What’s in a Name? By Kelly Jensen + Giveaway

November 22, 2017

What's in a Name

 

Sometimes I have a name without a story, and sometimes I have a story without a name. Counting Fence Posts remained unnamed until my second revision round when Henry’s habit of counting things popped out of the first paragraph. I loved the idea of naming the book after one of Henry’s quirks, and as I developed this story into a series, the theme of counting naturally followed.

Counting Down had a name before I sat down to write. With the story occurring on New Year’s Eve, this title came easily. I also enjoyed working the counting motif into the story from Marc’s point of view. Henry is the one who counts things, but Marc ends up imagining a ghostly clock counting down the hours to midnight—until he gets distracted by laundry sex.

Counting on You, the third and final novella in this series, was originally going to be called “Counting Out.” I planned the story as Marc’s coming out and had in mind a line where either Marc or Henry said something like, “Don’t count me out.” I often carry around snippets of dialogue I’d like to use in a story. Fun fact: I rarely use them in my final drafts. While I do use an outline, my stories are quite organic and often grow away from what I planned.

It wasn’t until I got near the end of this last novella that the title happened. It came out of another line of dialogue that was in the same conversation I had planned. Marc tells Henry, “I was counting on you…” and there it was, my title. I really love this one because it not only wraps the series, but perfectly encapsulates the emotional arc of this particular novella. This one is the big test and the answer to the question of whether these two have what it takes to not only have a real relationship, but one that works.

So what about my characters’ names? I often put a lot of thought into these, including researching the meaning and etymology to make sure what I’ve picked really fits. As with my titles, I often have a name before I have a story. Sometimes I have a story with no names. Just guy one and guy two. In Out in the Blue, my first novella with Dreamspinner Press, Jared and Fin wore each other’s names all through the first draft. They never quite fit, though, and when it came time to start revising, I switched the names and everything fell into place.

Henry is one of my favourite names. (It’s not weird to have favourites!) I have a list of these and I’m a bit funny about using them because once they’re out there, in the world, they’re done. I can only write one Henry and this is him. This particular usage pleases me very much because Henry is such a personal character. This story started with him and his quirks!

Marc named himself. I have this happen quite often as well—especially when I’m writing from a single point of view and haven’t really given a lot of consideration to the other main character. I know from experience that they’ll let me know who they are as the story progresses and it’s not unusual for me to flesh out their character history after I’m done with my first draft.

HENRY MARC

I don’t generally base characters on people I know. Marc’s last name is similar to that of a friend I had in college, however, and I chose it because I greatly admired this friend. He had the same drive I’ve written into Marc. In his sophomore year, he broke his neck in a diving accident and lost the use of his right hand. As a graphic artist, this could have meant the end of his studies and career—but it wasn’t. My friend learned to draw with his other hand and to this day is successful at what he does. Marc is my tribute to him.

If you’ve been following along with Henry and Marc’s journey, I hope you enjoy this last novella and their happy ever after. (It’s not a spoiler to tell you that’s how it ends. I’m a romance writer, after all.) If you’ve yet to start, this is a great time to do so as the first two novellas are currently discounted at all retailers, including the Dreamspinner Press store!

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), and complete the Rafflecopter to enter! There are two prizes, both available internationally. One winner will receive $15 (US or equivalent) to spend at the Dreamspinner Press store. A second winner will receive the entire Counting series in ebook format, gifted through the Dreamspinner Press store.

Q: Do you have a favourite name? (If so, please share!)

 

Check out Counting on You today!

 

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Blurb:

Henry and Marc can’t seem to catch a break. They’ve had two disastrous dates—the first trapped in a car during a blizzard and the second locked in a basement—followed by nearly two months apart. Even though they work for the same firm, their relationship is held together by flying visits, phone calls, and text messages. A joint assignment in Washington D.C. might be more togetherness than they can handle, however.

Henry is still battling insecurity, and this assignment is too important to his career to mess up. Marc is committed. He’s falling for Henry and looks forward to having him permanently on his team and at his side. But the real test isn’t the assignment. When Marc finally lays his heart on the line, can he count on Henry to be there for him, in every way that matters? And can he do the same for Henry when Henry needs it the most?

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Dreamspinner Press

 

Author Bio:

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Website

 

Follow the Tour!

11/22 Dreamspinner Press Blog
11/27 We Three Queens
11/28 Love Bytes
11/28 TTC Books and More
11/29 The Novel Approach
11/29 Boy Meets Boy Reviews
11/29 Scattered Thoughts
11/30 Joyfully Jay
11/30 Bayou Book Junkie
12/1 Diverse Reader

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Felicitas Ivey’s Book Collection + Giveaway

November 21, 2017

Book Collection

 

I love physical books. The smell, the weight, the feel of them. New or old books. I’ve had a lot of fun wandering through used bookstores over the years. I’ve found some amazing books that way, books that have been long out of print or on odd topics like the evolution of the British Country house. I don’t hit the newer bookstores because most of my pleasure reading is in ebook form currently. I wander through a new bookstore once in a while, but there isn’t one I can get to easily. And they don’t have the variety a used bookstore has. Book buying is a lot more fun to me than clothes shopping. It also doesn’t help I have a friend who works at a publishing house and occasionally brings home books from work which end up at my house also.

My house became overrun with books, since the house was a lending library for my circle of friends. This was before the ebook revolution, when dead tree books were passed to other people when you were done reading it, so the other person could also enjoy said book. And then there were intense discussions about plot, characterization and other things over dinners or other gatherings. Also a book could be used to prop up your laptop when it overheated and read in the bathtub with very little worry.

My second husband, Mark, used to read real fast and devoured books. Mark lived in a small apartment with his family, so there wasn’t a lot of room for books. And the books usually ended up in my house, because my first husband and I would read them last, after everyone else did, and then they would never leave. And it’s not a very big house either.

Because of the sheer volume of books involved, plus all the books I’ve bought on my own over the decades, there are books all over my house. There isn’t a room in my house that doesn’t have some sort of book collection in it.

I have a couple of bookcases in my bedroom, filled with mostly non-fiction books, mostly military histories (I’m addicted to Osprey Press books!), fashion books and occult books. Plus a small part of my Lovecraft collection. Not only his work, but all the additions and variations of it, like Sherlock Holmes Lovecraft or 50s Pulp Horror Lovecraft.

I’ve wedged in a small bookcase for my cookbooks in the kitchen corridor. I have a lot of baking books, specialty cookbooks like spicy or ethnic cooking or how to eat like an Ancient Egyptian or Roman, as well as cookbooks from the fifties and sixties. I don’t cook a lot of different things, I just seem to collect cookbooks. Also cooking for one is difficult, but none of my books seem to think anyone lives alone. I always end up with leftovers. That isn’t too bad of a thing, because I bring them to lunch at work. But I do get tired of eating the same thing for several days in row.

My study, which used to be the spare bedroom, has more books: languages, Japanese literature and histories, my malexmale romances and the odd book. Since I work at a university, I was able to take courses over the years, all which added to the book collection. I’ve mostly taken language, literature and art history courses through work. That and I was a history major in college, so I have a lot of books from that too.

The library proper has all the paperback and hardcover fiction, some more histories and the gaming book collection. I’d been a gamer for a couple of decades and have books for several systems, like RollMaster, Paranoia and Steve Jackson’s GURPS. Some of those books are really useful for novel ideas. I don’t game anymore because it’s hard to find the time or a good group. Writing takes up a lot of my time.

The TV room’s mostly the out-of-control DVD/Blu Ray collection, since I don’t have cable or internet in my house, so if I want to watch something that isn’t on television, I have to pop in a disk. I also like having a physical copy of what I want to watch, since you never know when it’s going to disappear. You also can find things you wouldn’t if you’re streaming it. I’m very fond of my Cantonese/English laserdisc of ‘Aristocats’. You haven’t lived until you hear “Ev’rybody Wants To Be A Cat” sung in Cantonese with a French accent.

Some of my library is also in the TV, mainly my hoard of knitting books, along with some stray hardcover novels. I have a lot of knitting books, because I nab the ones I like when I can, because they go out of print too fast.

In the living room are all the books that didn’t fit anyplace else are going to line the wall. I have about 20 boxes of books in storage, a legacy of my second husband, Mark, which I’m slowly transferring to my house from storage. There are about fifteen boxes of books I still have to deal with.

I have had several decades of collecting by now, so the hoard is a little out of hand. But I never seem to get the time or have the interest to cull through the collection to get it down to a manageable size.  I know there’s probably a lot of doubles to deal with. There’s always so much else to do so I haven’t been able to cull the collection. What has helped is an app on my iPhone, Libib which is helping me catalog the books and DVDs in my house, by just scanning the ISBN. It’s a timesaver and can be exported to a spreadsheet if you want to.

So books are your friends, even if they attempt to crowd you out of your house!

Giveaway:

I’m doing a raffle for my new book.  A winner will be chosen on November 28, 2017. The winner will be chosen at random from all those who enter.

The winner gets the following: A paperback of my new book “The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed”, a paperback of my first novel, “Dreamlands”, a tote bag with “The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed” cover art. A second tote randomly chosen from my stash of tote bags with another one of my book’s cover art on it. Both are good for groceries, books or anything else you need a bag for.  And three hand knit dish towels. Can double as hot plates also.

 

Check out The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed today!

 

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Blurb:

Billionaire Fathi al-Murzim is a workaholic businessman, too busy running the family’s companies to even think about marriage. Too bad he never told his grandfather he’s gay, because Grandfather just announced a childhood betrothal—to a Bedouin girl Fathi never heard about before…

Ikraam din Abdel was raised as a woman by his avaricious and abusive older sister, who didn’t want him to be their father’s heir. He’d never thought to be married either, and is surprised when his sister informs him of his betrothal.

When Fathi and Ikraam meet, they are drawn to each other in a manner neither of them expected. As the plans for their wedding progress, they both realize they need to tell the other the truth. But can they, with both cultural taboos and family pressures to deal with.

 

Author Bio:

Felicitas is a frazzled help-desk tech at a university in Boston who wishes people wouldn’t argue with her when she’s troubleshooting what’s wrong with their computer. She lives with three cats who wish she would pay more attention to them, and not sit at a computer pounding on the keyboard. They get back at her by hogging most of the bed at night and demanding her attention during the rare times she watches TV or movies. She’s protected by her guardian stuffed Minotaur, Angenor, who was given to her by her husband, Mark. Angenor travels everywhere with her, because Felicitas’s family doesn’t think she should travel by her lonesome. They worry she gets distracted and lost too easily. Felicitas doesn’t think of it a getting lost, more like having an adventure with a frustrated GPS.

Felicitas knits and hoards yarn, firmly believing the one with the most yarn wins. She also is sitting on hordes of books, which still threaten to take over her house, even with e-books. Between writing and knitting, she brews beer, wine, mead, and flavored liqueurs. Felicitas also bakes, making cakes whenever she needs to work out an issue in her novels. Sometimes this leads to a lot of cakes. Her coworkers appreciate them though, with the student workers buzzing about on a sugar high most of the time.

Felicitas writes urban fantasy, steampunk, and horror of a Lovecraftian nature, with monsters beyond space and time that think that humans are the tastiest things in the multiverse. Occasionally there’s a romance or two involved in her writing, with a happily-ever-after.

Website: www.Felicitasivey.com
Facebook: felicitasivey
Twitter: @felicitasivey
Email: felicitas.ivey@gmail.com

 

 

The Cover Artist Made Me Write This Scene by Z. Allora

November 2, 2017

The Cover Artist Made Me Write This Scene

 

 

Greetings! I want to thank Dreamspinner Press for not only publishing The Librarian’s Rake but for allowing me to share this excerpt, and do a giveaway on their blog.                    

To celebrate the release of The Librarian’s Rake I’ll be giving away 3 e-books of Secured and Free, (Book #2 of Entwined Dreams) and a $20 gift card to Dreamspinner Press. Details below.

 

Truth be told I was rather a mess while picking The Librarian’s Rake’s cover. This is my first nondrawn book cover which makes sense because this is my first true (non-yaoified) contemporary romance. Combine that with the fact I have this obsessive need to capture a scene from my book on the cover and you can imagine how pleased the art department is with me… (No, thankfully they were VERY patient!).

I had originally hoped to capture Tristan (the librarian) and Phillip (the rake) pre-library sex. Like maybe Tristan pressed against one of the library bookshelves looking flustered and hot with Phillip ready to debauch him like a duke with the virgin governess of a bodice ripper. But none of the photo covers fit that imagine. Though they offered to rework it for me but I had already gotten attached to the current cover.

It captured the very moment Phillip realized maybe there was more to happy endings than just swallowing. It was at that second he let in the possibility of happily ever after. I knew the pivotal scene happened but I started the scene directly after the realization so the words were not on the page.

Soooooo, I added the moments the cover captured. The night before was BJ 101 and Phillip was still telling himself it was just sex… and then he peers over…

 

Here’s the excerpt for The Librarian’s Rake:

 

An adorable snore signaled that the intense snuggling had sent Tristan back to dreamland. When he rolled over in his sleep, Phillip followed and cuddled up to his back feeling… complete.

He lay there for a long time, listening to Tristan breathe. If Phillip were the romantic sort, he might even believe their hearts had synchronized. Instead he focused on trying to tame Tristan’s wild hair. Blowjob class did no one’s hairstyle any favors.

As Phillip finger-combed the sun-kissed strands, Tristan started making the cutest little sighs. The contented purrs continued, smashing through the crumbling walls around Phillip’s heart.

What was happening?

Phillip didn’t want to let go… even as part of him struggled with the need to escape what his heart craved. Maybe he could—

No! He needed to exit.

Pausing, he leaned over his sleeping beauty and pressed a kiss on Tristan’s cheek. Wait, his sleeping beauty?

Granted, he’d put that satisfied smile on Tristan’s face. But the pleased gratification was simply the result of a cock well sucked not of a relationship. Last night was simply a sexual tutorial. It was just sex.

Tristan wasn’t his.

Though why did everything about this amazing man make Phillip wish he could—

Time for a shower!

           He bypassed Tristan’s bathroom and opted for the guest bath—afterall he was just a visitor. He used the facilities, brushed his teeth, and took a quick shower.

It was ridiculous how a night of good orgasms could make him want…. Ha! What, Tristan sucked his cock and all of a sudden Phillip was looking to settle down? Did coming that hard make him lose track of reality and melt his common sense? Whatever! He needed to get a grip.

He tried to ignore it was the time he had been spending with Tris that made his feelings of lust and friendship morph into—

Shit! How did this happen? He needed to get the hell out of here.

Fuck! Where were his clothes? He not only wanted the barrier clothing would give him, but needed it.

Everything seemed too much.

He wrapped a towel around his waist, braced himself, and opened the door. Damn! His clothing from last night had been washed and folded and set outside the door, along with a plain blue T-shirt, giving him the choice so he didn’t have to wear a T-shirt proclaiming, “Save A Lollipop, Suck A Cock.”

Pulling on his underwear, he chuckled at what Tristan must have thought while washing his unmentionables. They were little more than a black pouch to hide his cock, with bands of rainbow elastic highlighting the availability of his ass.

Phillip wiggled into his jeans and did some knee bends to loosen them. He grabbed the two T-shirts and stared at them.

It was just a fucking T-shirt. However, one yelled fun and flirty, and the other said… I have a boyfriend.

“God, Tris! What the hell are you doing to me?”

How could this be happening? T-shirts didn’t talk! It was a goddamn shirt. He tugged his own on and stared in the mirror. Without product in his hair, he looked a bit of a mess. After a search under the sink, he found a sad can of generic mousse and did what he could.

He washed his hands and headed for the door. Catching his image in the mirror on the back of the door, he stopped. “Shit!” He ripped off his T-shirt and pulled on the other, resettled his hair, and ignored any implications the change in T-shirt meant. Folding his shirt neatly, he told himself he wanted to save it for the next time he went out.

 

Check out The Librarian’s Rake today!

 

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Blurb:

Opposites might attract, but is acting on that attraction wise?

Librarian Tristan Cooper can’t steer clear of sexy, motorcycle-riding bad boy Phillip—the man is hot—but Phillip is bound to and quiet, bookish Tristan boring, like all Tristan’s boyfriends. Tristan yearns to explore his wild side, the part of himself he’s only allowed into his fantasies, and maybe rakish Phillip is just what he needs to feel free.

Sexperienced hairdresser Phillip is more of a believer in happy endings than happily ever afters. Experience has taught him not to hope for more— until he meets sweet, vulnerable Tristan, who seems genuinely interested in his heart. But Phillip can’t trust enough to see himself as a man Tristan might want for more than a night.

With the help of a pair of matchmaking grandfathers, Tristan and Phillip might and the courage to step beyond their comfort zones and discover what has been missing from their lives….

 

To enter the giveaway by telling us who you are more like the librarian or the rake. Winners will be contacted Nov 8th.

 

Bio:

Z. Allora believes in happily ever afters 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 the opportunity 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
Blog: http://zallora.blogspot.com
Queer Romance Ink: www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/z-allora
Dreamspinner: www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/z-allora-637-a

The Paper Cycle by Ava Hayden

October 30, 2017

the paper cycle

 

Hi everyone!

I’m Ava Hayden. Thanks to Dreamspinner for letting me post a few thoughts here for the release of Highballer, #17 in the World of Love series, set in Alberta, Canada. Alberta happens to be where I live and write, so it was an obvious choice for me to pitch to Dreamspinner for a World of Love series entry.

Alberta is a many-faceted province. We’ve got the Calgary Stampede and lots of cows and cowboy culture, but also the Rockies with vast national parks. Plus we’ve got badlands and fossils, forests, oil sands, endless fields of wheat (barley, oats, lentils, canola, alfalfa, and more), and wild northern spaces where you can find herds of wood bison and the world’s largest beaver dam.

I’d already written one MM romance about an Alberta farmer on the prairies (His Fallow Heart). Other people have written MM romances about paleontologists and cowboys in Alberta, so I decided I was going to tackle tree planting, which I hadn’t seen in any MM romance to date. Every year thousands of Canadians, many of them twentysomethings, are out planting millions of seedlings. Tree planting is a huge industry. Why is tree planting a big deal? Because, bottom line, in Canada if you harvest a tree, you plant a tree (if you are a lumber company and you want to keep harvesting, that is). These businesses contract with tree planting companies.

I knew nothing about tree planting before I heard first-hand stories from family members who paid much of their university costs through planting. One of the best stories involves a brother-in-law who decided to visit his girlfriend on the way home after a summer of tree planting—ratty planting clothes, planter’s beard, and all. The girlfriend’s father answered the door only to find every dad’s worst nightmare standing on his front porch (or so he thought). Luckily the story has a happy ending! The girlfriend eventually became his wife, and they’ve been married over two decades now.

To refresh my memory, I “interviewed” one planter veteran in the family and looked through his old photo albums. For a moment (a really short one) I wondered if I could have cut it as a tree planter. Realistically? Like Remy, I love my piped-in running water and flush toilets, but unlike Remy, I don’t think I could have given them up for a summer. Throw in the constant aches and pains, injuries, bug bites, claw hand, and crazy Alberta weather, and you see why tree planting companies want you to say “I really want the money” when they ask why you want the job.

Besides the money, tree planting has a few other upsides too. You get up close and personal with nature. You see parts of Alberta that many lifelong residents never will. You make good friends. And you know you’re tough enough to do one of the hardest jobs in the world.

 

Check out Highballer today!

 

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Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/2x8X7BC
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/y9eb5jsp
Rakuten Kobo: http://bit.ly/2z3W3B6
iBooks: http://apple.co/2xYb5L4
Nook: http://bit.ly/2ycpyTT
Google Books: https://goo.gl/RLsjbE

 

Blurb

What happens when the man is as tempting as the money?

Remy Delacour’s family doesn’t believe in mainstream medicine, and when Remy’s boyfriend reveals that Remy is majoring in nursing, they cut him off. He has to find money to finish his education—fast. And he is so done with boyfriends.

Levi Aronson met the guy of his dreams and followed him to Australia. He knew the chances for a lasting romance were slim—and boy, was he right. Now he’s back in Canada, a year behind in his university program, and short of funds. He needs money, not another man.

Tree planting is a way to make a lot of money fast, but it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. When Levi, an experienced planter, sees pretty, sloe-eyed Remy, Levi is certain he’ll never last.

They’ll have to pry Remy’s shovel from his cold, stiff fingers, because he won’t quit—or let anything take his eyes off the prize. When a storm brings Remy and Levi together, each finds the other a distraction from the big goal. But can anything develop between two men who have sworn off relationships?

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

 

Author Bio

Ava Hayden lives and writes in Alberta, Canada. When not writing, she loves reading yaoi manga and gay romance, baking, seeing plays, hearing live music, and hiking (even though she once came face to face with two grizzlies on a trail). Most of the time her life isn’t that exciting, and that’s fine by her.

More about Ava

Ava Hayden Writes: https://avahayden.com/
Ava Hayden on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avahayden.ab/
Ava Hayden on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/avahaydenab/
Ava Hayden on Facebook: fb.me/avahayden.ab
Ava Hayden on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/avahayden
Ava Hayden on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Ava_Hayden
Ava Hayden at Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/ava-hayden-812

 

 

What Affects Me While Writing a Book by Xenia Melzer

October 27, 2017

 

What Affects Me

 

As I mentioned before, getting the idea for a book usually happens automatically when the plot bunny targets you. You have the idea, you write down some key points, if you’re really lucky and/or disciplined, you even have a plot outline and most of the characters covered. All you have to do now is start with the actual writing.

In the beginning, I’m usually excited and so full of determination, I’m convinced I can write the whole thing in less than a week.

Two weeks later, and not that far into chapter three, I wonder if the idea is really that good, if I shouldn’t rewrite everything, or drop the entire project. While I try to get my motivation back and my groove on, one of the children gets sick. Nothing bad, usually just a cold, but it ALWAYS happens when I need my flow and not somebody with a runny nose clinging to me, demanding to play memory and to read stories. The stories my younger daughter loves don’t have that many words in them yet and usually rhyme. Wonderful if you want to write a kinky scene with leather and whips in it and just can’t get “The Sports Day of the Imps” out of your head. Including the drawings.

After the child is better again, I go back to writing. The imps have vacated my brain, leaving more space for gorgeous men getting their dose of 18+ rated fun. I’m about one third into the book, satisfied with how much progress I’m making, and ready to get some more action (sexual and otherwise) in, when the cat decides to show me her prowess at hunting and brings in a living mouse. Which she then sets free, because otherwise it would be boring. For reasons I don’t understand, my husband doesn’t fancy mice running around the house and, of course, he’s not here to take care of the problem himself. It’s the cat and me and she’s now on her favorite spot on the couch, watching me with that satisfied look she always wears when she thinks she’s done me a favor. I get a dish towel, put on the light in the kitchen (unlike cockroaches, mice run toward the light), shoo the mouse into a corner (they tend to stay to the walls, so that’s fairly easy, you just have to prevent them from climbing), drop the towel on it, very carefully lift the towel to see where the tail is, grab it by the tail, and bring it back into the garden. Now that I have had my nightly exercise, I can go back to writing. Strangely enough, I suddenly decide a cat is just what the plot has been missing. So I spend the rest of the evening debating whether a feline would add that certain appeal or not. Then it’s time for bed and I’m still only one third into the novel.

A few days later, the cat conundrum is solved (I’m not saying if pro or con), when they play this song on the radio I haven’t heard in ages. After calculating how long ago it has been released, realizing how old I am when really, graduation was just last year, and feeling sorry for myself for a moment (Until I reach my stash of chocolate – one of the perks of getting older? You don’t give a damn what time of day it is to get your sweets!), I have another idea for the plot that forces me to rewrite a large part.

I could keep this list going forever, because everything that happens around me influences my writing. Sometimes this is good, because I get fresh ideas and my plots become more interesting. Sometimes, it’s bad. I get distracted, lose my red thread, or have to rewrite entire parts. I never know beforehand, which makes writing each book a unique and exciting process I wouldn’t want to miss for the world. Except when it’s painful. Or when I’m stuck. Or…

 

Check out A Dom and His Writer today!

 

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Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

 

Blurb:

Life is perfect for Richard and Dean. Richard is a wealthy and successful businessman who also owns a BDSM club, and Dean is a best-selling author and sub to Richard. They’re young, happy, and in love. The future is bright…. Until tragedy strikes and an accident claims Dean’s beloved sister. Dean finds himself the guardian of a three-month-old infant, and soon he’s trading in his leather fetish gear for diapers and drool bibs. But little Emily is all that remains of his family, so how can he abandon her? It’s not what Richard signed up for. As much as he tries to be supportive, he never wanted kids and misses having his partner to himself. Suddenly the life he imagined for them is gone, and he’s not sure their relationship can survive the upheaval. But fate isn’t through with Dean, and when misfortune strikes again, will he be able to turn to the man he loves? A final crisis will determine if they can pull together as a family or must face facts and part ways.

 

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Author Bio:

Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. A true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.

You can contact her through her website: http//www.xeniamelzer.com
Or befriend and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xeniamelzer/

 

 

The Magic of Key West by CJane Elliott

October 17, 2017

 

The Magic of Key West

 

I was happy to set my novella In Over Our Heads in Key West. I’d been there once, briefly, many years ago. Briefly as in two hours on a stopover during a cruise. So I decided I needed a refresher on Key West and talked my sister into coming with me. We took off this past March from Orlando where I had just attended the Dreamspinner Author Conference. Road trip!

There’s a lot of blue in the Florida Keys. I took this picture out of our car window:

 

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Key West is a charming town where it’s hard to take a bad picture. Here’s one of my favorites, snapped on an evening walk:

 

keywestwalk

 

We made a pilgrimage to a local bookstore that’s owned by Judy Blume. She was there, y’all! I was too shy to approach her (or take her picture) and probably just as well, because I was sick as a dog and had a coughing attack in the store before I fled.

 

keywestbookstore

 

Despite my ailments, I had a wonderful time in Key West and tried my best to capture its charm in the story. Here’s a Key West sunset for the end of this post—and yes, I took this picture with my iPhone. Key West is glorious!

 

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Check out In Over Our Heads today!

 

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Blurb:

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires. Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

 

Author Bio:

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

E-mail: cjaneelliott@gmail.com
Website: http://www.cjaneelliott.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CJaneElliott
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cjane.elliott
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/CJane-Elliott/e/B00LPIJDM2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/cjane-elliott-124

 

 

The Playlist for Living in Fast Forward by BA Tortuga

October 13, 2017

The Playlist (1)

 

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and playlist junkie.

There’s nothing quite like the playlist for a book about musicians, is there?

Nothing.

This one is country rocker heavy and, as always, starts with Tim McGraw.

Real Good Man Tim McGraw Country
Living in Fast Forward Kenny Chesney
Lets Make Love Tim McGraw/Faith Hill
Play Something Country Brooks & Dunn
The More I Drink Blake Shelton
Please Remember Me Tim McGraw
You’re My Better Half Keith Urban
Where I Come From Alan Jackson
Young Kenny Chesney
The World Brad Paisley
Back When Tim Mcgraw
You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This Toby Keith
Over and Over (with Nelly) 4:16 Tim McGraw & Nelly
Grown Men Dont Cry Tim McGraw
All About Tonight Blake Shelton
Country Boy’s World Jason Aldean
Never Wanted Nothing More Kenny Chesney
Raining on Sunday Keith Urban
The Cowboy in Me Tim Mcgraw
Little Bitty Alan Jackson
Over When It’s Over Eric Church
For a Little While Tim McGraw
Like We Never Loved At Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You Brooks & Dunn
How Forever Feels Kenny Chesney
Love Without End Amen George Strait
Better Life Keith Urban
In Color Jamey Johnson
I Got A Feelin’ Billy Currington
Days Like These Jason Aldean
Gone Country Alan Jackson
Unbroken Tim McGraw
Gettin’ You Home Chris Young
Keep On Eric Church
Who Wouldn’t Want To Be Me (Live) Keith Urban
Brand New Man 3:00 Brooks & Dunn
She’ll Leave You With A Smile George Strait
Back Where I Come From (Live Version) Kenny Chesney
Been There, Done That Luke Bryan
Pickin’ Wildflowers Keith Anderson
I Ain’t Ready to Quit Jason Aldean
Where The Blacktop Ends (live WTC) Keith Urban
Everywhere Tim McGraw
My Front Porch Looking In Lonestar
Right Where I Need To Be Gary Allan
Keg In The Closet Kenny Chesney
Jack Daniels Eric Church
Rock My World (Little Country Girl) Brooks & Dunn
Ocean Front Property George Strait
Drinkin’ Beer and Wastin’ Bullets Luke Bryan

 

Much love, y’all.

BA

 

Check out Living in Fast Forward today!

 

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Blurb

Acclaimed musician Hollis Lee is a little bit rock, a little bit country, and a lot in need of some TLC to mend the years of hardcore partying that threatens to ruin his career. Hollis’s manager, Charlie, has the perfect solution in mind.

Personal trainer Jeremy is even-keeled and nothing if not professional—which means doing his job, getting Hollis back to his fighting weight, and ignoring his fierce attraction to the rock star.

Turns out Hollis has a harder time resisting Jeremy than giving up sausage biscuits and cheeseburgers, but succumbing to temptation could end both of their careers. While Hollis is on tour, no one questions Jeremy’s presence, and that means plenty of time to sneak away for some steamy fun on the tour bus. But when an accident separates them, how will they sustain the relationship that’s starting to mean so much?

Second Edition

 

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 Tribute To Category Romance w/ Louisa Masters + Giveaway

September 28, 2017

Tribute to Category Romance

 

I’ve been reading category romance for a long time. For those of you not familiar with the term, I’m referring to Harlequin-style romances.

My first was actually my first ever “adult” romance novel. When I was eleven, spending the day at my grandparents’ house during the school holidays, I snuck it off the bookshelf. I’d been eyeing that book for months. I knew what it was, and I’d been dying to read it, but circumstances never played in my favor. For one thing, there was my brother. My grandmother, who couldn’t read English very well, might not have known exactly what that book was (it had been left behind by my mum when she moved out many years before), but my brother would have if he saw me reading it.

Finally, the day came. My brother was at a friend’s house, and I knew if I was careful, I could read the “grown-up love story.”

Mind you, this was a Mills&Boon from the seventies. It actually had nothing in it that was inappropriate for an eleven-year-old to read—certainly some of the other books I’d been reading, like Little Women, explored themes that were just as adult. The prose was so flowery that to this day, even having reread it as an adult, I’m not entirely certain if there was a kiss or not. But oh, the tension! I was too young and naïve to recognize it as sexual, but I knew it was something!

From then, I was hooked. Within the year I had expanded my contraband reading beyond the category romances I sneaked from Mum’s collection when she wasn’t paying attention, and was reading a wide range of romances, from pretty much every subgenre. But I’ve always had a soft spot for category romances. They do say you never forget your first!

So what was it that appealed so much? Many people deride category romance. Formulaic, they say. Completely predictable. In no way realistic.

They’re not wrong. But that’s what’s so wonderful about them! When you pick up a category romance, you have a guaranteed comfort read. There will be no sharp plot twists. There is no chance of a main character dying. And you are guaranteed a happy ending. There might be lots of dramatic angst along the way, soap opera style, but in the end, you know it will all be okay. For a little while, you can take a step out of your life to be swept away to a foreign land with a hot billionaire, or a sheikh. You can immerse yourself in a world where the nanny does end up with the hot dad, and there’s no harassment suit involved. Or the assistant with the boss… or the housekeeper with the lord of the manor. Or maybe just two ordinary people, but in an unfamiliar situation. Category romance removes the boundaries of reality while still presenting a familiar world.

If you’ve never read a category romance, you should give it a go. Just once, and see what you think. If you read for escapism, there’s nothing better—and now that Dreamspinner have launched Dreamspun Desires, there’s no reason for m/m readers to miss out!

Ben wished hed kept his mouth shut

 

Louisa is giving away five swag packs to mark the release of The Bunny and The Billionaire.
Enter to win! https://tinyurl.com/yag5gasq

 

Swag giveaway

 

 

Check out The Bunny and the Billionaire today!

 

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Blurb:

Spending their fortunes and losing their hearts.

Hardworking Australian nurse Ben Adams inherits a substantial sum and decides to tour Europe. In Monaco, the home of glamour and the idle rich, he meets French billionaire playboy Léo Artois. After getting off on the wrong foot—as happens when one accuses a stranger of being part of the Albanian mafia—their attraction blazes. Léo, born to the top tier of society, has never known limits, and Ben, used to budgeting every cent, finds it difficult to adjust to not only Léo’s world, but also the changes wealth brings to his own life.

As they make allowances for each other’s foibles, Ben gradually appreciates the finer things, and Léo widens his perspective. They both know one thing: this is not a typical holiday romance and they’re not ready to say goodbye.

 

Louisa Masters Logo2

Author Bio:

Louisa Masters started reading romance much earlier than her mother thought she should. While other teenagers were sneaking out of the house, Louisa was sneaking romance novels in and working out how to read them without being discovered. She’s spent most of her life feeling sorry for people who don’t read, convinced that books are the solution to every problem. As an adult, she feeds her addiction in every spare second, only occasionally tearing herself away to do things like answer the phone and pay bills. She spent years trying to build a “sensible” career, working in bookstores, recruitment, resource management, administration, and as a travel agent, before finally conceding defeat and devoting herself to the world of romance novels.

Louisa has a long list of places first discovered in books that she wants to visit, and every so often she overcomes her loathing of jet lag and takes a trip that charges her imagination. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she whines about the weather for most of the year while secretly admitting she’ll probably never move.

Find Louisa on Facebook and Twitter:

www.facebook.com/LouisaMastersAuthor
@authorLouisaM

All About Balance by Jodi Payne

September 20, 2017

all about balance

 

Hey everyone!

My name is Jodi Payne, I’m a proud Jersey Girl, I love Broadway musicals, the beach, tequila, and I’m almost always caffeinated like whoa.

I am so excited to be joining the Dreamspinner family with my new novel, Creative Process. I was asked to blog here about it, but I have to tell you, blogging isn’t really my strong suit. I do much better with making up stories than I do with presenting real ones in a way that’s entertaining. But since I’m new here, I thought a little background about me and my inspiration for Creative Process might be in order and with this book, I can do both at once.

I started this book eight years ago. No really, I did. My writing time back then was spotty at best because I had a young daughter, and then I got pregnant with my son and was trying to work full time, parent his big sister, be pregnant and write all at the same time.

Nope.

Something had to give, and unfortunately, it ended up being my writing. It wasn’t a choice, it’s just what happened. Writing, for me, requires focus, and I had none to spare.

Fast forward to more recently, my kids grew up a little and became more independent, and I found myself with some quiet time now and then. I went searching through my ancient archives and found Reese (but not Owen – originally Benjamin, another character in the book, was intended as his love interest). I read it and figured out why I got stuck on it way back then, reworked the story in my head and BOOM. I was off to the races.

Art of any kind requires focus. It demands the artist keep hold of their train of thought or thread of emotion for a sustained period of time. It’s unpredictable, too: sometimes it’s demanding at inconvenient times, and sometimes inspiration just isn’t there when you need it. It requires practice, research and sometimes just plain hard work.

It’s not for everyone. And as many of you probably know, it’s not for everyone’s partner either.

Creative Process is entirely fictional, but holds a thread of truth from my own experience. My wife is not an author, she’s a crafter and a musician. We have little moments all the time where she’ll be quilting and want to be chatty and I’ll be writing and need to be in the zone. Or I want to run something by her but she’s in the middle of practicing a piece on her harp and can’t be interrupted. Balance is essential. Indulgence, patience and sometimes forgiveness are also essential. Priorities are essential. These are some of the things Reese (an author) and Owen (a cellist) navigate together in Creative Process, as together they veer way off the beaten path to find their HEA.

Also, for those of you that love a fairly developed cast of supporting characters like I do, you’ll find all kinds New York artists back up this story, as well as Reese’s publicist and Owen’s best friend, all of whom are pretty crucial to the story. Reese and Owen might not have made it without them.

Thank you to DSP for the warm welcome!

Jodi

 

Check out Creative Process today!

 

CreativeProcess_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb: 

Best-selling thriller author Reese Kelsey knows his career isn’t conducive to romance. He doesn’t work the normal nine-to-five, and sometimes his characters take hold and demand all his attention, causing him to neglect important appointments… and lovers. Rather than go through another heartbreak, Reese contents himself with his small circle of friends—fellow gay New York City artists—and his dedicated publicist, Chad.

Until he sees Owen Mercado lugging his cello toward the subway and impulsively offers him a ride.

Owen has worked long and hard for a career in the symphony, and success comes with a demanding schedule—something Reese understands. Their desires and lifestyles are surprisingly compatible, and Reese and Owen certainly set the bedroom on fire. They’re both carrying baggage, but they fit, and it’s hard not to hope for a future that once seemed impossible.

But when Reese’s work inevitably pulls him into its dark world and refuses to let go, Owen draws a hard line, and Reese discovers he can’t rely on good intentions alone. He will have to control the obsession that drove his other lovers away or risk losing Owen as well.

 

Author Bio: 

Jodi Payne spent too many years in New York and San Francisco stage managing classical plays, edgy fringe work, and the occasional musical. She therefore is overdramatic, takes herself way too seriously, and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her men are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likeable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after.

For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec and tequila however you pour it. She’s also obsessed with Shakespeare and Broadway musicals. She can be found wearing sock monkey gloves while typing when it’s cold, and on the beach enjoying the sun and the ocean when it’s hot. When she’s not writing and/or vacuuming sand out of her laptop, Jodi mentors queer youth and will drop everything for live music.

Jodi lives near New York City with her beautiful wife, and together they are mothers of dragons (cleverly disguised as children) and slaves to an enormous polydactyl cat.

Website: www.jodipayne.net
Email: jodipaynewrites@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/payne.jodi
FB Author Group: www.facebook.com/groups/jodisgents
Twitter: @JodiPayne
Instagram: @jodipayne1800
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/267617.Jodi_Payne

 

Earning His Trust Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway

September 11, 2017

Earning His Trust

 

What do you do when the pure emotion of a picture grabs you, and you can’t do anything but write the story you get when you see it? Well, that’s what happened to me when I saw the image that spurred me to write the following scene below in this exclusive excerpt. There’s happiness and joy in the picture, but to me, I knew there was more beneath the surface going on… and that is just what happened when it came time to write this chapter.

Happy Baby Boy And Dad Play Together

 

Exclusive Excerpt 

 

“Why don’t we go out to eat? The three of us? And before we go to the restaurant, we could stop at the park. Micah would love the swings.”

“Why don’t we stay in?” Evin was on the floor next to Micah, who was sitting in just a diaper, his blocks and a ring stack in front of him. “He’s happy playing with his rings right now, and if we take him to the park, I’ll have to bundle him up, which he hates. And I thought I’d make stew.”

“Well, I need to head over to my house and get some clean clothes for tomorrow. You could come with me.”

“It would be faster if we stayed here. You’re coming back, right?”

“Yeah.” Ben hated the anxiety in Evin’s voice as he walked out the door. He was distracted the whole drive over to his house. He didn’t like the way this was going. He’d seen more and more signs of Evin’s unwillingness to leave the house. The last time he needed groceries, he did an online order. He said it was because Micah was running a low-grade fever and it was too wet and cold to take him out.

He might be primarily an emergency room physician, but Ben knew the signs of post-traumatic stress. Evin was restless but didn’t want to leave the house. Anytime it was brought up, his anxiety level went through the roof.

He was allowing his house to become a barrier between him and the big, bad world. Worse, he refused to admit to his fear or his coping mechanism of avoiding life. Maybe it was easy for him to slip into because he’d done it before when Micah was born, but Ben thought he’d made progress, that he’d decided to rejoin the world.

Now he was locked away from it again. Ben didn’t know what to do, what to say, to make this fear better. Sure, they lived in a liberal area. Nine times out of ten, hell, ninety-nine times out of one hundred, openly gay couples were safe. Violence wasn’t the norm, but Evin had been the victim of too much of it, and worse, he was afraid of it spilling over onto the people he loved.

So he was holding on tight to where he was comfortable, to his safe zone.

And Ben had no idea how to fix it.

 

Check out Earning His Trust today!

 

EarningHisTrust_postcard_front_DSP

 

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Blurb:

Evin lost the only two men he ever loved. But he might get a second chance with one of them—if he’s willing to take the risk.

Following the death of his husband, Evin is living in Portland and raising the infant son they had through a surrogate. Six-month-old Micah is his life, and if it means no time for activities or friendships beyond his minuscule support network, that’s a sacrifice Evin is willing to make. When he suffers a burn baking teething biscuits, the last person Evin expects to encounter in the ER is Ben, his lover from college—and the man who left him without a word of explanation.

Ben knows it won’t be easy to earn Evin’s trust and prove he’s not the same man Evin once knew, but he can’t bear to watch Evin struggle to care for Micah, hurting and alone. He wants back in Evin’s life, as a friend and hopefully more, but Evin’s heart is fragile, and the years have changed him too.

 

Author Bio:

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social Media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

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