Finding Balance with Kelly Jensen + Giveaway

January 12, 2017

Finding Balance with Kelly Jensen

 

When I sit down to write a book, I don’t necessarily ponder themes. I usually start with a voice. A character will start whispering to me, their voice growing louder as the idea for that character slowly coalesces in my head. I then try to tell their story. It isn’t until afterward that I think about themes. One is always loud and clear. It has to be; otherwise my story would be pointless. It’s when I’m revising and refining that I usually uncover the other themes, and these are often like little messages from my subconscious—especially when they’re things that crop up in all my stories.

The theme I began with for Block and Strike, the reason I wanted to tell this story, was finding confidence. I started with fairly broad strokes, one being the title.

 

Block and Strike Teaser

Max has been blocking (or failing to block) for most of his life. Jake has been striking. In other words, these guys are struggling. They’re prolonging the fight. Jake is supposed to know better, but sometimes we only remember how something works when we explain it to others. It’s in helping Max that Jake puts all the pieces together. Coordinated moves take more confidence and that’s what self-defense is all about: learning the moves, practicing them until they’re second nature, and then trusting your instincts—which is about the same as finding confidence. You have to trust who you are.

What if you don’t know yourself, or don’t like who you are?

Well, that’s another journey and another major theme in Block and Strike. Accepting yourself is something I write about a lot. It took me a long time to accept myself. I still have a few questions… and I know I’m not alone. Life is a series of questions, and so many of them are directed inward. While I can be philosophical about a lot of it now, at Max’s age (21) or even Jake’s age (26) I did a lot of mental and physical flailing. Life can hurt, and figuring out who you are, and then being okay with that, requires some bruising and scarring.

Max is ashamed of his sexuality and his perceived weakness. Jake is ashamed of the incident that landed him in jail, and the decisions that led up to it. Both of these guys need to recognise their strengths and accept their weaknesses. Learn that both of these aspects are important. That everything they are has value—which leads me to the third theme in Block and Strike, the hidden one I didn’t see until all was said and done: yin and yang, or balance.

 

Jake's Tattoo

Once identified, it’s obvious. I poke at it everywhere, from the lopsided beginning of the story to the house of cards set off by certain events toward the end. It’s in the opposing personalities of my heroes: Max is quiet and shy, Jake is loud and outgoing. It’s in their living spaces: Max’s apartment is a hole in the ground, Jake’s is nice and full of light. They even have a conversation about balance when Max discovers Jake’s tattoo:

 

Excerpt:

Max smoothed his hands across the patterned skin, over the circle of two fish, each chasing the tail of the other. One was outlined in sinuous strokes of black ink, the other almost all black, unmarked skin forming the outline and suggestion of movement. Max had seen the design before, but not with fish. One dark, one light.

“Is this a yin and yang symbol?” Max traced the outline of the darker fish, his finger running over a strip of smooth, unmarked skin.

Jake glanced over his shoulder, as if he’d forgotten he even had a tattoo. His cheek rounded as he smiled. “Yeah.”

“Do the fish mean anything?”

“I liked the idea of one driving the other, or chasing. It could be either, right? That’s what balance is about. Movement. Life isn’t a spectator sport.” Leaning forward, Jake braced against the wall, hands flattened against the tile. “It’s also me, in a way. I spent a lot of time wondering who I was when I was younger. I guess we all do. Being attracted to both guys and girls had me spinning in place a little longer than most, I suppose. When I got the tattoo, it was my way of making peace with the duality of being, of not being what I sometimes appear to be.”

Max’s post-coital state lent both more and less meaning to Jake’s explanation. On the one hand, he understood it perfectly, and the confession—if it had been that—warmed him. He wasn’t the only guy to struggle with his identity. On the other hand, he didn’t get it at all. Jake was the strongest guy he knew. The most settled and even. He saw no yin to his yang, or vice versa. But he did appreciate the fact Jake had a new depth to him, a thoughtful, almost philosophical nature that made absolute sense. This was why Jake was kind and good. Why he took the time to do things right. Why he breathed easily and contentedly. Why he laughed and sang. Why he seemed to be such a complete person.

Jake turned around and slid his hands around Max’s shoulders. He didn’t pull Max into a hug, just rested with him in a loose and easy embrace. “We’re all struggling, Max. Each and every one of us. Every day. Some of us just hide it better. Or cope better.” He moved one hand up over Max’s shoulder to caress his neck, the underside of his jaw. “You’re going to get there before I do.”

Max shook his head.

An easy smile pulled at Jake’s full mouth. “Oh, yeah, you are, and I’m gonna be the one clinging to your coattails. I’m going to ride up with you.”

“Why?”

The hand at his jaw tipped his chin up so Jake could lean in to meet his lips. “Because that’s what I want to do.”

Not a philosophical answer, but honest.

***

I love this scene. It’s one I considered cutting on and off because it’s one of those quiet moments that maybe didn’t really need to be on the page. But every time I read over it, the idea of balance and self-acceptance resonated so strongly that I had to keep it. This is my story, right here. This short scene basically covers every theme in the book and I didn’t really recognise it for what it was until later. Some part of me knew it was important, though, just as Jake—while still struggling—gets it and wants to pass the idea on to Max.

Sometimes we don’t really know why we’re struggling or what we’re fighting for, but we do it anyway, because that’s what accepting yourself and finding balance is all about.

 

Reader question: What are your favourite themes in fiction and romance? What kinds of stories resonate most deeply with you? Comment for a chance to win an ebook from my Dreamspinner Press backlist!

Check out Block and Strike today!

 

Block and Strike by Kelly Jensen

Blurb:

Jacob Kendricks is three months out of prison, estranged from his daughter, and ready to get his life on track. Taking care of the bum curled up on his doorstep isn’t part of the plan. When he realizes the man has been assaulted, Jake takes him to the hospital, where he learns that Max is his downstairs neighbor… and that he could really use a friend. Keeping Max in the friend-zone would be easier if he wasn’t so damned cute.

Maxwell Wilson has been bullied for years, and the only person who ever cared lives too far away to come to his rescue. Now his upstairs neighbor is offering support. Max remains cautious, suspecting he is little more than a project for the handsome Jake. When he learns Jake has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, Max has to reevaluate his priorities—and muster the courage to take a chance at love.

Just when a happy future is within their grasp, life knocks them back down. A devastating blow leaves Max lower than ever and Jake wrestling with regret. They both have to find the strength to stand on their own before they can stand together.

 

About Kelly Jensen:

Kelly Jensen was born in Australia and raised everywhere else. Currently, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and herd of four cats. After disproving the theory that water only spins counterclockwise around drains north of the equator, she turned her attention to more productive pursuits such as reading, writing, writing about reading, and writing stories of her own. She also enjoys volunteering at her local library, playing video games, and holds a brown belt in Kiryoku, a martial art combining Shotokan, Aikido, and Tang Soo Do. Her family is not intimidated by her.

Twitter: @kmkjensen
Website: kellyjensenwrites.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/kellyjensenwrites

 

Nostalgic Inspirations w/ Avon Gale + Giveaway

January 4, 2017

 Nostalgic Inspirations with Avon Gale

 

Hello! I’m Avon Gale, and I’m here to talk about my new release, Whiskey Business.

I had a really fun time writing this novella for Dreamspinner’s States of Love series, especially because I’m from Kentucky! I don’t live there currently, but it’s always been home for me. There’s a lot of family-related stuff in the book, from town names to characters, but the town of Gallows Grove is, unfortunately, fictional.

However, I did base a lot of it on a real-life town, where a lot of my family live and where I’ve spent countless summers, Christmases, etc. The town is called Augusta, and it’s located on the banks of the Ohio river in Northern Kentucky. It’s a quaint little town that is known mainly for antique shops and being George Clooney’s hometown (my aunt lives across the street from his parents), and is a popular day-trip destination. It’s also a place where my family keeps retiring to, meaning when I went for a run over Christmas I was probably related to half the people who waved at me when they drove by. Which was everyone who drove by, because it’s a small town. Really small. As in, no stoplight kind of small. There are less than 1200 people that live there. It was my inspiration for Gallows Grove in a lot of ways, with real-life buildings serving as a basis for the landmarks in the book, even though Gallows Grove is located in a totally different part of the state.

So, since I was lucky enough to be in my old Kentucky home for the holidays, I thought I’d share some pictures. If you’re ever able to visit Augusta, you should. It’s lovely, and while there’s no distillery and I don’t think George comes home that often, it’s still a fun place to visit!

Ever After Funeral Home

This is the funeral home as I envisioned it when writing Whiskey Business, where Adam stays when he first comes to town.  I imagine his bedroom is the one at the top with the three windows.

My grandmother used to live next door, and would sometimes go over and sit in that big front room (directly beneath Adam’s bedroom) to “man the phones” (though I’m not sure why, because I mean, it’s not a small town in a Stephen King novel so they weren’t that busy). But I would go with her because they had HBO (what?), and I remember that the Parkers kept ice-cold bottles of Coke (real Coca-Cola, which was a forbidden delight in my house) in the fridge. I was always afraid to go get them, though, and my granny would laugh at me because she was like, “They keep the dead people in the basement, not the kitchen,” which is not what you should tell a freaked out eleven year old. Thanks Granny.  Obviously my sense of humor came from somewhere.

 

Creepy Doll House

This house is across from the funeral home, and when I was a kid, I think I was related to the person who lived there (it is also across from my grandma’s house, if you’re keeping up on your mental geography). Anyway, one time we went over there and the woman who lived in the house made life-sized dolls. I remember being absolutely terrified especially because she made me take one home. I have no idea what happened to the doll.

(It’s right behind me, isn’t it.)

That’s what inspired me to put a room full of creepy dolls in the funeral home, in case you’re wondering what in the hell is wrong with me.

 

The Trapdoor/Ryder’s Apartment

This is the Augusta Pub, which was the inspiration for the Trapdoor in Whiskey Business. Just like in the book, there are apartments that have been renovated above it, so that’s my idea of what Ryder’s apartment looks like from the outside.

(I tried to get a picture of the small house that I decided belonged to Ryder’s mom and where Ryder grew up, but uh, the people who live there were outside and I’m not sure that wouldn’t have been extremely creepy, regardless if we were related or not.)

 

Main Street/Kentucky Fanatics

AvonGale1

My inspiration for downtown Gallows Grove. This was taken on Christmas Day, and true story, when I went to take this picture I didn’t notice a car coming down the street behind me. Apparently I’m the only person who can get hit by a car on Christmas in a totally deserted town. Luckily, the driver was nice and just waved and smiled.

 

And as you see, the UK love is strong ;)

 

AvonGale2

Believe me, I could have taken a LOT of pictures featuring some kind of UK Wildcat fan paraphernalia affixed to a building. Including my Mom’s house, my aunt’s house, my cousin’s…you get it.

 

So there you have it! I had a lovely Christmas, and I hope you did, too! One of my favorite things about being in Augusta was that, having spent so many Christmases there, I have this lovely memory of being with my cousins on Christmas Eve, and hearing the whistle of a train that always went by as I fell asleep. I heard the same train when I was there this year, (I mean, not the same one, unless it’s some kind of ghost train, which omg, amazing) and it was a lovely memory.

What’s your favorite Christmas memory? Share and I’ll choose one random commenter to win a copy of any book on my backlist.

Thanks, and happy new year to all!

 

Check out Whiskey Business today!

 

Whiskey Business by Avon Gale

Blurb:

Ryder Waites will do anything to keep the tiny town of Gallows Grove, Kentucky, from vanishing off the map—even sell his family’s whiskey recipe to Bluegrass Bourbon in Lexington. Hopeful that the larger company can provide necessary improvements to the distillery, Ryder aims ultimately to get Gallows Grove on the Bourbon Trail… and bring in much-needed tourism revenue. But to keep producing Hanged Man Bourbon in Gallows Grove, he’ll have to convince company liaison, unbearably stuffy and seriously hot Adam Keller, that he’s worth the investment.

Adam comes from an old-money family, but he’s determined to make his own way in the world. When he’s sent to Gallows Grove, he questions the life choices that led him to a rented room in a funeral home in a town full of macabre-themed businesses. And he doesn’t know what to make of Ryder, the descendant of bootleggers, who’s on a mission to save his strange town from extinction. When Adam and Ryder put aside their initial mistrust, the results are as smooth as good whiskey. But after Adam’s assignment ends, he’ll have to decide if small-town life and a future with Ryder are to his taste.

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

 

About Avon:

Avon Gale was once the mayor of Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon, and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal Midwestern college town, and when she’s not writing, you can find her at the salon, making her clients look and feel fabulous. She never gets tired of people and their stories—either real or made up in her head.

Website: www.avongalewrites.com
E-mail: avongalewrites@gmail.com
Twitter: @avongalewrites
Facebook: www.facebook.com/avongalewrites
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/avongalewrites

New Beginnings with C.L. Etta

December 30, 2016

 

New Beginnings with C.L. Etta

 

Hi everyone. Happy New Year! I’m here to introduce you to my newest book and to C.L. Etta. Oh, wait a minute—that’s me—the new kid on the Dreamspinner block. Following ten years working as a nurse, I retired three years ago, and vegged in front of the television and read an abundance of books, before returning to school. There I took a creative writing class to prepare me for my next venture—writing a book. Now this wasn’t a novel thought, but something that which niggled my mind for decades.

Drawing on my experiences as a nursing-home nurse and as a caretaker for my mother, I sat in front of my computer and wrote. I was in the middle of writing my second novel when the idea for Love’s Tethered Heart was conceived. The tale unfolded in my head while I struggled to complete the manuscript in front of me. No longer able to keep Mico and Danny in the shadows, I saved my work and opened a new file.

Love’s Tethered Heart was born.

The story is told from Danny’s perspective and through a series of interview he conducts with Mico and his family.

Here is a short excerpt.

His blank gaze locked on mine as I pleaded, “Mico, don’t cry. They’re gone. You’re safe. Please don’t cry.” I spoke but didn’t know what I was saying. Crooning to comfort Mico and pleading for him to acknowledge me, I kept talking. I had to bring him back to the present, to pull him back from the bleak vortex of memories that threatened to imprison him. I laid my forehead against his and begged him to show me a sign of recognition. For five agonizing minutes, the white noise of the ventilator and my own anxious breaths were the only sounds in the room.

“Danny?” I lifted my head upon hearing the welcome symphony of Mico’s raspy whisper. “No, don’t go.”

“Mico?”

“For only a minute, just stay there—exactly as you were.”

Puzzled by his appeal, I again rested my forehead against his. As I continued to hold his face in my hands, I noticed the prickle of his stubble against my palms. Unconsciously I petted his face, and my stomach clenched at the sound of his small groan. I focused on his luminous eyes with their dark and dilated pupils.

“It’s been so long—so incredibly long.”

“What? I don’t understand what you mean.”

“Since someone has touched me with anything other than… efficiency.” I stared with wonder into Mico’s eyes, saddened that he had lost so much that my simple touch could evoke this response.

***

Please join me on the remainder of my blog tour. There may even be a prize or two along the way.

December 26 - MM Good Book Reviews
December 30 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
January 2- Divine Magazine
January 3 – Book Breeze
January 4 - Alpha Book Reviews
January 5 - Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
January 5 - Love Bytes
January 6 - Open Skye Book Reviews

 

Check out Love’s Tethered Heart today!

 

Love's Tethered Heart by C.L. Etta

Blurb:

Two years ago Mico and his partner suffered a savage gay bashing that left Mico a quadriplegic—and ended his dreams of traveling the world as an archaeologist. Abandoned by the man he loved, he lives in isolation, tethered to his bed by the machines keeping him alive, with only his caretakers and immediate family as companions.

Assigned to interview Mico and uncover the story behind his assault and his refusal to identify his attackers, journalist Danny is unprepared for his reaction to the fragile enigmatic man. Mico is afraid to let Danny into his life, and Danny is unsure how to change his mind. Mico is also keeping secrets, and he isn’t the only one. Danny is determined to protect Mico, and he’s determined to show Mico that their feelings for each other can thrive amidst the mechanics of Mico’s existence.

If you enjoy romantic tales of heartbreak turned to hope, the life-affirming story of Danny and Mico will make you believe in the possibility of love for everyone—no matter what obstacles they face.

 

About C.L. Etta:

With a shriek heard from sea to shining sea when her first book was accepted for publication, C.L. stepped into the world of storytelling. Having raised a husband and family, C.L. now spends her free time reading and writing. After four decades working, C.L. is now nurturing her creative muse.
A self-described romance novel junkie who considers tequila a food group, C.L. heard voices and put the tequila away. Still the voices continued, demanding their stories be told. So she and her computer became BFFs. She hasn’t slowed down, knowing more pretty boys await her attention.

Blog: clettabooks.wordpress.com
Twitter: @clettabooks
Facebook: CL Etta
E-mail: clettabooks@gmail.com

Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre + Giveaway

December 29, 2016

Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre

 

Check out Falling Snow on Snow today!

Blurb: 

Beck Justice knows holiday sparkle and snappy carols only mask December’s cruel, black heart. He learned that lesson even before he landed on the streets eight years ago, and his recent step up to a tiny apartment and a busker’s permit for Seattle’s Pike Place Market has done nothing to change his mind. But one day in the market, Oleg Abramov joins his ethereal voice to Beck’s guitar, and Beck glimpses light in his bleak, dark winter.

Oleg, lucky to have a large and loving family, believes Beck could be the man to fill the void that nevertheless remains in his life. The two men step out on a path toward love, but it proves as slippery as Seattle’s icy streets. Just when they get close, a misunderstanding shatters their hopes. Light and harmony are still within reach, but only if they choose to believe, risk their hearts, and trust.

Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre

Dreamspinner
Amazon (US)
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Indigo Books

 

Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre

About Lou Sylvre:

Lou Sylvre lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State, penning mostly suspense/romance novels because she can’t resist giving her characters hard times but good love. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow, and he makes a point of letting her know when she’s taken a plot tangent too far. Apparently an English major, he helps a lot, but Lou refuses to put his name on the byline. (Boudreau invites readers to give their feedback as well!) When Lou isn’t writing, she’s reading fiction from nearly every genre, romance in all its tints and shades, and the occasional book about history, physics, or police procedure. Not zombies, though—she avoids zombies like the plague unless they have a great sense of humor. She plays guitar (mostly where people can’t hear her) and she loves to sing. She’s most often smiling and laughs too much, some say. Among other things and in no particular order, she loves her family, her friends, the aforementioned Boudreau, his sister George, and their little brother Nibbles, a chihuahua named Joe, a dachshund named Chloe, and a slew of chihuahua/dachshund puppies. She takes pleasure in coffee, chocolate, sunshine, gardens, wild roses, and every beautiful thing in the world.

Blog: http://www.sylvre.rainbow-gate.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouSylvre
Twitter: @sylvre (https://twitter.com/Sylvre)
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4873260.Lou_Sylvre
E-mail: lou.sylvre@gmail.com

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Holiday Soundtracks with Raine O’Tierney

December 28, 2016

 Holiday Soundtracks with Raine O'Tierney

 

Hello all! My name is Raine O’Tierney and I’m here to talk with you today about the music behind my brand new novel, The 12 Days of Hipster.

So!

My holiday playlist is a THING OF BEAUTY.

I exaggerate not. Curated over the last eight years, this playlist features the most indie, alt, punk, weird, fantastic mix of holiday songs known to man.

But my very favorite tunes?

All by the Winter Sounds.

My family discovered the Winter Sounds years ago through a Christmas track of theirs called The Anthem is a Gift and we were SOLD.

I love this band so much, even when they do music that’s not Christmas-related (though my secret wish is that they would turn into an all-Christmas all the time band… but that might not be good for sales).

And Tyler Lang– the main character of The 12 Days of Hipster– loves them too.

That’s why when I started writing his story, I knew, knew, knew I wanted to use lyrics from of their Christmas tunes. I’ll admit, I was TERRIFIED to write to Patrick Keenan, the lead singer, and ask permission.

Of course, when I did his reply was, “Wow! Sure! Honored.”

He’s literally the coolest.

That’s why The 12 Days of Hipster truly has its own soundtrack, which you can check out here:

https://soundcloud.com/thewintersounds/sets/its-a-winter-sounds-christmas

What is your all-time favorite Christmas/Holiday song?? Comment below with your answer for a chance to win an e-book copy of the first title in this series: Bowl Full of Cherries!

 

With Kindness and Xmas Tunes!

Raine O’Tierney

 

Excerpt:

Okay, fine. If he couldn’t get out of this with direct and sound logic, he would try the irrational. The completely, totally—did he say completely?—irrational. Tyler tightened his grip on David’s hand, leaned forward, and kissed him. But before a full second had passed, David burst out laughing against Tyler’s lips.

Tyler yanked back, heat suffusing his face.

“What?”

“That was the sourest prekiss expression I’ve ever seen.”

“That’s it, I’m leaving.”

“Tyler, you don’t have to go.”

“No sparks. Only laughter. Must leave.”

“No sparks because you looked like you were in physical pain and made me laugh. Why don’t you be a little more romantic about it?”

“Because I….” Don’t know what in the hell I’m doing. It was probably the first time in his life he really could say that. He’d learned things before. There had been a time when he hadn’t known how to knit, when he hadn’t known how to make gourmet chocolates, when he hadn’t known how to use a soldering iron—but those were just learning opportunities. But with this? He felt like he was standing out naked on the corner with only mistletoe to cover his bits.

“More like this.”

The second kiss was what Tyler would have called sweet if the word had been in his vocabulary. David’s lips were warm, soft, giving, and for a moment the kiss lingered on that edge of innocent, like a snowflake dancing through the sky. Then the world tipped and Tyler’s hands were in David’s hair and David was drawing him closer and, motherfuckinggod, they were kissing. Hard, searching lips, taking and giving, and it took him way too long to realize what he was doing. In fact, he might not have ever realized it if they hadn’t needed to breathe like humans do. It took a long moment for rational thought to come back to Tyler.

 

 

Check out The 12 Days of Hipster today!

 

The 12 Days of Hipster by Raine O'Tierney

Amazon
Dreamspinner Press
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

Blurb: 

Last Christmas, Tyler Lang accidentally accepted David Griffith’s invitation for dinner. Yes, it was an accident. See, hipster (don’t call him that!) Tyler doesn’t date guys, and even if he did, he certainly doesn’t date jocks. A rude and hasty exit right when the date was getting good left things awkward between them.

David Griffith isn’t really a jock. Well, he’s a former athlete who loves sports, but “jock” has a certain connotation that doesn’t quite fit the intelligent, hardworking store owner. A jock wouldn’t have given Tyler Lang the time of day. But even after that little, ahem, stunt with the fire escape, David can’t stop thinking about the hipster a year later. Which would be fine if fate didn’t keep butting her nose into their business, making it impossible for the jock and the hipster to avoid each other this Christmas.

A hilarious holiday romp, set to the music of the Winter Sounds.

 

About Raine O’Tierney:

Called “Queen of the Sweetness” (well, two or three people said it anyway!) Raine O’Tierney loves writing sweet stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and…friskiness?

Raine in Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either asleep, or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers!

Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!

Website: http://raineotierney.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raineotierney
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/RaineOTierneyAuthor/
Twitter: @raineotierney
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7770350.Raine_O_Tierney

 

Here’s to the New Year w/ J.R. Loveless + Giveaway

December 27, 2016

Here's to the New Year with J.R. Loveless

 

New Year’s is fast approaching as I make my final stop here at Dreamspinner Press on my blog tour for Love and Snowball Fights. It seems fitting with how Lane makes the choice to give Trey a chance on New Year’s Eve. After all, isn’t that the night when we shed the mistakes and the bad things that have happened to us throughout the year and make the conscious resolution for only good things to come about? While it isn’t the end of the story for Lane and Trey, I am sharing an exclusive excerpt here with you on DSP’s blog and giving everyone a chance to win a $25 gift card to Dreamspinner Press’s store! Keep reading to find out how to enter.

Traditions are something we create with our families, friends, and even ourselves. Sometimes we don’t even realize it has happened until after it has started. Everyone knows New Year’s Eve is a night when we all make resolutions for the coming year; “I want to lose weight”, “I’m going to finish that book I’ve been working on”, “I will stop smoking”, and the list goes on. But how many people truly stick to those resolutions? Is it as easy to do as saying it on that first night of the year? I’ve spent many years making resolutions that I’ve never stuck to and this year I’m going to change that. Even if I have to light a bomb under my butt to force myself out of the pattern.

My resolutions this year are simple. I have two. Continue on my weight loss path since I’ve been doing so well. Since June of 2016 I have lost 46lbs. I don’t want to lose that momentum, because speaking from experience, it is not easy to get it back. And the second is to write. WRITE. WRITE. And keep writing. I have slacked off so badly in that arena, despite the two novellas that came out this year. So, I am going to write! Now, for the contest… I want to know what YOUR resolutions are for 2017. Are you losing weight? Quitting Smoking? Making a change? What is it? Comment below and a random winner will be chosen from the list to win a $25 Dreamspinner Press gift card! That’s easy, right?

Excerpt:

The pattern continued until New Year’s Eve. Tal closed up early that night. “Are you coming to the party, buddy?” Tal asked as he locked the back door. Trey had already gone on to their parents’ house to help them prepare the food and set up.

“I don’t think so. Not really in the mood,” Lane murmured, starting to walk away.

“Lane?”

He stopped.

Tal approached him, placing one hand on his shoulder. “I don’t really know what happened between you and Trey, but whatever it is, don’t let it damage the progress you’ve made.”

Lane gave him a confused look. Progress?

Tal sighed and reached up to brush back a strand of Lane’s hair from his cheek. “In the six months you’ve been here, Lane, you’ve come so far out of your shell, and all I see is you retreating back into it now. Something changed while you were staying with my parents, and it wasn’t for the better. I wish you would talk to me. It’s not good to bottle everything up inside.”

Tal had tried more than once since Lane returned to his apartment to get Lane to open up about what happened, but Lane couldn’t talk about it. Every time he even thought about it, his eyes welled up, a bit like right then, to his horror. Lane shut his eyes and turned his head away from Tal. “I’m fine.”

He heard Tal mumble something about Trey and a particularly nasty swearword.

Lane shivered and stepped back from Tal. “I’m all right, Tal. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“We’re closed on New Year’s Day,” Tal reminded him, not pushing the issue any further.

“Oh, right.” Lane wanted to scream. He didn’t want to sit around and do nothing except think about Trey, about the things he couldn’t have. “I’ll see you the day after, then.”

“I hope you’ll come to the party tonight, buddy. It’d be good for you.”

“Maybe. I’ll think about it.” Lane knew he wouldn’t. He was going to curl with a book, a cup of coffee, and his cat, trying hard to distract himself from thinking about Trey.

Lane headed home, ignoring everything around him save for when he needed to cross the street. Mrs. Johnson called a greeting to him as he started up his steps. “Not going to the party, Lane?” she asked.

“No, Mrs. Johnson.”

She frowned. “You’re a young man, Lane. You should be out having some fun.”

“I’m okay, Mrs. Johnson.” He didn’t give her a chance to keep asking questions or say anything else, darting into his apartment and closing the door.

He went about getting ready for his evening alone with his books, ignoring the memories of Trey on the loveseat and in his bed. Lane couldn’t allow those thoughts in or he’d end up crying like he had every night. He needed to get past this never-ending cycle he’d found himself in for the last several evenings.

Chloe meowed at him as he fed her and then changed his clothing for comfortable sweats and a T-shirt, putting on new socks as well to keep his feet warm. After he attempted halfheartedly to eat dinner, he put away his leftovers and drained the mug of coffee he’d made. Chloe chased one of her jingle balls around the floor while he chose which book he wanted to read from the few on his shelf. For the next couple of hours, he lost himself in the world of dragons and brave knights, wanting to escape to a place other than his own.

The sound of a fist on his door caused him to jump and his heart beat fierce and hard at his ribcage. Lane set his book down and climbed off the bed. When he opened the door to a scowling Trey, his chest tightened and his stomach did a dangerous flip-flop. “Trey?”

“You didn’t come,” Trey growled.

Lane wrinkled his nose at the smell of alcohol on Trey’s breath. “I didn’t.”

“Why?”

Shaking his head, Lane stepped back and urged Trey into his apartment, shutting the door behind him. “You know why.”

“I don’t,” Trey argued, flopping down on Lane’s sofa.

“You do. It’s why you’ve avoided me the last few days,” Lane muttered.

Trey glared at Lane, who stood fidgeting near the foot of his bed. “You made me.”

Lane raised an eyebrow, stunned at Trey’s words. “What do you mean I made you?”

“You said I didn’t care about you.”

“And ignoring me is supposed to convince me otherwise?” Lane didn’t understand Trey’s logic. He frowned. “How much have you had to drink?”

Trey waved his fingers as though Lane’s question was irrelevant. “Just tell me why.”

“Why what?” Lane said, frustrated.

“Why didn’t you come to the party?”

Lane had no idea how to deal with a drunk Trey. He ignored the bad memories of foster homes caused by the scent of alcohol and the almost belligerent Trey. “I didn’t feel like it.”

“Because I’m there?” Trey demanded, lips pouting.

Sinking down onto the corner of his bed, Lane rubbed at his face with both hands. He glanced at the clock and saw it was just after ten. “Why are you here, Trey?”

Trey blinked at him. “Because you weren’t there.”

He said it so easily, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Anger began to mix in with the sadness and Lane gritted his teeth. “You have barely said a word to me in four days. Why should I have come?”

Trey dropped his gaze from Lane. “I didn’t know what else to do.”

“What?”

“You didn’t even care how much you hurt me,” Trey continued, ignoring Lane’s words. “You just shoved a knife in my chest and twisted it.”

Lane couldn’t have been more confused. “What are you saying?”

Trey stood abruptly and paced in front of Lane. “I tried for days to ignore it, to forget it, but I couldn’t. I know it’s not possible, but there has to be a way. I mean, others have done it, why not us? I can fly in whenever I’m on a break at the station, and you can come visit me in Dallas.”

Lane’s mind whirled as what Trey was saying sunk in. He stared openmouthed at Trey. “Trey?”

“People do it every day, right? I—” He stopped talking and pacing to turn and look at Lane. “What?”

“What are you talking about?”

Trey strode to Lane and yanked him up from the bed into his arms. “This,” Trey rasped before covering Lane’s mouth with his.

Astonished at first, Lane could only stand under the onslaught of Trey’s wet, alcohol-flavored kiss. As the kiss went on, Lane opened his mouth and allowed Trey the access that, if the groan that rumbled in Trey’s chest was any indication, he seemed to hunger for. Lane brought his hands up and placed them on Trey’s waist, digging his fingers into the jacket Trey still wore. Trey tightened his arm around Lane while Trey raised his other hand to cup Lane’s cheek, rubbing his thumb over the smooth skin in a caress. Lane sighed, giving in entirely, no longer wanting to fight what he desperately desired.

Trey guided them down to the bed, never relinquishing the kiss or his hold on Lane, merely bringing them closer together, if that was even possible. Lane’s senses swam with everything Trey; his nostrils breathed in the scent of Trey’s skin, he dug his hands under Trey’s jacket to touch the warmth of Trey’s back. Trey growled and released Lane long enough to remove the jacket and the long-sleeved shirt he wore beneath it, then yanked Lane’s T-shirt over Lane’s head. Lane gasped when he found himself suddenly pressed to a bare-chested Trey.

“Trey,” he whimpered.

The heat of Trey’s skin seemed to almost burn against his. Lane couldn’t stop his moans as Trey nibbled and kissed along his jawline to his ear and down to his throat. A sharp pang spiraled up from Lane’s groin when Trey sucked in a bit of flesh at the base, hard. Lane slid his hands along Trey’s broad shoulders and along his back, wanting to touch him more than anything he’d ever wanted before. Trey laved the bruised flesh with his tongue and then sucked at it again, no doubt leaving a mark everyone would see the next day. Somehow Lane didn’t care, even acknowledging the embarrassment he’d experience when others saw it, but the joy of knowing how it got there would far outweigh everything else.

When Trey latched on to his nipple, Lane arched his back, letting forth a sound of pleasure. He buried his hands in Trey’s hair, stroking through the thick locks with abandon. Trey did not linger at his nipples. Instead he rolled Lane to his back and continued down Lane’s chest, along his abdomen to the top of his sweatpants, licking and kissing as he went. The wet swirl of Trey’s tongue over and into his belly button caused Lane’s penis to throb and weep, dampening the front of his pants. He’d never experienced any of this. Gregory always rushed, sometimes even hurting Lane in the process, but Lane hadn’t known any different. There was never soft touches, light kisses, or gentle licks over Lane’s entire body, nor had Gregory made Lane feel as though he were the only thing that mattered.

Lane grabbed for Trey’s hands when Trey started to pull down Lane’s pants. Trey looked up at him, pressing a kiss to Lane’s lower belly. “Trust me,” Trey husked.

Hesitant, Lane released Trey to do as he pleased, shutting his eyes as his weeping length caught on the edge of his pants before sliding free of its confines to brush along Trey’s cheek. Lane bit his lip, only to release a shuddering cry at the first gentle swipe of Trey’s tongue over the tip. His stomach clenched and he twisted his fingers in the bedsheets around him, panting as Trey repeated the same move over and over, but it was the moment Trey engulfed his entire member into his mouth that Lane would never forget.

“Oh God, Trey,” he keened, tossing his head from side to side.

Trey hummed, sending shockwaves straight through to Lane’s testicles. Faster than he’d ever thought possible, Lane could feel himself ready to come.

“Trey,” he pleaded, pushing at Trey’s shoulders, “I… oh… please.”

Lane shattered, arching his back from the bed once more, hips thrusting of their own accord. If Lane could have seen himself right then, he’d have died of embarrassment at how flushed he looked and how needy he sounded, but all he could do was lose himself in the heat of Trey’s mouth and the steady contractions of his sac as he spilled every ounce of essence down Trey’s throat. When he could open his eyes, Lane realized Trey had moved up beside him on the bed and was holding him and stroking his hair.

He blushed, burying his face in Trey’s chest. Trey chuckled and kissed Lane’s forehead. “So beautiful,” Trey murmured.

 

Check out Love and Snowball Fights today!

 

Love and Snowball Fights by J.R. Loveless

Blurb:

Lane Freeman supposed there were worse places to be dumped than a place named Christmas Valley. After being ejected from the foster care system, he spent the past five years hitchhiking and moving around. But six months of a steady job at Tal’s Bar and Grill, an apartment, and even a three-legged cat, have him almost ready to risk putting down a few roots when Tal’s brother comes home for the holidays.

Dallas firefighter Trey Jenkins reluctantly accepts that Lane isn’t like the other drifters who’ve come through his brother’s place. A fragile attraction begins to bloom between them, in spite of the many reasons they both have to fight it. Trey wants to give Lane a family, but experience has taught Lane to depend on no one but himself. Will winter love burn hot in a town called Christmas Valley, or will Lane return to his wandering ways?

 

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
ARE
B&N

 

Bio:

J.R. Loveless is an avid fan, reader and writer of anything pertaining to male/male romance. She started out her adventure into the genre in 2004 when she discovered the anime Loveless, a softer side of Yaoi. The moment she saw Loveless, it sucked her in and hasn’t let go since.

After Loveless, she voraciously searched for anything she could find within the anime world pertaining to Yaoi and Shounen-Ai. She found Gravitation, Princess Princess, Gakuen Heaven, Junjou Romantica and so much more. As she searched for the different animes available, she stumbled across an amazing forum that to this day she is more than ever thankful she found.

J.R. currently has several works in progress and several more ideas on the slow cooker. Ideas come to her out of the blue, a lyric in a song, a line in a movie, or just out of nowhere while she’s standing in the shower. She loves to make up her own stories, to follow her heart, and to write things her way because she loves a happy ending.

She is always thankful for all of her followers on AarinFantasy and for all of the wonderful people who read her stories. Please feel free to send her an email or to drop her a note on Facebook. She will always try to respond, even if it isn’t right away.

Find Me Here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjrloveless
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrloveless
Blogger: http://jrloveless.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.jrloveless.com

Memories of Provence with Peter Grover

December 21, 2016

Memories of Provence with Peter Grover

 

Thank you Dreamspinner from Peter Grover for this launch day guest post of my debut book The Weather Baker’s Son!

Memories of Provence

Memories of southern France, obtained over several years of renting the same vacation home near a charming little village, form the basis of my book.  I thought what better way to illustrate the source of my inspiration than to describe an imaginary but typical morning in the life of a vacation home renter in southern France, such as you or I might have.  In this way readers can come along for the journey and experience first hand those languid mornings.

So, here we go:

It is a spring morning at the ancient stone sheepfold converted into a holiday home among fields near a small town.  You wake up, breathing in heartily the fresh air scented with rosemary and other herbs.  You walk to the window and throw open the blue, wooden shutters.  Bathed in an intense, warm morning sun you gaze below at the courtyard garden and the stone steps leading up to your room.  Admiringly you watch as a few bronzed young men, beyond the garden walls and off at the edges of the fields, cut asparagus for the market.  Their tight t-shirts strain rhythmically over their bicep muscles as they go about their cutting.

Below in the main room, your travelling companions clink dishes as they gather together the breakfast meal.   You dress and go downstairs to greet them then you hop on a bicycle and ride into town to get baked treats for the morning meal.  In the bakery, you cast side-long glances at the handsome fellow there behind the counter, he with the jet-black hair and smoldering brown eyes, who despite serving others, glances furtively back at you.  Your turn to order comes and reddening in the presence of the one you admire, you blurt out an order for several baked goods you would like.  Both of you casting awkward, quick glances the exchange is done and you reluctantly depart home, turning over in your mind how broad the baker’s shoulders were and how equally broad his smile.

Your companions have set out on a terrace table plates of cold cuts and cheese, a teapot and cups and they unwrap with bemusement the odd assortment of baked goods, wondering where your mind was at when ordering them.   Oh well, they are no doubt all very fresh and delicious in any event!

Later, after lingering in the garden, admiring the rows of purple iris, the stately pomegranate tree and the lizards scampering on the garden wall you all depart through the iron garden gate and once in your car set off to enjoy a browse through the local morning market.  Walking among stalls with brightly colored fabrics, local greens and deli meats, pottery, painted ceramics and more, you are separated from your friends and dawdle near a baker’s stall set up by that same bakery that you were at earlier, catching the occasional sight of that strapping young man as he heaves heavy boxes of baked goods out of his van. What a strong back, you think, as you finally tear yourself away from your reverie.

After a fine lunch in town, once back home you separate from your companions, they to read or gather flowers and you, trying to nap, tossing, and turning as you think How do I get to know that young fellow better?

***

Thus, a day would begin and in the afternoon no doubt you would all go out to admire a spectacular hill town or ancient Roman sight.

So, have you experienced some of these same sights and sounds?  If so, please fill us in.  Whether or not you have, what do you think you should do next to get to know the handsome baker better?  Perhaps by reading The Weather Baker’s Son you will see!

 

Check out The Weather Baker’s Son today!

 

The Weather Baker's Son by Peter Grover

Blurb:

Nature’s call of desire among golden fields and intoxicating red-lipped poppies seems to proclaim a path to love and healing in southern France. Yet Peter, an American university student struggling with self-doubt following a failed love affair, is determined never to be hurt again. While on a vacation with his widowed mother, Peter is smitten by Gaston, a handsome local baker. Gaston, less bold than Peter, is drawn to Peter as well but fearful of the loss of family esteem—particularly the respect of his cousin Mario, who looks up to Gaston. Their friendship grows into more as Peter continues to visit the bakery, but their increasing intimacy does not go unnoticed. The road to fulfillment becomes increasingly obscured, and internal doubts and external events spiral out of control. The arrival of a handsome stranger, suspicions of murder, and the threat of harm might spell the end of more than just their relationship.

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

 

Dance Music in Holiday Weekend w/ Charley Descoteaux + Giveaway

December 16, 2016

Dance Music in Holiday Weekend

 

Charley Descoteaux here, thanks for visiting me on my Holiday Weekend tour! I’m thrilled to be visiting the Dreamspinner blog to talk about the playlist for my holiday story, Book Five in the Buchanan House series.

Holiday Weekend is a Christmas story but it begins a couple of weeks before Halloween. In fact, Ryan and Glenn have their first date on Halloween. Their date starts at Portland’s Pioneer Square where they join a crowd in zombie costumes, gathered to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” before a Zombie Walk through the streets of Portland.

As always, music played a big part in the writing of this book. I love music and it always inspires me. Here is the playlist for Holiday Weekend and an excerpt.

 

Thriller”, Michael Jackson: Of course I had to listen to this song to get in the mood for writing the zombie dance scene! It’s a classic.

 

Let’s Dance” by David Bowie is the song playing when the guys make it to the all-ages club where they dance on their first date.

 

What I Like About You” by The Romantics is playing when Ryan almost makes his move on Glenn. ;) It’s a fun song to dance to—anyone remember the Pogo?

 

Ryan and Glenn both love to dance and most of their dates include at least a little dancing. For some reason I’ve always pictured them dancing to 80s music—Bowie, Oasis, NXS, Depeche Mode.

 

Do you have a song from the 80s you like to dance to?

 

Answer in the comments for a chance at the Rafflecopter prizes!

 

To find out about the Christmas music in Holiday Weekend, check out yesterday’s post at Aisling Mancy’s blog!

 

The Buchanan House series is best read in order, so if you need to catch up to enjoy Holiday Weekend, I’ve got you covered. I’ve arranged to have books 1, 3 & 4 priced at .99 during release weekend! Buchanan House, Tiny House, and Safe House are this week’s Weekend Reads! Book #2 is always free at the Dreamspinner store, so that means you can grab the whole series for only $7.96 on release weekend!

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter!

Subscribe to my newsletter for upcoming releases, exclusive content, and giveaways!

 

Tour Dates and Stops:

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author, The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 21: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 27: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

 

Check out Holiday Weekend today!

 

Holiday Weekend by Charley Descoteaux

 

Blurb:

Ryan Orchard moved from small-town Idaho to Portland almost two years ago and still feels like a hick. When Paulie Nesbitt dumped him, he wasn’t even surprised. Despite losing twenty-five pounds since then, Ryan’s confidence is nonexistent and his life has stalled. Not only is he convinced the career he wants is beyond his reach, he’s given up on relationships. A new job at a familiar restaurant—and his gorgeous coworker—could be just what Ryan needs to believe in himself again.

Glenn Hernandez might be the only nineteen-year-old in Portland who dreads his days off. Between his horrible housing situation and the ever-present temptation to crawl back into the bottle, Glenn prefers to keep busy. He volunteers at the Elliott Foundation House, a homeless shelter helping LGBTQ sex workers. As an alum of the shelter, Glenn finds it hard to leave his past behind. But when the new server at the trendy restaurant where he works catches Glenn’s eye and works his way into his heart, Glenn finally has a reason to start a new life.

 

Excerpt:

Two days before Halloween, Glenn cornered me in the alley at the end of our shift. I had taken out the trash, and when I turned to go inside, Glenn was leaning in the doorway.

“What are you doing for Halloween?”

Damn, even that sounded naughty. “Nothing.”

“You feel like changing those plans?” Glenn pushed off from the doorjamb and stepped out into the alley. “How do you feel about zombies?”

“What?” I laughed, and finally the tension I’d been holding onto since that night at Kel’s place broke. “Zombies?”

“Yeah. There’s a Zombie Walk, but first they’re going to dance in Pioneer Square.”

Oh, yeah. Glenn dancing is something I’m up for. Literally, it would seem.

“Do you have a costume?” I took a few steps toward the door, and by the look on Glenn’s face, he’d noticed the way my body was reacting to the conversation.

Glenn snickered. “Not really. I figure they won’t care too much if some of the zombies are fresher than others.”

“I’m game.”

“Good.” Glenn walked right up and into my personal space. He looked up, and his heavy-lidded eyes said maybe he was feeling something too. “I know an all-ages dance party after. If it rains, we can still dance.”

“Yeah. That sounds good.”

Glenn held my gaze for another long moment, and the charge in the air between us had goose bumps rising on my arms. I wanted to touch Glenn (way more than just touch, although that would be a good start), but we were standing in the alley behind the restaurant. It would be even worse to only get a taste and then struggle through the rest of the day, so I stepped back. Just a half step, not enough so it would look like I didn’t want to be near Glenn.

“Then it’s a date.” Glenn winked and went inside.

I watched him go for a few steps and then followed.

 

Buy Holiday Weekend:

 

Dreamspinner Press (ebook)

Dreamspinner Press, Buchanan House series page

 

Charley Descoteaux

About the Author:

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Rattle Charley’s cages:

Blog:  http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/
Rainbow Snippets Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/
@QueerBlogWed on Twitter: #QueerBlogWed or https://twitter.com/QueerBlogWed

 

Series: Buchanan House
Book Number: 5
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date:  December 16, 2016
Pages:  125
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

 

Grilling Up a Story with Ari McKay + Giveaway

December 15, 2016

 

Grilling Up a Story with Ari McKay

 

Hello everyone! I’m Ari, half of the symbiotic relationship known as Ari McKay. We are so happy to have our latest novel, Striking Sparks, being released today by Dreamspinner, and we’re very grateful for you taking some time out of your busy day to join us here!

Do you like barbecue? McKay and I both do. We aren’t Texans like Beau and Jake in Striking Sparks, but every area of the U.S. has their own special take on the cuisine, and they all have something going for them. Rich sauces, smoky flavors, and moist, tender meat, combined together to render a taste that almost every American can recognize and enjoy. And no matter how different they might seem on the surface, deep down they’re fundamentally the same.

That basic commonality is something shared by Beau Walker and Jake Parnell, even though neither of them realize it at first. Growing up as rivals both on the football field and in their family businesses, neither realizes that they share a difficult secret and a mutual attraction. Beau sees Jake as being too smart and ambitious for their small hometown, and Jake is certain that Beau sensed his attraction and hates Jake for it. Even when they each learn that the other is gay, it’s not enough to bridge the gap that seems to yawn between them.

We liked the idea of using a competition to bring the two men together, and we both have watched a rather alarming number of cooking shows, so it seemed a perfect vehicle to get them communicating. And in Texas, what could be better than bragging rights to having the very best barbecue? Enter a celebrity chef, a TV crew, and the excitement of the local rodeo, and sparks are bound to fly!

Of course, we couldn’t make it easy on them. Jake is dealing with grief over the death of his fraternal twin brother and the pressure of helping his pregnant sister-in-law and her children, as well as trying to run the family restaurant. Beau is anxious to have the competition happen so he can afford to hire someone to manage the business aspects of his restaurant and focus on cooking, which is what he really loves. Beau also thinks that Jake considers him no more than an ignorant bully who never aspired to do anything with his life. It’s when Beau sees Jake basically falling apart before his eyes that he reaches out to Jake, and they start to see that they’re not as different as they’d always thought. When their misconceptions are wiped away, the chemistry between them finally has a chance to work its magic and show them what they’ve been missing out on.

I don’t want to give away too much, but I have to admit, part of the fun of writing this story was researching the food. McKay and I have our favorites, of course. I asked McKay what hers was, if she could only pick one, and she said that was trying to name a single favorite kind of cake. But she finally settled on a wood-smoked pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw. Now, I can totally get behind that (my favorite is from Red Hot & Blue), but I also love beef brisket where the meat is so tender it practically melts in your mouth. We enjoyed trying and swapping recipes for the competition, and even researching the grills — believe it or not, the high end ones are really, really complicated! It always delights me to learn something new when writing a story.

We hope you will give Striking Sparks a try, and as a thank you, we’d like to give you a chance to win a prize!  All you have to do to enter is comment to this post and tell us your favorite type of barbecue! On December 18we’ll pick someone at random to receive their choice of one of our stories with Dreamspinner!

We also love hearing from our readers, so feel free to ask us anything you’d like here, or on our facebook page, or at our blog. We look forward to hearing how you like Striking Sparks — and if you end up enjoying it, we have another story about a Walker chef coming out in 2017, so stay tuned for Breaking Bonds!

Website: http://arimckay.wordpress.com
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ari.mckay.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay

 

Check out Striking Sparks today!

 

Striking Sparks by Ari McKay

Blurb: 

The stakes are high and the heat is on.

Beau Walker, owner of the Barbecue Shack, needs the help of Jake Parnell, his one-time rival and secret crush, in a televised barbecue competition. Beau is a proud man, but the stakes are high, and smart, sexy Jake is his only hope, even if being around Jake reawakens the attraction he’s fought for years.

Jake left his hometown, determined to build a life somewhere his sexuality wouldn’t hurt his family’s restaurant business—and far away from hunky, obstinate Beau Walker. Then his twin, Josh, is killed, and Jake returns to support his brother’s wife and children. Despite his reservations, he agrees to go head-to-head against Beau on national television. Between stress and grief, as well as pride and determination, only one thing is certain—the heat between Beau and Jake extends well beyond the kitchen.

What Lies Beneath w/ P.D. Singer + Giveaway

December 14, 2016

What Lies Beneath with P.D. Singer

 

Hi, I’m P.D. Singer, and thanks to my lovely hosts for having me. My latest book, Diving Deep, is a story of second chances between a wreck diver and his dive boat captain. Bobby and Lee have a mystery wreck to help bring them back together.

My own experiences diving led me to reading more books about diving. And being P.D. Singer, that meant I started telling stories about diving with guys in love. I will never have the skills for wreck diving, but I know enough to appreciate what these divers do.

More than five thousand vessels lie sunken along the Outer Banks of North Carolina alone. Bad luck, bad weather, or enemy action can put a ship on the bottom. Thousands more have gone down elsewhere on the East Coast in the 400 or so years since records have been kept. Many of them aren’t marked. Here’s a partial chart of the coast of Delaware, where Lee and Bobby are based.

While those triangles marked “not charted” perplex me (a triangle on a map isn’t charted?) it’s clear that not everything down there is known to us. There’s plenty of scope for mystery.

If there isn’t a concerted mapping effort going on, how do we know there might be something down there? For that matter, how did those wrecks get on the map before geomapping satellites if there was no eye-witness or reliable report?

Fish.

Fishermen find a lot of previously lost ships, just by following the fish. Certain fish like certain habitats. People like to eat the big fish that eat the smaller fish that eat the little fish that eat the little critters that like to live on a reef. Reefs don’t have to be tropical, and they certainly don’t have to be natural.

A sunken ship makes a dandy artificial reef, at least in the opinions of the anemones, barnacles, and corals that will grow anywhere in the ocean they can attach. Even wrecks in cold water will grow a scruffy coat of invertebrates in a fairly short time.  This is the Lana Carol, sunk off the shore of New Jersey in 1976.

Sunken Ship

So if your favorite fisherman is reporting catching the big ‘uns in a certain area, it just might be worth taking a look.

That’s what Johnny Ray Slidell thought, when he passed the map coordinates to Lee Preston.

Join Lee and Bobby aboard the Bottom Hunter. Because Lee’s going to take Bobby out to investigate an untouched dive site. Bobby’s going to put on his fleece longjohns and drysuit, and topple into the water to find out what’s 140 feet down.  He’s prepared to find a nasty old garbage scow—but that’s not what lies below.

Who here has gone scuba diving? Where did you dive? If you haven’t gone diving, is this something you’d like to try? Tell me about it in the comments for a chance to win a title from my backlist.

 

Check out Diving Deep today!

 

Diving Deep by P.D. Singer

 

Blurb

Adventure, danger, passion. A heady mix that only a select few can breathe—and live.

Standing by while his lover tempted fate deep under the Atlantic drove Lee Preston into the bottle. The pain of watching his captain drown in a sea of booze sent elite wreck diver Bobby MacArthur running.

Lee chases whiskey the way Bobby chases adrenaline. The farther apart they stay, the better off they’ll both be. And if Bobby repeats those words often enough, he might start believing them. Now his former partner is calling to his diver soul with the promise of the find of a lifetime. Every crazy chance he takes underwater is safe compared to coming back, but if Lee’s turning his life around, Bobby will haul his gear back aboard the Bottom Hunter.

But not as lovers—yet—and no booze, no wild gambles two hundred feet below. Not even to identify a missing piece of history sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic. Fate has given them a chance to redeem what was lost, if they survive.

But the sea is jealous of her secrets, and the price of her treasures is high.

Available at:

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Amazon
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and your other favorite booksellers.

About P.D. Singer:

P.D. Singer lives in Colorado with her slightly bemused husband, one proto-adult, and thirty pounds of cats. She’s a big believer in research, first-hand if possible, so the reader can be quite certain Pam has skied down a mountain face-first, been stepped on by rodeo horses, acquired a potato burn or two, and will never, ever, write a novel that includes sky-diving.

When not writing, playing her fiddle, or skiing, she can be found with a Kindle in hand.

Find P.D. Singer

Website: https://pdsinger.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pd.singer.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PD_Singer
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432323.P_D_Singer

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