

Release Party MOMENT OF TRUTH – Part Four

March 5, 2015

It’s Karen Stivali here for one last time this evening. I’d hoped to post this earlier but my internet went out. I know, it happens to everyone and it’s not a big deal. Oh, wait…that’s not internet. ;)

Since it’s later than I intended I’ll just post a few quick teasers from MOMENT OF TRUTH. Please remember, if you haven’t read this series yet, it’s best to start with Book One, MOMENT OF IMPACT, as Collin and Tanner’s journey through young love is told as three separate stories that take place at different phases of their lives. You can grab Book One for only 99 cents until March 7 (sale price available at Amazon, B&N, ARe or right here on Dreamspinner).

And for those of you who’ve read both books, don’t worry, there’s not too long to wait for Book Three. MOMENT OF CLARITY will release the first week in May (and the same day a paperback collection of all three books will also be available)! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you’ll be the first to see my cover reveal in a few weeks (and since I got a peek at it this week I can tell you if you like the first two covers, you’re gonna like this one!). :)

Without further delay, here are a few snippets….

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And here are a few lines from one of my favorite scenes in the book…what can I say, I love the really steamy scenes. I’m happy when my characters are having fun! (you can click it to enlarge if it’s too small to read—I won’t make the dirty joke that’s in my mind right now)

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If you didn’t win a prize today (or even if you did) please consider stopping by to chat with me on Saturday (March 7) when I takeover the Dreamspinner Facebook account from noon-2pm EST. There will be more giveaways and maybe an excerpt or two!

And please consider attending a multi-author event I’m hosting on Facebook on March 18 with a group of my m/m author friends! Lots of giveaways and other fun to be had! (If Facebook won’t let you join, sent me a PM and I’ll invite you!) Click HERE for link.

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Thanks again for joining me for my release party! Don’t forget to check the comment section of the previous posts to see if you had a winning comment! Looking forward to the next release so I can come chat with all of you again. In the meantime maybe I’ll see you on Facebook or Twitter!

<3

Release Party – MOMENT OF TRUTH – Part Three

March 5, 2015

Hi everyone, Karen Stivali here again to talk a little more about MOMENT OF TRUTH, Book Two of the Moments In Time series.

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In keeping with the themes from the Moments In Time series, I want to talk about summer jobs in college. I went to college at NYU in New York City and spent summers either there or at my parents’ house in New Jersey. I had so many jobs I can barely remember them all but I’ll list all the ones I can think of offhand:

waitress

wedding planner’s assistant

secretarial temp

hand drawn animator

espresso bar manager

script reader for an agent

receptionist

bartender

reader for the blind

teaching assistant

Several of those overlapped—I worked a lot. It’s expensive to live in New York City, nevermind the cost of tuition!

In MOMENT OF TRUTH Collin is working as a waiter at an upscale restaurant (he needs money badly as when he came out his mother stopped tuition payments and he’s got to make sure he has enough money to get through senior year) and Tanner is bartending at a trendy nightclub.

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind having this young man as my waiter..

H

 

And I definitely wouldn’t mind having this young man shake me up a cocktail or two…

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Do you have a preference for blonds or brunettes? Or are redheads your weakness? Or shaved heads? Or no preference at all as long as they’re (fill in the blank)?  Tell me below and I’ll choose another random winner to receive an ebook of their choice (winners announce later tonight on each post). Thanks for chatting with me and making my release party more interesting! I love learning things about my readers and their experiences.

Moment Of Truth Release Party – Part Two

March 5, 2015

LIFE’S A BEACH!

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Hello everyone, Karen Stivali, back again. I think the harshness of this winter has finally gotten to me (looking out my window in New Hampshire I see about five feet of snow on everything, and that’s after two days of thawing) so I’m going to talk about the location where MOMENT OF TRUTH takes place: Fire Island.

For those of you not familiar with the northeastern US, Fire Island runs parallel to New York’s Long Island and it’s a beautiful beachy paradise. There’s not much there other than tons of beaches, a few shops, some cool restaurants and night clubs, and miles of trails to walk or bike. No cars are allowed on the island so when you’re there you really feel like you’re away from it all. Like a summer vacation should make you feel!

For Collin and Tanner, spending the summer living on Fire Island not only means an escape from their conservative college town to a much more liberal environment where it safe for them to be “out” as a couple, it also means that Collin is free from the prying eyes of family. It’s like a fresh start for them as a couple. But, as with any summer, the time is limited, so the future—back at school—is always looming in the background.

That’s not to say Collin and Tanner don’t make the most of their summer. They do! From time on the beach to enjoying some of the local clubs and restaurants they definitely get the full vacation experience even though they’re both busy working (Collin as a waiter and Tanner as a bartender).

I’ve been to Fire Island a few times but the beach I visited most recently was Nantucket (pictured in the lovely sunset above and again here).

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I love the beach but I’m not a typical beach person. Too much sunlight makes me jittery and gives me a headache. My favorite time on the beach is sunset or later. I love strolling along the water or sitting on the sand and watching the waves roll in and out in the moonlight. It’s so peaceful and relaxing and beautiful.

My favorite beach is probably Ocean City, New Jersey because it’s the perfect old-fashioned (homemade fudge and donut shops, fresh salt water taffy, miles of boardwalk to bike or stroll) beach town but it’s close enough to Atlantic City that if you want something more lively it’s only a twenty minute drive away. I also love Narragansett, Rhode Island  and Nantucket because their beaches are covered in gorgeous polished stones that look more like river rocks than something you’d find on a beach. I can never leave without a heavy collection of them weighing down my beach bag!

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Are you a beach person? Do you have a favorite beach to visit? Would you rather live at the beach full time if you could, or do you prefer it as a special vacation getaway? Tell me in the comments below and again one random winner will be selected to win an ebook at the end of the day today!

Release Party MOMENT OF TRUTH (Book 2 of the Moments In Time series) – part one

March 5, 2015

 

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Hi everyone! I’m Karen Stivali and I’ll be here for the next few hours to talk about my brand new release MOMENT OF TRUTH!

 

I’m super excited about this release because MOMENT OF TRUTH is the second book in my Moments In Time series. I have absolutely loved every minute that I spent writing about Collin and Tanner, the two college students who experience all the ups and downs of first love together over the course of the three books in this series.  The first book in this series, MOMENT OF IMPACT (on sale this week for 99 cents!), is a coming of age/coming out story that shows how Tanner and Collin, college roommates, discover that they think of each other as a lot more than friends. Here’s the blurb:

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Outside Collin Fitzpatrick’s dorm room is a dangerous place. Beyond his door the students of his small, conservative college think he’s straight, as does his Catholic family who’d disown him if they learned the truth. Inside, he’s safe with his incredibly sexy roommate Tanner D’Amico. Their room makes a perfect place to hide away and fall in love. The moment they cross the line from roommates to lovers, Collin becomes caught between their heavenly passionate encounters and the hellish reality that someone might find out and destroy everything. Tanner’s not used to being so confined, and wants to show the world how much he loves Collin. But Collin’s not sure he’s ready for the impact stepping outside will make.

 

 

MOMENT OF TRUTH takes place a few months later, when Collin and Tanner decide to spend the summer together in the much more liberal and accepting environment of Fire Island.

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Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being “out” takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

 

 

This is definitely a series that’s best read in order because each book is a complete story that takes place at very different times in their relationship. There are no cliffhanger endings (I can’t stand them as a reader, so I’d never write one—I promise!), just an opportunity to watch their relationship evolve as these two young men are confronted by a variety of life’s trials.

I don’t usually title my books until I’m well into writing the story. At some point while I’m writing I’ll think of something that just “fits” and that’s never been more the case than in the series. While writing the first book it occured to me how many specific moments there were in the story where Collin, the point-of-view character, had his life completely change. You know the kind of moments I mean. The ones where you look back on a memory and you realize that there was a specific second where something happened that altered everything that happened after it. Collin has several moments like that in book one, several experiences where the IMPACT of that one MOMENT changes everything. Hence the title MOMENT OF IMPACT.

When I decided to write more of Collin and Tanner’s story, I focused on what the defining moments would be in each phase of their relationship and that’s how the other titles were born. I loved finding the different pieces of their lives that would be so life-altering and would change them as individuals and as a couple. There are several MOMENTS OF TRUTH in book two as this couple grows and matures.

So now it’s time for my question to you. What were some of the most defining moments in time in your life? The realization you were in love with someone? The decision of where to go to college? A mean thing you said and couldn’t take back? A good choice? A bad one? A freak accident? Tell me one of your most memorable moments in the comments below and I’ll choose a random winner (at the end of the day) to win an e-copy of MOMENT OF IMPACT (and if you already have that, then it’ll be your choice of my other titles).

Drawing to a close and contest winners — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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I’m so sad. The end of our time is here already. We’ve talked fanfic and survivorship and father/son relationships. But it’s time for me to draw this event to a close, because it’s going to snow (again) and I’m going to have to shovel in the morning.

The winner of the copy of The King’s Mate is: JJ

and

The winner of the copy of A Wounded Promise is: H.B.

If the winners can email me at ashavandoyon@gmail.com and let me know what email they use for their account at the Dreamspinner Press store, I’ll get those books added to your shelf.

Thanks again for spending the evening chatting with me!

You can get A Wounded Promise from Dreamspinner Press at: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

The importance of fathers — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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Hope you aren’t sick of me yet! This is Ashavan Doyon coming to you from the Dreamspinner Press Blog. I know, that last post is a bit of a downer. An important one for the story, but still hard to talk about.

I wanted to touch on one last theme before I pick the winners and let you all off to read the story yourselves! One of my favorite characters in the Sam’s Café Romance stories is Justin’s dad, Sam. We see a lot of Sam in The King’s Mate, but in A Wounded Promise we get only glimpses. But the glimpses we get are critical ones.

One of the things I wanted with the character of Sam was a parent who had struggled with his son coming out, but one who came quickly to acceptance. I’ve tried to reach that in a few stories, but I think it’s the Sam’s Café Romances where I succeed the most. This is a parent in whom Justin confides. While we don’t know really what kind of relationship Justin had with his mom, it’s clear his relationship with his dad is one of trust.

In an early scene, Sam and Justin are talking about Justin being frightened. It’s an important scene, because you really get that Sam loves and trusts his son.

“But what do I do now? I ran away.”

Sam slid off the ledge and held out a hand.

“Let’s get you home.”

“I need to get back to Russ,” Justin said. “But I’m still scared.”

“Justin.” Sam was looking at him with a sad sort of smile.

“What is it, Dad?”

“I meant your home, not mine.”

I love you, Dad.

Justin hugged Sam fiercely.

“Don’t think this means I like it.”

Justin grinned. “I didn’t expect it’d be fighting with my lover that got you to admit that I’m living there now.”

“Hard to miss. House is too damn quiet without you.”

 There’s a closeness between the two of them I think I envy a little bit. It’s a relationship I saw sometimes with my brother and my dad, but I never had. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have it that when I write an accepting parent it tends to be the father?

So, this is the last chance to win a copy of the ebook for A Wounded Promise. Tell me about your favorite father figure in a male/male romance. I’ll also be here watching the comments, so feel free to just chat too.

And importantly, that buy link again, in case you don’t win! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121