July 5, 2015
A big thank you to Mary Calmes, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of her readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.
I just wanted to thank everyone for the marvelous questions and to the lovely Corina for putting this together.
First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.
That I cannot cook at all not even a little. Rhys Ford came to try and help me and gave up and cooked for my family herself. They did not want her to leave.
While being all busy with writing, do you even find the time to read? What are your favorite books you can read again and again?
I read romance novels over and over, some old ones with Scottish Highland lairds and blushing, virginal English brides, but mostly, for a few years now, I either read nonfiction or gay romances. I have favorites that I’ve read many times, like Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford or Dex In Blue by Amy Lane, Under The Skin but Bennet and Tachna, Hot Head by Damon Suede, and many, many more.
What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?
I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was 12 years old, and that’s when I first started writing, but it wasn’t until I was older that I knew that I wanted to create romance. The world can be a scary, dark place and romance soothes the soul. So I started to write the traditional boy meets girl dynamic but everything I wrote fell flat. There was just no feeling behind it and it didn’t feel like it had any life. During this time I read The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley which had a profound effect on me. Before that any other gay centered story I read had a sad, horrific ending. But in Bradley’s vision, there was happiness. It was a long road to get there, but I loved it so much. Then I read What Love Means to You People by Nancy Kay Shapiro. That was another, long painful road, but it had a good ending. I was sold. I decided that this was what I wanted to write.
When I finished my first story, which was A Matter of Time, I did what I thought you did and looked for an agent. I sent out queries and no one wanted anything to do with Jory. I finally realized that traditional publishing, agent to publisher to Barnes & Noble, was not in the cards for me. E-books were just starting to get big then so I decided to find a publisher and go the digital way. Before Dreamspinner, I was with the wrong publisher so my advice is, always do your research. My first publisher was not a good fit for me in any way so I was lucky that when I finished Change of Heart, that I decided to look for a new one and found Dreamspinner. I’ve been so fortunate since then.
I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?
I don’t. I wish I could. I do a terrible job of balancing work and my family and when my son was four he said his Mommy couldn’t play with him because she had to push buttons. Broke my heart. But writing is how I take care of my family so it’s that classic dilemma. My husband is extremely supportive and is very proud of me but sometimes I do get the whole, if the deadline isn’t imminent you better come out to dinner with us, ultimatum. I need to figure out a better way to do this all but my time management skills are just abysmal.
When you write a book, do you plan it before you start writing or do you let things just develop themselves? Do you plan a book series in advance or do you take things as they come?
There are plotters and pantsers and some people who are a little of both. I am ONLY a pantser. I wish I could plot at all but basically I name my characters and just start writing and hope I figure out something along the way. I mean I have a general idea, like where the characters are now and where I want them to be at the end of the book. But beyond that, I think it up as I go along.
Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one?
I used to write several at once but with my deadlines so tight lately, I haven’t had the luxury of working on 2 at once. I prefer to do 2 at once because if one slows down, you can jump to the other.
How long does it take you on average to write a story and what does your daily writing routine look like?
It really depends. I would love it to take 2 months to write a book but right now it’s averaging one a month and that’s a little fast for me. I’m better with 2 months for a novel and one for a novella. I prefer a more leisurely pace. The faster I write something, the longer the edits take. If it takes longer, my edit it shorter which makes sense because there’s less to fix.
Which novel or series did you enjoy writing the best? Did one of them give you sleepless nights?
To date, I’ve enjoyed writing my marshals the most. I like the banter between my two heroes and I enjoy figuring out what they’re going to do next. I never have sleepless nights because I don’t’ really sleep much. Whenever I see those commercials about people who need to take medicine to sleep, I’m amazed. I can fall asleep if I sit still too long. I’m always ready to fall asleep.
Are there particular songs you like to hear during the writing?
It depends on the story. For A Matter of Time, I listened to a lot of trance music. For my warders, I listened to a lot of Jazz, so it really depends.
Is there any specific type of man that fascinates you more than others? If yes, do you often tend to use that type in your stories?
I like big strong silent men who take a long time to figure out they’re in love but once they do, they fall hard and completely. Possessive, growly, grouchy, gentle men who need to be loved are my favorite and in my books they’re known as my alphas. I would say that Rand Holloway from Timing, Sam Kage from A Matter of Time, Logan Church from Change of Heart and Ian Doyle from All Kinds of Tied Down all fall into that category.
Are you one of the authors that get kicked by their muse all of the time, especially when she wants something that doesn’t really fit into your writing timetable in that situation?
I am. Whatever I’m writing at the time, I always want to be writing something else. That ALWAYS happens. It’s those little plot bunnies that come hippity-hopping into your thoughts without me wanting them at all. It’s very frustrating.
Do some protagonists grow dear to your heart more than others? If yes, which are the ones you like best? Did one couple drive you to insanity?
Lately I have fallen in love with Lazlo Maguire who is the hero of my next Mangrove book, Easy Evenings. I enjoyed writing his novella more than the others. Sometimes I can see beyond the end of the book, I can see a character’s whole life and that’s when I know I love him best. Like Weber from Frog, I could write every day of his life and be happy doing it. My couples don’t drive me insane because I always know where the relationship is going and I know that the characters are in love.
If you could have a drink with any of your book’s fictional characters who would it be? Why?
I’m not much of a drinker, but I’d love to go out for coffee with Nate from Acrobat. We’re both English majors, we like all the same movies, and he’d go shopping with me for stuff for the house. He’s very kind and soothing to be around.
Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?
Sam Kage is most like me, bossy, loud, a little selfish, hates change, and wants the people he loves to listen to him.
Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it?
I’ve been on the receiving end of some scathing reviews but not insulted. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion so I can’t fault them.
Last week DSP published the German translation of Acrobat. What inspired you to write this novel?
There’s a picture, it’s called Parallel Dreams by Steve Walker. In the painting, two men are sleeping and the first time I saw it I thought, I wonder what the story is there? Steve Walker used to license some of his paintings for use with Dreamspinner Press books and so I immediately asked if we could use it for the cover. Sadly, Steve passed away earlier in 2012 and I remember being so sad when I found that out. Anne Cain, the artist who did the cover of my book was friends with Steve and so she painted the cover of my book as a homage to him. She has a touching note at the front of my book.
What was the most touching scene to write in this novel?
For me the most touching scene is when Nate and Dreo and Michael are all on the couch together having a family night at home. I really love that one.
Would you say there was one character whose muse was the loudest, or dictated more of the story?
Because I write everything, so far, in first person except for 1 novel and 1 novella, the main character is always the voice I hear the loudest because I am in his head. So for this novel, that was Nate Qells, English professor by day, babysitter by night. J
If you had to pick a theme song for the novel, what would it be?
Worrisome Heart by Melody Gardot. I listened to a lot of jazz while I was writing Acrobat but that song in particular stands out because it’s about needing someone to love you for all your flaws not just the good parts.
Are you planning to write more series about paranormal topics such as shapeshifters, vampires, demons, etc?
I have the last warder book to write and am currently wrapping up my L’Ange series but actually my plan is to give the paranormal a rest for a while. The world building is exhausting so I’m going to take a very long break from it. I may do more but at the moment I can’t imagine it.
Have you ever thought about collaborating with other authors and writing books together with them?
I have written anthologies with other authors but as far as writing with another author the only person I’ve collaborated with has been Cardeno C. I drove CC nuts as CC is a plotter, but we made it out alive, still the best of friends.
Last but not least: What are you currently working on?
Right now I am writing the last in my L’Ange series and after that I have to jump right into Conrad’s book which is the sequel to Mine.
Again I wanted to thank you so much for all the wonderful questions.
July 5, 2015
Ich bedanke mich herzlich bei Mary Calmes, die sich bereit erklärt hat, an diesem Interview teilzunehmen und euch Lesern Frage und Antwort zu stehen. Auch ein großes Dankeschön an euch Leser, denn ohne euch wäre dieses wunderbare Interview nicht zustande gekommen.
Ich möchte allen für diese fabelhaften Fragen danken, und auch der reizenden Corina, die dieses Interview ermöglichte.
Zuallererst: Verrate etwas über dich, das deine Leser überraschen würde.
Ich kann nicht kochen, nicht mal ein bisschen. Rhys Ford kam mal zu mir und versuchte mir zu helfen, gab dann aber auf und kochte selbst für meine Familie. Sie wollten nicht, dass sie wieder nach Hause fuhr.
Findest du neben dem Schreiben noch Zeit, um zu lesen? Was sind deine Lieblingsbücher, die du immer wieder lesen könntest?
Ich lese Liebesromane immer und immer wieder, manchmal alte, mit schottischen Hochlands-Gutsherren und errötenden, jungfräulichen englischen Bräuten, aber seit ein paar Jahren lese ich meist Sachliteratur oder schwule Romanzen. Ich habe ein paar Lieblingsbücher, die ich schon sehr oft gelesen habe, wie Sinner’s Gin von Rhys Ford oder Dex In Blue von Amy Lane, Under The Skin von Bennet und Tachna, Hitzkopf von Damon Suede, und viele, viele mehr.
Was hat dich dazu gebracht, M/M Romanzen zu schreiben? Wie lange schreibst du schon und wie lange hat es gebraucht, bis du von einem Verlag publiziert wurdest?
Ich wusste bereits mit 12 Jahren, dass ich eine Autorin sein möchte, und da begann ich zu schreiben, aber erst später wurde mir bewusst, dass ich Romanzen schaffen möchte. Die Welt kann ein erschreckender, dunkler Ort sein, und Romantik beruhigt die Seele. Deshalb fing ich an, die traditionelle Junge trifft Mädchen Dynamik zu schreiben, aber alles fühlte sich platt an. Es gab kein Gefühl dahinter und es wirkte, als hätten diese Geschichten kein Leben in sich. Während dieser Zeit las ich The Catch Trap von Marion Zimmer Bradley, die einen tief greifenden Effekt auf mich hatte – dort gab es Glück. Es war ein langer Weg bis dorthin, aber ich liebte es so sehr. Dann las ich What Love Means to You People von Nancy Kay Shapiro. Das war ein weiterer langer und schmerzhafter Weg, aber es gab ein schönes Ende. Ich war begeistert und entschied, dass es genau das war, was ich schreiben wollte.
Als ich meine erste Geschichte beendet hatte, was A Matter of Time war, tat ich das, was ich dachte, was man tun sollte, und suchte nach einen Agenten. Ich sendete Anfragen, aber niemand wollte etwas mit Jory zu tun haben. Erst da begriff ich, dass eine traditionelle Veröffentlichung, Agent zu Herausgeber zu Barnes & Noble, bei mir nicht funktionieren würde. E-Books wurden zu der Zeit gerade angesagt, deshalb entschied ich, einen Verlag zu finden und den digitalen Weg zu gehen. Vor Dreamspinner war ich bei einem für mich falschen Verlag, deshalb mein Rat an euch: Recherchiert immer. Mein erster Verlag war in keinem Weg passend für mich, deshalb entschied ich mich, als ich Wandel des Herzens fertiggeschrieben hatte, nach einem neuen Verlag zu suchen und fand Dreamspinner. Und ich bin noch immer glücklich mit dieser Entscheidung.
Ich hoffe, die Frage ist nicht zu privat, wenn ja, musst du natürlich nicht darauf antworten: Wie vereinst du deine Liebe zum Schreiben mit deinem Real Life (Familie, Freunden, dem Partner etc.), ohne dass einer dabei zu kurz kommt?
Das kann ich nicht, obwohl ich es mir wünsche. Ich bin schrecklich, darin eine Balance zwischen Arbeit und meiner Familie zu finden, und als mein Sohn vier war, sagte er, dass seine Mommy nicht mit ihm spielen könnte, da sie die Knöpfe drücken müsste. Das brach mir mein Herz. Aber mit dem Schreiben versorge ich meine Familie, also ist es das klassische Dilemma. Mein Ehemann ist sehr unterstützend und auch sehr stolz auf mich, aber manchmal bekomme ich trotzdem das “Wenn deine Deadline nicht nah ist, bewegst du deinen Hintern raus und isst mit uns zu Abend”-Ultimatum zu hören. Ich weiß, dass ich eigentlich einen Weg finden sollte, um eine gute Balance zu schaffen, aber meine Fähigkeit für Zeitmanagement ist einfach nur miserable.
Legst du dir schon einen Plot (mit vorgegebenen Situationen) zurecht bzw. weißt du schon zu Beginn wie deine Protagonisten gestrickt sind, oder agierst du während des Schreibens spontan?
Es gibt Leute, die ihren Plot ausarbeiten und andere, die einfach drauf losschreiben, und es gibt Autoren, die ein bisschen von beidem sind. Ich schreibe NUR drauf los. Ich wünschte, ich könnte schon vorher meinen Plot ausarbeiten, aber normalerweise gebe ich meinen Charakteren ihre Namen und beginne mit dem Schreiben und hoffe, dass ich mir dann über die Geschichte klar werde. Ich meine, ich habe eine Idee, wie z. B. wo die Charaktere gerade stehen und wo ich sie am Ende des Buches haben will. Aber darüber hinaus, entscheide ich alles während des Schreibprozesses.
Schreibst du an mehreren Büchern gleichzeitig oder konzentrierst du dich lieber nur auf eines?
Ich schreibe normalerweise an mehreren gleichzeitig, aber da meine Deadlines neuerdings so knapp sind, kann ich mir den Luxus, an zwei Geschichten auf einmal zu arbeiten, nicht leisten. Ich bevorzuge es aber an zwei Büchern gleichzeitig zu schreiben, denn falls es bei einer Geschichte schleppend vorangeht, kann man sich auf die andere konzentrieren.
Wie lange schreibst du durchschnittlich an einer Geschichte und wie sieht dein Schreiballtag im Allgemeinen aus?
Es kommt drauf an. Ich hätte gern, dass ich zwei Monate brauche, um ein Buch zu schreiben, aber zur Zeit brauche ich durchschnittlich einen Monat, aber das ist ein wenig schnell für mich. Ich würde mich besser fühlen, wenn ich für ein Buch zwei Monate Zeit hätte und für eine Kurzgeschichte einen Monat. Ich bevorzuge ein gemächliches Tempo. Je schneller ich etwas schreibe, umso länger braucht die Überarbeitung. Wenn ich länger an einem Buch schreibe, ist die Überarbeitungszeit kürzer, was Sinn macht, da man weniger ausbessern muss.
Welches Buch oder welche Serie hast du am liebsten geschrieben? Hat dir eines deiner Bücher schlaflose Nächte bereitet?
Bislang habe ich es am meisten genossen, meine Marshals zu schreiben. Ich mag das Geplänkel zwischen meinen beiden Helden und ich liebe es mir vorzustellen, was sie wohl als Nächstes tun würden. Ich hatte nie schlaflose Nächte, da ich im Allgemeinen schlafe sehr wenig. Wenn ich diese Werbungen sehe, wo Leute Medikamente nehmen, um schlafen zu können, bin ich verblüfft. Ich kann einschlafen, wenn ich nur zu lange still sitze. Ihr seht, ich bin immer bereit, einzuschlafen.
Gibt es bestimmte Lieder, die du während des Schreibens gerne hörst?
Das kommt auf die Geschichte an. Bei A Matter of Time hörte ich viel Trance Music. Bei meinen Wärtern hörte ich viel Jazz.
Findest du einen speziellen Typ Mann besonders faszinierend und bindest du ihn häufiger in deine Geschichten ein?
Ich liebe große, schweigsame Männer, die lange brauchen ehe sie bemerken, dass sie verliebt sind, aber wenn sie es dann verstanden haben, sich vollkommen darauf einlassen. Besitzergreifende, murrende, griesgrämige, sanfte Männer, die es brauchen geliebt zu werden sind meine Lieblinge, und in meinen Büchern kennt man sie als meine Alphas. Ich würde sagen, dass Rand Holloway von Timing, Sam Kage von A Matter of Time, Logan Church von der Serie Change of Heart und Ian Doyle von All Kinds of Tied Down in diese Kategorie fallen.
Gehörst du auch zu den Autoren, die von der Muse ständig Arschtritte bekommen, vor allem, wenn sie etwas will, das dir aktuell so gar nicht in den Zeitplan passt?
Bin ich. Was auch immer ich schreibe, ich will zur selben Zeit etwas anderes schreiben. Das passiert STÄNDIG. Das sind diese kleinen Plot-Bunnies, die sich in deine Gedanken hoppeln, obwohl man es nicht möchte. Es ist wirklich frustrierend.
Wachsen dir manche Protagonisten mehr ans Herz als andere? Wenn ja, welche magst du am liebsten? Gab es ein Paar, das dich in den Wahnsinn getrieben hat?
Zuletzt habe ich mich in Lazlo Maguire verliebt, der der Held in meiner nächsten Mangrove Geschichte Easy Evenings ist. Ich habe es mehr genossen seine Kurzgeschichte zu schreiben als die der anderen. Manchmal kann ich über das Ende des Buches hinausblicken, kann das gesamte Leben des Protagonisten erkennen und das zeigt mir, dass ich ihn am meisten liebe. Wie Weber von Frog. Ich könnte jeden Tag seines Lebens aufschreiben und wäre dabei glücklich. Meine Paare treiben mich nicht in den Wahnsinn, da ich weiß, wie sich die Beziehung entwickeln wird und dass sich die beiden lieben.
Wenn du mit einem deiner Protagonisten einen trinken gehen könntest, für wen würdest du dich entscheiden und warum?
Ich bin kein großer Trinker, aber ich würde gerne mit Nate von Acrobat einen Kaffee trinken gehen. Wir haben beide Englisch studiert, lieben dieselben Filme und er würde mich zum Einkaufen begleiten um neue Sachen fürs Haus zu finden. Er ist sehr nett und seine Anwesenheit beruhigend.
Welcher deiner Charaktere ähnelt dir charakterlich am meisten?
Sam Kage ist mir ähnlich. Er ist herrisch, laut, ein wenig egoistisch, hasst Veränderungen und will, dass die Menschen, die im wichtig sind, auf ihn hören.
Hast du schon einmal abfällige / beleidigende Bemerkungen zu deinen Büchern erhalten? Wenn ja, wie hast du darauf reagiert?
Ich musste schon ein paar verletzende Reviews einstecken, wurde aber nie beleidigt. Jeder ist berechtigt, eine eigene Meinung zu haben, und daran habe ich nichts auszusetzen.
Letzte Woche veröffentliche DSP die deutsche Übersetzung von deinem Buch Acrobat (Seiltänzer). Was hat dich inspiriert, dieses Buch zu schreiben?
Es gibt ein Gemälde mit dem Namen Parallel Dreams von Steve Walker. In diesem Bild schlafen zwei Männer, und als ich es das erste Mal sah, dachte ich darüber nach, was wohl die Geschichte dahinter sein könnte. Steve Walker bewilligte bei manchen Bildern, dass Dreamspinner Press diese verwenden könnte, weshalb ich sofort anfragte, ob es mein Cover werden könnte. Traurigerweise starb Steve Anfang 2012 und ich erinnere mich noch immer daran, wie traurig ich darüber war. Anne Cain, die Künstlerin, die das Cover für mein Buch gestaltete, war mit Steve befreundet, und so malte sie es als Hommage an ihn. Ganz vorn in meinem Buch gibt es eine berührende Anmerkung von ihr.
Gibt es eine Szene im Buch, die dich besonders berührte?
Die für mich berührendste Szene war, als Nate, Dreo und Michael zusammen auf der Couch saßen und einen Familienabend zu Hause genossen. Ich liebte diese Szene.
Würdest du sagen, dass die Muse eines bestimmten Charakters lauter schrie oder mehr Teile der Story diktierte als die eines anderen?
Da ich alle meine Bücher in der 1. Person schreibe, mit Ausnahme von einem Roman und einer Kurzgeschichte, ist es der Hauptcharakter, dessen Stimme ich immer am lautesten höre, da ich in seinem Kopf stecke. Bei diesem Buch war es Nate Qells, Englischprofessor am Tag, Babysitter in der Nacht. J
Wenn du einen Titelsong für dein Buch aussuchen müsstest, welcher wäre es?
Worrisome Heart von Melody Gardot. Ich hörte viel Jazz während ich Acrobat schrieb, aber dieses Lied ragt hervor, denn es handelt davon, dass man jemanden auch für seine Fehler lieben muss, und nicht nur für die guten Seiten, die man hat.
Sind weitere Reihen in dem Genre „paranormal“ geplant? Also Gestaltwandler, Vampire, Dämonen oder Ähnliches?
Ich muss das letzte Wächter-Buch schreiben und bringe zur Zeit meine L’Ange Serie zum Abschluss. Danach will ich das paranormale Genre eine Weile ruhen lassen. Das Bauen dieser Welten ist ermüdend, weshalb die Pause wohl länger dauern wird. Ich werde später vielleicht wieder mehr in diesem Genre schreiben, aber zur Zeit kann ich es mir nicht vorstellen.
Hast du schon mal mit dem Gedanken gespielt, mit einem anderen Autor/in an einem gemeinsamen Projekt zu schreiben?
Ich schrieb Anthologien mit anderen Autoren, aber mit einem anderen Autor an einem Buch zu schreiben, geschah nur mit Cardeno C. Ich trieb sie in den Wahnsinn, denn sie plant ihre Plots, aber wir haben beide haben es heil überstanden und sind noch immer Freunde.
Zu guter Letzt. Woran arbeitest du zur Zeit?
Zur Zeit schreibe ich am letzten Band meiner L’Ange Serie, und danach stürze ich mich auf Conrads Buch, was das Sequel zu Mine wird.
Noch einmal möchte ich mich herzlich für all die wundervollen Fragen bedanken.
June 29, 2015
Brick by Brick by Cate Ashwood & L.J. LaBarthe
If Zach and Parley can overcome the terrors of the past and the situation of the present, maybe they can build a new relationship.
They say that time heals all wounds, but losing Parley, his one true love, left Zach with a hole in his heart that no one else can fill. After forty-eight blissful hours alone together as teens in an abandoned house, Parley disappeared. Parley is what he is, and the pray-away-the-gay camp his parents ship him to won’t change that. However, finding the balance between accepting his true nature and not losing his family means tough sacrifices.
Sixteen years later, Zach is thunderstruck when Parley stands on the front doorstep of his house—the house that had been their refuge, which Zach restored. But Parley isn’t alone, and Zach wonders if he’s found Parley only to lose him a second time. If they can overcome the terrors of the past and the situation of the present, maybe they can build a new relationship just as Zach rebuilt the house—brick by brick.
Length: Novel (200p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: June 29, 2015
Forging the Future by Mary Calmes
If Jin can regain his memory and Logan overcome the threats to his leadership, they can resume their lives. But is that what they want?
Jin Church is back where he started, alone, wandering, and uncertain of his path. It’s not by choice but by circumstance, as he remembers he’s a werepanther… but not much else. He knows one thing for sure—he needs to find the beautiful blond man who haunts his dreams.
Logan Church is trapped in a living hell. His mate is missing, his tribe is falling apart, and he’s estranged from the son he loves with all his heart. His world is unraveling without his mate by his side, and he has no one to blame but himself.
If Jin can regain his memory and Logan can overcome the threats to his leadership, then perhaps they can resume their lives. The question is: Is that what they want? Back to the same house, the same tribe, the same troubles? They can choose from various roads leading to their future… or they can forge their own path.
Length: Novel (200p.) | Genre: Paranormal, Werewolves/Shapeshifter | Release Date: June 29, 2015
Oasis of Night by J.S. Cook
WWII throws spies and patriots together inside expatriate Jack’s Heartache Café and forces uncomplimentary bedfellows into alliances.
The Second World War touches Newfoundland in unprecedented ways, throwing spies and patriots together inside Jack Stolyes’s Heartache Café.
American expatriate Jack Stoyles embarks on a self-imposed exile to St. John’s, Newfoundland. With good reason, Jack calls his place “Heartache Café.” He’s content—until Samual Halim walks into his life.
When a constable goes missing, Jack finds himself caught between a manipulative woman, a corrupt cop, and a sabotaged work site.
Valley of the Dead
When Egyptian diplomat Samuel Halim enters Jack’s Heartache Café, Jack’s life changes forever. Then Sam disappears along with the code key to decipher a Nazi radio command that will set Rommel’s troops in motion, leaving Jack with nothing but a fragmented phone call.
In the teeming heat of Cairo—a city rife with romance, secrets, sex, and danger, where no one is who he seems and violent death waits around every shadowed corner—it’s up to Jack to find the new love of his life and deliver the code that will change the course of history. But as Sam’s secrets come to light, there’s more at stake than the tenuous relationship forming between the two men.
1st Edition of Valley of the Dead published by Dreamspinner Press, 2013.
1st Edition of Heartache Café published by MLR Press, 2009.
Length: Novella (304p.) | Genre: Historical World, Mystery/Suspense | Release Date: June 29, 2015
April 29, 2015
Just Desserts by Mary Calmes
A hinky recipe for chocolate mousse might help gallery owner Boone Walton and chef Scott Wren find the love missing from their lives.
Boone Walton has tried hard to create some distance between himself and his past. He’s invested in his new life, his New Orleans art gallery, and his friendship with Scott Wren. Things finally seem to be settling down to normal, and Boone couldn’t be happier.
Chef Scott Wren wants much more than normal with Boone. He wants to raise things to the next level, but Boone is terrified—and not because of the ghost in Scott’s apartment or Scott’s relatives. No, Boone’s past is about to pay him a visit, and the only thing that can get between Boone, Scott, and a hinky recipe for chocolate mousse found in a curious cookbook is the river of pain Boone had to swim across to get to this side of The Big Easy. There’s a secret behind the ingredients, though—one that might reveal the trust and love that have been missing from Boone’s life.
Length: Novella (102p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: April 29, 2015
Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-861-0)
Last Dance with Mary Jane by John Goode
After Shayne’s death, Peter calls his voice mail to hear him one last time. He isn’t prepared when Shayne answers the phone.
Peter was devastated when he lost his love, Shayne, in a car crash. Though he knows nothing will bring Shayne back, Peter takes solace in listening to Shayne’s voice mail, just to hear his voice one last time. He’s not prepared when one night, Shayne answers the phone.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
1st Edition published by Silver Publishing, 2012.
Length: Novella (60p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Bittersweet Dreams | Release Date: April 29, 2015
Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-928-0)
The Sea Calls My Name by Hollis Shiloh
Daniel and Leaf have more in common that a love for the sea, and their ties to the ocean may be more fantastic than they imagined.
He lost his magic. How?
Returning to the bookstore by the sea, Daniel worries about how to tell his father that the money he saved to send his gifted son to magic school was a waste.
Daniel buries his secret under the pretense of coming home for a vacation. Then he meets Leaf Springfield, a beautiful young man who’s been systematically beaten down by his uncle.
Irresistibly drawn to one another, they learn they share more than a love for raw fish and the ocean—both have lost a mother, and their ties to the ocean may be more fantastic than they can imagine.
Passion explodes between the two. It terrifies Daniel how quickly his feelings for Leaf grow. There may be more here than meets the eye—about both of them.
Length: Novella (70p.) | Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy | Release Date: April 29, 2015
Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-991-4)
Surprised at Nothing by Kristi Lee
Reggie wonders if he made a huge mistake in trusting Kelp, for the “rock” Kelp disappeared with might be a dragon’s egg.
Even in a Magus world, things are not always as they seem. However, what could possibly go wrong when archeologist Reggie Orrick, the red-haired son of a red-haired Magus, halts his Eastern European dig and travels to Ireland to research his latest find of what’s probably just a fossilized rock?
With Reggie’s luck? Everything.
Once in Ireland, Reggie crosses paths with Ian “Kelp” McGinty, an Unfortunate of Magus and Fae ancestry, who’s more than happy to appoint himself Reggie’s guide and confidant. Kelp’s irrepressible personality and compelling “something” draws Reggie to him, and Reggie’s about convinced himself to extend his stay to get to know the Unfortunate better. But one near-tragic car accident later, and Kelp disappears… with Reggie’s rock.
Reggie’s left to wonder if he’s made a huge mistake in trusting Kelp, for the “rock” might just be an Irish Snakesbane—an egg from an extinct line of dragons!
Length: Novella (80p.) | Genre: Urban Fantasy | Release Date: April 29, 2015
Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-851-1)
Tales of the Curious Cookbook by RJ Scott, Amy Lane, Marie Sexton, Amber Kell & Mary Calmes (Print Only)
A mysterious handwritten cookbook full of magical recipes is about to find its way into new lives, just when it’s needed most.
It’s called comfort food for a reason.
Not much is known about the cookbook, except that years ago, the mysterious Granny B collected a set of magical recipes and wrote them down. Over the years, each book has been modified, corrected, added to, and passed down through the generations to accumulate its own unique history. The secrets behind these very special recipes are about to find their way into new hands and new lives, just when they’re needed the most.
Food created out of love casts a spell all its own, but Granny B’s recipes add a little something extra. This curious cookbook holds not only delicious food, but also the secrets of love, trust, and healing, and it’s about to work its magic once again.
Enjoy these stories from: RJ Scott, Amy Lane, Marie Sexton, Amber Kell, and Mary Calmes
Length: Novel (346p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: April 29, 2015
Buy as Paperback ($17.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-990-7)
March 4, 2015
Mary Calmes gives us her favorite places to visit in Chicago
I have very few favorite cities but one of them is certainly Chicago where many of my books are set. I think the reason I love it so much is the fact that yes, it’s a huge metropolitan city and holy cow it’s cold there in the winter, but there are endless things to do with options for every budget. Here are some of my favorite places to go whenever I visit and where my characters have of course gone as well.
The Chicago Field Museum: You can’t go wrong going in there, dinosaur bones, the man-eaters of Tsavo, and there’s so much to see just please, don’t eat there.
Haymarket Pub & Brewery: It’s down on Randolph Street, the Mathias Imperial I.P.A. is amazing when they have it and the sweet potato tater tots are to die for.
The Lincoln Park Zoo: People will say, go to the Brookfield Zoo, but Lincoln Park is better. It’s prettier, stop and check out the South Pond Pavilion if you love architecture, and the baby animals are adorable. Plus, it’s free.
Chinatown: I used to make a day of this with my hubby. We’d get up early and go have dim-sum, then walk around to the jewelry stores, I have a really pretty pair of amber earrings I’ve had for 10+ years at this point now, then to the market for veggies, and then walk around some more. I love it there.
The Girl & Goat: I love this restaurant, I want to live there. It’s so good…I’m salivating just typing. Just go. The wood oven roasted pig face…I know what you’re thinking, but it’s to die for. And the oysters.
Chicago is a huge place with endless opportunities, I hope you have a wonderful time visiting.
Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.
Find our more about Mary’s books here.
February 9, 2015
Embracing Change by A.J. Marcus
Torn between his budding love for Geary and his years with Charlie, Sam finds comfort in Geary’s arms, but it may not be enough.
Every day Sam Benito watches his marriage fall apart. He and his husband, Charlie, a New York Times bestselling author, fight constantly, catching their teenage son, Iggy, in the middle. If there’s any love left, it’s hard to find. Charlie, bent on self-destruction, crosses an unspoken line, and Sam realizes it’s time to leave as the man he fell in love with is gone forever.
After leaving his high-powered corporate job years ago, Sam now works at a small feed store in an effort to keep his family together. It’s a job he never thought he would find pleasant, but working with Geary Ellis may have something to do with his job satisfaction.
Charlie digs himself deeper, and Sam is helpless to do anything. Torn between his budding love for Geary and his years with Charlie, Sam finds comfort in Geary’s arms, but it may not be enough to hold him together as Charlie falls apart.
Length: Novel (200p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: February 9, 2015
A New Man by P.D. Singer
An emergency surgery turns Chad into a new man. But Warren fell in love with the old one.
Senior year of college is for studying, partying, and having fun before getting serious about life. Instead, Chad’s days are filled with headaches and exhaustion, and his fencing skills are getting worse with practice, not better. Then there’s his nonexistent love life, full of girls he’s shunted to the friend zone. Is he asexual? Gay?
Grad student Warren Douglas could be out clubbing, but his roommate is better company, even without kisses. He’s torn up watching Chad suffer, gobbling ibuprofen and coming home early on Friday nights. If Chad weren’t straight, Warren would keep him up past midnight. They’re great as friends. Benefits might answer Chad’s questions.
A brief encounter with lab rats reveals Chad’s illness—he needs surgery, STAT, and can’t rely on his dysfunctional parents for medical decisions. Warren’s both trustworthy and likely to get overruled—unless they’re married. “You can throw me back later,” Warren says, and he may throw himself back after his husband turns out moody and hard to get along with, no matter how much fun his new sex drive is. Surgery turns Chad into a new man, all right…
…but Warren fell in love with the old one.
Length: Novel (276p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: February 9, 2015
Quiet Nights by Mary Calmes
Kelly and Coz have been through war together. Can they face their pasts and build a future of quiet nights in Mangrove?
It’s a lovely little life Kelly Seaton leads. He’s got his own landscaping business, a nice little house, and his best friend, Cosimo Renaldi, and Coz’s goofball family who have adopted Kelly as their own. Sure, it’s a little lonely at night, but it’s a sweet deal, and Kelly can’t chance ruining it by letting on that he wants more—has always wanted more—with Coz.
Then Kelly’s past comes to town, bringing bad memories and hurt feelings that start to break Kelly down, and Coz just doesn’t understand why Kelly won’t let him be the support and strength that Kelly’s always been for him. They’ve already been through war, Coz’s devastating injury, and starting new careers in Mangrove, Florida. Why shouldn’t they face their chaotic pasts and build their future of quiet nights… together?
Length: Novella (80p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: February 9, 2015
Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-63476-032-4)
December 8, 2014
Fighting Instinct by Mary Calmes
Predator and prey don’t usually mix, but Arman and Linus are drawn together as they protect L’Ange.
Only a privileged few know L’Ange’s head of security Arman de Soto is a shifter, and even fewer know he’s been systematically killing off a pack of werewolves. The reason for this vengeance is a secret Arman trusts with no one, quite the opposite of his obvious longtime pursuit of the château’s overseer, Linus Hobbes. Despite Arman’s reputation as a loner, the only thing he needs to complete his life is Linus. Predator and prey just don’t mix—but Arman won’t give him up.
Linus has lived alone for more than seven years, sheltered at L’Ange under an assumed name and hiding secrets of his own, including his terrifying attraction to the most dangerous man he’s ever met. Arman knows Linus should be afraid of the predator stalking him, but Linus is still drawn to him like a moth to a flame, no matter how much he tries to deny his instincts. It’s not until Linus’s past and Arman’s crusade exposes their secrets and opens L’Ange to attack that Arman realizes waiting any longer is a risk he just can’t take. So he’ll have to take his quest to the source of the threat in a gamble to protect L’Ange, Linus, and any future they might have together.
Length: Novel (224p.) | Genre: Paranormal, Werewolves/Shapeshifters
Release Date: December 8, 2014
The Last Guy Breathing by Skylar M. Cates
Henry and Deputy Locke join forces to solve a crime, and irresistible passion soon follows.
Henry Clueley doesn’t want to be in Glamour, not after moving far away to overcome a difficult, if privileged, childhood. He’s no longer that pudgy kid desperate to escape his hometown, but it still holds painful memories. When his recently widowed mother needs him, however, “dependable Henry” does the right thing—even if it means leaving the IRS to take a boring corporate position. Things don’t stay boring for long. Soon Henry helps the local sheriff’s department unravel a crime. Posing as half of a fake couple seems like a fun idea… until Henry learns he already knows the deputy playing his other half.
Deputy Locke may be new to the Glamour Sheriff’s Department, but he’s fought his way up in the world and is determined to make a good impression. He keeps his private life quiet, even from his beloved younger brother. Locke knows better than most the need to protect what’s his.
Henry resents the arrogant, gorgeous cop, and Locke thinks Henry is sheltered and spoiled. Their secret and steamy encounter only adds to the animosity. As they join forces, Henry thinks a relationship with Locke would be catastrophic, but the white-hot passion between them makes it hard to resist.
Length: Novel (254p.) | Genre: Mystery/Suspense | Release Date: December 8, 2014
A Spartan Love by Kayla Jameth
Only the gods can save Andreas and Theron from the terrible price Sparta demands from men who desire other men.
Alone, Andreas toils on a remote farmstead for a Spartan overlord. When a kryptes enters his world, Andreas fears for his life. The dread warriors stalk and kill helots—like Andreas’ father—as part of their training.
Andreas sees only one way to save himself: he must tame the fearsome warrior.
But what began as self-preservation develops into attraction. Yearning for the company of someone other than his ferret, Ictis, Andreas decides to trust the Spartan warrior and risk the fate that claimed his father.
Born to rule by the sword, Theron sees the world as his and acts accordingly, taking everything Andreas offers and reaching for more. However, love between men in Sparta is considered shameful and requires either exile or suicide to redeem Sparta’s honor. Now, only the gods can save them from the terrible price Sparta extracts from men who desire other men.
Length: Novel (210p.) | Genre: Ancient History, Fantasy, Mythology
Release Date: December 8, 2014
The Virgin Miracle by Rob Rosen
Two strangers on a plane, one heading to Paris, the other Barcelona, with only a connection in London in common—at first.
Two strangers on a plane, one heading to Paris, the other Barcelona, both trying to get to their families in time for the holidays. It’s Christmas Eve, and all they have in common is a connection through London. When flights get delayed and cancelled, that connection goes beyond an airport, a terminal, and a secluded meeting room. And for Lance and Bruce, Christmas morning will hold even more joyous miracles.
Length: Day Dream (22p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: December 1, 2014
Buy as eBook ($1.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-740-8)
King of Me by R. A. Kaitland
Cast out of his clan of shifters, Anton Cedwell wants nothing more than to be accepted by his partner Sean’s family.
Cast out of his clan of shifters and with no family of his own, Anton Cedwell wants nothing more than to be accepted by his partner Sean’s family when the two of them visit over Christmas. But Sean’s powerful father, Flavius, isn’t happy his son chose a shifter as a mate, and Sean is hiding secrets from Anton. When Sean is attacked by rival weres, Anton hopes Sean’s family will finally see the depth of his commitment and how far he’s willing to go to protect the man he loves.
Length: Day Dream (33p.) | Genre: Other Paranormal, Werewolves/Shapeshifters
Release Date: December 1, 2014 | Buy as eBook ($1.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-741-5)
My You by Tamer Lorika
Adrian’s life in Mongolia is very different from Texas, from the holiday celebrations to… dating.
Adrian Delgado’s time in the Peace Corps has been rewarding, but with Christmas around the corner, he is starting to get homesick. Life in Mongolia is very different from Texas, from the holiday celebrations to… dating. Take his coworker Batbayar, for instance—they’ve slept together several times and spend most time outside of work in each other’s houses. But are they “together,” or friends with benefits? Maybe a Mongolian Christmas and a sheep’s head in the bathtub can lead to the answer.
Length: Day Dream (17p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: December 1, 2014
Buy as eBook ($1.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-742-2)
November 29, 2014
Snow Globe by LE Franks
Kris Hamilton escaped the rat race in LA to live his dream of owning an art studio and making snow globes in a Christmas-themed town in northern Minnesota. But life in a tiny town isn’t as peaceful as advertised, and being treated like an outsider is making Kris’s Tourette’s flare up. When he inadvertently offends Tyr Tollefson—a beautiful blond giant of a man—Kris is ready to chuck it all. But he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Tyr’s cousin Bun, who shows them the magic of Christmas and gives them both a lesson in love and acceptance.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.
Length: Novella (58 minutes) | Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Advent Calendar 2013
Release Date: November 10, 2014 | Narrator: Dave Gillies | Buy as Audio Book ($3.95)
Floodgates by Mary Calmes
Tracy Brandt considers himself a lucky man. He has a wonderful family, good friends, and a dependable job. His love life, however, features a cheating ex who, though out of the house, is not yet out of the picture—with a past that just might get Tracy killed.
Homicide inspector Cord Nolan wants nothing more than to show his best friend’s little brother that he’s a reliable man, but to do that he’ll have to get Tracy to look past the player he used to be. It’ll be a tough sell; reputation is everything, and Cord’s is tarnished by his past indiscretions.
Tracy and Cord have spent five years trying to suffocate their fiery attraction under a blanket of grudging antagonism. When Tracy finds himself with a target on his back, Cord finally has the chance to ride to the rescue and break through the dam of Tracy’s reserve. But he’d better be careful: if Cord is breaking the floodgates to wash away the past, he’s going to have to hold tight to Tracy to make sure they’re still standing when the tumult recedes.
Length: Novel (7 hours and 53 minutes) | Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Release Date: November 12, 2014 | Narrator: Michael Anthony | Buy as Audio Book ($19.95)
A Simple Romance by J.H. Knight
Skip thought he had it all: the fabulous husband, the great apartment, and the teaching job he’d always wanted. Even the cat was perfect. When his partner of eight years decides he wants something else—something that doesn’t involve Skip or the apartment or even the cat—Skip decides it’s time to go home to the other side of the country.
However, Skip’s hometown doesn’t just hold a loving meddling mother but also the memories of his awkward crush on a boy he met his senior year in high school. A boy he humiliated himself in front of just when it looked as if his fantasies might become reality. Finding out Paul Miller is now working at the same high school where Skip has just been hired flips his world upside down. After a heated night together, Skip is happy being friends with benefits. Paul will have to convince him love is worth the risk.
Length: Novella (5 hours and 36 minutes) | Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Release Date: November 14, 2014 | Narrator: Nick J. Russo | Buy as Audio Book ($19.95)
July 4, 2014
All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes
Ian has always resisted being tied down. His partner, Miro, just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn’t so bad.
Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they’ve gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more.
As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn’t working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn’t work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn’t being tied down at all.
Length: Novel (290p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: July 4, 2014
Hard Feelings by Morgan James & Ashlyn Kane
Rylan and Miller’s arrangement has simple rules: Don’t stay overnight. Don’t tell anyone. Don’t fall in love. This is probably a bad idea.
Rylan Williams hates conferences: too many people, not enough routine, and way too much interaction with strangers. When he gets stuck in a broken elevator with Miller Jones, the kid who fell asleep in his lecture, he figures things can’t get worse. Then Rylan realizes he’s the same guy he just spent an hour perving over from afar.
Rylan wants to await rescue in silence, but Miller insists on conversation, or at least banter. But just because they don’t get along doesn’t mean they don’t have chemistry, and Rylan breaks all his rules about intimacy for a one-time-only conference hookup. He’ll probably never see Miller again anyway. So of course, two months later Miller shows up at Rylan’s office, having just been hired to work on a new computer program—with Rylan.
And Rylan thought being stuck in an elevator with him was bad.
Soon Rylan and Miller learn that they get along best when they take out their frustrations in the bedroom. Their arrangement goes against everything Rylan believes in, but the rules are simple: Don’t stay overnight. Don’t tell anyone. And don’t fall in love.
This is probably a bad idea.
Length: Novel (220p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: July 4, 2014
April 18, 2014
Control by Cardeno C. & Mary Calmes
Openly gay since he was a teen, Vy—a hawk shifter—worries he’ll be alone, because two males can’t be mates. That is until he meets Robert.
Vy Aleknos is the leader of a hawk shifter flock. Openly gay since he was a teen, Vy is proud and self-assured on the outside, while secretly worrying he’ll be forced to spend his life alone because two males can’t be mates. When bear shifter Robert Cimino appears in Vy’s small town, Vy realizes his concerns were unfounded — he has a male mate, and a sexy, dominant one to boot.
Robert is a bear shifter who refuses to shift. Immediately attracted to Vy, he deviates from his normal pattern and seeks more than a one off with the powerful, bristly hawk. But Robert’s affections are rooted in his human form, and when Vy discovers Robert doesn’t recognize him as his mate, he pulls away. If Robert wants to stay with Vy, he must convince a man deeply ruled by his animal instincts to give their relationship as humans a chance.
Length: Novel (220p.) | Genre: Paranormal, Werewolves/Shapeshifters, Erotic Romance
Release Date: April 18, 2014
Loving Jay by Renae Kaye
Liam can’t be gay. His dad won’t allow it. End of. He can’t be gay—so why does colorful, flamboyant Jay make him weak in the knees?
One thing Liam Turner knows for sure is that he’s not gay—after all, his father makes it very clear he’ll allow no son of his to be gay. And Liam believes it, until a chance meeting with James “Jay” Bell turns Liam’s world upside-down. Jay is vivacious and unabashedly gay—from the tips of his bleached hair to the ends of his polished nails. With a flair for fashion, overreaction, and an inability to cork his verbal diarrhea, drama queen Jay must have a screw loose.
An accident as a teenager left Liam with a limp and a fear of driving. He can’t play football anymore either, and that makes him feel like less of a man. But that’s no reason to question his sexuality… unless the accident broke something else inside him. When being with Jay causes Liam’s protective instincts to emerge, Liam starts to believe all he’s known in life has been a convenient lie. From intolerance to confrontations, Liam must learn to overcome his fears—and his father—before he can accept his sexuality and truly love Jay.
Length: Novel (200p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Humor | Release Date: April 18, 2014