Seeing in Color with Ashavan Doyon + Giveaway

December 7, 2016

 

Seeing in Color with Ashavan Doyon

 

This is Ashavan Doyon here at the Dreamspinner Press blog for the release of… oh. It’s a lot. *takes a deep breath* The Rodeo Knight, The King’s Mate second edition and the print only anthology The Chess Master Chronicles.

This is the last stop on my blog tour, coming home to my publisher. Just yesterday I was at Tammy’s Two Cents giving way more information than anyone wanted to know about how I started writing The King’s Mate, down to the mini blurbs for the three other stories I almost wrote instead. A few days before that, I was at My Fiction Nook, with Sylvester Thomas of The Rodeo Knight who shared his favorite superheroes. On release day, I stopped by Love Bytes Same Sex Reviews and sat down at Sam’s Café for a talk with Sam. MM Good Book Reviews hosted us twice! There have been a lot of stops and hopefully, if I’ve gotten my act together between when I wrote this and when it appears on the Dreamspinner Press blog, you can find links to all of them on my website ashavandoyon.com in the News and Events section.

The blog tour has been eleven stops, every one of them unique content, and I’m in awe of authors who manage more than that. Some of you have followed along as I’ve been going from stop to stop, and if you’re one of them, thank you so much! This is the one with the prize… stay tuned!

By now I’ve talked a ton about how this set of stories came to be. I don’t want to repeat that for folks who may have been following the tour, so check out those links on my site and get the whole story. I’m fresh from talking about The King’s Mate, and I love that story, but the “new” release is The Rodeo Knight and I want to give it the attention it deserves today.

The first two Sam’s Café Romances focused on Russ, the chess master for Sam’s tournament. This story closes out that story line with the story of the love he lost, Brian. I had an experience I’d not had before with this book. I had a reviewer that had loved the earlier stories in the series read the blurb and message me on Facebook with, essentially “Brian’s alive? Tell me how?” It was one of the things that told me I’d made the right choice with the story.

Because I’d pitched the story, I had a lot sketched out. I knew we had our amnesiac chess grandmaster Brian. I knew his family had hidden his past from him and created a fake life, a heterosexual life for him to live. I knew that he had missed his chance to make things right with Russ, and I struggled with that, because I knew I had readers who wanted to see that work. But Russ had a happy ending already.

In writing this story I had one advantage most people don’t. I wasn’t writing about amnesia from soap operas or books. I had a friend in college who had a similar accident and suffered from the genuine complete memory loss, down to not remembering his own name. Thankfully, his parents weren’t the total crazies Brian has. I remember something that my friend said to me about amnesia and what it was like when he finally felt something again (for him also, this was over a romantic relationship). He said it was like suddenly turning on color TV, when all you’d been able to watch was black and white. He also said that was a totally inadequate description, but I knew what he meant and I’m sure you do too.

When Brian finally “sees in color” it is in his feelings for a cowboy. That makes Brian’s acceptance of his feelings fast. He has proof, something tangible, for what he’s feeling and he wants it bad, because while he can’t feel what he’s lost, as he says a few times in the story, he “knows it was good.”

*Okay, so it was fast. But I’m a little mystified. I get it, I guess, and sure you set it up, but a comic book store? Were you a Queer as Folk fan or something?*

I haven’t gotten this question yet, and honestly, I’m a little surprised. QAF is the obvious place for a gay man to pull starting a comic book store from. But that totally is not it! I love this story and having the comic book store is a little homage to my own love. I met my husband in college. He owned the comic book store halfway between my mom’s house and the university. It was also a gay boy magnet. Somehow every gay comic geek in a fifty-mile radius seemed to mysteriously frequent his comic store. Anyway, I have strong romantic feelings attached to comic book stores as a result of our summer romance.

Then I broke up with him and crushed his heart into little bits. (oh, totally for real. Yes, there were reasons)

Thankfully Brian doesn’t have such a tarnished happy ending. I hope you’ll have a chance to experience it and all the Sam’s Café Romances. For the record, five years after that summer I decided regrets were for the birds, wrote my husband a letter “you probably hate me but…” and met him for dinner a few weeks later. We’ve been together for sixteen years.

Thinking about Sylvester’s impossible second chance dream for a comic book store — tell me about your crazy dream job or aspiration in the comments — why didn’t you do it? or how did it turn out if you did?

*a-hem* you said something about a prize?

YAY! Prizes. Just one, sadly. Starving author! But I’m offering a book from my Dreamspinner backlist (e-book only, sorry folks, that means The Chess Master Chronicles and the print edition of Gerry’s Lion aren’t eligible) to one person who answers that call to comment on their crazy dream job. E-book prizes are awarded through the Dreamspinner Press bookshelf, so you must have a Dreamspinner Press store account to win. My current new releases (that is The King’s Mate and The Rodeo Knight) are not eligible. You CAN win A Wounded Promise though, even though it’s part of the series. It’s book 2 and it’s fantastic and super angsty. You have 72 hours to enter!

Author Bio:

For fifteen years, Ashavan Doyon worked with students in the student affairs office of a liberal arts college. He recently decided to shake things up a little, and is now working in the publications and communications office at the college. During lunch, evenings, and when he can escape the grasp of his husband on weekends, he writes, pounding out words day after day in hopes that his ancient typewriter-trained fingers won’t break the glass on his tablet computer. Ashavan is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan and prefers to write while listening to music that fits the mood of his current story. He has no children, but lavishes attention on his sole remaining fur child, a very elderly pug. A Texan by birth, he currently lives in New England, and frequently complains of the weather.

Ashavan went to school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, getting his degree in Russian and East European Studies, with a focus in language and literature. He has two incomplete manuscripts from college that he goes back compulsively to fiddle with every so often, but is still not happy with either of them. He still loves fantasy and science fiction and reads constantly in the moments between writing stories.

You can find me online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashavandoyon.writer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashavandoyon
Web: www.ashavandoyon.com

Check out The Rodeo Knight today!

 

The Rodeo Knight by Ashavan Doyon

 

The Rodeo Knight
Sam’s Café Romances: Book Three

Struck by amnesia after a car crash, Brian Stouten has been living a life laid out by his family, a heterosexual life that just doesn’t fit. When he learns it was all a lie, he returns to the small college town that’s his only clue to his past. But the town is still unfamiliar, and the man he’d hoped would make all his memories return is on a honeymoon with another man. To add insult to injury, everyone thinks Brian died in the crash. It’s only when an out-of-place cowboy asks to bum a smoke that Brian realizes this trip was meant to be.

Sylvester Thomas has always fought a secret desire, and done it successfully. But when geeky Brian offers him a smoke and a light, a simple brush of hands has Sylvester’s hidden passions burning deep. Did he make a mistake letting Brian walk away?

Buy links:

The Rodeo Knight (Dreamspinner)

The Rodeo Knight (Amazon)

Sam’s Cafe Romances books 1-3, print only
The Chess Master Chronicles (Dreamspinner)

Frugal Coffee Snob with SJD Peterson + Giveaway

December 6, 2016

Frugal Coffee Snob with SJD Peterson

 

I like many others, love coffee!  I mean seriously love coffee. I drink it from morning to night and am an unapologetic coffee snob. I write hours upon hours and it’s a rare occasion that there isn’t a pot of coffee available. I need it to keep myself focused and warm (I’m always cold). The bonus is, it’s always available to anyone who comes to visit.  Nine times out of ten it will be a rich brew of Colombian. However, on occasion I like to add a little flavor to the Joe.

Flavored coffees can be expensive, especially when buying it by the cup. I found a way to satisfy my taste buds without going broke. I make my own at a fraction of the cost.

The simplest way is to check your spice rack. Try adding about ¼ of a teaspoon of your favorite flavor to your coffee grounds before you brew your morning Joe. I recommend cinnamon, apple or pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg

Mocha coffee your flare? Add ½-1 teaspoon of cocoa to your coffee grounds, mix well and pour into your brewing basket. For those of you, who like me, drink a lot of coffee, or want to give it as a gift, add ¼ to 1/3 cup of cocoa to a pound of ground coffee and mix well. I like to dish out enough for a single pot into fancy plastic baggies, tied with a pretty bow and give as gifts.

Finally, my favorite way is to flavor with oils.  Many online companies sell a variety of coffee bean flavors. (My favorites are caramel and hazelnut.) Buy fresh roasted coffee beans (Do not grind first) I add about 1oz of flavor to each pound of coffee beans. Store your flavored beans in a plastic bag or container for a couple of days to give the beans time to absorb the flavors and viola – flavored coffee at your fingertips.

With the holidays upon us, coffee is always a great gift to give. Even if you don’t drink coffee (shudders) the scent of it brewing is one that reminds me of a cozy home. Instead of giving coffee to brew, place the flavored beans in a decorative bowl or around the base of a candle and give the gift of yummy scents.

Happy Brewing

Jo

What are your favorite flavors or scents of coffee. Leave a comment and be entered for a chance to win an ebook copy of both Override and Limitless.  Good Luck and Happy Holidays!

 

Check out Limitless today!

 

Limitless by SJD Peterson

 

 

An Underground Club Tale

Even within the context of the Underground BDSM Club, Joshua’s desires are dark and extreme. Hopelessly addicted to pain and the high it gives him, he has no limits. Joshua would quite literally rather die than use a safeword, and he accepts that might be his fate. As much as he depends on others, he has yet to find a man who can gain his trust, and he has little hope that he ever will.

For Nash, acquiring Joshua from another Dom at the club is only the first step in what will be a long and arduous road to lure the young man back from the brink of self-destruction. He must do the impossible and win Joshua’s trust, and he must be the one to set limits in their exploration—something he’s unaccustomed to as a Dom. But Nash knows dominance doesn’t always mean pushing a submissive’s boundaries. It’s about establishing a bond and fulfilling another man’s needs. In Joshua’s case, he’ll have to strike a balance between meeting the young man’s expectations and drawing firm lines that will save Joshua from himself.

 

Meet Jo Peterson

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

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Family Comes First with Antonia Aquilante + Giveaway

December 2, 2016

Family Comes First with Antonia Aquilante

 

Hi, everyone! I’m Antonia Aquilante here to talk with you about The Sorcerer’s Guardian, which came out on November 28th. The Sorcerer’s Guardian is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Tournai series, though it can be read as a stand-alone, as can the other books in the series. It’s the story of Savarin, a powerful sorcerer, and Loriot, captain of the royal guard, as they clash and get closer and ultimately fall in love while on a mission from the prince to solve the mystery of Tournai’s weakening magical protections.

Family makes up a large part of what I write, which probably makes sense since family has had such a big influence on me in my life. I’m part of an Italian-American family, and I grew up knowing that family comes first. For me and for so many, family isn’t just dictated by blood; it’s the family we choose in bonds of love and friendship as well. My best friend is as much as sister to me as the one I’m related to by blood, and I’m so lucky to have her. Family is the center of everything, and it helps to shape who we are. If you’ve read The Sorcerer’s Guardian, you may have noticed that I talked about a lot of this in my dedication to the book.

Since family is so important in my life, it’s no surprise that it is so important in my books too (I love reading stories with strong bonds of family and friendship too. What about you? Any favorites?). I don’t just write romances in which two people fall in love. I also write stories of love between friends and family. Sometimes I think those bonds create themselves, or at least they seem to—maybe they’re just pulled out of my subconscious and my own love for my family and friends. But then I’m not much of a planner, so lots of things seem to appear out of nowhere but, on reflection, make so much sense!

In the Chronicles of Tournai series, men fall in love and find happily ever after, but they also find family. Much of the series centers on Tournai’s royal family. The bonds between siblings and cousins who feel more like siblings than cousins, the extended family created when these men fall in love and others are drawn in, the friendships that are so close they are family too. I enjoy exploring family dynamics and how family affects the individual, many times for good but other times not as good. But even when some familial relationships aren’t very healthy, I love letting my characters build their own loving, supportive families. I find something so hopeful in it, and I want so much for my stories to bring some hope and joy to my readers.

Loriot and Savarin, the heroes of The Sorcerer’s Guardian, aren’t actually part of Tournai’s royal family, but they move on the periphery of it, Loriot as guard captain and Savarin as the sorcerer most often called on by the prince, and are trusted. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t still inspired by and exploring family in the book. Both Loriot and Savarin have their own families. Loriot is quite close to his, though most of them live far away and he doesn’t get to them as often as he would like. He’s built a family in his home in Tournai’s capital with his five-year-old son and his sister and her lover to help Loriot raise him. Savarin’s family lives closer—in the same city as he does—but their relationship is strained. His family doesn’t, or perhaps can’t, understand his life. He wants to help them, to make their lives better, and he hates that they won’t let him. The differing dynamics have influenced who Loriot and Savarin are, and how they react to their growing relationship, and how Savarin reacts to Loriot’s son and the possibility of being a second father to him.

Loriot and Savarin clashing and falling in love and clashing some more as they try to integrate their lives and build a family themselves was something I really enjoyed writing. I hope you enjoy getting to know them as well.

Check out The Sorcerer’s Guardian today!

 

The Sorcerer's Guardian by Antonia Aquilante

 

Blurb:

Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompany him.

Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.

 

About Antonia:

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

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Journaling Opens the Heart and Mind w/ CJane Elliott + Giveaway

November 29, 2016

Journaling Opens the Heart and Mind with CJane Elliott

Hello, all! I’m CJane Elliott and it’s my privilege to be on the Dreamspinner Blog today to talk about my new release, All the Way to Shore. One of the elements in the story I most enjoyed writing is the journal that Marco keeps.

I’ve kept a journal for most of my life. I still have my first diary, started in the 4th grade, in which I talk mostly about food, a preoccupation that continues to this day! Journaling has always been a form of therapy for me—a way to pour out whatever’s bothering me, muse about the previous day’s events, and center myself for the day ahead. It clears my mind and gets me in touch with my heart. I often work out story ideas too! If you’ve never tried journaling, I recommend giving it a try.

In All the Way to Shore, Marco’s journal entries are included throughout the story and show a side of Marco that most of the world never sees, because on the surface he’s a hard-charging CEO. No one would suspect he loves his cat and his Mama and his little sister, and actually has a tender heart. I’ve never written journal entries into a story before, but I think it worked really well. It was a way to get a first-person point of view of Marco without having to write the whole story that way. We’re able to see right into Marco’s mind as he talks to himself about everything that’s happening. I include an example below. By this time in the story, Marco has met “Jonah” (the name Jonathan is going by) on the cruise and things are already going way beyond expectations:

 

EXCERPT

MARCO’S JOURNAL

A fling, I said. A hot shipboard affair. Blowing off some steam was my plan. Not falling for some sweetheart of a guy. But why not? What am I protecting myself from? The days of strategic relationships are over. I torpedoed that game when I broke it off with Ashley. But having a serious relationship—like something real—wasn’t on the table. Was it?

All I can say is I’ve never talked to anyone but Sophia as much or as freely as I talked to Jonah today. He feels so comfortable—like a comfy pair of slippers or my ratty red sweater I wear at home. Home. That’s the word. He feels like home.

But how can that be? I don’t know the guy. I’ve talked to him for a sum total of six hours. I think—no, I know—he was disappointed when I didn’t pursue something physical tonight. But damn. It’s already gone beyond a quick fuck. I don’t need that kind of action, no matter what I was thinking before I got on the ship. I’ve got Hank, the masseur with the happy endings, for that. And I don’t want to hurt the guy. Jonah. I don’t want to hurt Jonah. There’s something kind of naïve, almost innocent, about him, despite how hot he is. He doesn’t seem very experienced, in sex or relationships. I have to step carefully or this could end up being an unholy mess.

Enough whining, Pellegrini. What’s the game plan? 1. Spend more time with Jonah and get to know him better. 2. ???

Hmm. I’m rarely at such a loss. But maybe that’s what this trip is really about—venturing into unknown territory in more ways than one. Tomorrow we reach the first port of call. I want to take Jonah onto the island and wander the streets. Maybe find a little church. Spending time with him has me wanting to reconnect to my spirituality.

Gratitude: Being in the middle of the ocean. Jonah’s blue eyes. Sophia the magical sister having so much fun. Rest. Renewal. A sweet man to spend time with. It’s enough.

**********

Check out All the Way to Shore today!

All the Way to Shore by CJane Elliott

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BLURB

Jonathan Vallen has never felt good enough. A gentle musician who loves to garden, he’s woefully unsuited to running Vallen Industries, the family business. When his father hires a hotshot executive, Marco Pellegrini, to save the company, Jonathan moves away and leaves his humiliation behind. A year later and forty pounds lighter, Jonathan runs into Marco on an LGBT cruise. Marco doesn’t recognize him, the sparks fly, and Jonathan pretends to be someone else for the week—Jonah Rutledge—someone good enough to be loved.

Marco Pellegrini has always been driven. He rose from poverty to the pinnacle of business success, and he’ll do anything to protect his reputation—including hiding his bisexuality. Having saved Vallen Industries, he’s weary of the rat race and ready for a more meaningful life. When Marco meets his soul mate for that new life—Jonah Rutledge—on an LGBT cruise, he prepares to stop hiding and start living.

Back on land, the romance crashes when Marco discovers his perfect man is not only a lie but the son of his boss, Frederick Vallen. Jonathan resolves to win Marco back, but Frederick takes vengeful action. Jonathan and Marco must battle their own fears as well as Frederick’s challenge to get to the future that awaits them on the horizon.

 

GIVEAWAY

For a chance to win an ebook of your choice from my backlist, please comment. Here’s a question or two for you: Have you ever kept a journal? If so, did it help you? If not, do you think you might try?

Thanks, everyone! I look forward to hearing from you and I hope you all enjoy reading All the Way to Shore as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

ABOUT CJANE

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

E-mail: cjaneelliott@gmail.com
Website: www.cjaneelliott.com
Twitter: @CJaneElliott
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cjane.elliott

Meg Harding’s Happy Place

November 28, 2016
Meg Harding's Happy Place

 

Hi all! I’m Meg Harding, and for those who don’t know me, I’m in love with hockey. I was never really into sports before—I’ll casually watch tennis and that’s about it—but when I found hockey, well… it spiraled. So much spiraling. Not only did it provide me with a pastime, but it provided me with endless amusement (seriously, go watch some of the videos these teams post), a community of fellow sports writers and sports fans—a few of which I’m quite close to now, and it’s led to a lot of my recent traveling ventures. I’ve been to Pittsburgh for the World Cup, I went to Canada to watch a preseason game, I moved to Chicago in part so I could see the Blackhawks, and I’ll be heading to St. Louis today, actually, to watch the Dallas Stars!

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The sport, and the teams I love, have become a happy place for me. I wasn’t in the best mind frame when I first got into it, not really happy and just overall ugh about everything, and it became something that made me feel better. I’d watch it, I’d read books about it, to get away from reality. Honestly, I read more hockey fanfic than I do anything else. So, naturally, it felt right for me to start incorporating hockey into my books. It’s a subject I know well and one that I get a great deal of pleasure writing about.

Checking it Twice, the third in my Carlisles series, is about a model and a hockey player. At the moment, the NHL has no out players, but they do have things like You Can Play and pride tape. Both of which are mentioned/explained in my novel. I wanted Checking it Twice to feature both sides of the coin, so to speak. The hesitance of being the first, but the support structure that is in place to help those who eventually take the step. It’s not a perfect world, and progress is something that’s still, well, a work in progress. But slowly actions are being taken, and one day… one day they’ll get there. Checking it Twice is just moving that one day to today.

Running with the hockey theme, I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of To Arizona. Want to enter? Share what your “happy place” is. Is it a specific book or author? An actual place? A TV show or sport? What do you turn to for comfort?

 

Check out Checking It Twice today!

 

Checking It Twice by Meg Harding

 

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Amazon

Blurb:

Closeted professional hockey player Eric Belanger is falling hard for an out-and-proud male model. He’s unable to resist Dorian’s charm and pushing personal boundaries he never thought he’d cross. But Dorian is the kind of guy who deserves someone who isn’t afraid to be himself. Eric’s fears about what coming out will do to his career clash with the future he hopes to build with Dorian. He knows he’ll eventually have to make a choice.

Dorian Carlisle knows better than to date a man who wants to keep him a secret, but there’s something about Eric he can’t ignore. So he’ll take the risk, and it’ll be all right, because this isn’t a forever romance. He’s happy to live in the moment. But somehow, at some point, feelings sneak up on him and he’s not okay anymore. At a breaking point, Dorian must also make a decision. Their time together will either be the start of something wonderful or nothing more than a happy memory.

 

About Meg Harding:

Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and is completing a master’s program for publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life, she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.
Blog: megharding.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Cumberstone61
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MegHardingWrites

Visual Inspiration w/ Laura Lascarso + Giveaway

November 22, 2016

 Andre in Flight: Visual Inspiration with Laura Lascarso

I’m a visual person. Perhaps part of the reason I wrote my main character, Martin, as a fine artist was to compose all those masterpieces I wish I could paint in real life. Instead, I get to paint with words.

And for the visuals, I’ll have to rely on the artists at Unsplash.com and their amazing photographs to help tell the story of Martin and his youthful muse, Andre. I’ve put together an inspiration board that’s a combination of their characters, talents and the setting–sunny, Miami, Florida. The colors are vibrant and the men are hot, just like Andre and Martin and their blossoming love affair. Take a look and I hope you enjoy reading ANDRE as much as I enjoyed writing it!

 

Collage for Andre in Flight by Laura Lascarso

 

Check out Andre in Flight today!

 

Andre in Flight by Laura Lascarso

 

Dreamspinner Press
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Blurb:

When up-and-coming Miami painter Martin Fonseca encounters youthful pretty boy Andre Bellamy washing dishes in the kitchen of La Candela, he swears he’s known him before, intimately. But Andre only arrived in Miami weeks ago, after running away from small-town Alabama and his abusive father. When Martin discovers Andre trading sexual favors for a place to stay, he offers him a room in his studio apartment. As roommates only.

What starts as a playful friendship turns into something more as Andre begins posing for Martin, whose true passion is painting fantastical portraits. Martin’s obsession with Andre grows until they are sharing more than just flirtatious conversation. But when an eccentric art collector buys one of Martin’s paintings, Martin’s past jealousies resurface and threaten to destroy what he and Andre have so lovingly built.

 

Laura Lascarso

About Laura Lascarso:

Laura Lascarso 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. She aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform a society.

For social critiques, writer puns, and Parks and Rec gifs, follow her on Twitter @lauralascarso

 

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More Than Friends? with J.R. Loveless – Giveaway + Excerpt

November 9, 2016

More Than Friends with J.R. Loveless

Release day is always exciting! Today is November 9th and the release of my newest novella You Belong With Me. There are some of you who may know me from my first novel from Dreamspinner Press, Touch Me Gently, but for those who don’t, I’m J.R. Loveless, and I have been writing gay romance for a little over ten years now. Dreamspinner gave me a chance in 2010 and I have been publishing with them ever since. My long term dream is to be able to spend my days writing, but until then, I work in an office as a manager of a System Support department while dreaming up countless stories I hope to bring to you all someday.

Many of us have experienced, or are experiencing right now, the most painful of all type of loves – unrequited. There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching from afar as the person we want to be with showers their affection and attention on someone else. Except when they’re your best friend and they don’t even realize you’re in love with them. Because then it’s an up close and personal view that you wish you never had to witness.

In You Belong With Me, Scott is in love with his best friend Craig and has been for some time. He’s been there to experience the heartache of Craig falling for someone for the first time and then having to listen as Craig tells him everything about the relationship, including the night Craig lost his virginity. The story is told from the POVs of Scott, Craig, and Scott’s twin sister Karen, giving you the perspective of an outsider who cares very deeply for Scott and would love nothing more than to knock some sense into Craig. Maybe some will be able to relate with Scott and some may even be able to relate with Craig, but hopefully by the end of the story you’ll be cheering for them both. Just don’t hate on either too much because without communication misunderstandings happen and yes, Craig does do something which some may find unforgivable, but you’ll have to read the story to find out!

Keep reading for an excerpt to whet your taste buds and give you a glimpse of what is to come in You Belong With Me.

Want to win a free e-book copy of You Belong With Me or have your choice of one of my backlog if you’ve already pre-ordered or purchased YBWM? Then post a comment answering this question: What is the one thing you’ve wanted more than anything in the world and did you get it? A random winner will be chosen from the commentators! Please include your email address so I know how to contact you. :)

Check out You Belong With Me today!

You Belong With Me by J.R. Loveless

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
All Romance eBooks

 

Blurb:

Scott has been in love with his best friend Craig for years, but watching Craig with his manipulative boyfriend has worn Scott down, and he knows he needs a break from the pain and maybe a change of scenery and perspective. His twin sister, Karen, convinces him to spend a summer in Paris.

Karen is sick and tired of seeing Scott suffer, and she’s not going to stand for it anymore. She confronts Craig and tells him what he’s been missing by spurning Scott’s affection in favor of a jerk who mistreats him.

When Craig unknowingly breaks Scott’s heart, Craig opens his eyes—and his own heart—to the possibility of a future with Scott. He plans to use the time while Scott’s abroad to orchestrate a romantic surprise that will show Scott they belong together. But when he sees Scott with another man at the airport, Craig fears he’s too late.

Excerpt:

Scott

Anger and hurt simmered beneath the surface as Scott slammed the door behind him. He was glad the house was empty, because he didn’t want to talk to anyone. The fact that for the first time in four years Craig wasn’t there at lunch and didn’t even text him made him so angry, but the anger paled in comparison to the pain he felt. As the lunch hour had ticked by and he came to the realization Craig wasn’t coming, it had felt like a sharp knife in his stomach. A hollow feeling had swamped him on his way home. His best friend had forgotten him.

Scott’s eyes stung but he gritted his teeth and refused to let the tears fall. He wouldn’t allow Derek to do this to him. He wouldn’t cry. He tossed himself across his bed and buried his face in the pillow. Somehow Derek had guessed his feelings toward Craig and, whenever he could, went out of his way to make Craig hurt Scott without realizing it. The bastard was so coldhearted he made the devil seem nice.

Scott had gotten each and every one of Craig’s texts, but he knew if he responded, Craig would get the brunt of his pain and anger. Before he spoke to him, he needed to get control of his emotions. If he didn’t, he’d wind up blurting out something he shouldn’t. More than likely it would be about Derek being an asshole, and it might cause a rift between them too wide to repair. He’d lose Craig for sure.

Scott allowed his mind to drift as he lay there. The internship to France being offered by Emerson was starting to look better and better every day. Maybe some time away would be a good thing. If he could get over the way he felt about Craig, his emotions could even out and he wouldn’t constantly have to worry about destroying their friendship. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on breathing in and out slowly. Eventually he started to fall asleep. Only there was no peace, even in his dreams. Immediately he started dreaming of Craig.

Craig kissed his way down Scott’s spine, lips traveling over each vertebrae slowly. He smoothed his calloused hands over Scott’s arms and shoulders with calculating accuracy. Scott moaned when he felt Craig’s hot breath on his lower back, just above his pale rear end. The moan grew louder as Craig slid the tip of his wet tongue along the beginning of the crease leading to Scott’s tight entrance. Sweat built along his skin in a fine sheen at the roar of pleasure that rushed through him. Craig tenderly spread Scott’s cheeks open with his strong hands, baring the puckered channel dying to feel him inside. A small cry rattled in Scott’s throat when his tongue came into contact with Scott’s hole. Quick lapping motions against him made Scott’s cock throb painfully against the sheets. But when Craig probed into his body, Scott heard himself shamelessly begging, “Please.”

He felt Craig smile. “Please what?” Craig asked huskily.

“Craig,” Scott whimpered.

“Tell me.”

“I want you inside of me,” he growled in frustration.

Craig laughed softly and rose up to press the full length of his body over Scott’s. Scott could feel Craig’s hard prick rubbing into the crease of his ass. “Do you, Scott?”

“God yes,” he hissed.

The blunt tip of Craig’s dick nudged the entrance to his hole. Scott reached back with one hand to grip at his hip to try to pull him inside. He shuddered when he felt Craig drop a kiss on the nape of his neck. His firm lips grazed Scott’s ear as he whispered, “I love you, Scott.”

Just when he started to enter him, Scott heard his name again from a distance. Then someone was shaking him. “Scott, wake up.”

Find Me Here:

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

Siblings! with Kim Fielding and Venona Keyes + Giveaway

November 4, 2016
Siblings! with Venona Keyes and Kim Fielding

 

In our story, Running Blind, Kyle Green needs to depend on his slightly older sister, Lily, to help him get his bearings while he adjusts to his new life without sight.  They are the two youngest of the Green brood, and they have a good relationship, though they bicker and cajole each other.

We, Kim Fielding and Venona Keyes, sat down and discussed our own sibling experiences. Maybe you will pick up on a few traits we gave to Lily and Kyle.

Where are you in the sibling birth order?

Kim:  I’m the oldest. My brother is 3 years younger and my sister is almost 9 years younger. I think I can blame my control freak tendencies on my birth order.

Venona: I’m the oldest of five in the family.  We have a two part sibling group: the original three, and the two afterthoughts.  The original three, me, a sister, and a brother were born within three years.  Thirteen years later, my parents had my little brother, and four years later, my little sister came along.

Which sibling are you closest to in the family?

K:  Probably my brother because we’re closer in age. My sister was only 8 when I moved out of the house, so we had fewer childhood years together.

V:  I am closest to my littlest brother (the one I wanted my mom to return when she told me she was pregnant).  Nearly five when I left for college, he grew up and I only saw him in snippets as I didn’t return home after I left for school. I think it’s because we are the two oldest of each of our groups, we bonded. The next is my sister, who is a year younger than me.

Do you find that you still treat each other the same way as you did when you were growing up?

K:  Nope. We’re mostly grown-ups now. We hardly ever argue, and I’m probably less bossy. All three of us are married, too, which tends to change family dyamics.

V:  Yes.  We modeled our behavior on my mother’s family—we all argue at the top of our voices, butt in over each other, and fiercely defend each other.  Per my sibs, I’m generally the peacemaker, motivator, and the bossy one (birth order!). We all still crack up at the stupidest things. My youngest brother and I still giggle like kids when he brings out the Beavis and Butthead voicebox.

What do you and your siblings still do that may baffle your parents?

K:  My entire family gets along pretty well and we tend to be like-minded. I would say my parents don’t understand our tastes in music, although that’s nothing new!

V:  Argue. Not angry fighting, but arguing about certain topics. My dad is the only child of an only child. One time, while the five of us were arguing over something (as adults), he said he was glad he was an only child. I told him he should’ve had siblings—they would’ve kept him humble. He didn’t appreciate my wisdom. Imagine that!  My late mom, on the other hand, came from a family of four girls.  The house she grew up in was always busy and loud, so nothing phased her.

What are things you have in common with your siblings—and what sets you apart?

K: All three of us have undergraduate degrees in psychology (my brother and I both have law degrees too), we all love animals, and politically speaking, we’re all on the same page. But they still live in Oregon, our home state, while I’m exiled to California. And I’m the only one who’s reproduced.

V: We have our parents in common, we’re politically on the same page, we all love animals, we’re all loud, and no one can do mischief better than we can when we’re together.  After that, two of my brothers and one sister are married and have children. I’m widowed with no children and my youngest sister is engaged.  We also have varying degrees of schooling: I have my Master of Public Health, youngest brother has his Bachelors, youngest sister has her Associates working towards her Bachelors, other sister has had some junior college, and my other brother apprenticed as a grandfather clock builder and repairman. We’ve all scattered into the winds: My youngest brother just moved to Texas, my other brother is in South Dakota, one sister is in New York, and my youngest sister and I are still in Illinois, our place of birth and growth.  One other thing: I am the only dark-eyed, dark-haired child. Sisters are (real) blond and blue-eyed, one brother is curly blond (now bald) with light brown eyes, and the other brother is a curly brown haired (now bald) with hazel eyes.

What’s the worst thing you ever did to a sibling?

K:  When my brother was 3, my parents went out for the evening, leaving us with a babysitter. I accidentally-on-purpose locked him in the bathroom.

V: Hmmm…Nothing comes to mind. However, if you ask what we did to our Uncle Charles when he watched us (the original three) over a weekend…now that is another story. Let’s just say I’m a babysitter that knows all the tricks my little charges can pull.

What makes you most jealous about your siblings?

K: My brother lives on a beautiful farm and drives a really cool car. My sister has great taste in music and is really good at crafts. They both live a lot closer to our parents than I do.

V: Not jealous, but I admire my sibs for who they are: NY sister has the biggest heart and is very crafty, SD brother struggles with his addictions and wins most of the time, TX brother who patiently explains technology to me just as he patiently explains complex math to my niece, and my littlest sister’s pluck in the face of adversity.  Besides, I drive the cool car (laughs).

What makes your siblings special to you? Make a comment and be entered in the Rafflecopter giveaways listed below.

Check out Running Blind today!

Running Blind by Kim Fielding and Venona Keyes

 

Dreamspinner Press: http://syurl.net/jx5MLt
Amazon: http://alturl.com/7jcr3

 

Blurb

Kyle Green is on top of the world. He and Matt have been together for ten years, and—as the voice of Ecos, the wildly popular anime character—Kyle is treated like a rock star in anime circles. But in an instant, a stroke leaves him blind. When photographer Matt gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Kyle reexamines their relationship, discovers it has been a safety net rather than a true romance, and sets Matt free to pursue his dream. Kyle’s life and career as he knew them are gone, and he must now find the courage and creativity to draft a new plan.

After being away for fifteen years, Seth Caplan comes home to Chicago to care for his mother and to partner with a small start-up tech company. He and Kyle meet after Kyle’s collision with a child’s sidewalk toy, and they hit it off. Kyle wants to get back into running, and Seth becomes his guide. As they get to know each other, they start seeing each other beyond their three-times-a-week runs. But Seth’s revelation of the dark reason why he left his career in California sends the relationship into a tailspin andleaves both men running blind.

Bios

Kim Fielding is very pleased every “me someone calls her eclectic. Her books have won Rainbow Awards and span a variety of genres. She has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full “me. She also dreams of having two perfectly behaved children, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others

You can reach Kim at:

Facebook—http://facebook.com/kfieldingwrites
Twitter—@kfieldingwrites
Website—http://kfieldingwrites.com/

Venona Keyes is a modern woman who believes in doing it all; if doing it all is only in her head. She amazes people that she can be wholly unorganized yet pack a perfect carry on suitcase for a ten day trip to Paris. Ms. Keyes is a believer in the just in time theory, and can be seen sprinting in airports to the gate before the plane door closes.

Venona has experienced love and loss at the deepest level, and is thankful for writing and daydreaming, for it kept, and still keeps her sane. Writing also introduced her to some of the most supportive and wonderful people, to which she will always be grateful.

Venona is a voracious reader, loves her feline boys, volunteers at an animal shelter, attempts to cook everything in her CSA boxes, is an accomplished speaker, is a seasoned triathlete, and enjoys swimming, biking, hiking, skipping, dancing, and her beloved overgrown garden.

You can reach Venona at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/venona.keyes
Website: http://www.venonakeyes.com/

Rafflecopter Giveaways!

Make a comment and be entered into win a giveaway!

Giveaway #1 – All (US & International)

Audio Books, E-Book, and DSP Gift Certificate
- 3 Audio Books (Treasure, The Downs, and Guarded)
- E-book Coming of Age
- $20 DSP Gift Certificate

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Manga (Graphic Novels), Audio, and E-Books Manga:

Traditional Japanese Manga (translated into English): Borders Manga Volumes 1-5 by Kazuma Kodaka American Manga: Longitudes and Latitudes, Volumes 1 – 3 by True Teargem & Tprinces American Doshinji:  Kindly Assistance (A Sherlock Holmes & John Watson Romance) by Halloween Panda
Audio Books & E-books - 3 Audio Books (Treasure, The Downs, and Guarded)
– E-book Coming of Age

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Audio Books & E-books
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- E-book Coming of Age

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Villains We Love to Love with Alexis Duran

November 2, 2016

Villains We Love to Love with Alexis Duran

Hello! It’s great to be here on the Dreamspinner blog for the first time. My name is Alexis Duran and my novel, Matthias: Order of the Black Knights, is being released today!

Matthias was both fun and challenging to write. Challenging because it’s my first foray into the genre of contemporary thriller, and fun because—well, writing is always fun for me—but this story was especially enjoyable to craft because it features two of my favorite elements; a sexy bad boy and a scorching enemies-to-lovers relationship.

When Thianna Durston first approached me with an invitation to write a book in the series, Order of the Black Knights, I said yes without thinking too hard about it.  How could I resist the idea of a man cursed to be a killer with one chance at redemption?  Add to that the twist that there was only one person out there who could save him from this fate—a person he considered his mortal enemy—let’s just say this m/m writer’s imagination set fire.

As soon as I signed on to the project, Matthias began to take form.  The idea of a charismatic cult leader had been simmering in the back of my mind for a long time, and this seemed like the perfect vehicle for him to finally emerge and take center stage.  I liked the concept of the “villain” also being the protagonist.  I usually start from the view point of the man who’s destined to fall in love with said villain, but this time the crux of the story revolves around Matthias and whether he will succeed in overcoming his past (and there’s a lot to overcome, with several lives as a killer behind him!) or if he’s doomed to repeat the same violent cycle yet one more time.

So what is it about sexy villains we love so much?  Personally I think it’s the power and confidence they exude, and the fact that they can break all the rules and behave in ways nice people like us wouldn’t dream of doing.  In a relationship, they create a fantastic amount of conflict. This challenges their dueling partner and potential lover to the utmost, creating a dynamic that forces both parties to either grow or be crushed.

The stronger the villain, the tougher the “good guy” has to be.  Once Matthias strolled onto the page and announced himself, I knew I would have to create an opposite who was worthy of standing up to him.  Dylan might have started out as an innocent college boy crushing on the mysterious Matthias, but he quickly developed an interesting past himself, with a military family and a constant need to prove himself.  Not only is his natural goodness offended by Matthias’s activities, but he’s got this law-enforcing, honor upholding background to answer to. He’s no one to be steamrollered by Matthias and it wasn’t long before I found him to be just as interesting a character, with complexities and pitfalls of his own.

And this is why I think the enemies to lovers trope is so enticing.  While meeting someone closely aligned to you is of course the natural way to go, and can strengthen both members of the couple, falling in love with your polar opposite makes for a true test of love vs. will.  It is quite the conundrum to decide to enter a relationship with someone who you know is bad news. Worse if the person is possibly dangerous. The good news from a writer’s standpoint is that the more the good boy has to wrestle with his own inner demons, the more fully realized and fascinating he will be. It’s easy to get lost in the shadow of a personality as large as Matthias so I gave Dylan lots of good reasons to put up a fight.

Then comes the fun part.  I get to place these two guys in a room together and see how they behave. If I’ve done my job and created the right characters for the part, their scenes together just flow out of me and I can hardly write fast enough to keep up with them.  This is sheer joy from a writers’ perspective and I hope it reflects on the page.  Sometimes I felt like all I could do was get out of the way as Matthias and Dylan sparred, lied, manipulated and fell in love, then dealt with the potentially deadly consequences.  I hope you enjoy reading Matthias as much as I enjoyed writing him.

So who is your favorite bad boy villain? Do you have a favorite couple who started out as enemies? One lucky commenter will win a gift certificate to Dreamspinner Press! Simply enter your answer along with your email address (can include name [at] email [dot] com) and a winner will be chosen!

Check out Matthias today!

Matthias by Alexis Duran

Blurb:

From Louisiana swamp rat to revivalist huckster to skilled con artist, Matthias Krall clawed his way out of poverty using his natural gifts of grift and manipulation to become the leader of an exclusive retreat center. Exploiting the guise of spiritual guru, Matthias seduces the rich and powerful into turning over their lives and fortunes to his control. But wealth and a small cadre of loyal followers can’t protect Matthias from the betrayal he knows is imminent. Everyone wants what Matthias has, except for one man who wants to destroy it. Dylan Connelly is a reporter who’s determined to prove the charismatic recluse is not only a fraud but a murderer.

Irresistibly drawn to Dylan despite the warnings in his gut, Matthias lures Dylan to his island retreat, determined to destroy his enemy once and for all.

About Alexis Duran:

Alexis Duran was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. At the University of Oregon, her fascination with people and relationships led her to major in sociology, but her main love has always been creative writing. She’s worked in museums, finance, film production, and for several performing arts organizations. Her favorite job so far has been inventorying the collection of a haunted Victorian Mansion. She is the author of the Masters and Mages and Edge of Night m/m fantasy series as well as several standalone romances. Her fiction has won several awards including the Rupert Hughes Award from the Maui Writers Conference and first runner-up from Love Romances Cafe. She lives with one dog and four and a half cats. She is always working on the next novel and has several new ideas brewing at all times.

http://alexisduranblog.com
http://twitter.com/AlexisSDuran
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8332457.Alexis_Duran
http://www.facebook.com/alexis.duran.18294

When Writing On Fire Went Awry with Alicia Nordwell + Giveaway

November 1, 2016

 On Fire Release Tour

Hi! My name is Alicia Nordwell, aka Cia, and for the most part, I’m a big ole pantser. Yes, yes, it’s true. Plotting? Not my strong suit. I like playing fast and loose. Sure, sometimes I get an overview of the story to come, but chapter to chapter? Nope. And I’m never surprised when the story doesn’t quite go the way I thought it would. On Fire, my story set in Washington for Dreamspinner’s States of Love series, was no different. The basic elements of the story stayed the same as my original idea, but the way I thought Scottie and Jax would meet each other and connect turned out completely different.

Characters do have a life of their own, even in my head, and their journey sometimes takes a sudden right turn. When I first submitted my synopsis idea for On Fire to claim Washington as my state, it was meant to focus on how they meet—the fire—and then the immediate aftermath as they realize they’re still alive. But Scottie and Jax had more to their relationship that they wanted me to share, a real romance where readers could see them learn about each other just like people do in real life. But how to show that? Dating as an adult isn’t something I ever had to figure out, having met my husband at just sixteen, but that gave me an idea of how to spin the story I thought up to the one the characters were pushing for.

My husband and I had a comfortable connection from the moment we first met, one that pulled us together. But what if the characters of On Fire had a beginning that was more… fiery? The idea for the wildfire was already there, so that part was easy. But that meeting went from a moment of connection to a moment of disconnection. Yet I needed to write a romance, so they’d have to overcome that. How do people who have a rocky beginning connect once they get past that ‘Maybe he’s not a total asshole’ moment? What kind of dates do adults go on?

Fortunately, with the theme of showcasing the best parts of Washington, Scottie’s and Jax’s personalities and hobbies gave me a ton of ideas. I tailored their dates for two men who love the outdoors, yet could accommodate an injured person. Luckily there are a lot of both indoor and outdoor activities here year-round. If you like hiking there is a short window from early summer to early fall where most of the trails are passable before they become quagmires of mud. My favorite time is when the leaves are still on the trees but the frost is out to color them in the early morning hours. The Ape Caves near Mt. St. Helens provide two options for the easy to difficult level hikes inside this amazing lava tube, and during the winter months snowmobiling is very popular in the area.

Washington is also famous for the Columbia River Gorge with its strong winds and active sports for those who love the water. Like rafting or kayaking? The Little White Salmon is the perfect place for those. Windsurfing or parasailing? The Columbia River, the border between Washington and Oregon, provides a huge playground. A few hardy souls brave the cold, cold ocean to surf, though far more enjoy the kite flying or clamming in the small coastal towns that are full of charming shops and fresh seafood restaurants.

Frosted Leaf at Dawn

Enjoy watching sports more than playing them? We have the Seahawks, the Mariners, the Sonics, Washington State University Cougars, Gonzaga Bulldogs, and the University of Washington Huskies as the major college and professional sports teams. My husband and son are huge fans of the Huskies, and I’m a Seahawks gal; I’m even wearing my florescent green long-sleeve shirt with my name on the back—birthday present—right now. Nothing beats a rainy, windy winter day than lounging about on the couch with chips, dip, cheese, and crackers and sports! If you just have to get out but the weather is bad, the major cities in Washington are a smorgasbord of tourist sites. Seattle is well-known for the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the EMP interactive music experience museum. Another well-known quirky site that goes well with the eclectic vibe that this part of the state has is the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Of course, I couldn’t share all these great places in Washington, and many others I didn’t mention, in On Fire. You’ll have to read it to find out just where Scottie and Jax go on their dates and how much fun they have.

In the meantime, how about you share one of your dating stories. Was it an indoor date? Fun in the outdoors? Did that date lead to a long-lasting relationship or was it a disaster that ended all hope for more? Don’t really have a memorable date to share? Tell me what your ideal date would be where you live. One person who comments on this blog will win a $5 Dreamspinner Press gift card. The winner will be selected via a Random.org drawing and announced in three days, so please make sure I have a way to contact you in order to get your Dreamspinner Press account email to staff as soon as possible!

Want to learn more about my past or upcoming work? Interested in free weekly flash fiction? Make sure you check out my blog, Cia’s Stories, and social media so you don’t miss out on all my updates!

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

Check out On Fire today!

On Fire by Alicia Nordwell

Blurb:

Nothing beats getting out of the concrete jungle and into the quiet of the forest. Website designer Scottie Ness is taking a well-deserved vacation from the grindstone, and he plans to spend it in the solitude of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest around Mt. Adams. He’s prepared for everything—except the lightning storm that traps him in a wildfire.

The firefighter who rescues him sustains serious injuries and ends up in the hospital. Jax Quintero might be abrasive, but the guy saved his life, and Scottie wants to thank him. As they spend time together during Jax’s recovery and exploring the state’s landmarks when he’s released from the hospital, Scottie discovers there’s more to Jax than a smart-ass adrenaline junkie. Jax reassesses his opinion of Scottie as an arrogant city boy who has no business in the mountains. Though Jax’s wounds prevent them from taking things as far as they’d like for a while, they can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is one fire they don’t want to put out.

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