April 25, 2017
Oftentimes readers ask, what inspired you to write this story? Usually, I can point to exact experiences, current events, and other creative works that inspired a story for me. In the case of THE BRAVEST THING, it was a poem, a television show, and a tragedy.
The poem is “Trevor” by Ocean Vuong, a deeply personal account of a love affair between two teens, one of whom is struggling with his sexuality in the face of an unaccepting father-figure. I loved the intimacy and honesty of this poem, and it made me want to translate into story-form the stakes and risks associated with coming out in a community that doesn’t approve, and the bonds we form with friends and lovers that must sometimes supplement or supplant the love and support we would otherwise receive from our families.
The television show is Friday Night Lights (Texas Forever). FNL covered a wide range of sensitive subjects, including racism, addiction, sexual assault, and poverty, but it didn’t touch on homophobia, which is a shame because it’s an important conversation, and FNL could have given the topic wide and diverse exposure. Similar to FNL, I wanted to recreate the small-town Texas vibe, the almost godlike status of football players, and the conflicts that occur when you have to break away from the herd to stand up for what’s right.
The third inspiration for me was more accurately a motivation. I was at the very early stages of drafting THE BRAVEST THING when the Pulse shooting occurred. I don’t think mainstream America has given this tragedy the gravitas it deserved. Nor do I think enough discussion has been had about the ways in which toxic masculinity saturates every aspect of our lives, from the way our children are conditioned at an early age to act a certain way to how we as a society idolize athletes and celebrities at the expense of accountability.
The Pulse massacre galvanized my commitment to exploring the roots of homophobia, and in particular, how hate crimes affect already vulnerable individuals, for instance, those struggling with addiction and recovering from abuse. I also wanted to show why a victim might choose to let a hate crime go unreported, as are two-thirds of hate crimes in the U.S.
Some authors prefer to keep politics out of their writing. For me, all of my writing is political. Part of the reason I chose early on in my career to write for young adult audiences is because I am actively trying to change hearts and minds. While THE BRAVEST THING deals with heavy topics that may be more appropriate for older audiences, I would say that these are precisely the conversations we need to be having with teens while they are still forming their opinions on the world. (Adults should be having these conversations as well, so please don’t think I mean for them to be excluded.)
Because the main characters in THE BRAVEST THING are teens, it would have been a hard sell in the adult mainstream market. On the other hand, mainstream YA publishing would not have touched it, not necessarily because of the violence, but because of its graphic depictions of gay sex. This too was a deliberate choice on my part because young people (and adults) of all sexual orientations should be offered the opportunity to read and learn about a variety of sexual experiences, so that two men kissing doesn’t shock or offend, but is met with a shrug or a sigh and maybe even a, “isn’t that romantic?”
So my final sentiment is to say I’m grateful to Dreamspinner Press for being so supportive of my creative works, so wonderful to work with, and offering me a platform to publish stories that are outside of mainstream so that I might find my readers, and they might find me as well.
I hope you’ll give THE BRAVEST THING a try. If you have any questions about the story, please feel free to email me at lauralascarso(at)yahoo(dot)com. Thank you for your patronage!
Check out The Bravest Thing today!
High school junior Berlin Webber is about to reap the fruits of his hard work and land a football scholarship—if he can keep his sexuality a secret from his best friend, Trent, and their homophobic coach. Then Hiroku Hayashi swerves into the high school parking lot on his tricked-out motorcycle like some sexy comic book villain, and Berlin knows he doesn’t stand a chance.
Hiroku is fleeing his sophisticated urban scene to recover from drug addiction and an abusive relationship when he arrives in Berlin’s small Texas ranch town. Initially sarcastic and aloof, Hiroku finds in Berlin a steady, supportive friend who soon becomes more. As Hiroku and Berlin’s romance blossoms, they take greater risks to be together. But when a horrific act of violence tears them apart, they both must look bigotry in the face. While Berlin has always turned to his faith for strength, Hiroku dives into increasingly dangerous ways of coping, pushing them in opposite directions just when they need each other most.
Two very different young men search for the bravery to be true to themselves, the courage to heal, and the strength to go on when things seem darkest. But is it enough to bring them back together?
About Laura Lascarso:
Laura Lascarso aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform a society. She lives in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. Her debut novel, Counting Backwards (Simon & Schuster 2012) won the Florida Book Award gold medal for young adult literature.
For social critiques, writer puns, and Parks and Rec gifs, follow her on Twitter @lauralascarso
March 15, 2017
When Dreamspinner first mentioned the idea of the States of Love series, I knew I needed to write for New Jersey. I’ve lived in NJ all my life. I’m so Jersey, I’ve never pumped my own gas. Heck, I’m so Jersey they even filmed an episode of the Sopranos in front of my childhood home.
For such a tiny state, Jersey has a lot of variety. There’s a dividing line between North, Central, and South Jersey, but the location of that line is not always agreed upon. I couldn’t tell you exactly where the split is between Yankees and Phillies fans (and let’s not even talk about the Mets fans:)
But for all our differences, there are a few things all native Jerseyans have in common – besides a hatred of traffic. The Jersey Shore is one of those places. Now, everyone has a different favorite, the shore is over 140 miles long after all.
I moved down the shore about fifteen years ago, and while that still doesn’t make me a local, it’s allowed me simple pleasures – like standing on the boardwalk in the January cold, watching the ocean slam against the rocks. Plus, the arcades are open (and heated) in the winter. There’s a reason I’ve racked up so many game tickets that I’m on a VIP list of points holders.
This is the world where I’ve set Love in the Time of Hurricanes. That magical vacation spot known as the Jersey shore, only long after the tourists have left, and just before the winter blows in. This world is new to Nick, the narrator of the story. He’s chosen to rent a shore house for the winter, to take a few classes at the local community college and figure himself out. He doesn’t expect to fall in love, but then again, he never expected to meet Lou.
I absolutely loved writing Lou. He’s adorable: loves to cook, has an appreciation for vintage things, and is ridiculously good at skee ball.
I hope you enjoy reading about these guys, and experiencing a little bit of my home state. I couldn’t live anywhere else (seriously, I’d have to learn how to pump my own gas!).
Tell me in the comments about your favorite place. Is it home? Is it the beach? Or maybe the mountains? All comments will be entered for a chance to win a $20 Dreamspinner Press Gift Certificate. (giveaway ends 3/31, midnight EST)
Oh, and I promise to tell the Sopranos story on my blog, so check me out on social media:
Check out Love in the Time of Hurricanes today!
The night Nick Henderson storms into Martelli’s Pizzeria, he’s just looking for something to eat. Along with dinner, he finds Lou Martelli—pizza cook extraordinaire and Jersey Shore native. Nick is renting a Shore house for the winter while taking classes at the local community college as he devises a way to escape the accounting major his father chose for him.
When Lou offers to show Nick around, heat flares between them as they realize they have more in common than domineering families. But it’s not all fun and games on the boardwalk. Hurricane Sandy blows ashore, changing the place Nick was starting to think of as home. His peace is shattered, and it will take everything he has to keep his relationship with Lou from being torn apart by the storm brewing around them.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
CC Bridges is a mild-mannered librarian by day, but by night she writes about worlds of adventure and romance. When she’s not busy solving puzzles in an escape room, she can be found diving into comics or binge-watching superhero movies. She writes surrounded by books, spare computing equipment, a fluffy dog, and a long-suffering husband in the state of New Jersey. In 2011, she won a Rainbow Award for best gay sci-fi/futuristic novel.
March 8, 2017
Hello, I’m Ethan Stone and today I’m talking about Wild Instincts, book two in my Seaside Shifters series. Even though it’s a sequel it can be read as a standalone.
Wild Instincts stars Tyson Dakota, a brand new police cadet, who finds himself involved in a local mystery as well as falling for a mysterious stranger.
I introduced Tyson in the first book, Wild Retaliation, as the cousin of the police chief, John Dakota. Tyson isn’t seen much in that story and I didn’t really have plans to use him as more than a supporting character in future books. In fact, my initial idea was to focus on John and his boyfriend Trevor and Trevor being pregnant.
I really wanted to write an MPREG story but as I tried to do it I just couldn’t find an original spin on the story. I also had a whiff of an idea regarding John’s friend who was in a coma at the end of the story. Frustrated at being at an impasse I sent Wild Retaliation to a friend to read. After reading it she said she wanted Tyson’s story before anyone else’s. And that got my brain working.
In book one Tyson is still a whiny teenager and book two was going to take place a year or so later so I had different options for Tyson. He could’ve continued down a bad path and become a bad boy or he could’ve taken a lesson from his cousin and started down a positive path.
Initially I wrote Tyson as sort of a bad boy with plans to go down a path to redemption but nothing I wrote felt right. Then I made Tyson more like John and things just clicked. I chose to explore the bad boy angle with Tyson’s love interest, Amante.
Tyson is a bear shifter while his boyfriend is not. Amante eventually discovers that the world is far bigger than he had any clue about. I love exploring regular people discovering the paranormal world which happens to Amante when he learns Tyson is a shifter. But that’s not the only thing he discovers because he’s involved in Trevor giving birth to cubs during a dangerous situation.
Tyson is a bear shifter but I have supporting characters as wolf shifters, cougar, bobcat, coyote, lynx and more. I’ve chosen to focus mainly on predators but I’ve always wondered if readers would like to see shifters of other breeds as well. In the comments let me know what kind of animals you’d like to see written about and enter to win a book from my backlist.
Check out Wild Instincts today!
Police cadet and bear shifter Tyson Dakota looks forward to his on-the-job training in Seaside, Oregon, working alongside his cousin, Chief of Police John Dakota. Their goal is to investigate the growing meth epidemic and identify the kingpin bringing the drugs into their community. All signs point to someone inside law enforcement working with the drug traffickers, and Tyson must find out who before the body count gets any higher.
Along the way, Tyson meets Amante, a charismatic and attractive man in town for reasons he doesn’t want to share. Tyson is drawn to Amante despite his secretive ways and is sure there could be more between them than explosive passion, if he could just get Amante to make his stay in Seaside permanent. But when Tyson’s pursuit of justice puts him at odds with Amante, they could lose more than their fledgling relationship.
They could end up losing their lives.
About Ethan Stone:
Romance on the Edge
Ethan Stone doesn’t write your typical boy meets boy stories. With a combination of love and suspense he makes his characters work hard for their HEAs. If they can survive what he puts them through, then they can survive anything. He enjoys Romance with an Edge.
Ethan has been reading mysteries and thrillers since he was young. He’s had a thing for guys in uniform for just as long. That may have influenced the stories he writes.
He’s a native Oregonian with two kids. One of whom has made him a grandfather three times over; even though he is way too young.
Readers can find Ethan online.
His books: http://www.ethanjstone.com/my-books
March 1, 2017
Hello everyone! I’m Lucie Archer, and I’m excited to be back on Dreamspinner’s blog today with my World of Love novella, My Paradise Is You. I had so much fun with my States of Love novella that I couldn’t resist giving it another go on a global scale, and I’m so happy I did!
When I saw the call for the World of Love series, I came up with several plot ideas set in different countries in various places, but in the end, Bermuda won my heart. During my early research I discovered Bermuda was not one solitary island like I had originally assumed but consisted of a group of 181 of them. That really sealed the deal for the castaway story I’ve wanted to write for a while.
Two guys, a small island, snark, banter, and a heaping help of sexual tension. That’s what I call a recipe for paradise!
I’ve never visited myself, but Bermuda has been on my bucket list forever. “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys was my favorite song when I was six, so I’ve had a fondness for the little island paradise for quite some time. Pink sand beaches, beautiful blue water, and some of the world’s best dive spots would be enough to entice most, but add in its rich military history and diverse culture, and you have the recipe for a place I’d never want to leave.
With the setting established, I turned my attention to the main characters. Marc’s occupation as a dive instructor felt like a no-brainer considering the abundance of shipwrecks and coral reefs that litter the ocean floor around Bermuda. He’s technically a local despite having mostly grown up in the southern United States, but I loved the juxtaposition of his familiarity with the islands in comparison to Ian’s, his fellow castaway.
That led me to the idea of polar opposites: one out and proud, the other closeted; one from a low socio-economic background, the other from a wealthy British family; one confident in who he is, the other struggling with who he wants to be. And if that wasn’t already a recipe for disaster—or love—I threw them into a pretty dire situation in which they had no one else but each other to rely on.
Thanks to my love for survivalist shows, I had a lot of ideas about what they’d face cut off from the rest of the world. Food, water, and shelter are obvious needs, but making that unique to Bermuda meant I had to do my research. Good thing that’s one of my favorite parts about the writing process. And since I was writing with the World of Love theme in mind, I tried my best to capture the essence of Bermuda and stick it in the narrative wherever I could. I hope I did it justice.
I’m not sure how well I’d survive in the type of situation I put them in, but I had a blast problem-solving the different scenarios. I doubt I’d last more than a few days marooned somewhere before I buried my head in the sand and gave up, but be sure to pick up My Paradise Is You to find out how Marc and Ian cope as castaways.
Other than loved ones, pets, and books, what would you miss the most about civilization if you were stranded on a deserted island? Let me know in the comments below for a chance to win Taming the Wyld, my States of Love novella!
Check out My Paradise Is You today!
When two very different men are stranded on a deserted island, will opposites attract, or will they end up killing each other—if the elements don’t get them first?
Marc Reed is an expert scuba diver and leads underwater tours of the infamous shipwrecks scattered around Bermuda. When a robbery forces him and his boss’s son—a man he despises on principle—to take shelter on an uncharted island, he might have to reassess his opinion of the spoiled snob.
Ian Blythe-Darcy II lives a life most would envy. He’s a trust-fund kid being groomed to take over his father’s empire of hotels and resorts. But it’s not a life that matches what’s in his heart. He’s in the closet and engaged to a socialite he doesn’t love, but he’s about to get a crash course in being true to himself—and maybe learn money can’t buy happiness after all.
Lucie Archer is a student of the universe who is obsessed with the stars, in love with beaches, and crazy about dudes falling in love. She tells stories of romance, love, and life, with a little bit of passion thrown in for good measure. Because what’s life without a little pop and sizzle?
When she’s not writing, she can be found tending to her garden, playing with her four-legged children, or procrastinating. Although, she spends a lot of time fending off random plot bunnies that threaten to derail her WIP’s.
February 23 – MM Good Book Reviews
March 1 – Release day! – Dreamspinner Press Blog
March 3 – Alpha Book Reviews
March 3 – Love Bytes
March 6 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
March 7 – Sinfully Gay
March 8 – Long and Short Reviews
February 28, 2017
Most authors have some ritual they carry out the day their book is published, and while I’m sure most are fascinating, mine involve shots of American Honey and a big hunk of Velveeta Cheese. Believe me, I earned both.
Publishing a book is like having a baby and, I tend to think, far more painful. There’s no epidural for the anxiety that grips you when you realize your baby, your pride and joy, your heart and soul, will be released into the cutthroat world of publishing where anyone with an Internet account and an attitude can say whatever they like. Mama warned us about listening at keyholes, didn’t she? Boy, was she right.
At any rate, today is the day that RINGO AND THE SUNSHINE POLICE hits the shelves, and I am once more reduced to a gibbering, neurotic mess. I could tell you how cool and calm and collected I am and I would be lying, and you wouldn’t like that, so I’ll just let it all hang out.
Publishing a book is hell. It’s not just about hits and clicks and making dough. It’s about a whole lot more. Every book, of course, is a tissue of lies designed to tell the truth about something. And the truer that something is, the more painful it is to write. My problem is that I’m not especially good at writing unpainful things. I tried once. It was the worst eight pages of my life. If I’m going to sit down at a keyboard, I’m going to spill my guts and slit my veins and make a bloody mess of things. That’s how you get at the truth. Grab the scalpel and get busy. If you’re going to say something, well, by God, say something.
My readers—and I do have them, as Ellen might say—know what I’m talking about. I’ve been accused of taking no prisoners. They say like it’s a bad thing.
Like most of my novels, RINGO started with an image in my head and little else. That image was of an older man, about my age, showing up one day at the DHS to pick up a child and get busy with the business of adoption. The child had no arms. And the man, you might say, had no clue. But somehow they found each other … and something happened.
A couple of years ago, gay marriage came to the state of Mississippi in a stunning decision by the Supreme Court. And … something happened. It was the first time in my life that I’d had any rights as a gay man. It was astonishing. Shortly after, I went to the local DHS office and said I wanted to adopt. I waited for them to laugh. They did not. Instead, they handed me a bunch of forms and fingerprinted me and sent me to parenting classes.
Since then, I’ve been licensed, and by Christmas of this year, I will have two chicks under my wings who will have new last names and new futures to look forward to. Both were badly damaged. Both waited a long time for a family. One was in the care of the DHS the longest of any child in this state: 14 years. The other had PTSD from all the crap he’d been put through.
So RINGO is about kids. But it’s also about older gay men who have been living under the gun down here in the buckle of the Bible Belt who are now emerging from the shadows and trying to build new lives and make sense of this Brave New World.
Be warned, gentle reader: If you need your characters to be flawless and gorgeous and rich, you’re in the wrong place altogether. I don’t do flawless. I do wounded. I tend to believe the wounded are far more interesting. And you’ll find plenty of wounded souls in RINGO. You’ll also find a few laughs and a lot of healing.
As RINGO hits the shelves, I will celebrate with my American Honey and a hunk of Velveeta Cheese and anxiously await the reviews. I hope readers will like my baby and say nice things about her. (We all like to hear nice things about our kids, you know.) But no matter what happens, I will know I told the truth about something even if it was just a bunch of lies.
As always, you are invited along for the ride. Might want to bring a box of tissues for this one.
I’m giving away three ebooks from my back catalog. To claim one, and to celebrate the fact that RINGO is set in my hometown, Tupelo, Mississippi, I have one question you must answer: Who is Tupelo’s most famous son?
Check out Ringo and the Sunshine Police today!
Thomas, an older gay musician living in a small Southern town, is ready to start a family. He fosters Jeremy, a special needs boy with no arms, and teaches him to play the drums so Jeremy can realize his potential to do anything he wants. Though it takes time, Thomas’s closeted boyfriend Randy steps out of the shadows to be part of what Thomas is working to build. With the advent of marriage equality, it’s a different world in the Deep South—one where the three of them have the chance to be a family.
Yet no one said it would be easy, and they soon learn the foster care system is far from perfect.
Just as Jeremy begins to settle in and thrive, his biological father reappears, demanding custody. Thomas and Randy know the man is unfit to care for Jeremy, but the law says otherwise. It seems they’re the only ones looking out for Jeremy’s best interests, and they face an uphill battle if they want to keep their new family together.
About Nick Wilgus:
I sold my first short story to The Horror Show Magazine at the age of seventeen and I’ve been writing ever since.
From murder mysteries to romantic comedies featuring gay couples, I’ve been channeling my dreams and demons for almost four decades. Along the way, I picked up a Lambda Award nomination, was named one of the best columnists in the state of Mississippi, and had an award-winning movie based on my first novel, MINDFULNESS AND MURDER.
A former newspaper editor, I’m a proud dad who lives in Tupelo, Mississippi right down the street from the house where Elvis grew up.
Find me on Facebook:
Visit me on the web:
February 23, 2017
Hi, everyone! This is my first time stopping by the Dreamspinner’s blog. I’m Lila Leigh and I hail from Puerto Rico, but I currently live in Southern Texas. I’m here to talk about my new release, Dating in Retrospect. I’m sure you’re wondering why Iowa then? Well, the answer is simple. Love. Aww! Nah. I did marry an Iowa boy and that’s the reason writing this story felt right. I have traveled to Iowa many times over the years—having the chance to experience the different seasons and visit many of the settings I used for my story. Plus, all the ones that didn’t make the cut.
The States of Love novellas are more than a simple love story, they’re the narrative of a state. They bring loves into a unique frame of mind. These stories can’t take place anywhere else but the state in which they were written for. What makes the main characters’ relationships move forward is not a blank canvas, but their connection to the soil. It’s what makes them real and gets the reader cheering for a happily ever after.
I do need to accept that I didn’t include the whole state, but I tried to cover the Southeastern corner. Giving the reader the opportunity to visit the same places someone living in the area travels to on a regular basis. I started our trip at Clay’s and Aaron’s home—the place in which they fall in love for the first time, college. Providence University is a fictitious name, but there’s a University in the same area. The restaurants they visited exists, as well as, the Burlington boardwalk, and the views of the Mississippi.
If you have been following my blog tour, you probably read about Riverside and their Star Trek date. Yes, Riverside is the future birth place of Captain James T. Kirk, and Clay & Arron enjoyed a day at their Trek fest. Then, a whole weekend at the Field of Dreams. Staying at a bed and breakfast and taking part of their ghost comedy show.
There are several other places they visited around the state, and they do return home for some time as well. But, their connection deepened with each place they visited. Some of them they had traveled to when they were in college and others were a first for them. I think that doing more than to seeing each other once a month added to the intensity of their relationship. And, they would have a beautiful backdrop to tell their kids all about. Which, according to Aaron’s father—Drew—would be many.
I don’t know about you, but I have never traveled around just for a date. Never more than forty-five minutes that is. What about you? Any long-distance relationship with a happily ever after? And to make it more interesting, your comments will be entered for a chance to win a $20 Dreamspinner Press Gift Certificate (giveaway ends 2/28 -midnight US-EST).
Don’t forget to stalk me around social media. I love to talk books. <3
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/LilaLeighHunter
Facebook Author’s Page: http://www.facebook.com/HunterRomances
Facebook Fan Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/LilasBooks/
Let the fun begin. ☺
~ Lila Leigh
Check out Dating in Retrospect today!
Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.
Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.
A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
February 22, 2017
Muse inspiration for Brian Daystar
SL: Greetings all. My name is Sharita Lira and I write as BLMorticia. My character above is Brian Daystar, a descendant of the Lakota tribe, born in Great Falls Montana. The story behind Brian is complicated. He’s had issues in his life that have haunted him for years. When he moved in with Cyrus Abrams (MC from book 1 Wounded Hearts) he did so to run away from his past and hopefully start a new life. Like my other character Cyrus, he believes he’s broken and has pretty much settled for quickies and one nighters to take place of what he really desires. In book one, you can tell how much of Cyrus has rubbed off on him. His mannerisms, his flippant mouth, as well as his use of swear words. However, he’s got a heart of gold and he’s looking for someone to mend his heart while he tries to pick up the pieces in his life.
The songs I picked on this playlist are Waffle and Broken Down by Sevendust, Deep Inside by Hardrive. (Um, really Brian picked that), Stripped by Depeche Mode, Say Yes by Floetry, and Play by Jeremi Carey.
I won’t go through why each one inspired me, only a couple because they speak to his character. The songs by Sevendust totally make up Brian. A ragged soul with a past that has literally haunted him.
In Waffle, lead singer Lajon talks about Making my life something more. That is what Brian is asking of his potential mate. To make his life more worth living. No, he isn’t suicidal, but this young, gorgeous man thinks he might need more than just an average guy to make him whole again.
Broken Down – Obviously in the same vein. Brian feels he needs saving. Lajon sings, “If I can feel again, would you tell me now or wait till I’m broken … save me now I’m broken.” Another lyric that covers the bases when it comes to my character. In that song I felt it a cry for help for someone to love him and help him mend.
Say Yes – Say Yes is always on my writing playlist. When I write my love scenes, I usually have this going along with a few other select tunes. I look for songs that are sexy and sultry. Brian is a sexy and sultry character. The gorgeous hair, his brown eyes and hot body. Okay, I must confess I’m a sucker for this model. Just take a look at my other covers with this man on it. Although I had used the model Umid before, no other model seemed to have the look I had for Brian. So I used him again, and I promise you I am done with him.
Ah yeah, back to the song. Say Yes is sexy. It put Brian in a mood especially when it seemed his would be partner was in denial. “All you gotta do is say yes, don’t deny what you feel let me undress you.” I could totally see that in Brian, trying to convince Ren to let himself go and feel a little bit. I adore this song and I believe it fit my character perfectly.
Sinspiration for Renord Kline
Hey all, Remmy Duchene here. I am the headcase behind Renford Kline, the former New York ADA who is now retired, seeking to find a new place for himself. He has a lot to figure out about who he is, what he is and where he wishes to be. He’s suave and laid back but he does have a bit of a dirty mind. Renford is a whole other kind of sexy. The music that inspires him had to be flirty, naughty but not too obvious about it.
Music is a huge part of my writing. I have a song for practically every scenario, from sex scenes to fight scenes. Music is the one thing that soothes and angers and puses me to write better. So there are a few songs on our playlist but I’m only going to go through a few of them.
Closer by Nine Inch Nails – I was watching a tv show right before we started writing this book and this song was playing. Of course I had no idea who sang it so I hit google with a line from the lyrics. Aside from the naughty line that says I want to f*&k you like an animal which is a part of Renford’s personality. He like it a little freaky from time to time, I loved you can have my isolation, you can have the hate it brings. You can have my absence of faith, you can have my everything. Renford feels alone, trying to figure out who he is. Even though he has friends and people who love him, there’s a part of him that feels ashamed to just be figuring what he is. Renford needed to be able to give up the sadness in all of that and rely on Brian to kind of hold his soul if you will.
Talk me Down by Troye Sivan - I wanna sleep next to you, and that’s all I want to do right now. That line is the one that got me the first time. Renford is the type who believes that something to make the world perfect again, all you need is your lover’s arms. Sure it seems weird for a man his size and as pretty as he is, but he can be kind of a softie. I mean, come on, how could he not get lost in Brian’s arms? Is that even possible?
Bilingual by Jose Nunez – There is a time for making love and then there’s a time for things to be a little moure raunchy, rougher, harder. But it isn’t the kind of rough that happens all the time. Renford is the kind who will give you an order, you disobey, you are punished – in the bedroom of course. But he does it in a sophisticated way, a bid boss kind of way. My thighs in anticipation of deep penetration gets me high sums up what Renford wants Brian to feel, to say, to think.
Insatiable by Darren Hayes – I love writing romance – not just sex but a softness in words, deed and caresses that come with falling, with wanting someone so desperately that no matter what you cannot go away. Renford falls headfirst into the emotions that come with love and the madness it causes. I fall asleep inside of you there are no words only truth. Ever since I was a teenager, I loved this song. Darren Hayes had always been one of my favorite, from Savage Garden to his solo work. This song always made me feel things I never understood until I got older. There’s a soft, sexiness in this song that Renford holds dear as well. It’s not all about the rough tumble. Sometimes, romance is necessary.
BL and I have a playlist put together with all the songs we used to inspire Renford and Brian’s tale. You can find find it HERE.
Contest time – Tell us about your favorite song that gets you in the mood and give us your favorite lyric from it. We will chose one we like the best and that person wins a free copy of Wounded Pride!
Check out Wounded Pride today!
Renford Kline is straight… right? He got over his experimentation in college and moved on. Then how does he explain his blush-inducing fantasies about Brian Daystar? Fantasies he’s having when he should be focused on his career move from attorney to professor. When Brian comes to New York, Renford knows he’s in trouble. Everything about Brian attracts him—from his tight body to his beautiful, dark hair—but Renford is straight… right?
Brian Daystar needs a break. He’s been working nonstop to turn his Montana ranch into a safe haven for at-risk youth—so much so that he can’t even bring himself to care when he finds out his partner, country star Corey, is cheating on him. Their relationship has been over for a long time, but it might take his feelings for Renford to make Brian accept it.
Both men have decisions to make. Renford must come to terms with who he truly is, and Brian is going to have to decide if he will shun his happiness or embrace it.
February 20, 2017
Hello, everyone! Dr. Derek Chandler here, welcoming you to the release of “Letters From Cupid”, the story of how Dr. Macon Pinney wooed and won me, thereby saving me from a life devoid of love and romance. I’m excited that you want to read about us, because I think Macon is the most incredibly romantic man I’ve ever met. He might not seem like it at first glance, because he’s quiet and isn’t the most sociable of men, but as I discovered when he started writing to me, there’s a lot more under the tweed jacket and bow tie than you might believe.
Not that I knew Macon was Cupid at first. I suppose it’s not uncommon to not see what’s right under your nose, but I plead preoccupation with the sorry state of my personal life. I was definitely in the midst of a self-pity party after my partner Mark decided that malaria and hemorrhagic fevers were more exciting than I was.
That’s because Mark was an idiot who didn’t realize what he had. But his loss was my gain. I still can’t believe he could decide to traipse off to South America even after hearing you read Donne.
There, you see what I mean? Macon is definitely a romantic! *blows Macon a kiss* I didn’t know about his fetish for Donne at the time, but I’m grateful for it, since apparently a recitation brought me to his notice. Which was why, when I was feeling sorry for myself and bemoaning it to my friend Justine, Macon decided to do something risky, out-of-character, and incredibly sweet by writing me a note of encouragement to bolster my ego and inform me that things weren’t quite as hopeless as they seemed.
I was definitely surprised that anyone would leave me such a note, and I had more than a few moments of worry that it was from a student. Not only would it be inappropriate, but I admit to a tiny bit fear of having picked up a stalker. But the tone of the letter was far more mature than I would have expected from a student, and it spoke to me in a way that I couldn’t ignore. That’s why I wrote back.
To be honest, I thought the note from “Cupid” was going to be a one-off. I assumed you’d either find it either amusing or silly, but I didn’t expect you to write back. I was surprised when I saw your response, and I wasn’t sure I should keep writing you. I was afraid I might slip up and give myself away, and then you would be disappointed to realize your Cupid was the department’s biggest introvert.
*Gives Macon a besotted smile* An introvert, yes, but a sexy and intriguing one. I suppose the important thing is that I did write back, and Macon replied, and… well, I don’t want to give too much away. But I had definitely noticed Macon even before our correspondence began, though I was under the mistaken assumption that he was still lusting after a rather delicious Spaniard who’d been a visiting professor at the university. Their affair wasn’t exactly a secret, and after tall, dark, and Latin, I didn’t even think I could be Macon’s type.
That’s why I dismissed any thought that Macon could be my Cupid, and yet I felt drawn to Macon, wanting to get to know him better. Perhaps my subconscious mind hadn’t given up on the possibility, but I was surprised and pleased that my overtures to Macon were well received, and we began to talk and interact more, even as our correspondence continued.
I was surprised but pleased as well. I’ve always had a difficult time connecting with people. I’m aware I have a reputation for being aloof, but the truth is, I hate trying to make small talk because I never know what to say, and I’ve never been good at making the first move, whether in a friendship or a relationship. Putting that note on your door was one of the most forward things I’ve ever done.
Believe me, I’m grateful every day that you did it. Perhaps we would have eventually managed to get together in some other way, but, then again, perhaps we wouldn’t, and that’s something I can’t even bear to think about!
But to return to our readers, Macon and I hope you’ll give our story a chance, and get to know us as we get to know one another. Our “lovely dictators”, as Macon refers to Ari and McKay (and which can be taken in two ways, he says) have done a credible job of relating our tale. I think it’s a rather romantic one, and, if you’re like me, it’s impossible to have too much romance in your life!
Our lovely dictators would like to gift a copy of a story from their back catalogue to one lucky reader. For a chance to win, please comment with the title of your favorite romantic book, poem, or song. Let’s spread the love!
Check out Letters from Cupid today!
After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?
Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?
First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2015.
If you’d like to contact Ari McKay, they can be found at:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/
February 7, 2017
My name is Asta Idonea. Born in the UK, I now live in South Australia, where I work from home as a freelance editor and author. I’m a keen reader and linguist, and I enjoy many other artistic and cultural pursuits. My new passion for 2017 is my bullet journal!
Today I am here to share my latest MM release. Wish You Were Here is a contemporary MM novella with a paranormal twist, and I hope readers will find the work an enjoyable and thought-provoking read. It follows Oakley and his family as they embark on a fraught family vacation in the aftermath of Oakley’s sister’s death. They are a family divided, but Oakley finds help in the form of local boy Bobby, who has problems of his own.
Musical theatre provided some of my inspiration for this tale. I was watching footage from a show (I can’t say which as it might give away the twist in my own story!) when the idea for the plot of Wish You Were Here came to me.
Grief is a major theme in that musical, and the same is true for this book. I wanted to reflect on the different ways in which people grieve, and they how can come out stronger on the other side. Grief doesn’t only have to be negative; it can also help to form our characters and the paths we choose to take. When Oakley’s family make their trip to the Cotswolds, that change of location helps them all, regardless of the different ways each expresses their grief. They arrive in an aura of negativity, but each has found hope by the time they leave.
Most of my stories are fairly light-hearted, so I wanted to push myself with Wish You Were Here by writing a tale with more of a psychological nuance. This is something I’d like to come back to in future works; however, my current w-i-p sees a return to humour, albeit with a message underneath. This new tale will be my first novel-length MM work and I hope to have it ready for submission by May this year, so, fingers crossed, I might be able to share it with you in late 2017 or early 2018. So long as it’s accepted for publication of course!
I’ll sign out there, but I’d love to hear from readers with any comments. Where would you vacation if you were looking for somewhere to recharge and review your life?
Check out Wish You Were Here today!
The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.
About the Author:
Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!
As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
This giveaway is running as part of my blog tour for Wish You Were Here and is open until the end of February. The prize is an e-copy of my previous MM Sci-Fi novella, Fire Up My Heart.
February 1, 2017
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:
Check out Broadway Babe today!
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.