Political Manifestations with Annie Kaye – Post + Giveaway

February 25, 2016

Political

Hello! My name is Annie Kaye, and I’m honoured to have been invited to introduce my novel Run on the DSP blog.

Amid the tumult of the Iowa Democratic primary, young but brilliant speechwriter Tom McAlindon meets Nathan Harris, the deputy campaign manager for an opposing candidate. Their acquaintance is strictly professional until an impetuous kiss on a cold winter night leads them into a secret romance. As their feelings deepen, both men struggle with the complications of keeping the relationship separate from their jobs and the inner workings of the campaigns.

But in the nation’s most high-stakes political game, no secret is truly safe. When an observer realizes their connection, Tom and Nate discover that striving for the best of both worlds has a much higher cost than they bargained for… and that love can’t survive while Nate is hiding the truth from Tom.

I began writing Run in 2011, before the last U.S election. Writing very slowly, it took me two years to complete the original manuscript. The idea for Run came from an older Canadian folk rock song, called Five Days in July. The song is old enough that I remember it being on the radio in 1994 when I was doing a short, ill-fated stint as a receptionist at a moving company (worst job ever, by the way).

But it was well over fifteen years later when the idea for Run came to me, and it was because of the opening line of that song – “They met in a hurricane”. For some reason it made me think of the old Democratic National Conventions of the 1960s, when the eventual presidential candidate was actually decided there at the convention; delegates camped out on the arena floor under the banner of their state; and the last-minute arrangements and deals that were being made. I envisioned two people – two men – finding each other in the midst of that atmosphere, and eventually leaving it behind, hand in hand, to drive south, choosing each other rather than all the craziness.

Once I committed to the storyline, I had a lot to learn about American politics. My husband is American and quite politically aware, so I likely started off with a greater awareness of the process than the average Canadian would need to. But at times I still struggle to wrap my head around some of the differences between your system and ours – not to mention that the two parties each have their own set of rules about how the candidates are nominated.

Although it was inspired by a song, I don’t tend to listen to music when I’m writing. I like to be really alone when I’m working, and if I can’t have quiet, I have headphones and white noise. I have a nice long rainstorm track that I loop on iTunes, or else this (really letting my freak flag fly, here): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPoqNeR3_UA It’s the NCC-1701-D at idle. For someone who grew up as a huge fan of Star Trek: TNG, it’s the sound of home for me. I especially employ these when I’m writing at work on my lunch. I can sit in my cubicle and be mostly undisturbed.

Last fall I began working on a new story that requires some pretty heavy-duty research, which was put on hold for three months or so as I got into the content editing for Run. I’m looking forward to getting back into the research as it has me making plans to observe some team practices for a particular sport. Although I would call this activity my favourite form of exercise, I know very little about the competitive side of the sport. This manuscript will have two disparate types of athletes intersecting, and will build on a really rewarding volunteer experience I had a few years ago.

Random fact about me: I have IGS – Idealized Grandparent Syndrome. I can’t write grandparents who aren’t warm, loving, accepting people. In every longer story I’ve written, at least one of the characters has a grandparent who has had a profoundly positive influence on them. For me, it’s a way of honouring my grandparents, as well as my husband’s. They were all intelligent, compassionate, lively, and perfectly wonderful characters people; and if I’m fortunate enough to be published again, I promise kind and loving grandparents.

I make no such promises for parents. ;)

What about you? Have you had any older relatives or family friends who’ve had an effect for the better in your life? Tell me about it in the comments, below, before March 3, 2016 at 11:59 pm Eastern. One commenter will be selected to win a free digital copy of Run!

Cheers,

Annie Kaye

Check out Run today!

Blurb: 

Amid the tumult of the Iowa Democratic primary, young but brilliant speechwriter Tom McAlindon meets Nathan Harris, the deputy campaign manager for an opposing candidate. Their acquaintance is strictly professional until an impetuous kiss on a cold winter night leads them into a secret romance. As their feelings deepen, both men struggle with the complications of keeping the relationship separate from their jobs and the inner workings of the campaigns.

But in the nation’s most high-stakes political game, no secret is truly safe. When an observer realizes their connection, Tom and Nate discover that striving for the best of both worlds has a much higher cost than they bargained for… and that love can’t survive while Nate is hiding the truth from Tom.
Bio:

Annie Kaye’s first ‘real’ job was a career in insurance. After fourteen years, the industry had wrung from her everything it could, leaving her desperate for a change that would allow her to flex her long-dormant creativity. She left her job and took several months off, planning to spend them on the couch in her yoga pants. Not six weeks had elapsed before she’d rediscovered a long-lost love: putting words to paper. Since 2009 she has written almost a million words of fiction, each piece bearing a common theme: love and relationships between gay men.

Balancing family, work, creative efforts, and community involvement – and trying to hit the gym once in a while – are all near the top of Annie’s to-do list. At her home in the woods of rural Ontario, Canada, she endeavours to carve out her writing space from amid the joyful noise created by her husband, their two children, one dog, one cat, and the woodpeckers who sharpen their beaks on her windowsills.

Website: www.anniekaye.com
Twitter: @anniekayefic
Facebook: www.facebook.com/anniekayefiction
(More third-party vendor links available on my FB page)

Food-to-Table and Gourmet Meals with Pat Henshaw

February 24, 2016

Food-to-table and gourmet meals

Hello, Dreamreaders! I’m Pat Henshaw, the author of the Foothills Pride contemporary gay romance series: What’s in a Name?, Redesigning Max, Behr Facts, and When Adam Fell. The series is set in a small fictional town in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California.

When housing costs went sky high in the San Francisco Bay Area, many people moved east to the Sierra foothills and commuted. Among those who relocated were gays into small towns that were originally frontier settlements and whose residents weren’t ready for the influx of people who challenged their worldview.

In What’s in a Name?, viewpoint character Jimmy Patterson is taken to dinner by his love interest Guy Stone at the gourmet restaurant run by celebrity chef, Adam de Leon.

Since the viewpoint character of When Adam Fell is the somewhat arrogant Adam, I knew going into the story that the book needed to be filled with food terms. And since Adam, the chef, was opening a new restaurant as part of the plot, he’d have to decide what kind of food he’d be serving in the former frontier town of Stone Acres.

So I dove into the Internet to research foods, starting with the current trend of the fresh food movement and moving into the realm of gourmet meals, stopping midway to find out what restaurant workers face when dealing with the public.

Finding tons of sites dealing with these subjects, I’ve culled the list for Dreamspinner blog readers. These three sites help me fill in the gaps of my knowledge of current cuisine and restaurant workers. While none of my research appeared specifically in the book, many of my food choices and server situations are reflections on what I read in these sites:

Hank Shaw’s Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook website takes the fresh food movement from step one—gathering the ingredients—to the meal itself. Not only does Hank’s site talk about the various ingredients and what to do with them in the raw, but he also interviews experts who share their secrets and insider info to the mix. It doesn’t hurt that Hank adds tasty recipes too.

On the other side of cooking is David Lebovitz, an American chef now living in Paris. His recipes from cocktails to desserts include a mix of ingredients that may shock or even surprise American home cooks while tickling their taste buds.

Finally, the website for the most fun is Jezebel’s Behind Closed Doors on the Kitchenette pages. Want inside gossip? Curious to hear the horror stories the wait staff have? Well, this feature was a real hoot. Be sure to read The Best Restaurant Stories of 2015 if nothing else.

So what are your favorite cooking/recipe websites or podcasts? Are you a fan of stalwarts like Epicurious or do you favor the new like Saveur?

Check out When Adam Fell today!

 WhenAdamFell

Blurb: 

When his lover Jason’s drug addiction spiraled out of control, TV celebrity chef and cookbook author Adam de Leon walked away from him. Adam also abandoned his renowned restaurant in San Francisco to start a small bistro in the Sierra Foothills.

Five years later Adam is battling the conservative leaders of Stone Acres, California, to open a new restaurant in historic Old Town when Jason turns up on his doorstep—a recovered Jason, now going by the name David and claiming he’s overcome his addictions. What’s more, he begs Adam to take him back and says he’s ready for their happily ever after.

Adam has enough on his plate with problems plaguing the opening of his restaurant. And now he’s having a hard time deciding which to follow—his head or his heart.

 About Pat Henshaw:

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, was born and raised in Nebraska where she  promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Now retired, Pat has spent her life surrounded by words:  Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion.  Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

Author media links:

Website: http://patbooked.blogspot.com

Series website: http://foothillspride.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pat.henshaw.10

Twitter: https://twitter.com/phenshaw

 

Do Not Read When Hungry: Guest Post for the release of Ghosts with Jackie Keswick

February 11, 2016

Do Not Read When Hungry

Hi everyone, this is Jackie Keswick – writing from England, where it’s damp and grey and chilly. Just the weather to stay indoors with a huge mug of hot chocolate and a good book. I’ve come out to hang out with all of you, though, and I’m very pleased to be here since it’s the release day of Ghosts, the second instalment in The Power of Zero series.

GhostsFS

Ghosts is the book I hadn’t actually planned to write. Until quite a few of you asked about Nico and Daniel, the boys Jack and Gareth rescue from a pimp in Job Hunt. The questions got me wondering what was happening with Jack, Gareth and the boys between the end of Job Hunt in October and the beginning of House Hunt in April. So Ghosts turned into a bit of a bridge between the two longer books, and into a contemplation of families and Jack and Gareth’s relationship. It’s set between Christmas and Valentine’s Day and before I do anything else, I need to warn you: do not read Ghosts when hungry!

Because there’s food. Delicious food. And lots of it.

You see, growing up hungry has left Jack Horwood with an appreciation for good food. Which plays right into the hands of Gareth Flynn, who takes looking after people damned serious. And who loves nothing better than to hang out in his kitchen after a hard day’s work.

Gareth has another endearing habit, one he developed during his time in the Army. Every Christmas he holds an Open House, a Christmas dinner for anyone who can’t make it home, can’t cook or would otherwise be alone. It’s a celebration for the family he’s made for himself over the years, and it gives him the chance to spend the coldest, darkest parts of December in the kitchen surrounded by relishes, pickles and chutneys, mince pies, fruit cake and chocolate truffles, clove-studded, honeyed hams, Cumberland Sauce, roast goose and venison pie.

It’s all a far cry from Jack’s way of celebrating Christmas, which usually consists of brewing a large pot of coffee, settling down to work and ignoring the whole circus completely. Not surprising for a man who associates Christmas with unpleasant life changes. Jack lost his home on Christmas Even when he was eleven. Years later, he almost lost Gareth and that failure still haunts him. As for family… don’t go there. Jack really doesn’t want to remember the scariest, loneliest Christmas he’s ever spent. It’s much easier to leave those ghosts well buried.

Except now there’s Gareth and Gareth values family. He makes no distinction between the family he was born to and the family he’s made for himself – something Jack finds tricky to wrap his head around. Being there for Nico and Daniel distracts him from the stuff that makes no sense, and of course he’ll never say no to sampling Gareth’s cooking.

I blog about English history and traditional English food in my other life, so writing Ghosts was pure indulgence for me. It gave me a chance to dig out my favourite recipes and experiment a little, never mind that it was the middle of summer. One of the dishes Gareth makes for his Christmas Eve dinner with Jack is this stunning looking, smelling and tasting celeriac soup that’s rather boldly labelled “Christmas” in my mind, but is too delicious not to share. If you live in the northern hemisphere, then celeriac is very much at its best right now and well worth cooking with. So imagine it’s Christmas and cold out – or simply stick your nose out the door to remind yourself – and then turn your kitchen into orange-and-fennel-scented heaven.

© Vivilweb | Dreamstime.com

Here’s what you need to feed maybe six… though I’m sure Jack can polish off most of that quantity without breaking a sweat.

- The peel from half an orange (leave as much of the white pith behind as you can manage)
- 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced thinly
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 6-8 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1 head celeriac (about 1kg or so), peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 teaspoon sugar (soft, brown if you have it)
- 2 litres vegetable stock
- 250ml dry white wine
- Olive oil, salt, pepper
- To serve:  a handful of chopped parsley, a few spoonfuls of double cream

 

First, dry the orange peel in a medium oven. This takes about 30-40 minutes and your kitchen will smell like Christmas and good things. Don’t let it burn.

Next, heat a splash of olive oil in a large saucepan and soften the leeks, carrot, garlic and red pepper. You want a medium heat under the pot and the vegetables should be soft-ish after about 10 minutes.

Now add the fennel seeds, saffron, orange peel, celeriac and sugar and fry for about 5 minutes until the celeriac is nicely coated and you can smell the fennel. Then add the stock and another glug of olive oil and simmer briskly until the celeriac is soft. 30 minutes should do it.

When the celeriac is almost there, add the wine and the parsley stalks. Cook for a couple more minutes, then blend the soup and push it through a sieve. Add a couple of spoonfuls of cream and the chopped parsley, plus salt to taste. You should be left with something velvety soft, gorgeously coloured and tasting like… mmmmh.

So that’s the soup taken care of.  And what of Valentine’s Day? Is the pink festival as off the menu for Jack as Christmas? Or is Gareth whipping up something special? Well… maybe. See if you can guess and let me know what you think. For now, I’ll keep mum on that one, except to say that love comes in all shapes and sizes. And sometimes it’s heart-shaped.

Get your copy of Ghosts today! 

Blurb:

The Power of Zero: Book Two

Jack Horwood doesn’t do families. Or Christmas. From the time his mother sold him to her pimp to the moment he walked out on the man he loved, Christmas has always been about change and painful choices. This year seems no different. Helping Daniel and Nico recover from their imprisonment and hunting down those responsible puts Jack in a frame of mind he doesn’t want to inflict on anyone. Least of all Gareth and the tentative relationship they’ve started to rebuild.

But Gareth, for whom Christmas is all about new beginnings, won’t let Jack take the easy way out. He makes him face his ghosts instead. Even when said ghosts invade their bedroom.

When Daniel’s parents are found, Jack is determined to settle the matter without involving Daniel at all. But fate decrees otherwise, and it’s Gareth who helps him finally understand that the strongest bonds are those forged together. Once he gets that, Jack can step up and make a decision designed to lay his ghosts to rest—for good.

 

About Jackie Keswick:

She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

When she’s not working or writing, she… doesn’t exercise. Instead, she cooks and researches English history and traditional English recipes. She has a thing for green eyes, all things suede and cyclist’s tight butts, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for anything and everything, including her characters and the cat. And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places.

Wild Foxes, Hampshire Woods and London Grammar with Lane Swift – Post + Giveaway

February 10, 2016

Wild Foxes, Hampshire Woods and London Grammar

Hi! I’m Lane Swift, and I’m excited to be able to share some of the things that inspired the writing of my newly-released novella, Dormant Heart.

About a year ago, someone on my Facebook feed linked to an article posted on “We The Urban,” a Tumblr account dedicated to fashion and art, showcasing the photography of Katerina Plotnikova.

The photographs were amazing. Plotinikova had photographed models in fairytale-like poses with various animals, from foxes to bears to snakes. They were romantic and utterly compelling. A friend of mine, similarly moved, left a comment on the Facebook post along the lines of, “I need the story! Except with a man, and he can’t speak.”

Check out the photographs here!

I don’t know what possessed me to think I could write that story, except that I had building work going on in my house at the time, and I was stressed, and looking for a light-hearted project to work on. In the end, that obscure plot bunny became Dormant Heart and it turned out rather deeper and more emotional than I thought it would.

It was an easy decision to set Dormant Heart in the woods on the South Downs, which are a few miles from where I live in Hampshire, in the south of England, and somewhere that I regularly cross-country run. England is a small country, and it might be hard to believe that it’s possible to get lost in our tiny stretches of countryside. Believe me, it is. Only last weekend, I got lost in the woods on a run and ended up trespassing on a country estate, in the middle of a shooting range, a field away from a huge herd of deer!

Once I had the setting, Josh had to have a reason for being lost in the woods with a camera. That was as much as I had of a plan!

I’d intended to write a short story, 20k words maximum, told entirely from Josh’s point of view. But as Callum started to evolve as a character, I realized he needed a “voice,” so to speak. So, the second half of the story was written from Callum’s point of view, and the word count went up to 30k. Then my first reader told me that I’d ended the story too soon—and there were other scenes that needed more detail. By the end, this short story had grown into a novella of 50k words. Almost a novel! All that, through banging and drilling and regular interruptions for cups of tea and biscuits (English builders really do need to be fed and watered every couple of hours).

DormantHeartFS

Ordinarily, I like to work in silence. However, I always, always make a playlist for whatever story I’m writing, and use it to get me into a mood, or zone. I might play the music while I’m running, or doing things like driving, housework or cooking. For Dormant Heart, I listened almost exclusively to London Grammar, particularly their songs, “Hey Now” (the live KEXP version on Youtube is stunning), “Wasting My Young Years” and “Night Call” (a Kavinsky cover).

I like a wide variety of music, from many eras, and usually my playlists feature at least ten or fifteen songs, each from different artists. But London Grammar’s songs seemed to completely capture the mood of this story, most especially Callum’s mental state. I have no doubt that in this instance, the music definitely shaped the direction the story took, and inspired its overall tone. Again, this wasn’t what I was expecting to happen. London Grammar’s musical style isn’t one I usually listen to—it’s described as ambient or trip hop (don’t ask me to explain what that is!). Nonetheless, I haven’t tired of their sound, despite the hundreds, maybe thousands, of times I’ve listened to their songs since April last year.

(I did also listen to Don Henley’s song, “Boys of Summer” more than several times. You’ll find out why if you read the story!)

***

What about you? I’d love for you to tell me about a song that has inspired or inspires you, and in what way. Leave your answer in a comment before 14th February for a chance to win a $10 credit for Dreamspinner Press.

***

Check out Dormant Heart here!

Blurb:

Amateur photographer Josh Thornton is out but not so proud. He’s estranged from his family, his boyfriend dumped him, and his job at an estate agency is in jeopardy—especially after he crashes his boss’s car in the middle of nowhere on his way to Hartley Manor.

Callum Black works at the English country estate and lives there in an isolated cottage. Left mute by a childhood accident, he’s more comfortable in the company of animals than people. But when Josh—literally—crashes into his life with his camera and his friendship, Callum realizes his peaceful solitude has been more than a little lonely.

Josh’s affection for Callum deepens even as he’s consumed by doubts over Callum’s sexuality and whether Callum could ever love him. And Callum is haunted by the secret that stole his voice—a secret that keeps him tethered to Hartley Manor. When the past comes hurtling painfully back into the present, Josh and Callum have to overcome their fears and breathe life back into their dormant hearts in order to have a chance at their own picture-perfect future.

 

You can find out more about me, Lane Swift, at:

Website: http://laneswift.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lane.swift.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaneSwift

Or you can email me at mrslaneswift@gmail.com

 

Whippersnapper: My First Southern Novel by Michael Rupured

January 29, 2016

Whippersnapper- My First Southern Novel

Hey y’all! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Michael Rupured, author of Whippersnapper—a new release from Dreamspinner Press. I’m mighty pleased to meet you.

I was born in North Carolina, grew up in Kentucky, and for going on twenty years now, have called Georgia my home. Whether by accident or design, a touch of Southern flavors everything I write. Whippersnapper reeks of the stuff.

My earlier books aren’t all that Southern. A desire to show how much gay life has changed in my lifetime motivated me to write them. The semi-historical stories take place in Washington, DC and New York City. Though below the Mason-Dixon line, diehard Confederates haven’t considered DC a Southern city since the War of Northern Aggression.

Writing about real people, places, and events created a lot of extra work and stress. Concern about getting things right kept me awake at night. After Happy Independence Day, I wanted to write something less constrained by matters of fact.

Mom suggested a funny story. She’s my biggest fan and has enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout my previous novels. The multi-talented Charlie Cochet suggested a contemporary story about a May-December romance where the older guy talks about how things have changed. The more I thought about it, the more the idea appealed to me. Whippersnapper was born.

Whippersnapper is a contemporary story set in Fallisville, Kentucky—a fictional town midway between Lexington and Cincinnati. None of the characters are real people. Making everything up made Whippersnapper the most fun I’ve had with a writing project since a college creative writing class I took forty years ago.

Two gay men see each other at the gym. Crotchety Oliver Crumbly is set in his ways and bitter after a string of failed relationships. Tellumo Magnamater has a thing for older men and likes what he sees in Oliver. Unfortunately, Tellumo exemplifies everything Oliver hates about the younger generation.

Peggy Tucker also sees Tellumo and Oliver at the gym, but she has no idea they are gay. Determined to marry again, Peggy sets her sights on Oliver, one of the few eligible bachelors in Fallisville.

The premise still cracks me up.

I should clarify that Whippersnapper is NOT an MMF story. Tellumo might be open to the idea, but Oliver wouldn’t stand for it, and Peggy—an active member of the Trinity Baptist Church, for Christ’s sake—has never been that kind of girl.

Do our three protagonists find love? Who lives happily ever after? I’m not telling. To find out, you’ll have to read the book. Tellumo, Oliver, and Peggy will show you around Fallisville, introduce you to their friends and family, and fill you in on the rest of the story.

An appropriate setting is one of many characteristics of the Southern novel. Fallisville fits the bill. What else do you expect to see in a Southern novel? Leave your answer in a comment for a chance to win a $10 credit from Dreamspinner Press.

Find out more about me and my books at http://rupured.com. Connect via Twitter (@crotchetyman), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichaelRupured/), or by email (mrupured@gmail.com).

Whippersnapper

 

Check out Whippersnapper today!

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: Writing Sequels For Fun and Aggravation with Christopher Koehler

January 22, 2016

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air-

Hello, everyone in DSP/Harmony Ink-land. Christopher Koehler here today to talk about my latest release, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, the second installment in The Lives of Remy and Michael. I appreciate having the chance to talk about ATISMIA today. I hope you don’t mind me abbreviating the title like that, but it’s a mouthful.

AllThatIsSolidMeltsIntoAirMO

What inspired ATIS? Where did I get the idea?

Most of my books are spinoffs from earlier novels. That is, minor characters in an earlier book getting their own novel. Dreamspinner/Harmony Ink call these spin-offs. Sometimes the plot remains elusive, as in the case of Settling the Score, the fourth and final book in the original CalPac quartet, which is why Stuart’s story took so long to write. Stuart popped in and out of all the previous three novels, always the supporting character but never a protagonist until the very end. The inspiration for each novel came from Rocking the Boat, really.

I wrote First Impressions as a stand-alone, and in that case, I found inspiration in Pride and Prejudice and in my life at that time. Yes, my social life at that time resembled a Jane Austen novel, and let me tell you that was no end of fun. No joke. If life was Pride and Prejudice, my husband and I represented Mr. and Mrs. Gardner, Lizzy’s aunt and uncle, or uncle and uncle as the case may be, the sane and stable married couple. From the safe vantage point of our union, we watched the shark tank of the gay urban scene. As Austen said, for what else do we live but to make sport for our friends and laugh at them in our turn?

But for ATISMIA? This novel is a direct sequel to Poz and I’ve never written a direct sequel before. When I finished writing Poz, I was done with the story, but if you paid close attention to the final paragraphs, you could tell I wasn’t done with Remy and Michael. If you paid close attention, you might also have figured out how, at least to an extent, ATIAMIA would end, so don’t blame me for any feels you’ll have or have had. Notice how cagey I’m being? It releases today and I’m not spoiling anything. I’m evil that way.

I actually had the outline for ATISMIA underway before I finished Poz. I’d go to write something in Poz and realize that no, that was beyond the scope of Poz and needed to be told later in Remy and Michael’s lives. But wait, Christopher, I can hear you objecting from here. What if it’s much later in their lives? That’s why there’s a third book planned. You want details? You’ll have to check out my blog for details of the blog tour.

I’m evil that way, too.

So by the time I was done with Poz, I was outlining ATISMIA. By the time Harmony Ink had sent me edits for Poz, I was writing ATISMIA. The continuity is that direct, and to my regular readers I must apologize for that. You’re used to my books being more or less stand-alones. To new readers, if you go back and start with Poz, ATISMIA will make more sense. I don’t usually do this to readers. I hope you’ll bear with me, but at least Poz is on sale at Harmony Ink through January 23. Why? Because—shameless plug—the American Library Association named it to its Rainbow List for 2016.

Harmony_ALA2016_Badge_Poz

What does the title mean?

The title—All That Is Solid Melts Into Air—refers to the changes that Remy and Michael face in their lives and in their relationship throughout the novel. I felt bad for what I did to them, but not so bad that I held back. If you recognize where I lifted the title from, leave a note in the comments. There are Easter eggs littered throughout my books and no one ever calls me on them. It’s a great disappointment.

The Inevitable Soundtrack To The Book Question

I’m inevitably asked what music I listened to while I wrote a book, but before I answer it, I’m going to ask you what you listened to when you read it. Leave your replies in the comments, if you’d be so kind.

Here’s what I’m pretty sure I listened to while I wrote ATISMIA, because I failed to make a list. (Memo: Make a list for next time…anyone feel like keeping track to see if this actually happens?)

Bad Romance (Lady Gaga…I know, right?)
Cell Block Tango (“Chicago” Soundtrack)
The Killing Moon (Echo & the Bunnymen)
NYC (Interpol)
Out of My League (Fitz + The Tantrums)
Paris (Magic Man)
Summertime Sadness (Lana del Rey)
Transmission (Joy Division)
The Whole of the Moon (The Waterboys)

All of which probably explains why the book ends the way it does.

The thing is, though? I’ll listen to one song over and over and over before moving on to another.

Anyway, music is a huge part of my creative process, along with winking references to friends’ books, particularly if music is involved. Astute readers will have picked up on Outbreak Monkey in Poz and Kill The Wendybird in ATISMIA. I felt so bad for my editors in ATISMIA. Those heroic people checked everything I mentioned, and that included bands. One tried to find Kill The Wendybird in the International Music Database. The Wendybirds are from Settling the Score. They’re so alternative Sirius XM doesn’t even play them (h/t Jamie!).

I’m currently writing…

I needed a break from Remy and Michael, so now I’m working on a bit of Arthurian bit of fluff called Bullsh*tting Your Way To Camelot. There are people in the Arthur legends who show up in the historical record, specifically King Urien of Rheged, and his sons Ywain ap Urien and Ywain the Bastard, who preferred to be called Ywain the Adventurous for obvious reasons. Of course, where history goes off the rails is that Urien was allegedly married to Morgan le Fey. After that, everything’s just sort of bullsh*t….

Find me on:

On Facebook at Facebook.com/christopherkoehler

Twitter @christopherink

Blog: christopherkoehler.net/blog

Get your copy of All That Is Solid Melts Into Air today!

Old Finds, New Beginnings with BA Tortuga

January 17, 2016

Old Finds, New Beginnings

Howdy, y’all. I’m BA Tortuga and I write cowboys.

Does anyone else find these introduction things weird? I never know whether to be all “Oh, y’all know me” or “Hey, I’m the big redneck lesbian writer with a thing for blonde bombshells”. It always ends up just being “hello, I’m a huge dork, pleased to meetcha.”

Grins

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At any rate, I’m here to talk to all y’all about my new book, Refired. It’s a new type of book for me, and it has been from the beginning. Of course, everything about my life right now is new, sort of, so that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

You see, Josh and Kris, the heroes of Refired weren’t born from eavesdropping or from seeing some beautiful person.

They were born from a piece of pottery.

Wedding vases are vessels with two spouts, traditionally intended to be used at a marriage ceremony for the bride and groom to drink from. The story is, if neither of the couple spills a drop, then their relationship is eternal.

Now, whether or not a particular tribe followed this tradition (it was mainly Pueblo and Navajo), many Native American artists choose to design pottery in the two-spout shape.

Why is this important to me?

Well, I just recently said goodbye to my home state of Texas and moved with my wife to the New Mexico mountains. I’m smack dab between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We spend hours at weird antique shops, little art galleries and estate sales learning about the local art, talking to collectors and artists and gallery owners, and just immersing myself in this entirely new culture.

I’m a newlywed and, of course, we bought pottery for our wedding (we also ended up buying a piece of bear sculpture, a weird cribbage board, and this amazing left handed, finger warming coffee cup). I love the story behind the wedding vase, and more than that I love the idea of art and love and what if…

What if there was this pair of former lovers that owned a failing art gallery in Austin? What if one of them was a recovering alcoholic? What if they had trust issues that were near insurmountable?

What if they headed to Santa Fe on one last trip?

I started this book as my goodbye to Texas – and to Austin in particular. I wanted to give a nod to the city that I called home for twenty years, to the state that will always be where I call home. It’s my wave and hug, my fond farewell.

I ended Refired as a love letter to my new home, as a glorious welcome to this place with skies that never end, with my watermelon mountains, with the most welcoming, friendly, accepting people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. This is a place of amazing food, stunning artwork, and a landscape unlike anything I’ve ever had the joy to experience. This is a passionate kiss, a clench, and the beginning of a promise about loving this land.

See? This is what happens when you marry a New Mexican.

You keep falling in love, over and over again.

***

Here’s the opening of the book, before you get to meet Josh and Kris. Why share this? Because this is how the story started, y’all.

 

“What are you doing, Cypress?” Naki leaned against the doorframe of the studio, watching him with her button black eyes. “You don’t seem the wedding vase, traditional type.”

“I need to do it. You know how that is?” He felt the urge like a fever in the base of his spine. Two spouts, one handle—Naki was right. Traditional Pueblo design wasn’t his thing, but it was what the clay needed.

“Need, as in you got a commission, or need, as in the muse is going to peck your eyes out with a skewer if you don’t?”

“God, you are a sick, sad broad. I adore you. Skewer. This is totally a skewer moment.” He smoothed out another set of coils, then stretched and listened to his back pop. “Someone will love it. I’m going to paint it with rainbows.”

“You’re so queer.” She came farther into the studio. “I’m going to go take photos in the trees. I need a model that’s willing to get naked.”

He grinned over at her. Cypress had zero issues with naked. None. “Go grab that wet cloth for me and wring it out?”

“You’ll do it? You totally rock.” She went to get the cloth for him. “I want to do this thing that evokes Pan. You’ll wear horns?”

“I can’t think of anything I’d rather do with a nearly snowing afternoon.” He wrapped the vase up, protecting it. “If I freeze to death, you’ll have me cremated?”

“I won’t let you freeze. I adore you, and you’ll do anything for art.”

“Truth.” He grabbed his coat and yanked on his boots. “Let’s go play Narnia, shall we?”

Someone would want the wedding vase.

Someone would come for it.

***

Refired releases on January 18, and I hope all y’all love it.

Get the eBook!

Get the Paperback!

 

Official blurb: When Kris Cerny walks back into Two Spirits, the art gallery he owns with Josh McPhee, all he wants is a clean break. Austin’s booming real estate market means the building he bought years ago is worth a fortune, and with the sale, he and Josh can finally go their separate ways. They won’t be reconciling, right? Josh may be sober now, but an addict is always going to be an addict, and Kris can’t take that chance again.

Josh isn’t willing to sell. Not yet. He’s discovered a new artist in Santa Fe he knows will put Two Spirits in the black, and if he can just make a success of the gallery, maybe he can earn Kris’s respect, if not recapture his love. He need

Kris to give him time for one more buying trip, one more gallery show. Josh wants nothing more than a final chance to make things right. Kris agrees to let Josh have this last ditch effort on one condition– he wants to go along for the ride. On the way Josh hopes they’ll find the next big thing in the art world as well as peace, forgiveness, and a love he thought was lost forever.

 

You can find me at batortuga.com and batortuga.blogspot.com.

Also, I’m at the following social media places. Come play with me!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/batortuga

Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/BATortugaBooks?fref=ts

Twitter: @batortuga

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/batortuga/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/batortuga/

 

Much love, y’all.

BA Tortuga

Sometimes It Takes Getting Angry with Andrew Grey

January 11, 2016

SOMETIMES IT TAKES GETTING ANGRY

Sometimes stories grow organically from inside and others seem to spring from thin air.  An idea will spark and from that a story will grow.  The other type of story for me, stems from something I see or hear that makes me angry and really pisses me off.  Fire and Rain is that last type of story.  I was in my own home town of Carlisle, PA and saw a man curled up in the doorway of one of the downtown shops. It was after dark and I was walking in a bit of a hurry to get somewhere.  I saw the man curled up out of the weather most likely to sleep when a police vehicle pulled up and the officers got out to move the person on.   I have to admit that I probably would never have noticed the man if the police hadn’t appeared, but I did.  I saw a dark ghostly figure rise out of a jumbled heap on the tile of the store entryway.  He grumbled something and began to shuffle down the sidewalk.  The cops knew him by name and told him to head on down to the Salvation Army where there was a shelter.

The whole scene tugged at my heart and made me angry.  We live in a country with huge gas guzzling cars and people as rich as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.  Most of us have plenty of food and nice homes, cars, boats, you name it.  Yet here are people with nothing and our solution is to move them to a shelter where they’ll be out of sight and out of mind.  Sorry for the preaching, but this gets to me.   Anyway, out of that scene came the idea for Jos and once I got to know him, he informed me that he has a young brother, surprise… surprise.  I never saw that one coming.

That set the basic scene for the start of Fire and Rain.   From there I learned what a hard long road it was for someone to make it from living on the streets being able to rebuild their lives and that it takes determination and the help of a lot of people who are willing to spend the time and give support and care.  Each of my stories touch my heart in some way, and they all have a happy ending, even if the road to get there can be curvy to get out.  But for me, this particular story, while it has a happy ending, also ends in a kind of social triumph for Jos and Isaac.

 

Check out Fire and Rain today!

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Finding Inspiration in A Kind of Truth with Lane Hayes – Post + Giveaway

January 9, 2016

Finding Inspiration in A Kind of Truth

New York City is one of those special places that offers seemingly endless inspiration. Famous landmarks, world-class restaurants, eclectic neighborhoods and hands down, some of the best people-watching in the world! For any writer, it’s a must. I could sit on a park bench in Central Park or in a SoHo café all day and never get tired of listening to the different dialects and observing the diverse crowds.  People rushing to work in designer coats and fashionable boots or tourists in sensible walking shoes carrying selfie sticks. I can hear Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and I swear I believe it when he sings, “if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”

That’s exactly how Rand O’Malley feels when he lands in Manhattan with two buddies and a big dream to take the music world by storm. A Kind of Truth pays homage to the brave souls who are willing to set fear aside to aim for the loftiest of aspirations. Rand is one of those guys. He’s willful, wild hearted, cocky and supremely confident that his band, Spiral, has what it takes to make it to the big time. Well… once he finds a reliable guitarist. Details that make most people stop and reconsider their motivation or sanity don’t stop Rand from taking chances and making wild leaps of faith.

I’ve been asked a few times if I’m like any of the characters I’ve written. I can say with the utmost sincerity, I am nothing like Rand, though I wish I was. Lol! I love being around people who exude a palpable energy and seem more vibrant when they’re engaging in the world around them rather than observing. Writers are generally consummate voyeurs. You might find me sitting on that park bench, but Rand wouldn’t last long enough for his latte to cool before he’d jump up to move on to the next location.

A Kind of Truth was an absolute joy to write. I loved setting book one of my newest series in my favorite U.S. city. I’ve made a point to visit NYC a couple times a year over the last decade or so. It was helpful to have a visceral understanding of the streets Rand and Will walked, the food they ate and the music they’re passionate about. Moreover, I loved these characters. Rand’s relentless energy and sense of humor contrasted well with Will’s serious nature. If you’ve read any of my previous books, you may have guessed this is an “opposites attract” story. The rock star and the geek. Ahh… it never gets old!

This is ultimately a story about finding your truth beyond the thrill of attaining a goal. It’s about the things we give away in order to achieve the impossible. And making room for what we learn we can’t live without to find our own kind of truth.

Giveaway Opportunity!

Travel is a huge inspiration to me. NYC is definitely number one on my list of places I love to visit. It’s followed closely by San Francisco, Washington DC, London and Paris. Do you see a trend? I’m a city girl! Walking through a crowd city and soaking up the sights and sounds is absolute heaven! I’d like to giveaway 2 $10 gift cards to Dreamspinner Press.  For a chance to win, all you have to do is name your favorite place and why you love it.  For example… I love Manhattan. It’s a walkable city with tons to do and see. Central Park is an absolute must. Here’s a picture of the park I took on my last visit in November. Gorgeous!

 

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Thank you so much for stopping by today! I’ll be checking in often to say hello, so please be sure to leave comments!

Happy Reading!

Lane Hayes xo

 

A Kind of Truth is available now! In English & German (Die Wahrheit, die ich meine…)
Dreamspinner Press:

A Kind of Truth

Die Wahrheit, die ich meine…

Amazon

Contact the Author:

Lane’s Blog: http://lanehayes.wordpress.com

Twitter:  LaneHayes3

Facebook:  LaneHayesauthor or Lane Hayes

Email:  lanehayes@ymail.com or lanehayes3@gmail.com

 

*Here’s an inspiration pic of Rand, by the way ☺.  Swoon…

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12 Courses, the sixth book in the Delectable Series is officially here! @emlynley #mmromance

December 23, 2015

Cooking, writing, romance. Delectable.

I can’t believe it. Six books. Actually more than that, when you count the missing scenes and freebies along the way. Working on this series has been nothing short of a joy for me, a real dream-come-true to combine my passions into one project. I’ll share a little about the inspiration for this book with you now, and then in later posts today, I’ll share more of my own  joy of cooking, some recipes and more!

 

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A bit about the book:

 

Thom Kennedy Leyton returns to San Francisco to take up the reins of Graze, one of the city’s best restaurants, years after he lost his job when his innovative new set of recipes was stolen. Thom’s loss of self-esteem eventually caused his boyfriend, Blake Warner, to end their relationship, sending Thom into a deep depression.

Now, cured of fifty excess pounds and any attraction to Blake, Thom’s back in town. Blake catches him off guard when he visits Graze several days in a row, and Thom lets himself get caught up in Blake’s allure, despite knowing better. Thom juggles a renewed relationship with Blake, a Christmas visit from his parents, and an important holiday menu based on a Twelve Days of Christmas theme.

When an old acquaintance reveals that Blake knows more about the theft of the recipes than he lets on, Thom doesn’t know whom to trust. But the truth isn’t quite that simple, and Thom won’t be able to decide if Blake deserves a place in his life until he learns exactly what happened years ago.

 

Available now r at Dreamspinner Press: — at Amazon — at All Romance

 

The inspiration

 

I love to cook. If you’ve met me, you probably also know I love to eat. I have food and cooking scenes in all of my books, so it was inevitable I would write a series featuring chefs and winemakers, and other men in the restaurant world.

 

For this sixth installment in the Delectable Series, I needed to come up with some familiar, yet completely different. Another story about another chef just wasn’t going to do it for me or for fans of the series.

 

I decided to set myself a challenge: a new chef trying to convince his bosses to take a big chance on a vegan Twelve Nights of Christmas menu. Not only is Thom Kennedy trying to earn his way back to the top, but he’s chosen an incredibly tricky and risky way of doing it.

 

Thom actually had it easy. I was the one struggling to create a menu as elaborate as Thom needed. Not being a chef myself, coming up with a dozen unique vegan dishes worthy of a holiday special event taxed my brain more than anything I’ve written. I probably spent more time creating the menu than writing the story.

 

I did not consult with any professional chefs, so my imaginary Twelve Courses may not even work in actuality. That’s why I haven’t included any recipes this time around, though I will be sharing Blake’s Lobster Grilled Cheese Menu on my blog for release day.

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Find EM Lynley online:

Email: emlynley @gmail.com

At EM Lynley’s Amazon Page: http://bit.ly/amz-eml9

At Dreamspinner Press Author Arcade: http://bit.ly/dsp-eml2

Free Reads at EM’s website: http://www.emlynley.com/free-reads

At her temporary blog: emlynley.wordpress.com