Illusions – What’s In A Name

February 13, 2015

Hi, it’s S.A. again chatting about my book being released today.

Illusions is my first published book, so I’m really new at guest blogging. I looked around at the other DSP author’s blogs to get ideas and I found a few that I thought were interesting.  One that I really liked was “How did you arrive at the title for the book“. To me, that was one of the hardest things to do because you want to look at the book as a whole and think of something that incorporates all the different characters and scenes into a single name. If you’re lucky that name or title will help tell something about the story to potential readers.

What is an Illusion? Webster’s describes it as something that looks or seems different from what it is : something that is false or not real but that seems to be true or real.

When I was trying to find a name for the new book, I thought about all the characters. Most were living in some state of illusion. Right out of the gate, we have Skylar waking up with a massive hangover to find that a fan has managed to sneak by all of his reserves and end up in his bed.  Skylar doesn’t remember her or their night, but quickly realizes that Emma (the fan) thinks she is in love with him and is convinced that Skylar will fall in love with her – once he meets her.

Ryan, who is Aiden’s best friend, is another huge fan of Skylar’s.  He’s completely starstruck and is convinced that Skylar is the character that he portrays on television. Needless to say, Ryan sometimes has a hard time separating the actor from the character.

Kelly, the 80′s “It” girl feels like she can pay for plastic surgery and keep the illusion that she still “Twenty-something” going on forever. And then we have the arsonist, whose entire agenda is based on an illusion.  Now, that I think about it, Aiden may be the only one with his feet planted firmly on the ground. But even he buys into the illusion of Skylar and Sophie at some point.

Then we have Skylar who has an illusion regarding the entire world. He feels he can do what he wants, when he wants and no one get’s hurt. That’s an illusion because it’s not possible to treat people any way you like and expect no one to be hurt. One might even argue that the fact that Skylar says he will never fall in love, never need anyone, is also an illusion. But is it really an illusion if it could be true?

However to me, Hollywood is the biggest illusion of them all. The entire entertainment business is build on illusions. When it comes to celebrities, normally the general public sees what Hollywood wants you to see. Unless you’re in a celebrities inner circle, you’ll continue to see exactly what is played out for you on the big screens and on the red carpet. And sometimes that “sight” is a well-oiled, fine tuned story. With the use of social media and the internet, it’s become harder for celebrities to hide behind their illusions as well as they used to, but it’s still there. If Hollywood wants you to believe that two people are in love off set, then you can bet money that it will be hard for you to believe otherwise. Because some illusions are better than real life.

How about you? Have you ever been a part of something only to realize later that it was all an illusion? Not real at all?

About Illusions

IllusionsFS

Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Novel
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Christy Caughie

Link: e-book  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6041

Link: paperback http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6042

BLURB

Ever since arriving in Hollywood, Skylar Murphy has been loving life. He’s starring in a hit television show and on the verge of grabbing the lead role in the most anticipated movie of the decade. Poised on the edge of superstardom, he doesn’t want or need any complications to distract him from that goal. Whether he’s sleeping with a woman or a man, his noncommittal, no-strings-attached love life suits him perfectly, and despite his rep for playing gay roles, the world still thinks he’s straight.

At the launch party for his new show, Skylar meets Aiden Moore, an openly gay firefighter by day and cater waiter to the stars by night. Skylar is immediately attracted to him, but Aiden rejects him. When an arsonist appears to have targeted Skylar, their paths keep crossing. Always up for a challenge, Skylar works to win Aiden over, and he agrees to a date. Soon enough they can’t stay away from each other. Despite hiding their relationship away from the ever-present paparazzi, they’re happy together until a jilted fan joins forces with the arsonist to sabotage their future.

Illusions – My inspiration for the Book

February 13, 2015

Hi, it’s S.A. again. I’ll be on the DSP blog until noon today and back again around 5pm EST until Midnight.

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Today is the release day for my very first novel, Illusions and I wanted to share with you my start in writing. In February 2013, I was laid off from my job of twenty-two years. After getting over the initial panic, I started the endless chore of trying to find a job. My day consisted of filling out online resumes and eating. Can you say, “stress eater”?

I was watching a few You Tube videos during my down time and I saw a fan video made with The Kill – by 30 Seconds to Mars. It featured one of my favorite actors and my crush, Sebastian Stan, from his old television show, “Kings”. I remembered how much I love the show and how angry it made me that the Prince (Sebastian’s character) hadn’t been able to be with his boyfriend (a non-noble) due to his title and his father saying he could never be gay and be the King.

I had wanted to write a m/m love story for a long time and this video gave the idea for Illusions. I needed someone unattainable so I went with what I know – Hollywood. Since we’ve all have had out celebrity crushes, I thought that maybe it would be fun to write a love story between a Hollywood celebrity and a non-celeb type person. I chose a firefighter because I think they are heroic and all kinds of amazing.

Below is the You Tube video that started it all for me..well for Illusions. But first, tell me, have you ever had a crush on a celebrity? If so, who and why?

Link: e-book  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6041

Link: paperback http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6042

Illusions – Hello from S.A. Ozment

February 13, 2015

Hi there! I’m S.A. Ozment and I’m here to chat with you guys about my first novel Illusions that is being released today! I’m so excited and ready to start, but first let me thank DSP for allowing me time on the blog today.

Illusions is about Skylar Murphy, a Hollywood television star who is on the verge of superstardom. The last thing he needs is any type of complications but enter one hot Hollywood Firefighter and soon Skylar has complications coming in from all directions. Add to that the manipulations of an arsonist, the town of Hollywood and Skylar may have more than he bargained for.

Below is the cover (didn’t Christie do a fantastic job) along with a blurb from the book. I’m going to grab a coffee and I’ll be right back. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them. I’ll be giving away two books today (your choice as to e-book or paperback) so stay tuned to find out how to win a copy.

IllusionsFS

Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Novel
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Christy Caughie

Link: e-book http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6041

Link: paperback http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6042

BLURB

Ever since arriving in Hollywood, Skylar Murphy has been loving life. He’s starring in a hit television show and on the verge of grabbing the lead role in the most anticipated movie of the decade. Poised on the edge of superstardom, he doesn’t want or need any complications to distract him from that goal. Whether he’s sleeping with a woman or a man, his noncommittal, no-strings-attached love life suits him perfectly, and despite his rep for playing gay roles, the world still thinks he’s straight.

At the launch party for his new show, Skylar meets Aiden Moore, an openly gay firefighter by day and cater waiter to the stars by night. Skylar is immediately attracted to him, but Aiden rejects him. When an arsonist appears to have targeted Skylar, their paths keep crossing. Always up for a challenge, Skylar works to win Aiden over, and he agrees to a date. Soon enough they can’t stay away from each other. Despite hiding their relationship away from the ever-present paparazzi, they’re happy together until a jilted fan joins forces with the arsonist to sabotage their future.

Valentine’s Day sequel – why?

February 12, 2015

(A few SPOILER ALERTS for those who haven’t read “Healing Minds” – proceed at your own risk)

 

I chose Valentine’s Day for these two because it’s one of the romance-mushiest holidays out there, and I liked the pairing of the holiday with Xavier’s badass image. He had a rough past, what with being a (SPOILER ALERT) criminal, and being trained by a para-military wolf pack in Australia. Josh does feel like a romantic to me, despite his inexperience with it, and I wanted him to flip back and forth whether to attempt to celebrate the holiday or not.

 

Since this is a direct sequel to “Healing Minds,” I don’t have much furthering of the overall plot of my series, i.e. the conflict between the Knights and the Agency, introducing new characters (though a new character does make a brief appearance at the end—watch for him, he returns later in the series!), new couples, etc. I also decided early on that it would be fun to make all the sequels center around holidays. I started the trend with “Celtic Warrior and Wolf Spirit,” the sequel to “Psychic Moon.”

 

However, there will be a few books that return to earlier couples, but I don’t consider them sequels because they further the overall plot. To name a couple: Derek and Brian from “Psychic Moon,” and (everyone’s favorite) Poe and Nordik from “Master’s Blood.”

 

But back to “Hearts and Minds.”

And another excerpt!

 

 

Josh jerked back to the present. He realized he was standing in the reception area of the counseling wing, and Misty—their efficient secretary, a petite woman with long red-orange hair, bright green eyes, and a narrow, pointy face—was holding out a file folder. They weren’t able to pay their clinic employees yet, but that never stopped people from applying for positions and volunteering their time. They had a chef, two other counselors with degrees in psychology, and an elderly elk shifter who acted as custodian.

Where would they be without these generous Haven citizens?

There was a bunch of red and pink construction paper on Misty’s desk, and she seemed to be cutting them up into hearts of different sizes.

“What’s with the hearts?” Josh asked.

Misty tilted her head slightly and gave him a look that clearly said he was a dummy. “Valentine’s Day is coming up, duh.”

Josh blinked, flipped through the calendar in his head, and said, “Oh, right.”

Misty shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I’m making these for the class my brother’s in. They’re having a little party.”

“They’re looking good.”

“Yes, they are,” Misty said proudly. “But just wait till you see the necklace I had specially made for my girlfriend. She’s going to flip.”

Josh chuckled even as something occurred to him. “Is V-Day the reason you’ve been using pink and red highlighters and pens, lately?”

Misty sighed loudly and rolled her eyes again. “Wow, Josh. You’re Mr. Observant.”

“Hey, I have been a little busy, you know.”

“What? And I haven’t? You think this enterprise of yours runs itself?”

Temper sparked in her eyes, and Josh barely resisted a wince. Then he said, in all seriousness, “No, Misty. We all know how invaluable you are.”

“Damn right, I am.” Misty smiled cannily, her eyes now twinkling with humor as she continued to hold out Allen’s folder. He took it.

“Thanks. Is Allen’s mother with him?”

“Yes.” Her smile warmed, softened. “She’s so sweet and devoted. I really think he has a fair chance at full recovery with such support on his side.”

“I think so, too.” Josh promptly forgot about Valentine’s Day and its implications as he walked into the small counseling room. Allen sat on the couch, hunched over, his hands clasped in front of him. His mother sat right next to him, her hand on his. Allen’s cane was set against the couch, and his left leg was tucked under his right. It was understandable that he was still self-conscious about his severed left foot, but that was one of the things they were working on. He needed to accept what had happened to him and move past it. But, as Allen had only been with them for about a week, Josh knew it was a slow process and might take years. Allen and his mother were bear shifters, and he’d proven nonviolent, but Josh had seen flashes of rage in his eyes when they attempted to discuss his abuse. Josh had Xavier on speed dial if Allen proved too much to handle.

 

 

What is your favorite holiday to celebrate with your significant other?

 

Got anything you wish to ask me about my series? Ask away! I shall answer!

 

-M.D.

Hearts and Minds release party

February 12, 2015

Hello and welcome! M.D. Grimm here, ready to chat with you lovely people. Today the DSP blog is mine, and I’m promoting my newest release “Hearts and Minds.” http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

 

Hearts and Mind-seqel

 

This story resides in my Shifters series universe and is a sequel to “Healing Minds” (book 5). As a reminder, the couple in that story was Josh (Agency aide) and Xavier (psychologically damaged wolf shifter).

 

In “Hearts and Minds” we visit them nearly a year later, and they are working on their clinic that will eventually house shifters who were once prisoners of the evil Knights.

Here’s the blurb:

 

With the construction for their shifter rehabilitation clinic in Haven underway, Xavier and Josh couldn’t be happier, professionally. But their busy lives leave them little alone time. It’s putting a strain on their relationship, and they still haven’t had anything close to a honeymoon. Josh realizes Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and sees an opportunity he can’t let get away. But never having observed the holiday before, he has no idea what Xavier might want. All Xavier knows is that Josh wants to celebrate, but he has no clue how. Before either of them makes a concrete decision, a bear shifter attacks Haven and tramples their romantic plans.

 

What is your favorite shape-shifter? Mine’s a dragon (If I’m going to dream, I’m going to dream big!)

 

I’ll be back with more info and excerpts, so stay tuned!

 

May dragons guard your dreams,

M.D.

Bye And Have a Great Evening!

January 21, 2015

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Hope all of you have had a wonderful day!  I’ve really enjoyed being here with you today and now have to get back to writing the third book in this series, The Behr Facts.  Watch for the second in the series, Redesigning Max, which centers around Fredi, the interior designer in What’s in a Name?   Out-and-proud Fredi helps outdoorsman Max Greene come out, and Max’s old friends aren’t happy with him or the gay men who’ve recently settled in the foothills community.

What’s in Les Halles?

January 21, 2015

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Hello, again.  Pat Henshaw, author of What’s in a Name?, back again with a restaurant recommendation.  Why restaurants?  Well, the viewpoint character, a barista named Jimmy, is being wined and dined by a bartender whose given name is a secret.  Until Jimmy guesses the bartender’s name, he calls him Guy.

Guy and my husband have a few things in common, the most notable being their love of food.  This time I’m recommending a restaurant where I’ve eaten, but my husband hasn’t.  The next time we’re in New York, however, I’ll introduce him to it.

We love to watch Anthony Bourdain’s wild jaunts around the world tasting strange and exotic dishes.  I read Kitchen Confidential and enjoyed it also.  So once when I was the publicist for an independent publisher and would travel to New York on publicity tours or Book Expo, I decided I had to eat a Bourdain’s stomping ground, Les Halles.

LesHalles

Since I’m originally from Nebraska where a typical dinner for me as a kid was beef, potato, and corn, eating at Les Halles was akin to a flashback to my childhood.  The beef menu at the restaurant is extensive, but what makes it stand out is how they cook the cuts to perfection.

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, I suggest you try it out.

Now since I’ve shared where Guy would take Jimmy if they lived on the opposite coast, it’s your turn.  Where’s your favorite place to eat in the Big Apple?  Or where would you like to eat when you visit there?

What’s in a Name? at Passionfish

January 21, 2015

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Pat Henshaw back again to talk about my novella, What’s in a Name?  As I mentioned before Guy, the bartender at Stonewall Saloon in the Sierra Nevada foothills, takes the viewpoint character, barista Jimmy Patterson, out on a number of dates during the story.

One of my all-time favorite romantic places to eat is Passionfish in Pacific Grove, California, which is a small community adjacent to Monterey.  They take pride in the fact that they serve “sustainable seafood, slow-cooked meats, and organic greens.”  In other words, you’ll get the best meal of your life there.

What are my favorites?  Well, the crab cake with lime relish is to die for.  If you like Dungeness crab as much as I do, you’ll go for the crab salad with avocado next.  The main course is a toss-up since what’s on their permanent menu is wonderful, but their specials are usually more so.  The duck, the lamb, and the trout are ones we’ve eaten time and again.  The piece de resistance for dessert lovers is their lemon verbena crème brûlée, but you can’t go wrong with their banana bread pudding either.

When Guy and Jimmy travel to the coast, I’m sure they eat at Passionfish every time, just as we do.

Now that I have you thinking about food and your favorite gourmet restaurant, I want to know all about it.  Where is your favorite romantic dining spot?  What do you recommend from the menu?

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What’s in a Name? Travels to a Tavern in Virginia

January 21, 2015

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A lot of eating takes place in my novella, What’s in a Name?  For one thing, the burly bartender whom the viewpoint character, Jimmy, dubs “Guy” takes Jimmy out on seven dates–or at least tries to.  And dates to Guy include meals.

My husband, like Guy, is a man who loves his food.  Consequently, he’s taken me out to romantic restaurants as well as funky-dude diners and chop-houses.  As part of my release day blogging, I’d like to share some of those eating experiences with you since we’ve lived on all three U. S. coasts and in the middle of the country.

The first place I’d like to revisit is Chowning’s Tavern in historic Williamsburg, Virginia.  We spent the day visiting the Governor’s House–no the Gov didn’t invite us to dine with him–and the House of Burgess where our daughter was told by Patrick Henry himself that she couldn’t vote and the other Williamsburg historic stops.

We were tired, and the kids a little grumpy.  But we’d made reservations for Chowning’s, even though we had no idea what to expect.  What we got was a rousing good time of clapping and singing and laughter.   We left with full bellies, happy smiles, and tired feet.

Sure, on the East Coast there are thousands of 5-star dining spots.  But the eating experience I remember best is the one that made me smile the most:  Chowning’s in the heart of historic Williamsburg.  I’m sure Jimmy and Guy would be there having a rousing good time if they ever traveled east.

Because I collect places to eat,  I have to ask: Where have you eaten that’s got an historic past?  Was it fun or stately?  Would you return or was it a “once is more than enough” experience?

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What’s in a Unique Name?

January 21, 2015

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Pat Henshaw here, author of the novella, What’s in a Name?, releasing today.

The premise of the story is that both the viewpoint character, a barista named Jimmy, and a bartender, whom Jimmy calls Guy, have really unfortunate given names.  Jimmy’s real name is King James because he was named after the Bible that sat on his mother’s hospital bedside table.  Jimmy wants to know Guy’s real name, so Guy gives him seven guesses over seven days to do so.

In our family, when our daughters complained about their given names, we always told them they were lucky.  They could have been named after their grandmothers: Eula and Floy.  That always shut them up.

When I worked as an English composition instructor, I was always struck on how some of my students worked around their given names.  One named Ajax had me calling him A. J. even though his middle name didn’t begin with the letter J.  I saw that as a lemonade solution.

Even though I had some ideas of what Jimmy would guess as Guy’s names, I still ransacked online baby naming sites and compiled a list of unique and often strange given names.  Here’s a smattering of my favorites:  Abacus, Boundary, Caraway, Doubt, Every, Five, Gravity, Halcyon, Irony, Julep, Music, Opera, Pyramid, Rude, and Sonnet.

What unusual or unique names do you have or have you come across in your life?  As a fiction writer, I’m always collecting names!