Writing About Home with Renae Kaye

May 2, 2016


I recently heard from a reviewer after they had finished my book.  They said that the book was still sinking in with them, but they wanted to ask a question.  Is that really what it’s like in Australia?

My answer is simple.  Yes.

The first time I picked up pen and paper a keyboard to write a story, I was writing it to (a) get the story out of my head, but (b) write an Australian story.  I had been scouring the lists for M/M Romance stories set in Australia, because I really enjoyed reading about my homeland.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love a story set in somewhere other than Australia, but every now and then when I would find me some Aussie lovin’ I would enjoy it just a little bit more.

I wrote my first couple of stories set in Australia, but when thinking about whether I could “sell” the story to a publisher, I wondered if I could change it to be somewhere else.  By the time I got around to writing The Shearing Gun, I knew I couldn’t write anything but Australian.  I don’t have the confidence to try to write a character who lives in a place I’ve never visited and is of a culture I’ve never experienced, and why should I bother when Perth and Australia have such a wonderful land to explore?

Are my books like it is to live in Perth?  Absolutely.  There are some very Australian things that happen in my books, and some very Western Australian things.

- Harley & Shawn going to Kings Park on their first date
- Lee & Dave going to the trots for their date
- Liam & Jay posing over Yangebup Lake for wedding photos
- Jake & Patrick going to the pet food place on South Street

These are all things that are very Perth-like and places I’ve been.  Experiences in my books are also very Perth focused.

- Lon working FIFO (fly-in, fly-out)
- Dave working in a company that supports mining
- Lee’s father owning a mining company
- Harley working on the conservation of the Carnaby’s Cockatoo
- Liam & Jay taking the train from Cockburn Station each morning to the city
- Hank & Elliot driving to the Big Smoke on a weekend

I mention football a lot too, because you can’t go long without it jumping out at you in Perth.

Likewise, the experiences of Andrew and Paul in my new release, Safe in His Heart are also going to be very Australian and Perth focused.  This reviewer was specifically asking about Paul’s experience with the Perth Anglican Church.

I wrote this story based on the fact that the Perth Diocese of the Anglican Church is one of the most progressive I’ve seen and heard about.  Whereas America has same-sex marriage that the conservative churches are trying to overturn, Australia has it very different.  We don’t have same-sex marriage because our politicians are refusing to let it through parliament.  Estimates put it at least another two years away before Australia could have it up for vote again.

Bearing this in mind, it makes the fact that the Anglican Church here in Perth was debating and actually voting to legalise same-sex marriage within the church three years ago at their synod very, very progressive.  For two years the representatives of the Anglican Church majority voted for it, but it had to be turned down because there was no agreement from the Archbishop, and there was no legislation within the Church’s documents that supported it.  My understanding of the situation is that the Archbishop has veto power on creating legislation, so until he either changes his mind, or the Anglican Church gets a new Archbishop, there is no way to move forward.

Like any organisation, the Anglican Church has priests who are supporters of LGBTIQA people, and those who are not.  The Diocese of Perth has a number of churches within its boundaries, and the two other Dioceses of Western Australia also have some, that are designated “Rainbow Churches.”  They are congregations and priests who will welcome you if you are LGBTIQA.

Funnily enough, I made a new friend recently.  She lives in Perth and we’ve established a social media friendship.  She told me a couple of months ago that she was about to marry her girlfriend, and I was super happy for her.  On her wedding day I scoured her Facebook for pictures and was pleasantly surprised to find her marrying in a church with the rainbow flag and transgender flag prominently displayed, draped over the altar.  It turned out to be an Anglican church, and I wrote to her about it.

Suzie & Sam wedding

She attends a different congregation from what Paul attends in my book, but she tells me they have an evening service on a Sunday that is primarily attended by LGBTIQA people.  It’s my book come to life.  It’s the reality of life in Perth.  Although my friend was unable to legally be married in her church (the legal bit had to be done in a foreign consulate a few days later) she was able to have her marriage ceremony in her church, in front of her friends and family, in front of her priest, and most importantly, in sight of her God.

Many times when reading a book, I’ve stopped and thought, “Huh.  That’s such a different way of thinking/acting/living to what I know.”  I hope to reassure you, that all of my books are true to how it is to live in Perth.

Another theme that comes through in the story has to do with the mining industry.  It’s a common theme in my books, just because it’s a common theme in Perth.  Liam works for a mining company in the finance department, Lon works for a mining company as a FIFO worker, Dave works for a company that supports mining with manufacturing items, Lee’s father owns a mining company, and now Andrew works for a company that supports mining too.  It’s a big business.

In Safe in His Heart, Andrew has a mindset that I often see in people I know – your worth in this world is judged on your manliness, and no gay man can hack it in the mining industry.  Andrew’s sure he would be ridiculed if his gayness was ever revealed.

Paul, the male nurse who’s maleness comes in as extremely useful as being one of the only men on the ward, and Andrew , the mining CEO who knows he has to be the best to survive.  Paul, who’s known nothing but acceptance from his family and congregation, and Andrew, who knows his family and church will react badly to the news.  Two men.  Very different.  Very Australian.

Welcome to Safe in His Heart.

Check out Safe in His Heart today!



Andrew and Paul learned about God and Jesus in different churches and realize their views of spirituality are worlds apart.

Andrew was raised Catholic and was told his homosexuality was a sin. For his entire life, he hid the truth. He married and had children to present a façade to the world—that of a straight man. It’s not until he has an affair with Paul, who shows him a different side of Jesus, that Andrew realizes he can be gay and still believe in God. Paul’s Jesus is one of acceptance and love, and in Paul’s church, being gay is not a problem.

For Paul and Andrew, falling in love is the easy part of their journey. They must make it through the fires of cheating, being discovered, Andrew’s wife leaving, the necessities of childcare and family life, the demands of their jobs, and working on their commitment to each other. Only then can they be safe in each other’s heart.


 About Renae Kaye:

Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back.  She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since.  After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted.  It hasn’t stopped her though.  She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple – and it will be the most boring story ever.  So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky and imperfect characters who just want their story told.

Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework and her beloved veggie garden.  She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.

How to contact Renae:

Email:  renaekaye@iinet.net.au
Website:  www.renaekaye.weebly.com
FB:  www.facebook.com/renae.kaye.9
Twitter:  @renaekkaye


MJ O’Shea’s Road To Duke in Hiding

May 1, 2016

MJ O'Shea's Road to Duke in Hiding (1)

Hi everyone!  I’m Mj O’Shea and I’m here to talk about my newest Dreamspun Desires book Duke in Hiding!

Okay… it all started with Darcy. Doesn’t everything? Sigh. Darcy. I don’t remember exactly when I first encountered the world of stately homes and roguish gentlemen but I was hooked. I spent a lot of my teen years devouring regency romance (when I wasn’t reading fantasy, paranormal, or sci fi) and the love of that world has never died.

I still want to write a regency novel (some day!!!) but when I decided to write a second book for Dreamspun Desires,  I wanted to at least include some parts of my teenage past haha. I had to take my Mr. Darcy and make him modern so while I was at it, why not go for it and make him a Duke? Because, well… why not ☺ So I did a little research and found a dukedom that had been extinct since its last holder died a long while back. It was pretty easy to resurrect it. At least fictionally!


There were originally only two Dukes with this title, so I did some very accurate and detailed math and decided that about five generations had passed. Heath Pierrepont Blackwood the seventh Duke of Kingston was born. The original (real) title was Duke of Kingston-upon-hull but I decided to shorten it to make it a tad more fictional.

Heath is a bit snarky, a little snobby at first, but devoted to his land and the people it supports.  He just needs an equally snarky American bartender slash landscaper named Theo to melt his crusty exterior. Of course.

I’ll leave a bit of Duke in Hiding below for you to read while I go and watch Pride and Prejudice for the millionth time… and unpopular opinion but I like BOTH versions. Poppy Dennison would give me dagger glares for that one. We’ve discussed it many times.

Here’s a blurb and below I’ll add a short excerpt! I’d love to hear what you think… and also, if you have one what’s your favorite Regency character? Can come from books, movies, or real history! There are many to choose from ☺

Blurb time….

Meeting Heath Blackwood, a gorgeous English farmer, is probably the most exciting thing to ever happen to small-town landscaper Theo Brody, who has lived in quiet Maplehurst, New Hampshire, all his life. The sexy and secretive Brit shakes the foundations of his orderly world as they are swept up in a springtime romance neither can resist.

But Heath’s secrets run deeper than Theo ever imagined. He’s actually Heathcliff Pierrepont Blackwood, Duke of Kingston, in hiding from recent death threats. Suddenly there’s more separating them than the Atlantic Ocean, and Theo doubts he’ll ever fit in with English nobility. Though Heath and Theo are opposites in almost every way, their love might bridge the gap—if they’re willing to take the risk.


And a short bit from Duke in Hiding…


Theo sat behind the bar and got up to make drinks whenever someone came to the counter. It was a quiet night, which was both a blessing and rather unfortunate. He was too tired to hustle, but it would’ve been nice to have something to keep him awake and busy. And more customers always meant better tips, which never hurt. Still, it wasn’t a bad night after all. At least at first. He’d only been there about an hour when the door opened, and fantastic. The Brit was back. Earlier too, so they’d have plenty of time for witty repartee. If Theo played his cards right, he could have a good three hours of the snobby English guy’s company. Fabulous.

“You’re back,” he murmured.

“I am. Another of what you poured last night, please.”

“The Smuttynose IPA?”

Theo got a definite eyebrow raise for that one. It was his favorite beer to recommend to outsiders—mostly because he liked to say the name and get a reaction. “I suppose. I never did hear the name of it.”

“That’s what it is. Smuttynose. You know now.” Theo was surprised at the sharpness of his voice, but nearly everything about the guy rubbed him the wrong way. Wasn’t his face, to be sure, but the rest of him. Ugh. Theo filled a pint glass with Smuttynose and slid it gently across the bar.

“You said you just moved here?” Theo asked. It looked like he was going to have a whole lot more of this dude in his bar.

“Yes. For the time being.”

“And where are you from?”

He gave Theo a long look. “England,” he answered dryly.

“I never would have guessed.” Theo rolled his eyes. “I was going for a bit more detail.”

“North Yorkshire, mostly. Although I have lived in a few places.”

Theo didn’t know a whole lot about Yorkshire, other than it was where the famed Downton Abbey—source of Gilly’s fervent obsession—was located.

“Please don’t ask if I’ve seen Downton Abbey. I detest talking about that drivel.”

Is this guy an ass and a mind reader? “Wasn’t going to. But thanks for the friendly warning.”

“Cheers.” He took a long swallow of his pint.

He. Theo realized he didn’t have a name for his newest patron. He was almost afraid to ask.

“What do you do in North Yorkshire…?” Theo hesitated at the end of the question, drew it out a bit. Most people would take it as a hint to fill in their name. Apparently “most people” didn’t apply to hot English assholes.

“I’m a farmer.”

Again with the fountains of detail.

“And you left your farm just as spring was starting?” Theo didn’t know a whole lot about farming, but he knew that much. Spring and fall: not time to be hanging out in a bar on the other side of the Atlantic.

“It’s being tended. Why are you so curious all of a sudden?”

Theo distinctly remembered being shut down the night before as well. Not what he’d call sudden. “Just trying to be friendly. That’s the way we do things around here. I won’t bother you again.”

Not likely to get much of a tip from you either. If he remembered, the night before, he hadn’t gotten one at all. Which would make his new friend rude as hell and a cheapskate.

Theo started to wonder if it might be best if he quit his job at the Gull earlier than he’d planned.


That’s all folks!! There’s info about me and some of my social media links. Come find me anytime ☺


MJ O’Shea


About MJ O’Shea

MJ O’Shea has never met a music festival, paintbrush, or
flower crown she can stay away from. She loves rainstorms
and a perfect cup of tea, beach days, music, bright colors, and
more than anything a cozy evening with a really great book.

She is from the Pacific Northwest. While she still lives there
and loves it, MJ has the heart of a wanderer. So she puts all
her dreams of far off places and extraordinary people in her

Except for every once in a while when she does what all
travelers have to do on occasion… come home.

Find MJ Online

Follow Mj’s Newsletter for exclusive contests and content!

Check out Duke in Hiding today!


Remembering a Life Lived with S.C. Wynne – Post + Giveaway

April 28, 2016

Remembering a Life Lived

Hi, I’m S.C. Wynne and I wanted to talk about why I wrote Believing Rory.

“I guess I’m the stupid one for believing Rory.”

I woke up one morning with that line in my head. I don’t know where those words came from, but it started me thinking about all the things that might make a person say something like that. My brain went to suicide.

Suicide is ruthless. Suicide is brutal to those left behind.

But I think it’s sad that when someone commits suicide the natural result is every word they ever spoke and every promise they ever made comes into question. As if the only thing that mattered was their manner of death, not their life. Surely their life should mean far more?

The problem is suicide feels like a personal failure to those of us left behind. I think it’s our nature to think we could have done something to stop it. If we’d only been more loving, more alert. We take on the burden of that person’s death as if we actually were the ones who killed them.

My MC Lane struggles with all of these feelings when his best friend Rory takes his own life. He meets another friend of Rory’s, Baron, who is also devastated by Rory’s death. The two of them form an unlikely, romantic bond that was carefully orchestrated by Rory before his death.

I suppose by writing Believing Rory I wanted to show the struggle of those left behind, and perhaps reinforce that the way one dies can never erase who they were as a person.



Has your life been touched by suicide in any way? I’m willing to admit I had suicidal thoughts when I was younger. I’m thankful I never acted on them, but I remember those feelings very strongly. Did you ever suffer with depression or thoughts of harming yourself? Did anyone close to you struggle with suicidal thoughts?

Leave a comment and let’s discuss this sensitive topic. The two comments that resonate with me the most will win an ebook of their choice from my backlist.




Check out Believing Rory today!



Will Rory bring them together or stand between them?

Eighteen-year-old Lane Graham has always relied on his braver, more confident buddy, Rory. But Rory’s sudden suicide blindsides Lane and sends him into an emotional tailspin. How’s he supposed to start college in a few months feeling this damaged?

Baron MacDonald knew Rory from playing League of Legends together. He was always intrigued by Lane’s online presence, and Rory had promised to set them up. Now that Rory’s gone, Baron has to approach Lane on his own.

On the surface, Baron and Lane couldn’t seem more different. Baron is confident and serious, and Lane is guarded and uncertain. But it’s the pain beneath the flesh that binds these two souls together like barbed wire and cement.

Scotty Cade Chats About Knobs – Interview + Excerpt

April 22, 2016


“Knobs” by Scotty Cade

Two cadets from very different worlds. One forbidden love.


Hi All,

Scotty Cade here. First I’d like to thank Hayley at the Dreamspinner Press Blog for allowing me to tell you a little bit about “Knobs,” my newest release and let you meet Gus and Sam and get a glimpse into their daily life at the Citadel. Later in the posts you can read an excerpt and I will be telling you how you can win a book from my backlist.

So when I was asked to write these blog spots, I posted on Facebook and asked my fans what in particular they would like to know about Knobs, besides the premise of course. The answers came in fast and furious and included a history of the Citadel and what all this “Hell Week” stuff is all about, The inspiration for the book, Character interviews with each main character, as well as a little about cadet life. I have six blog posts to do so I can cover all these requests with one or two to spare. So here goes. I hope you enjoy.


Before we get started, here is the blurb for Knobs.

Angus Conrad (Gus) McRae is a privileged Charlestonian following family tradition and attending the Citadel, harboring big dreams of a military career. With the infamous hell week behind him, he quickly realizes being a Knob (a freshman cadet) is just as tough—especially for a man like Gus who must keep his sexuality a secret. Then a sudden dorm reassignment places him in a room with one of the football team’s top players: working-class jock Stewart Adam (Sam) Morley—and life gets increasingly complicated.

Gus can’t imagine a man like Sam as gay, yet there’s something between them—exchanged glances, the occasional innuendo. Sexual tensions rise, leaving them more than friends but less than lovers. Gus and Sam know there’s too much to lose and they must keep their attraction hidden. If they fail, they risk destroying their hopes and dreams for a prosperous future in a military world that’s not yet ready to accommodate masculine gay men.


Sam sitting comfortably on his bunk in his dorm room waiting for Gus, looking a little nervous.

Q- While we wait for Gus why don’t you tell us about yourself Sam. And remember this is off the record. Nothing you say here can ever be used against you. I want the real story.

Sam sighed and seemed to relax just a bit.

A – Hey ya’ll. Sam teases drawing out the word like the Southerners do with much amusement.

I am Cadet Stewart Adam Morley and I am a freshman or a Knob at The Citadel, a conservative military academy located in Charleston, South Carolina. A ‘Knob’ is a freshman and during our first year attending the Citadel, we are pushed to our mental and physical limits day in and day out. So next time you’re feeling down, rejected, insulted, made fun of, or generally upset, just remember: it could be worse. You could be a Knob.

Each time I see an upperclassman, I have to tuck in my chin and shaved head until it becomes one with my neck, push out my hips, and arch my back with my hands at my sides. I must always know my next three meals by heart, and can be interrupted at any time in the non-existent privacy of our tiny rooms in the barracks. A room I share with Gus. I mean Cadet Angus Conrad McRae III. A mouthful huh? And speaking of, Sam looks at his watch.  I have no idea where he is. He was supposed to be here five minutes ago. He is normally very prompt. We all are. We have to be.

Life as a ‘Knob,’ makes me realize I am not as tough as I thought I was, but that I can do better, more than I ever thought I could.”

Q – Give us a little more about your personal life.

A – A little more about me? Well, I hail from Southfield, Michigan, just outside of Detroit and it wasn’t always what I’d call comfortable. While some of the areas were nice, the block I grew up on wasn’t the safest. But I knew the streets, knew what areas to avoid, and once I was behind the multiple locks on my front door, I always enjoyed a sense of security only home could provide.

When I’d finally decided to accept the football scholarship I was offered to the Citadel, the anxiety over leaving home wasn’t the only thing weighing heavily on me. I mean…I was twenty, and it was time, but the thought of my mom having to care for my younger siblings and herself without me around was daunting. I was the man of the house. I’d taken on that role at twelve when my stepdad had followed in the shoes of my real dad and split. No note, no forwarding address, just gone. Well, back then we hadn’t needed the lazy bastard. My mom and siblings had me. But now I was also leaving. Not like my father and stepdad had, but I was leaving all the same. It didn’t matter how many times Mom had tried to convince me otherwise, I’d felt like I was abandoning my family, my responsibilities, and it sucked.

When I left for the Citadel, I’d never been away from home. I knew nothing about Charleston, South Carolina. The people were all strangers, the streets unfamiliar. Yet it was going to be my home for the next four years.

I thought I was prepared, but that’s what I get for thinking so highly of myself. The entire Citadel system is designed to strip us of our individuality, ‘Knob year’ aims to make me a seamless part of the greater group. I must know the name of every upperclassman, or risk punishments, which includes running around the perimeter of the four story fortress in my underwear, so inside the barracks and outside the confines of my room, a word from me is rarely heard.

I’ve had the door to my room kicked open at all hours of the night, been berated for a single article of clothing out of place and then had all my articles of clothing pulled from my drawers and locker and tossed onto the floor. Once I was able to complete the pushups I was forced to do, again in my underwear, I might add, then and only then was I able to go back to my room and put everything away and prepare for another inspection.

Duty. Honor. Respect. Is my motto. And for the next four years I will eat, sleep, breathe and live it. Along with Sam of course. I can do anything if Sam is by my side.

The door opens and a handsome cadet walks in.

There you are. Sam says. Finally, this is my roommate Gus.

Gus is out of breath. Sorry. My class ran a little late.

No problem. Sam said. I covered the Knob stuff.

Q – He did. So just start by telling a little about yourself Gus.

A – Okay. Well, I guess I’ll start by telling you I come from what southerners might call a fine Charleston Family. Other non Charlestonian’s might simply call it a privileged upbringing, but either way I’m grateful for everything I had growing and everything I have now,” Gus says looking at Sam and winking.

Sam beams with pride. He leans over and squeezes Gus’ knee playfully.

Let’s see. My father is a Charleston attorney and he along with my grandfather are both graduates of the Citadel. It was a given that I would attend the Citadel, but what I was to major in? Now that was a different story. Since I was young, I always wanted a career in the military, but my family wants me to join the family law practice and this has been a very touchy subject and the source of many arguments between us since I was fifteen years old.”

Q – Were you groomed for the Citadel from a young age and were you prepared when you arrived?

A – Let’s just say I was groomed. In fact, by the time I was twelve, I had every book about the Citadel ever written and had even memorized the The Guidon.”

Q – The Guidon?

A – It’s the Knob bible, so to speak.

Q – I see.

A – So was I prepared? I thought I was. Or at least acted like I was. But let’s just say, the day before I was to report, in the solitude of my bedroom, with no prying eyes and no pretenses to keep up, I lowered my defenses and allowed myself a rare moment to doubt that I could really pull this off.

I mean…I stared at my bed and looked at the few things I was allowed to bring. And I thought. This stuff is going to be my life for the next four years. But that wasn’t completely true. The stuff on my bed along with grueling physical training and an impossible academics schedule—that was going to be my life. I think I’d just been determined to be strong. But then I remember thinking about Hell Week and breaking into a cold sweat, my stomach starting to churn. I had to get through hell week or nothing else mattered.

So outwardly, yeah I thought I was prepared. But to be honest, even my worst nightmares didn’t compare to the real thing.

But everything changed when I saw Sam across a room on matriculation day. He’d already been through Hell Week because the Corps Squad, I mean the athletes, have matriculation day one week ahead of the rest of the Knobs. We locked eyes and although we hadn’t met, I felt a connection to him. And right then and there I knew if he could do it, so could I. And I did.

Q – Is that when you two met?

A – Not really. No.

Q – Then when?”

A – On second day of hell week, my roommate quit and I was left without a roommate. And then Sam came through the door carrying his duffle bags. That the first time we officially met.

We’d locked eyes across a couple crowded rooms but we’d never even said hello. The funny thing is that when we did meet, we didn’t really hit it off.

Q – You didn’t?

A – No. Sam thought I was a privileged asshole, and maybe I was a little, but I tried not to be.

Q – Its obvious you two care about each other now. When did that happen?

A – Care doesn’t begin to capture what we have.

Q- Okay sorry. So how do you maintain a relationship with so many restrictions?

A – Let’s just say we make do.

Gus and Sam both looked at the back of their dorm room door.

A – We spend a lot of time there.

Q – At the back of the door?

A – Yep. It’s the only place we can be intimate. And by intimate, I mean steal a kiss every now and then.

Q – Just a kiss? No sex?

A – No sex. We could get expelled for that, but we manage. I can wait for this man as long as it takes. But I don’t want to sacrifice our educations for something that we can wait for.

Q – Okay Cadets. I think I get the idea. Thanks for you time.

A – Our pleasure.

In closing, I hope this gives you a good understanding of the discipline required to attend the Citadel and just a sneak peak into Gus and Sam’s world. The fact that they were able to find unexpected love in such a demanding environment and make it work shows the depth of their commitment. If you’ve ever been pushed to your limits, I’d like to hear about it. Please posts and each entry will be eligible for a free copy of “The Royal Street Heist.” Book one in the Bissonet & Cruz Investigations series.

Check out Knobs today!


Here’s where you can find me and “Knobs”, as well as my other stories.



Dreamspinner Author Arcade

Amazon Author Page


Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years.   He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication.  When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side.  Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, most of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there.  He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.


“Are you gonna come in and close the door behind you?” Gus asked sarcastically. “Or are all the cadets going to get to see me in my underwear?”

Sam was sort of standing there more for effect than anything, but his eyes were glued to Gus’s body. His stomach was ripped, and the muscles in his thighs were visible through the legs of his boxer briefs.

“Okay,” Sam said. “If I close the door, will you at least talk to me?”

Gus shook his head. “I really don’t think you want to hear what I have to say right now.”

“I think you’re wrong about that,” Sam said, stepping in and allowing the door to close behind him.

Sam removed his cover and tossed it onto his bunk. He was tired of this cat-and-mouse game. Instead of untying his shoes, he brought his left foot up and tugged at his shoe until it came off. He tossed the shoe into the bottom of his locker, making quite the thud, and removed the right one much the same way.

He turned and rested his hands on his hips. “Are you gonna talk to me now?”

Gus didn’t respond. He went to his closet, removed his toiletries bag, and headed for the door. Sam took two steps forward, put both hands on Gus’s shoulders, spun him around, and backed him up against the door.

Their faces were so close Sam could feel Gus’s warm breath against his cheek.

Sam slammed one hand against the back of the door while leaving the other one on Gus’s shoulder. “Fuck, Gus! Yell at me. Curse me out. Do something. Don’t just give me the silent treatment. You’re not leaving this room until you talk to me.”

Gus smiled incredulously. “So, what? You’re gonna hold me hostage now?”

“If that’s what it takes,” Sam said.

“Fine! You want me to talk? Here goes. You are the most selfish bastard I’ve ever met. You’ve treated me like shit since the first day we met, and I’m not going to be your punching bag anymore. Please go to the Academic Officer and ask for a transfer. Tell him we’re incompatible. I’ll back you up on that one.”

“I don’t want a transfer,” Sam said, his lips now inches away from Gus’s.

“Why not?” Gus said quietly through clenched teeth, just in case there were any stray cadets roaming around in the hall. “You’ve done everything possible to offend me and my family. Why not move on to another cadet? Go ahead, man, share the charms of Stewart Adam Morley with the entire Citadel, one cadet at a time.”

Gus glared at him, the normal bright silver-gray of his eyes now a dark, gloomy gray. “Furthermore, you can fuck with me all you want, but leave my crazy family out—”

Sam had heard enough. Before Gus could finish his sentence, Sam covered Gus’s lips in a crushing kiss.

Beach Inspirations with Charley Descoteaux – Post, Excerpt, + Giveaway

April 22, 2016

Beach Inspirations

Hi all! Charley Descoteaux here, to celebrate the release of my first free short with Dreamspinner! It’s also my first ever “Book #2” so I’m super excited! “Pride Weekend” is the second book in my Buchanan House series and is like an appetizer, a sexy little hors d’oeuvre to whet your appetite for next week’s release of Book #3, the full length novel Tiny House!

If you enjoy audiobooks stick around, I’m giving away a code for the audiobook version of Buchanan House, the first book in the series, to one random commenter on this post.

I’m always curious about how the stories I love came to be written so I thought I’d talk about what inspired me to write “Pride Weekend”. I’ve always been in awe of people with talent in the visual arts. How cool must it be to imagine something, create it physically, and have it look like your original vision—or better?! I’ve experienced this with knitting and crocheting, but it’s just not the same with writing.

When it came time to design a cover for Buchanan House I asked for L.C. Chase because I love her style and it fit well with the stories. I’m a huge fangirl and hope for the chance to work with all of my favorite cover artists! I told her the book was an angst-lite beach read and she came up with three different covers that were all wonderful—including the one that eventually became the cover for “Pride Weekend”. As soon as I saw it a story popped into my head fully-formed. I love it when that happens!

While I was planning out the Buchanan House series, I thought it would be fun to have a short or two about guests at the camp. A guest visiting for a long weekend would have a very different perspective on the camp, and the people who run it, than just about everyone in the first book. “Pride Weekend” is, of course, focused on the main characters Adam and Silas, but the camp doesn’t run itself. ☺ I hope you’ll enjoy seeing Nathan through the eyes of these two guests.

Here’s an excerpt where Adam arrives at the camp and gets an eyeful!


Getting dating advice from an aggregate news site didn’t seem like something to be proud of, but as I sat in my car, getting my first look at Buchanan House, I couldn’t find it in me to be embarrassed. I’ve never been much of joiner, nor had I any interest in the club scene. Or in downloading an app to my phone, where my nosy but well-meaning sister could accidentally-on-purpose find it. I’d considered forums before, but every other time had found a “reason” not to create an account. In short, circumstances had controlled the abysmal state of my love life almost since high school. When I came across the article disseminating the results of an online dating survey, including the URLs of a few sites I hadn’t heard of, it seemed particularly serendipitous.

Hoping “Polysemous24”—Silas—would show up eventually, I forced myself to stop acting like a creeper in the parking lot and go up to the house. My suitcase had wheels, but it wouldn’t be rolling on the gravel. Glad I’d packed light—because how many changes of clothes does one man need for three days, even if it is Pride weekend—I carried my things to Buchanan House. Clever. I’d liked the sound of it even before I read the article that practically said it was a gay, landlocked version of The Love Boat.

It didn’t seem grander in person, which was a little surprising considering the pictures online had been almost unassuming. Rustic and homey was more like it—a long, low building with only two floors, surrounded by trees, trees, and more trees. I like the outdoors as much as the next guy, but it was a relief to hear Madonna over the sounds of the ocean when I got close to the open front doors.

Okay, the only thing I like about the outdoors is…. Okay, I don’t like the outdoors.

But I was there, and this had been my idea in the first place, so I climbed the porch steps. The inside of the lobby looked like an old movie set from a time when travel had been treated as an event. I was warming to the whole plan even before the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen glided up to me and smiled as he looked me over. Compared to everyone else in view, I was seriously overdressed in my khakis and salmon polo.

“Hello, sweetheart,” he said and extended a hand. His grip was surprisingly firm for a man wearing purple pants, a pink feather boa, and nothing else. “I’m Nathan Lucas, your hostess with the mostest. And who might you be?”

“Adam. Adam Byron. I—I mean, we have a reservation.”

“Hello, Mr. Byron.” He winked and swished back behind the counter. He pulled an old-fashioned guestbook from behind the desk and put two keys with oval brass holders on top of it as he spoke. “Welcome to Buchanan House. You’re in room seven—that’s top of the stairs and to your left. Once you get settled in, come down and join the party. At least until your friend shows up.” He winked again and moved the book toward me an inch or two.

I had to remind myself what to do—he was so tall, tanned, and blond, my brain just stopped functioning for a few seconds. I signed my name where he indicated and read the name below: Silas Grant.

Mr. Lucas asked if I wanted to take both keys with me.

“Um, no thanks. I might take a walk on the beach before Pol—Silas gets here.” My ears felt like they’d burn off my head because I’d almost called Silas by his online handle instead of his name. Not that I thought I was the only gay man to ever meet someone online… but I might be the only one who was meeting that someone for the first time at a gay retreat three hours from home.

Nathan pressed the key into my hand and closed my fingers around it. I hadn’t noticed him coming back around the counter, but he practically floated instead of walked, so I let myself off the hook for that one. “If you want to have a drink first, we’re having appletinis and rainbow Jell-O shots. Don’t be shy. If there’s anything I can do for you, Adam, let me know.” He looked me over and might have even nodded before turning and sashaying away in the direction of the music. A smattering of cheers and applause greeted him as he passed into the next room.

After I’d made the reservation, I’d received an e-mail outlining all the festivities planned for Pride weekend—both at Buchanan House and in Lincoln City. I’d missed the kick-off party on Thursday and almost hoped I would be too busy to attend the indie film screening scheduled for Sunday evening. Apparently, the “Come as You Are” party was in full swing. The open floor plan allowed a view of a dozen or so scantily clad men, most with drinks and small plates in their hands, or dancing. Every last one of them was worth at least a second look.

I felt a little winded from the whole exchange and was suddenly glad the room was only one floor up. It surprised me by turning out to be even more beautiful than the pictures, with a stone fireplace, large bed, and a daybed. The colorful garden beyond the back window and the place where the river met the ocean appeared inviting enough, but I wasn’t there to appreciate the flora. I was counting on the fauna downstairs to make the weekend memorable.

If I could work up the courage to go back down.

First I unpacked and changed into shorts and a red T-shirt. And then I changed into a green tank top. I was about to pull it off and try another style and color when someone knocked on the door. As I crossed the room, my heart pounded fast in my throat, then felt like it stopped when I pulled the door open.


Thanks for reading! “Pride Weekend” is free so don’t forget to grab your copy—just click here.



If you’d like a chance to win a copy of the audiobook version of the first book in the series, Buchanan House, leave me a comment and leave an answer to this question: What color is your feather boa?

Mine would be purple, shot through with tinsel!


I’ll be back again next Friday to celebrate the release of Tiny House, with another audiobook code to give away. Hope to see you there!

I’ll be back throughout the weekend to chat, and on Sunday evening (US Pacific Time) to choose a winner from the comments.

Speaking of free fiction, I’d like to invite you to my group on Facebook. It’s called Rainbow Snippets, and every Saturday morning (Pacific Time in the US) I pin a post for writers, authors, and bloggers of LGBTQ+ fiction to leave links to their 6-sentence snippets. You can see a sample on my blog here, and if it sounds like something you’d be interested in we’d love to have you join us. The more the merrier!


Old Town New: Going Back Home with BA Tortuga

April 20, 2016

Going Back Home

Hey y’all! I’m BA Tortuga and I write cowboys and rednecks, and I love my life.


I didn’t always love it, to be honest. I didn’t come out of the closet until my thirties, I was in an abusive marriage, I was ill and trapped and scared.

Then I met my wife and my world changed.

When I wrote Old Town New, so many years ago, we (Julia and I) were in flux – trying to figure out a new relationship, a whole new world that we didn’t quite know how to navigate. True story.

One of the things I discovered about myself in this time (and explored in this book, to be honest) was that, when I’m scared, I go home. Mentally, emotionally, physically – I want my daddy, I want my tiny home town, I want the illusion of safety (because, let’s be honest, small town east Texas? Less than safe for your average tattooed lesbian). I want comfort food like nachos and chicken fried steak and chili and my mom’s mashed potatoes. I want bluebonnets and horses and rodeo and cardinals feeding in the backyard.

Now, interestingly enough, I never stay there, because I’m a wanderer. I want to see new things and go new places and do something wild and scary.

When I wrote Old Town New, I’d just gone up to see Julia in Colorado for the first time.

It was when we admitted things were going to change. In the book, Quinn comes home and finds Danny who’s trapped in his small town universe. Quinn shakes everything up and finds his soul soothed.

Grins. These days? My home is where my wife is, even when I’m scared. She’s my heart and where the world is.

Much love, y’all.


Check out Old Town New today!


Dreamspinner Press
All Romance Ebooks
Barnes and Noble



Danny Avers is a teacher in small town Colorado. Back in the day, before high-speed Internet, social media, smartphones, or streaming anything, Danny’s just trying to live down his wild teenage years and carry on the only way he knows how: one day at a time. The last person he expects to see back in town is Harlan Quinn, his old best friend and former consummate bad boy. And when he finds out Quinn is the new sheriff and his new neighbor, it’s even more of a shock.

Quinn knows there’s more to his old hometown than meets the eye. There’s more to Danny than old memories and quiet living too. But as in the past, stirring things up is Quinn’s specialty, and he sets out to do that, in more ways than one, pushing Danny to admit there’s more to life and that their old town just might manage to be new again. That’s if old town thinking doesn’t get them both killed.

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

Peach Cobbler with Thursday Euclid and Clancy Nacht

April 19, 2016

Thursday Euclid & Clancy Nacht's

In our new book, Wyatt’s Recipes for Wooing Rock Stars, Clancy Nacht and I tell the tale of a home chef with no culinary training who wins a rock star’s heart through the power of tasty nibbles. (Some of those nibbles are of food, and some are more sexual in nature.) No spoilers, but in the end, what our rock star, Tully, really wants is a good peach cobbler. Given that this story was inspired by a trip to Atlanta, Wyatt’s version is elaborate and requires orchard-fresh peaches, but we wanted to provide an easy version for our beloved readers anywhere in the world that could be made any time of year. Give it a try. It has the Clancy Nacht Cobbler Connoisseur stamp of approval.



10 cups frozen sliced peaches – do not thaw
3 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp bourbon vanilla
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c light brown sugar
1/4 tsp table salt
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
8 tbsp butter



1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp table salt
4 tbsp shortening
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp bourbon vanilla
1/2 c chopped walnuts


1. Measure 10 cups frozen sliced peaches into a large mixing bowl (the bigger the better) and allow to thaw for 10 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

3. While oven preheats, place 8 tbsp butter in 9″x9″ square metal pan (sides at least 2″ high) and let sit in oven until melted and brown. I recommend keeping the pan on a cookie sheet for the entire recipe.

4. Pour lemon juice and vanilla over peaches, toss well, and let sit.

5. Check butter. If it’s properly melted and golden, remove it from the oven and tilt the pan to coat the bottom and edges thoroughly.

6. In a second mixing bowl, combine filling sugars, salt, spices, and flour with a fork, making certain the brown sugar does not clump.

7. Pour melted butter over peaches to coat them, then layer them into the pan along with their juices, interspersing with flour mixture evenly. If the melted butter coagulates from the cold, simply scrape it into the pan along with the rest. It will melt again soon enough.

8. Cover pan tightly with foil and slide into middle rack of oven. Set timer for 45 minutes.

9. In medium mixing bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients except for walnuts. Cut shortening into dry mixture until it achieves an even, cornmeal texture.

10. In small bowl, beat together eggs and vanilla, then add to the dry mixture.

11. Gently fold nuts into crust mixture. It should be thick, sticky, and wet, somewhere between cake batter and pastry dough. Do not overblend.

12. When timer goes off, do not turn off oven. Remove pan to heat-safe surface and discard foil.

13. Stir peaches thoroughly. The flour mixture should coat them like a grainy, pinkish syrup. Make certain the coldest center peaches move to the outside of the pan and the heat distribution is made even.

14. Dot the surface of the peach mixture with crust dough. The procedure is more like making a crisp than a pastry-topped cobbler. Make certain the edges of the pan get a good distribution of the crust mixture to ensure plenty of crunchy texture to contrast the velvety filling.

15. Bake uncovered 45 minutes. When done, it will be intensely fragrant and golden brown. Crust will appear hard on surface but will be tender underneath.

And that’s it! If you have a rock star crush with a hankering for peach cobbler, now you know what to feed him. Happy eatin’, y’all!

Check out Wyatt’s Recipes for Wooing Rock Stars today!




Wyatt Parker has a good life—he owns his own construction company, his own house, and he eats home-cooked meals every day. But cooking for one while watching the foodie network is more than lonely. When he learns about an upcoming reality show centered on becoming the personal chef for his favorite rock star, Wyatt leaps at the chance to audition.

Tully Randolph is the drummer for the band Unusual Potatoes. With a chef for a mom, love of good food runs in the family. When he’s asked to host a cooking competition, he’s all in—especially after he meets Wyatt, who is just the kind of big, hairy guy who gets Tully’s juices flowing. With a heart as big as he is, Wyatt wows Tully with his skills in the kitchen… and in the bedroom.

But if their relationship is found out, Wyatt could be drummed out of the competition—and out of Tully’s life. All the ingredients for a happy future are in front of them, and they just need to figure out how to bring everything together.


Buy links


Author bios

Clancy Nacht
Clancy Nacht is a bisexual genderqueer person who lives in Austin with a husband and three feral rescue cats. Clancy has published several ARe bestselling contemporary romantic thriller m/m and m/f stories. Three of her books have been honored with Rainbow Awards; Le Jazz Hot won for #1 Best Bisexual/Transgender Romance & Erotic Romance. In 2013, Black Gold: Double Black was a runner up for a Rainbow Award and in 2015, Gemini won an Honorable Mention for Gay Erotic Romance at the Rainbow Awards. Her books have been nominated for several Goodreads M/M Readers Choice Awards.

Thursday Euclid

Thursday Euclid is a 30-something queer trans man from Houston, Texas, who spends most of his time writing, playing computer games, or watching films and television of questionable quality. Two facts about Thursday: he spent the happiest night of his life in the pit at a Radiohead concert, and hot and sour soup is the easiest way to his heart. He is a rebel with many causes and a Rainbow Award winner.

Love in the Flinders Ranges with L.J. LaBarthe

April 15, 2016

Love in the Flinders Ranges

“Book, Line, and Sinker” is set in one of my favorite places in the world—the Flinders Ranges. The Flinders, as they are most commonly known, are in the north of the state of South Australia. They comprise many different hills and mountain ranges and a wide variety of landscapes and terrains. There are the ruins of many settlements, abandoned by the white men and women who worked them, due to flood, pestilence and drought. There are also the most beautiful indigenous sites, such as the Ochre Cliffs, where the Adnyamathanha people would collect the ochre for paint, and wall paintings by them on cave walls.



There are also the towns. The Flinders is full of towns and small settlements that are still thriving today. The populations range from 13 to 1300, but they’re there, and they’re lived in and visited by people travelling on the highway from Adelaide, much farther south, or from Alice Springs, much further north. It’s in one of these towns that “Book, Line, and Sinker” is set.

That town is Quorn, and it was founded in 1878. It thrived in the early years of rail travel in Australia, but as the railway died, the population dwindled, a common story in the outback. It has a large number of pubs considering its size—four—and also has a number of other amenities.



Ash, the main character in “Book, Line, and Sinker” is returning home to Quorn after nearly two decades away, having ended his time in the army. The town as he remembers it has changed, and he feels a little discombobulated by those changes. It takes him some time to adjust, even with the loving support of his family, particularly his sister, Evie.

Jaxon, the second main character, is a librarian and has travelled the world in an entirely different endeavor, that of helping to bring literacy and education to Third World Nations, particularly Cambodia. He has returned to Australia to take up the post of librarian in the Quorn School and Community Library.

When the two men meet, Ash is instantly attracted to Jaxon, noting to himself that Jaxon has a “nice butt.” It’s been a long time since Ash has had anything that resembles peace in his life and a handsome man to love in his heart, and coming home to Quorn and meeting Jaxon fill two of those needs. The third need is what to do with himself, and he has the idea for a mobile library-slash-second-hand-store on wheels.

Jaxon and Evie are eager to help, and with Ash’s parents’ support, the new venture—Book, Line, and Sinker (a deliberate pun)—takes off on its first round. There are hiccups and problems, but love and a can of good, strong bug and spider spray win the day.

“Book, Line, and Sinker” is a quiet, gentle romance, and I do hope readers enjoy it.

Check out Book, Line, and Sinker today!



After seventeen years serving in the Australian Army, Ash returns to his childhood home in the outback town of Quorn. Filled with the desire to live a happy life in peace and with loved ones, Ash is grimly determined to beat his PTSD and tackle his flashbacks.

What Ash isn’t prepared for is Jaxon, the new librarian in Quorn. Jaxon is calm, gentle, kind, and a rock for Ash’s battered psyche. Ash finds himself falling for the handsome newcomer, even as his mind and memories of the past torment him.

When he has the idea for a mobile library to bring books and entertainment to remote communities in the far north, Ash is delighted that Jaxon is with him every step of the way. But though the library, called Book, Line, and Sinker, takes off, Ash’s past continues to plague him. Can Jaxon’s love be enough to keep them together until Ash is strong enough to stand on his own?


L.J. BaBarthe:

Twitter: @brbsiberia
Instagram: @ljstar239
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lj.labarthe.9
Blog: http://misslj_author.livejournal.com/
Website: http://www.ljlabarthe.com/

Hard Work and a Dollop of Luck with Jaime Samms

April 14, 2016

Hard Work and a Dollop of Luck

Sometimes, life seems like a constant barrage of things not done. An endless parade of deadlines passing by unfulfilled, only to be followed by more obligations and things to do. The next book is due in this week. Edits for the book currently in production are due the week after that. Cover discussions for the entire series are ongoing. A release day requires blog tours and social media interaction. Really, writing the book, some days, feels like the easy part!


When I was writing this series, it really was easier than some. I connected with the dancers in a different way than I connect with my other characters, because I have spent a lifetime (my daughter’s, to be precise) watching young dancers face these same struggles of identity, injury and the possibility that the thing they love most in the world is a thing they can’t have.

Along every step, as some of her good friends had to stop dancing for health reasons, as some dropped out because they found other interests, and as a few went on to try and succeed or fail in the wider dance world, I’ve felt very lucky that my kid seems to be the charmed one so far. She’s talented and driven and knows what she wants, and moreover, looks like there is every chance she is going to succeed in achieving her goals. Because as creative and excitable as she is, she’s grounded and practical and knows what she can and can’t do.

So she has set her goals and is moving in that direction at a steady, measured and hopefully, sustainable pace. Plus, luck. Never underestimate the power of luck. She has it, and it reminds me of many of the stages of my own career. Being in the right place at the right time is one part planning, one part talent, immeasurable infusions of hard, hard work, and a large dollop of luck.

So when it came about, through chance, that this book is being released on my own dancer’s birthday, I felt the indelible hand of serendipity at work. I dedicated the book to her and sat back to watch the world unfold.

Then reality.

Not only is this time of year her birthday, it’s tech week for the biggest commitment of her dance year. Which means rehearsals, production meetings, rehearsals, front of house organization, rehearsals, sleep if you can, eat constantly, because did I mention rehearsals?

So really, who the blazes planned a release date in the middle of one of the busiest times of the year in this household? Because deadlines and rehearsals and promotion! Oh my!

They say if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. I hate to say it, but when I’m swamped, I simply get more done. Now if only that was a sustainable way of life. Thank goodness it only really happens twice a year or so around here. What about you guys?  Do you get more done when have less time? Or are you one of those rare birds who plan your days and get things finished in a timely manner? Do people like that even exist?



To dance is to put one’s heart and soul on display for the world to see and judge. Conrad, Peridot, and Cobalt always knew this. For years, this small group of men has danced in and out of the spotlight and one another’s lives. Now, settling in one place, one studio, they all have to find a place on the stage—or behind the scenes—and find the even greater strength to once more dance like no one is watching. To love like they’ve never been hurt before. But most of all, to live their lives like they have found their heaven, both in the music and in the eyes of those who love them.


Blurb: About to lose the only thing he ever loved, Adam Pittaluga is at a crossroads in a dancing career that has hardly begun. He has always wanted to be a ballet dancer, but now that it’s impossible, he turns to Peridot for comfort. Peridot has been rebuilding his life after losing his ability to dance professionally, his marriage, and very nearly his daughter. He has a lot of reasons to be leery of starting something new, especially with a man as young as Adam.

Adam and Peridot have to believe that starting again can lead to love and success and that sometimes, the strength needed to love like you’ve never been hurt can be borrowed from unexpected places for a while. But ultimately, they must find it inside themselves to be each other’s happy ending.

Check out Like You’ve Never Been Hurt today!

About Jaime

Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men—what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love—she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.

These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Dreamspinner Press, Totally Bound, and now, Riptide Publishing.

Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, is spent crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!), or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child-care responsibilities.

She graduated some time ago from college with a fine arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all . . .

Find Jaime

Website: http://jaime-samms.net/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000982219151&ref=tn_tnmn
Deviantart: http://dontkickmycane.deviantart.com/
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/jaimesamms


Behind the Scenes at the Symphony with Ava Hayden

April 13, 2016

Behind the Scenes at the Symphony (1)

Hello, I’m Ava Hayden, and I’m delighted to be a guest on the Dreamspinner blog to talk about my novella The Timpanist and the Stagehand being released Wednesday, April 13.

Several years ago, I was at a symphony performance sitting in a low box that edged the stage, and I had a clear view of the percussion section.

As the musicians made their way to their seats, the men in tuxedos and the women in elegant black dresses or pantsuits, the timpanist settled himself behind his drums. He hiked his pants as he sat, and I saw he wore striped socks, horizontal rows of color: orange, yellow, green.

Must not have had time to do laundry, I thought. Or maybe he’s color blind and doesn’t realize his ankles look like lighthouse beacons. Or maybe he’s an absent-minded musician and didn’t even notice he pulled on the wrong socks.

But then I had a “what if” moment. What if…? What if he’s wearing them on purpose? Why would a handsome young timpanist wear garish socks? I had a story idea and a character who became Christoph.

It took me a few years to find the right moment to write the story, and in the meantime, I watched for details that would make it more real to a reader. I began noticing the stagehands. They reminded me of the puppeteers in Japanese Bunraku—on stage with the puppets, dressed all in black to fade into the background and not distract viewers from the story being performed.

The stagehands glided onstage with microphone stands and retrieved them just as smoothly. During intermission, they moved chairs into a precise pattern without consulting a chart, no motion wasted. If a concert pianist was playing in the second half of the program, two stagehands would roll the piano from the wings, calm and controlled, as if they weren’t maneuvering an enormous, heavy object on wheels dangerously near the edge of a stage.

Most people ignored the stagehands’ presence. They were visible, but unseen. I wondered what it would be like to have eyes passing over you but not really seeing you. And that gave me the idea for my second character, Ren, a stagehand.

Writing this novella has made me think much more about all the behind-the-scenes people who make art possible. Without them, plays couldn’t be staged, movies couldn’t be made, symphonies couldn’t be performed—and novellas wouldn’t be published!

Do you have a behind-the-scenes role making art happen?

Check out The Timpanist and the Stagehand today!



Ren Murphy is a stagehand. He’s also a loyal friend, a gifted musician, and an inspiring teacher—but most people don’t see past his job. Ren knows that crushing on the Oilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal timpanist, Christoph Theoharis, is a waste of time. Christoph brushes off highly eligible would-be suitors regularly. What chance would a stagehand have? Christoph doesn’t even notice Ren’s existence—until one fateful night when chance or luck or maybe fate gets Ren Christoph’s undivided attention.

Old betrayals overshadow both men’s lives, yet each sees something compelling in the other, something that won’t let either walk away. Ren and Christoph may be each other’s best hope of finding a happy-ever-after, but to do that they’ll have to forgive old wrongs. They’ll have to let go of the pain in their past before it destroys their hope for a better future. Most of all, they’ll have to find a way to believe—in possibilities and each

About Ava Hayden:

Ava Hayden lives and writes in Canada but grew up in the southern United States. When not working the day job or writing, she loves reading, baking, seeing plays, going to the symphony, and hiking. Her favorite places to hike are Banff and Jasper National Parks, Kananaskis Country, and Vancouver Island.

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/avahaydenab/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avahayden.ab/


Buy Links:

Amazon (US)
Amazon (CA)
Amazon (UK)
Barnes & Noble
All Romance Ebooks

Also available on Apple iBooks