Shifting Views: The Grass is Always Greener… w/ Meg Harding + Giveaway

February 15, 2017

The grass isalways greener... with Meg Harding

 

Hi everyone! I’m Meg Harding, and I’m here to get all mushy about the end of a writing era for me. Shifting Views released on February 10th, and it’s the fourth and final novel in my Carlisle series. Finishing one novel was a huge feat for me, so to be able to complete an entire series is something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to accomplish. I love these guys, plain and simple. They banged—quite literally at times—around my head for over a year, constantly surprising me but also fairly willingly letting their stories be told.

Denver is the last man standing, and he was the most challenging to write. Shifting Views is far from an angst fest, but Denver, to me, provides the most out of the series. Beneath his perfect, happy façade is a creative person who has hit a wall. He loves what he does, it’s his genuine passion, but sometimes what we love gets skewed with time. It becomes a job. We can’t cope with the ever growing amount of excess stress attached to what was once something pure and fun.

Ethan is another man doing what he loves, with life circumstances that are completely different to Denver’s. While his job is a source of stress, he allows himself to be the biggest weight on his shoulders. Ethan’s a man stuck in his own head. His job is the one thing he thinks is going perfect and rarely ever doubts. It’s the good kind of stress. One could even say all of his confidence and self-worth are poured into it.

Shifting Views is a love story about the grass always being greener on the other side. As people we always want what we don’t have, we think of bigger and better. And that varies from person to person. Denver thinks Ethan is amazing because of how hard he’s worked and how focused he is. He likes the simplicity Ethan brings to his life. The honesty. Meanwhile Ethan’s busy comparing himself to a standard no one else is. He’s thinking about how he doesn’t measure up. He thinks Denver has the perfect life, and maybe he doesn’t fit in it because he’s just himself.

We let doubts rule us more often than not, and it doesn’t normally lead to a happy ending. If you had to take a leap, cast doubts aside for a day, what would be the first action item on your list?

Answer to win an ebook copy of Checking it Twice.

 

Check out Shifting Views today!

 

Shifting Views by Meg Harding

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Blurb:

Successful fashion model Denver Carlisle is finally living on his own. He’s got a new apartment, a neighbor who has a problem shutting his blinds, and a local bakery with an owner who makes his knees weak. It’s raining men, and Denver hasn’t gotten any in a long time. Going out on a limb, he asks Ethan Monahan out and resorts to a little exhibitionism for his neighbor. Only to be turned down by both. That’s a first.

Ethan Monahan runs his own bakery and has a new neighbor who walks around naked. The latter is a little too distracting. When his naked neighbor turns out to be none other than model Denver Carlisle—and the customer who asked him out—Ethan tries to make amends. In a purely friendly way.

Friendship leads to more, and both men find themselves in over their heads with emotions and compromises. Denver has trust issues that could span the Sahara, and Ethan is a product of the foster system with a chip on his shoulder and a serious wariness of those with money. There’s only one way to reconcile their issues: work together.

“That’s in the past. It didn’t happen because we’re starting over. So shake my damn hand and introduce yourself.”

Find Meg Harding at:

Website: Megharding.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cumberstone61
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MegHardingWrites/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Meet the Cast of Wolfmanny w/ Julia Talbot

February 14, 2017

Meet the Cast of Wolfmanny with Julia Talbot

 

Hey y’all!

I’m Julia Talbot, and I’m here to talk about Wolfmanny, my newest release.

A lot of folks have asked me, why would you write a book about a m/m/m threesome who have five kids?

The answer is really that I’m a masochist.

I had the darnedest time with names and such, and keeping kids straight.

When it came to the bedroom scenes, I had all these body parts… Also pronouns.

The thing is, it was worth it. I wanted to create this huge family, one that doubled as a wolf pack, solid and sure. Kenneth, the alpha, is like a duck. He’s calm on the surface, and paddling furiously underneath. His assistant Miles is the glue. He holds them all together. Then there’s the new manny, Jack. He’s tough, ex-military, and kind. He’s just what this family needs.

So, who are the major players here?

Jack — Manny. Ex-military. Hired on to tame the wild teenager of the Marcon pack

Kenneth – Head of the Marcon house and pack. He inherited his dead sister’s kids and loves them fiercely.

Miles – Mild mannered assistant, who turns out to be brave, loving, and amazing.

Simone – aka Monie – The eldest Marcon kid – she’s a teenager, and just starting to shift into a wolf again. She’s hysterically hormonal and wants to be cool, but is a sweetheart down deep

Ginny and Thomas – while Thomas as older, the middle kids come as a set since Ginny idolizes her brother. She’s a tomboy, he’s a gamer geek. They both love animals.

Jim and Joe – these are the twins, and they’ve just changed from being wolves all the time into being human all the time until they’re teenagers. I think of them like the triplets in Brave. All giggles and mischief, but so good.

Nadine – Fox shifter, head of security. She knows all.

The triplet minks – they all have H names. You know their father is as confused as I am. Security for the children…

I could go on and on, I know. I tend to write casts of thousands. But I do love them all! I hope this listing helps everyone keep the main family all together!

XXOO

Julia Talbot

Check out Wolfmanny today!

Wolfmanny by Julia Talbot

 

Blurb:

Three hot werewolves, sexual tension thick enough to cut with a knife, an impending Colorado winter, and a rambunctious pack of werewolf pups. Stand back and watch the fur fly.

When Kenneth Marcon loses his nanny to a bite from one of his inherited kids, he knows he needs someone strong to contain five werewolf children. What he finds isn’t a stalwart nanny, but a werewolf manny named Jack. Kenneth and his assistant, Miles, aren’t sure if Jack is what they need, but he’s what they have to work with.

Jack’s got what it takes to keep the kids busy—and attract both Miles’s and Kenneth’s attention. The two old friends have been circling each other for years, but with Jack as the final piece to the puzzle, it’s time to finally act on those urges. When Kenneth is forced to travel instead of solidifying the bond with his new mates, Jack and Miles take desperate measures to get him back, even as they save the kids from one disaster after another. Amidst the chaos, they have to learn how to become not just a pack, but a family.

Author Bio:

Stories that leave a mark.

Julia Talbot loves romance across all the genders and genres, and loves to write about people working to see past the skin they’re in to love what lies beneath. Julia Talbot lives in the great mountain and high desert Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Dreamspinner, Samhain, and Changeling Press. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. She also writes BDSM and erotic romance as Minerva Howe. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at www.juliatalbot.com

“The mountains are calling, and I must go”

Links:

www.juliatalbot.com
@juliatalbot on Twitter
https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor

The Seventh Flower: Office Romance the 18th Century Way w/ Ingela Bohm

February 14, 2017

 

Office Romance the 18th Century Way with Ingela Bohm

 

It seems fitting that my first publication with Dreamspinner, The Seventh Flower, grows from quintessentially Swedish soil. The novella forms part of the World of Love series, and I’m so excited to be contributing to such an ambitious theme. Writing from my perspective as a Swedish person has been really inspiring in a myriad of ways. I’ve never dug especially deep in my background and culture to create my stories – in fact I’ve almost avoided it, setting the scene in Wales, England, and France instead of Sweden. But this time the country was supposed to be an important part of the story, and working from that premise was an unexpected joy. The novella practically wrote itself.

However, the most inspiring thing about this project was a minor theme running through the romance between my main characters Christer and Henrik: a historical friendship, or bromance if you like, between Carl Linnaeus and Peter Artedi. To begin with, I never meant for them to make an appearance in The Seventh Flower, since I’d sort of planned to write a book specifically about them, but there you have it. Writers don’t always get to decide.

Of these two men, Linnaeus is undoubtedly the most famous. He’s the ‘father of modern taxonomy,’ the scientist who created a system for categorizing plants and their sexuality – the formal classification that explains why plants look the way they do and how they’re related to each other. At twenty-six years of age, he walked by foot from Uppsala to the north of Sweden to gather new and unclassified plants and incorporate them in his taxonomy. At that time (the 1740’s), Lapland was mostly a wilderness. Linnaeus followed the rivers, gathering specimens and studying how they all fit together. He camped out in the woods, finding shelter in bivouacs, surviving without modern clothing, and almost drowned one time when he was surprised by a spring flood. Through his work, he also systematized how plants were named, and there is even a flower named after him: the linnaea borealis, commonly known as the twinflower. Small and shy, this delicate pink beauty fascinated Linnaeus more than any other plant.

Perhaps you already know all this, but what about Artedi? Who the heck is he? Well, if Linnaeus created the taxonomy for plants, Artedi did the same thing for fish. Much less is known about him, but he was as important for his field of ichthyology as Linnaeus was for botany. He came from the north of Sweden and grew up on a farm. You can just imagine him as a small boy, going fishing in the local lake and becoming fascinated by the sleek, rainbow-glinting bodies gliding by beneath the water. How the light bounced off those silvery scales, how tiny details in their physiognomy set the species apart… and having no one to share his enthusiasm until he went to study at the university in Uppsala and met Linnaeus. The two seem to have become inseparable, and no wonder: taxonomy is kind of a nerdy passion, so when you meet someone who shares that interest it must seem like Fate. The two men even made a pact to publish each other’s work if one of them should die, and unfortunately this is exactly what happened. At a mere 30 years of age, Artedi fell into an Amsterdam canal and drowned.

022 (3)

Curse him for drowning. It really messed with my plans. I wanted to create the ultimate office romance with these two as my leading men, because I have such a weakness for stories about people who share an interest and are creative together. I don’t know why. There’s just something inherently romantic about working towards the same goal, especially if it happens with something the people involved are used to working on alone. Just imagine it: finding the one person who can help you become more than you can be yourself in an area you care deeply about. Swoon-worthy, no?

I first tried on this concept in my historical romance Rival Poet, in which Shakespeare and Marlowe fall in love through the power of words. I also explored it in my Pax Cymrica series, where Michael and Jamie communicate through music and build an entire career on their shared passion. But in the case of Linnaeus and Artedi, there was this tiny irritating detail of major character death that made the whole thing difficult to pull off.

Solution? I had Christer and Henrik in The Seventh Flower share my fascination for them. Instead of putting my two historical heroes center stage, I made Christer their chronicler and Henrik a modern day botanist. In this way my main characters could mirror what I saw in the intense friendship between Linnaeus and Artedi: the finding of a soul mate in the unlikeliest of places, because of an obsession they thought no one shared.

It just gets me every time. Even now I’m writing a story about two actors falling for each other as they work on a successful TV series, repeating myself yet again. So am I the only one who gets off on this, I wonder? Or are there others out there who enjoy fantasizing about people who work together while also falling for each other? I’d love to know about your favorite work-related romance scenarios – maybe you have a thing for musicians, or actors, or scientists like Linnaeus and Artedi? Maybe you’re married to your office crush? Maybe you can even give me some tips for future books? Please hit me with your best shots!

 

Check out The Seventh Flower today!

The Seventh Flower by Ingela Bohm

Blurb:

Christer is too old to believe in fairy tales. He’s not the kind of guy to pick the proverbial seven flowers on Midsummer’s Eve so he can dream of who he will marry, and he certainly isn’t the type to fall for someone he’s just met. Especially not a womanizing blogger named Henrik.

Besides, Christer’s previous marriage didn’t end with a happily ever after. Therefore, he has no interest in gifting his heart to someone who lives five hundred miles away and probably isn’t even gay. His family is right: it’s time he grew up and stopped dreaming.

But Midsummer’s Eve in Sweden is a magical night, and Henrik won’t stop flirting. As the midnight sun shines down on the misty woods, maybe there’s room for one last dream.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

 

Ingela Bohm

Author Bio:

Ingela Bohm lives in an old cinema, tucked away in a northern Swedish forest where she can wander around all day long and dictate her books. She used to dream of being an actor until an actual actor asked, “Do you really need to do it?” That’s when she realized that the only thing she really needed to do was to write. She has since pretended to be a dietician, a teacher, a receptionist and a cook, but only to conceal her real identity.

Her first imaginary friend was called Grabolina and lived in her closet. Nowadays she has too many imaginary friends to count, but at least some of them are out of the closet. Her men may not be conventionally handsome, but they can charm your pants off, and that’s all that matters.

Ingela’s more useless talents include reading tarot cards, killing pot plants and drawing scandalous pictures that no one gets to see. She can’t walk in heels and she’s stopped trying, but she has cycled 12 000 miles in the UK and knows which campsites to avoid if you don’t like spiders. If you see her on the train you will wonder what age she is.

To get updates on Ingela Bohm’s work, please sign up for her newsletter or connect at her

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Books by Ingela Bohm

The Pax Cymrica series:

Just Playing
The Road Taken
Release
Cutting Edge

Standalone novels:

Rival Poet
Not Safe For Work
Last Communion
All You Can Eat

Short stories:
Seven Thousand Minutes
Strings Attached
The Subjunctive Mood
Beneath The Mask

 

Buyout – A Love Story: Lost in Lisbon w/ Dev Bentham

February 13, 2017

 Lost in Lisbon with Dev Bentham

 

I had the opportunity to go to Lisbon, Portugal last spring. Buyout-A Love Story was born out of that trip. Lisbon is a beautiful city. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a few of photos from my time there.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a travelogue or one of those long, boring slide shows. Just a few shots to give you a feel for the book.

Most of the story is set in the Alfama, an old neighborhood with winding streets and a castle at the top. The castle plays and important part in the story. The walk up is steep.

DevBentham1

Fortunately, there’s a tram and the view from the top is worth it.

Too bad the guys are too consumed with their own drama to truly enjoy it.

There have been plenty of times in my life when I should have been paying attention to the beauty around me but I was so wrapped up in my emotional soup to even notice. Has that ever happened to you? If so, did you catch it before the moment ended or realized too late?

 

Check out Buyout – A Love Story today!

 

Buyout A Love Story by Dev Bentham

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

 

Blurb:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Or do they? Sean and Martim fell in love at Harvard. Things broke apart when Martim fell into a downward spiral of addiction after his father died. Sean kicked him out but has regretted it ever since. He’s never gotten over losing Martim. But then, not many aspects of his life have lived up to his collegiate dreams.

When he’s sent to evaluate Martim’s family hotel for foreclosure, Sean is once again in the position to put Martim out on the street. In the time since they parted, Martim has pulled himself together, although both health and financial problems linger as a result of his years as an addict. Can the two men bridge the gap of distance and time to rekindle their relationship, or will they fall apart again under the burdens of guilt and disease?

Set in Lisbon, Portugal, this is the story of lovers reunited after more than a decade apart, and their second chance at romance.

 

Author Bio:

Dev Bentham has lived in way too many places and had far too many jobs. She’s finally settled in frozen northern Wisconsin where she teaches online and draws on her former lives to write love stories about mature men searching for true love. Her restless feet take her globetrotting whenever she gets the chance, but most of the time she’s tucked up in her office in the woods dreaming about romance and adventure.

She’s the author of many gay romances, including a DABWAHA finalist, a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention and a Rainbow Awards Finalist.

Website: www.devbentham.com
Twitter @DevBentham
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dev.bentham
E-mail: DevBentham@yahoo.com

Sign up for Dev’s Monthly News Flash, every month a little news and some flash fiction

Z. Allora – A Love Letter to Artists

February 10, 2017

A Love Letter to Artists with Z. Allora

 

I truly love art. I hunt it everywhere I go. I adore standing in front of a piece, imagining what the artist tried to convey. What did the artist want me to feel/think/understand?

Art has the potential to instantly convey a message more accurately than a million words. At the same time, the viewer is allowed to appreciate the things they need to see and take with them.

I remember attending a student exhibit in Philadelphia. The piece that captured my attention was a dead fish nailed to a board. That’s all:  just a dried fish attached to a weathered 2×4 with a nail.

At the time, it annoyed me. Well, if that’s art I could do better. But that piece stood the test of time, and it stayed with me. When I had the opportunity, the memory of a dead fish nailed to a board gave me the courage to ask a Chinese Brush Stroke master to teach me watercolor.

Now, years later, I see how that one work containing three items was so much more. It affected how I view art. That simple creation makes me ponder how seemingly simple actions have far reaching implications, and how something can be more than the sum of its parts. (Granted, I’ve given a lot of power to a dead fish on a board. For all I know, it could have just been the product of a lazy art student, and it’s just my interpretation that gives the piece brilliance.)

In many ways, The Craving is my love letter to artists. It honors their talent and their impact on the world. Whether it’s Monet, Botticelli, Klimt, Paul Richmond, Catherine Dair, PL Nunn, Young Fan Chin, Yamane Ayano, K-Koji, and many others who create pieces that make the world a better place. Artists make us think, reflect, and feel. In the best case, viewing art allows us to give to others, changes our thinking on a subject, or encourages us to make a positive change.

The Xantha star system takes the power within art seriously and is credited throughout known space for developing dimensional art. Dimensional art’s ability to morph and to travel beyond its nature determines the level of dimension it achieves.  These distinctive works have been credited with preventing wars, helping to focus efforts on positive outcomes, and is utilized in negotiations. As the planets of the system are guided by art, the artists and those who guide them are quite powerful.

First & Second dimension:  non-dimensional and convey an image and makes you feel.

Third dimension: morphs and allows the viewer to question a concept.

Fourth dimension: conveys complex information.

Fifth dimension: can influence thoughts.

Sixth dimension: changes people’s actions and promotes the direction of their efforts.

Any artists that reach the third dimension are honored with a place at the Ambrosial monastery. They become initiates and follow a strict regimen. In return, they are given training and support so they may release their full artistic potential.

Life in the monastery is filled with discipline. The Principles of Purity is the foundation. All activities are scheduled. Diet, exercise, sleep, and release are prescribed in precise amounts.

Initiates and monks wear protective units that are removed every eight-sleep cycles allowing for a nonorgasmic release. It’s believed that sexual energy should be refocused back into their art and not wasted in pleasure.

In the purest form, dimensional art is a powerful vehicle that makes the star system a better place, though it can be used to forward agendas that suit certain individuals and not for the betterment of the Xantha star system. The Craving highlights some of the divisions between the monastery and the ruler of the star system.

Art has the power to speak when we aren’t able. It has the power to heal and give hope. Thank you to all the artists on our planet for sharing your talent with us.

 

Check out The Craving today!

 

The Craving by Z. Allora

 

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

 

Blurb:

The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.

Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.

Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way reunite with his Chosen.

Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away on board a star craft to follow his heart.

Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.

 

Author Bio:

Z. Allora believes in happily ever after’s for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her words to open hearts and change minds.

To contact Z. Allora:

E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com
FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora
Website: www.zallorabooks.com
Twitter: @ZAllora

 

Pipelines in Paradise: Tropical Research w/ Foster Bridget Cassidy + Giveaway

February 9, 2017

 

Tropical Research w/ Foster Bridget Cassidy

 

This is Foster Bridget Cassidy and I’m eager to share my debut novella with you.

Pipelines in Paradise follows Palmer Simpson, a thirty-three-year-old high school teacher, who packs up and moves to Oahu.  There, he throws himself into the surf culture, trying to reconnect with his younger self.  Along the way he meets friends and foes, and even a lover, skilled surfer Riku Usami. His new circle of support helps him adjust to life on the island.

As an Arizona native, the setting of Hawaii presented a challenge to me.  I’ve been to the ocean a handful of times, but never experienced the kind of culture you get living next to the water.  Naturally, in Hawaii, these norms take center stage.  They’re integral to everyday life.  This meant I had my hands full with research.

I watched movies–everything from travelogues, like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, to documentaries, like Highwater (2009).  I listened to surfing podcasts and traditional Polynesian music to steep myself in as much of the local flavor as possible.  I read up on surfboards, the different sizes, shapes, fins, etc. needed for different beaches.

The most interesting aspect of this was the food. Regional cuisine reveals much about people and their way of life. I feel it’s important to get these details correct. It adds to the credibility of the story and the characters.

Researching food is the most rewarding experience a writer can have. However, there is a snag when trying to find Hawaiian seafood in Arizona.  There’s also the fact that I don’t eat seafood. The other option was to try this fabled delicacy of Spam.

One of my close friends grew up on the island of Guam, and when I asked her about Spam, she was eager to share with me.  It’s a staple in her family’s dinner routine.  Comfort food.  For me, she made Spam and rice.  Of course the stigma of canned meat was foremost in my mind, but I pushed on.  For science.

Spam and Rice

And it actually surprised me how delicious it was!  The grilled Spam was perfectly salty, and mixed with short grain Calrose rice, the duo was exceptional!  Or maybe it’s that my friend is just an amazing cook.

There’s a ton more recipes I’d love to try.  A whole new culture I can explore.  I’ve taken my first steps, and I know they won’t be my last.

So what’s the most bizarre thing you’ve eaten?  Add your comment about the most interesting/adventurous thing you’ve tried, and you may win a copy of Pipelines in Paradise to can see that Spam in action!  A winner will be selected on February 12th.

Or, if you don’t feel like waiting, Pipelines in Paradise is available for purchase now.  Dive right in and soak up some of that Hawaiian sunshine.

 

Check out Pipelines in Paradise today!

Pipelines in Paradise by Foster Bridget Cassidy

Blurb:

One is trying to heal a broken heart, the other, a broken family.

After separating from his partner of nine years, Palmer Simpson flees to the island of Oahu to pursue a carefree life of surfing. There, he meets Riku Usami, a more skilled surfer—but one with a bad attitude and a boatload of family drama. A contest between the two men leads to friendship and the possibility of something more meaningful. When a tsunami threatens the island, a friend is stranded out on the waters of the deadly Banzai Pipeline. Palmer and Riku must face the dangers of the barrel waves and the looming forces of nature in order to get their friend to safety. If they survive, they’ll have to contemplate what their future together will look like after the storm blows through.

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

 

About the Author:

Foster Bridget Cassidy has wanted to be a writer since becoming addicted to epic fantasy during high school. Since then, she’s studied the craft academically and as a hobby. A million ideas float in her head, but it seems like there’s never enough time to get them all down on paper. Her favorite things include taking pictures of her dachshunds, sewing, staying in pajamas all day, and laughing with her husband.

E-mail: FosterBridgetCassidy@gmail.com
Blog: fosterbridgetcassidy.wordpress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/FosterBCassidy
Twitter: @FosterBCassidy 

 

Revisiting Inheritance w/ Sean Michael

February 8, 2017

 

Revisiting Inheritance with Sean Michael

 

Hello Dreamspinner Press Readers,

It’s always so gratifying when a publisher is willing to take in an orphan book and re-publish it, so a big thank you to Dreamspinner for taking on Inheritance.

One of my favorite things about going with Dresmspinner on this reprint is the new cover for the book – isn’t it a beauty? And it tells a story – two men, one a cowboy and one not, and the lone bear at the bottom speaks of kids, but also of melancholy which any book that starts out with the parents of six kids dying in a crash is bound to have at least a little of.

While this book was written in 2008, I think it holds up pretty well as a Contemporary. That brings up the question – when does a book stop being a contemporary and start being a historical?

I think anything after the year 2000 is definitely a contemporary, and I might even go as far back as 1990, but the 1980s have a definite vibe, in everything from politics to fashion and music, so I’d label anything set in the 80s or earlier as historical. What about you?

 

Check out Inheritance today!

 

Inheritance by Sean Michael

 

Blurb:

Cash McCord’s life is pretty much perfect. He owns the family ranch, loves his work, and invites the occasional cowboy into his bed. But everything is turned upside down when his brother Jack and Jack’s wife Val are killed in a car crash, leaving behind six kids.

Cash is made guardian of the children, along with Val’s brother, Brad Rafferty—a man who couldn’t be more different from Cash if he tried. A Yankee, Brad is a video-game developer who works twelve-to-fourteen-hour days at his desk. They lock horns as soon as they set eyes on each other. Neither man is happy to have the other around, but neither is willing to give up custody of his nieces and nephews.

It’s up to these two polar opposites to keep the kids together and give them a family again. But first they’ll have to keep from killing each other.

 

Buy links:

Dreamspinner
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Excerpt:

“Hey.” Ben gave him a smile, the boy looking more and more like his father every day. Christ, he could remember when Ben was a newborn, and now the kid was a teenager.

Cash tipped his head in Brad’s direction. “Evenin’. The kids in bed?”

“They are. I’m hoping they stay there till like noon tomorrow.” He grinned, knowing it was a pipe dream. “How’re you doing, Ben?”

Ben shrugged his skinny shoulders, light blue eyes that matched Cash’s staring at Brad. “I’m okay. Talking to Uncle Cash.”

Brad leaned against the porch railing. “Yeah? Good. Talking’s good.”

“I guess. Uncle Cash says we’ve got to think about going back to school, about what all we’re going to do.”

“Yeah, he’s right. I know it seems kind of harsh, but life goes on, and you’ve got to get back to it.” They all needed to move forward, see past what had happened.

“Right. Back on the horse and all.” Ben crossed those long thin arms. “So which one of you is leaving?”

“What makes you think someone’s leaving, Ben?” Brad wasn’t going anywhere, and he didn’t think Cash was planning on ditching the kids anytime soon. Which, if he was honest with himself, he was glad about. While he could maybe understand why Val had six kids, he couldn’t imagine having to look after them on his own.

“What? Both of you have lives, both of you have jobs. What? You’re going to split us up?”

“Nobody wants to split y’all up, honey,” Cash said. “Neither one of us.”

“Cash is right. Nobody is splitting you up. The six of you are more important than anything else, okay?” God, how long had Ben been worrying about this?

“So, what? What are you two going to do?”

Cash sighed. “We’re trying to work that out, honey.”

“I’m not a kid. I need to know.”

“What else do you need, Ben? What do you want to happen?” Brad knew what he wanted, knew what Cash wanted. He figured it was only right Ben let them know what he thought.

 

Bio:

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com
BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/
TWITTER: seanmichael09
INSTAGRAM: seanmichaelpics

Wish You Were Here: Going Forward w/ Asta Idonea + Giveaway

February 7, 2017

Going Forward with Asta Idonea

My name is Asta Idonea. Born in the UK, I now live in South Australia, where I work from home as a freelance editor and author. I’m a keen reader and linguist, and I enjoy many other artistic and cultural pursuits. My new passion for 2017 is my bullet journal!

Today I am here to share my latest MM release. Wish You Were Here is a contemporary MM novella with a paranormal twist, and I hope readers will find the work an enjoyable and thought-provoking read. It follows Oakley and his family as they embark on a fraught family vacation in the aftermath of Oakley’s sister’s death. They are a family divided, but Oakley finds help in the form of local boy Bobby, who has problems of his own.

Musical theatre provided some of my inspiration for this tale. I was watching footage from a show (I can’t say which as it might give away the twist in my own story!) when the idea for the plot of Wish You Were Here came to me.

Grief is a major theme in that musical, and the same is true for this book. I wanted to reflect on the different ways in which people grieve, and they how can come out stronger on the other side. Grief doesn’t only have to be negative; it can also help to form our characters and the paths we choose to take. When Oakley’s family make their trip to the Cotswolds, that change of location helps them all, regardless of the different ways each expresses their grief. They arrive in an aura of negativity, but each has found hope by the time they leave.

Most of my stories are fairly light-hearted, so I wanted to push myself with Wish You Were Here by writing a tale with more of a psychological nuance. This is something I’d like to come back to in future works; however, my current w-i-p sees a return to humour, albeit with a message underneath. This new tale will be my first novel-length MM work and I hope to have it ready for submission by May this year, so, fingers crossed, I might be able to share it with you in late 2017 or early 2018. So long as it’s accepted for publication of course! :)

I’ll sign out there, but I’d love to hear from readers with any comments. Where would you vacation if you were looking for somewhere to recharge and review your life?

 

Check out Wish You Were Here today!

 

Wish You Were Here by Asta Idonea

Blurb:

The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.

 

Asta Idonea

About the Author:

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Blog: http://www.nickijmarkus.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nickijmarkus/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+NickiJMarkusAstaIdonea
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4567057.Nicki_J_Markus
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolamarkus
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO

 

Giveaway:

This giveaway is running as part of my blog tour for Wish You Were Here and is open until the end of February. The prize is an e-copy of my previous MM Sci-Fi novella, Fire Up My Heart.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

16 Things You Don’t Know About Trust Trade w/ Ki Brightly

February 6, 2017

 

16 Things You Didn't Know about Trust Trade with Ki Brightly

 

Hello readers! My name is Ki Brightly and I’m here on the Dreamspinner Press blog today to talk about my newest release, Trust Trade. It’s a crime/thriller/romance, dark and twisted, but the type of read that sucks you in once you get started. Jeb and Freddy are both dealing with their own struggles and lives, and their paths just happen to cross. The story is heavy, but I do my best to end it on a ray of hope. Instead of going into all that the book is and isn’t, the blurb does a pretty nice job with that, I thought I might give everyone some interesting tidbits about Trust Trade and the writing process surrounding it. Since I love making lists, one might even call it an obsession, please enjoy these random, numbered, facts.

1. The house Jeb grew up in was modeled after the house I lived in as a teenager.

When I was small my father and I lived with his parents, but when I turned 13 we moved into an old farm house he was rehabbing. As those projects tend to go, the house was never finished. By the time I left for college it was nowhere near done. There was no insulation, and I mean absolutely not a bit, in that house. During the winter, any part of the house that wasn’t near the gas heaters was cold enough that your breath would cloud. I would shower and then dash to dress in front of the gas heater in the dining room cursing a blue streak every morning. The house was ramshackle and old, but I did love it. It belonged to my great grandmother. There were nooks and crannies to explore: servant’s quarters with stairs off the kitchen, odd ghost sounds at night, even hidden rooms. One thing I especially loved during the spring was that French Lilacs bloomed right outside my bedroom window. To this day it’s the only smell I truly associate with the end of winter.

2. The college Jeb and Freddy attended was modelled quite closely on my alma mater.

I say it’s close because there has been 10 years of construction, growth, and rearranging that has gone on at my old school. When I took a tour recently, I was both shocked at what had changed and bemused by what hadn’t. I think the furniture in the library has probably been there since 1980, but I love that too. Oddly enough the kids looked younger than they did when I left. Strange how that happens.

3. The pines in Trust Trade are deliberately placed.

I wrote pine trees into the final scenes of Trust Trade because I grew up running the pine woods near our old farmhouse. It was like a magical land under these towering ancient trees. They smelled like Christmas year-round, and were always cool underneath when it was hot, sheltering if I got caught in the rain. I was extremely fond of those branches with their skirts spread wide. The dead needles could prick you, but the piles were also soft if you spread out your jacket to lay on them, sort of like hay. There were some summers I would have lived under the pines if they would have had a bookshelf.

4. I used to watch the water polo guys while I was running.

The reason I put water polo into Trust Trade is because when I was running at the gym in college, the treadmills were set up against these huge windows overlooking the pool area. I must have pleased some sort of exercise god because at least half the time while I was exercising with upbeat music blasting in my ears the water polo guys were practicing. And oh, wow. Let me tell you. Guys that swim miles and miles every day are amazing to look at. I would say things to myself like, “Run one more mile and you can ogle the hot guy in the red speedos for a few more minutes.” There were days I ran two and a half hours. No lie.

5. Sellers didn’t have a first name for most of the book.

I know that sounds ridiculous. I’m so inconsistent when I write books. Sometimes when I write a book I know every single character that will be in it and have a character bible. When I do that I literally know everything about a character, including what they have in their refrigerator. I pantsed Trust Trade. (For those of you not into the lingo, that means instead of planning I wrote it by the seat of my pants.) So, Archie was as much as surprise to me as it was to anyone reading the book. It just sort of slipped out onto the page and I was like…yeah, sure, why not. It’s one of those names you don’t hear much anymore and seemed to fit Sellers.

6. Sampson is a pocket/mini beagle because I want one unreasonably.

I have wanted a miniature beagle ever since I watched Star Trek: Enterprise. Archer’s dog Porthos was the most amazingly cute dog, plus he was named Porthos, which, to my geeky heart, was the best thing ever. I guess it doesn’t take much to amuse me, but that dog sealed beagle love into the core of my very being and one day I shall have one. I shall name him d’Artagnan. (Who am I kidding. The dog will probably end up named something refined like Skittles or Pumpkin, but I can dream.)

7. The reason Philadelphia isn’t featured more prominently in the Trust Trade is because I’ve only been there once.

And the trip was awful. My grandmother, all innocent like, asks me if I want to go for a drive one morning. Me, not realizing what I was in for, said sure. We were in the car for six hours. SIX. We didn’t stop. We didn’t eat food anywhere. I was a chubby kid. I was dying. It turned out she wanted to see the tall ships that were in Phillie for some festival (to this day I will never understand why we had to go there instead of driving two hours north to Erie which also has tall ship festivals). We were in Philadelphia for a grand total of an hour and a half then we drove home again so we could be back in time to make supper, because my grandmother was the kind of woman that would never allow the men in our family to go hungry. She grew up on a farm and was determinedly old fashioned that way, even if she was progressive in others. So we didn’t stop on the way home either.

Worst. Car trip. Ever.

8. People from Philadelphia talk so strangely their dialect is studied by people around the world.

Don’t believe me? Google it. Go ahead. Google Philadelphia and dialect.

I’ll wait.

The stuff you find will truly boggle you, especially if you aren’t from Pennsylvania and you’ve never had the joy of experiencing someone with a Philadelphia accent. People like to make fun of Yinzers (I will admit that I grew up saying yinz, just north of Pittsburgh), but Phillie has its own thing going on.

Since Wally is from Philadelphia I spent about 2 days reading up on the Philadelphia dialect, which while interesting, is sort of mind numbing after the twentieth article. I also tried to listen to some people online talking. I really wanted to get his speech patterns right, but, in the end, I’m not entirely sure I succeeded. I just wanted someone who was from Philadelphia to read that section and feel like that guy could have been someone from the block they grew up on.

Trust Trade by Ki Brightly

9. I never lived on campus when I was in college.

Most freshman at other colleges are required to live on campus, but I chose my school in an ass backwards way. My cousin was a Sophmore and needed a roommate for the apartment she wanted to get, so I applied to her school and got in. They had a very lenient commuter policy. Boom. Done. I totally missed that dorm experience, which, meh. Whatever. Living off campus was about 80% cheaper than living in a dorm. So, all of the “dorm life” I wrote was basically what I imagined the dorm experience would be like. I helped a guy sneak a case of beer into his dorm once (I was distraction…he had a SQUARE case of beer shoved into a duffle bag, so it’s probably a good thing I am so good at being awkward…I mean, the center of attention…), so I did see the inside of the dorms. I guess I did an okay job with that.

10. “No one named Freddy ever hurt anyone.”

So, there is this spot where, in internal dialogue, Freddy says something along the lines of “No one named Freddy ever hurt anyone.” Half the time when I am writing my brain is so stuck in character mode that I don’t really process what I’ve written until I’m editing it, and this was one of those times. I had a helpful editor note, “Except Freddy Kruger.” I laughed so hard while I was doing that edit that my Sugar Plum came to check on me and see if I was all right. Nightmare on Elm Street was one of those movies that scared me into staying awake for a day and a half straight. I mean, I was like eight the first time I watched it, so it was terrifying. I ended up leaving what Jeb said in the story because he’s of an age where he may realistically have never seen the movie (It released in 1984), and the way he was raised he wouldn’t have watched anything like that if he hasn’t seen it in the meantime. I still giggle every time I read that section of the book.

11. I promised myself I wouldn’t write messed up parental relationships in this book, then failed hard. Jeb’s and Max’s parents are maybe some of the worst I’ve ever written. Maybe even some of the worst I’ve ever read.

I write a lot of “bad parents” in my books, a lot of self-involved and selfish people. I don’t necessarily mean to, but having parents that aren’t that great isn’t an isolated occurrence. I have heard a lot of horror stories. I realized after I wrote this book that Jeb’s relationship with his mother closely resembled my own near lack of relationship with mine. I guess it is true that we try to subconsciously work out things we aren’t good with in our own lives in our fiction. I’m double dog super sure not going to write messed up parental relationships in my next book, simply because I’ve noticed it now.

My tendency to put crappy parents into my works in progress seems to increase the closer my writing occurs to the holidays. During Yultide it’s especially hard for me because there’s a very huge expectation of “family”. It’s been about four years now since I was more or less uninvited from my family. (I’m kind of adopted. It’s a long story worthy of Jerry Springer. The early years Springer, not the crap he’s been doing lately—the really messed up stuff.) This year I finally shook off the holiday malaise by making sure to create my own traditions and celebrating with the family I have taken the time to make myself—Sugar Plum, the kids, and the good friends I’ve made.

12. My friend Bobby Musolff died during the production of Trust Trade.

Honestly, this one only matters to the people who knew him, but I did. I nearly made this book in memorial to him, but for several reasons I chose to wait for a different book that I think would fit him better. His death hit me hard because even though he’d been sick for a while I got busy and didn’t visit him as often as I should have. You always feel like you have time, but sometimes you don’t. Bobby is one of the reasons I started writing in the first place. When I was in college, living in the basement of the house I shared with him and a few other people, I started writing longer fiction—more than 20 or 30 pages—for the first time. It had flaws and issues and the guy I was dating at the time literally laughed his ass off when he read my work. (He was a jerk anyway, but I took it to heart.) Bobby didn’t laugh. He said everyone starts somewhere, and he passed on the best advice I’ve ever heard to allow someone to continue writing: “Ki…” Pause to take a drag on his clove cigarette. Exhale. “Fuck everyone. Just write. I think you have potential.”

Well, okay then. That’s what I did.

And if it weren’t for him, I probably never would have published anything. He was already sick when Threefold Love was first published, but he was excited for me anyway. I felt bad telling him about something good in my life when he knew he didn’t have much time left in his, but he was radiant, called that bullshit, celebrated with me.

I’ll miss Bobby.

13. The living room suit from the safe house was in the house I shared with Bobby.

The house used to belong to Bobby’s grandmother and grandfather and the couch was this boxy greenish/gold monstrosity that almost had that kitchy, retro appeal, but stopped short of it. The gilded gold mirror on the wall was a dusty monstrosity. The entire house was just terrible. But some of the most entertaining moments of my life took place there, along with some of the most embarrassing. I won’t ever forget that old furniture. This house was so amazingly awful that occasionally the lights would flicker, and after a little searching we realized that it was because the electric intake on the outside of the house was loose. Geniuses that we were, we decided to put a boot on a broom (because the rubber sole should have kept the electricity from conducting…in theory…) and poked at the electrical box on the outside of the house. I have clear memories of being outside at three in the morning, wine tipsy, with the boot on the broom jabbing at the sparking electric box until the lights came up and the music inside started blaring again, Bobby trailing after me with a bottle of Merlot and a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth bitching about the inferiority of people who don’t like reading James Joyce.

“But Bobby, I hate Joyce!” Poke. Poke. Poke. Lights fizzle. “Shit, one too many.” Poke. Poke. Lights back up.

“Yeah, but you’re a good soul. This one kid in class actually had the balls to say—”

Good times.

14. Connie wasn’t always Kare’s sister.

It wasn’t until the next to final draft of Trust Trade that everything came together and Connie became Kare’s sister. This was a classic example of me writing something in great detail that might have been cut otherwise, which later became important to the overall plot. Before Connie became Kare’s sister there were several plot points that were strings hanging in the wind. Sometimes it takes all the way to the bitter end for a story to come together.

15. Beck may or may not get his own story.

I’m still deciding whether or not it makes sense to allow Beck to get his own story. For a while when I was writing Trust Trade I was going to have him be jealous of Jeb, that seemed to reminiscent of Scott in The Paranaturalist (I try to stay away from writing two books in a row with a similar theme). So…that’s there. I didn’t write anything into Trust Trade that would indicate one way or the other which team Beck might play for. I thought maybe an enemies to lovers book with Chaz would be fun, but it would be hard work considering what a less than stellar person Chaz was in this book to make that fly. I’ve seen it done well though. Maybe in the future I’ll do it.

(What does everyone think? Yea? Nay? Beck? I admit I’m currently writing Kare and Jolliss…his first name is Gus by the way…oh, also, did anyone find the Easter egg for The Paranaturalist?)

16. Kare…so there’s a reason Kare has a Scandinavian name, even though it seems off the wall.

First of all, quite a few people of Scandinavian descent live in Erie. Erie is actually a city that has always been a big refugee resettlement area, so there are a lot of different types of people here. I love that about it.

But…there’s a story…

So, a fresh fish place opens up. It’s one of those seafood places that has fresh, never frozen seafood, which I had previously never experienced. My friend Chris (in the dedication of Trust Trade) and I go there one day and get a bunch of stuff including scallops. They are the most fantastical scallops I have ever put in my mouth. They melt in my mouth. They make me want to empty my bank account and live in a cardboard box to have them every day of my life. All the things we bought were to fucking die for.

Let me back this up. When you enter the seafood place you are greeted by the owner. A big, burly blond guy with his gray cable knit sweater rolled to his forearms and an unabashedly fabulous lilt to his voice. And when I say fabulous I don’t mean rhinestones and sequins. I mean diamonds. He has a rainbow flag in the window of his business. He’s not subtle, is what I’m getting at here. The man is gay. Extremely gay. And happy about it.

So, my friend Chris’s then fiancé? Husband? I don’t remember, they’re one of those couples who has been together since high school and will probably die together on the same day at the same second, ect., so anyway, he decides to stop there after work one day. His name is Tony. (Also in the dedication to Trust Trade.) He comes home with the seafood he stopped that day to buy since the stuff we had the other day was so delightful (I was living with them at the time.) and he looks at Chris and says, I swear to everything he says, “The guy who owns the place was super friendly! He was great! But…where’s he from?”

Chris and I look at each other. “Huh?”

“His accent…you know. Where’s he from?”

By this time Chris and I are giggling. Chris raises an eyebrow. “Uh, sweetie, what the hell are you talking about?”

Tony looks uncomfortable because he has realized at this point that he’s about to step in it, but can’t slow his foot down in time. “Is he Swedish or something?”

Chris and I: Cackle and proceed to spend the rest of the night giving Tony shit.

That is the story of how, forever more, when someone was unabashedly out and proud, we would refer to them as Swedish. In honor of the proud Swedish fisherman, I chose to give Kare a Scandinavian name.

 

So, now you know 16 random facts about Trust Trade. I think some of my list numbers got a little more personal than I intended for them to be when I first started writing them, but that’s okay. I am feeling a little Bob Ross-ish at the moment, like I just created this odd tower of words that sort of emerged on its own out of the ether, but it fulfills my list making needs for the day. I hope you all follow this up by taking a look at Trust Trade. It’s one of those books that might make you bleed while you read it, but ends on a sweet happily ever after.

Happy reading!

Ki Brightly

Check out Trust Trade today!

Trust Trade by Ki Brightly

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

Blurb:

Life hasn’t been good to Jeb Birchman. When he attempted to escape his abusive, zealot father, he found himself on the streets, making a living the only way he knew how, the victim of more violent men—one of whom orchestrates a series of vicious attacks that leave Jeb deaf. Now that he’s aged beyond his latest client’s interest, Jeb knows he needs to escape his risky lifestyle before it’s too late. Seeing one last chance for himself, he earns a GED and enrolls in college.

Freddy Williams enjoys a life that couldn’t be more different from what Jeb has survived. He loves sports, being a personal trainer, and hanging out with friends. The son of deaf parents, Freddy is an outspoken advocate of the Deaf community and works as an interpreter at his college. When he meets Jeb at the bookstore, he’s struck by how attractive he is, and as they get to know each other, he finds Jeb’s good heart just as appealing. By the time he learns of Jeb’s past, it’s only a few steps behind them, and Freddy must make a choice between school and his familiar routine and protecting the man he’s falling in love with.

 

Ki Brightly

About the Author: 

Ki grew up in small town nowhere pretending that meteor showers were aliens invading, turning wildflowers into magic potions, and reading more than was probably healthy. Ki had one amazing best friend, one endlessly out of grasp “true love”, and a personal vendetta against normalcy.

Now, as an adult, living in Erie, Pennsylvania, Ki enjoys the sandy beaches, frigid winters, and a wonderful fancy water addiction. Seriously, fancy waters…who knew there were so many different kinds? It’s just water…and yet…

Ki shares this life with a Muse, a Sugar Plum, and two wonderful children.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kibrightly/
Blog: www.brightlybooks.wordpress.com
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/search/Ki+Brightly
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KiBrightly
E-mail: kibrightly@gmail.com

Overcoming Obstacles w/ Heidi Champa + Excerpt

February 3, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles with Heidi Champa

 

I started writing this book back in 2014. In the first draft, my main character, Wes, was a very different guy, angrier and a lot less likeable. And, ‘Clean Slate’ was a very different story, one I wasn’t sure anyone would want to read. Around that same time, I was going through some medical issues that were getting steadily worse. I had just started a major revision of my novel when I got extremely ill with what at the time was an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, which put a stop to my writing.

During that time, I thought ‘Clean Slate’ would never see the light of day. I’d all but given up finishing the book when I finally got a diagnosis that gave my disease a name. But my road to recovery was just beginning.

When I finally started to feel like myself again, many months later, one of the first things I did was open up my laptop and started to slowly work on my novel. What I’d been through gave me a whole new perspective on Wes, my main character, who in the course of the novel goes through some big changes trying to deal with the trauma of his past. I saw him so much clearer and ‘Clean Slate’ became the book I wanted it to be. This is the book I’m most proud of because of all I had to overcome to finish it. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I’m always interested in other people’s stories of triumph over adversity, so tell me, what is the thing in your life you’re most proud to have tackled? It can be big or small, funny or sad. It all shapes who we are.

 

Excerpt:

“This may sound weird, Wes,” Sam slurred.

“Okay…,” I said, waiting for what was about to come.

“Do you think we could cuddle?”

“You wanna cuddle?”

He smiled and looked at the floor.

“Yeah. I’ve never really done it. You know, cuddle on the couch while watching a movie. So what do you say?” Sam asked, his body swaying a bit.

He looked so sweet, I couldn’t think of a reason not to.

“Yeah, sure.”

“I knew I could count on you, Wes.”

Sam downed the rest of glass of wine before we got comfortable. I settled onto the couch, laying on my side with Sam in front of me, his back pressed tightly to my chest. My eyes were focused on the television, but all I could think about was how nice it felt to be close to him. He pulled my arm over him and put my hand to his chest. I could feel his heart racing, despite his relaxed demeanor. He smelled really good, obviously putting on cologne before his date.

The movie continued, but I wasn’t watching. Every time I got into the plot or let my mind cling to part of the story, Sam would shift in my arms, his ass pushing back against my crotch. I ignored it, as much as I could, but it soon became clear that Sam wanted to do a lot more than cuddle. I didn’t want to be the one to make the first move. Sam had drunk far too much wine to be thinking clearly. Taking advantage wasn’t on my agenda that evening. I was feeling much more sober, and I knew it was time to make my escape.

“Sam, I should really go. It’s late.”

He held my arm tight and shook his head.

“Movie’s not over yet.”

“I’m not really watching.”

Sam turned himself around, until we were face-to-face, his leg slipping between mine.

“Me neither,” he whispered.

His lips brushed against mine, their surface sweet from all the wine he’d drank. Sam soon had me forgetting my best-laid plans, our tongues twining and dancing.

“I mean it. I should go,” I insisted between kisses.

Sam ran his fingertips down my spine, his lips teasing my neck.

“You should stay. I want you to stay.”

I opened my mouth to object, but it died when Sam put his hand on my ass.

“You can’t really want to leave, Wes. Not when you can stay right where you are. Right here with me.”

His eyes met mine, more serious than I’d ever seen them.

“I can’t. We don’t do that.”

“We could. You could. You should.” His words ran together, his altered state showing clearly.

I had to figure a way out without hurting his feelings.

“Sam, you’re drunk. It’s late. Let’s do this some other night.”

He clung tighter to me, trapping me against him and the back of the couch.

“I’m not drunk.”

“Yeah, you are. It’s cute, actually.”

He shook his head, closing his eyes for a few seconds.

“So what if I am? Why does it matter?”

“Trust me, Sam. You think you want me to stay right now, but come morning, you’ll see things differently.”

Sam eased back a fraction, the furrow between his brows deepening.

“If you don’t want to stay, just say so,” he said, a flash of anger in his voice.

I sighed, letting my forehead rest against his for a moment.

“I was only saying it would be better if I go. And you would think so too, if you were your usual, sensible self.”

He tried to move away from me, but as he attempted to get onto his back, he slipped and fell onto the floor. I laughed, but as he rose up to his knees, he looked pissed. Very pissed.

“Maybe I’m tired of being my sensible self. Maybe for tonight, I wanted to be more like, more like….” He trailed off, his butt hitting the carpet.

“Me?” I asked, sitting up on the couch.

He looked at me, his eyes glassy even in the flickering light of the television.

“Would it be so terrible?”

I raised my eyebrows, not sure how to respond.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, would it really be that awful to stay? I’m not even talking about sex. Just to fall asleep next to me? To wake up with me in your arms, would that really be so bad?” he asked, his voice making my heart clench.

Every word out of Sam’s mouth was shocking me. My first instinct was to chalk it up to the alcohol, but there was something else going on. There was something so sincere about what he was saying. I swallowed, hoping what I was feeling wouldn’t show in my voice.

“No. It wouldn’t be terrible at all. I just wanted you to be sure it was what you really wanted,” I reasoned, hoping he bought it.

“I’m sure.”

I held out my hand, which he had a bit of trouble taking.

“Then get back up here. We have a movie to finish,” I said.

He slipped onto the couch next to me, our faces inches apart.

“I don’t care about the movie,” he said before kissing me.

“Good. Me neither.”

 

Check out Clean Slate today!

 

Clean Slate by Heidi Champa

Blurb:

Wes Green keeps everyone at arm’s length, either by pushing buttons or simply pushing them away. When that doesn’t work, Wes runs, as far and as fast as he can. This time, bolting from his boyfriend also costs him his professional organizing job. His last resort is to retreat to his brother’s basement and try to pick up the pieces. The only bright spot in his new life is his niece, Kelsey.

One day, while in Kelsey’s school drop-off line, he meets Sam Montgomery, the father of Maya, Kelsey’s best friend. When Wes finds out Sam is gay and interested in some no-strings-attached fun, Wes thinks he’s hit the jackpot. With boundaries firmly in place, keeping Sam at a distance should be easy.

What starts out simple quickly gets complicated when fun turns to feelings between Wes and Sam. But the baggage both men carry threatens to stop things before they start. Can Wes stay put long enough to find real love, or will old habits be too hard to break?

 

Author Bio:

Heidi Champa is a typical last-born child. Snarky, attention-seeking and rebellious, she started to create dirty stories to keep herself out of real trouble. Having tried her hand at a million terrible jobs, she bought herself a laptop and finally started typing up those handwritten tales. After much deliberation, she started to let other people read her work.

In addition to her flare with the written word, she knows every sentence of the movie Clue by heart and bakes a mean Funny Cake. When she is not writing, she can be found reading, hiking or filling her iPod with more music. Her life has taken her all over the world, but a piece of her heart will always be in Australia. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband.

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