Here, kitty, kitty, kitty… with M.A. Church – Post + Giveaway

October 30, 2015

Here kitty kitty kitty

Hey! My name is M.A. Church, and I’m stopping by to talk about my newest release called Behind the Eight Ball. One of the most asked questions about this series is what inspired me to write it? Well, several things lol. That’s clear, isn’t it?

*Grin*

Actually, this series started as a flash last New Year’s Eve. That’s where Trouble Comes in Threes sprang from. What I wanted for this story was a crotchety man with a sharp tongue and bad attitude sitting at home for the holiday. What I got was Kirk, a clowder full of cats that aren’t overly fond of humans, and the beginning of a series.

The first book dealt with Kirk and all the trouble life had thrown at him. In that book, you meet the betas: Aidric, Heller, Brier, and Remi. I had originally planned for the second book to be about Remi and his mate, but I figured out right quick that wasn’t going to work. Heller was the one demanding my attention. And believe me, Heller can be quite demanding. I call him a diva for a reason, lol.

It turned out going with Heller as the second in the series was the right choice. While writing Behind the Eight Ball, a very interesting set of secondary characters made their presence known. Now I knew why I couldn’t do Remi’s book yet. Heller’s book had to come first because Remi’s mate makes his appearance in Behind the Eight Ball.

Now, I write a lot of paranormal and scifi, and read just as much. While I have absolutely nothing against wolves and other big, cool shifters I’d noticed there wasn’t much out there about smaller, regular shifters. Don’t they deserve love too? This is where I mention I love cats. *Grin* I know, shocking right? If you know me, or follow me on social media, you’ve seen pictures of my writing buddy, Kitty-Kitty.

I’ve loved cats since I was a very little girl, but I was unable to have pets due to my allergies. Needless to say, as soon as I left home the first thing I did was get a cat! The second thing I did was get married, have children, and had a child who was asthmatic. We had to say bye-bye to the cat.

So twenty years later what was the first thing I did when my son moved out? You got it. I got a cat. Okay, that’s not exactly right. The cat got us, lol. On Halloween night about four years ago, this cute little gray kitten showed up in the garage. He was very used to humans, and so playful.

But taking on a pet is a big responsibility, a responsibility I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted. The Eldest Kiddo had moved out, and the Youngest Kiddo was heading off to college. The hubby and I would finally have the house all to ourselves. I refused to call the kitten anything more than Kitty-Kitty because I didn’t want to get attached.

For all the good it did.

Next thing I knew, the hubby was sneaking the kitten in. And that was the end of that. We bought all the things a cat needs and then came the trips to the vet for shots and stuff. (Wanna guess who had to deal with the crying cat? Right, lol. Me.) And that’s how we ended up with Kitty-Kitty, who the hubby calls Skeeter. *Cringe* Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you. The strange thing is, the cat answers to both names.

Each title relates to the characters in its book. The first book revolves around how bad things come in threes. It’s a superstitious old saying. In the book Kirk has had a string of bad luck, and he’s waiting for the next crappy thing to happen.

In book two Heller finds himself in the position of chasing after the very mate he first rejected. He’s behind the eight ball. It means he’s in a bad situation, in a losing position. The phrase comes from pool (or billiards). When the cue (white) ball is behind the eight (black) ball, a player usually has no shot.

In book three Remi and his man mate pretty quickly, but then end up dancing around one another as they struggle with the power dynamics in their relationship. I have a title in mind for that one too, along with rough outlines and titles for Aidric and Brier’s books. *Sigh* I just need to get them written.

And that’s what inspired the Fur, Fangs, and Felines series! I’m doing a giveaway for the release of Behind the Eight Ball so comment for a chance to win an e-book from my backlist. Do you have a pet? If so, what kind? If you can’t or don’t have a pet, what kind would you have if you could?

 

Author Bio:

M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

When not writing, she’s exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching her beloved Steelers, or sitting glued to HGTV. That’s if she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two children.

She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013 and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

 

Author Links:

Blog * Twitter * Facebook * The Harvest FB fan page * Goodreads * Amazon

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Day Jobs and Day Dreams with Pat Henshaw

October 28, 2015

Day Jobs and Day Dreams

Hi, I’m Pat Henshaw, and I’ve had an incredible year. In fact, I couldn’t write a fictional account of the year I’ve had and have any editor believe me.

I retired three years ago after having had a full career of jobs I’ve loved. I started after college as a costumer at the Alley Theatre in Houston. While fun, costuming—especially working with outsized egos—wasn’t me.

I went from the Alley to the Houston Post as a librarian before newspapers became digitalized. At the Post I wrote an art review column covering art galleries around Houston. When I met my husband who was a reporter at the Post, I quit and went to work for the Houston Chronicle where I edited the op-ed page and wrote book reviews.

Since I was a teen, I’ve been writing books, and this continued while we lived in Houston, then moved to Colorado, then to Northern Virginia, and finally here to Northern California. At every stop I had a great job: theatre and book reviewer in Colorado, public radio and TV publicist and mystery book columnist in Northern Virginia, and English composition instructor at a community college and book reviewer in California.

At each stop and all through my career years, I kept writing novels and telling myself that when I retired I’d become an author.

But when I retired I had to have major surgery which took me two years of recovery.

In 2014, I was reviewing for one print and two online sites and saw a call for submissions from Dreamspinner for a story based on a fairytale. Immediately Guy and Jimmy of What’s in a Name? came into focus, and I sat down and wrote the story. My wonderful husband proofread it for me, and I got ready to send it in to Dreamspinner.

Imagine my chagrin when I went back to read the submission details and realized two important things had escaped me: the submission date and the maximum number of words in the story. Not only was the story too long—by thousands of words!—but I’d missed the submission date by a week.

What to do? Well, what would an author do?

Yup, I sent the story to Dreamspinner as a stand-alone novella.

I was shocked when they accepted it. Voila! The Foothills Pride series began.

Today, the third in the series, Behr Facts, is being born in the world. I’m an author. No getting around it now.

As I said at the beginning of this blog piece, this has been an incredible year. I stopped writing reviews, having instead published three novellas and a short story at Dreamspinner. Dreamspinner’s motto is Where Dreams Come True. And I’m living proof of that.

What dreams do you have? And what are you doing to make those dreams come true? Tell me what you want to do and win a copy of What’s in a Name? or Redesigning Max. Step into the Foothills Pride series.

 

Author media links:

Website

Series website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon

Email: patoisca[at]yahoo[dot]com

This Too Shall Pass with Kate Pavelle

October 23, 2015

This Too Shall Pass

Hi, I’m Kate Pavelle, and my book “Sire” is coming out today. It’s classified as “new adult” because it deals with two 17-year olds. You’ve met one of them, Brent, in the “Steel City Story” series books “Wild Horses” and “Broken Gait.”

One of my beta readers remarked that he and his boyfriend act a bit over-the-top. “But they are teenagers,” she said.  “I guess they can be forgiven.” Which is my point precisely – teen thought and action is often punctuated by black-and-white drama. All or nothing. Triumph or disaster. Love or hate. Which is why I decided, about 15 months ago, to write a book about Brent.

A news headline had caught my eye back then: a 17-year old girl, who was a star student with a bright future, had committed suicide because she couldn’t bear the thought of her religious, conservative parents rejecting her once they were bound to learn she was a lesbian.

Her grieving parents had been appalled. They would’ve loved her the way she was.

 

You might think this is an isolated example. Maybe she was stressed (who isn’t?), or depressed (we all are, on occasion), or scared. You might think there was “something else wrong with her.” That’s not what I thought. I thought, “This could’ve been me.”

I still remember the cold ball of dread in the pit of my stomach and the writhing shame I felt when I had been dismissed from my AP chemistry class, and demoted to the slow, uninspiring chemistry for stupid people. I can still see the warm autumn sun drift through the pebbled bathroom windows of the third-floor girls’ bathroom. The small, antiquated tile in cream and mint green, the single sinks and the drip-drip-drip of a leaky faucet.

I should’ve continued to the stupid people chemistry class, but I needed to escape for just a little bit. Or, maybe, forever.

Would my father, the world-famous chemist and inventor, hate me?

Would his father, another world-famous chemist, scoff?

Would my mom drink away her disappointment?

I had brought shame upon the family.

My English still sucked and I couldn’t keep up.

I was a failure.

The pain, it cut deep. Twisted my gut, squeezed my shoulders, pricked my eyes with tears. I tried to envision a positive outcome of this situation, but I couldn’t.

It wasn’t there, and I wanted it to stop. Stop the stress of constant little failures, mediocre grades, and parental expectations. Stop the shame, eliminate the failure, cleanse my family’s honor.

There had to be a way to wipe the slate clean.

The windows were the kind that tilted in instead of opening wide. I walked all the way to the wall and leaned for a better look.

I could’ve fit through the window – I’d have to squeeze, but there was just enough space to crawl out. The interior courtyard of the school had a little concrete pad in the middle, and grass all around it. I couldn’t see where I was going to fall. Would it hurt? For just a little while, maybe. Unless I fell on grass and survived. If I lived, I’d be in a world of pain and my parents would have those mad, irritated faces and they’d call me stupid again, and… dammit, it sure looked like it would hurt a lot.

I backed away from the window, washed my face, and trudged on to the classroom where only losers too slow, too ignorant, too unintelligent to carry on a glorious family legacy, sat in an unruly gaggle of seats. As I joined them, I held on to the thought that later I’d find a way to wipe the slate clean and stop the horrid and unbearable shame.

My parents’ reaction was a revelation. They didn’t explode. They just nodded and carried on, burdened by their own troubles. It wasn’t all about me and about my AP chemistry class failure. Life wasn’t black-and-white. There was no “big talk,” except for my dad letting it slip that he failed a class at my grade level too.

Inconceivable!

 

That girl who’d discovered she was into girls, she too couldn’t comprehend a world without absolutes, and I feel for her. I connect to the turmoil of helplessness she must’ve felt, the conclusions she must’ve reached given both limited information and a limited perspective on life.

Then I thought of Brent, and his father, and the kiss Brent had shared with Lindsey in “Broken Gait.” The kiss that was merely okay, and didn’t even begin to compare to the one Brent had shared with Robbie. And I thought, Brent, this book’s about you.

If I can convince just one young person that parents are both fallible and loving, that this, too, shall pass and a better day will come, writing late into the night will have been worth it. If I can convince just one person of any age that disappointing a parent does not equate to being a failure at everything, the painstaking timeline coordination with “Broken Gait” will have been worth it. If I can keep just one teen from thinking that erasing their existence is the one and only way to stop the pain, then all the endless edits will also have been worth it.

Live on, my friends. Cherish your triumphs, but also cherish your learning experiences. For no one can grow without falling flat on the face, scrambling up to the feet, and moving forward again. And spread kind, loving words to offset the sting that comes with these lessons. You never know – even a boy or a girl who seem to have it all together might think a reasonably benign situation is the end of the world.

For them, it might be.

 

If you’d like to put your name into the hat for a drawing of two free e-book copies of “Sire,” leave a comment below. Respond to this topic. People with hidden inner lives are all around you, and a kind word can make a world of a difference. So, go on! Interact! I’ll respond to your comments as best I can.

 

Loss, Recovery, Hope… and Cannibalism with Evelyn Esrig

October 21, 2015

Loss Recovery Hope and Cannibalism

Hi! I’m Evelyln Esrig and today I’m releasing my novella Sweetbreads and Sweet Nothings. It’s a strange little book about loss, recovery, hope, … and cannibalism. If you watch NBC’s Hannibal I’m pretty sure my story will seem tame by comparison.

The idea for Sweetbreads and Sweet Nothings came about ages ago, when I rediscovered the Consensual Cannibalism case. The story of a cannibal and his willing prey first cropped up in the news cycle in the early 2000s back when I was in high school. Apparently a two German men named Armin Meiwes and Bernd-Jurgen Brandes met in a cannibal forum and arranged to meet so that Meiwes could butcher and eat Brandes, with Brandes’ full and enthusiastic consent.  Needless to say, my friends and I, geek scifi/horror nerds the lot of us, were obsessed for weeks. But like many teenagers, our attention spans were fleeting and we eventually moved on.

Years later, I had a shiny new creative writing degree and a lot of free time on my hands when the story crossed my path again. It popped up on something like Facebook or Twitter in February 2012. Once again I was enthralled. Consensual cannibalism. How was that possible? The ethical ramifications alone made for some pretty meaty material.

I almost began writing about a cannibal but then I thought “What about the man he ate? What must his family think of this person they thought they knew willingly consenting to be consumed? What must it be like to be that person’s next of kin?” and suddenly I had a whole different story on my hands.  I had a story about someone who lost someone they loved for reasons beyond their understanding and that was a story I wanted to explore more than I wanted to get inside the mind of a killer.

I wanted to be as non-judgmental as possible. I wanted to try and understand. I wanted to understand what would motivate someone to commit the crime of cannibalism, assisted suicide by cannibalism, and what it was like to have someone disappear from your life without a trace. I tried to make it about empathy and rebuilding and recovery. I parked myself at my local Cheesecake Factory listening to My Chemical Romance and The Arctic Monkeys and ate a lot of complimentary bread as I worked.

But what started as a simple story about being left behind evolved from an experiment in fiction for me in the spring of 2012 when someone close to me committed suicide. Needless to say, suddenly I was much deeper in touch with my main character than I had been before. The story became an exercise in acceptance and understanding something that is beyond comprehension – How do we come with the reality that sometimes people choose to leave us in violent and tragic ways? How do we move on? How do we heal? These are the questions that I tried to explore in this story. I don’t know if I accomplished it but I know that when I finished writing it, I certainly felt healed.

Have you ever had an experience like that – where you fell into something that helped you just the way you needed in the least likely way? It’s a beautiful thing and I’d love to hear about it.

<3

@evelynesrig

evelynesrig.tumblr.com

evelynesrig@gmail.com

 

Release Party Brita Addams’ Beloved Unmasked – Behind the Laptop

October 16, 2015

Beloved UnmaskedHi there. Brita Addams back with you for the final hour of my release party for Beloved Unmasked.

I’m often asked what inspires my stories, so I’d like to share a few things with you about Beloved Unmasked.

First, I never name a book, or hardly ever name a book until I’m finished writing. Every now and again, a title will come to me while I’m writing, and those are blessed moments.

Beloved Unmasked’s title will be obvious to readers once they get into the book, so I won’t share that here, but I would like to tell you about how the book was born.

A year ago, my sister told me that an elderly woman she and a friend cared for had passed away. Deloris had lived a colorful life, had traveled all over, and had settled near her son in North Carolina. Before that, though, Deloris had been a psychic in New Orleans, at the famous Bottom of the Cup Tea Room, for more than twenty years. Sis told me that Deloris’s walls were lined with pictures of people she’d read the tea leaves for, including Tony Curtis and Kevin Costner. Those two, she was apparently particularly proud of.

I’d wanted to do a story set in New Orleans, having lived there for many years, and the psychic angle intrigued me–until I dove into my research. Given that Deloris could no longer give me her insight, the research was merely bland recitations of encounters with psychics. Then I tried to fit my characters into a mold that, frankly, didn’t fit the story. After three months of battling with myself, I scrapped the psychic angle and the characters I had created. They will however, at some point, come to life, as I have a story in mind for them.

The one thing that kept turning up was Storyville and with my inquisitive mind, I wanted to know all there was to know about that period in New Orleans history. I read five different books, a gazillion websites, and interviews conducted with musicians and former residents of Storyville, and settled on the path I wanted to take with the book.

Amid tears and laughter for six months, I wrote the book in two POVs. Then I submitted it to Dreamspinner. They accepted it and then began the wait for production. I have to give kudos to my editor, Desi, who always knows what I want the finished product to be. She is deft not only at those insane commas, but at seeing the big picture. In the first editing email I got from Desi, she suggested I do two things: Make the book from Pic/David’s POV, and change the second main character. She enumerated her reasons and in doing so, confirmed for me what I had felt uneasy about all along.

Spence, David and EmileI did indeed rewrite the second half of the book and oh, my, am I glad I did. The story is all the richer for having taken her advice.

To the left you’ll see how I work. This picture was taken during the writing of Beloved Unmasked. You can see my inspiration for Spence in the white shirt, with Pic/David inset. I’m a visual writer, so I always print out pictures of my character and have them in front of me. Then I give the links to the pictures to cover artist, Anne Cain, and she incorporates them into my lovely covers.

While my desk might look chaotic, it is very organized. I keep index cards for each character and you’ll see a few of them scattered about. Notes, notes, and more notes on yellow pads, and of course, my coffee cup. All part of the writing prescription.

On the stand behind David and Spence is what I call my writing bible. It contains tons of information on craft, alternative words, emotions, you name it, it’s there.

What you can’t see, is to the left I have a white board which I use as a story board. Right now, I’m loading it up with index cards for the next book in the series, Without Question. You’ll meet Emile in Beloved Unmasked, and WQ is his story. I’m not sure I’ve ever written a more compelling secondary character, but he does deserve his own story. I’m about 25k in at the moment.

I hope you enjoy Beloved Unmasked. The era is fascinating and I hope you’ll find the characters compelling as well. They still live with me, months after I finished writing BU. For more BU Trivia, check out the post on my blog on October 19th. Who says we don’t put ourselves into our work?

Mens-Black-Leather-2

Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment (not “I’m in” or the like,) about the posts and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

 

bitmoji-1704664567About the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked:

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

 

 

 

Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

 

Beloved Unmasked

Cherished One: Book One

A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

Mens-Black-Leather-2

 

I’ve had a great time at this release party and I hope you have too. But we aren’t done! The party continues all this week, from October 16 to the 23rd on my blog. Each day, I’ll post an interesting post about Storyville, and you’ll have opportunities to win that New Orleans-themed gift pack. I look forward to seeing you there.

You can find me at the following places. Stop by, say hello and let’s chat.

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Excerpt from Brita Addams’ Beloved Unmasked

October 16, 2015

In this hour, I’m giving you a sneak peek into the world of Beloved Unmasked where my character, Pic, lives. This excerpt also introduces you to Spence, a scampy male prostitute.

 

 Beloved Unmasked jpeg hires

With each stair, Pic’s curiosity built. Spence often boasted a surprise and gave him a piece of filched cake from the kitchen. But there was the time he had Pic hide behind a curtain while the most gorgeous man he’d ever seen wore Spence out. Pic lost count of how many times Spence howled, “Yeah, Daddy.” Not to mention the nights Pic had spent peeking through the crack in the mahogany armoire.

On those nights Pic’s cock stayed hard until Spence relieved him. Spence often promised that when the time was right, he, in all his magnanimity, would personally oversee the popping of Pic’s cherry, and the promise was all Pic had to show for his patience.

After each of those nights, in the darkened attic, Pic pulled out every drawing he’d ever done of men and beat off three times in an hour. Only then did the fear drain from him at the realization that a wife and kids were not in the cards for him.

Halfway up the stairs, Pic’s instinct to go home nearly turned him around. His gritty eyes demanded sleep. He’d gotten up early and would have to again because he had work to do around the house. Sapphire needed her room cleaned and insisted he do it.

Pic took a step back, but Spence opened the door, his prick in hand. “What in hell takes you so long to climb a flight of stairs? Aren’t you interested in your surprise?”

“Sure I am, but you gotta give a workin’ man a break.”

“You’ll get a big, long break when you’re dead. Get up here.”

Pic trudged up the steps, summoned by the call of cock.

The lingering smell of sex and stale cologne drew him into the massive room Spence called home. Lots of space, and he paid one of the younger girls to polish his furniture every day, which left the room with an underlying aroma of lemon oil.

“Tonight you are in for a treat. I’ve arranged your first time, just like I promised.” Spence bounced with excitement.

Pic gave the room the once-over. “Really?” He shook his head. “I don’t know. Here?”

Spence put a hand on his hip, though the other never left his cock. “Perhaps you’d prefer the parlor downstairs, with witnesses. Yes, here, with only me and the man I personally selected for you.”

“I don’t know, Spence. Maybe it’s too soon.”

“You can’t decide if you wanna get laid or not? What kind of red-blooded American man are you?”

Pic shrugged. “Don’t you remember your first time?”

“Sure I do, and I was a damn sight more eager than you are. Listen, take a drink, and you can ease your mind into the idea that I’m not letting you out of here until you become a full-fledged pansy like me.” Spence ran his long slender fingers down Pic’s face. “I want to set you on the right path. Your partner is a perfect candidate, and he’s eager to help the cause.”

“I’ll take the drink.”

Spence clapped and giggled. “Excellent.”

With an exaggerated sway of the hips, he sashayed to a bootleg liquor–laden table he’d set up near the window.

“I always love coming to your room. So much more comfortable than my cot in the attic.”

“I rather like it myself. I do have a flair for décor, don’t I?”

Spence turned his back, so Pic ambled about. The walls held an overabundance of framed pictures, not just pages from magazines taped to the wallpaper. One was of an older Queen Victoria, adorned in black, her face a mask of sadness. Spence had a thing for England and dreamed of one day visiting Kensington Palace, birthplace and once home of his favorite queen.

The heavy green draperies that hid the bed cost someone a pretty penny, as did the fine lace canopy over Spence’s four-poster.

“There you are, a good vintage, from yesterday. It’ll water your eyes when it hits the bloodstream, but guaranteed, it’ll loosen you up.”

Pic took a sip of the clear drink and wrinkled his nose. “Whoo! That shit is potent.”

“Told ya.” Spence cupped Pic’s crotch. “Speaking of potent. Have I got a treat for you.”

After another sip, Pic put his glass on a nearby table. “What kind of treat? Something better than that shit I hope.”

Spence ran his fingers beneath Pic’s lapel. “You, dear boy, will have your cherry popped by an esteemed attorney.”

Pic raised his hand to ward yet another of Spence’s wild notions. “No.” He leaned in closer. “I’m not baring my ass for some grizzled old fart on his last leg.”

“Au contraire, ma petite pomme de terre.” Spence chuckled and pulled back the heavy drapery. “Does this look like a grizzled old fart to you?”

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Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment (not “I’m in” or the like,) about the posts and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

 

I’m very excited about the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked

 

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

 

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

 

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

 

Mens-Black-Leather-2

 

Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

 

About the author:

Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter.

Find Brita at any of the following places:

Website

Blog 

Facebook 

Twitter 

In the final hour of the Release Party for Beloved Unmasked, I’ll have a “behind the laptop” view of the book and some tidbits of Beloved Unmasked Trivia.

Release Party – Beloved Unmasked by Brita Addams – Storyville Photos

October 16, 2015

Welcome back! I knew you wouldn’t want to miss this post.

A gentleman by the name of John Ernest Bellocq, known during his lifetime as E.J., was a photographer for shipping lines in New Orleans before he took an interest in photographing the many sights in the famed red light district known as Storyville. You can read more about Bellocq on October 2img0020th, as part of my week of Storyville posts on my blog, but here, I’d like to share some photographs taken by Bellocq between 1897 and 1917, the year Storyville closed.

A great many of his subjects posed nude, but I haven’t included any of them. With so little known about Bellocq, we know even less about the women and men he photographed. After Bellocq died in 1949, New Orleans folklore says his brother, a Catholic priest, destroyed or damaged a great many of Bellocq’s glass negatives. One representation of the damage is below in the photo of the woman on the chaise. Leo Bellocq scratched out the faces of many of the women and /or smashed the negative. His motives might seem obvious, but they will forever remain with him, as he never divulged whether he had indeed attempted to destroy is brother’s work.

Do you see something in the faces of his subjects? Remember, though, they had to remain still for several minutes during the picture taking, so what you might see is, “Hurry up and take the damn picture.”

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On the left is a picture of a nurse at the hospital where the Storyville prostitutes were sent when they contracted a venereal disease, commonly called “the gleet”  which ran rampant through the nineteen square blocks of Storyville. It claimed many a life, despite prevention methods.

The other two are unnamed women. The middle photo appears on the cover of Al Rose’s book, Storyville New Orleans.

From Al Rose’s Storyville New Orleans:

a270d92d8669b0f8eb175f237fd2a490The most popular hard liquor in Storyville was Raleigh Rye. Striped stockings were expensive and could be afforded only by the high-priced bawds of Basin Street. Opera length, the hose were sold by traveling salesmen who, with a tricky demonstration, made them seem run-proof. They cost six dollars a pair and lasted one or two washings.

Also from Al Rose’s book re: picture on the right:

A prime attraction at Minnie White’s place at 221 North Basin Street was Marguerite Griffin, who 12cf4a3d037f9fe9f60f32f8ce01c3f2could not only handle the conventional duties of a storyville tart, but also knew the lyrics of countless bawdy ballads. Note on the wall hangings: The pillow above her head reads, “Daisies won’t tell.” The risque signs read, left to right, “Oh! Babe, please come,” “Oh! Dearie, I give U much pleasure” (affixed to a Mardi Gras pennant dated 1910,) and “Dearie, U ask for Marguerite.”

For more photos and more on E.J. Bellocq, visit my blog on October 20. There I’ll have some photos that inspired scenes in the book as well as many others.

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Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment about the post or the book (not “I’m in” or the like,) and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

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Here’s some of the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked:

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

I was delighted that I was asked to review Beloved before release. I really enjoyed the story. Brita is the only historical author who can suck me in early enough that I’ll read the entire book. :) (4 Stars – Brenda Cothern)

Absolutely amazing. (Lorraine Lesar - Threebooksovertherainbow.wordpress.com)

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Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

Beloved UnmaskedBeloved Unmasked

Cherished One: Book One
A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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Next hour – An excerpt from Beloved Unmasked.

Release Party Beloved Unmasked by Brita Addams – Can you speak Yat?

October 16, 2015

Beloved UnmaskedWelcome to my release party for my New Orleans-based historical, Beloved Unmasked. I thought we’d have some fun this hour, and this topic does relate to the book. (Good thing, right?)

There are characters in BU that speak what natives of New Orleans nowadays call Yat. I’ve “citified” it a bit, because in its purest form, one might think they are listening to a foreign language. But it is something to hear and never fails to bring a smile to my face.

As a young woman from an Upstate New York farm town, (replete with her own pronunciation problems) I ended up in New Orleans at the age of 22, due to a Navy transfer for my then-husband. While it wasn’t Italy as we requested, New Orleans became home. We figured a couple of years and then we’d move on, as we had left Iceland for the Deep South.

Many years later, I’m still in the area, sans the sailor, and married for the last 35 years to a certified, bona fide New Orleans native. He is N’Awlins to the bone. Yes, that’s the way natives pronounce it. He doesn’t speak much Yat anymore, because college beat that out of him, but every now and again, his upbringing creeps through. It’s in the blood. He’ll ask the kids “Where y’at?”

I will confess to thinking my mother-in-law was wholly uneducated when I first heard her speak. She was Cajun through and through, as was her mother. The eaves on the house were “the ease.” You don’t boil, you berl. You don’t wash dishes in the sink. No, in N’Awlins, every kitchen has a zink. And of course you don’t fry those scrumptious shrimp in oil, but rather, earl.

Here’s a few head scratchers and some of my all time favorites, courtesy of Gumbo Pages:

AX – ask

BANQUETTE – The sidewalk. Pronounced <BANK-it>.

BERL – To cook by surrounding something in hot, bubbling 212°F liquid; the preferred method for cooking shellfish.

BOBO – A small injury or wound. (this one grated on me because my mother always said boo-boo)

BOO – A term of endearment, frequently used by parents and grandparents for small children, even small children who happen to be 40 years old … Believed to be Cajun in origin.

BRA - A form of address for men, usually one with whom you are not acquainted. Usually used in this manner: “Say, bra …” Ostensibly an abbreviation for “brother.”

BRAKE TAG – An inspection sticker on your car, proof that you’ve passed the required annual safety inspection.

CATLICK – The predominant religion in New Orleans. And, according to some Baptists, all Hell-bound.

CEMENT – A standard English word, but with a special pronunciation. Locals say <SEE-ment>, not <s@-MENT>.

DA – The.

DAT – That.

DAWLIN’ – A universal form of address. Women use it to refer to both sexes, men use it toward women.

DEM – Them.

DERE – There. As in “Dere ya go!”, an expression of encouragement or acknowledgement of having done something for someone else.

DESE, DOSE – These, those.

DIS – This.

DODO, MAKE DODO – Sleep. (pronounced dough-dough)

DRESSED – When ordering a po-boy, “dressed” indicates lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and MYNEZ, on it.

ERNGE, URNGE – An orange-colored citrus fruit.

ERSTERS, ERSTAS – Oysters.

INKPEN – A ball-point pen, or any kind of pen, really. Always heavy emphasis on the first syllable … “Lemme borra ya INKpen, awrite?”

MUFFULETTA - A quintessential New Orleans Italian sandwich, of ham, Genoa salami, mortadella, Provolone cheese and marinated olive salad on a round seeded Italian loaf. Invented at Central Grocery on Decatur in da Quarter. Locals pronounce this <muff-@-LOT-@>, and will tend to just abbreviate it as “muff”. But if you ask a member of the Tusa family (the proprietors of Central), they’ll pronounce it in elegantly proper Italian as <moo-foo-LET-ta>. (You haven’t lived if you’ve never eaten one!)

NUTTINONIT - A po-boy that is not dressed, which only contains the main ingredient(s).

ON DA WES’ BANK, ACROSS DA RIVUH, OVA DA RIVUH – On the West Bank of the Mississippi River, where such places as Algiers, Gretna and Marrero lie. Interestingly, the West Bank is due south of New Orleans (except for Algiers, of course). Make sense? Thought not.

PECAN – A nut indigenous to the South, and beloved in New Orleans as an ingredient in pies and pralines. Pronounced <p@-KAWN>, not <PEE-can>.

PO-BOY – The quintessential New Orleans lunch, a sandwich on good, crispy New Orleans French bread. This definition doesn’t begin to describe what a po-boy is all about, so if you really don’t know you need to get one soon. Take a moment to read a little bit about po-boys.

PRALINE – A sugary Creole candy, invented in New Orleans (not the same as the French culinary/confectionery term “praline” or “praliné”) The classic version is made with sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and pecans, and is a flat sugary pecan-filled disk. Yummmmm. There are also creamy pralines, chocolate pralines, maple pralines, etc. Pecan pralines are the classic, though.

This is one of THE most mispronounced New Orleans terms of all.

 

It is ***N O T*** pronounced <PRAY-leen>.It is pronounced <PRAH-leen>. Got it? Good.

SHOW, DA SHOW – The cinema. The movie house. The local motion picture emporium. Where works of cinematic art (or crappy flicks, depending) are shown. True New Orleanians never say, “I went to the movies”, they say “I went to da show.”

SILVER DIME – A small coin of U.S. currency, worth ten cents. Always pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, <SIL-vah dime>, even though they haven’t been made of actual silver for over 35 years.

SUCK DA HEAD, SQUEEZE DA TIP – The technique for eating crawfish. If you’ve never done this, have someone demonstrate.

SUG – A term of endearment used primarily by Yat females. Pronounced <SHOOG> with a soft “oo” as in “book”. (I changed the spelling in the book to shug, so non-natives would know how to pronounce it.)

“THROW ME SOMETHIN, MISTA!” – The traditional (nay, required) request of a Mardi Gras paradegoer to a Mardi Gras parade rider, so that the rider will shower said paradegoer with cheap trinkets like beads, doubloons or cups (actually, the cups are highly coveted, more so than the doubloons are these days, apparently).

TURLET - Ya standard flushable porcelain waste disposal unit found in every bat’troom, referred to by English speakers as a “toilet”.

So there you have a primer in Yat. Fun, huh? Imagine this one here plunked down in the middle a all dat. A shock to my system. But I got used to it and picked up a few.

 

 

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I’m  excited about the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

 

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Beloved Unmasked

 

Cherished One: Book One

A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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So in my best Yat, y’all come back chere, and see what I got in stow fa ya next hour. Hows about some pitchers taken in Storyville? Y’all’d like dat? Show ya would. Pass back in a while.

Meanwhile, pass on by Dreamspinner for a copy of Beloved Unmasked. Dreamspinner has it on sale at 25% off through October 18.

Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville.  Leave a substantive comment (not “I’m in” or the like,) about the posts and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

 

Release Party for Brita Addams’ Beloved Unmasked

October 16, 2015

Beloved UnmaskedI’m Brita Addams, and I’d like to welcome you to the release Party for Beloved Unmasked. I’ll be here from Noon until five o’clock with posts about fun things to do with the book, New Orleans, and Storyville.

Each hour, I’ll give away a backlist book, Beloved Unmasked is not included. Your comments have to be more than “I’m in.” Let’s chat.

Beloved Unmasked has been a long time coming and I’m very excited to get it into readers’ hands. A year ago, I thought this book was going to be something completely different. I’ll tell you about that in my second post.

This is third Tarnished novel and the first in the Cherished One series. Why the new series within the Tarnished world? Well, because first, Beloved Unmasked takes place in New Orleans, where the other two are set in old Hollywood. But more than that, Cherished One will be a series about men who feel unworthy, who have had tough starts to life, had things done to them that leaves them leery of anything that makes them happy.

In Beloved Unmasked, David starts life as Picayune. No real name and no surname. His mother, a Storyville prostitute, is a bitter piece of work, who hates him and shows her disdain in ways that shape who Pic thinks he is, starting with his name. But he has something she doesn’t have, and that’s hope, which makes him vulnerable in a way she isn’t.

I intermingle my characters with real life personalities. Pic’s love of  music is nurtured by Joseph “King” Oliver, a famous New Orleans musician in the early 1900s. King was what people of the day called a professor, a musician who played piano. King, like Jelly Roll Morton and others, plied their trade in the brothels that lined Basin Street. Their job was to entertain the customers, while the ladies softened them up. Everybody won. The girl had the john tip the professor and the john got heaven in return.

While Pic doesn’t play at the brothel he grew up in, he carries his lessons with him. Music provides solace and joy for him. But music isn’t the only thing that keeps Pic going. He has a soft spot for his friend Spence, a male prostitute at Miss Gert’s. We meet Spence as he calls to Pic from his second story window. I can’t begin to tell you what a joy Spence was to write. To this day, my family knows what I mean when I say, “I’m channeling my inner Spence.”

Like many of my characters, Pic evolves over the course of the book. We see him grow, much as Jack Abadie did in Tarnished Gold, and as he grows, he blossoms. A secondary character, Emile Dauterive, a lawyer some years older, takes Pic under his wing, helps him change his name, and from there—well, you’ll have to read Beloved Unmasked to find out.

New Orleans is heartbeat of this book, much as the French Quarter (different than Storyville,) is the heartbeat of New Orleans. I love the city, having lived in the area for many years. There is no other city in the world with the uniqueness New Orleans has. The language, a mixture of English, Cajun French, and what the natives call Yat—as in Where y’at? is an experience not to be forgotten.

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Come back during my release party, and I’ll give you a taste of Yat. LOL

Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment about the post or the book (not “I’m in” or the like,) and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

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Here’s some of the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked:

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

I was delighted that I was asked to review Beloved before release. I really enjoyed the story. Brita is the only historical author who can suck me in early enough that I’ll read the entire book. :) (4 Stars – Brenda Cothern)

Absolutely amazing. (Lorraine Lesar - Threebooksovertherainbow.wordpress.com)

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Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

Beloved Unmasked

Cherished One: Book One
A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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Next hour – What was the original book going to be about? And I’ll give you a taste of Yat.

Character Creations with Antonia Aquilante – Post + Giveaway

October 14, 2015

Hi, everyone! My name is Antonia Aquilante, and I’m excited to be here today to talk with you about my debut novel, The Prince’s Consort, releasing October 16th. The Prince’s Consort is a fantasy romance about a prince and the son of a glass merchant. Here’s the blurb:

 

Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time. 

Or have they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

***

When I’m writing, the ideas for my stories often come in the form of characters first, and that’s what happened with The Prince’s Consort. I was actually writing a different story entirely, and Amory and Philip were meant to be minor characters who were only in a couple of scenes. They were much older in that story and had been together for a long time. The first scene I wrote with Amory in it just flowed – and I loved Amory immediately.

More about Amory and Philip’s characters kept coming to me, but I was writing a story about someone else. So I made notes about Amory and Philip and set them aside, telling myself I would write their story later, after I finished what I was working on. But even as I wrote that other story, Amory and Philip kept filtering in. I suddenly knew how they meet; I could see the scene in my head. I learned more and more about who they are – Amory’s quiet strength and huge capacity for love, Philip’s protectiveness and hidden vulnerability. And I really wanted to know how they got from that first meeting to the place I knew they’d be in the story I was writing at the time (living happily ever after, of course).

I repeated to myself – and them – over and over to be patient. Soon – I’d write their story soon.

And then I hit a wall in the story I was writing. Something wasn’t working, and I couldn’t quite place what. I beat my head against that wall for a long while, but I got no closer to the problem, and Amory and Philip were still demanding their story be told.

I’m the type of person who likes to finish a project before moving to the next. Every story I’ve written, I’ve finished before beginning another. Normally I just keep working at it, keep thinking and writing, and I get back on track. I didn’t this time. I did something I never do; I put the other project aside and turned to Amory and Philip’s story. I’m so happy I did. And not just because The Prince’s Consort has become my first published novel (even though I’m still giddy about that!), but because I loved figuring out who Amory and Philip are and the world they live in, and what happens to them on their road to happily ever after. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I did writing it.

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For a chance to win a copy of The Prince’s Consort, tell me about a time when you did the opposite of what you would normally do and the situation turned out better than you expected. Or did it not turn out so well?

***

Bio: Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

 

Website: www.antoniaaquilante.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AntoniaAquilanteAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/antoniaquilante