Wish You Were Here: Going Forward w/ Asta Idonea + Giveaway

February 7, 2017

Going Forward with Asta Idonea

My name is Asta Idonea. Born in the UK, I now live in South Australia, where I work from home as a freelance editor and author. I’m a keen reader and linguist, and I enjoy many other artistic and cultural pursuits. My new passion for 2017 is my bullet journal!

Today I am here to share my latest MM release. Wish You Were Here is a contemporary MM novella with a paranormal twist, and I hope readers will find the work an enjoyable and thought-provoking read. It follows Oakley and his family as they embark on a fraught family vacation in the aftermath of Oakley’s sister’s death. They are a family divided, but Oakley finds help in the form of local boy Bobby, who has problems of his own.

Musical theatre provided some of my inspiration for this tale. I was watching footage from a show (I can’t say which as it might give away the twist in my own story!) when the idea for the plot of Wish You Were Here came to me.

Grief is a major theme in that musical, and the same is true for this book. I wanted to reflect on the different ways in which people grieve, and they how can come out stronger on the other side. Grief doesn’t only have to be negative; it can also help to form our characters and the paths we choose to take. When Oakley’s family make their trip to the Cotswolds, that change of location helps them all, regardless of the different ways each expresses their grief. They arrive in an aura of negativity, but each has found hope by the time they leave.

Most of my stories are fairly light-hearted, so I wanted to push myself with Wish You Were Here by writing a tale with more of a psychological nuance. This is something I’d like to come back to in future works; however, my current w-i-p sees a return to humour, albeit with a message underneath. This new tale will be my first novel-length MM work and I hope to have it ready for submission by May this year, so, fingers crossed, I might be able to share it with you in late 2017 or early 2018. So long as it’s accepted for publication of course! :)

I’ll sign out there, but I’d love to hear from readers with any comments. Where would you vacation if you were looking for somewhere to recharge and review your life?

 

Check out Wish You Were Here today!

 

Wish You Were Here by Asta Idonea

Blurb:

The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.

 

Asta Idonea

About the Author:

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Blog: http://www.nickijmarkus.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nickijmarkus/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+NickiJMarkusAstaIdonea
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4567057.Nicki_J_Markus
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolamarkus
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO

 

Giveaway:

This giveaway is running as part of my blog tour for Wish You Were Here and is open until the end of February. The prize is an e-copy of my previous MM Sci-Fi novella, Fire Up My Heart.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Passion and Storytelling w/ J. C. Long + Giveaway

February 1, 2017

 Passion and Storytelling with J. C. Long

 

Hello, Dreamspinner readers! For those who don’t know me, I’m J. C. Long, and I’m a writer by night and an English teacher by day who’s been living in Asia for several years, right now in Japan. My most recent release is Broadway Babe, a novella that takes place behind the curtains of a Broadway musical.

At its heart, Broadway Babe is about passion, creativity, and drive. Broadway performers have all of those things, in spades. The inspiration for the story comes from my own life—I was in theatre for the majority of my childhood, and it’s played a major role in my life and shaping me as a person. I learned so much about owning myself and the masks that we wear around others. It was theatre that surrounded me with wonderful friends and a support system that allowed me to come out in high school and have a relatively safe experience (compared to others; I had my share of bad experiences, but others had it so much worse). While I never made it to Broadway, I love performing and the feeling I get from it.

Acting is about storytelling—embodying the role of a character to communicate the words of the playwright. I feel like writing is a lot like that, to be honest. When I’m writing I will often read my dialogue as if I am the characters so that I can see how it makes sense. An actor has to get inside the head of the character, understand their motivations beyond what’s on the page to truly embody the story and make their characters alive. That’s the hallmark of a good thespian—someone who can make a character seem like a real person, as opposed to a two-dimensional character who is just going through the motions because the script said so. Interestingly enough, this is also the hallmark of a good writer—can he or she make the character’s seem three dimensional, give the essence of motivation behind actions, instead of a simple case of “this is happening in order to advance the plot even though I have no real reason to act this way”.

In this current day I think everyone needs a little pick me up, some happy considering the darkness that we’re facing, with the Dark Lord in the White House. I really think that Broadway Babe delivers in the feel good department. I did my best to keep it as low on angst as possible so that everyone could read it and come away happy. Don’t worry, Tate and Mike get their happily ever after! What’s romance without it, right?

Now, everybody likes a giveaway, right? Well, I’ll be giving away one free eBook of Broadway Babe to a lucky participant! If you want to enter, I hope you’ve been following my blog tour (if not you can go to my website, listed below, to find links to all the stops) because for your entry I want you to tell me which of my seven other blog stops was your favorite. What did you like about it? Simply reply that to this post and I’ll use a random number generator to select the winner in 72 hours! Good luck, everyone, and I hope you enjoy Broadway Babe and meeting Tate and Mike!

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjclong
Twitter: https://twitter.com/j_c_long_author
Website: http://www.jclong.org

 

Check out Broadway Babe today!

 

Broadway Babe by J. C. Long

Blurb: 

Tate O’Connor has worked hard to realize his dream of dancing on Broadway, and it’s about to pay off with a premier in his first show. He doesn’t expect the distraction of sharing the stage with his celebrity crush: Broadway superstar Mike Chang. Drama ensues both onstage and off as Tate and Mike work closely and realize there could be something between them. However, there are those who don’t think an up-and-coming dancer is good enough for someone with Mike’s talent and fame, and rumors and misunderstandings might lead to broken hearts if Tate and Mike can’t work through their confusion and insecurity.

About the Author:

J. C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an Army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his lifelong involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States, J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C.’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing, and Korean food (not in that order… okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts, and wishing he were writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

That Magic Moment w/ Allison Cassatta + Giveaway

January 26, 2017

 

That Magic Moment with Allison Cassatta

 

As a writer, I normally go into a story knowing exactly how a relationship will develop. I have a roadmap in my head, and most of the time, the characters follow the path they’re supposed to follow. Ironically, Silas and Ben’s magic moment didn’t happen that way. It came in the form of a suggestion from the editors, actually. They wanted to see more scenes between Ben and Silas. They wanted to see the two on page more often, more than casually bumping into each other around Midtown. Then this scene happened, and I couldn’t thank my editors enough. From their suggestion came one of the cutest scenes between the two, and god knew they needed some cute.

As a reader, what is your favorite aha moment for the characters? Do you like the sweet, funny scenes when two men who keep running into each other but don’t slow down enough to experience the spark? Do you prefer love at first sight? Or fireworks and explosive passion right out the gate? What makes the relationship feel more real to you?

 

EXCERPT:

The silliest of all silly grins stretched across Silas’s face. It was the booze. Had to be. Silas didn’t do goofy or funny. However, something about Ben drew the giant kid right out of Silas. Almost like being in high school again and working through his first big crush. Silas hadn’t known then if the boy he pined over played for his team, but he knew Ben did. Oh, happy day!

Running into Ben made leaving the house on one of the worst nights of the year worth every minute of this unexpected adventure. Silas had been sitting at home, wishing—as ironic as it was—that he had someone to spend the evening with. He would’ve been happy sitting on the couch, watching the Times Square ball drop with a close friend and a few cocktails. He would’ve been fine with the kind of kissing that led to hot sex at the stroke of midnight. Neither of which was going to happen.

He hadn’t heard from Scott since early December, and though Silas didn’t exactly mourn the death of their relationship, he did—from time to time—miss having someone around to chat with when he got bored, someone to snuggle with when he got lonely. Neither was an issue prior to Scott. Now both were reasons to get up and do something, anything, that didn’t involve being alone.

“I truly am glad I left the house tonight.” Silas spoke softly, more to himself than anyone else. Oh, but Ben heard him. Silas could tell by the pitiful look that devastatingly beautiful cop gave him. Not that what he said deserved any kind of pity. Maybe it’d been the tone of his voice or something in his eyes, or the fact he hadn’t looked at Ben once since he returned to the malaise of his own mind.

“Ten. Nine. Eight….”

The countdown to the New Year pulled Silas out of his ruminating. He turned eyes on Ben, who now watched the DJ count into the mic while half-naked women danced around him.

“Three. Two. One. Happy New Year!”

“Auld Lang Syne” played over the loudspeakers. People yelled the lyrics—mostly out of key. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot….” Strangers swayed together as old friends. Some random woman hooked her arm around Silas’s, forcing him to move his body too. He didn’t want to. He wanted to watch Ben’s lips as he tried to hide his mumbling the lyrics along with everyone else’s boisterous crooning. He wanted to watch the glisten in Ben’s eyes as the moon poured soft light over the crowd. He even loved the way pieces of confetti stuck in Ben’s short brown hair. God, he was absolutely mesmerized

When Ben caught him staring, Silas immediately turned his gaze away, even though he wanted nothing more than to give Ben a quick New Year’s smooch. He didn’t dare. It wasn’t right. Ben didn’t want that. So instead of lifting up on his toes and reaching for Ben’s cheek, he gave a tight smile, and said, “You stay safe on these wild Memphis streets, Benjamin.”

Silas turned to walk away.

“Wait, Silas.” Ben reached out and grabbed Silas’s upper arm before he could escape. The strength and heat of Ben’s grip sent a shiver down Silas’s spine. “You’re not walking, are you?”

Aww, he’s concerned. “I live right around the corner.” Silas thumbed over his shoulder. “Not literally, but close enough.”

“And there are a lot of drunk people out tonight. You have to cross Union to get home.”

“I learned to look both ways before I learned to spell my name.”

Silas’s cheeky comeback won him another warm smile from Ben. He was so adorable, in that cute boy-next-door kind of way.

“Please let me at least get you an Uber.”

“A what?” Silas frowned.

“Uber. It’s like a taxi.”

“Benjamin, seriously, there’s no need. I appreciate your worry, but—”

“I’m not taking no for an answer,” Ben said with finality, reaching into his pocket for what Silas assumed to be a cell phone. The device fit right in the palm of Ben’s large hand.

Mmm. Large hands. “Don’t. Please.” Silas wrapped his fingers over Ben’s. “I promise I can get home just fine.”

“You’re drunk. Anything could happen.”

“I’m only”—Silas held up his thumb and forefinger, not even a full inch apart—“this drunk now. Wine wears off fast.” Or something.

“Mm-hmm.” Ben pinched his lips and shook his head. “I could give you my number. You could text—”

Silas’s laughter cut off Ben’s offer.

“What’s so funny?”

“I don’t need to have your number. Your significant other will hate me.”

“I don’t think he….” Ben looked left, then right, then back to Silas. “It’ll be okay.”

“How about you give me your number when you’re not as interested in my safety as you are in me?”

Ben nodded. The movement was so slight, so curt and tense, that had Silas not been paying attention, he would’ve missed it.

With a sigh, Silas left the cop formerly known as Officer Hot Body standing on the edge of the road just beneath the balcony at Lafayette’s. The farther Silas walked away, the more invisible Ben became, until he was lost to a sea of drunken bodies.

Silas made a right onto Cooper, heading south toward Peabody, all the while wishing he’d stayed back with Ben until all the booze wore off. He still had enough of a buzz that his lips tingled and walking felt… well, weird. He stopped at the corner of Union and Cooper, watching the blur of cars speeding by. This was the spot where he needed to pay attention, be careful. The last thing that needed to happen was him turning into roadkill for the beautiful Officer Logan and company to scrape off the road. That would be a hell of a way to end a pretty decent night.

 

Check out Dearly Stalked today!

 

Dearly Stalked by Allison Cassatta

DSP
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE

 BLURB:

Writing crime novels catapulted Memphis native Silas Cooper to fame and fortune, but when his words backfire and he becomes trapped in what could be one of his books, he needs a hero of his own.

Silas’s publicist insists he hire a personal assistant, and Silas chooses Scott Kramer. But before Scott starts, he already has a round of steamy phone sex to hold over Silas’s head, and his interest in his boss isn’t decreasing.

Benjamin Logan joined the Army to see the world, and while deployed he read every one of Silas’s books. With his military career over, Ben is back in Memphis working for the police department—and attempting a deeply closeted relationship with fellow cop Morgan Brown.

Over coffee, Silas and Ben become friends who support each other as relationships fall apart, and the attraction between them slowly emerges. When a dangerous stalker threatens Silas, it’s up to Ben to stop him.

If Ben fails, Silas might not live to tell this story… and Ben might not be able to live with himself.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

CHECK OUT ALLISON CASSATTA:

Google+ - https://plus.google.com/101105647923210482296
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/allison.cassatta.page/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/allisoncassatta
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/allisoncassatta/
Tumblr - http://allisoncassatta.tumblr.com/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/allisoncassatta/
Blog - http://allisoncassatta.blogspot.com/

 

 

Writing Beyond Borders w/ Bonnie Dee + Giveaway

January 19, 2017

 

Writing Beyond Borders with Bonnie Dee

 

I’m Bonnie Dee, author and sometimes co-author of numerous gay historical novels which you may see on my web site. The Mighty Have Fallen is my first foray into contemporary since my earliest attempt at writing gay romance titled Undeniable Magnetism. I decided it was time for a change of pace in order to keep my historical stories from becoming too familiar. Everybody needs a little shake up once in a while.

Imagine you were to lose not only one of your primary senses but your mode of earning a living, your savings, and your lover all at the same time. That is the fate suffered by Trevor Rowland, the protagonist of The Mighty Have Fallen. Acclaimed star of the London stage, Trevor is struck by a serious illness which leaves him inoperably blind. His boyfriend/ financial manager deserts him after bleeding him dry. Trevor is felled in every way possible and can hardly summon the will to drag himself out of despair and back into life.

Enter Jack Burrows, a hard working East Ender with whom Trevor shares lodgings after leaving a rehab facility. At first, Trevor is too self-pitying and angry to appreciate his friendly flat mate, but soon they forge an unexpected bond beyond anything Trevor expected to ever feel. Through Jack, Trevor finds a way to continue to use his acting talents in a manner he never would have dreamed of, performing a drag act in a nightclub.

I have been writing UK based books for quite some time although I live smack in the middle of the U.S. I jumped at the chance to be included in Dreamspinner’s new Perchance to Dream line, staffed by British editors. I learned from my editor, Sue Adams, not only figures of speech but habits of English folk that I never would have known. She helped me make Jack’s Cockney accent thick and authentic, which I hope readers will enjoy.

As anyone who has read many of my books knows, I really have a thing for cross class romance. While Jack and Trevor may not be separated by the enormous chasm dividing the protagonists in my current work in progress—a gay take on Pygmalion (aka My Fair Lady), their differing backgrounds still bring an interesting element to their love story.

As for featuring a blind protagonist, this isn’t my first venture into writing a disabled hero. I have a het contemporary featuring a blind hero and a het historical with a deaf hero. I’m interested in how the loss of one sense heightens the others. Which brings me to a question for this blog’s readers, if you had to do without one of your senses, which would you sacrifice? Please drop a comment here with your answer for a chance to win any one of my backlist titles. Two winners will be chosen from among the commenters.

You can learn more about me, Bonnie Dee, and my backlist of many romance books at http://bonniedee.com. Find me on FB at Bonnie Dee Author or Bonnie Dee. My Twitter handle is @Bonnie_Dee. I’m not the most active social media person but I turn up occasionally. Most importantly, please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter to learn of upcoming releases. Newsletter signup form

Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Hope you’ll leave a comment and then pick up your copy of The Mighty Have Fallen.

 

Check out The Mighty Have Fallen today!

 

The Mighty Have Fallen by Bonnie Dee

 

Blurb: 

Theatre headliner Trevor Rowland is at the peak of his career when disaster strikes. In one fell swoop, he loses his eyesight, his fame, and his boyfriend, who absconds with most of his money. Trevor must take on a flatmate, hardworking East Ender Jack Burrows, to afford the rent. Anger and bitterness have taken up residence in his heart—but Jack shines light into the shadowy corners with his relentlessly sunny disposition.

Jack introduces Trevor to a local drag club and convinces him he can enjoy the stage again. Trevor’s defences slowly come down as Jack becomes much more than a barely tolerated roommate.

But will Trevor’s fragile trust be destroyed when it appears he’s been manipulated yet again by a man he’s come to care for? Will he reclaim his life or crawl back into a shell of defeat? Trevor must learn to trust not only a man, but himself, once more.

 

About Bonnie Dee:

Bonnie Dee began telling stories as a child, the designated ghost-tale teller at sleepovers. She still has a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch, and a talking cat. Writing childish stories evolved into inventing fan fiction romances and later into writing for publication. Bonnie enjoys reading stories about people damaged by life who find healing with a like-minded soul. When she couldn’t find enough books to suit her taste, she began to write them. Along with frequent coauthor Summer Devon, she has written numerous historical novels, a couple of which have won Rainbow Awards for best gay historical.
Since giving up a day job, she has oodles of time to explore any plot idea that crosses her mind. Contemporary or historical, paranormal or mystery, the genre doesn’t matter so long as there is an abiding romance at its heart.

Website: bonniedee.com
Blog: www.bonniedee.com/blog
E-mail: bonniedeeauthor@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bonnie.dee.144
Street Team: www.facebook.com/groups/BonnieDeeAuthor
Twitter: @Bonnie_Dee
Newsletter signup: tinyurl.com/hsdnfzj

By Degrees Series Sneak Peak w/ Taylor V. Donovan + Giveaway

January 13, 2017

Sneak Peak with Taylor V. Donovan

 

Hello everyone. My name’s Taylor V. Donovan and I’m an author of gay romance and suspense. I’m here to celebrate the release of Six Degrees of Lust, Second Edition, and what better way to do so than with an excerpt from Six Degrees of Agony, the third instalment in my By Degrees series?

For those of you who haven’t heard about it before, By Degrees is a romantic suspense serial featuring a killer of gay men and the FBI team trying to catch him. It has an ensemble cast, multiple points of view, continuing story lines, and Special Agent Logan Brandenburg, FBI profiler extraordinaire and a favourite among readers.

His story has taken longer than I had originally planned. For that I apologize, and if you want to know the reasons for the delay, head over to my blog. I’ve explained what went down in several posts. He’s coming though. Finally! I’m diligently working on him, so, without further ado, here’s a little taste from his book. <3

 

Six Degrees of Agony
Excerpt

He’d looked everywhere. The backyard, the tree house and even the greenhouse, but he couldn’t find her. He had to find her. He had to explain to her that his moving out of the house didn’t mean he would abandon her.

He checked the basement and the kitchen, and then ran to the library in the second floor after checking the bathrooms.

He didn’t see her.

Logan raked his fingers through his hair and ran to her bedroom. It was empty.

Where the hell was she? Why wasn’t Megan waiting for him by the koi pond, just like he’d asked her to? She should’ve been sitting on her favorite bench by the pond. They should’ve been discussing his plan to find a job.

Megan thought he was running away—just like their older brother had ran away, but Logan was only going to college so that he could protect her. It was the only way of escaping. He’d attend classes and work any jobs he could find, and once he’d saved enough money he’d get a place he could afford and move out of the dorms. Then he’d come get Megan and take her away from this hell, and they would never have to see their father again.

Logan checked his own room and his brother’s old room. He checked the laundry room, the pantry, the dining room, the attic… he searched everywhere, and still wasn’t able to find her.

He ran up and down the stairs twice, looking inside every room and closet, yet always avoiding his father’s office. He went back outside, running as fast as he could. He was desperate. He couldn’t leave the house if he didn’t talk to Megan.

It wasn’t until he’d looked in the basement for the third time that he realized Megan had been sitting in the middle of a fire pit all along. There shouldn’t be a fire pit in the basement, and Megan’s entire body shouldn’t have been engulfed in flames.

Logan ran toward the fire pit at the same time Megan leaned forward and smiled at him peacefully. She blew him a kiss, and mouthed that she loved him. He tried to tell her to stop scaring him. To order her to get up and run to safety, but by the time he was able to pass the words through his constricted throat Megan’s features were melting.

Oh my God…

“Don’t touch it!” Logan’s voice was hoarse; almost hysterical. “Jesus, Meg, please. Don’t touch the flames.”

Logan’s hand only caught air when he reached for Megan in an attempt to stop her. Had she moved? Had she gone somewhere? Logan couldn’t see her.

He squinted and looked around frantically, then pushed the covers to the side and sat up so that he could take a better look.  He leaned so far off the side of the chair, he lost his balance.

“Damn it.”

Logan rolled on his back, lifted his left leg almost to his face and held his knee with both hands. He closed his eyes and breathed through the sharp pain reverberating from his knee to his lower back. It was excruciating, but he was slowly gathering his bearings.

The base of an adjustable bed came into focus, followed by white sheets, and IV pole, and a blond-haired head.

No basement and no fire pit.

He was in Sasha’s hospital room.

Careful not to wake Sasha, he got up from the floor and walked around the bed. He kept his mind blank as he used the bathroom and washed his hands. Yawning and rubbing his eyes with the heel of his hand, he went back to the room. Once he’d made sure Sasha was sound asleep, he lay down on the chair and covered himself with the blanket Margaret had brought him.

He didn’t try to make sense out of the dream he’d just had. He knew what it meant and he knew why he’d had it. He couldn’t let himself think about it. His very sanity depended on it.

***

Enjoyed the excerpt? Curious for more? Then grab your copies of By Degrees. As I mentioned before, Six Degrees of Lust, Second Edition, released January 2. ☺ And for those of you who read the first version, I’d still recommend you get this one as well, as some characters were fleshed out and, even though the story arc remains basically the same, there are tweaks foreshadowing events in Six Degrees of Separation, which in turn leads to events in Six Degrees of Agony.

 

Taylor
xoxo

P.S. I’ve brought some copies to give away. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a set of electronic copies Six Degrees of Lust and Six Degrees of Separation, Second Edition.

 

Check out Six Degrees of Lust today!

 

Six Degrees of Lust by Taylor V. Donovan

 

Blurb:

New York City FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his immediate family and his job. After a marriage gone wrong he has stuck to a firm rule when it comes to relationships: he doesn’t have them. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable keeps him satisfied, especially now that he is in hot pursuit of a serial killer targeting gay men.

Former firefighter Machlan O’Bannon now manages a successful sports bar in Houston and after years of waiting he’s ready to stand up and be the man he always wanted to be: out, proud and drama-free. His politically-aligned family wants to keep him locked in the closet, but Mac just wants to meet the man of his dreams.

One man is as high strung as the other is laid back. A chance meeting brings the two men together, and one night of passion ignites a fire neither can fight. Their lives are not only miles apart, but as different as day and night. They don’t want to get involved, but they might not be able to keep apart.

First Edition published by MLR Press, December 2011.  

 

TVD Logo

About the Author:

Taylor V. Donovan is a compulsive reader and author of gay romance and suspense. She is optimistically cynical about humanity and a lover of history, museums, and all things 80s. She shamelessly indulges in mind-numbing reality television, is crazy about fashion, and passionate about civil rights and equality for all.

When she’s not writing or making a living in the busiest city in the world, Taylor can be found raising her two daughters and their terribly misbehaved furry baby in their home.

Website
Facebook
Goodreads

 

Finding Balance with Kelly Jensen + Giveaway

January 12, 2017

Finding Balance with Kelly Jensen

 

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

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

 

Block and Strike Teaser

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

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

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

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

 

Jake's Tattoo

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

 

Excerpt:

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

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

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

“Do the fish mean anything?”

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

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

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

Max shook his head.

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

“Why?”

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

Not a philosophical answer, but honest.

***

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

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

 

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

Check out Block and Strike today!

 

Block and Strike by Kelly Jensen

Blurb:

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

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

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

 

About Kelly Jensen:

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

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

 

Faulty Memories w/ Aidee Ladnier + Giveaway

January 11, 2017

Forbes and Oliver’s Faulty Memories with Aidee Ladnier

 

I’m so excited to be blogging at DSP today as my novella, THE APPLICANT is being released! It is a story near to my heart and I’m excited to give you a little “behind the scenes” information on how it was written.

You might notice at Forbes and Oliver’s romance in The Busted Labs series is not typical of most heroes. The actual timeline of their relationship is convoluted and confused because it jumps from present to past to future throughout the books. So you won’t be surprised to find that I wrote it at different times in my writing career.

In 2012 I wrote the short story “The Applicant (or Virgins, Robot Bears, and Other Disasters)” for an anthology published in the WEIRD SCIENCE anthology by Torquere Press. Then I wrote the novella, THE BREAK-IN in 2014, which was published by Dreamspinner Press. And finally in 2016, I dusted off the original “The Applicant” short story and expanded it to novella length to be published by Dreamspinner Press this January.

The Break-In by Aidee Ladnier

As “The Applicant” was owned by another publisher, Dreamspinner asked that THE BREAK-IN contain scenes which harkened back to the original story but were entirely new and therefore not in violation of copyright. This was a daunting task, but I accomplished it through flashbacks I wrote into the between times of the story—those moments that weren’t necessarily on screen because story pacing was affected or they were in the wrong character’s POV. Remember, “The Applicant” was a short story and by definition had to be short. Since THE BREAK-IN was a novella, I had much more room to expand, stick in moments that might be missing in the original narrative and also reverse the scenes to put them in Forbes’s POV. This made sense since by THE BREAK-IN, Forbes was the only person who remembered the time-travelling Oliver from the future.

The Applicant by Aidee Ladnier

However, when I set out to expand “The Applicant” into a novella, I faced an even more daunting task—including those new scenes into the already present text from THE BREAK-IN. I couldn’t do them from Forbes’s point of view because these were still Oliver’s scenes. So instead, I kept them as Oliver’s scenes but layered in more internal thought and action from Oliver. But that didn’t feel right either.

So, I changed the action. I altered the movement of the scenes. The dialogue stayed almost the same, but their actions were subtly different.

I did this on purpose because when I’m remembering, I can recall the majority of the dialogue, but I’m fuzzy on details. Was my partner standing on the right side of me or the left? When did I sit down or stand? Those things don’t register as much for me. So I used myself as a template. I thought Forbes and Oliver would remember the same scenes but slightly different.

There’s even a name for this. It’s called the Rashomon Effect. It explains differences in perspective and eye-witness error at crime scenes. Everyone sees a scene differently, remembers something someone forgot, or leaves out a detail someone else found vital. Our memory is shaped by our own biases, our history, and our desires.

I could have slavishly made each scene exactly the same, but I think this way is more realistic, more like what I would experience. So I hope you don’t mind that Oliver’s memories in THE APPLICANT are a little different than Forbes’s recollections in THE BREAK-IN. Hopefully it tells a better story and maybe one a little more like what you’d experience if you met a time traveler from the future. ;)

So have you ever experienced the Rashomon Effect? Tell me in the comments below.

 

✯✯Giveaway✯✯

Don’t forget to sign up for my Rafflecopter Giveaway. There are prizes and gift cards!

The Applicant by Aidee Ladnier

 

Blurb

How can something so cuddly and adorable be so destructive? The teddy bear robot decimating his lab is only the first disaster of the day for roboticist Forbes Pohle. If he can figure out how to end its rampage, he still has to interview applicants for the position of research assistant and convince the time-traveler on his doorstop that they should be making their future right now. Oliver Lennox didn’t travel back in time to have a quickie in the blast chamber—but it certainly is fun. This younger Forbes is a sweeter, more innocent version of his lover. And it will be hard to leave him behind in the past.

If you like sexy nerds, humor, plenty of action, and a love story not even time can disrupt, this romantic adventure has the perfect credentials for the job.

 

Available from Dreamspinner Press

 

Excerpt from THE APPLICANT by Aidee Ladnier

Forbes Pohle worked the needle-nose pliers carefully behind the eye sensors of his teddy bear. He needed to make one little adjustment—

The buzzer on the door sounded, nerve-jangling and insistent, from the speaker overhead.

Startled, Forbes jerked the wire he was fiddling with free from its connection, rendering the small robot blind. The head-plate spring snapped, and the access panel clipped his hand as it closed. Forbes swore and shook his stinging fingers as the front door buzzer blared again.

Frustrated, he threw down the pliers and ran both hands through his mop of brown hair. Reacting to the clatter, the tiny robot turned its head left and then right before running off the table.

Luckily the teddy bear caught itself with its face when it hit the floor.

Undaunted, the bear scrambled to its furry feet and darted toward the other side of the lab. Forbes sighed at the sound of another imperative buzz.

“You won’t get the job if you don’t stop with the doorbell.” He stood and shoved the ends of his wrinkled white dress shirt back into his khaki pants. He typed in the power-down sequence for the bear before shutting the lab door and walking toward the front of the house. His visitor had graduated to using the door buzzer as percussion, the drone now going off and on in a jaunty rhythm.

Forbes still wasn’t sold on hiring a research assistant, but he wanted a lab assistant and he needed an administrative assistant.

Most of all, he longed for a friend.

Hiring someone wasn’t the best way to go about finding one, but working with somebody was a good start, right?

Forbes checked his reflection in the foyer mirror. The dark brown of his eyes was almost invisible against the bloodshot whites. His stomach rumbled, and he promised himself he’d take a break and eat as soon as the interview concluded.

At the next buzz, he spun and yanked open the large front door. Holy crap.

He wished he’d gotten a little sleep last night instead of staying up to tinker with the bear.

A wiry man stood on Forbes’s doorstep. He was dressed in a T-shirt, tight black jeans, black nail polish, and red Chuck Taylors. His strawberry blond hair was spiked up in front. The corners of his eyes and his freckled nose wrinkled.

Forbes blinked back his surprise and opened his mouth, expecting words to come out. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Come in.” Forbes waved him inside the house. “I’m Forbes Pohle. I’m the one who posted the job listing.”

The man grinned and held out a hand. “Very pleased to meet you, Dr. Pohle. I’m Oliver Lennox. Please call me Oliver.”

Forbes blushed at the title as he clasped Oliver’s warm hand. Forbes was a PhD three times over, but he hadn’t put that in the advertisement.

“If you’ll come this way, we can talk in the lab.” He turned and walked back down the hallway to the adjacent laboratory, assuming the applicant would follow.

“Oh, I didn’t come about…,” Forbes heard him say before he ran into Forbes’s back. To be fair it wasn’t his fault. Forbes had stopped short in the lab doorway.

During the few minutes he’d stepped out to answer the door, the laboratory had been destroyed.

 

Buy Your Copy Now:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks

 

About the Author

Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, fold origami, send ping pong balls into space, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.

You can find her on her blog at http://www.aideeladnier.com or on her favorite social media sites:

Tumblr: http://aideemoi.tumblr.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aideelad
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AideeLadnier
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6570769.Aidee_Ladnier
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/aideelad/

Timber Manor Redux w/ F.E. Feeley Jr + Giveaway

January 9, 2017

 Timber Manor Redux with F.E. Feeley Jr

 

Hey,

My name is F.E. Feeley Jr and I am the author of several books with DSP including Objects in the Rearview Mirror, Still Waters, Contact (with various other authors) and the book we are talking about today, The Haunting of Timber Manor.

But I already read that one.

I know. And I thank you. I thank you for reading it, possibly reviewing it, and I also want to apologize.

But, why?

Okay, here’s the thing. I didn’t like it. I mean, I liked it well enough but I wasn’t wild about it. And that was my fault. Once the book released I began, as every author does even though they say they don’t, I started reading the reviews. And while most of them were great, some of them – a lot of them – brought up some seriously important issues over dialogue and pacing. So, after I wrote Objects the following year and Still Waters the year after that, as my craft began to mature – uh, how do I say this –

Once I stopped sounding like a dumb ass who didn’t know what he was doing and was in way over his head with this whole writer/ editor stuff we have to do…. once it sunk in that I had to like – help edit the work – then I begged DSP to let me go back and tighten it up.

And they – graciously – agreed.

I remember writing this big long email about how much I had grown as an author, how much my voice had matured, how much I would really love to go back and fix this and described – in detail – how much this would benefit the company  -Elizabeth, much like Beatrice in Dante’s Inferno – looked upon my poor humble *snicker* self and gave me her blessing.

And here we are.

And boy, it wasn’t easy either. First off, I had someone help me outside of the DSP editorial staff. And then I was like – aww, yeah, see don’t sweat this, this is going to be easy. You all probably only need to go through this once more and we’ll be good to go.

Psssh – my ass. Three (much needed) edits later and someone who saw a huge time gap in the plot – and we arrived to the finish product.

I could beg off and feign ignorance – which I have in the past – over this book but it’s a pilot book in a series and that would should be the best or at least, on par, with the other two. I didn’t plan on it being a series. I had no idea that Memoirs of the Human Wraiths would take me down this lone path with two other standalone books – I didn’t know jack shit about what I was doing.

But that’s life, right?

I just felt like the readers deserved better. I feel like the company deserved better. And I deserved better.

You can expect some storyline alteration. A little bit of clarification. A little bit more maturity wise when it comes to the characters. Cleaner and more realistic dialogue and a tighter story.

To those of you who loved the story – who five stared it etc. thank you and thank you for sticking with me over the years even though I’m probably not the easiest person to live with, so to speak. Thank you for the positive feedback and the encouragement.

And to those of you who didn’t like it – this is really for you. I listened. I wasn’t able to address it directly with this novel in the beginning – but I did in the later works, so I appreciate what you said and hope that you’ll maybe give it another shot. If not – I totally understand.

Why do you write scary stories?

I’m seriously sitting here having a self-motivated interview. LOL *My other half looks like Katie Couric* I do this bullshit all the time. I have these whole scenes just go on in my head where there is this dialogue exchange sometimes with fictional characters – duh – or real life people while I’m going on about my day.

Anyway.

I believe in ghosts. I do. I believe in life after death, I’m not sure if the religious have it done 100 percent on what happens but I do believe in an afterlife so to speak. And as a kid – my head was always wandering around those places to the point where my mother worried about me being so macabre. I wasn’t a goth kid or really into the occult, I just felt like there was something there. Like I could almost sense it. In this new Gilded Age where we find ourselves there’s been this huge uptick in paranormal interest. Each channel on t.v. I swear – has some kind of ghost hunting related show.

Well, which one do you watch?

Me? I used to watch Ghost Hunters but quit after that handsome dark haired guy – Grant, I think his name was – left. I was totally crushing on him. I tried Ghost Adventures but Zach is so alpha persona that it turns me off. Like all those dudes grunt and yell so much I half expect a porno to break out at any moment. Plus, the first ever show – he got the shit scared out of him so bad he ran screaming out of the building. Like, now I feel like it’s all compensating for that. I know I probably pissed someone off saying that but I have this dialogue from that show going on in my head. Here’s an example:

“Dude, something just grabbed me.”

“Where?!”

“Right here. Right here on my big muscle trainer ass. Point that camera right there,” he says as he leans over and he palms his right butt cheek. “Riiiiiight there. I hope it was a lady ghost.”

And I imagine some real ghost leaning against the wall talking to his buddy, “Dude, did you touch his ass?”

“Nope. But I think a porno is about to break out.”

Like, for real. That show is like what happens when Ghost Hunters met Abercrombie and Fitch.

But like the freakiest one I found lately – is Dead Files with Amy Allen and Steve could-you-be any-fucking-cuter-if-you-tried Di Schiavi. And it’s sort of funny – and freaky at the same time – but there was one episode of The Dead Files that may have come right out of this book. Not the wolves, or the romance, but the haunting and what the haunting was doing to a woman living in that particular house AND what the ‘entity’ looked like.

It startled me. I looked over to my husband and he looked at me, “Is that one of your books?”

I nodded.

So, from that point forward my obsessive nature allowed me to buy all 9 seasons and binge watch them. It’s really freaky and makes me wonder if I don’t know more than I know. If that makes sense.

Okay, then. Would you like to do a giveaway?

Yes. I would. And to do that, I would like people to answer a question.

Okay.

What’s the scariest/ spookiest thing that ever happened to you? It could be a dream, it could be thought, it could be something you saw or a story someone told you. Or, do you believe in ghosts? Answer that question and you’ll get a book of your choice, from my backlist.

Where can readers find you?

Hahahaha. Do you really want to? Is this such a good idea? Okay. I do have a blog that I write stuff on. And before I give it to you, I am going to be honest with you. I am honest with you. I write a lot of poetry. Some of it bad, some of it good, I write about things that cross my mind. Things I feel deeply about. Sometimes it can be nice, sometimes I can be abrasive, but I struggle always to be honest. So – you know – just going in I am not trying to blow smoke up your ass hoping you buy all my books. That’s just not me.  My blog is my place to vent, to scream into the void. So – you’re more than welcome to come and scream with me. The more the merrier.

 

https://soulfultroubadourdotcom.wordpress.com/

 

I should probably create a facebook page with my name huh? I’ll get on that. Look for it. It’ll be there.

We can scream there, too.

Or whisper, if whispering is your thing.

Or if you want me to scream something for you because you’ve never done it before…or, if you need a place to scream and want to try it out before you go scream in other places just to be sure…I’m totally here to support you.

Okay, I’m done. Thanks inner Katie Couric and DSP for having me today. I’m going to go back to being just one person again. Have a good day!

 

Check out The Haunting of Timber Manor today!

 

The Haunting of Timber Manor by F.E. Feeley Jr

Blurb:

While recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly receives a phone call from his estranged aunt, who turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Though his father had seemed guarded about the past, Daniel’s curiosity and need for family compel him to visit.

Located in a secluded area of the Northwest, Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. Her halls sit empty and a thin layer of dust adorns the sheet-covered furniture. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart.

Sheriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds. Seeing Daniel struggle, he vows to protect the young man who has captured his heart, and help him solve the mystery behind the haunting and confront the past—not only to save Daniel’s life, but to save his family, whose very souls hang in the balance.

 

About F.E. Feeley Jr:

F.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit. In the midst of chaos, he sought refuge in the written word. Through books, he was transported to far of places and while his body was trapped in a concrete world, his mind soared. He loved young adult novels such as R.L. Stein and Christopher Pike, but soon found his appetite whetted by the likes of Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz.
As an adult, F.E. lives in the Deep South, married to his wonderful husband, John. Together they are accompanied by their five-year-old German Shepherd, Kaiser. They spend time cooking, talking, and reading, drinking wine, and watching the sun set together from their patio. John is supportive and is always encouraging F.E. to keep on writing. So, as long as there is love, and as long as there is wine, hopefully there will be words.
Website: soulfultroubadourdotcom.wordpress.com

Nostalgic Inspirations w/ Avon Gale + Giveaway

January 4, 2017

 Nostalgic Inspirations with Avon Gale

 

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

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

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

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

Ever After Funeral Home

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

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

 

Creepy Doll House

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

(It’s right behind me, isn’t it.)

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

 

The Trapdoor/Ryder’s Apartment

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

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

 

Main Street/Kentucky Fanatics

AvonGale1

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

 

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

 

AvonGale2

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

 

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

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

Thanks, and happy new year to all!

 

Check out Whiskey Business today!

 

Whiskey Business by Avon Gale

Blurb:

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

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

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

 

About Avon:

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

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

Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre + Giveaway

December 29, 2016

Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre

 

Check out Falling Snow on Snow today!

Blurb: 

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

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

Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre

Dreamspinner
Amazon (US)
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Indigo Books

 

Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre

About Lou Sylvre:

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway