About the Ever the Same boys — Audie and Dixon

February 27, 2015

So, let me tell y’all a bit about my boys from Ever the Same, Dix and Audie.

Audie is a cowboy from Greenville, Texas. Like a real, working cowboy. He pulls calves, trains cutting horses, and loves his little boy, Grainger, with everything he has. Solid as a rock, Audie’s a good guy, practical as the day is long and totally, completely trapped in the closet of his environment.

Now, Dix? He’s not a cowboy at all. Texan? Sure, but he’s from Austin, he’s a musician, he’s out and proud, he’s…Lost. He just lost his partner and his sight in the same car accident, he’s trying to figure out how the hell he’s supposed to raise his angry little Randi at his parents’ hobby farm in small town Texas without the man he intended to live the rest of his life with.

Ever the Same is the story about how these two trapped men find a way out, together.

I love Audie for his straight-shooting sensibility. I love Dixon because he’s not ashamed to be terrified. More than than, I love how these boys love their kids, are committed to keeping their wee families intact. These men are daddies first, always.

;-)

I made a Pinterest board about the boys (and the kiddos). I’d love to know what y’all think. This is the first time I’ve done this and I think I’ll keep on. I love the whole idea of it. You can find the board here - https://www.pinterest.com/batortuga/ever-the-same/

Much love, y’all!

BA

 

BA Tortuga

http://www.batortuga.com

Because Sometimes Fistfights are Foreplay

Good morning, y’all!

February 27, 2015

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*waves happily* It’s the resident redneck and I’m here to visit and let all y’all know about my new book, Ever the Same, that’s releasing today!

So, I’m sitting here in a totally unexpected winter wonderland (O.O). I have a snuggly puppy, a huge cup of Kona, and blankets.

Lots of blankets.

*grins*

I know, I know, y’all up in the northeast are all flipping me off right now, I get it, but I’m still Texan enough to be all… OMG SNOW SNOW IN PILES ON THE GROUND. Indulge me a little. ;-)

Today I’m going to be celebrating the snow, my new book Ever the Same, coffee, a contest or two, and possibly torture y’all with pictures of the puppies…

Much love, y’all.

BA Tortuga

http://www.batortuga.com

Because Sometimes Fistfights are Foreplay

Night Vision: Excerpt

February 18, 2015

My release party is almost over :(

Confession: I don’t like excerpts and I never read them! So I was reluctant to do an excerpt here. But… I guess some people like them? So for the people who do not care for excerpts, this is an alternative: the pinterest board for Night Vision, filled with inspiration photos, settings and characters and details from the story.

And for those who DO enjoy excerpts, this is from Chapter Nine:

 “YOU HAD a dream the other night.” Theron tried to sound causal and focused his attention on a lock of Alex’s hair, twisting the gold and bronze between his fingers. Alex’s head lay on the pillow, half-turned, almost exactly the way it had been a few nights ago when Theron had climbed the tree to check on him. Whatever that dream had been, it was powerful. And sexual. Theron’s curiosity burned.

“Please don’t tell me you were watching me again.” Alex searched his face and sighed, perhaps seeing some sign of guilt. “Theron, seriously, just come in next time. Why are you still sneaking around in my trees?”

“It is my way, Alex. I thought you understood that.”
“I guess. It’s still creepy, though.”
“Tell me the dream.”
Shame filled the room, and Alex squirmed in the bed, burying his face in the pillow. “I really don’t want to.”
Theron laughed, wrapping Alex in his arms and kissing his shoulder. “Come on, my little sexy dreamer. Tell me.”
“Ugh!” Alex groaned, but the emotions in the air contradicted his protest. He was embarrassed, but happy, even a little aroused. He snuggled into Theron, hiding his face. “You were in the shower. I sneaked in and leaned against the wall near the closet, where you couldn’t see me. I started jerking off and fantasizing about you. I heard you moaning, and I knew you could feel it. You knew I was there, and you called my name.”
Theron ran his hands over Alex’s back, encouraging him to continue.
“I moved so that I could see you. You stood under the shower, your hands on the wall, the water running over you. You were so hard. I wanted to make you come with my thoughts. I was sure I could do it. You looked so sexy, your muscles so tight, straining and wet, and it was easy for me. I stroked myself and thought about you, and I watched your cock. The water was hitting it, and you kept yourself under the spray, but I knew my thoughts were really bringing you off. I came, and a second later you did too, all over the shower wall, without even touching yourself.”
Theron moaned into the back of Alex’s head. “Did you come in your sleep? Or when you woke up?”

***

Buy Night Vision!  Amazon • Dreamspinner • AllRomance

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Thank you to Dreamspinner for being such a nice company to work with, and thank you for letting me takeover this blog! I’ve had a great time here today <3

Night Vision: alternating points of view

February 18, 2015

I think this would be a good time for a giveaway. Agree?

In Night Vision, each chapter is told half from Alex’s point of view, and half from Theron’s, and I kept it to third person for both.

One of the best things about alternating pov is being able to feel and hear and know all the thoughts of each character. I think that makes a Romance fun to read, and fun to write :)

A disadvantage is trying to keep each “voice” distinct, so that it is always really clear whose head you are in as a reader. Luckily for me, Theron’s style of speech was much different from Alex’s. Theron rarely uses contractions, and he is more formal in general. Also, he is a non-native English speaker (he is Greek) so that also made his voice distinctive.

In my other books, I have used first person (not alternating, just staying in one main character’s head the entire time) and I do enjoy the intimacy that allows as well.

I do think alternating third person is my favorite, though. In the last book I wrote that way (Love You Forever) I let each character have a whole chapter before switching. But Night Vision is a novella, so more frequent shifts seemed appropriate.

I am currently working on a third person book which does not alternate, so it is told entirely from one point of view, but that one has a bit of a mystery element to it, so the more limited information helps add tension. I find myself having to fight the urge to switch to the other main character’s voice!

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So what I’d like to know is – what is your favorite point of view? First person? Third person? And also, do you prefer to switch back and forth, or to stay in one head?

Answer in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Night Vision!

Flash Fic Teaser: Night Vision

February 18, 2015

For Valentine’s day, I posted this piece of “flash” fiction on my blog. I thought I would share it here, too, as it basically functions as a teaser for Night Vision:

Theron ran across the snow, careful to step only in the existing tracks but still fast enough to be unseen by humans. He’d worn thick sheepskin boots, and a long down coat that brushed the tops of his knees. The clothing kept him warm, but increased his visibility against the snow.

He slowed as he approached a small, yellow colonial style home. The cold night air was quiet, and empty of humans. Still, Theron was careful. If he was spotted it might mean having to find a new territory, and he did not feel like dealing with that hassle right now.

The home’s glowing windows promised warmth and comfort. But it wasn’t shelter Theron sought here.

Prowling for enough human emotion to eat was sometimes difficult during the winter months. No open windows meant all the nourishment was trapped inside. Last week, Theron had been forced to feed at the supermarket—a sad meal which consisted of shopper’s mingled frustration and annoyance, with a smattering of fear and greed. He shook himself to clear the memory. Tonight would be better.

Tonight was Valentine’s Day, and the emotional sustenance in his territory should be sickeningly sweet with love and lust.

Lust he enjoyed. It was one of his favorite meals. Love could be satisfying, as well.

Best of all was anger. A clean anger, without pain or sadness, and preferably tinged with a bit of passionate desire, was Theron’s first choice. Finding it tonight should be easy.

But there was none here. The little yellow house was quiet. Only a thin fog of happiness sifted from the attic vents. Theron absorbed it, but moved on. He needed more.

The old grey house next door, usually a good source for him, was cold and dark. No one home. He ran down the block, still searching.

Raised voices drifted over snow-filled backyards. He followed the promising sounds to a newer home, just a few blocks away. There was a great oak on the property, perfect for climbing. Theron scaled it easily, and maneuvered to a thick, wide branch. He winced as a pile of snow slid from the branch and landed heavily in the previously smooth front yard. Sloppy. He sighed.

The front door banged open, and a man exited, accompanied by a meaty cloud of rage. Delicious. Theron absorbed it all.

“You’re leaving, now? Really?” Another man followed the first, this one dressed in sweatpants and a soft beige sweater.

The first man drew a set of keys from his coat pocket and turned. “Yes. I am. You clearly don’t want me here.” He stalked to the driveway and entered the car.

“David! Come on!” The second man stood in the doorway, feet bare, eyes pleading, and shouted toward the car.

David scowled through the glass. A few moments were spent waiting for the car to start, and a seatbelt to be fastened, while frustration and anger billowed in the air around the men. Theron basked in it, filling himself to capacity.

The car jerked backwards, and then rumbled away up the street. Theron remained motionless, watching.

The man in the doorway shook his head, and the angry cloud around him began to weaken, filling instead with sadness and regret. Thin, sour emotions Theron did not care for.

Finally the man retreated into the house, and Theron made to leave. He’d had his fill of human emotion now, and could spend the rest of the evening in his home.

Then a curtain moved, spilling a large square of light onto the snow right under the tree where he perched. Framed in the window was the human, standing with his arms crossed over his chest.

Theron studied him. His sandy brown hair was combed back in a large wave, a careful style somewhat at odds with his casual clothing. His mouth was turned down and his brows pinched, but his face was handsome. It would be more handsome wearing a smile. Theron frowned at the rogue thought.

A tear leaked from the corner of the man’s eye, and left a wet streak down his cheek.

Theron tilted his head. He did not like seeing this human upset. But why should he care? He did not even know this man’s name.

Still, he watched.

Eventually the man dragged a chair to the window and sat. His face had softened a bit, but it remained sorrowful. And Theron found himself growing angry. Why did the man sit? Why wait with such sadness? Why not go about his night, without the rude David?

Theron repositioned his legs on the branch. He was growing cold, even in his warm winter clothing. He could leave, just climb down the rear of the tree and move quickly, the man would never see him. But he stayed put, eyes locked on the handsome man in the window, while an irrational desire to harm David grew within him.

A crunching of tires on snow drew Theron’s attention. He didn’t have to look to know it was David returning. He flattened himself against the tree, still and silent, watching.

David had a bouquet of roses in his hand as he exited the car. Theron glanced at the man in the window for a reaction, and saw happiness light the handsome face. Excitement and love seeped from the window frame.

Pathetic. Theron bit back a groan at the easy forgiveness, but consumed the new emotions.

David opened the front door, which Theron noted with displeasure had been left unlocked. He appeared soon after in the window, and knelt at the handsome man’s feet, placing the roses in his lap. “I’m sorry, Alex. I’m sorry.”

Alex nodded and pulled David into an embrace.

Theron’s gut twisted with something that was most certainly not jealousy. Perhaps he had eaten too much this night. That was all. He climbed down from the tree and fled across the yard, recklessly adding his footprints to the clean snow.

Safe at home, he sat in front of his fireplace and pondered the man he’d watched for so long. Alex. A nice name. Theron spoke it aloud, accentuating the x sound. Yes, a very nice name. He would visit Alex again, and keep an eye on David. If nothing else, the men would likely provide him with many satisfying meals.

Maybe someday, he would see Alex smile.

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I hope you enjoyed that introduction to Theron and Alex! I’d love to hear what you think of them :)

Night Vision: what is a “strige”?

February 18, 2015

Hi! Amelia Bishop here again! I’m back, this time to shed some light on the paranormal creature in my novella Night Vision. (Which released today!)

So first of all, yes, I did make up this creature. I started, as I mentioned in my earlier post, with a ‘scene’ in mind, of a person who liked to climb trees and rooftops. And I thought: something about that is bird-like. Owl-like, really.

I started to look at some pictures of owls, just for ideas, and one of the things I found was this:

With this caption beneath it: “The appearance and calls of owls, such as the Eurasian Scops Owl, may have influenced Roman ideas of the blood-drinking strix.”

“Srix” is a genus of the family strigadae – true owls. But “Roman blood drinking strix”? That had to be investigated! After some more time (okay way too long) searching online, I pieced together the myth of the Strix. In doing so, I also found references to the Romanian Strigoi, Both myths were similar – vampires, essentially, that could transform into an animal (usually an owl). These myths are not widely known, which increased their appeal, for me.

Armed with my research, I began inventing my character: the strige.

The strige is an emotional vampire. So he or she does not drink blood, in fact, my Strige Theron eats normal food, and enjoys cooking. But to feed the strige part of himself, he must also consume emotions. So he hunts, which means he sneaks around climbing trees and observing humans, and he absorbs the emotions they exude. Strige are nocturnal, but can tolerate daylight if necessary. They live longer than humans, but are not immortal.

I added some other details to my creature as well, including a bonding ceremony, and I hope you will read the story to learn more about the strige!

What kind of creature would you make up? What kinds of paranormal creatures do you most like to read?

Character Inspirations: Night Vision

February 18, 2015

Theron

Theron is the paranormal character in Night Vision, a creature called a Strige (yes I made that up) I sort of envisioned him as a vampire, but instead of feeding on blood, he feeds on human emotions. I also gave him some Owl-like qualities (Strix is the genus name for Owls, and that is partially where the name came from) so this picture is particularly perfect:

Miles McMillan, photographed by Ryan McGinley for EDUN, fall 2012

Miles McMillan, photographed by Ryan McGinley for EDUN, fall 2012

Also the model here is almost exactly how I pictured Theron as I wrote him! Maybe Theron should be a little bit older, a tiny bit heavier, but this is really close. Theron likes to sneak around, climb trees, and cook gourmet meals. He is old, and intelligent, and ruthless in many ways, but he is also vulnerable in that he has never before been in love. So despite all his age and experience, he is often unsure of himself when it comes to relationships.

Alex

Alex is the human, Theron’s love interest. I love writing more “normal” guys, and that is what Alex is. Except, of course, let’s imagine him sexy, shall we? He has light brown hair and hazel eyes, and works as a systems administrator. This picture would be a good one for him:

model Max Hauser

model Max Hauser

Though this model is extremely handsome, I think he could blend in with normal people… maybe?

So thinking of these two characters, I think the cover artist did a great job with matching them:

Cover by Catt Ford

Cover by Catt Ford

What do you think? How important is it for you to have a visual of the characters you are reading? Do you notice or care when the cover does not match the characters as they are described in the text? Or do you prefer to imagine characters your own way?

Release Day Party! Night Vision

February 18, 2015

Hi!

I am so excited! Today my Paranormal Novella Night Vision is finally out.  Look at the cool cover:

Cover by Catt Ford

Cover by Catt Ford

Nice, right? I am happy with it :)

I wasn’t sure what to talk about here, then I remembered what one of my friends said after she found out I had written a few books. She asked where I got the ideas for stories. She said, to her, that was the most unimaginable thing – coming up with ideas, and characters, and new plots.

So I decided it might be best here to begin at the beginning, with how I came up with this story concept. And since Dreamspinner totally let me takeover this blog (haha!) I will just ramble on about it in my own weird way.

Here is how it happened for Night Vision: I was sitting in my yard last summer, watching my kids play, and I looked up at our big oak tree. (I love that tree.) Anyway, a funny thought struck me – what if there was someone in the tree, watching, or hunting? Some kind of creature… And then my mind wandered about that for a while.

I imagined a scene, with two characters. One, in the tree (or maybe on a rooftop?) and the other, on the ground, who notices. And I thought, wouldn’t it be more interesting if, instead of being surprised or nervous, the character on the ground is more just irritated or mildly accepting? Like: “oh,” *eye roll* “he’s up in that tree again.”   And it was that imaginary scene that sparked the idea for Night Vision.

My character, Theron, climbs to high places, and my character Alex is the one who notices. I think they are a super cute couple. (My next blog post here is all about them!) But the entire story really started with that one picture in my mind, of a person in a tree and another on the ground, and I built the story around it. That is only my silly method of story creation, and I am sure there are as many ways to come up with a story idea as there are writers!

Do you write yourself? How do you get your story ideas?

What intrigues you most about the books you read? Is it creating the worlds and characters, or forming the complex plots? For me, I am always so impressed with authors who write mysteries, the way they can insert clues and hints into the narrative in ways that I don’t even notice, until it all adds up at the end. I think that is so cool!

How about you? Do you wonder at the writing process, or just enjoy the story?

RAOK Release Party: Liz Makar

February 16, 2015

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To celebrate the release of the Random Acts of Kindness anthology today, some of the authors will be sharing with you a little glimpse behind each of their stories.

 

Hi all. I am Liz Makar, and I’m the author of Pleased as Punch in the Random Acts of Kindness collection for Dreamspinner Press. I wanted to take a quick moment to explain the random place my story came from and how quickly I fell in love with it.

It all started with a name.

I spend a lot of time writing things in my head – short stories, character bios, novel plots, entire novels that might never leave my head – and when I am actually able to get pen to paper (fingers to keyboard), I relish making my thoughts come to life. Pleased as Punch began when I got the phrase “Liam Wayne Hidalgo, who asked you?” stuck in my head, repeated in a Southern accent, no less. I literally heard the quote over and over until I had to type it into a word document so I wouldn’t forget it. I am not from the South, nor would affecting a Southern accent sound accurate coming from my mouth, but this phrase in my head made me fall in love with a character I hadn’t even created yet. I needed to develop him immediately. Who is he? Carter Philips, a sarcastic, sharp, gay man with an incredibly charming accent. Where is he from? Clearly the South, Georgia perhaps. What does he do? He’s a student, starting college later in life. Who is his momma? Because I knew straightaway she would be a “momma” and not a “mother” or a “mom”, this seemed important. And of course, where on Earth will this random act of kindness come from between Carter and the other man I barely know, the apparently annoying/rude/nosy/eclectically named Liam Wayne Hidalgo who also deserves my attention, that will connect them and their development in an enjoyable way? There’s only one real way to find out: you’ll have to buy the book.

 

Liz Maker Author Page Here.

Check out Random Acts of Kindness here!

RAOK Release Party: Amy Rae Durreson

February 16, 2015

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To celebrate the release of the Random Acts of Kindness anthology today, some of the authors will be sharing with you a little glimpse behind each of their stories.

 

Believing in Kindness

I’m a great believer in kindness. Stating it like that always feels a little defiant. It’s so easy to assume the worst of everyone that declaring your faith in human nature sometimes gets treated as a sign of weakness or as if it’s a little embarrassing, like laughing too loudly in public, wearing a bow tie to the pub, or making obscure Doctor Who jokes to the cashier in the supermarket (all of which I’m certain Monty, the love interest of “Humming A Different Tune” has done).

But I’ve seen too much kindness to be cynical, from the lift offered by fellow youth hostellers when the heavens opened on the day I’d planned to walk five miles to the nearest bus stop to the usually gruff and belligerent fifteen-year-old who appeared by my desk last week to tell me that his best friend was too scared to admit how frightened he was about upcoming exams and could I please come outside and tell him everything was going to be okay. I’ve also seen phenomenal acts of kindness online, both within our own community and elsewhere. One of those was the inspiration for this story, and it’s also the story I tell every time someone scoffs at the idea of genuine kindness.

A few years ago, when my sister was pregnant with my oldest nephew, she joined an online support group for expectant mums. They all stayed in contact even after their babies were born, and she’s still friends with many of them now. They’ve travelled miles to meet for coffee, raised funds for a seriously ill child, and they’ve saved a wedding. It started when one of their number found out that her dad had only weeks to live. She was engaged and saving up for a big wedding, but cancelled everything so she could get married with her dad there. The new plan left them with very little money to put on a wedding celebration, but the baby group rallied round. They all donated, made, or lent something, from a dress to flowers to money to decorations (my sister made place settings).

I don’t even know the name of my sister’s friend, or the exact details of how it all worked, but the story stayed with me. The idea of collective kindness turning a tragic situation into something more hopeful is wonderful. In the story, my protagonist’s twin sister faces exactly the same family situation, but I made her a dancer, with friends in that online community. It’s an eccentric dancing friend, Monty, who first reaches out to Neil, my protagonist, and the two of them turn that initial kind impulse into a surprise wedding reception. It’s a bittersweet story, but I wanted to show how kindness can transcend tragedy and draw people together. Monty and Neil are both a little lost, but planning Lucy’s wedding leads them to each other.

So, yes, I believe in kindness, in both its existence and its power to change lives.

 

Amy Rae Durreson is the author of Humming a Different Tune in the RAOK anthology.

 

Amy Rae Durreson Author Page Here.

Check out Random Acts of Kindness here!