The Android and the Thief: A Transformative Experience w/ Wendy Rathbone

April 3, 2017

A Transformative Experience with Wendy Rathbone

 

 

Hi to all readers of m/m romance. My name is Wendy Rathbone and I have just released my novel “The Android and the Thief.”

This book is a romance set in a far flung future with some dark elements but a lot of heart and two main characters who really came to life for me.

The story was great fun to write. It is difficult to say exactly where the idea originated. The way I generate ideas is to make lists of my favorite things to read including plot points, characteristics of people, etc. I also create prompts for myself with words, phrases or poems. I take some of these prompts and mix them up, pairing things that might seem at odds, then figuring out the story from there.

For this book I knew I wanted a character who was an indentured servant, someone with no rights or freedom to choose his own destiny. The idea of having characters with all choice taken from them has always intrigued me. So I often write about themes involving people who are slaves or created beings or in some way imprisoned. I had created an idea in the past of “androids” who are actually human in every way, simply enhanced genetically to be near-perfect, and grown in vats. Born adult with implanted memories of false childhoods, these “androids” become expensive toys for the rich and decadent, or expendable as space military combat soldiers. (Yes, I am a fan of Blade Runner.) The problem is these androids are fully functioning, physical humans and so this manufacturing process can actually create emotionally damaged or stunted beings if their imprinted programming roles break down and they begin to “wake up” and think outside their given parameters. Thus, Khim, one of the two main characters in the book, was born to my mind.

I love characters with dark pasts, or who are emerging from mind-jolting, mind-awakening traumas.The character of Khim came to life for me a little at a time. I knew he would be a combat soldier, the only life he’d ever known. I knew he would be injured and forced, after ten years, into another life he was not prepared for. Because of his enhanced beauty, that life was going to be a brothel, and it was not going to be pleasant. But it was the only way I could think of to break him and create a story about his slowly emerging real self, an abrupt introduction to his true humanity, and to the transformative experience of eventual love.

Next, in walks Trev, who has lived a very privileged life, the son of a dynamic crime figure whom he cannot escape. Trev’s story, like Khim’s, is also about breaking out of a kind of prison, one where his life is owned and manipulated by his controlling father.

So I have two characters trying to break away from their pasts and, to make things even worse, both get thrown into prison together as cellmates. Khim knows a secret about Trev which makes him hate him right away, so there is lots of conflict. But they aren’t bad guys, not really, and they soon learn that to defeat their demons they are stronger together.

When I put all those ideas together in my head, the story wrote itself.

If I were asked to pick a favorite character between the two, Trev or Khim, I don’t think I could. Each has his own specific problems and thoughts. Each was an equally fun point of view to write.

For readers, I have a question. Who are your favorite characters who are broken but healing, with tragic pasts? You can name from any media, books, TV, movies.

Wendy Rathbone

 

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Rathbone/e/B00B0O9BMS/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1490462215&sr=1-2-ent
Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/cqDVcX
Blog: http://wendyrathbone.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.rathbone.3

 

Check out The Android and the Thief today!

 

The Android and the Thief by Wendy Rathbone

Blurb:

Will love set them free—or seal their fate?

In the sixty-seventh century, Trev, a master thief and computer hacker, and Khim, a vat-grown human android, reluctantly share a cell in a floating space prison called Steering Star. Trev is there as part of an arrangement that might finally free him from his father’s control. Khim, formerly a combat android, snaps when he is sold into the pleasure trade and murders one of the men who sexually assaults him. At first they are at odds, but despite secrets and their dark pasts, they form a pact—first to survive the prison, and then to escape it.

But independence remains elusive, and falling in love comes with its own challenges. Trev’s father, Dante, a powerful underworld figure with sweeping influence throughout the galaxy, maintains control over their lives that seems stronger than any prison security system, and he seeks to keep them apart. Trev and Khim must plan another, more complex escape, and this time make sure they are well beyond the law as well as Dante’s reach.

 

About the Author:

Wendy Rathbone lives with a cat, three dogs, and her partner of thirty-six years, Della. She has been writing since the age of twelve. She lives in the high desert of southern California.
Male/male romance has been a passion of Wendy’s since before the signature “m/m” was even invented. She wrote a lot of slash fanfic in various fandoms to assuage that obsession but moved on to original writing in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, where she is published in many anthologies and magazines.
She is an award-winning poet, a graduate from UCSD, and runs her own retail business. Her self-published science fiction and m/m romances can be found on Amazon, and her novel The Android and the Thief is available everywhere.
Wendy’s blog: wendyrathbone.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.rathbone.3
E-mail: wrathbone@juno.com

Kelly Jensen: Dating Ideas for Henry and Marc – Post + Giveaway

April 3, 2017

Date Ideas with Kelly Jensen

 

Poor Henry and Marc. They haven’t had a good dating history so far. When they first get together, it’s because they’re trapped on the side of a road during a blizzard. On Christmas Eve, no less. Then, on New Year’s Eve, they get trapped in a basement. To Marc’s credit, he did pick a good date location. They should have been safe in the home of senior partner Shelly Flores. But, really, would these guys be safe anywhere?

For fun (see, this is why my characters hate me) I thought I’d check out a few recommended “first date” recommendations on the internet, and see if they’d work for Henry and Marc.

POPSUGAR has a list of 22 Kiss-Friendly New Year’s Eve Date Ideas. The second is a sunset picnic. Okay, I guess that could work if you were in the right climate for it, but Boston in December? Ugh, no. That’s just asking for disaster. Also, I couldn’t even look at the food on their pretty little blanket without thinking ALLERGIES. Going into anaphylactic shock on a date is…memorable? But not particularly kiss-friendly.

The sexy movie marathon could work…

AskMen’s Top 10: New Year’s Eve Ideas has a fun first suggestion: A quick getaway. Really? Putting Henry and Marc on any form of public transport is just asking for trouble. A quick cab ride across the city is risk enough.

Staying home for a quiet, romantic dinner sounds nice.

Bustle has 7 Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Date Night Ideas. Last minute is probably not a good idea and not really Marc’s thing, but… Okay, going to the movies could work. If no one chokes on the popcorn. But the DIY fireworks are OUT. Not giving these guys anything explosive, any time soon.

So, Astroglide (don’t laugh) has 21 Sexy Winter Date Ideas for Guys on Any Budget. I love the second suggestion, sledding in the park. It’s fun, it’s romantic, it’s different… and it’s ripe for disaster, broken limbs being the least among them. Now in any normal story, this date would happen during the day. Henry and Marc on a sled at night in a park in Boston on New Year’s Eve? I’ll just let your imagination run with that one for a little while.

Gay Life at About.com has a nice list of Untraditional Date Ideas. First thought is that untraditional is probably not a good idea for these guys. Second thought is, maybe that’s what we need. (Also, I am very amused that these ideas are specifically for gay couples, because we all know they don’t enjoy traditional date ideas, right?) So, number two is out. No rollercoasters. Roller skating probably isn’t a good idea, either. But I’m not really coming up with any objections to bowling. Might have to think laterally for that one. Where is this bowling alley and how would they get there? Do they serve peanuts at the snack shop? Has Marc ever actually bowled before?

It’s not looking good for Henry and Marc, is it? All joking aside, though, I’d like to think the worst is behind them. Such a rocky beginning can only guarantee a smooth ascent from here on, right?

Oh, absolutely.

Thanks for following my tour! At the end of every post, I’ll be asking a question. Leave a comment with your answer (and your email address). Every comment throughout the tour counts as an entry in my giveaway. One winners will receive $15 (US or equivalent) to spend at the Dreamspinner Press store.

Question: Do you have a date idea for Henry and Marc?

 

Check out Counting Down today!

 

Counting Down by Kelly Jensen

Blurb: 

It’s been a week since a Christmas Eve blizzard changed the course of Marcus Winnamore’s life. Plan A is now Plan B, and the first item on his new agenda is taking Henry Auttenberg on a date. They’ve been invited to a New Year’s Eve party, and Marc is counting down the hours until midnight… until he can kiss Henry in front of his colleagues and friends.

Things don’t quite work out to plan. Finding the elevator out of service, Marc and Henry check the stairs, only to choose the wrong door and become locked in the basement. Close quarters once again make for close conversation, and as they explore every avenue of escape, they also explore the deepening attraction between them. For Marc, this isn’t an experiment. Will he still feel that way when he has to admit to someone other than Henry that he’s gay?

 

About Kelly Jensen:

Kelly Jensen was born in Australia and raised everywhere else. Currently, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and herd of four cats. After disproving the theory that water only spins counterclockwise around drains north of the equator, she turned her attention to more productive pursuits such as reading, writing, writing about reading, and writing stories of her own. She also enjoys volunteering at her local library, playing video games, and holds a brown belt in Kiryoku, a martial art combining Shotokan, Aikido, and Tang Soo Do. Her family is not intimidated by her.
Twitter: @kmkjensen
Website: kellyjensenwrites.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kellyjensenwrites

Cowboys! W/ Tory Temple

March 31, 2017

Cowboys! With Tory Temple

 

Hey everybody! I’m Tory, and I’m so happy I get to talk to you about my favorite topic (AFTER firefighters)!

COWBOYS YAY.

My novel Down in the Dirt was released earlier this week and I couldn’t be happier! Dreamspinner has been so generous with allowing me to republish some of my old novels. This was formerly released with another publisher under the title Tabula Rasa. It’s got a brand-spanking-new title, cover, and edit.

I actually wanted to call this book Down in the Dirt from the beginning, but I was also going through this weird writing phase where my book titles had to be vague yet meaningful. Tabula Rasa literally means “blank slate”, and there’s a part in the story where…. ha. No spoilers! Anyway, I’m glad it got renamed.

I did have to do a fair bit of research on team ropers, but once I started, it didn’t feel like work to me at all. It was so interesting to learn the ins and outs of the rodeo circuit, especially because I make it a habit to go to the rodeo every time it’s local. One thing I was really pleased to find out was how humanely the animals are treated. They’re actually worth a lot of money to the owners, so the last thing the rancher wants is for a steer or horse to be injured. Serious precautions are taken to avoid injury!

Teagan and Cash are pretty much the epitome of the “enemies to lovers” trope, but I don’t mind that they fall into that category. A good personality clash really makes things interesting, at least from my perspective. And trust me when I say these two clash. Fortunately for them, they’re extremely compatible in the rodeo ring. (And maybe some other places, but they won’t admit it.)

This book was actually an EPPIE finalist back in the day, and I’m really proud of it. Thank you so much for letting me chat a little! I sincerely hope you love Teagan and Cash as much as I do.

Happy roping!

 

Tory would be happy to chat with readers in the following places:

Website: www.torytemple.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/torytemple
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ToryTemple

 

Check out Down in the Dirt today!

 

Down in the Dirt by Tory Temple

Blurb:

Rodeo cowboy Teagan has inherited his father’s ranch, and it’s in a bad way. To pay his bills, he’ll have to work the rodeo circuit hard, and for that he needs a partner. Team roper Cash is just the ticket. He’s not the friendliest sort, but he has a good seat and a better roping arm, so Teagan takes Cash on and things heat up fast. Maybe too fast.

When Teagan finds out he’s not the only one Cash has in the saddle, he thinks they’re over for good. But then Cash has an accident, and Teagan cares too much about Cash to abandon him. How will he deal with a new Cash, one with no memory of being a bit of an asshole—or of a relationship with Teagan? And how will Cash react when he realizes Teagan has been less than forthcoming about their past?

Like any good rodeo ride, Teagan and Cash have ups and downs, crashing and burning as often as they blaze bright. But to make their love work as smoothly as their roping, they’ll have to push past deception and stubborn pride.

Leigh Carman: Football, the Patriots, and an Out of Control Imagination

March 23, 2017

 

Football Patriots

 

Football, the Patriots, and an Out of Control Imagination—Just another day in the life of Leigh Carman.

Hello fellow readers of Dreamspinner! I’m Leigh Carman and today marks the release of Fair Catch, book 2 in the Players of LA series. Don’t worry, they’re standalone novels, but characters from other books do make cameos from time to time just to keep things fun and interesting.

I’d like to talk sports for a minute. After spending the first 27 years of my life in New England, yes, I’m a die-hard Patriots fan. I know, I know. Most of you are tired of hearing about the Pats and their many, many, many Superbowl rings. I get it. But hey, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still completely awesome for my team to win! Well, after writing book 1 in the Players of LA series as a result of accidentally watching a men’s beach volleyball tournament on TV, I couldn’t help but turn to my favorite sport, football, as my muse for book 2.

Plucked directly from the ranks of my home team, I created Sullivan “Van” Archer, an amazingly talented, very tall, very hunky, and very blond wide receiver (those of you with any knowledge of the Patriots will easily figure out who was my inspiration for Van). To complete him, I came up with Van’s exact opposite, Toby Bennett, a slender, super flexible, fashion-challenged, yoga instructor. They are the yin and the yang that give us that oh-so-awesome friction and heat between the main characters, and trust me, when Van and Toby get together, the sparks burn hot enough to melt your e-reader.

I don’t know why I find professional athletes so fascinating. No, that’s a lie. It’s because I love strong, determined, and hard working, men, who possess that natural confidence I find undeniably hot. Believe me, when I watch sports with my husband, I can always count on him at some point, turning to stare at me with one eyebrow raised. He knows exactly what goes through my head when I see two attractive athletes fight and tussle on the screen—1) How can I put this in a book? and 2) What would happen if the men were secret lovers? We all have our weaknesses, mine just happens to be a very overactive imagination.

That’s how Fair Catch came to be. I hope you enjoy reading Van and Toby’s story. It’s been a long time in the making. I know a fair amount of you will ask about Toby’s BFF, the loud and proud Leo Greenway. Don’t worry, you’ll find out all about Leo and his brightly colored Chucks soon enough. He’s currently a work in progress, but I’m just about finished helping him find the love of his life.

I mentioned my favorite sport is football. Now it’s my turn to ask you a couple of questions. What is your favorite sport? Or your favorite team or even favorite athlete? Just comment below. Bonus points to anyone who guesses my inspiration for Van Archer.

Happy reading!

 

Check out Fair Catch today!

 

Fair Catch by Leigh Carman

Blurb:

Two men.

One night of passion.

They never expected to see each other again.

They were wrong.

Tobias Bennett is a quiet and unassuming man who teaches yoga and enjoys parkour. Though he is proud to be gay, an abusive relationship with a domineering man has left Tobias wary of romance, and he keeps to himself in his tidy Los Angeles apartment.

Pro football player Sullivan Archer is Tobias’s complete opposite: loud, brash, fond of the spotlight… and deep in the closet. When a hamstring injury sends Van to Tobias as part of his therapy, neither of them is expecting to come face-to-face with his one-night stand. Now they’re stuck together throughout Van’s healing process, and the close proximity will force them to deal with some hard truths. For Tobias, it’s realizing his hookup is a celebrity. For Van, it means accepting that he likes Tobias more than he wanted. They’ll both have to acknowledge that if they choose to pursue a relationship, their lives will change in big ways.

 

Leigh Carman

About the Author:

Leigh Carman was born and raised in New England with all of its fall foliage and winter snow. She escaped to the South, where she currently lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.

She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate—everyone knows it’s not real chocolate so it doesn’t count), and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.

Leigh also writes M/F dark romance under the name Heather C. Leigh. She also loves exploring the underbelly of fame and the crushing weight of those under the microscope 24/7.

Leigh Carman

Ken Bachtold: Creating Theater

March 22, 2017

 Creating Theater with Ken Bachtold

 

Of all five books that I’ve been fortunate enough to have Dreamspinner publish, this one is the closest to my heart, in that it’s semi-autobiographical.  Like Nick in the story, I did graduate from San Francisco State University with a BA & MA in theater and a minor in Art. Instead of taking a great teaching job at San Francisco City College (where I would eventually become head of the entire drama department–with, at that time, a highly unusual for a college, top of the line professional Eisenhower light board and automatic scene changing system–I fell into the “lure of the big time” and came to New York.

I’d been lucky enough to get an Equity card in S.F. by playing The Boy’s Father in the ongoing production of The Fantasticks! at Ghirardelli Square. However, this turned out to be false security, as I soon found out that whenever I entered an audition space, there were about fifty other guys who looked exactly like me! Finally, I was fortunate enough to get an audition for a projected musical titled Mata Hari (which never made it to Broadway) and I’d always been shaky singing since a choir director once said to me when I was about twelve years old, “I think you’d better go home, and come back when your voice finishes changing.”  Traumatized for life, I went home and didn’t murmur a musical sound until I tried out for West Side Story at school (I loved, loved, loved musicals, even then – nothing like the almost off-tune sound of a pit orchestra) and, lo and behold, got the part of Bernardo! That settled my fate going forward! But at the N.Y. audition, I was so nervous (the audition was in the afternoon, on the stage of a Broadway theater and it looked like a million empty seats staring back at me). I’d chosen an old standard, My Funny Valentine, and just before I started to warble, my knees began to shake, and my voice kept going up and up as I sharped through the whole song.  As I left, I hoped the people in the wings, who were waiting their turn, wouldn’t have noticed. I figured they did, because they all looked at the stage floor as I walked passed them!  Embarrassment to the nth degree!

At any rate, disappointed by events, I did, like Nick, start my own company (yes, called A Company of Players) where I directed five plays (before my money ran out!). And again, drawing from my own past, I wrote a play entitled, Starting Over which was accepted (six out of sixty) for the Ninth Annual Fresh Fruit Festival here in N.Y.  And, again, like Nick, I had two young people who didn’t learn their lines and I almost had to cancel the play . . . and . . . a “method actress” (a former FBI agent – I can’t make this stuff up) who made me crazy, just like Rosie does for Nick.

All the theater references are spot on, as I literally lived them myself. I do try to place my stories in New York to try and get a real authentic feel for the setting. And, being originally from San Francisco, I did actually ride the cable cars going to my dentist, and I did go to the Fairmont Hotel, and other hotels for formal affairs when in college. And, the street (Powell Street) is actually so steep that it has stairs on the sidewalk and when you have to stop at the top of the hill you’d better have your hand on the emergency brake and your foot hovering over the brake and the gas pedal, because when the light turns green, heaven forbid that you slip back, as you’ll crash into the car behind you (undoubtedly irritating the other driver just a bit).

So, that’s some of the events that I used in the story, and I hope all this information is interesting and helps! I tried to make this blog more chatty than the others so it would be different!

 

Check out A Company of Players today!

 

A Company of Players by Ken Bachtold

Blurb:

Leaving romantic wreckage behind him, Nick Charles and his best friend Barb Anderson use Nick’s sizable inheritance to fly to one of the most exciting places in the world—New York City—with plans to open their own theater. In doing so, they meet Ross Taylor, the handsome real estate man and actor, and Rudy his construction-worker cousin. Ross is determined to heal Nick’s fragile heart, while shy Rudy and oblivious Barb stumble toward their own connection. Will Rosie Dupree, a rigid method actress, and talented but devious Gordon Holmes destroy their theater dreams? Was choosing the original piece, Starting Over, by an unpublished young playwright the best move for opening night? Will the invited critic show up? Amid the frantic and colorful world of the New York City theater scene, Nick and Barb must open their hearts and risk everything for their endeavors to succeed—both on the stage and behind the scenes.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

 

About the Author: 

Ken Bachtold graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA and an MA in acting and directing and a minor in art. Passing up a great teaching job and surrendering to the “lure of the big-time,” he came to New York. After pounding the pavement and finding it wanting, he decided to shape his own destiny and founded A Company of Players Repertory Theatre, producing and directing five plays. Always an avid reader, his two Kindles probably store 500 books, mostly MM romance. Often frustrated at finding exactly the type of story he favored, he thought, What the hell, I should write one. And so he did!

BA Tortuga: Blame It On Poppy

March 21, 2017

Blame It On Poppy w/ BA Tortuga

 

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things cowboy.

So. A year ago, my dear friend Poppy Dennison says to the universe at large: I want secret baby books.

I said, “bah.”

I said, “I’m not writing a m/m secret baby story.”

I said, “Stuff and nonsense. Everyone’s going to write a—.”

Then my brain, which functions without any help or assistance from me at all said, “What if there was a cowboy who woke up one morning to find a baby in a basket on his doorstep?”

And Hoss said, “Is there a note? Folks don’t dump babies without a note or a necklace or something.”

And Bradley, Hoss’ Very Good Friend (trademark, patent pending) said, “You got what left on your doorstep?”

Hoss: “A baby.”

Bradley: “A baby what?”

Hoss: “Person.”

Bradley: “Is there a note? Folks don’t dump babies without a note.”

Hoss: “That’s what I said!”

This? This WHOLE thing?

Poppy’s fault.

All of it.

Blame her.

I do.

 

Much love, y’all.

BA

 

Check out Two Cowboys and a Baby today!

 

Two Cowboys and a Baby by BA Tortuga

 

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

 

Blurb:

A little bundle of joy means big changes.

Hoss McMasters has a working ranch, a bull riding career, a nosy momma, and a best friend he’s been in love with since he can remember. He’s a busy, happy cowboy, living the good life.

Then one morning he discovers a baby on his doorstep.

Well, Hoss does what any reasonable man would do—he calls his momma and his buddy, Sheriff Pooter, and they head to the clinic to see if Doc knows of any suddenly not-so-pregnant girls.

In the meantime, Hoss and his best friend, Bradley, have their hands full trying to care for an infant, run a ranch, and deal with the sudden confession that Bradley doesn’t hate Hoss for coming out to him in high school. In fact, Bradley’s been trying to catch Hoss’s attention for damn near a decade.

 

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

A Teacher and a Poet: Making Romance w/ Cy Blanca

March 15, 2017

Making Romance with Cy Blanca

 

Hi there. I’m Cy Blanca, and I have no idea what I’m doing. But before we get into that, I must extend a huge thank-you to the Dreamspinner Press family. Thank you for taking a chance on me. When I say I have no idea what I’m doing, that’s 64089% the truth. I’ve spent all my adult writing life (that is post high school) writing editorials and reviews for other people. Fiction is new territory for me, and for DSP to give me a chance really means so much. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Now with all the gushy stuff out of the way….

Seeing as this is a house that publishes stories of m/m love, I wanted to write about something we can all relate to on at least living vicariously through these characters: romance. I’m not going to wax philosophical (though this early in the morning I’m sure I could come up with some things to say that are both overblown and somewhat space-age-y, but let’s not). What I really want to focus on is the ways in which romance manifest themselves in this story, what it means to my two characters—because romance is probably the main reason why their relationship has worked for so long.

Curtis Ramírez is a poet. Period. His love of words is more than just an appreciation for language. It suffuses everything he does, everything he says. Words have become stitched into his DNA. Just breathing, walking, tasting is poetry. There’s no greater expression of that poetry than when he’s around his lover, Antony James. Antony has a less abstract approach to life, but romance is no less part of his character. He’s brash and unshy, but there’s a softness to him that speaks to Curt, an intangible silkiness that forces Curt to act.

When I was writing these two characters, I put so much of who I am into their creation. I’m more Curt than Antony, what with his love affair with language and his affinity for all things pretty and decadent. However, Antony and I both share a love of really good food and soft kisses, and we both need to feel reassured that they’re safe with the people around them from time to time. Both men are fiercely protective of each other and the people they care about. With that in mind, I had to set about creating a romance that was believable but maybe just a little bit fantastic in scope.

I draw much of my inspiration from music. In fact, most everything I write has a melody in it, something that physically moved me and gave me the emotional weight I needed for each scene. Considering just how in love the two of them are with each other, the music I listened to had to evoke this sense of abundant romance. There was a lot of D’Angelo, Van Hunt, and as I referenced in the story itself, Najubes. All of these artists in their own way know how to bring out the sensuality in the very air they breathe. Scenes that were playful and flirtatious had hints of Amel Larrieux and Van Hunt, while the rawer, more sexual situations were Maxwell, Nujabes, and Anderson .Paak. I wonder what everyone else listens to to create that candlelight and champagne mood between their boys—or with their own significant others. One can never have too much baby-makin’ music.

As much as I wanted the physical feel of my story to come from music, the more tender moments I drew on my experience in college. I got my degree in English writing with a focus on poetry. I can’t even hide it. Curt is most definitely a product of my experiences, while Antony is sort of an augmentation of my personality—maybe bordering on id territory….

When it came to fleshing out a story between them, it all started with a scene. I knew my guys were going to be completely involved with each other. With that—especially in a school setting—comes certain… complications. They want and need to be around each other, especially Curt—he is a poet after all. That idea, the image of needing a moment to reconnect physically, was the first image in my head when I decided to write about my birthplace, Topeka, KS. From there the story of these two men came to me.

Two gorgeous black men in love and incapable of hiding it. Oh, the places they went in my head before I settled where they finally went (not too far, in the end. They are teachers at a primary school after all). That makes me wonder, where are some of the most interesting places people have become… needy? You know, that tense feeling where you just need to touch something? Mine is fairly innocuous, I’m afraid—a friend’s bedroom while there was a party going on in the living room…

But, hey, we can’t all be as adventurous as Curt and Antony, right?

Thank you all for letting me blather on. Thank you again to the amazing DSP family. You all have just made my first experience with a published piece of work so memorable and really fun!

If you’d like to get in touch with me, see exactly how nuts I am:

Twitter: @madcywhite

Instagram: mindless_cy

K-music Twitter: @mindlesscy (if you want to spazz about Korean music with me)

 

 

 

Check out A Teacher and a Poet today!

 

A Teacher and a Poet by Cy Blanca

 

Blurb:

Shawnee County, Kansas, might not be the most accepting place for a gay couple, but boyfriends Antony James and Curtis Ramírez have made it their home. Both of them work at Pauline Central Primary School, and while Antony is content teaching, Curt would rather pursue his passion: poetry. He plans to resign, but he doesn’t get the chance.

Working together has its risks, and when a student witnesses Antony and Curt sneaking a kiss in the workroom, they’re reprimanded. The school board’s punishment is mild, but some members of the community aren’t willing to let the indiscretion go. That small mistake could cost Antony and Curt their home—or it could remind them that home is in the heart, and as long as they stay strong in their love, they’ll always have a place to belong.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

 

 

Author Bio:

Cy Blanca has enjoyed words since she was in elementary school. They hold magic powers for her, and she loves playing with them to see just what they can do. She got her degree in English poetry, but she’s been doing mostly editorial work for online magazines YAM Magazine, Rock ’N Seoul, and SeoulBeats (yeah… she loves Korean music and gets to interview folks and write about it). She’s exceptionally blessed to actually be able to do exactly what she went to school for, and fiction is a new avenue she’s trying to explore. Hopefully she can make some magic happen with the words she’s been in love with since she was in elementary school.

She’d love to hear from people who want to know a bit more about her, or just want to become homies.

You can reach her on Twitter: @madcywhite
You can also reach her on Instagram: @mindless_cy
(For K-pop related fangirling, venture over to @mindlesscy if you dare.)

 

CC Bridges: So Jersey – Post + Giveaway

March 15, 2017

 So Jersey w/ CC Bridges

 

When Dreamspinner first mentioned the idea of the States of Love series, I knew I needed to write for New Jersey. I’ve lived in NJ all my life. I’m so Jersey, I’ve never pumped my own gas. Heck, I’m so Jersey they even filmed an episode of the Sopranos in front of my childhood home.

For such a tiny state, Jersey has a lot of variety. There’s a dividing line between North, Central, and South Jersey, but the location of that line is not always agreed upon. I couldn’t tell you exactly where the split is between Yankees and Phillies fans (and let’s not even talk about the Mets fans:)

But for all our differences, there are a few things all native Jerseyans have in common – besides a hatred of traffic. The Jersey Shore is one of those places. Now, everyone has a different favorite, the shore is over 140 miles long after all.

The Jersey Shore

I moved down the shore about fifteen years ago, and while that still doesn’t make me a local, it’s allowed me simple pleasures – like standing on the boardwalk in the January cold, watching the ocean slam against the rocks. Plus, the arcades are open (and heated) in the winter. There’s a reason I’ve racked up so many game tickets that I’m on a VIP list of points holders.

The Jersey Shore

This is the world where I’ve set Love in the Time of Hurricanes. That magical vacation spot known as the Jersey shore, only long after the tourists have left, and just before the winter blows in. This world is new to Nick, the narrator of the story. He’s chosen to rent a shore house for the winter, to take a few classes at the local community college and figure himself out. He doesn’t expect to fall in love, but then again, he never expected to meet Lou.

I absolutely loved writing Lou. He’s adorable: loves to cook, has an appreciation for vintage things, and is ridiculously good at skee ball.

I hope you enjoy reading about these guys, and experiencing a little bit of my home state. I couldn’t live anywhere else (seriously, I’d have to learn how to pump my own gas!).

Tell me in the comments about your favorite place. Is it home? Is it the beach? Or maybe the mountains? All comments will be entered for a chance to win a $20 Dreamspinner Press Gift Certificate. (giveaway ends 3/31, midnight EST)

Oh, and I promise to tell the Sopranos story on my blog, so check me out on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccbridgeswriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccbridgeswriter
Blog: http://blog.ccbridges.net/
Website: http://www.ccbridges.net

 
Check out Love in the Time of Hurricanes today!

 

Love in the Time of Hurricanes by C.C. Bridges

Dreamspinner
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books a Million

 

Blurb

The night Nick Henderson storms into Martelli’s Pizzeria, he’s just looking for something to eat. Along with dinner, he finds Lou Martelli—pizza cook extraordinaire and Jersey Shore native. Nick is renting a Shore house for the winter while taking classes at the local community college as he devises a way to escape the accounting major his father chose for him.

When Lou offers to show Nick around, heat flares between them as they realize they have more in common than domineering families. But it’s not all fun and games on the boardwalk. Hurricane Sandy blows ashore, changing the place Nick was starting to think of as home. His peace is shattered, and it will take everything he has to keep his relationship with Lou from being torn apart by the storm brewing around them.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

 

Bio:

CC Bridges is a mild-mannered librarian by day, but by night she writes about worlds of adventure and romance. When she’s not busy solving puzzles in an escape room, she can be found diving into comics or binge-watching superhero movies. She writes surrounded by books, spare computing equipment, a fluffy dog, and a long-suffering husband in the state of New Jersey. In 2011, she won a Rainbow Award for best gay sci-fi/futuristic novel.

The Sparky: Writing, Editing, and Publishing w/ Marek Moran

March 9, 2017

Writing Editing and Publishing

 

Hello, Reader!

This is my last post on the blog tour for my novel, The Sparky, which Dreamspinner has generously arranged for me.  The other posts have been mostly about things in the book—rural Australia and its role in the story, music that appears in it and why, the novel Maurice and how that’s connected—but this one is just about some of what I’ve learnt in getting a first novel published.

When I’ve read blog posts or bios by other authors in the M/M romance space, I often see people who have dreamed about being a writer since they were fifteen, or eleven, or eight.  That’s not me.  It never occurred to me that I might like writing.  I did like reading, but I was always the maths kid.  Then I started writing a bit for myself, and it was fun.  Then I wrote a little for others: I posted some free stories at nifty.org, which has rather a different audience from the M/M space.  (Go pick a story at random, look at it, then come back.  You’ll see the difference pretty quickly.)  There were some criticisms—mostly along the lines that the characters didn’t get their kit off quickly enough, being too busy getting to know each other and falling in love—but on the whole the positive response was even more encouraging.  Then, still writing for myself, I sent off a novel-length manuscript.  I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I had looked up the publishers that some M/M writers I like had published with.

And Dreamspinner picked up The Sparky.  I’ve really appreciated how organized and helpful they are, which is great for someone for whom writing is not their main job.  And the editors were very helpful with suggested changes.  (Thank you, kindly editors!)  That’s where I really got to learn about the tension between writing for yourself—which I think is a pretty natural place to start—and writing for an audience.  In part the tension comes from the writer knowing what’s happening behind the scenes, what motivates a character, and the editor seeing it with fresh eyes and realizing that what should be coming across actually isn’t.  One instance for me was with Paul.  The Sparky’s written in first person, from Aaron’s POV, so you pretty much always understand him and what motivates him.  Paul, you only get him through Aaron.  So I got back an edited manuscript which, starting from midway in the story, had comments like “Grr! Paul makes me really angry!” and “I don’t like Paul at this point!”  And I thought, Really?  I like him a lot.  But I came to realise that that was because of things in his backstory that I hadn’t really brought out—they were all there in my head, but that’s not what writing is about.  After editing, Paul’s maybe still a bit unconventional as M/M main characters go, a bit rough around the edges, but hopefully more understandable now.

 

 

Excerpt

The following Friday evening is when I meet Paul’s ex-wife Kaylee. Not meet, exactly. From my desk I hear some arguing in the street, sounding heated, and I hope it’s not a repeat of the disagreement between two drunken pub-goers from a few months ago that led to another neighbour’s car window being smashed.

So I go out my front door, and it’s Paul and a woman. Paul is facing away from me and doesn’t see me, but the woman scowls at me, so I put up my hands in a sorry-to-intrude-on-you way and go back inside. I sit at my desk again, and even though the window’s open because it’s been such a warm day—I don’t shut it, even though that would be polite—I don’t hear anything they’re saying, just the hisses and growls of bad feeling. It could be a disgruntled customer of Paul’s whose wiring is still faulty, I think, but that’s rather unlikely. Almost certainly Kaylee. I think she was pretty, although the scowl made it hard to tell.

I do see Paul carrying a sleeping Sam out to a car, and then Kaylee taking off with more of a screech of tyres than is strictly necessary.

Shortly after that Paul comes to my door.

“That was Kaylee.” The anger’s still there.

“Uh-huh.”

“She just came to get Sam—change of plan. She was supposed to pick her up tomorrow, but she’s just decided, just right now, that she’s leaving early in the morning, going somewhere with this new guy of hers, so it was more convenient for her to pick up Sam now, even though she’s already asleep.” The word “convenient” is layered with scorn.

“Want a beer?” I ask.

“I dunno what I want. Yeah, a beer, ta.”

When I come back with one, he takes it and puts it down on the table, and then grabs the bottom of my T-shirt and starts pulling it over my head. The beer will have to wait.

 

Check out The Sparky today!

 

The Sparky by Marek Moran

Amazon | Dreamspinner

Blurb:

Aaron’s been living in what his friend Howie calls a sexual desert. But an oasis appears on the horizon when Paul, a divorced electrician with a five-year-old daughter named Sam, moves in next door. He’s a country boy from northern Australia, and although he’s never been with a guy before, he has an impression that anything goes in the city. They find that the ordinary things in life—books, footie in the park, looking after Sam—lead them into an unlikely relationship.

But as their relationship slowly deepens, with Aaron spending time on Paul’s family’s cattle station, it becomes clear that Paul might have a harder time leaving the country behind. To him, happiness means a conventional life—including a mother for Sam. Being with his old friends convinces him he’s on the wrong path with Aaron, and he starts a relationship with a girl from his hometown. If he cannot find the courage to go after what he truly needs, he and Aaron will become nothing more than awkward neighbours.

 

Bio:

Marek Moran is, in his day job, a computer science professor.  If you want to know about shortest path graph algorithms, he’s your man.  However, that’s probably not why you’re reading this.  He currently lives in Sydney, Australia, and has previously lived in France, Germany and the US, enjoying travelling around and listening to people talk: he’s learnt to respond to enquiries after his wellbeing with a ça va merci, sehr gut danke or copacetic, thanks.

The only member of his book club to like George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss, he’s discovered that he enjoys writing romance as well as reading it; the other members of his book club don’t yet know this.  He plays piano, squash, and his cards close to his chest.  The Sparky is his first novel.

Author Links

Facebook | Email | GoodReads

Ethan Stone: Shifters and Pregnant Men – Post + Giveaway

March 8, 2017

 

Shifters + MPREG with Ethan Stone

 

Hello, I’m Ethan Stone and today I’m talking about Wild Instincts, book two in my Seaside Shifters series. Even though it’s a sequel it can be read as a standalone.

Wild Instincts stars Tyson Dakota, a brand new police cadet, who finds himself involved in a local mystery as well as falling for a mysterious stranger.

I introduced Tyson in the first book, Wild Retaliation, as the cousin of the police chief, John Dakota. Tyson isn’t seen much in that story and I didn’t really have plans to use him as more than a supporting character in future books. In fact, my initial idea was to focus on John and his boyfriend Trevor and Trevor being pregnant.

I really wanted to write an MPREG story but as I tried to do it I just couldn’t find an original spin on the story. I also had a whiff of an idea regarding John’s friend who was in a coma at the end of the story. Frustrated at being at an impasse I sent Wild Retaliation to a friend to read. After reading it she said she wanted Tyson’s story before anyone else’s. And that got my brain working.

In book one Tyson is still a whiny teenager and book two was going to take place a year or so later so I had different options for Tyson. He could’ve continued down a bad path and become a bad boy or he could’ve taken a lesson from his cousin and started down a positive path.

Initially I wrote Tyson as sort of a bad boy with plans to go down a path to redemption but nothing I wrote felt right. Then I made Tyson more like John and things just clicked. I chose to explore the bad boy angle with Tyson’s love interest, Amante.

Tyson is a bear shifter while his boyfriend is not. Amante eventually discovers that the world is far bigger than he had any clue about. I love exploring regular people discovering the paranormal world which happens to Amante when he learns Tyson is a shifter. But that’s not the only thing he discovers because he’s involved in Trevor giving birth to cubs during a dangerous situation.

Tyson is a bear shifter but I have supporting characters as wolf shifters, cougar, bobcat, coyote, lynx and more. I’ve chosen to focus mainly on predators but I’ve always wondered if readers would like to see shifters of other breeds as well. In the comments let me know what kind of animals you’d like to see written about and enter to win a book from my backlist.

 

Check out Wild Instincts today!

 

Wild Instincts by Ethan Stone

Goodreads
Dreamspinner
Amazon

 

Blurb:

Police cadet and bear shifter Tyson Dakota looks forward to his on-the-job training in Seaside, Oregon, working alongside his cousin, Chief of Police John Dakota. Their goal is to investigate the growing meth epidemic and identify the kingpin bringing the drugs into their community. All signs point to someone inside law enforcement working with the drug traffickers, and Tyson must find out who before the body count gets any higher.

Along the way, Tyson meets Amante, a charismatic and attractive man in town for reasons he doesn’t want to share. Tyson is drawn to Amante despite his secretive ways and is sure there could be more between them than explosive passion, if he could just get Amante to make his stay in Seaside permanent. But when Tyson’s pursuit of justice puts him at odds with Amante, they could lose more than their fledgling relationship.

They could end up losing their lives.

 

About Ethan Stone:

Romance on the Edge

Ethan Stone doesn’t write your typical boy meets boy stories. With a combination of love and suspense he makes his characters work hard for their HEAs. If they can survive what he puts them through, then they can survive anything. He enjoys Romance with an Edge.

Ethan has been reading mysteries and thrillers since he was young. He’s had a thing for guys in uniform for just as long. That may have influenced the stories he writes.

He’s a native Oregonian with two kids. One of whom has made him a grandfather three times over; even though he is way too young.

Readers can find Ethan online.

www.ethanjstone.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ethan.stone.54
Twitter: @ethanjstone
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ethanjstone/
Tumblr: www.tumblr.com/blog/ethanstone
Email: ethanstone.nv@gmail.com
His books: http://www.ethanjstone.com/my-books