Men in Kilts with KC Burn – Post + Giveaway

February 26, 2016

Men in Kilts

Hello! I’m KC Burn, and I’m here to talk about Tartan Candy, my new novel featuring a kilted ex-porn star and a blue collar worker, set in Orlando.

Once upon a time… or six years ago… I attended my first Romance Writers of America National Conference in Orlando. It was supposed to have been in Nashville that year, but they had terrible, terrible flooding that necessitated a change in venue. While I felt awful for the residents of Nashville, the move to my (then) home turf meant I was finally able to attend after years of waiting. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few RWA national conferences since, along with a number of other incredibly awesome romance conferences.

If you’ve never been to a convention dedicated to romance (either as a writer or a reader), let me tell you, they’re primarily women attendees. Each year, I see more and more men, but that year in Orlando, it was probably around 99% women. The convention hotel even changed the men’s restrooms to women’s for the duration of the conference on the main floors to accommodate – which appears to be common practice from what I’ve seen.

The weird thing about the Orlando conference was that I only saw about 3 men, and they were all wearing kilts (and no… I don’t believe any of them were Damon Suede).  My friend Chudney Thomas and I were having a drink on a patio and discussing the odds of having three men in kilts appearing independently at one event. I hung on to that little writing prompt for years. I’d sort of assumed I’d end up writing a ménage featuring three kilted men, but that many hot men in kilts would probably fry my computer. Or my brain. Either way, it was safer to revise the storyline. But I made sure to give a little nod to that conference in Tartan Candy.

I’ve long been a fan of men in kilts. One of my favourite images is an old Vanity Fair cover of Ewan McGregor from 1998. I must admit, I don’t often read magazines nor do I often use visual prompts, but I picked that magazine up and kept the cover. I still have it in my “inspiration” files to this day. And the chicken just adds a certain flair. So hot. Er… Ewan, not the chicken.

Although I’m hoping Raven will make it into your top ten list of kilted men, have you got any favourites, fictional or otherwise?

One random commenter will win an e-copy of one of my backlist titles from Dreamspinner Press.



Tartan Candy Blurb:

Finlay McIntyre (aka Raven) is a successful adult film star with a penchant for kilts, until an accident cuts short his stardom and leaves him with reduced sex appeal, lowered self-esteem, and no job. He knew his porn career wouldn’t last forever, but he wasn’t prepared for retirement at twenty-eight. While trying to figure out the rest of his life, Raven attends a high school reunion. That’s when a malfunctioning AC unit in his hotel room changes everything.

Caleb Sanderson, an entrepreneur with his own HVAC business, has no idea what to expect when he steps into Raven’s hotel room to fix his AC unit. They’re attracted to each other, but Caleb, closeted, can’t afford a gay relationship, not with his mom pressuring him to produce grandchildren. If he wants to keep Raven—who no closet could hold—he’ll need to tell his family the truth. But Raven has a few secrets of his own. He refuses to reveal his porn past to Caleb, a past that might be the final obstacle to Caleb and Raven having any kind of relationship.


You can find me online at:

Website || Facebook || Twitter

About KC

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds). After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own—getting published. After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does.

What Inspired Yesterday by Mickie B. Ashling – Post + Giveaway

January 22, 2016

What Inspired Yesterday

Hi, everyone!

I’m here to celebrate the release of my latest novel, Yesterday, a period piece set in Karachi, Pakistan. You’re probably wondering how or why I chose this locale. A writer’s brain is a weird and unpredictable part of our anatomy (at least mine is). It can draw inspiration from memories buried so far back in our subconscious we don’t even realize they exist—until a prompt comes along. It can be anything from a song to a smell, but once it’s unleashed, there’s no stopping the ideas from flowing. This is the magical part of writing I love. In the case of Yesterday, my trigger was a photo I’d unearthed while cleaning out my closets in preparation for my latest move from one suburb to another.

Yesterday Front

Several decades ago, before the Middle East was a tinderbox, and the most dangerous thing about traveling to that region of the world was heatstroke, my stepfather was assigned to a business posting in Karachi, Pakistan. Much like my character, Grady Ormond, I wasn’t thrilled by the prospect. The thought of spending any amount of time (I was also on break between high school and college) in a desert climate with no friends, other than my sister, and very little understanding of the culture or language, wasn’t my idea of a good time. I’d left a boyfriend behind as well, and in those days, there was no social media to keep us in touch. We had to resort to letter writing, something I didn’t mind, but he wasn’t too keen on the idea. Separation was bad enough, but imagining worst-case scenarios (cheating etc.) was depressing. I was stuck trying to figure out positive ways to keep my overactive mind in check. There was always reading, but since romance was my favorite genre and every bodice-ripper had a jealousy arc, I ignored the paperbacks in favor of exploration.

At the time, I didn’t know Pakistan was a melting pot of faiths and cultures. Having been occupied at one time or another by different empires—India, Persia, Turkey, Arabia, Mongolia, and Great Britain—it’s ethnically and linguistically diverse. The religion is primarily Islam, but when I was there, it wasn’t uncommon to have Hindus and Christians living side by side. The political atmosphere was very different in those days and foreigners could walk the streets without worrying about suicide bombers or being kidnapped.

We played it safe the first week, joining other expats at the American Club, lazing in the sun, and sampling the different varieties of food. I ignored hot dogs and hamburgers and reached for the Chicken Tikka instead, falling in love with the new flavors from the very bland to the tongue-scorching vindaloo.

The next week our parents allowed us to explore the city (with a guide), and our first stop was the Empress Market. Hypnotized by the exotic, I tried on bangles, earrings, scarves, and necklaces. Shopkeepers showed me how to turn lovely gold-threaded fabric into a sari, and I insisted on wearing one over my shorts and T-shirt, adding to the fun by parading up and down the aisles in my new outfit. We bought hand-tooled slippers, admired the colorful pottery and metal work, tiptoed warily around the animal cages, praying none of the cobras would leap out of their baskets, and I ate more street food than was smart. It was a magical place and I tried to share some of my exploits through the voice of my character, Grady.

There was a French girl I befriended at the club. She was older than me and much more sophisticated. Her English was terrible and my French was atrocious, but we managed to communicate. She eloped with her Pakistani boyfriend while I was there, and they lived in a tiny apartment with hardly any furniture. His parents were against the marriage so they made do with very little. At the time, I thought it was romantic as hell to live on love and not much else. I was pretty clueless in those days. Her husband was tall and very good looking, made even more attractive by his Brit accent and his impeccable manners. He was always dressed in a long white tunic and flowing pants, the salwar kameez I describe in my novel. In truth, a lot of Prince Kamran’s physicality was modeled after this man who made quite an impression.

Through our new friends, we were introduced to other people our age. I went out on a few innocent lunch dates with an Iranian student who shared interesting facts about his country and culture. He was very nice and I would have probably given some serious thought to his tentative advances if not for the fact that I had a boyfriend back home. I thought of him often when Iran was going through its political turmoil.

We learned that Pakistani beaches were famous for green turtle migrations.   One such beach, Hawks Bay, was twenty kilometers from the city, and my sister and I were invited to observe this phenomenon firsthand. Here’s a short excerpt from the novel that describes Grady’s evening.



The turtle experience was as fascinating as I’d hoped, except for the buzzing mosquitoes determined to eat me alive. What made it worse was that I was the only one who was sweet enough to be targeted by the bloodsuckers. After a certain point, I resigned myself to being a lumpy mess by the time we got back on the yacht. Hopefully one of my companions would produce some home remedy to get rid of the itch and red spots.

Gus stayed on the yacht, but Jon came along to navigate the dingy, which was parked on the sand where we could see it but not in the pathway of the turtles. It was quite a hike from sand to sea, and I could understand how a lot of the hatchlings would fall into the mouths of predators before reaching their goal. It looked like a marathon crawl from where we were hiding, but they’d been doing this for centuries, and when they started to move, they came out in droves. One minute the sand was smooth and bare and the next covered with moving amniotes raring to go home. The moon was doing its job that night, shining brightly on the water to guide the little critters to the deep. I was pretty stoked with the idea of capturing something like this on film. Kam watched for a while but got bored midway and fell asleep. It was past midnight, and we’d had a long and emotional day. Jon was beside me, though, handing me whatever I needed to make sure I got it all on film.

Several hours later, everything stopped. The sand looked like a blanket of silk again, and the whole experience felt like a dream. The moon was starting to wane, and soon the sun would be rising, which was probably what put everything to a grinding halt. We shook Kam awake and made it back to the yacht without any problems. Back on board, I stripped and stood under the shower for as long as possible, trying to find some relief. My arms and legs were covered in red splotches. My torso was fine, thank the Lord, but the rest of me looked like I had a bad case of hives or measles. I popped a couple of aspirin when I got out of the shower and went up to the galley hoping Gus could recommend something to make it go away.

He took one look at me, mumbled a few choice words in Italian, removed a big bottle of vinegar from the pantry, and poured it on my skin. I howled like a banshee, but after a few minutes the pain subsided and so did the itch.


As it turned out, my summer in Karachi gave me a new appreciation and awareness of a previously unknown section of the world. The knowledge I gained at that time has stayed with me through the years, and the savory cuisine from that part of the world remains on my list of favorites.

The world has changed a lot since then. Good people who fall into a certain demographic are automatically shunned or condemned because of the radicals in their faith whose sole purpose is to stir up hate and dissent. As a writer, I’ve never shied away from including characters and situations as diverse and interesting as the people I’ve met in my life.  I hope you have an opportunity to pick up a copy of Yesterday, a love story between two very different men who dare to take a chance.

Answer any of the questions I’ve posed in italics, and your name will go into the drawing for a $15.00 DSP Gift Certificate. The winner will be chosen in three days.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation totally out of your control?

Do you like food from the Middle East? What’s your favorite dish?

Ever see a live cobra outside of a cage?  

Have you ever been attracted to someone you can’t have?

Would you travel to an exotic locale if given a chance? If so, where?

Do you enjoy stories with diverse characters?


In June of 1978 Grady Ormond, eighteen-year-old son of diplomat Peter Ormond, accompanies his father to his new posting as US Ambassador to Pakistan. Neighboring Iran is on the brink of a civil war, with the monarchy in danger of being overthrown.

Grady will be leaving for New York City in late August to study cinematography and has been warned to keep his homosexual orientation tightly under wraps while on vacation. Repercussions in the predominantly Islamic region could be severe.

On their first night in Karachi, his father hosts a cocktail party to meet the local dignitaries. Grady is introduced to His Highness Prince Kamran Izadi, nephew of the shah of Iran. Twenty-three-year-old Kamran has recently returned from the UK, where he spent eleven years, first as a student, and then as a financial analyst.

The attraction is immediate—unforeseen and dangerously powerful—but neither one dares to make a move. Odds are so stacked against them it’s futile to even entertain a friendship, but they do, and their world tilts precariously.

With his country in turmoil and Grady about to leave for college, Kamran makes a decision that will change their lives forever.



Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing–and the inevitable emptying nest–dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings. Mickie currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

Contact Info





Get your copy of Yesterday now!

Dreamspinner Press


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Of Intergalactic Space Ships and a Paradise on Earth with L. J. LaBarthe – Post + Giveaway

January 18, 2016

Of Intergalactic Space Ships and a Paradise on Earth

Hi there! I’m L. J. LaBarthe and I’m here today to talk about my new release, “Song of Song.”

“Song of Song” is a science fiction novel. I’ve always wanted to write a sci-fi, as I love sci-fi myself. I grew up watching “Star Wars,” the original “V” series’, “Blake’s 7,” the 1980s mini-series “The Martian Chronicles” starring Rock Hudson (one of the last things he made before he died), and more. My father was an avid fan of sci-fi, he loved “Buck Rogers,” which never really appealed to me at all, and “Battlestar Galactica,” which I liked (although I preferred the remake!) My mother was and still is an avid “Doctor Who” fan, and I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi books while I was growing up… and I still do!

So as you can see, sci-fi is a genre that is near and dear to my heart. It was only going to be a matter of time before I sat down and wrote one myself, and “Song of Song” is the result. It’s set in the future, a future where the rich have taken over Earth, sending the poor to live in off-world colonies and eke out their own existence, while the rich use Earth as their own paradise and playground. To support the wealthy families, there are groups of genetically engineered humans called Boxies, who live in what are called Box Towers and do things like mechanical repairs, laundry, clothing alterations, and things like that. One Boxie, named Dex, decides to escape with his only companion and friend, an AI cat named Manx.

As AI pets are not permitted to Boxies, Dex decides to run away with the help of his friend, and soon finds himself on board the sentient and organic spaceship Fa’a with her crew. He’s instantly physically attracted to the man who designed and built her—Song. Despite all manner of threats and trouble, the two of them manage to get together and fall in love, even when it seems that their burgeoning relationship may be destroyed by outside nefarious forces.

While I was writing, I had a variety of DVDs on as background noise, things that are both dear to my heart and inspired me to come up with ideas. I alternated between “Star Wars,” “Babylon 5,” and “Blake’s 7,” which makes for quite a mix of dystopian sci-fi, wartime futuristic sci-fi and a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away sci-fi. All of it did help keep me in the zone, though!


So what’s your favorite sci-fi show or film? Do you prefer the modern ones or the older films, the more kitschy and schlocky ones? (“Planet of the Apes”—the original one with Charleton Heston, “2001: A Space Odyssey” “Alphaville,” “Solaris,” “Logan’s Run,” and “Dark Star” are all favorites of mine from the 1960s and 1970s.)

Leave a comment about your favorite sci-fi TV show or film or both to go in the draw for a copy of “Song of Song!”

You can find me on social media too at the following locations:

Twitter: @brbsiberia

Get your copy of “Song of Song” today!

Happy Birthday by B.D. Roca: Tattoo Stories

January 13, 2016


Hi guys, it’s B.D. Roca here with my third and final release day post. Before I start though, don’t forget to hit the comments for a chance to win a copy of Happy Birthday!

Here’s the great Reese Dante cover:


How do you all feel about tattoos? Do you have any? I’ve heard about tats located in some pretty wild (and painful!) places, but as you can tell from Reese’s artwork, one of the MC’s, Nick, has a very particular tattoo of a phoenix down his chest. For him it’s a marker of who he is and what he’s lived through:

…He wasn’t like a lot of the MC members. Didn’t have tats up and down his arms, neck. He hadn’t liked being publicly marked, having anything that gave others something to remember. But clothing off….

That was a different matter.

“Shit,” Jake muttered, drawing back to look at him.

The overhead light was still on, harsh. It lit the wiry, tough muscularity of Nick’s torso perfectly. He’d always been obsessed with wings, and the tattooist had suggested an angel. An eagle. Then a dragon. No go.

She’d groaned. “You’re a tough one. What else do you like besides wings?”

He’d laughed abruptly. “Closing doors.”

She’d stared at him for a moment and then nodded, done a quick, rough sketch. And so he’d gained the phoenix on his chest. Gray-scale, the thing roared and raged from below his beltline to up over his nipples, surrounded by flames, every feather and claw incredibly fine.

There were other tattoos. Ones that didn’t matter so much, one on his hip, a couple on his back.

But the phoenix—Jake traced it with a fingertip. “That’s real art.”

Nick tried not to shiver at that simple touch.

“Yeah. The inker was good. Recommended to me as being pretty damned amazing. They were right.”

Jake blinked at it and gave Nick’s face a sudden shy look. “I thought about being an artist once. Ended up in IT instead. You know, the sensible career option.”

Since Nick didn’t know shit about career options, he could only nod.

“Ignore me,” Jake muttered. “You don’t need to hear that garbage.” He bent his head and traced his tongue over Nick’s collarbone. “You taste like salt. You taste… so good.”

Those two guys have wicked hot chemistry. But as different as their backgrounds are, Jake understands Nick:

“This tattoo,” Jake muttered, now tracing the phoenix soaring over Nick’s chest. He bent, outlined it with his tongue. “It’s your life.”

The phoenix. Rising from the flames. Surviving.

Personally, I love tattoos. I think — when they’re good, they’re real art and can have an intensely personal meaning. You just have to find the right artist. And tattoo parlors always look intriguing, one way or another.


Photocredit: Tattoo Parlour via photopin (license)

Somehow, for me, tats always go with some good thrashy rock, so I’ll finish up here with an AC/DC classic. As an Aussie, and with Happy Birthday opening on a road trip heading across the highways from Melbourne to Sydney, Highway To Hell couldn’t be more appropriate. Hit the YouTube link for a view and a retro listen! Enjoy :)

So guys, I’ve had fun over these posts talking some about the background to Happy Birthday, sharing some of the soundtrack I had playing while writing and my other obsessions… like tattoos!

In the comments section I’d love to know if you have any tats, and DID IT HURT? Cos I’ve always wanted to get a large ouroboros—a serpent devouring its own tail, a symbol of rebirth and reinvention—tattooed on my back.

No wonder I gave Nick a phoenix tattoo! So for a chance to win a copy of Happy Birthday, tell me your own tattoo stories, for better or worse ;)

My Bio: B.D. Roca spent her early years in Brisbane, in a series of crumbling old houses laced with the smell of frangipani and surrounded by the hum of cicadas. Her gran raised her on ghost stories, quirky family history, and told her to beat up anyone who gave her attitude. This was not advice she took, although it does make a certain amount of sense. It may also account for her love of tough characters with a heart of gold.

Between the old houses, feral cats, steamy heat, and history lessons, it was pure Australian gothic. She’s traveled a lot since then, but those times are still a powerful influence both on her worldview and writing.

Say hi to me here:
Twitter: @bd_roca

Happy Birthday’s (short list) buy links:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon Global

It’s also available through:

Amazon worldwide
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks

Curious about just how the story opens and haven’t read the full first chapter excerpt? Click here on the title’s link: Dreamspinner Press


Happy Birthday by B.D. Roca… Road Trips and Soundtracks

January 13, 2016


B.D. Roca here! For my second release day post, I thought I’d start by chatting about birthdays because, well, the title says it all (I’m all about the logic!). Birthdays can be loaded things: good and bad (and not just because of those big 0 markers that come up).

There are two birthdays marking Happy Birthday, one dark, troubling and potentially lethal and one that is all about the lovely traditional birthday stuff: celebration and joy. When I was choosing a title for the story, I must admit, my dark sense of humor did creep in there a little. I’ve seen too many birthdays go sideways, with all the best intentions in the world. So much emotion and significance can be attached to them and they are life markers, one way or another.


Photo credit: Tha Cake via photopin (license)

Happy Birthday opens with a very stalkery road trip: Nick is tracking Jake Rushman, the innocent witness to an MC related murder. While I was writing I really had a vision of those empty roads and highways, the danger of that isolation playing through my mind, together with images of just what would be running through Nick’s mind. He’s burned out: he has blood on his hands and aches both for redemption and for the guilt to stop tearing at him. Jake’s ahead of him, on the run, racing in a rental car from Melbourne up to Sydney, which is exactly the city a very focused Nick wants him to land in. Poor Jake really doesn’t have much hope of escape ;)


Photo credit: Sydney Harbor Bridge via photopin (license)

Sydney is a perfect jump-off point for a number of destinations, hence Nick’s focus. I had a number of songs playing for their dual road trips, but this one by Tricky was on constant repeat. It’s the perfect, sinister song as soundtrack to a story about a MC enforcer tracking his mark.

Click on the link to view it in YouTube: Tricky, Bury The Evidence.

I love the sound of Tricky’s voice, especially in this song. I bought the CD on the strength of it. It’s a sinister song about sinister doings. But Nick isn’t quite a match for the lure Jake is offering. It’s something he’s never truly had before:

…Nick moaned and jerked against him. He felt Jake smile against his throat.

“Like that, do you?”

“What is this?” Nick demanded.


Nick had no answer for that. Life?

Curious about how the story opens and haven’t read the full first chapter excerpt? Click here on the title’s link: Dreamspinner Press

My Bio: B.D. Roca spent her early years in Brisbane, in a series of crumbling old houses laced with the smell of frangipani and surrounded by the hum of cicadas. Her gran raised her on ghost stories, quirky family history, and told her to beat up anyone who gave her attitude. This was not advice she took, although it does make a certain amount of sense. It may also account for her love of tough characters with a heart of gold.

Between the old houses, feral cats, steamy heat, and history lessons, it was pure Australian gothic. She’s traveled a lot since then, but those times are still a powerful influence both on her worldview and writing.

Say hi to me here:
Twitter: @bd_roca

Happy Birthday’s (short list) buy links:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon Global

So guys, any favorite road trip songs? Or recommendations for great soundtracks while writing about sinister doings? Drop a line in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday by B.D. Roca Release Day Party + Giveaway

January 13, 2016


Hi all, I’m B.D. Roca and I’m here to chat about Happy Birthday, my novella released today.

I’m also doing a giveaway of the eBook so don’t forget to leave a comment or two to be in the running. Christmas may be a few weeks behind us but there are still goodies to be had ;)

What does Happy Birthday revolve around? Hmm, well… it’s about Nick, a motorcycle club enforcer with a death wish, Jake, the witness on the run he’s sent to eliminate, and just what happens when those two guys meet. Hint: a lot of heat gets generated.

Here’s a glimpse:

…Jake slammed him up against the wall, and Nick’s mind went blank. The enforcer, the killer, the one who knew how to track, who knew how to use a knife, a gun, his hands, fists, who knew how to lock up his house tighter than a damned drum before he hit the sack, and slept with a gun under one pillow and a knife under the other, that Nick was still somehow quietly humming, a machine, in the background. But the other Nick—the one who had watched this man for two days now, and felt, deceptively, that he had come to know him, the one who was going to make his own useless life and his useless death mean something by using it to save this stranger—that Nick had been thrown into a new world. And sank into it.

The old Nick would have said screw that.

Yeah, one wrong move and Jake would have been slammed, all right. Autopilot would have kicked in. Jake would have been slammed down onto the shitty mustard-colored carpet, and Nick’s arm would have been across his windpipe, choking him.

But that wasn’t what this was about.

He’d left that guy behind…

Here’s the brilliant cover by Reese Dante:


And here’s the blurb:

Jake Rushman is on the run, but it’s too late. He’s being tracked by an expert.

Motorcycle Club Enforcer Nick is tough, but even he has a conscience. It’s slowly destroying him, together with memories of his parents’ ugly deaths. Nick eliminates the guilty, but Jake Rushman is the innocent witness to a murder. It will be one kill too many.

Determined to find redemption, Nick plans to trade his life for Jake’s. Neither man counts on the fierce, powerful bond that the collision of their opposing worlds brings, and Jake refuses to let Nick sacrifice himself. He offers Nick the one thing he’s never had: hope.

But with a violent past tracking them, Nick might be forced to do the one thing he promised himself he never would—kill again.

I’ve always loved tough characters, bad boys the world sees as scary but who allow themselves to become vulnerable for that one special individual. Nick is that kind of tough guy; virtually born into the MC life, Jake is the man who offers him redemption. Writing about those two was a rush, a lot of fun and involved research into aspects of MC life such as biker history, club structure and hierarchy.

I can be reached at:
Twitter: @bd_roca

Happy Birthday (short list) buy links:

Dreamspinner Press (also click the Dreamspinner link to read a full first chapter excerpt)
Amazon Global

In the meantime, I’d love to know your feelings about bad boys (this is really, truly research for me, guys!), so let me know about your fave M/M bad boys in the comments :)


Life’s a Zoo with Meg Harding – Post + Giveaway

January 6, 2016

Life's a Zoo

Hi all. I’m Meg Harding and my novella Fixer-Upper comes out today. Dakota and Jake’s story originally started as a much shorter anthology submission, that I then extended by about ten thousand words and submitted on its own. Despite the holiday timing, it’s not about Christmas or even New Years. But it is about new beginnings, so the new year is a fitting time for Fixer-Upper’s release.

I don’t know how many of you have seen Frozen—I’ll admit I’ve only seen it once—but there’s a song in it about the guy being a bit of a fixer-upper. I’d forgotten about the song, until one of my friends who was attending a wedding mentioned that the bridesmaids wanted to dance to this song in regards to the groom. I thought that was a little mean, but the idea of a fixer-upper stuck with me. But I wanted to twist it a little.

People on a whole tend to see themselves as fixer-uppers, and the house in this story is a metaphor for how Jake feels about himself. But Dakota, who is doing a large part of the fixing of the house, doesn’t view Jake as in need of a fix. He’s not waiting for Jake to change. He’s waiting for Jake to realize that he’s a-okay. He wants Jake to be comfortable with himself. I like the idea that Dakota doesn’t view Jake as something that is broken, but that he accepts and is willing to work with the fact that Jake does. It’s not his job to make Jake see the truth—that’s something Jake has to do on his own—though he can help him. This is a bit of a slow burn as far as things go, and that’s important to the story. Dakota is very careful of Jake.

One of the biggest influences on me for this particular story was the idea of meet uglies. I didn’t want characters who met in a cute way, where everything went to plan before the bumps appeared. I wanted to explore characters overcoming awkwardness and embarrassment because they kept making mistakes. I liked the idea of a character falling in love with someone because they messed up, because they were unintentionally a little hazardous. Throughout the beginning of the story, Jake has a series of accidents that all lead to less than desirable results for Dakota. This was partly influenced by my own experience—in that I’m as awkward as awkward gets. If I’m trying to flirt, or impress someone, chances are I’m going to end up falling on my face. Jake’s got my inability to look competent in the face of an audience in spades.

In the majority of the things I write, I like to slide my own interests in. If you’ve read any of my past titles, you’ve seen mentions of Sherlock Holmes, Marvel, LOTR, etc. This story isn’t an exception. The first date Dakota and Jake go on is to a zoo, which may seem like a not very adult date type of thing. But it’s literally my idea of a perfect date. I LOVE zoos. I spent the last year living abroad, and I tried to go to a zoo in every country I visited. It’s important to me that somehow, someway, animals are included in my stories. There’s even a majestically named puppy that appears at the end (yet another interest of mine popping up). But back to the zoos. This scene was very much inspired by the zoos I’ve been to in the last year, and the frankly amazing things I’ve seen.

So here’s some pictures I took that can help you picture just what these two were marveling at.





Now, for the fun part. A giveaway! Want to win a copy of one of my previous books with Dreamspinner? Comment below to let me know what your best first date was and one person will win a backlist title of their choice!


You can find me at:

WordPress / Twitter / Facebook / Dreamspinner / Google + / Amazon / Goodreads

Check out Fixer-Upper by Meg Harding – out today!


Stay Focused, Live Free with Evan Gilbert – Post + Giveaway

December 30, 2015

stay focused, live free (1)

Greetings, all. This is Evan Gilbert, here for the release today of
my novella Eyes on Sparrow.


People and events in my own life often provide the spark that drives my fiction writing. Several months ago, I casually mentioned to a friend that I wanted to do another gay romantic story involving blue collar men. This friend has a fetish for construction workers and suggested (demanded, actually) that I include at least one in my new endeavor. That inspired the creation of Kele Smith, the sexy young Native American man who becomes a teasing object of desire while building a house. Originally, I was going to pair him off with an older construction worker. That changed when a cousin of mine graduated from high school in May. I asked her what she planned to do next, and she explained that she would be attending the college her parents chose, as well as pursuing the course of study they selected for her. Her interests, she further explained, lie elsewhere, but her parents were footing the bill, so what could she do?


I don’t usually stick my nose where it doesn’t belong, but I went to my aunt and uncle on my cousin’s behalf and told them she really wanted a different career than the one they were pushing her into. They told me my cousin had been directionless her entire time in high school and was still directionless, which is why they made the choices they did for her. I couldn’t get them to see that their daughter’s perceived lack of aim had more to do with their always leading her by the hand while she was growing up rather than stepping back and letting her do her own thing.


The discussions with my cousin, aunt, and uncle caused the character Morgan Breck to spring into the story. Newly graduated from high school, he’s a young man who has never asserted his independence, even sublimating his sexuality to the will of his parents. Religious themes worked their way in with Morgan and his parents, which led to Kele getting the “Sparrow” nickname. I wanted to use a title that played off the old gospel hymn “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”


Here we are on the cusp of a brand new year, a time for making bold decisions, changing direction, taking chances and taking control. Is there something you’ve wanted to do with your life but haven’t for some reason?  Have you decided to make a leap of faith in the coming year? Leave a comment with your resolutions, or share your thoughts on living freely and independently. After seventy-two hours, all commenters will be entered into a drawing and the winner gets to select an eBook from my backlist.


Thanks for reading, and all the best to you in 2016.


Get your copy of Eyes on Sparrow here!


Winners from There You Are Release Party

December 25, 2015


MERRY CHRISTMAS to all who celebrate! And thank you to everyone who joined me for the There You Are Release party yesterday. It was a fun way to spend Christmas Eve.


Dreamspinner   Amazon   All Romance   Barnes&Noble   Apple   Kobo   Google Play

And remember that Dreamspinner is having a great holiday 25% off sale through 12/28!


And now… drum roll please… the three winners of a CJane Elliott ebook of your choice are…




Please be in touch with and she will get you your free ebook. It can be this new release or any of my other ebooks, including one of my novels.


There You Are Release Party – Wrap Up, Giveaway Reminder, and Upcoming Events

December 24, 2015


Before we end the There You Are party today, I wanted to mention two other novellas relevant to There You Are. Wild and Precious is Book One of the series. And Alex Harrison from Mercury in Retrograde makes a cameo appearance toward the end of There You Are in a scene at the same river rafting lodge featured in that story.



Also, I’m excited to say that Wild and Precious is being made into an audiobook with a great narrator, KC Kelly.

Future writing plans: Book Three of the Wild and Precious series is under contract and will be released in May/June 2016. This one features Sandy, Phineas’s nephew, and is titled Sand-Man’s Family.

There You Are Buy LinksDreamspinner   Amazon   All Romance   Barnes&Noble   Apple   Kobo   Google Play

Remember that Dreamspinners is having a 25% off sale for the whole store through December 28!




I have an exciting There You Are blog tour lined up with giveaways and intriguing interview questions, so I hope you’ll join me at these tour stops:


GIVEAWAY: I will announce the giveaway winners tomorrow. Three people will be chosen at random from all who commented today on any of the blog posts. There’s still time to leave a comment and win a chance at a free ebook of mine, your choice.

Thank you for joining me today, and happy reading!