Messy Rooms and Clear Minds Make a Detective

June 22, 2015

Ollie’s actual room looks something like this:

blogtakeover2

His brain is more like this:

blogtakeover1

Ollie is a bit of a slob. He sort of throws things down and leaves them where they lay. His best friend even calls his room a pigpen. It’s not dirty so much as cluttered with things that cease to be important to him. See, Ollie’s brain is cluttered that way too. He’s got so much in his head, always solving a case, worrying about his friends and how to pay the bills that he doesn’t have time for the mundane things in life.

This includes food and sleep. When Kade steps into his life, he’s determined to help Ollie remember the basics even while letting him fly free. I think most of us are like this. Or maybe it’s just us crazy creative types? I find the more in the zone I am with writing, the more I forget things like lunch or that the dishwasher needs to be emptied.

My cats remind me of things. Mostly that they need to eat. But I can gauge my day by when they start bugging me for food. They sort of hold my string and keep me focused. (That and my editor who occasionally pokes me to see if I got something done.)

What sort of things get left on the wayside when you’re focused on a project? Does someone (or something) help remind you that you still live in the real world?

ModelCitizenFS

 

Booklist:

 

Model Citizen (DSP)

 

Hidden Gem (DSP)

 

Evolution (DSPP)

 

On the Right Track (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

 

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

 

Inheritance (Lissa Kasey)

 

Reclamation (Lissa Kasey)

 

Hello, Junior Investigators!

June 22, 2015

ModelCitizenFS

Hey everyone, This is Lissa Kasey. I’m here tonight to tell you all a little about my new release Model Citizen.

Model Citizen is the first book of a brand new series I’m working on. Unlike most of my other stuff there are no vampires, shapeshifters or witches. Just a model, an ex-Marine, a cop, an interior decorator, and a heap of porn stars. Are you guys ready for the adventure? Here’s the blurb in case you missed it.

Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.

Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.

When one of Ollie’s childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.

 

Tonight I’ll be giving you some inside details of the book. Giving away a book or two. And answering all your burning questions. Are you ready?

 

Booklist:

Model Citizen (DSP)

Hidden Gem (DSP)

Evolution (DSPP)

On the Right Track (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Inheritance (Lissa Kasey)

Reclamation (Lissa Kasey)

Where did it begin?

June 15, 2015

That’s a Good Question. Ha! See what I did there? I’m closing out my time here at the DSP blog with an excerpt from the novella that started Lonnie and Jamison’s love story.

Excerpt:

GQ200Torp grimaced. “What the hell is that fag listening to?” he asked around a mouthful of sandwich.

“Don’t say that,” Jamison said.

Torp looked around for Lincoln and, not seeing him, asked, “Why the fuck not? He is.”

“You don’t know that.”

Torp snorted and then choked, prompting Jamison to slap him hard on the back a couple of times until he’d regained his ability to breathe properly. “Uh-huh, y-yeah I do. I’d have to be blind not to notice that.”

Jamison opened his mouth to argue, but suddenly he noticed the music above them had stopped. Did he hear us? From deep in the house he heard someone running down the stairs. He turned to look over his shoulder and saw the art student stumble into the hallway, pause, and turn their way, spotting them. Shit. Jamison turned back around quickly and sipped his tea, his gaze riveted on the grass.

“Hey, fellas. I’m done for today. Got a late afternoon class. See ya tomorrow.” Jamison felt some tension drain out of him, but then the young man gave an exasperated sigh and a chuckle. “Sorry. Introductions?”

Jamison sensed the man come closer, and to his left Torp leapt up, quickly wiping sandwich crumbs off on his jeans. “I’m Theodore Machado III, but most folks call me Torpedo.”

“Uh… really? O-okay. Good to meet you, Torpedo”—Jamison smirked at how carefully the man repeated his friend’s name, as if trying it out on his tongue—“I’m Lonnie Bellerose. The very pregnant lady of the house is my sister.”

“Good to meet you, Mister—”

“Lonnie. Just call me Lonnie.”

“Good enough.”

The silence that followed brought some tension back into Jamison’s shoulders as he realized they were waiting on him, probably staring at his back. He began to sweat just as his eyes caught sight of a parade of ants moving across a worn, brown patch in the yard to his right. They looked hell-bent for the grass forest on the other side of their tiny clearing. Take me with you.

“He don’t talk much,” Torp explained, then smacked the back of Jamison’s head. “Jam, introduce yourself, man.”

Jamison took a deep breath and slowly stood, turning to face them as he did. Lonnie’s gaze followed him, his eyes widening as Jamison continued to rise above him. Lonnie’s lips parted slightly, almost gasping when he had to tilt his head back a bit to look Jamison in the eyes.

Green. His eyes are green, Jamison noted. He almost stepped closer, almost revealed the pull he felt, but he stopped himself, fearing the same reaction from Lonnie that he’d gotten since his first growth spurt. When you don’t smile much and you’re big and you’re black and you’re tattooed and you’re silent, people—strangers—all react the same way.

It had served him well growing up, carrying him safely through adolescence in a rough neighborhood and keeping bad influences—and even some good ones—at a distance. But as he looked into Lonnie’s bright green eyes, it suddenly hit Jamison that the last thing he wanted from this man was distance.

A smile slowly spread across Lonnie’s beautiful face—full lips, narrow nose, long dark lashes, and high cheekbones. Yum. He was almost as pretty as a girl, but so very much a man.

“My… you’re… you’re—”

“Jamison.”

“Huh?”

“I’m Jamison Coburn.”

Lonnie slowly extended his hand, and Jamison took it. “I’m… I’m….”

“Lonnie.”

“Huh?”

Jamison allowed himself to grin. “You’re… Lonnie Bellerose.”

Lonnie barked in laughter, snorted, and smacked himself in the forehead. “Ha! Yeah, yeah, I’m Lonnie. Sorry.” He shook his head, his curls bouncing. “Spaced out a bit there. Nice to m-meet you, Jamison.”

“And you, Lonnie,” Jamison said softly. “Enjoy your class.”

“Right,” Lonnie almost whispered, nodding, staring, grinning. “Thank you.”

They stared at each other for several more heartbeats, and then Lonnie turned on his sockless but sneakered feet, juggled his drawing pad and art bag, and walked right into the closed half of the French doors. He stumbled backward, but Jamison grabbed him and steadied him by the shoulders, aiming him properly at the open door.

Lonnie looked back at him and laughed again. “Thanks f-for that.”

Jamison simply nodded and pointed at the doorway, silently urging him to watch his step. He watched Lonnie walk through the kitchen, all the way down that long hall to the front door, heard Lonnie’s noisy VW grind to life, and caught a flash of purple as he drove away.

“You can’t see that?” Torp asked, shaking his head and shooing a fly from the remainder of his sandwich before taking another bite.

I saw it, all right, Jamison thought, smiling.

*****

I hope that was fun. Setting it up for this post made me smile again.

Thank you all for joining me today, and if you take a chance on my novel The Answer Is, I hope it’s an entertaining read for you.

Remember, you have until 11 a.m. EST, Wednesday, June 17, to leave a comment on the giveaway posts in this release party for chances to win.

Take care and have a great week, people!

What are you reading?

June 15, 2015

We’re only half way through the sixth month of 2015, but I bet you’ve been doing a lot of reading, haven’t you? I know I love curling up with my Kindle each night. Right now I’m reading Murder & Mayhem by Rhys Ford, one of my favorite authors.

What are you reading right now? What have been some of your favorites so far this year? Leave a comment below for a chance to win an ebook from my backlist, which you can find here.

I’ll draw a name at random from those comments on Wednesday, June 17. Good luck!

The Answer Is: Lonnie Bellerose

June 15, 2015

It’s time for Lonnie’s introduction.

Excerpt:

Lonnie sighed and hugged himself, trying to appear at ease as the crowd moved around the room. After all, he was an artist standing in a gallery that displayed some of his best work to date. He should be all smiles and charm and wit. Instead, he felt as though he stood out like a two-headed goat, afraid to move, all hooves and confusion, bleating above the conversations.

On top of that, Lonnie had the distinct impression of being watched. He couldn’t shake it. He looked to his right and his left, then settled again on examining the campus beyond the wall of windows at the gallery’s entrance. He searched the mist-shrouded grounds for any sign of Jamison, but he was nowhere to be seen.

“Here, have a drink, Mr. Bellerose.” Professor Eloise Bink smiled and sipped her champagne, urging him to do the same from the flute she’d provided. She taught several art history classes, and Lonnie had been her assistant while earning his master’s.

He took a sip, then said, “Just call me Lonnie, please. I’m not your TA anymore.”

She smiled and tossed her short and sassy new haircut out of her eyes, the silver-gray strands catching the light. “I’ll call you Lonnie when you call me Eloise.”

He frowned in thought. “I think I can handle Bink but nothing more casual. Will that do?”

“Acceptable.”

They sipped in unison, the bubbles nearly making him sneeze.

“You appear agitated. Waiting for someone?”

“Jamison’s coming, though he should be here by now.”

“No family?”

He shook his head. “Parents in France, Amber birthed a new human being, and brother-in-law is hovering, so… no. No family tonight.” A chill ran through him, so he took another sip of his champagne. It didn’t warm him, and this time he did sneeze, loudly, causing a few heads to turn in fright. His face heated, and he nodded his apologies before depositing the flute on a passing tray.

He turned to the entrance again and gasped softly. Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, he caught a glimpse of a tall, broad-shouldered silhouette hurrying toward the building. The campus lights along the path reflected off what little fog lingered above the lawn, giving the approaching figure a mysterious, superhero-like quality. To Lonnie, he seemed to be moving in slow motion and to his own soundtrack. Lonnie’s heart soared, and he excused himself from Bink to cut through the crowd and meet his man at the door.

“Hi,” he said, beaming up at Jamison as he walked in looking all kinds of gorgeous.

The worried frown on Jamison’s face vanished as he smiled down at Lonnie. “Hi, yourself.”

“You look fantastic.” He stood on tiptoes to give Jamison a peck on the lips, but Jamison pulled back, the frown returning, his gaze darting around the gallery. Lonnie sighed, took his hand, and tugged him deeper into the room. “I have someone I want you to meet.” He paused to look over the faces surrounding them, and when he spotted Bink again, he resumed his tugging.

Glancing around as he followed Lonnie, Jamison asked, “Isn’t your fam—?”

“No,” Lonnie said, “but they sent their congratulations.”

“Ah, Lonnie, back so soon?” Bink said, turning to face the two of them as they reached her. She blinked up at Jamison, her expression remaining warm and friendly. “Whom do we have here?”

“This is Jamison Coburn. Jamison, this is Professor Eloise Bink. I’ve mentioned her before. I was her teaching assistant.” His words rushed out as he gripped Jamison’s big left hand tightly. Mine.

“Yes,” Bink said. “I’m certainly going to miss you in that capacity. Perhaps I’ll find something else for you.” Lonnie laughed at that.

Jamison’s hand swallowed hers. “Good to meet you, ma’am.”

“And you, Mr. Coburn.” She grinned at Lonnie before continuing. “Anyone who can make him daydream at his desk is definitely someone I want to get to know.”

Lonnie gazed up at Jamison and caught the embarrassment as it crossed his handsome features. His chest filled with joy and pride that Jamison was here for him.

“Oh… I don’t know about that, ma’am,” Jamison said.

“Bink, Mr. Coburn. Please call me Bink.”

“If you’ll call me Jamison.”

She grinned. “Agreed. Champagne?” she asked, grabbing fresh flutes from a passing waiter. She handed them each a glass, and they clinked them in a toast to Lonnie’s accomplishment.

*****

I think Lonnie is more delightful than annoying, but he walks a fine line. What do you think?

Win a DSP ebook

June 15, 2015

For those people who have read my work, you’ve probably noticed I usually have a lot of people whirling around my main characters, people who love them, are too hard on them, or are outright threats. This story is no exception. I believe the people we surround ourselves with can feed who we are, for good or bad.

It’s no different for my main characters. Lonnie has a mentor in Prof. Elosie Bink, supportive (for the most part) parents in Arthur and Ginger, a loving twin sister in Amber, and a scoundrel of an ex in Jerry Pool. Jamison has his struggling mother, Alanna, his understanding Aunt Jo, his boss, Lincoln, his best friend, Torpedo, and those folks from his old neighborhood who don’t know his secret.

They’ll both meet new people along the way: some will help, some will hinder. Such is life.

Who is someone in your life who has made you a better/stronger person? Comment below for a chance to win an ebook copy of the DSP book of your choice. I’ll draw a name at random on Wednesday, June 17. Good luck!

The Answer Is: Jamison Coburn

June 15, 2015

I’d like you to get to know Jamison a bit better.

Excerpt:

“You gonna eat with me, baby?”

Jamison turned toward his mother, Alanna, who stood in the back door of her house watching him. He wondered how long she’d been standing there, and he suddenly felt guilty. The original reason for stopping by was to see her, catch up with whatever was going on in her life, but instead he’d ended up working on his latest piece in her garage. He’d heard it calling to him, urging him: finish me, make me pretty, show me off.

His living arrangement didn’t leave any space to store his equipment, let alone use it. Jamison supposed a decluttering of the Standleas’ garage—a family’s furniture and keepsakes collected over the decades—could make room. But deep down he knew keeping his equipment where it was would please his mother. It meant he would always come back. Tonight she probably thought he was avoiding her, but that wasn’t his intention. Unfortunately, now he had to leave.

“No, ma’am. Thank you, but I’m taking dinner over to Lonnie. He’s babysitting tonight.”

He saw disappointment play over her beautiful features, but she quickly brightened.

“How is that new baby?” she asked as he shut down and secured any tools he’d used.

“He’s fine, but Remmy’s just a month or so old, Mama. He doesn’t do much.” He just sort of lies there… and leaks.

He turned off the light and locked up before joining her at the back door. After following her inside, he turned on the security light and bolted the door behind them.

“Everything a baby does, no matter how tiny they are, is precious. It’s hard to believe you were ever that small. And Remmy? What sort of name is that?”

“Short for Rembrandt. Some famous painter.”

“Lordy, what will these people think of next?” she asked as she opened the refrigerator and removed a pie dish.

Jamison’s mouth began to water at the thought of homemade peach pie.

“Does he… does your friend babysit his nephew a lot?”

Jamison shrugged. “Uh… so far the baby’s been passed back and forth between his parents and grandparents. This is Claude and Amber’s first night out in weeks, and since Claude’s parents finally left, Lonnie’s jumping at the chance to have Remmy all to himself tonight before the next pair of grands arrives in a couple of days.”

“Well… do you think you should intrude?” she asked as she cut two pieces of pie and placed them on a sturdy paper plate.

“Intrude?” Jamison frowned as she secured a sheet of plastic wrap over the pie and plate. “I’m surprising him with dinner. I….” He hesitated as he thought it over. “I don’t think he’ll see it as intruding, Mama.”

She nodded without looking at him, then sighed. “Where are the other grandparents?”

“In France. There’s a family farm there.”

She nodded. “I see.”

“They were supposed to be here right after the little guy arrived, but since the paternal grands were already here, they decided to take their time, get Great-Grandma Bellerose ready to travel.”

She nodded and held out the pie-filled plate. “Take this with you for dessert, baby.”

Jamison smiled. “Thanks, Mama. I appreciate it.” He leaned in and kissed her still-smooth cheek. “Lonnie will appreciate it too.” He held the plate in one hand and bent over to hug her tiny frame with the other arm. “You know, if you’d like to meet—”

She pulled away suddenly and held up a hand to silence his suggestion. “No… no, baby. This is fine. Just fine,” she said, not looking at him. “You have a good night with your friend.”

Jamison deflated a bit and allowed her to usher him to the door. “Good night, Mama. I promise to spend more time with you next time.” As always, she watched until he climbed in his truck, then shut her door. He stared out his windshield at the neighborhood, the streetlights creating puddles of illumination every few yards, and wondered at her comment. What does “I see” mean? Does it mean anything? No. He was reading shit into it, feeding it with his own doubts about him and Lonnie. They enjoyed each other. What else mattered?

Before starting the truck, he glanced at the house again and caught his mother peeking at him through a curtain. As he pulled away from the curb, he tapped out a quick good-night on his horn, then turned onto Little Avenue and headed for Ming Empire to pick up dinner.

*****

Please leave a comment below and tell me what you thought.

The Answer Is Release Party

June 15, 2015

Hello, readers! Dawn Kimberly Johnson here. I’m taking over the DSP blog until 5 p.m. EST. Hope your Monday is going well. Mine certainly is.

AnswerIs[The]LGI’m here to introduce my new novel The Answer Is. It’s the sequel to Good Question and continues the love story of Lonnie Bellerose and Jamison Coburn, two men struggling to trust in their feelings and get on with it already.

GQ200I was first published in 2009, and since then I’ve heard many comments about the gay romance genre lacking in the diversity department. So eventually I wrote Good Question with two African American main characters. They obviously have a few things in common: they’re black, male, and gay. But somehow, through very different life experiences, they’ve both come to the conclusion that they’re not good enough.

Jamison is trying to live up to the memory of his honest, loving father, and Lonnie has been traumatized twice by men who were supposed to love him, but instead made him feel worthless and just…wrong.

Doubt and fear tend to hold us back from what we want most. Don’t do that.

What doubts or fears are you working to overcome, or have overcome in your life? Leave your comment below for a chance to win the ebook of Good Question and an autographed paperback copy of The Answer Is.

On Wednesday, June 17, I’ll draw a name at random and announce the winner by noon. Good luck. There will be other chances to win today, so hang in there.

If you’d like to find me around the web, check these out:

Twitter

Blog

Facebook

GLBT Bookshelf

Try The Grey Stuff, It’s Delicious!

June 5, 2015

Hey, it’s Robert.

I didn’t get locked up in Disney jail for trying to jump on an imaginary character. Woo hoo!

Before I go I want to thank all of you who have been reading and commenting today. I really appreciate it. I’m all new to this world where I get to share my work with people (who I’m not related to) and get honest opinions about it.

If you ever wanted to chat about books or discuss what Joss Whedon is up to, please feel free to contact me on Facebook (facebook.com/robbiewrites), Twitter (twitter.com/wonderrobbie) or GoodReads (goodreads.com/wonderrobbie).

I had to shut down my MySpace page because it’s not 2005 anymore.

On those sites, you’ll find some excerpts, “dream casting” and other goodies including the random thoughts that plague my mind at any given time of the day.

Y’all are fantastic and thank you again!

All my best from the land where dreams are made of…

Cindy

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo

June 5, 2015

Hey there! It’s Robert Halliwell again. How you been since the last time we chatted? Good I hope.

So, some people have asked me what or who inspires me and my writing.

It’s an interesting and daunting question because I’m inspired by way too many things all at the same time. It can be quite exhausting.

Art, especially music and animation, influences me the most. It could be a song I can’t get out of my head or a Disney character I relate (in unhealthy amount) to.

Us snow queens are a rare breed.

Broadway is another big influence. In fact, the title of my book, A Way Back to Then, is a song from the Broadway show [title of show]. No, really, that’s the name of the show. Go Wikipedia it if you don’t believe me.

See? I told ya.

 

Now, go YouTube the song A Way Back to Then and you’ll understand why I chose it to be the title of my book.

Good song, right?

My biggest influence for my book is the show (now movie) Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim. For those who may are not familiar, it takes all those famous fairy tales we grew up reading and flips them on their heads in a funny, beautiful and even sad way.

A Way Back to Then is just that. What happens AFTER you get the happy ending? Is everything all singing flatware and glass slippers?

As much as I love Disney, often times I wonder what our beloved characters are doing after the credits roll.

(We won’t discuss the awful sequels that have been released over the years, don’t worry. Well, except Beauty & the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas because it was amazing.)

I took those “What if?” ideas, threw it in a blender and poured out my book.

I just hope it all makes sense.

I’ll be back in little bit so please keep this comments coming in. And please forgive me if it takes me a bit. I’m currently in Disney World right now (yes, seriously) and I’m trying not to get arrested from stalking Gaston.

Wish me luck!

Castle