Paris in the Springtime with Ariel Tachna

March 14, 2016

Who doesn’t love Paris?  And Paris in the spring may be my favorite season. Rather than try to put into words things that defy explanation, I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures of just why I love it so much.

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This isn’t any special street. It’s actually right up the street from our hotel, but turn your head and suddenly you’re staring at the Eiffel Tower.

 

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Or at other pieces of interesting architecture. Notice the tile design on the roof line of the curved turret.

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This one goes to show one of my favorite things about France. Old buildings aren’t torn down. They’re repurposed for a new and different use.

 

Okay, enough architecture. How about some spring pictures…?

 

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Not every day is beautiful in Paris, but even the dreary ones are dramatic.

 

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And if you get really lucky, you get sunsets like these.IMG_1484

 

And if you know the right people, you might even get…

 

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Lambs! (Okay, so that one doesn’t have anything to do with Paris, but it is in France in the spring and it was too cute not to share.)

Now that I’ve spammed you with pictures, you’re probably wondering what that has to do with At Your Service. Anthony has the chance to visit Paris in the spring as part of his job, and the last day he’s there is one much like I had when I took the first set of pictures (along with the hundred others I didn’t make you look at). He and Paul, a native Parisian, spend the day in the city doing their best to avoid tourist spots. They wander the residential streets and an out-of-the-way park and bask in the glory of Paris.

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Excerpt:

“What a perfect day!” Anthony said as they climbed the stairs to street level at their destination. “I’m not sure I’ve ever been in Paris on a day like this.”

“Have you ever been in Paris in the spring?” Paul asked. “Because this is not unusual for this time of year.”

“No, it’s either been in the summer when it was hot and not a breath of air to be found in the city or in the winter when it was cold and gray. Before I came in the summer the first time, I used to joke that the pictures on the postcards with blue skies behind the monuments were staged, with a huge blue cloth hung behind the buildings. I’d seen the buildings, but never the blue sky.”

“Then I’m glad we decided to spend the day outside,” Paul said. “You can visit the museums on cold, rainy winter days or the hot summer ones when you have to escape to somewhere with air-conditioning.”

“I’ve done plenty of escaping both kinds of weather, but not today. Come on. I want to see the park.”

“Let’s find food first. We can carry it with us until we’re ready to eat, but otherwise we’d have to come back out of the park when we get hungry,” Paul suggested, although the eagerness on Anthony’s face made him want to hurry so he could see Anthony’s reaction to the park. He didn’t come all the way across town often, but he had attended a cousin’s wedding several years ago and remembered well the manicured lawns and ornate stonework of the follies. They could easily spend hours wandering through the park, and this way they could do it undisturbed.

They found a charcuterie nearby and stocked up on ham and thinly sliced sausage, and the bakery next door netted them two baguettes to share. They walked back to the main entrance of the park through the wrought-iron gates tipped with gold leaf. “Even away from the center of town, everything is so ornate,” Anthony commented.

 

Blurb:

When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet—and sleep with—Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.

Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them—Paul wants sex, not a relationship—Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.

Still with me? Awesome! Share a picture of springtime in your favorite place to be entered to win a copy of At Your Service!

 

About Ariel:

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When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

Visit Ariel:

Website: www.arieltachna.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArielTachna

E-mail: arieltachna@gmail.com

 

Buy At Your Service in eBook or print

GRL or GayRomLit: If You’re Going, Here are Some Ideas on How to Tell Folks Where You’re Going

March 12, 2016

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Since today is the day registration opens for GRL, I thought this post was appropriate. It’s also appropriate as talking points for telling people why you love gay romance.

I once overheard some people talking about what they tell friends and family about their attendance at GRL, a retreat, as we all know, for lovers of gay romance. For a reason that’s alien to me, some of the people I overheard felt the need to not be totally open about the event they were attending. As a gay man who’s been out of the closet now almost more years than he was in, the secrecy is a bit hard to understand, but I guess there are still people out there who A. care what someone else thinks about how they spend their off time or B. there are people (like, say, maybe a teacher at a parochial grade school) who knows their association with ‘gay’ literature might be frowned upon.

Whatever the reason, I offer the following to help you decide what to say when people ask you about where you’re going and what you’ll be doing when you attend GRL.

For the straight folks in your life who have never heard of m/m romance

Now, for those of you who are open about where you’re going and people who don’t know your tastes in reading ask something like, “Gay romance? Why gay romance? You’re not gay, are you?” This is such a silly question, as if we have to confine our reading tastes to only who we are. Reading a book with African-American characters and you’re white? Why? Reading a story that’s about aliens from Mars and you’re not one? Why on Earth?

When you put it that way, you begin to see what a silly question it is. It would be like me, as a gay man, saying I don’t read stories with straight characters. I’m not straight, so how could a book about straight people possibly interest me?

Because I’m human! Because we’re all human! And our needs, desires, hopes, aspirations, and despair do not divide us; they unite us.

If someone wonders why you read m/m, you might clue them in that, in the end, you like reading about people falling in love. People. And then you might use the opportunity to tell them what’s so wonderful and different about m/m romance and why it makes sense not only for you to read, but why it also might make sense for them to step out of their comfort zone and give it a try.

For the gay folks in your life who wonder why m/m romance and not just gay fiction

And here, it gets a little trickier. I heard someone say on Facebook recently that m/m romance is by and for straight women and that gay romance is by and for gay men. Putting aside the inanity of trying to classify who reads and writes love stories, you still might have to talk to gay friends about what they might perceive as reading in a genre that’s not gender-appropriate for you, especially if you happen to be a gay man. Again, the same thing I said above applies–we’re all human. And human love stories, whether they’re about gay people or straight people, have a lot more in common than they have differences. Most of us want to find our happily ever after. Most of us have trouble getting there and may even have the misfortune of kissing a few frogs that did not turn into princes along the way. M/m, gay fiction, gay romance (my personal preference) whatever you want to call it, if it centers around two people falling in love, then it’s blind to gender and you really don’t have to defend your reading choices. Tell them that…and tell them that reading or writing about love is about our shared human experience and has very little to do with what’s between our legs, but what’s between our ears. And we all have that in common.

What to tell those who simply cannot know

So you may fall into the camp of someone, for whatever reason, must keep your attendance at a gay-related event on the down-low. I wish the world weren’t a place where this was sometimes necessary, but if it is in your case, you have lots of options (and these you can say without even lying). Tell ‘em you’re attending a fan convention for fiction, a romance convention, a get-together with other readers like you to compare notes and meet your favorite authors. See, the specifics are nobody’s business but your own. Yet, I urge you, if you possibly can, to be open about where you’re going. Come out of the closet! You might be surprised that people are not as judgmental or surprised as you think. And by being open, you bring the possibility of the good news of m/m fiction more out into the world at large.

What to tell people if you’re an author

I can only speak for me, and the answer to that question is easy. I come because I want to connect with my tribe. For each of the four years I’ve been coming to GRL as a featured author, my experience is always the same: it’s like a family reunion. It’s a chance, for almost a week, to be with the people I write for, the people who ‘get’ me and I them, and to connect with others who write what I do and be go fan boy on them. It’s truly a retreat…into a perfect world where everyone likes the same stuff as I do. I am not big on swag or giveaways. My best giveaway, I’ve always thought, is a smile and a hug. Those are the things that give me my biggest return.

And speaking of gay romance

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What I think of as my best gay romance–BIG LOVE–comes out on April 4. But you can preorder you copy in ebook here or in paperback here right now!

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Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay.

But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men. And a new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth himself is starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup. The last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.

As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.

 

NOH8Rick

RICK R. REED is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

FIND RICK:

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RickReedWRITER
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Website: www.rickrreed.com
Email: jimmyfels@gmail.com

 

 

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

December 23, 2015

Cooking, writing, romance. Delectable.

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

 

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A bit about the book:

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

The inspiration

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Find EM Lynley online:

Email: emlynley @gmail.com

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

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

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

At her temporary blog: emlynley.wordpress.com

 

Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Feeling You by Santino Hassell

October 22, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

 

 

Stygian opened with their fastest song partially because their set was less than thirty minutes, but mostly because the crowd’s energy was so low that Watts seemed to think they could infuse it by force. You’d think people would be more amped on Halloween, but it wasn’t going to happen.

They were in a nowhere bar between Austin and Houston. A less exciting stop along the route than the gigantic Buc-ee’s gas station sprawled just up the road. It was a sad reality but one Kennedy had accepted since he was the one who’d allowed Watts to book the gigs for this tour while stoned.

But despite the disaster of the sound equipment and a sneery audience in half-assed costumes, they nailed the first couple of songs. Watts, in his Mad Max inspired outfit, crooned into the microphone while hanging on Quince, and Jeremy drummed to perfection. A stranger would think he’d been in the band for years rather than a couple of months, and Kennedy wouldn’t blame them. The kid belonged.

Jeremy was soft in places where the rest of them were hardened from old battle scars, but he was the puzzle piece they’d been missing for months. He played with a passion capable of giving Kennedy the shivers, and during each song his expression was so blissed out it probably resembled his come face. Eyes half shut, platinum blond hair clinging to his sweaty forehead, and lips parted. Jeremy didn’t need a costume—he was a fucking angel. It was hard to look away.

And each time he slammed his sticks against the drum kit and his biceps flexed, Kennedy didn’t look away. A couple of times, Jeremy caught him staring. The third time—when they were both very briefly still right before transitioning into the next song—Kennedy’s eyefuck game was so strong that Jeremy released a little laugh. Unsure. Nervous. Just like him.

Kennedy half-smiled and flashed a thumbs up. That, more than the ogling, sent a flush scorching over Jeremy’s fair skin. It was so easy to get a reaction out of him. Kennedy wondered if that extended to sex.

Jeremy’s eyes widened, and it was almost like he knew what Kennedy had been thinking. It was impossible of course, but—

“Quit flirtin’ and play, ya fuckin’ queers!”

Watts kept singing without missing a beat but he sauntered to the middle of the stage and grabbed his crotch before giving a suggestive hip cant. A collective grumble started in the center of the crowd and intensified after Watts adlibbed a lyric about wondering how many rednecks it takes to fill a Grindr dashboard.

Quince broke into hyena laughter but Kennedy wasn’t amused. The adrenaline burning up his spine felt a lot like the warning sign for an impending brawl, and Jeremy keyed into his tension.

He moved his lips in a silent question: Should we leave?

Kennedy shook his head. Just play.

And that’s when one of the motherfuckers nailed Jeremy in the head with a bottle.

There was barely a thought between the moments when Kennedy dropped his bass and dove into the crowd. He went blank and reemerged from the haze of fury in the middle of a melee. His fist connected with someone’s jaw but there were so many people swarming that he couldn’t tell if he was assaulting the right homophobe.

He knew the rest of the band had thrown themselves into the ruckus because of Watts’ exuberant whoops and Quince’s string of meme-like insults. A quick look confirmed Jeremy was holding his own.

When it was all said and done, the police cleared out the bar and they were kicked out with their instruments half packed. They celebrated surviving the gig, and the fight, by sharing two bottles of Jack Daniels. By midnight, Quince and Watts were screwing in the next room while Jeremy drunkenly crawled atop Kennedy’s prone form and straddled his lap.

“Why’d you get so mad?” Jeremy teetered forward before bearing down harder with his knees. “You went rage-blackout after that guy threw the bottle.”

“He could have hurt you.”

“It was plastic.”

“Doesn’t matter. He shouldn’t have touched you.”

Jeremy bit his lip and nodded seriously. “You’re confusing.”

Kennedy got grabby when he was drunk and then everything was a little bit more dangerous. Which is why he didn’t stop himself from putting his hands on Jeremy’s narrow hips, fingers just grazing the swell of his ass.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because sometimes I can feel how much you’re into me even though you act like you’re not.”

Kennedy peered at Jeremy from beneath his lashes. “What do you mean you can feel it?”

“I just…” Jeremy gestured too wide and nearly lost his balance. “Sometimes when we’re really close. Like this. Or when you’re looking at me, I can… feel what you’re feeling.”

“Could you feel me when we were on stage?” Kennedy’s fingers tightened. “Before that guy threw the bottle?”

“No.”

“But then how—“

“That time I got a flash of what you were imagining. I… saw it.”

Kennedy’s heart sped and his skin prickled. “Does this happen a lot?”

“Nuh uh.” Jeremy shook his head, blond hair flying. “Mostly with you. Because you’re so—“

Kennedy silenced the sentence with a hand pressed over that wide mouth, and Jeremy dissolved into giggles. He collapsed on top of Kennedy, burrowed into his side, and was so drunk there was no way he’d remember this in the morning.

But the slim limbs wrapping around Kennedy and the soft mouth grazing his jaw acted as seals imprinting the moment into his brain. He’d always known there was something special about Jeremy—something other than his talent and pretty face. There had seemed to be so much more behind those haunting gray eyes, and now Kennedy knew the truth.

“Maybe don’t tell anyone else about this, okay kid?”

His answer was a low snore. Kennedy laughed quietly and pulled Jeremy closer.

 

Author Bio:

Santino Hassell says that while New York City is his heart, writing is his soul. He writes LGBTQ romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of NYC, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

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Find Santino:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

STYGIAN:

http://www.amazon.com/Stygian-Santino-Hassell-ebook/dp/B016H8X136/

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6830

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Loss, Recovery, Hope… and Cannibalism with Evelyn Esrig

October 21, 2015

Loss Recovery Hope and Cannibalism

Hi! I’m Evelyln Esrig and today I’m releasing my novella Sweetbreads and Sweet Nothings. It’s a strange little book about loss, recovery, hope, … and cannibalism. If you watch NBC’s Hannibal I’m pretty sure my story will seem tame by comparison.

The idea for Sweetbreads and Sweet Nothings came about ages ago, when I rediscovered the Consensual Cannibalism case. The story of a cannibal and his willing prey first cropped up in the news cycle in the early 2000s back when I was in high school. Apparently a two German men named Armin Meiwes and Bernd-Jurgen Brandes met in a cannibal forum and arranged to meet so that Meiwes could butcher and eat Brandes, with Brandes’ full and enthusiastic consent.  Needless to say, my friends and I, geek scifi/horror nerds the lot of us, were obsessed for weeks. But like many teenagers, our attention spans were fleeting and we eventually moved on.

Years later, I had a shiny new creative writing degree and a lot of free time on my hands when the story crossed my path again. It popped up on something like Facebook or Twitter in February 2012. Once again I was enthralled. Consensual cannibalism. How was that possible? The ethical ramifications alone made for some pretty meaty material.

I almost began writing about a cannibal but then I thought “What about the man he ate? What must his family think of this person they thought they knew willingly consenting to be consumed? What must it be like to be that person’s next of kin?” and suddenly I had a whole different story on my hands.  I had a story about someone who lost someone they loved for reasons beyond their understanding and that was a story I wanted to explore more than I wanted to get inside the mind of a killer.

I wanted to be as non-judgmental as possible. I wanted to try and understand. I wanted to understand what would motivate someone to commit the crime of cannibalism, assisted suicide by cannibalism, and what it was like to have someone disappear from your life without a trace. I tried to make it about empathy and rebuilding and recovery. I parked myself at my local Cheesecake Factory listening to My Chemical Romance and The Arctic Monkeys and ate a lot of complimentary bread as I worked.

But what started as a simple story about being left behind evolved from an experiment in fiction for me in the spring of 2012 when someone close to me committed suicide. Needless to say, suddenly I was much deeper in touch with my main character than I had been before. The story became an exercise in acceptance and understanding something that is beyond comprehension – How do we come with the reality that sometimes people choose to leave us in violent and tragic ways? How do we move on? How do we heal? These are the questions that I tried to explore in this story. I don’t know if I accomplished it but I know that when I finished writing it, I certainly felt healed.

Have you ever had an experience like that – where you fell into something that helped you just the way you needed in the least likely way? It’s a beautiful thing and I’d love to hear about it.

<3

@evelynesrig

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evelynesrig@gmail.com

 

Character Creations with Antonia Aquilante – Post + Giveaway

October 14, 2015

Hi, everyone! My name is Antonia Aquilante, and I’m excited to be here today to talk with you about my debut novel, The Prince’s Consort, releasing October 16th. The Prince’s Consort is a fantasy romance about a prince and the son of a glass merchant. Here’s the blurb:

 

Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time. 

Or have they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

***

When I’m writing, the ideas for my stories often come in the form of characters first, and that’s what happened with The Prince’s Consort. I was actually writing a different story entirely, and Amory and Philip were meant to be minor characters who were only in a couple of scenes. They were much older in that story and had been together for a long time. The first scene I wrote with Amory in it just flowed – and I loved Amory immediately.

More about Amory and Philip’s characters kept coming to me, but I was writing a story about someone else. So I made notes about Amory and Philip and set them aside, telling myself I would write their story later, after I finished what I was working on. But even as I wrote that other story, Amory and Philip kept filtering in. I suddenly knew how they meet; I could see the scene in my head. I learned more and more about who they are – Amory’s quiet strength and huge capacity for love, Philip’s protectiveness and hidden vulnerability. And I really wanted to know how they got from that first meeting to the place I knew they’d be in the story I was writing at the time (living happily ever after, of course).

I repeated to myself – and them – over and over to be patient. Soon – I’d write their story soon.

And then I hit a wall in the story I was writing. Something wasn’t working, and I couldn’t quite place what. I beat my head against that wall for a long while, but I got no closer to the problem, and Amory and Philip were still demanding their story be told.

I’m the type of person who likes to finish a project before moving to the next. Every story I’ve written, I’ve finished before beginning another. Normally I just keep working at it, keep thinking and writing, and I get back on track. I didn’t this time. I did something I never do; I put the other project aside and turned to Amory and Philip’s story. I’m so happy I did. And not just because The Prince’s Consort has become my first published novel (even though I’m still giddy about that!), but because I loved figuring out who Amory and Philip are and the world they live in, and what happens to them on their road to happily ever after. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I did writing it.

***

For a chance to win a copy of The Prince’s Consort, tell me about a time when you did the opposite of what you would normally do and the situation turned out better than you expected. Or did it not turn out so well?

***

Bio: 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.

 

Website: www.antoniaaquilante.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AntoniaAquilanteAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/antoniaquilante

Friendships Old and New with Nic Starr – Giveaway + Post

October 7, 2015

Hi. Nic Starr here. I’m joining you today to talk a little about my upcoming release, More Than a Friend. I wanted to talk a little about the book, and the topic of friends.

I had an interesting discussion this week with an old friend of mine, someone I’ve known since high school. Actually, she’s my one and only good friend from those days. You see I’m one of those people who are happy to socialize but I don’t collect a huge group of friends. I have my best girlfriend from school, my best friend from my first long term job, and a best friend from mother’s group. I am extraordinarily close with my sister who lives only two street away, and I have my ‘new’ best friend. Our social circle includes my husband’s best mates and their families, but it is a relatively small group.

So back to the conversation. My friend and I were talking about quality of friendships versus quantity of friendships (of course quality won), and what we expected out of relationships. The discussion drifted to online friends, and the value of relationships via social media. She was quite surprised to find I communicate MORE OFTEN with people I’ve met online and haven’t even met in ‘real-life’. She was amazed to find that something as simple as a shared love of a reading genre, and passion to support same love, could bring a group of people together in such a personal way.

The conversation reminded me how lucky I am to have good people in all areas of my life. I know people who would drop everything if I asked for help, friends to take me in their arms for big hugs, and friends to have fun with and share special moments. But I also have a great group of online friends who are available all hours of the day and night, to provide laughter or comfort or just help me feel like I’m not alone.

This month, October, feels like a special month for friends.

Firstly, I’ll be spending a week with my ‘new’ bestie. We met online a couple of years ago, through our love of m/m romance, and a lasting friendship has formed. We message and talk on the phone every day, and we’ve spent a few weekends together (she lives on the other side of the country to me), but this trip is the two of us going on a BIG adventure so is extra special. You see, we are travelling from Australia to the USA! Yay!

The trip is for GRL, where I am looking forward to meeting and spending times with readers and authors alike. I’m looking forward to putting faces to names, and maybe sharing a hug or two with the people I only know online. It will be a special time.

Finally, the 7th October sees the release of More Than a Friend. This is a friends-to-lovers story. If you’ve read More Than a Superstar, you would have sensed the tension between Tim and Scott. In More Than a Friend, I was able to give these guys their happy ever after. Of course, they need to overcome a number of obstacles once they admit their attraction to one another, including the fact that Tim is best friends with Scott’s brother, so an interesting look at the family/friend dynamic.☺

I’m leaving in a week for San Diego. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to meet many of you while I’m there.

How about I leave you with a giveaway?

 

If you’d like to win an eBook copy of one of my backlist titles, leave a comment on this blog post. All you need to do is share a story about where you met your best friend. Good luck. ☺

Have a great day!

Nic xx

And for those of you interested, here are the details of my latest release.

More Than a Friend – The Blurb

Tim Walker is a free man. He’s broken up with his girlfriend and is ready to move on to a new relationship. But the relationship he wants to pursue is fraught with challenges. Firstly, Scott Richardson is a man, and only Tim’s closest friends know Tim’s bisexual. Secondly, everyone knows Scott relishes the single life. And then there’s the big one: Scott is the younger brother of Tim’s best friend, Paul.

Scott can’t deny an attraction to his brother’s friend Tim. Lean, dark-blond, and blue-eyed, Tim is hot and hard not to notice—especially since Scott and Tim work together. Too bad the man is straight, and too bad Scott worries how Paul will react if Scott hooks up with his best friend.

Tim and Scott want to see if there’s a chance for more than friendship between them, but neither of them wants to lose Paul. Together, they must find the courage to follow their hearts and find a way to have it all.

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

All Romance eBooks

About Nic Starr

Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family—an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters—and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

Website & Blog: http://www.nicstarr.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nic-Starr/e/B00MAWRRQG/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicki.nicstar

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NicStarrAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicstar000

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nicstar000/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8139967.Nic_Starr

Beneath the Streets with Amber Kell + Post and Giveaway

October 1, 2015

Beneath the Streets

Hello, I’m Amber Kell. Dreamspinner Press was kind enough to let me post about my new release Keys. I’m super excited about this book. Keys is my first story that is over sixty thousand words long. I know some authors can type that out half asleep while balancing a baby on their right knee and petting the dog with their left foot, but for me it took a lot of effort.

 

Dreamspinner said I should write about what inspired me. I don’t usually have an answer for that. I get ideas walking down by the water, driving my kids to school or doing laundry, however this time I actually have an answer to that question. My ideas about the City of Keys started when I took the Underground Tour in Seattle. I live in Seattle for those of you who’ve never heard of me and I get a lot of inspiration from the city. Anyway, the Underground Tour is where they take you below the city streets and show you what it was like when it was built over when fire swept through downtown in the 19th century. They show you old shop fronts and explain about the history of the city. It’s really quite a good tour if you happen to be in town.

 

My tour beneath the ground had me thinking about what else could be buried. When I went to London I walked the narrow cobblestone streets and took in the history and began to think steampunkish thoughts. I have to admit I don’t read a lot of steampunk so let’s go that mine is steampunk inspired and leave it at that. It was my trip to Paris that solidified my ideas. After visiting the Paris Catacombs I went to a church crypt. Walking down the halls of the crypt and seeing all the locked iron doors had my idea for Keys springing to life.

 

I asked myself what if a city locked all its magic underneath the city streets?

 

That is the thought that triggered my City of Keys trilogy. A city where magic is considered too dangerous to be out in the world so they chained it below and away from its citizens. How would if affect their way of life and what would happen if it suddenly became free? Most books start with a what if and that was mine. Check out Keys to find out what I did with that concept. Buy link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6897

 

I’ll be giving away a $25.00 Amazon GC to one lucky person. To enter the contest, tell me what magical ability you’d find the most useful.

 

Website: www.amberkellbooks.com

Blog: www.amberkell.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amber.kell.7

Twitter: @amberkell

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

Louise Lyons – history of my writing

August 31, 2015

Hi everyone, it’s still Louise.

Some of you may have heard a little of how I started writing from my author bio, but it’s only brief. So here’s how it all started.

nana and meWhen I was a very little girl, my Nana (grandmother, pictured above with me aged 3) used to stay at mine and my parents’ house for a few days every Christmas. We didn’t have a spare bedroom so she slept on the couch and early in the mornings I’d go and wake her up, then sit under the blanket by her feet while she told me fantasy stories. I’m sure that was one of the main things to spark my imagination, as well as the fact that writing runs in the family, with my mother being a published poet.

From storytelling as a young child, I progressed to writing short stories from around age 8, using my mum’s old manual typewriter, one letter at a time. It started with little girls and ponies (I was a keen horse rider), and developed into very basic MF romances in my early teens. I won a writing competition in my English class at school when I was 12, and had the mortifying moment of being called up on stage in the drama hall to receive my prize. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t speak and just stood there laughing!

After a friend showed me the British gay romance movies, My Beautiful Laundrette, starring Daniel Day Lewis, my cheesy MF romances developed into MM romances, usually featuring my favorite rock stars – my own version of Fanfiction before I’d ever heard of it. Of course, no one ever saw these stories except me and I never dreamed of trying to publish anything at that stage.

My writing was pushed aside for a few years when I got married, as my husband and I traveled a lot and I read instead of putting pen to paper. But it soon resurfaced when I accidentally stumbled upon Fanfictions based on Once Upon A Time n Mexico, a movie I loved at the time. I wrote a couple of my own, then branch into other fandoms such as Predator, Dr. Quinn, True Women and eventually… *cough* Twilight. Yes, I love Twilight and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Nor am I ashamed of the fics I wrote based on it, because if it hadn’t been for my loyal readers and fellow writers of that fandom, I wouldn’t have made an effort to submit something to a publisher. Several of my friends gave me a bit of a kick up the proverbial and encouraged me to try and be an original published writer.

The rest, as they say, is history. Beautiful Thunder is my fourth published novel, and there are four short stories and two novellas in between. Hopefully many more to come.

You can find all of my current works on my LOUISE LYONS AMAZON page.

If you’re a writer, how did it all start for you? If you’re a reader, what draws you to a book the most?

Beautiful Thunder by Louise Lyons – giveaway

August 31, 2015

Hi everyone, Louise here. I’m giving away one eBook from my backlist to one lucky winner!

You’ve all heard a little about my new release, Beautiful Thunder, on the previous two posts. Alex and Lindsey, a singer and guitarist in a struggling rock band in the 1990s, fall in love despite many obstacles, including fears of commitment, a health scare, trust issues and difficulties in the band.

What difficulties have you overcome to be with the one you love? Everyone who comments on this post to answer the question, will go into a random draw to choose one of my previous eBooks.

The books available to choose from are:-

Conflicted

Cover art finalisedTwo competing gangs of car and drag racing enthusiasts with a shared history of pain and rivalry leading to outright hatred. Two men from opposite sides of the tracks, yet with more in common than they’d like to admit.

Paul Appleton is a troubled man who has never been in a relationship, having lost everyone he cared for in his life. His mother died when he was very young and subsequently, he lost his brother and his best friend. Now Paul is convinced love will always end in tears.

Greg was living on the streets after his parents died and was stabbed by a junkie, ending up in hospital. The Buchanans took Greg under their wing while doing charity work, and Greg joined their loving family when he was adopted. He and his siblings are also car enthusiasts with much more money and therefore better cars than Paul Appleton’s gang.

When they eventually find a connection, Paul fights his feelings and tries to convince himself his lover is only a temporary bit of fun, but Greg has other ideas.

The Eye of the Beholder

Final cover artVince Voss is obsessed with physical beauty. Influenced by his aunt, with whom he runs a modeling business, he has become unfeeling and cruel. Vince’s mother, who was a witch in life, returns to show him a better way to live. She casts a spell to take away his good looks and he finds himself challenged with searching for someone to love him, without the use of physical attraction.

Vince eventually meets a lonely male vampire, Peter, and despite his reluctance to get involved with him, he decides to use Peter to help him lift the spell. Little does he know that at first, Peter is using him too, and he finally realizes what’s really important when he falls for Peter along the way.

Beyond The Scars

Beyond the Scars final coverAfter years of physical and mental abuse, Tommy Chadwick finally finds the strength to leave Colin, his tormentor. But Tommy soon finds that escaping his violent boyfriend was only the first step on his path to recovery. Now he must overcome feelings of worthlessness in order to rebuild his battered self-esteem.

Tommy’s lack of self-confidence prevents him from going out… at first, but then has him ricocheting from one man to another, desperately trying to please them in his search for love and acceptance.

After being rejected on New Year’s Eve, and then beaten after leaving the gay bar, he agrees to accompany his best friend, Sarah, to a martial arts club. There Tommy meets Marcus, a strong older man, who at first becomes his friend, introducing Tommy to new interests, and later, tentatively asks him on a date.

Will Marcus be the man to help Tommy put his past behind him and fall in love for real?