January 13, 2016
B.D. Roca here! For my second release day post, I thought I’d start by chatting about birthdays because, well, the title says it all (I’m all about the logic!). Birthdays can be loaded things: good and bad (and not just because of those big 0 markers that come up).
There are two birthdays marking Happy Birthday, one dark, troubling and potentially lethal and one that is all about the lovely traditional birthday stuff: celebration and joy. When I was choosing a title for the story, I must admit, my dark sense of humor did creep in there a little. I’ve seen too many birthdays go sideways, with all the best intentions in the world. So much emotion and significance can be attached to them and they are life markers, one way or another.
Happy Birthday opens with a very stalkery road trip: Nick is tracking Jake Rushman, the innocent witness to an MC related murder. While I was writing I really had a vision of those empty roads and highways, the danger of that isolation playing through my mind, together with images of just what would be running through Nick’s mind. He’s burned out: he has blood on his hands and aches both for redemption and for the guilt to stop tearing at him. Jake’s ahead of him, on the run, racing in a rental car from Melbourne up to Sydney, which is exactly the city a very focused Nick wants him to land in. Poor Jake really doesn’t have much hope of escape
Sydney is a perfect jump-off point for a number of destinations, hence Nick’s focus. I had a number of songs playing for their dual road trips, but this one by Tricky was on constant repeat. It’s the perfect, sinister song as soundtrack to a story about a MC enforcer tracking his mark.
Click on the link to view it in YouTube: Tricky, Bury The Evidence.
I love the sound of Tricky’s voice, especially in this song. I bought the CD on the strength of it. It’s a sinister song about sinister doings. But Nick isn’t quite a match for the lure Jake is offering. It’s something he’s never truly had before:
…Nick moaned and jerked against him. He felt Jake smile against his throat.
“Like that, do you?”
“What is this?” Nick demanded.
Nick had no answer for that. Life?
Curious about how the story opens and haven’t read the full first chapter excerpt? Click here on the title’s link: Dreamspinner Press
My Bio: B.D. Roca spent her early years in Brisbane, in a series of crumbling old houses laced with the smell of frangipani and surrounded by the hum of cicadas. Her gran raised her on ghost stories, quirky family history, and told her to beat up anyone who gave her attitude. This was not advice she took, although it does make a certain amount of sense. It may also account for her love of tough characters with a heart of gold.
Between the old houses, feral cats, steamy heat, and history lessons, it was pure Australian gothic. She’s traveled a lot since then, but those times are still a powerful influence both on her worldview and writing.
Say hi to me here:
Happy Birthday’s (short list) buy links:
So guys, any favorite road trip songs? Or recommendations for great soundtracks while writing about sinister doings? Drop a line in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Happy Birthday!
January 13, 2016
Hi all, I’m B.D. Roca and I’m here to chat about Happy Birthday, my novella released today.
I’m also doing a giveaway of the eBook so don’t forget to leave a comment or two to be in the running. Christmas may be a few weeks behind us but there are still goodies to be had
What does Happy Birthday revolve around? Hmm, well… it’s about Nick, a motorcycle club enforcer with a death wish, Jake, the witness on the run he’s sent to eliminate, and just what happens when those two guys meet. Hint: a lot of heat gets generated.
Here’s a glimpse:
…Jake slammed him up against the wall, and Nick’s mind went blank. The enforcer, the killer, the one who knew how to track, who knew how to use a knife, a gun, his hands, fists, who knew how to lock up his house tighter than a damned drum before he hit the sack, and slept with a gun under one pillow and a knife under the other, that Nick was still somehow quietly humming, a machine, in the background. But the other Nick—the one who had watched this man for two days now, and felt, deceptively, that he had come to know him, the one who was going to make his own useless life and his useless death mean something by using it to save this stranger—that Nick had been thrown into a new world. And sank into it.
The old Nick would have said screw that.
Yeah, one wrong move and Jake would have been slammed, all right. Autopilot would have kicked in. Jake would have been slammed down onto the shitty mustard-colored carpet, and Nick’s arm would have been across his windpipe, choking him.
But that wasn’t what this was about.
He’d left that guy behind…
Here’s the brilliant cover by Reese Dante:
And here’s the blurb:
Jake Rushman is on the run, but it’s too late. He’s being tracked by an expert.
Motorcycle Club Enforcer Nick is tough, but even he has a conscience. It’s slowly destroying him, together with memories of his parents’ ugly deaths. Nick eliminates the guilty, but Jake Rushman is the innocent witness to a murder. It will be one kill too many.
Determined to find redemption, Nick plans to trade his life for Jake’s. Neither man counts on the fierce, powerful bond that the collision of their opposing worlds brings, and Jake refuses to let Nick sacrifice himself. He offers Nick the one thing he’s never had: hope.
But with a violent past tracking them, Nick might be forced to do the one thing he promised himself he never would—kill again.
I’ve always loved tough characters, bad boys the world sees as scary but who allow themselves to become vulnerable for that one special individual. Nick is that kind of tough guy; virtually born into the MC life, Jake is the man who offers him redemption. Writing about those two was a rush, a lot of fun and involved research into aspects of MC life such as biker history, club structure and hierarchy.
I can be reached at:
Happy Birthday (short list) buy links:
In the meantime, I’d love to know your feelings about bad boys (this is really, truly research for me, guys!), so let me know about your fave M/M bad boys in the comments
December 25, 2015
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all who celebrate! And thank you to everyone who joined me for the There You Are Release party yesterday. It was a fun way to spend Christmas Eve.
And remember that Dreamspinner is having a great holiday 25% off sale through 12/28!
And now… drum roll please… the three winners of a CJane Elliott ebook of your choice are…
Please be in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and she will get you your free ebook. It can be this new release or any of my other ebooks, including one of my novels.
THANKS ALL… AND HAPPY READING!
December 24, 2015
Before we end the There You Are party today, I wanted to mention two other novellas relevant to There You Are. Wild and Precious is Book One of the series. And Alex Harrison from Mercury in Retrograde makes a cameo appearance toward the end of There You Are in a scene at the same river rafting lodge featured in that story.
Also, I’m excited to say that Wild and Precious is being made into an audiobook with a great narrator, KC Kelly.
Future writing plans: Book Three of the Wild and Precious series is under contract and will be released in May/June 2016. This one features Sandy, Phineas’s nephew, and is titled Sand-Man’s Family.
Remember that Dreamspinners is having a 25% off sale for the whole store through December 28!
ALL THIS AND A BLOG TOUR TOO!
I have an exciting There You Are blog tour lined up with giveaways and intriguing interview questions, so I hope you’ll join me at these tour stops:
GIVEAWAY: I will announce the giveaway winners tomorrow. Three people will be chosen at random from all who commented today on any of the blog posts. There’s still time to leave a comment and win a chance at a free ebook of mine, your choice.
Thank you for joining me today, and happy reading!
December 24, 2015
For the last post, how about some heat? Cody, being bisexual, is completely attracted to both the masculine and feminine qualities of Phineas. As we saw in the last excerpt, he finds Phineas as Phanny a huge turn on.
This excerpt comes several months into their relationship after another Phanny Hill performance at Janelle’s. Cody is beginning to struggle with jealousy and goes a bit caveman on the guys who are swarming around Phanny in the lobby. He retreats to the dressing room to wait for her.
Ten minutes later, Phinney, aka Phanny, came into the dressing room where Cody had holed up. No one was around at the moment, although there’d been a near-constant stream of queens coming in and out.
Cody jumped up, prepared to apologize for his caveman act in the lobby, his stomach doing a flip at the way Phineas was advancing on him in all his Phanny Hill glory, something dangerous flashing in her eyes. “Phinney, I—”
“Wait.” She—for he could only see Phanny in this moment—pushed the dressing room door so that it was almost closed, then shoved Cody up against the wall, her ruby-red talons digging into his shoulder. Cody grunted in surprise when she used her other hand to grip his cock through his jeans. A wave of her perfume tickled his nose and he hardened to the point of pain. God, she was glorious, her glittered breasts peeking out of her low-cut bodice, her big brown eyes framed by the false eyelashes. She unsnapped his pants and he found it difficult to breathe, even more so when she pulled down his zipper ever so slowly.
The hotness of the moment was enhanced by the door not being fully shut. Cody could hear people walking by and talking as she finally slid her hand under his briefs and took hold of his cock.
She looked up then, pinning him with a seductive glance, her ruby lips curved in a knowing smile. “You like?” she asked huskily, then licked those sultry lips.
“Um-hmm,” he rasped, unable to tear his eyes away from her mouth and that pink tongue. His cock twitched under her hand.
“You’re such a bad boy, scaring away all my men. I think I should punish you, hmm?” she purred, giving him a stroke for emphasis. “But I’d rather reward you, because that was smoking hot.”
“What do you want? And ask nicely. Phanny’s a lady, you know.”
Cody felt the room spinning as he tried to get out the words, the world having narrowed to the smell of her perfume, the feeling of her warm fingers on him. “Will you… please… suck me?”
I think I’ll be a tease and stop here! Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of my new book. I’ll be back in a bit with a wrap-up post.
Question: Easygoing Cody finds himself jealous for the first time in his life and he doesn’t like the feeling. Have you ever been jealous in a relationship? I have!
December 24, 2015
Cody finds out early on that Phineas was a drag queen by the name of Phanny Hill and performed regularly at a local drag club, and that Phineas gave up doing drag after Allen died. One of the ways Cody helps Phineas come back to life is by encouraging him to return to performing as Phanny Hill.
I modeled the club Janelle’s in the book after Portland’s drag club Darcelle’s, which I went to a few years back with some other DSP authors. This is Darcelle herself who is Janelle in my book:
Here’s the drag queen version of Phineas from Shutterstock. This is the same model as the cover. Isn’t she beautiful?
I love drag shows! It was fun to include drag in my story. And when Phineas allows Phanny out again, he finds a whole new spark to his life. Cody likes it too.
Here’s an excerpt from when Phineas returns to Janelle’s after four years to perform as Phanny Hill.
Janelle herself, a regal old drag queen, took the stage. She bantered and told ribald jokes, pointed out some bachelorette parties and other would-be notables in the crowd, and then paused to take a sip of water. “And now, I’ve been savin’ the best for last, chickadees. Because tonight marks the return of one of the fiercest queens ever to grace our stage. It’s been too long, way too long, and I’m overjoyed that she’s here with us tonight. Please welcome back to Janelle’s stage our very own Phanny Hill!”
Cody and friends applauded wildly as Janelle exited and the stage went black. The first chords of Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” accompanied the spotlight illuminating Phanny Hill, a vision in a formfitting scarlet sequined gown and short black hair. She was coming out, all right, strutting the stage in her spike heels, her lips ruby red, her long eyelashes fluttering, glitter in her cleavage. Cody had no idea where the breasts had come from, but it didn’t matter. Phineas had disappeared, leaving sexy, alluring Phanny. And fuck, was she a turn-on.
She sashayed in their direction, her painted mouth lip-synching the song, and stopped right in front of them. Blaine and Gemma had their dollar bills at the ready to stuff into the top of her dress. She leaned down to accommodate them, then slid her hand, with the long red nails, along the back of Cody’s neck, emanating a trace of tantalizing perfume. He lifted his face, and the crowd cheered at their kiss. Then she was off, playing to the audience, while Cody touched his lips and Blaine and Gemma laughed.
Question: I don’t have a good question for this topic, so how about asking me anything you want to know – about me, my writing, this story or my others. Fire away!
December 24, 2015
Who Got Da Funk?
Those who have read my stories know I love music and musicians. I’m especially partial to funk and soul music, so I had fun putting Cody into a funk band.
The band Cody travels to Portland to join in There You Are is called Da Funk. I modeled the band after a real-life funk band with the cool name of Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme. My husband and I caught their act in Portland a few years ago and were blown away by the sheer size of the band and the joyous music that we all danced to for three hours straight. Here they are below:
The excerpt below shows Cody’s first rehearsal with the band. Sandy, Phineas’s nephew, has dragged Phineas to the rehearsal, and Phineas sits in the back with a book while Sandy joins the band on bongos. What Cody doesn’t know until this rehearsal is that Phineas is a wonderful singer and performer in his own right.
“Okay,” Blaine said. “Let’s do ‘Funk Train’ next.”
“Who got da funk? We got da funk,” chanted Boze, the bassist.
“Um-hmm.” Creswell raised his horn while Jamie fingered the keys on her saxophone and said, “Let’s do it!”
Dude-Man, the organist, raised his head slightly. An enormous black man with shades and a bandana, he kept his own counsel. Cody hadn’t heard a peep out of him the whole rehearsal, but he was genius on the keys.
“Bueno.” Oscar grinned and started in on a Latin beat.
They swung into “Funk Train,” an original written by Oscar, and soon the garage walls reverberated with sound. Phineas appeared to be engrossed in his book, but Cody spied him tapping his toe and counted it as a win.
At the end, Blaine clapped his hands. “Pretty good. Need the horns to be tighter with the drums. One more time. I wish Clarice and Deena could’ve been here.”
“Who’re they?” Sandy asked, still beating softly on the bongos.
“Our backup singers.”
“Wow, this is a big band.”
“Yep. Okay, let’s—”
“Phineas can do.”
Everyone riveted their attention on Dude-Man, who remained impassive, the epitome of cool.
“Say what, hermano?” Oscar asked, a twinkle in his eye, while Phineas stiffened and lowered his book to stare at Dude-Man.
Dude-Man shifted, his massive hands on the keyboard. “I said, Phineas can do. Backup.” With that proclamation, he sat back on his stool and stared off into space, seemingly done with talking. Maybe he’d used up his daily word allotment, Cody mused.
Phineas had turned a becoming shade of pink. “Oh hell.” He tossed his book aside and, with one graceful movement, was on his feet and heading to the second mic set up next to Blaine, who grinned but didn’t say anything.
Oscar counted off the beat and they launched into the song, Boze laying down a funky bass line and the horns providing punctuation. Cody came in over them with a catchy riff, and Dude-Man filled in the spaces on the keys, while Oscar and Sandy provided a steady rhythm.
Once the vocals began, Phineas opened his mouth and a gorgeous tenor voice rang through the room, blending perfectly with Blaine’s baritone. The band members smiled, nodding their heads and riding the groove. Even Dude-Man was swaying.
This is the beginning of Phineas being drawn back into life after his mourning period of 4 years since Allen’s death. Cody soon discovers Phineas used to perform drag under the name Phanny Hill. We’ll get into that in the next post!
Question: What kind of music do you love the best? Any favorite group or song you’d like to share?
December 24, 2015
Both of the MCs in There You Are have baggage, i.e., unresolved issues from the past that are clouding their ability to make a fresh start with love.
Phineas has been widowed for four years and still hasn’t gotten over his long-time partner, Allen. In his grief, Phineas has retreated from the world, quit his job, and stopped performing as his drag queen persona Phanny Hill. He’s living a quiet life now, working part-time at a bookstore and hanging out with his close friends, Blaine and Gemma.
Cody Bellstrom appearing on the scene rocks Phineas’s world. Phineas can’t exactly ignore the sexy musician who is ten years younger than he. Not only is Cody now the guitarist in Blaine’s funk band, but he’s befriended Phineas’s nephew Sandy and made sure he got to Portland safely. And he’s the first man to attract Phineas since Allen died.
Phineas struggles with letting Allen go enough to make room for Cody. Part of the baggage Phineas is carrying is the fact that all his memories of Allen are so beautiful that the Allen in his mind is nearing sainthood. No living man, even one as caring and sexy as Cody, could ever measure up. Phineas finally recognizes how unfair he’s being to Cody and is able to let his Allen memories rest in a special place, but not be the place he goes to hide whenever things get difficult with Cody.
At first blush, Cody doesn’t seem to have as much baggage as Phineas. He doesn’t have problems getting involved with people, men or women, and he quickly becomes a part of Phineas’s life. He helps Phineas figure things out about his nephew Sandy, he cooks them meals, and he finds himself more and more fascinated with Phineas. Cody is a nurturer and he likes to help people, so helping Phineas get over his grief and get back into life is right up Cody’s alley.
Cody’s problems start when he falls in love with Phineas. Cody has been in love once before – with a woman. And after they got engaged he got cold feet and ran. Ever since, Cody has kept on the move, never letting himself put down roots in one place or with one person for too long. The more Cody falls for Phinney, the more freaked out he gets. He has an escape plan – a Seattle band has invited him to move there and go on tour with them. He knows that what his friend Bette tells him is true: no matter where you go, there you are. But he sees no alternative until a chance encounter late in the book finally opens his eyes to why he’s run away from people all his life.
And now let’s go with a deeper question, because y’all know I like to go there!
Question: Have you ever noticed that past experiences sometimes keep you from risking something new? What’s one piece of baggage that you can see you have?
I’ll go first: I didn’t get married for a loooong time because my parents got divorced when I was 18 and it sucked. That instilled a fear in me of committing myself. I had to let go of that fear before I let my wonderful husband Michael come into my life.
December 24, 2015
Welcome back! Let’s talk about trains because they come into this story quite a bit. Cody has loved trains ever since he was little and his dad used to take him to the train museum. The story begins with him embarking on a cross-country train trip. The train station on the cover is Cody’s final destination – Portland, Oregon’s Union Station, where Cody first meets Phineas.
One strange fact is that all three main train stations of Cody’s trip are named Union Station.
He starts at Union Station in Washington, DC, where his disapproving friend Bette drops him off:
Why is Bette disapproving? Because she adheres to the philosophy embodied in the movie quote: No matter where you go, there you are. She thinks Cody is running away one more time, like all the other times he’s picked up and left. And she doesn’t think Cody will be able to outrun his demons.
Cody doesn’t really listen to Bette because he’s too busy being excited about his trip. He takes the Amtrak to Chicago’s Union Station. This is where he boards the Empire Builder train and also where he meets Sandy Nixon, the young man who is running away to Portland and his uncle, Phineas MacDonald.
The Amtrak brochure describes the Empire Builder trip in glowing terms:
Experience the Rugged Splendor of the American West
Traveling daily between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest along major portions of the Lewis and Clark trail, the mighty Empire Builder takes you on an exciting adventure through majestic wilderness, following the footsteps of early pioneers.
Here are some pictures from the Empire Builder Amtrak brochure:
It looks amazing! I’d love to go on this train trip one day. Cody and Sandy become friends on the trip and when they reach Portland’s Union Station, Phineas and his best friend Blaine are there to meet Sandy.
By a romance-tropic coincidence, Blaine just happens to be the leader of Da Beat, the funk band Cody has come to Portland to join! Of course!
Our two heroes start right off in close contact but each of them brings baggage… and we’ll talk about that in our next post!
There You Are Buy Links:
Question: Have you ever been on a train? If so, what’s the longest trip you’ve taken and if not, what would be a train journey you’d like to take?
December 24, 2015
Here’s a cup of virtual eggnog to get things going:
Behold this amazing cover by AngstyG:
The train station you see there is in Portland, Oregon, which is where our hero Cody Bellstrom is going as the story begins. Cody loves to travel to new places, but as he discovers, “no matter where you go, there you are.”
Bisexual musician Cody Bellstrom is a free spirit, easygoing and unattached. On a cross-country trip, Cody befriends young Sandy Nixon and gets him safely to Portland and his uncle, Phineas MacDonald. Beautiful Phineas turns Cody’s life upside down, and Cody learns he’s not as unattached as he aspires to be. With the hard-won knowledge of what lies underneath his need to be free, Cody wins a chance at real freedom and true love.
Ever since his longtime lover Allen died, Phineas MacDonald has lived a circumscribed life. He stopped performing as fierce drag queen Phanny Hill and works part-time in a bookstore. Phineas never expected to find love again. But when sexy and caring Cody Bellstrom turns up, Phineas feels his orderly life slipping out of his control. Cody brings him alive again, but now Phineas must find the courage to let go of his grief over Allen and give love a second chance.
I’ll be back soon to talk more about the book.
And take advantage of the Dreamspinner Holiday Sale – 25% off everything in the store!
There You Are Buy Links:
So to start things off here’s an easy question: How’s the weather where you are? Is it Christmas-y or not so much?