Harmony Ink Presents… A Guest Post by Hayden Scott

March 22, 2016

Is there anything more annoying than a rule follower? Someone who always does what the instructions say, even if the shortcuts are obvious? Someone who doesn’t think too hard about why they’re doing something, because the process was created by people who know better?

I was that guy. I still am to an extent, but I really, really was in high school, even up through undergrad. I think it’s an easy trap to fall into. We spend a decade and a half training kids to trust authority and trust the system, and then we wonder why they resist change and don’t think outside the box. It’s also a great explanation for: 1.) why we as a society don’t fix broken systems, and 2.) the gnawing terror inside each of us that we are a fraud and everyone else has their life figured out.

One of my favorite things about turning thirty is the absolute certainty that nobody around me has any idea what they’re doing.

It was a gradual process to get here. I didn’t believe it at first. It had to be proven to me over and over that there really are very few “experts” in the world. Entering the corporate workforce helped a lot with that.

The quote that “decisions are made by those who show up” is equally inspiring and terrifying, because it’s true. Most organizations will make do with what they have, and that leads to people with generalized skill sets making decisions about very specific problems which they may or may not have any actual experience with. As far as I can tell, every major system and process in our society was created by a bunch of under-qualified people making educated guesses based on limited information.

Unsurprisingly, we screw up—a lot.

I think acceptance of that fact a right of passage. To me, the most important aspect of the coming of age tale is discovering that no one has the answers, especially not the adults you put your faith in. I’d say that’s more significant than finding your own self-confidence. Maybe one inevitably leads to the other.

In “Refraction,” Crush Goodman may be the love interest, but it’s his coming of age tale—Max just has to drag him to it, kicking and screaming. It’s hard to find out you’re not as heroic as you thought you were.

Crush’s mistake is that he assumes he’s the hero of the story because that’s what it says on his résumé. The city (or, the people in charge of running it) branded him a superhero, because it walked like a duck and talked like a duck. And Crush definitely fits the part—he believes in heroism down to his core. He just doesn’t realize that when he puts away bad guys, he’s also cleaning up messes for the corrupt city mayor and associated businessmen. It’s the perfect cover, and Crush is too virtuous to see a double-cross under his nose.

Which leads to another question—is heroism in the intention or the act?

Max and Crush figure it out together in “Refraction,” available for sale March 24th.

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Check out Refraction!

Blurb: 

Max Jackson is your typical teenage boy, concentrating on his classes at school and being accepted into a good university after graduation. There’s just the small matter of the bomb in his basement, one Max and his fellow members of the “Injustice League” plan to use to level their city’s unethical government. Too bad superhero Crush Goodman puts a stop to their plans. Max understands why Crush would steal the League’s doomsday device, but why is Crush following him around and acting like they’re friends? When the reprehensible Doctor Decay butts his head into Max’s business, Max has to figure out how to save the city he’s always worked to destroy—with or without Crush’s help.

 

The Dream Team with Lex Chase

March 19, 2016

Checkmate: The Dream Team by Lex Chase

Hello, Internet! Lex Chase here with my final #dreamer column, where we look back on the Dream Team. Who are these guys? These are my boys that started my whole magical Dreamspinner Press journey, Memphis Rook and Hogarth Dawson of Checkmate.

Checkmate began with a little novella called Pawn Takes Rook released with DSP on March 13, 2013! It’s the story of disgraced superhero Memphis Rook and his rise back to redemption alongside his sidekick/boyfriend Hogarth Dawson. Told from Garth’s POV, it’s the dark and angsty tale of Batman from the POV of a hyperactive chipmunk. There’s action, adventure, explosions, snark, and oodles of pop-culture references. We’re talking hundreds of them.

In another life, I was once a comic artist. And Checkmate was my love letter to the comics I grew up with. Campy, fun, cheesy, and a little (okay a lot) tear-jerky. Over the span of three novellas, Pawn Takes Rook, Cashing the Reality Check, and Conventional Love, the story had taken Rook and Garth on as much of a journey to find their way as heroes, but to find themselves.

The series ended on New Years Day 2014, and what a way to ring in the New Year. But it was a year later, our very own Lynn West approached me about collecting the series in an anthology for the fledgling DSP Publications and with an all new fourth novella and bonus material. Thus… Checkmate Ever After came into the world December 15, 2015 with DSP Publications.

And check out this amazing new cover by Anne Cain!

Checkmate Ever After by Lex Chase

Gorgeous, right? Anne’s got immense talent. Immense. And she and I talked comics, and rattled on about anime we loved, and the battle between Marvel and DC. We clicked. And in a way, she as well as with many kicks to the head from my friends, inspired me to dust off my own 12 year old Wacom Tablet and give it a go again and see if yes, this dog can still hunt.

I didn’t expect my tablet to work at all with Windows 10. And surprise. It actually works better after 12 years. At GRL 2014, I created Checkmate trading cards to hand out. Twenty cards in all with four “special” full color cards, they were fun and fueled by many hours of Investigation Discovery shows. I’ve seen so many episodes of Wives with Knives. So many. Just how many ways can a woman kill her partner? Many. Many ways.

So, I leave this final dreamer column with glimpses of what I used to do for a living, and what I’m starting to get back into. Please enjoy. :D

Garth by Lex Chase

Rook by Lex Chase

Garth by Lex Chase

Rook by Lex Chase

Like what you see? You can see the rest over here!

Now time for one last giveaway! And it’s a good one. A really good one.

First, tell me if it were up to you to save the world, who would be your sidekick? Nothing is too outlandish! Can be someone real, or a character you love. Dean? Sam? Castiel? Daryl Dixon? Captain Mal? All of the above? No matter what! Sky’s the limit!

Second, what are you saving the world from? Give me something. Anything. The more bizarre the better. And “I don’t know!” isn’t an answer. Gimme something!

What are you playing for?

One lucky US winner will walk away with a signed copy of the Checkmate Ever After paperback and one lucky international winner will score themselves the eBook!

Comments open until April 1st!

Until then, stay sharp, hero! The night is young!


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Photo courtesy of Madison Parker Photography.

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.

She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.

You can find in the Intarwebz here:

A Pictorial Emotional Thesaurus AKA The Many Faces of a Cowboy w/ BA Tortuga

March 15, 2016

A Pictorial Emotional Thesaurus

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and daughter to the best daddy in the history of daddies.

Y’all, Lew Squires. Lew Squires, y’all.

My daddy helped me out with a lovely pictorial layout of the many emotions of a cowboy.

Here goes:

 

SORROW

 

JOY

 

LUST

 

 

AGONY

 

 

WORRY

 

 

FURY

 

 

WHEN YOUR DAUGHTER READS HER M/M SEX SCENES ALOUD

 

Much love, y’all.

BA

 

Trial by Fire blurb:

One Aussie. One Texan. One baby. One hell of a fight.

When his sister and her husband are killed in an accident, Aussie cattle station owner Lachlan McCoughney rushes to Texas to rescue their infant daughter, Chloe. He expects to find his niece living in squalor with the Sheffields, a rodeo family.

Instead, Lachlan finds Holden Sheffield, a salt-of-the-earth cowboy running a huge business operation. They want to explore their mutual attraction despite the many problems thrown their way, and together, they must find a way to give Chloe a new family and find a love that spans thousands of acres and two continents.

 

Available March 15 from Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7492

In print: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7493

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Trial-Fire-BA-Tortuga-ebook/dp/B01C8V5U44/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1456771802&sr=8-1

All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-trialbyfire-1991421-149.html

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trial-by-fire-ba-tortuga/1123451801?ean=9781634769815

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com

 

Paris in the Springtime with Ariel Tachna

March 14, 2016

Who doesn’t love Paris?  And Paris in the spring may be my favorite season. Rather than try to put into words things that defy explanation, I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures of just why I love it so much.

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This isn’t any special street. It’s actually right up the street from our hotel, but turn your head and suddenly you’re staring at the Eiffel Tower.

 

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Or at other pieces of interesting architecture. Notice the tile design on the roof line of the curved turret.

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This one goes to show one of my favorite things about France. Old buildings aren’t torn down. They’re repurposed for a new and different use.

 

Okay, enough architecture. How about some spring pictures…?

 

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Not every day is beautiful in Paris, but even the dreary ones are dramatic.

 

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And if you get really lucky, you get sunsets like these.IMG_1484

 

And if you know the right people, you might even get…

 

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Lambs! (Okay, so that one doesn’t have anything to do with Paris, but it is in France in the spring and it was too cute not to share.)

Now that I’ve spammed you with pictures, you’re probably wondering what that has to do with At Your Service. Anthony has the chance to visit Paris in the spring as part of his job, and the last day he’s there is one much like I had when I took the first set of pictures (along with the hundred others I didn’t make you look at). He and Paul, a native Parisian, spend the day in the city doing their best to avoid tourist spots. They wander the residential streets and an out-of-the-way park and bask in the glory of Paris.

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Excerpt:

“What a perfect day!” Anthony said as they climbed the stairs to street level at their destination. “I’m not sure I’ve ever been in Paris on a day like this.”

“Have you ever been in Paris in the spring?” Paul asked. “Because this is not unusual for this time of year.”

“No, it’s either been in the summer when it was hot and not a breath of air to be found in the city or in the winter when it was cold and gray. Before I came in the summer the first time, I used to joke that the pictures on the postcards with blue skies behind the monuments were staged, with a huge blue cloth hung behind the buildings. I’d seen the buildings, but never the blue sky.”

“Then I’m glad we decided to spend the day outside,” Paul said. “You can visit the museums on cold, rainy winter days or the hot summer ones when you have to escape to somewhere with air-conditioning.”

“I’ve done plenty of escaping both kinds of weather, but not today. Come on. I want to see the park.”

“Let’s find food first. We can carry it with us until we’re ready to eat, but otherwise we’d have to come back out of the park when we get hungry,” Paul suggested, although the eagerness on Anthony’s face made him want to hurry so he could see Anthony’s reaction to the park. He didn’t come all the way across town often, but he had attended a cousin’s wedding several years ago and remembered well the manicured lawns and ornate stonework of the follies. They could easily spend hours wandering through the park, and this way they could do it undisturbed.

They found a charcuterie nearby and stocked up on ham and thinly sliced sausage, and the bakery next door netted them two baguettes to share. They walked back to the main entrance of the park through the wrought-iron gates tipped with gold leaf. “Even away from the center of town, everything is so ornate,” Anthony commented.

 

Blurb:

When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet—and sleep with—Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.

Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them—Paul wants sex, not a relationship—Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.

Still with me? Awesome! Share a picture of springtime in your favorite place to be entered to win a copy of At Your Service!

 

About Ariel:

ariel bio pic

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

Visit Ariel:

Website: www.arieltachna.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArielTachna

E-mail: arieltachna@gmail.com

 

Buy At Your Service in eBook or print

GRL or GayRomLit: If You’re Going, Here are Some Ideas on How to Tell Folks Where You’re Going

March 12, 2016

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Since today is the day registration opens for GRL, I thought this post was appropriate. It’s also appropriate as talking points for telling people why you love gay romance.

I once overheard some people talking about what they tell friends and family about their attendance at GRL, a retreat, as we all know, for lovers of gay romance. For a reason that’s alien to me, some of the people I overheard felt the need to not be totally open about the event they were attending. As a gay man who’s been out of the closet now almost more years than he was in, the secrecy is a bit hard to understand, but I guess there are still people out there who A. care what someone else thinks about how they spend their off time or B. there are people (like, say, maybe a teacher at a parochial grade school) who knows their association with ‘gay’ literature might be frowned upon.

Whatever the reason, I offer the following to help you decide what to say when people ask you about where you’re going and what you’ll be doing when you attend GRL.

For the straight folks in your life who have never heard of m/m romance

Now, for those of you who are open about where you’re going and people who don’t know your tastes in reading ask something like, “Gay romance? Why gay romance? You’re not gay, are you?” This is such a silly question, as if we have to confine our reading tastes to only who we are. Reading a book with African-American characters and you’re white? Why? Reading a story that’s about aliens from Mars and you’re not one? Why on Earth?

When you put it that way, you begin to see what a silly question it is. It would be like me, as a gay man, saying I don’t read stories with straight characters. I’m not straight, so how could a book about straight people possibly interest me?

Because I’m human! Because we’re all human! And our needs, desires, hopes, aspirations, and despair do not divide us; they unite us.

If someone wonders why you read m/m, you might clue them in that, in the end, you like reading about people falling in love. People. And then you might use the opportunity to tell them what’s so wonderful and different about m/m romance and why it makes sense not only for you to read, but why it also might make sense for them to step out of their comfort zone and give it a try.

For the gay folks in your life who wonder why m/m romance and not just gay fiction

And here, it gets a little trickier. I heard someone say on Facebook recently that m/m romance is by and for straight women and that gay romance is by and for gay men. Putting aside the inanity of trying to classify who reads and writes love stories, you still might have to talk to gay friends about what they might perceive as reading in a genre that’s not gender-appropriate for you, especially if you happen to be a gay man. Again, the same thing I said above applies–we’re all human. And human love stories, whether they’re about gay people or straight people, have a lot more in common than they have differences. Most of us want to find our happily ever after. Most of us have trouble getting there and may even have the misfortune of kissing a few frogs that did not turn into princes along the way. M/m, gay fiction, gay romance (my personal preference) whatever you want to call it, if it centers around two people falling in love, then it’s blind to gender and you really don’t have to defend your reading choices. Tell them that…and tell them that reading or writing about love is about our shared human experience and has very little to do with what’s between our legs, but what’s between our ears. And we all have that in common.

What to tell those who simply cannot know

So you may fall into the camp of someone, for whatever reason, must keep your attendance at a gay-related event on the down-low. I wish the world weren’t a place where this was sometimes necessary, but if it is in your case, you have lots of options (and these you can say without even lying). Tell ‘em you’re attending a fan convention for fiction, a romance convention, a get-together with other readers like you to compare notes and meet your favorite authors. See, the specifics are nobody’s business but your own. Yet, I urge you, if you possibly can, to be open about where you’re going. Come out of the closet! You might be surprised that people are not as judgmental or surprised as you think. And by being open, you bring the possibility of the good news of m/m fiction more out into the world at large.

What to tell people if you’re an author

I can only speak for me, and the answer to that question is easy. I come because I want to connect with my tribe. For each of the four years I’ve been coming to GRL as a featured author, my experience is always the same: it’s like a family reunion. It’s a chance, for almost a week, to be with the people I write for, the people who ‘get’ me and I them, and to connect with others who write what I do and be go fan boy on them. It’s truly a retreat…into a perfect world where everyone likes the same stuff as I do. I am not big on swag or giveaways. My best giveaway, I’ve always thought, is a smile and a hug. Those are the things that give me my biggest return.

And speaking of gay romance

BigLove

What I think of as my best gay romance–BIG LOVE–comes out on April 4. But you can preorder you copy in ebook here or in paperback here right now!

BLURB

Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay.

But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men. And a new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth himself is starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup. The last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.

As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.

 

NOH8Rick

RICK R. REED is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

FIND RICK:

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RickReedWRITER
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Website: www.rickrreed.com
Email: jimmyfels@gmail.com

 

 

Once Upon a Time… with Rowan Speedwell

March 10, 2016

ONCE UPON A TIME...

Hi, I’m Rowan Speedwell, and I’m delighted to announce that my novella Night and Day is being re-released by Dreamspinner. I hope that y’all are as happy as me, because I love yez and want you to be happy! So sit back and I’ll tell you a little story….

 

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who looooved fairy tales, and started studying history so she could find out where and when those beautiful castles were… only to find out that the only fairy castles in the world were built by a crazy man named Ludwig of Bavaria barely more than two hundred years ago. But that was okay, because by then the little girl had discovered that the stories history told were much more interesting than fairy tales.

In her pursuit – she was literally the only person who received a Master’s degree in the Department of Humanities, Division of History from the University of Chicago in 1981 (everyone else was in the Social Studies department, blech) – she learned about culture and art and science and philosophy and music and literature and all the good stuff, not just dates and places and names. And she learned about mythology, and how the true stories of mythology – particularly Greek mythology – told you more about the people and places and times as any dull ol’ Social Studies book (blech).

Particularly when she graduated from Edith Hamilton’s Mythology to Bulfinch’s Mythology, and then stuff got really good. The things those gods got up to!

Night and Day plays with the gods, although the names have been changed to protect the innocent – assuming we can find any. It’s based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I don’t know if you know that story, but basically it’s this: Orpheus was a brilliant musician, who Apollo and Dionysus, both gods of music, fought over because each wanted him to be their worshipper. Apollo won out, but Dionysus (or Bacchus, if you know that one better) wasn’t going to let the insult go. Ain’t that just like a god? Sheesh. Anyway, the only thing Orpheus loved more than music was his wife Eurydice. Sadly, she died, and was taken away to Hades. Orpheus went after her, because you apparently can do that sort of thing in mythology, and was brought before Hades himself and his own wife Persephone. He played for them and the music was so beautiful the two promised him anything he wanted, so of course he asked for Eurydice back.

But there was a catch. (Usually is with these god guys.) He had to lead her out of Hades (Hades being both the place and the god, as anyone who’s seen Disney’s Hercules would know) but couldn’t look at her. So he did, and just as he stepped out of the tunnel from Hades, she stumbled and cried out, and he looked at her instinctively – but she was still in the tunnel, still in Hades, and so she faded back into the darkness.

Poor Orpheus went mad with grief, wandering the wild places. And Dionysus’s groupies, a bunch of crazy women called Maenads, who ran around drunk on Dionysus’s grapes (he was also the god of wine) wearing animal skins and eating raw bunnies, came upon him and tore him apart. There may have been cannibalism involved. So Dionysus got his revenge.

Of course Nate Pederowski is a tougher character. He’s survived the First World War and the loss of his lover, and the loss of his career and family and pretty much all illusions he might have still had. But unlike Orpheus, the music keeps him going. And just because there’s some strange stuff going on in the Starlight Lounge, it doesn’t mean he’s going to give up. Even if his new lover has a tendency to catch fire in sunlight, and a local gangster is trying to lure him away, and the clubfooted chef has a volcanic temper, and people around Nate are just a little bit weird. But he gets by and even starts to see a future…

Until he meets the Maenads…

(Insert evil laugh here.)

And maybe, maybe, we might find ourselves at the Starlight again someday. Because I love me some myths and magic.

What’s your favorite myth? And why?

Email: rowan.speedwell@gmail.com
Twitter: @rowanspeedwell
Facebook: Rowan Speedwell
Website: www.rowanspeedwell.com

Check out Night and Day here!

NightandDayFS

Blurb: 

Nate Pederowski is about as far down as he can go when he’s tipped to a job as a singer in a speakeasy. Dishonorably discharged for being queer, broke and homeless during the Great Depression, Nate is embittered and lonely. The club’s handsome owner, Rick Bellevue, and his sister Corinna are wowed by Nate’s voice and offer him the job.

But the Starlight Lounge is much more than an ordinary supper club, and Rick and his sister much more than just the owners. It’s not ’til Nate gets caught up in a gangster’s plot that he discovers just what secrets they’re hiding. Nate’s life is going to change in ways he can scarcely imagine, let alone believe.

 

Spring Has (almost) Sprung with Xara X. Xanakas

March 10, 2016

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For a lot of us, this weekend marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. That magical time of year when we lose one hour of sleep. Then you have to wander around your house and change the time on everything. Your cell phone and computer should be smart enough to figure it out by themselves, but your microwave, oven, coffee maker, alarm clocks, all those glowing lights around your house that blink every time the power goes out, all those things wait for you to stumble around on one less hour of sleep to figure out how to reset them again.

If you’re wondering whose bright idea this was, it’s been around forever. Not all states observe it. And even though Benjamin Franklin suggested it, it wasn’t adopted in the U.S. until 1918.

But look at what we gain from losing that hour. An extra hour of daylight. That doesn’t just mean no more trudging commutes in the dark. It means spring is coming. The cold is moving out, making way for blue skies and warmer days. Trees waking up and flowers blooming. You’ve made it through another miserable winter, and brighter days are ahead. Spring forward and embrace it.

~xXx~

Ancient Greek Mythology Meets Hot Gay Sex with Arthur Griffin

March 9, 2016

Ancient Greek Mythology

What up, fellow fans of all things M/M!

My name’s Arthur Griffin, and I’m taking over the Dreamspinner Press Blog today for a totally boss reason: my erotic novella, The Lusty Adventures of Theseus, is being released today!

As an ardent fan of two dudes doing the ol’ bone dance (especially when I’m one of said dudes), I guess it seems only fitting I would eventually try my hand at writing erotica. That plus the fact that I’m, like, a HUGE nerd means it’s no real surprise that the story is set in the magical world of Greek mythology.

Ever since I was a little kid, I loved Greek mythology. For one thing, it always seemed pretty naughty to me. Everyone was hooking up and no one was wearing a lot of clothing. I know, sign me up, right?

But the other real reason was all the fantasy-esque tropes. Gods! Witches! Magic weapons! Studly heroes riding winged horses! That stuff is SO my jam. I was all about it as a little kid, and I’m all about it as a grown-ass man.

For you hardcore Greek myth fans out there, rest assured that Lusty Adventures sticks very close to the script of the original legend, just with, you know, a lot more descriptions of male genitalia. I mean, I take some artistic license with the story, like making King Minos of Crete an orgy-happy psycho, but most of it is pretty true to its source.

The biggest change I made to the story is the addition of male nymphs. Why male nymphs? Well, I wanted there to be a race that was basically the elves from Lord of the Rings, and nymphs, which are always kind of ambiguously described, seemed like a good fit.

All right, look, the truth is I wanted to explore my erotic fascination with Legolas, all right? Congratulations, you got me. Blame young Orlando Bloom. It’s his fault.

If you enjoy The Lusty Adventures of Theseus, guess what? There’ll be more where that came from! After all, there’s a whole lot of source material to tap into. Next on the horizon is The Lusty Journey of Perseus, aka the horniest, randiest, penis-full-iest version of Clash of the Titans you’ll ever read.

And that, my friends, is a solemn vow.

Now, for those of you who prefer romance over erotica, I do try to endow my stories with some actual emotional stuff. Any story that makes you laugh, cry, and get turned on is a win in my book, so that’s what I’m hoping you’ll get from mine.

There’s actually two love stories in Lusty Adventures, and I’m pretty proud of the emotional payoff for both of them. One is between Theseus and his lover, Pirithous (which is a legit mythological relationship), and the other features Iphitrion, a slave boy who I made up. Like I said, I stick mostly to the original myth, but it was a little shy on supporting characters, so I didn’t think padding it with some original creations would be too much of a crime.

One last thing, and I know this is maybe unusual for a M/M erotica piece, but it also actually passes the Bechdel test. For those not in the know, the Bechdel test measures how a work of fiction treats female characters by asking if there are at least two female characters who speak to each other about something other than a man. Though it’s an admittedly brief exchange, it happens in Lusty Adventures.

So, bottom line: if you like funny, sexy stories with hot naked guys, gods, satyrs, minotaurs, swordfighting, magic, and… um… I mentioned hot naked guys, right?… then you’ll love The Lusty Adventures of Theseus.

Now, as I said, I’ve always been a fan of Greek myth, and Theseus and the Minotaur has always been a special one to me. What’s your favorite myth? Let me know in the comments! It can be from anywhere and any time in the world—it doesn’t have to be Greek myth, specifically. And bonus points for mentioning how it can be turned into a hot guy-on-guy sausage fest! I’d love to hear all about it.

 

For more Arthur Griffin-y goodness, you can follow me on the interwebs!

Twitter – www.twitter.com/MrArthurGriffin

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Email - MrArthurGriffin@gmail.com

Check out The Lusty Adventures of Theseus today!

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Blurb:

The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur has never been quite this steamy!

Handsome Theseus journeys to Athens to claim his birthright as heir to the throne, and along the way he meets the roguish Pirithous, who teaches him all about matters of the heart—and body. When they reach the city, Theseus is shocked to discover that his father, the king, has a tradition of sacrificing young people to the Minotaur, the monster that inhabits the island nation of Crete.

Theseus and Pirithous, along with Iphitrion, a slave boy they befriend, set out to slay the Minotaur. After learning Crete is ruled by a mad tyrant with a fetish for orgies, Theseus puts his new skills to the test, fighting, flirting, and fornicating his way through the ranks, working his way past soldiers, satyrs, and gods alike as he attempts to accomplish his goal and save his city.

It’s a Kind of Magic with Tam MacNeil – Post + Giveaway

March 8, 2016

It's a Kind of Magic

Ever knocked on wood? Ever thrown a little salt over your shoulder? Maybe it’s because you secretly believe in magic. I grew up in a family that carefully saved the wishbones from fowl and hung horseshoes over doors (tips facing up, if you please). Grandma read tea leaves, and kept the clock that stopped the day Grandpa died. When I was growing up, as far as I was concerned, the world was full of unseen powers and the occasional charm or spell during the day was only to be expected.

The question I always asked myself (and never got answered) was who you’d call if the supernatural world got rowdy and out of control. I figured there had to be some kind of supernatural police force. Some folks who knew about monsters and gods and modern magic, who could break bad luck curses no matter where they came from, and who could prosecute the criminal elements of the unseen world.

Salt and Iron is the story of one of those families. You’ve heard of them, the same way you know about knocking on wood. They’re the van Helsing family.  Sure, they have an old Dutch name, but this branch of the family settled in the US a hundred years ago and they’re thoroughly American these days. Now it’s not just vampires, now whether it’s sidhe, Loa, or fay, a god or a monster, they hunt them all. It’s a family tradition. And they’ve got a big ol’ family secret too.

Lucky for James van Helsing, youngest son and total screw up, he doesn’t have to deal with monsters and magic alone. He’s got his best friend Gabe to lean on. So what if James is maybe super ultra in love with Gabe and can’t bear to tell him? It’s enough to have Gabe in his life, even at a distance. That is, until the monsters make Gabe one of their own.

 

Giveaway: We live in pretty rational times, but let’s face it, from horoscopes to playoff beards to lucky socks, we still believe in magic. Tell me about a magical practice you learned as a kid and where you grew up to enter to win a copy of my short story Four Alternative Christmas Presents.

 

Contact info: I write all kinds of stories, from contemporary romance (as T Neilson) to superhero stories and urban fantasy (as Tam MacNeil). If you want to keep up with my latest releases, get reading recs, read musings on plot and story structure, and if you want to know the best chocolate I’ve tasted lately, you can find me at TwitterFacebookTumblr, or, even better (because, hey, inside scoop and book giveaways!) you can sign up for my newsletter at Mailchimp. 

Check out Salt and Iron today!

SaltAndIronFS

Blurb:

James van Helsing is the youngest son of the famous monster-hunting family—and the family’s big disappointment. He’s falling in love with Gabe Marquez, his oldest friend and son of the family the van Helsings have worked alongside for years. Things get even harder for James when he becomes what he and everyone else despises most—a magic user.

He didn’t mean to evolve into such a despicable person, and he knows using magic is illegal, but there’s nothing James can do about it, no more than he can stop himself from loving Gabe. Just when things can’t seem to get worse, he and Gabe are called to help nab a network of magicians who are changing destiny. Not just any destiny, but the destinies of the van Helsing and Marquez families. James foresees a terrible fate, one in which monsters emerge from the cracks, along with his dark secret. And that’s when people start to die.

That 80s Song with Grace R. Duncan – Post + Giveaway

March 7, 2016

That 80s Song

Hello! Thank you for joining me today on the Dreamspinner blog! I’m really excited to celebrate the release of my second Forbes Mates book, Patience, with you! There’s a huge blog tour going with the release and lots of opportunities to win prizes, so be sure to keep up with the whole thing to get all of them.

This is the first stop on the Music Clues part of the blog tour. Links to all the stops can be found on my website at the blog tour page: http://www.grace-duncan.com/graces-blog/patience-blog-tour

I’m a huge music fan and when I sat down to write Patience, I’d figured out pretty quickly that Chad was, as well. Jamie’s human mate, in fact, has an almost unhealthy obsession with 80s music (and the 80s as a whole). He also has a tendency to quote (or, rather, refer to them since I didn’t want to get into copyright trouble ;) ) the songs as well.

This led me to end up with some twelve different 80s songs hinted at in the story. So, for each of the twelve songs, one of the blogs in the tour (twelve of them) will host a clue to a song as well as the answer and excerpt to another of the songs. There’s no order to it, I used a (probably faulty) twelve-sided die to decide the order. The Rafflecopter below will have an entry to the big giveaway for each of the twelve clues.

For today, I’d like to offer up one of the answers first, then we’ll get to the clue to another farther down.

The song is Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds from the 1985 film, The Breakfast Club. I admit the clue is a tough one, but hopefully you got it before finding the answer here!

You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdqoNKCCt7A

And the excerpt from Patience:

A few minutes later, they both had fresh drinks and Chad’s laptop set up across their two tray tables. Chad opened up a folder of movies and glanced over. “Ever seen The Breakfast Club?

Jamie shook his head. “Is this another eighties thing?”

Chad grinned. “Only the penultimate in eighties movies. John Hughes—the director—is legendary for teen angst movies during the eighties, and Breakfast Club is, like, the top from him.”

Jamie chuckled. “All right. Go ahead.”

They put their headphones on and Chad clicked Play. Jamie recognized the song that started as one he’d heard on Chad’s Pandora station a number of times. He grinned at the screen, whispering along to the lyric about not forgetting. He only remembered a few of the lines, but Chad, of course, was mouthing along with the whole thing.

He got lost in the movie, surprised to find himself thoroughly enjoying it. It wasn’t that he didn’t like comedies, he’d just never seen himself as an ’80s teen angst fan. He actually had to stop himself from whistling along when the students did. He slapped a hand over his mouth a few times to keep from laughing out loud. And when Bender pumped his fist as he crossed the football field at the end, Jamie did too, right along with Chad.

 

And the next clue is here:

“Sammy Hagar’s voice came through the speakers, complaining about driving slow…”

For twelve of the stops on the tour, there will be a clue (the reference) to one of the songs and an answer with excerpt for one of the other songs. You can see which blogs are participating on the blog tour page above.

Each tour stop will have an individual prize as well as an entry into the grand prize.  Good luck! And thanks for participating!

Follow tour here.

Blurb:

Jamie Ryan was almost ready to accept he’d never find his destined mate. They’re uncommon to begin with and same-sex versions downright rare. Since his gay best friend found a destined mate, Jamie figured he was out of luck. Until end of semester stress forces him to go through the full-moon shift early. Stuck in wolf form, he runs into none other than his destined mate. Who’s human.

Chad Sutton has always had good instincts. They served him well as a detective and continued on when he went private. Those instincts tell him there’s something about the dog that comes up to him while running away from animal control that isn’t quite right. He works to put the pieces together, but is unsuccessful until his dog turns into a human before his eyes.

Jamie has no idea what a shifter’s mate bite will do to a human. He’s terrified to try—and possibly kill his mate. They hunt together for answers while working together on a case for Chad. It’s easy to see they belong together, but Jamie fears the gods gave him someone he can’t keep.

Buy links: Dreamspinner ◊ Amazon ◊ AReB&N ◊ Kobo

About Grace:

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble.  Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Find Grace here:

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