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

February 15, 2017

The grass isalways greener... with Meg Harding

 

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

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

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

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

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

Answer to win an ebook copy of Checking it Twice.

 

Check out Shifting Views today!

 

Shifting Views by Meg Harding

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

Barnes and Noble
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Blurb:

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

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

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

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

Find Meg Harding at:

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

 

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

February 14, 2017

 

Office Romance the 18th Century Way with Ingela Bohm

 

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

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

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

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

022 (3)

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

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

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

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

 

Check out The Seventh Flower today!

The Seventh Flower by Ingela Bohm

Blurb:

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

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

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

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

 

Ingela Bohm

Author Bio:

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

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

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

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

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Books by Ingela Bohm

The Pax Cymrica series:

Just Playing
The Road Taken
Release
Cutting Edge

Standalone novels:

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

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

 

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

February 13, 2017

 Lost in Lisbon with Dev Bentham

 

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

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

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

DevBentham1

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

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

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

 

Check out Buyout – A Love Story today!

 

Buyout A Love Story by Dev Bentham

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

 

Blurb:

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

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

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

 

Author Bio:

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

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

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

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

February 9, 2017

 

Tropical Research w/ Foster Bridget Cassidy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spam and Rice

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

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

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

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

 

Check out Pipelines in Paradise today!

Pipelines in Paradise by Foster Bridget Cassidy

Blurb:

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

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

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

 

About the Author:

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

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

 

Revisiting Inheritance w/ Sean Michael

February 8, 2017

 

Revisiting Inheritance with Sean Michael

 

Hello Dreamspinner Press Readers,

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

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

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

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

 

Check out Inheritance today!

 

Inheritance by Sean Michael

 

Blurb:

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

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

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

 

Buy links:

Dreamspinner
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m not a kid. I need to know.”

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

 

Bio:

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

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

Sean Michael on the web:

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

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

February 6, 2017

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

3. The pines in Trust Trade are deliberately placed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst. Car trip. Ever.

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

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

I’ll wait.

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

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

Trust Trade by Ki Brightly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, okay then. That’s what I did.

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

I’ll miss Bobby.

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

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

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

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

Good times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But…there’s a story…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Happy reading!

Ki Brightly

Check out Trust Trade today!

Trust Trade by Ki Brightly

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

Blurb:

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

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

 

Ki Brightly

About the Author: 

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

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

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

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

Overcoming Obstacles w/ Heidi Champa + Excerpt

February 3, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles with Heidi Champa

 

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

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

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

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

 

Excerpt:

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

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

“Do you think we could cuddle?”

“You wanna cuddle?”

He smiled and looked at the floor.

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

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

“Yeah, sure.”

“I knew I could count on you, Wes.”

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

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

“Sam, I should really go. It’s late.”

He held my arm tight and shook his head.

“Movie’s not over yet.”

“I’m not really watching.”

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

“Me neither,” he whispered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I can’t. We don’t do that.”

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

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

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

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

“I’m not drunk.”

“Yeah, you are. It’s cute, actually.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Would it be so terrible?”

I raised my eyebrows, not sure how to respond.

“What do you mean?”

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

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

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

“I’m sure.”

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

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

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

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

“Good. Me neither.”

 

Check out Clean Slate today!

 

Clean Slate by Heidi Champa

Blurb:

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

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

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

 

Author Bio:

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/HeidiChampaAuthor/
https://twitter.com/heidichampa

 

Passion and Storytelling w/ J. C. Long + Giveaway

February 1, 2017

 Passion and Storytelling with J. C. Long

 

Hello, Dreamspinner readers! For those who don’t know me, I’m J. C. Long, and I’m a writer by night and an English teacher by day who’s been living in Asia for several years, right now in Japan. My most recent release is Broadway Babe, a novella that takes place behind the curtains of a Broadway musical.

At its heart, Broadway Babe is about passion, creativity, and drive. Broadway performers have all of those things, in spades. The inspiration for the story comes from my own life—I was in theatre for the majority of my childhood, and it’s played a major role in my life and shaping me as a person. I learned so much about owning myself and the masks that we wear around others. It was theatre that surrounded me with wonderful friends and a support system that allowed me to come out in high school and have a relatively safe experience (compared to others; I had my share of bad experiences, but others had it so much worse). While I never made it to Broadway, I love performing and the feeling I get from it.

Acting is about storytelling—embodying the role of a character to communicate the words of the playwright. I feel like writing is a lot like that, to be honest. When I’m writing I will often read my dialogue as if I am the characters so that I can see how it makes sense. An actor has to get inside the head of the character, understand their motivations beyond what’s on the page to truly embody the story and make their characters alive. That’s the hallmark of a good thespian—someone who can make a character seem like a real person, as opposed to a two-dimensional character who is just going through the motions because the script said so. Interestingly enough, this is also the hallmark of a good writer—can he or she make the character’s seem three dimensional, give the essence of motivation behind actions, instead of a simple case of “this is happening in order to advance the plot even though I have no real reason to act this way”.

In this current day I think everyone needs a little pick me up, some happy considering the darkness that we’re facing, with the Dark Lord in the White House. I really think that Broadway Babe delivers in the feel good department. I did my best to keep it as low on angst as possible so that everyone could read it and come away happy. Don’t worry, Tate and Mike get their happily ever after! What’s romance without it, right?

Now, everybody likes a giveaway, right? Well, I’ll be giving away one free eBook of Broadway Babe to a lucky participant! If you want to enter, I hope you’ve been following my blog tour (if not you can go to my website, listed below, to find links to all the stops) because for your entry I want you to tell me which of my seven other blog stops was your favorite. What did you like about it? Simply reply that to this post and I’ll use a random number generator to select the winner in 72 hours! Good luck, everyone, and I hope you enjoy Broadway Babe and meeting Tate and Mike!

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjclong
Twitter: https://twitter.com/j_c_long_author
Website: http://www.jclong.org

 

Check out Broadway Babe today!

 

Broadway Babe by J. C. Long

Blurb: 

Tate O’Connor has worked hard to realize his dream of dancing on Broadway, and it’s about to pay off with a premier in his first show. He doesn’t expect the distraction of sharing the stage with his celebrity crush: Broadway superstar Mike Chang. Drama ensues both onstage and off as Tate and Mike work closely and realize there could be something between them. However, there are those who don’t think an up-and-coming dancer is good enough for someone with Mike’s talent and fame, and rumors and misunderstandings might lead to broken hearts if Tate and Mike can’t work through their confusion and insecurity.

About the Author:

J. C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an Army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his lifelong involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States, J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C.’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing, and Korean food (not in that order… okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts, and wishing he were writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

Exploring BDSM w/ Michaela Grey + Excerpt

January 31, 2017

 Exploring BDSM with Michaela Grey

 

Thank you for having me on your blog today! I’m here to tell you a little about my newest book, Broken Halo!

***
Micah Ellis has everything in his life just the way he likes it. Neat, orderly, and contained. Nothing gets through that isn’t carefully screened and sanitized, including people.

Which makes the unshakeable attraction to the mechanic who fixes his car that much more frustrating. Devon Mallory is Micah’s opposite in every way imaginable, as kind and laid-back as Micah is sharp-tongued and neurotic.

One thing’s for sure—once Devon learns what Micah’s really like, he’ll bail in a heartbeat.
***

Broken Halo was my first venture in BDSM literature. I’d seen a recent uptick in novels that romanticized dangerous practices and normalized miscommunication and abuse, and it bothered me enough to try and address it in my own manner.

Micah and Devon fumble their way into a D/s relationship, starting with Micah not telling Devon what he needs until it blows up in both their faces.

From then on, though, there is clear, carefully stated consent, explicitly drawn lines of both hard and soft limits, and use of safewords from both players. There’s also a ton of aftercare and dealing with the inevitable subdrops.

Fun fact: Micah lives in Toronto because I needed a city that had actual manta rays in their aquarium. Did you know that mantas are very difficult to keep in captivity, and only a few places across North America are set up to take them? I was able to fly up to Toronto and visit the aquarium Micah goes to (and pet the rays—they feel sort of like soggy pancakes), and it’s an incredible experience.

A question for you—as readers of D/s in general, what’s the main thing you wish was touched on in more depth in the books you consume? Is there something you’d like to see covered, discussed, or simply acknowledged as part of the BDSM lifestyle?

 

EXCERPT:

 

When they arrived at the aquarium, Micah made straight for the manta ray’s tank with Devon close behind him. Micah got as close as possible without touching the glass and peered through the murky depths for a glimpse of the big black fish.

“There.” Devon pointed.

Micah leaned back against Devon’s chest and let peace wash over him as he watched the ray slowly undulate through the water. Devon wrapped his coat around him and pressed their cheeks together, and Micah found his favorite button and absently slid his thumb across the ridges.

“Did you know that mantas don’t have noses?” Devon murmured.

Micah blinked, startled. He hadn’t known that.

“They can get up to twenty-five feet in length and weigh as much as three thousand pounds,” Devon continued. “A lot of people are afraid of them because they look like stingrays, but they don’t even have a stinger, and they’re very gentle.”

Micah sighed and relaxed into Devon’s arms. The manta ray floated toward them. It filled Micah’s vision and hung suspended in the water on the other side of the glass as they watched it. Micah could feel the poison leaving his soul, draining from him as the enormous fish floated gracefully away, toward the other side of the tank.

“What do they eat?” Micah asked.

“Plankton, tiny fish, crustaceans like shrimp,” Devon said into his ear. “They’re closely related to sharks, and they have a lot of teeth, but they don’t use them to eat. They have a… a filtering system, sort of like whales.”

Micah smiled. He turned in Devon’s embrace and went up on his tiptoes to wrap his arms around Devon’s neck. “Did you learn all those facts for me?”

“Maybe I just find manta rays fascinating,” Devon teased.

“Thank you,” Micah whispered. He leaned back and looked into Devon’s affectionate, worried eyes. “Take me home, Devon. I need to make love to you.”

 

Check out Broken Halo today!

 

Broken Halo by Michaela Grey

 

BIO:

Michaela Grey told stories to put herself to sleep since she was old enough to hold a conversation in her head. When she learned to write, she began putting those stories down on paper. She resides in the Texas Hill Country with her cats, and she is perpetually on the hunt for peaceful writing time.

When she’s not writing, she’s knitting while watching TV or avoiding responsibilities on Tumblr, where she blogs about cats and writing, offers dubious life advice, and tries to keep her cat off the keyboard.

Tumblr: http://greymichaela.tumblr.com
Twitter: @GreyMichaela
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GreyMichaela
E-mail: greymichaela@gmail.com

That Magic Moment w/ Allison Cassatta + Giveaway

January 26, 2017

 

That Magic Moment with Allison Cassatta

 

As a writer, I normally go into a story knowing exactly how a relationship will develop. I have a roadmap in my head, and most of the time, the characters follow the path they’re supposed to follow. Ironically, Silas and Ben’s magic moment didn’t happen that way. It came in the form of a suggestion from the editors, actually. They wanted to see more scenes between Ben and Silas. They wanted to see the two on page more often, more than casually bumping into each other around Midtown. Then this scene happened, and I couldn’t thank my editors enough. From their suggestion came one of the cutest scenes between the two, and god knew they needed some cute.

As a reader, what is your favorite aha moment for the characters? Do you like the sweet, funny scenes when two men who keep running into each other but don’t slow down enough to experience the spark? Do you prefer love at first sight? Or fireworks and explosive passion right out the gate? What makes the relationship feel more real to you?

 

EXCERPT:

The silliest of all silly grins stretched across Silas’s face. It was the booze. Had to be. Silas didn’t do goofy or funny. However, something about Ben drew the giant kid right out of Silas. Almost like being in high school again and working through his first big crush. Silas hadn’t known then if the boy he pined over played for his team, but he knew Ben did. Oh, happy day!

Running into Ben made leaving the house on one of the worst nights of the year worth every minute of this unexpected adventure. Silas had been sitting at home, wishing—as ironic as it was—that he had someone to spend the evening with. He would’ve been happy sitting on the couch, watching the Times Square ball drop with a close friend and a few cocktails. He would’ve been fine with the kind of kissing that led to hot sex at the stroke of midnight. Neither of which was going to happen.

He hadn’t heard from Scott since early December, and though Silas didn’t exactly mourn the death of their relationship, he did—from time to time—miss having someone around to chat with when he got bored, someone to snuggle with when he got lonely. Neither was an issue prior to Scott. Now both were reasons to get up and do something, anything, that didn’t involve being alone.

“I truly am glad I left the house tonight.” Silas spoke softly, more to himself than anyone else. Oh, but Ben heard him. Silas could tell by the pitiful look that devastatingly beautiful cop gave him. Not that what he said deserved any kind of pity. Maybe it’d been the tone of his voice or something in his eyes, or the fact he hadn’t looked at Ben once since he returned to the malaise of his own mind.

“Ten. Nine. Eight….”

The countdown to the New Year pulled Silas out of his ruminating. He turned eyes on Ben, who now watched the DJ count into the mic while half-naked women danced around him.

“Three. Two. One. Happy New Year!”

“Auld Lang Syne” played over the loudspeakers. People yelled the lyrics—mostly out of key. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot….” Strangers swayed together as old friends. Some random woman hooked her arm around Silas’s, forcing him to move his body too. He didn’t want to. He wanted to watch Ben’s lips as he tried to hide his mumbling the lyrics along with everyone else’s boisterous crooning. He wanted to watch the glisten in Ben’s eyes as the moon poured soft light over the crowd. He even loved the way pieces of confetti stuck in Ben’s short brown hair. God, he was absolutely mesmerized

When Ben caught him staring, Silas immediately turned his gaze away, even though he wanted nothing more than to give Ben a quick New Year’s smooch. He didn’t dare. It wasn’t right. Ben didn’t want that. So instead of lifting up on his toes and reaching for Ben’s cheek, he gave a tight smile, and said, “You stay safe on these wild Memphis streets, Benjamin.”

Silas turned to walk away.

“Wait, Silas.” Ben reached out and grabbed Silas’s upper arm before he could escape. The strength and heat of Ben’s grip sent a shiver down Silas’s spine. “You’re not walking, are you?”

Aww, he’s concerned. “I live right around the corner.” Silas thumbed over his shoulder. “Not literally, but close enough.”

“And there are a lot of drunk people out tonight. You have to cross Union to get home.”

“I learned to look both ways before I learned to spell my name.”

Silas’s cheeky comeback won him another warm smile from Ben. He was so adorable, in that cute boy-next-door kind of way.

“Please let me at least get you an Uber.”

“A what?” Silas frowned.

“Uber. It’s like a taxi.”

“Benjamin, seriously, there’s no need. I appreciate your worry, but—”

“I’m not taking no for an answer,” Ben said with finality, reaching into his pocket for what Silas assumed to be a cell phone. The device fit right in the palm of Ben’s large hand.

Mmm. Large hands. “Don’t. Please.” Silas wrapped his fingers over Ben’s. “I promise I can get home just fine.”

“You’re drunk. Anything could happen.”

“I’m only”—Silas held up his thumb and forefinger, not even a full inch apart—“this drunk now. Wine wears off fast.” Or something.

“Mm-hmm.” Ben pinched his lips and shook his head. “I could give you my number. You could text—”

Silas’s laughter cut off Ben’s offer.

“What’s so funny?”

“I don’t need to have your number. Your significant other will hate me.”

“I don’t think he….” Ben looked left, then right, then back to Silas. “It’ll be okay.”

“How about you give me your number when you’re not as interested in my safety as you are in me?”

Ben nodded. The movement was so slight, so curt and tense, that had Silas not been paying attention, he would’ve missed it.

With a sigh, Silas left the cop formerly known as Officer Hot Body standing on the edge of the road just beneath the balcony at Lafayette’s. The farther Silas walked away, the more invisible Ben became, until he was lost to a sea of drunken bodies.

Silas made a right onto Cooper, heading south toward Peabody, all the while wishing he’d stayed back with Ben until all the booze wore off. He still had enough of a buzz that his lips tingled and walking felt… well, weird. He stopped at the corner of Union and Cooper, watching the blur of cars speeding by. This was the spot where he needed to pay attention, be careful. The last thing that needed to happen was him turning into roadkill for the beautiful Officer Logan and company to scrape off the road. That would be a hell of a way to end a pretty decent night.

 

Check out Dearly Stalked today!

 

Dearly Stalked by Allison Cassatta

DSP
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE

 BLURB:

Writing crime novels catapulted Memphis native Silas Cooper to fame and fortune, but when his words backfire and he becomes trapped in what could be one of his books, he needs a hero of his own.

Silas’s publicist insists he hire a personal assistant, and Silas chooses Scott Kramer. But before Scott starts, he already has a round of steamy phone sex to hold over Silas’s head, and his interest in his boss isn’t decreasing.

Benjamin Logan joined the Army to see the world, and while deployed he read every one of Silas’s books. With his military career over, Ben is back in Memphis working for the police department—and attempting a deeply closeted relationship with fellow cop Morgan Brown.

Over coffee, Silas and Ben become friends who support each other as relationships fall apart, and the attraction between them slowly emerges. When a dangerous stalker threatens Silas, it’s up to Ben to stop him.

If Ben fails, Silas might not live to tell this story… and Ben might not be able to live with himself.

 

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