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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

November 29, 2016

Journaling Opens the Heart and Mind with CJane Elliott

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

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

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

 

EXCERPT

MARCO’S JOURNAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

**********

Check out All the Way to Shore today!

All the Way to Shore by CJane Elliott

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BLURB

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

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

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

 

GIVEAWAY

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

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

 

ABOUT CJANE

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

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

Meg Harding’s Happy Place

November 28, 2016
Meg Harding's Happy Place

 

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

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

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

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

 

Check out Checking It Twice today!

 

Checking It Twice by Meg Harding

 

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Blurb:

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

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

 

About Meg Harding:

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

Visual Inspiration w/ Laura Lascarso + Giveaway

November 22, 2016

 Andre in Flight: Visual Inspiration with Laura Lascarso

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

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

 

Collage for Andre in Flight by Laura Lascarso

 

Check out Andre in Flight today!

 

Andre in Flight by Laura Lascarso

 

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Blurb:

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

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

 

Laura Lascarso

About Laura Lascarso:

Laura Lascarso lives in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. Her debut novel, Counting Backwards (Simon & Schuster 2012) won the Florida Book Award gold medal for young adult literature. She aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform a society.

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

 

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Animated Love with T.A. Chase + Giveaway

November 18, 2016

 

Animated Love

 

Hi everyone. My name is T.A. Chase and I’m here to promote my new release, Why I Love Geeks. Well, it’s actually a re-release with added material, so I hope you will check it out.

I know I’m supposed to talk about something from my book, but I have to say while I writing this, I’m watching the new re-boot of Voltron on Netflix. As Amy Lane says…mad Kermit flail. I loved the old one so much. I used to watch it when I got home from school and before I went to work at the library.

This one is pretty cool as well. It’s funny because in a way I can see my two main characters in two of the Voltron characters. I say in a way because the one that reminds me of Herb is a girl…lol.

Pidge is the paladin for the Green Lion. She’s a bit of a geek, always finding new ways to upgrade her lion. So she’s not a scientist like Herb is, but they both have a great deal of knowledge. They’re both young, though I’ll admit that Pidge is far younger than Herb. She likes to ramble like he does, which is cute. ☺

Shiro, the leader of the paladins and the pilot of the Black Lion, reminds me of Chuck. Older and more sensible, he keeps all the other paladins in line. He’s the one with more common sense and experience in how things work.

Chuck is that way in Why I Love Geeks. He doesn’t stop Herb from doing his experiments or all his other stuff, but he watches to make sure he doesn’t end up hurt in some way. Admittedly, Herb makes it difficult and drives Chuck to distraction, yet their relationship works.

Not that five mechanical and magical lions and the pilots who fly them are quite the same as my contemporary gay romance, yet as I’ve shown there are some similarities. Humor and a little suspense mashed together. Good fighting evil. Isn’t that what every good story has. Well, maybe not the good fighting evil. Lol

Voltron was one of my favorite cartoons when I was younger. Along with Thunder Cats and She-Ra. I would spend my afternoons after school watching the different shows. They seemed to be all fantasy or sci-fi based as well. Definitely had a theme going.

To be honest, I don’t think Herb would watch cartoons. The science in the sci-fi ones would drive him mad, simply because a lot of it isn’t possible or real for that matter. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t get why people would want to watch cartoons anyway. He’s a very literal guy. Though maybe animated movies could get him interested…like Disney or Pixar.

Chuck would’ve loved cartoons, not only the more serious ones, but Tom & Jerry and Wily E. Coyote as well. He strikes me as the kind of guy who likes to laugh, even though he takes his job very seriously now. I can see him hang out with his siblings on a Saturday morning, arguing over what cartoons they were going to watch. Of course, he’d always give in and watch whatever the others wanted.

Actually, I can see Herb and Chuck curled up on the couch while Chuck explains what’s going on in the Scooby-Doo show. Herb would end up finding the whole thing fascinating as a way to discover what ‘normal’ people watch and think.

Herb lives in a rather isolated bubble or he did until he meets Chuck. Cartoons are just one of the joys of life Chuck introduces him to along with Twinkies and Oreos. Oh and sex. So many things Herb missed out on while growing up.

I’m sure some of you have read the first edition of Why I Love Geeks, but I hope you’d like to give the second edition a glance at least. I loved re-visiting them and some of the things Herb said made even me laugh out loud at times. It was nice to write a humorous story instead of the serious ones I tend to do. I have two other books coming out in the Why I Love series and those will be added to as well.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I’d love to hear what your favorite cartoons were as a kid. One lucky person who leaves a comment will receive an ecopy of Why I Love Geeks.

I also want to thank Dreamspinner for allowing me to take over their blog for the day.  I’m excited to have Why I Love Geeks coming out with them. ☺ Thank you and have a great day. (Maybe go watch a cartoon or two)

Stop by my website, www.tachase.com to find out my other books or Twitter:  @TaChase or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001595721283

 

Check out Why I Love Geeks today!

 

Why I Love Geeks by T.A. Chase

 

Blurb:

New York City Homicide Detective Chuck Davidson is a guy’s guy. He likes sports, beer, and classic cars—fancy gadgets, not so much. When yet another high-tech phone goes on the fritz, he knows he needs help, and he meets a man who loves technology as much as he hates it—cute but awkward biochemist Herbert Pommerset.

Herb’s never been with a man—not even on a date. He hides behind his research, daydreaming about what it might be like to find someone special. A malfunctioning phone causes his path to cross with a sexy older detective, and Herb wishes he’d spent less time studying science and more learning how to flirt, because he can think of some experiments he’d like to conduct with Chuck. None of his considerable intelligence is helping him express his desires to the other man.

Just when it seems they might overcome their differences, Herb’s research puts him in danger. He’s made a discovery that could cost him his life, and Chuck must use his very different talents to rescue the geek he’s coming to love.