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✯✯

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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:

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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

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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

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Dance Music in Holiday Weekend w/ Charley Descoteaux + Giveaway

December 16, 2016

Dance Music in Holiday Weekend

 

Charley Descoteaux here, thanks for visiting me on my Holiday Weekend tour! I’m thrilled to be visiting the Dreamspinner blog to talk about the playlist for my holiday story, Book Five in the Buchanan House series.

Holiday Weekend is a Christmas story but it begins a couple of weeks before Halloween. In fact, Ryan and Glenn have their first date on Halloween. Their date starts at Portland’s Pioneer Square where they join a crowd in zombie costumes, gathered to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” before a Zombie Walk through the streets of Portland.

As always, music played a big part in the writing of this book. I love music and it always inspires me. Here is the playlist for Holiday Weekend and an excerpt.

 

Thriller”, Michael Jackson: Of course I had to listen to this song to get in the mood for writing the zombie dance scene! It’s a classic.

 

Let’s Dance” by David Bowie is the song playing when the guys make it to the all-ages club where they dance on their first date.

 

What I Like About You” by The Romantics is playing when Ryan almost makes his move on Glenn. ;) It’s a fun song to dance to—anyone remember the Pogo?

 

Ryan and Glenn both love to dance and most of their dates include at least a little dancing. For some reason I’ve always pictured them dancing to 80s music—Bowie, Oasis, NXS, Depeche Mode.

 

Do you have a song from the 80s you like to dance to?

 

Answer in the comments for a chance at the Rafflecopter prizes!

 

To find out about the Christmas music in Holiday Weekend, check out yesterday’s post at Aisling Mancy’s blog!

 

The Buchanan House series is best read in order, so if you need to catch up to enjoy Holiday Weekend, I’ve got you covered. I’ve arranged to have books 1, 3 & 4 priced at .99 during release weekend! Buchanan House, Tiny House, and Safe House are this week’s Weekend Reads! Book #2 is always free at the Dreamspinner store, so that means you can grab the whole series for only $7.96 on release weekend!

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter!

Subscribe to my newsletter for upcoming releases, exclusive content, and giveaways!

 

Tour Dates and Stops:

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author, The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 21: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 27: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

 

Check out Holiday Weekend today!

 

Holiday Weekend by Charley Descoteaux

 

Blurb:

Ryan Orchard moved from small-town Idaho to Portland almost two years ago and still feels like a hick. When Paulie Nesbitt dumped him, he wasn’t even surprised. Despite losing twenty-five pounds since then, Ryan’s confidence is nonexistent and his life has stalled. Not only is he convinced the career he wants is beyond his reach, he’s given up on relationships. A new job at a familiar restaurant—and his gorgeous coworker—could be just what Ryan needs to believe in himself again.

Glenn Hernandez might be the only nineteen-year-old in Portland who dreads his days off. Between his horrible housing situation and the ever-present temptation to crawl back into the bottle, Glenn prefers to keep busy. He volunteers at the Elliott Foundation House, a homeless shelter helping LGBTQ sex workers. As an alum of the shelter, Glenn finds it hard to leave his past behind. But when the new server at the trendy restaurant where he works catches Glenn’s eye and works his way into his heart, Glenn finally has a reason to start a new life.

 

Excerpt:

Two days before Halloween, Glenn cornered me in the alley at the end of our shift. I had taken out the trash, and when I turned to go inside, Glenn was leaning in the doorway.

“What are you doing for Halloween?”

Damn, even that sounded naughty. “Nothing.”

“You feel like changing those plans?” Glenn pushed off from the doorjamb and stepped out into the alley. “How do you feel about zombies?”

“What?” I laughed, and finally the tension I’d been holding onto since that night at Kel’s place broke. “Zombies?”

“Yeah. There’s a Zombie Walk, but first they’re going to dance in Pioneer Square.”

Oh, yeah. Glenn dancing is something I’m up for. Literally, it would seem.

“Do you have a costume?” I took a few steps toward the door, and by the look on Glenn’s face, he’d noticed the way my body was reacting to the conversation.

Glenn snickered. “Not really. I figure they won’t care too much if some of the zombies are fresher than others.”

“I’m game.”

“Good.” Glenn walked right up and into my personal space. He looked up, and his heavy-lidded eyes said maybe he was feeling something too. “I know an all-ages dance party after. If it rains, we can still dance.”

“Yeah. That sounds good.”

Glenn held my gaze for another long moment, and the charge in the air between us had goose bumps rising on my arms. I wanted to touch Glenn (way more than just touch, although that would be a good start), but we were standing in the alley behind the restaurant. It would be even worse to only get a taste and then struggle through the rest of the day, so I stepped back. Just a half step, not enough so it would look like I didn’t want to be near Glenn.

“Then it’s a date.” Glenn winked and went inside.

I watched him go for a few steps and then followed.

 

Buy Holiday Weekend:

 

Dreamspinner Press (ebook)

Dreamspinner Press, Buchanan House series page

 

Charley Descoteaux

About the Author:

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Rattle Charley’s cages:

Blog:  http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/
Rainbow Snippets Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/
@QueerBlogWed on Twitter: #QueerBlogWed or https://twitter.com/QueerBlogWed

 

Series: Buchanan House
Book Number: 5
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date:  December 16, 2016
Pages:  125
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

 

Grilling Up a Story with Ari McKay + Giveaway

December 15, 2016

 

Grilling Up a Story with Ari McKay

 

Hello everyone! I’m Ari, half of the symbiotic relationship known as Ari McKay. We are so happy to have our latest novel, Striking Sparks, being released today by Dreamspinner, and we’re very grateful for you taking some time out of your busy day to join us here!

Do you like barbecue? McKay and I both do. We aren’t Texans like Beau and Jake in Striking Sparks, but every area of the U.S. has their own special take on the cuisine, and they all have something going for them. Rich sauces, smoky flavors, and moist, tender meat, combined together to render a taste that almost every American can recognize and enjoy. And no matter how different they might seem on the surface, deep down they’re fundamentally the same.

That basic commonality is something shared by Beau Walker and Jake Parnell, even though neither of them realize it at first. Growing up as rivals both on the football field and in their family businesses, neither realizes that they share a difficult secret and a mutual attraction. Beau sees Jake as being too smart and ambitious for their small hometown, and Jake is certain that Beau sensed his attraction and hates Jake for it. Even when they each learn that the other is gay, it’s not enough to bridge the gap that seems to yawn between them.

We liked the idea of using a competition to bring the two men together, and we both have watched a rather alarming number of cooking shows, so it seemed a perfect vehicle to get them communicating. And in Texas, what could be better than bragging rights to having the very best barbecue? Enter a celebrity chef, a TV crew, and the excitement of the local rodeo, and sparks are bound to fly!

Of course, we couldn’t make it easy on them. Jake is dealing with grief over the death of his fraternal twin brother and the pressure of helping his pregnant sister-in-law and her children, as well as trying to run the family restaurant. Beau is anxious to have the competition happen so he can afford to hire someone to manage the business aspects of his restaurant and focus on cooking, which is what he really loves. Beau also thinks that Jake considers him no more than an ignorant bully who never aspired to do anything with his life. It’s when Beau sees Jake basically falling apart before his eyes that he reaches out to Jake, and they start to see that they’re not as different as they’d always thought. When their misconceptions are wiped away, the chemistry between them finally has a chance to work its magic and show them what they’ve been missing out on.

I don’t want to give away too much, but I have to admit, part of the fun of writing this story was researching the food. McKay and I have our favorites, of course. I asked McKay what hers was, if she could only pick one, and she said that was trying to name a single favorite kind of cake. But she finally settled on a wood-smoked pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw. Now, I can totally get behind that (my favorite is from Red Hot & Blue), but I also love beef brisket where the meat is so tender it practically melts in your mouth. We enjoyed trying and swapping recipes for the competition, and even researching the grills — believe it or not, the high end ones are really, really complicated! It always delights me to learn something new when writing a story.

We hope you will give Striking Sparks a try, and as a thank you, we’d like to give you a chance to win a prize!  All you have to do to enter is comment to this post and tell us your favorite type of barbecue! On December 18we’ll pick someone at random to receive their choice of one of our stories with Dreamspinner!

We also love hearing from our readers, so feel free to ask us anything you’d like here, or on our facebook page, or at our blog. We look forward to hearing how you like Striking Sparks — and if you end up enjoying it, we have another story about a Walker chef coming out in 2017, so stay tuned for Breaking Bonds!

Website: http://arimckay.wordpress.com
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ari.mckay.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay

 

Check out Striking Sparks today!

 

Striking Sparks by Ari McKay

Blurb: 

The stakes are high and the heat is on.

Beau Walker, owner of the Barbecue Shack, needs the help of Jake Parnell, his one-time rival and secret crush, in a televised barbecue competition. Beau is a proud man, but the stakes are high, and smart, sexy Jake is his only hope, even if being around Jake reawakens the attraction he’s fought for years.

Jake left his hometown, determined to build a life somewhere his sexuality wouldn’t hurt his family’s restaurant business—and far away from hunky, obstinate Beau Walker. Then his twin, Josh, is killed, and Jake returns to support his brother’s wife and children. Despite his reservations, he agrees to go head-to-head against Beau on national television. Between stress and grief, as well as pride and determination, only one thing is certain—the heat between Beau and Jake extends well beyond the kitchen.

What Lies Beneath w/ P.D. Singer + Giveaway

December 14, 2016

What Lies Beneath with P.D. Singer

 

Hi, I’m P.D. Singer, and thanks to my lovely hosts for having me. My latest book, Diving Deep, is a story of second chances between a wreck diver and his dive boat captain. Bobby and Lee have a mystery wreck to help bring them back together.

My own experiences diving led me to reading more books about diving. And being P.D. Singer, that meant I started telling stories about diving with guys in love. I will never have the skills for wreck diving, but I know enough to appreciate what these divers do.

More than five thousand vessels lie sunken along the Outer Banks of North Carolina alone. Bad luck, bad weather, or enemy action can put a ship on the bottom. Thousands more have gone down elsewhere on the East Coast in the 400 or so years since records have been kept. Many of them aren’t marked. Here’s a partial chart of the coast of Delaware, where Lee and Bobby are based.

While those triangles marked “not charted” perplex me (a triangle on a map isn’t charted?) it’s clear that not everything down there is known to us. There’s plenty of scope for mystery.

If there isn’t a concerted mapping effort going on, how do we know there might be something down there? For that matter, how did those wrecks get on the map before geomapping satellites if there was no eye-witness or reliable report?

Fish.

Fishermen find a lot of previously lost ships, just by following the fish. Certain fish like certain habitats. People like to eat the big fish that eat the smaller fish that eat the little fish that eat the little critters that like to live on a reef. Reefs don’t have to be tropical, and they certainly don’t have to be natural.

A sunken ship makes a dandy artificial reef, at least in the opinions of the anemones, barnacles, and corals that will grow anywhere in the ocean they can attach. Even wrecks in cold water will grow a scruffy coat of invertebrates in a fairly short time.  This is the Lana Carol, sunk off the shore of New Jersey in 1976.

Sunken Ship

So if your favorite fisherman is reporting catching the big ‘uns in a certain area, it just might be worth taking a look.

That’s what Johnny Ray Slidell thought, when he passed the map coordinates to Lee Preston.

Join Lee and Bobby aboard the Bottom Hunter. Because Lee’s going to take Bobby out to investigate an untouched dive site. Bobby’s going to put on his fleece longjohns and drysuit, and topple into the water to find out what’s 140 feet down.  He’s prepared to find a nasty old garbage scow—but that’s not what lies below.

Who here has gone scuba diving? Where did you dive? If you haven’t gone diving, is this something you’d like to try? Tell me about it in the comments for a chance to win a title from my backlist.

 

Check out Diving Deep today!

 

Diving Deep by P.D. Singer

 

Blurb

Adventure, danger, passion. A heady mix that only a select few can breathe—and live.

Standing by while his lover tempted fate deep under the Atlantic drove Lee Preston into the bottle. The pain of watching his captain drown in a sea of booze sent elite wreck diver Bobby MacArthur running.

Lee chases whiskey the way Bobby chases adrenaline. The farther apart they stay, the better off they’ll both be. And if Bobby repeats those words often enough, he might start believing them. Now his former partner is calling to his diver soul with the promise of the find of a lifetime. Every crazy chance he takes underwater is safe compared to coming back, but if Lee’s turning his life around, Bobby will haul his gear back aboard the Bottom Hunter.

But not as lovers—yet—and no booze, no wild gambles two hundred feet below. Not even to identify a missing piece of history sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic. Fate has given them a chance to redeem what was lost, if they survive.

But the sea is jealous of her secrets, and the price of her treasures is high.

Available at:

Dreamspinner
Amazon
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
Apple
and your other favorite booksellers.

About P.D. Singer:

P.D. Singer lives in Colorado with her slightly bemused husband, one proto-adult, and thirty pounds of cats. She’s a big believer in research, first-hand if possible, so the reader can be quite certain Pam has skied down a mountain face-first, been stepped on by rodeo horses, acquired a potato burn or two, and will never, ever, write a novel that includes sky-diving.

When not writing, playing her fiddle, or skiing, she can be found with a Kindle in hand.

Find P.D. Singer

Website: https://pdsinger.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pd.singer.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PD_Singer
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432323.P_D_Singer

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Seeing in Color with Ashavan Doyon + Giveaway

December 7, 2016

 

Seeing in Color with Ashavan Doyon

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Bio:

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

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

You can find me online at:

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

Check out The Rodeo Knight today!

 

The Rodeo Knight by Ashavan Doyon

 

The Rodeo Knight
Sam’s Café Romances: Book Three

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

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

Buy links:

The Rodeo Knight (Dreamspinner)

The Rodeo Knight (Amazon)

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

Frugal Coffee Snob with SJD Peterson + Giveaway

December 6, 2016

Frugal Coffee Snob with SJD Peterson

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Brewing

Jo

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

 

Check out Limitless today!

 

Limitless by SJD Peterson

 

 

An Underground Club Tale

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

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

 

Meet Jo Peterson

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

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

AUTHORS AMAZON PAGE

Family Comes First with Antonia Aquilante + Giveaway

December 2, 2016

Family Comes First with Antonia Aquilante

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out The Sorcerer’s Guardian today!

 

The Sorcerer's Guardian by Antonia Aquilante

 

Blurb:

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

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

 

About Antonia:

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

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

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

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

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

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