Donovan and Ethan by Anne Barwell + Giveaway

November 14, 2017

Donovan & ethan

 

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for One Word, the 3rd book in my Hidden Places series from Dreamspinner Press.  I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.

Although One Word is the third book in my Hidden Places series, it takes place during the last six weeks of the events in book one—Cat’s Quill.  One of the fun parts about that was writing a new relationship for a couple who were already together in a story that had been published a few years earlier.  Instead of describing what that was like as a writer, I figured it might be more interesting to invite Ethan and Donovan to talk about the experience from their perspective.

Silence.

The author clears her throat.  “Umm, guys, that means you.”

There is a muffled noise of clothing being rearranged, and a discreet cough, and then a room lined with books comes into view.  In one corner sits a rocking chair. The cat on it opens a lazy eye, glances at the two men, and then starts washing her paw.

“Bloody hell,” mutters a male voice with a distinct British accent. “What is it with the cats in this place?”

The camera pans the room before settling on two men sitting next to each other on a nearby sofa.  “Technical difficulties,” one of them says in an American accent. “Right, Ethan?”

Ethan rolls his eyes, and slips his hand into Donovan’s. “Yeah, that.”

“So…. ?“ the author prompts. She picks up the cat, settles her on her lap and then takes a sip of kawakawa tea.  “Floor is all yours. Pretend I’m not here.”

“I wish.”  Ethan sounds as though he would have said more, but Donovan squeezes his hand and whispers something into his ear.  Ethan clears his throat. “It’s wasn’t easy,” he finally admits.  “We’ve been together two years now, and although it brought up memories of when we first met, we’ve come a long way since then.”

“And been through a lot together,” Donovan smiles softly.  “I’ll always remember that first time I saw Ethan at the train station.  I thought he was hot then felt guilty as I didn’t think I should be hitting on someone who was worried about a missing friend.”

“I’ve always been rubbish at making friends, and I was still trying to put a… relationship behind me,” Ethan adds. “We took so many steps forward and then back during those few weeks. I was such an idiot.”

“If you were an idiot, then so was I.” Donovan bits his lip. “When I think about how close we came to—”

“Spoilers,” mutters the author, looking up from her tea.

“Says the person who wrote a story with a prologue set six months after the epilogue of the last book.” Ethan doesn’t sound impressed. “So yeah, if you want the truth, it was bloody difficult.  You put Donovan through all that crap again, and made him relive those nightmares. And not only that, you put me in a position when I couldn’t help him like I usually do. So don’t—”

“Ethan…” Donovan leans over and kisses Ethan gently on the cheek. “Sorry, we know how difficult it is to write something like this, and we appreciate the fact that you took the time to write our story. Don’t we, Ethan?”

“Yes.” Ethan pauses for a moment. “I must admit, I enjoyed reliving our first kiss. I’m looking forward to the rest of our future together too.” He glances at the author suspiciously.

She studies her tea. “A future together?  Hey, I’m a romance writer. Of course you’ll get a future together.”

Donovan glances at Ethan. “She’ll make us work for it though. But, whatever happens, we’ll get through it together. Right, Teach?”

“Right.”  Ethan looks over at the author, but she’s gone.  “I love you,” he murmurs to Donovan, pulling him close for a kiss.

“Love you too.”  Their lips meet and the screen fades to black.

 

Check out One Word today!

 

OneWord_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

A Hidden Places Story

Ethan Leavitt arrives in the idyllic village of Oakwood to search for a missing friend. Having always prided himself on his ability to find rational explanations, Ethan’s trust in concrete evidence and logic is tested by the mystery of Oakwood and Tomas’s disappearance.

Donovan Campbell’s happy, sometimes flippant, exterior hides a past he’d rather forget. As he struggles with his memories and to hold on to the inn he owns with his best friend, the last thing Donovan needs is for some guy he’s only just met to start getting under his skin. When a bank robbery escalates into a dangerous situation, Donovan must embrace a part of himself he can no longer ignore in order to save a future that might never have the chance to exist.

Ethan learns that often the person you’re looking for is not the one you find. But have he and Donovan both realized that too late…?

 

 

Excerpt:

“I’m so sorry, Jane,” Ethan said, “and I apologize for my insensitivity earlier. It was completely out of line.”

She managed a shaky smile. “Thank you for being understanding. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I guess it’s a good thing that I have the day off, isn’t it?”

“I’m sorry for kicking you,” Donovan said after she’d left.

“I can be an insensitive jerk at times. Lord knows, I’ve been told that often enough.”

“Not always. You’ve got a kind side to you too.”

Ethan’s concern for Jane had been real enough, as was his mortification that he’d been rude once he’d seen that she was upset.

“You say that like it’s a good thing.” Ethan retrieved his napkin from the side of his plate and wiped his mouth. “Sometimes it’s not, you know. People take advantage. Not that I’m saying she is, but….” He sighed. “Just forget it, okay.”

“Okay.” Donovan wondered who had hurt Ethan and recently. He’d seen enough to connect the dots. “Lots of assholes in this world, unfortunately.”

“And some decent people too. Oakwood’s been good for reminding me of that.”

“Are you sure you’re okay to come to London with me tomorrow?” Donovan couldn’t help but think that something in their conversation had triggered Ethan’s reaction. He’d said Mitchell and Vincent were good friends. Perhaps it was this acquaintance he’d mentioned? The one who had introduced him to them.

“I’m looking forward to it.” Ethan glanced at Donovan’s empty plate. “Have you had enough lunch?”

“Yes, thanks. I was hungrier than I realized.” Donovan finished the last of his beer.

“I went to see the owner of the Chronicle the other day, but he was too busy to talk and suggested we meet briefly today instead. I’m hoping, as he’s been working at the newspaper a while, he can tell me some old stories about Oakwood that didn’t end up in print. You’re welcome to come if you’d like.”

“Thanks for the offer, but I need to do some work at the inn this afternoon. We had to replace some weatherboards a few months ago, and I need to get them painted before winter.” Donovan wished he could have said yes, but Heidi was stressing about it. If he didn’t get onto it soon, she’d be out there doing it herself, and she did enough already. Part of their agreement in taking on the inn was that they split the workload between them, and Donovan made sure he pulled his weight. “You’re okay to find your own way back?”

“Yes, I’ll be fine. Thanks for asking.” Ethan pushed back his chair and walked over to the counter to pay for their meal. “I’ll see you later, at the inn.”

“Okay. Sounds good.” Donovan didn’t follow him immediately but instead stayed at the table watching Ethan at the counter. His hair curled up slightly at the back, his jacket falling to mid-ass, not quite covering it. He had a very nice ass.

Bet he kisses well too.

Oh fuck. Donovan closed his eyes for a moment. Where the hell had that thought come from? He was falling for the guy, wasn’t he—falling for a guy who wasn’t interested and would be walking out of his life in a couple of days.

Donovan heard footsteps walking away. He opened his eyes just in time to see Ethan disappear out the door. It was time to leave and bury himself in the work he needed to get done. He stood and headed for the door, giving Eoin and his friends a wave as he passed their table.

He hadn’t missed the money the three men had given Craig or the grins they all wore.

Donovan groaned. Great, that was all he needed. The pub door slammed as he stalked through it. Yep, they were running another betting pool all right.

It wasn’t his fault they were wasting their time. They’d find that out soon enough for themselves.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here:

https://annebarwell.wordpress.com/blog-hops/

November 3 – Open Skye Book Reviews
November 6 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy
November 6 – Top to Bottom Reviews
November 6 – Two Men Are Better Than One
November 6 – Gay Book Promotions
November 7 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
November 8 – Happily Ever After Chapter
November 9 – Love Bytes Reviews
November 10 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
November 10 – Nic Starr
November 13 – The Novel Approach Reviews
November 14 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
November 15 – Aisling Mancy

 

Bio:

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Website & Blog: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115084832208481414034/posts
Instagram: https://instagram.com/anne.barwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annebarwell
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4862410.Anne_Barwell
Dreamspinner Press Author Page: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/anne-barwell-65
DSP Publications Author Page: https://www.dsppublications.com/authors/anne-barwell-49
Queeromance Ink Author Page: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/anne-barwell/
New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/491382394538058/

 

j. leigh bailey’s Sundried Tomato and Basil Scones + Giveaway

September 2, 2017

sundried tomato and basil scones

 

I’m so excited to celebrate the release of STALKING BUFFALO BILL, the first in my Shifter U series, which is part of the new Dreamspun Beyond category line. I had so much fun writing this book and I can’t wait to introduce the world to Donnie—a hyperactive, highly distractible coyote shifter—and William—a placid-until-pissed buffalo shifter with a mysterious past.

Donnie isn’t like the rest of his family; he has no desire to work in the oil fields and raise the next generation of coyote shifters. In fact, what he really likes to do is bake, a very un-coyote-shifter occupation. Which is why, when he finally gets the nerve to approach the super-sexy William, he comes bearing baked goods. More specifically, he comes with his savory scone concoction.

Everyone has that thing that they are asked to bring to family events, right? For me, it’s my scones. I once found a “base” scone recipe that everyone loved. I then challenged myself to be creative with it, trying all sorts of ingredients and flavor combinations. One of the scone versions I came up with was the very sundried tomato scone recipe Donnie uses to approach William.

Sadly, I don’t have a picture of one of the Sundried Tomato and Basil Scones I’ve made, but I’ve included an image of another of my family favorites—a super sweet, decadent Butter Pecan Scone.

Scone

Below is the actual recipe for the Sundried Tomato and Basil Scones. I modified a Simple Scone recipe I found at AllRecipes.com several years ago to create this savory treat. I’m not convinced that this would make a good breakfast pastry, but I can assure you that it goes wonderfully as a carb option with dinner or as a savory brunch treat.


 

Ingredients:

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
¼ cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
8 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, frozen
2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
½ cup Sour Cream
1 Large Egg
1 oz Sun Dried Tomatoes in Oil
½ cup Fresh Basil Leaves (rinsed and patted dry)
2 cloves Fresh Garlic
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda. Grate the butter into the flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in half of the shredded parmesan cheese.

2. In small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.

3.  Using a small food processor/small blender (seriously, it needs to be SMALL), blend basil, garlic, and tomatoes into a course meal; add basil/tomato mix to sour cream and egg mix.

4.  Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. The dough will be sticky in places and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.

5. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-to-8inch circle about ¾-inch thick. Brush melted butter across the top and sprinkle on the remaining parmesan cheese. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden (about 15-17 minutes). Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Bon Appetit!

 

**GIVEAWAY**  Are there any recipes or treats you’re know for? Something you are asked to bring to every family dinner or picnic? I’d love to know. A commenter will be randomly selected to win an autographed copy of either of my Young Adult Dreamspinner Press books GUYLINER or DO-GOODER (Winner’s choice).

 

Check out Stalking Buffalo Bill today!

 

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Blurb:

A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.

While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.

It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.

 

 

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Author Bio:

j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending. For upcoming releases and appearances information, sign up for her newsletter at https://t.co/FfL9gFVJLQ.

About the Shifter U Series

A fun, male/male take on shapeshifter romance, the Shifter U stories include characters who shapeshift into more than the average apex predator. Sure, there are wolves, tigers, and bear shifters, but there are also coyotes, owls, beavers, bison, and more.

All books in the series center around Cody College, located on the outskirts of Cody, Wyoming, where the occasionally furry have a safe place to further their education. Affectionately known as Shifter U, the school offers shapeshifting students a “special track” which gives them the chance to learn important subjects like mathematics, philosophy, and, most importantly, how to hide their secret identity from local humans.

Maintaining secret identities is tough. Dark secrets, old enemies, mythical heritage, and a mysterious illness challenge the stealth skills of even the sneakiest students and staff. While these shifters struggle to handle their type of “normal,” thorny complications of attraction pop up—always at the worst possible times.

Social Media Links

Twitter @JenniWrites (http://twitter.com/JenniWrites )
Facebook @JLeighBailey (http://www.facebook.com/JLeighBailey )
Instagram @j.leigh.bailey_author (https://www.instagram.com/j.leigh.bailey_author/ )
Website (www.jleighbailey.net )

 

 

 

The Town of Plenty by TA Moore + Giveaway

August 16, 2017

the town of plenty

 

Thank you for having me over today to talk about my new novel Bone to Pick by TA Moore, which will be available from Dreamspinner Press on August 14.

This blog tour is a bit of a departure for me. Usually I do a short story split between the blogs. However, that didn’t really work with Bone to Pick (the characters had met, briefly, before the start of this story but it didn’t go well. Someone might have got punched; someone might have deserved it!). So instead I thought I would give you a spoiler-free introduction to the cast of characters you’ll be meeting in Bone to Pick and tell you a little bit about how I came up with them — and maybe a bit about what I have planned for the future. I hope you enjoy meeting them! I love them all, even the terrible ones.

First of all, though, you’ll want to know what Bone to Pick is about.

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About the Book:

Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County’s Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home

He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.

This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of the day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks more and more unlikely that Drew will be found alive.

August 14, 2017. Cover Artist: Anne Cain

 

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Plenty — The Location

___________

 

Plenty - Moodboard

 

Plenty, California is TA Moore’s Castle Rock.

I promise I will try and make sure that is the last time I refer to myself in the third person! Delusions of grandeur aside, Plenty, California is the setting for Bone to Pick. It is a small town in San Diego County, and was created whole cloth by me.

Maybe it is the fantasy author in me, or the life-long Stephen King fan, but when I am settling down to build a series (which I hope Bone to Pick will be the start of) as opposed to a stand-alone book, I want to create the setting as much as I do the characters. I want to control the horizontal and the vertical, the past scandals, the well-known local gossip.

I want to drop Cloister Witte and his dented old Airstream trailer in a caravan park full of year long residents and occasional tourists. Somewhere with a conveniently located beach for him to chase his demons on, and kids playing so Bourneville can steal the tennis balls and bounce off the side of the Airstream.

It means I can give Javi Merlo a cool, minimalist loft space in an industrial area where gentrification has only taken in a couple of apartments. Where he can see some of the town’s best restaurants, but they’re always closed because he rarely makes it in before midnight.

It means I can capture the resentment of a town where the thin line between revitalisation and appropriation was passed years ago. Where people commute for two hours to have a taste of small town living, that they’ve made as much like the city they left as they can. Where the owner of the local hardware store has turned it into a curio coffee shop to appeal to the blow-ins, but still calls them names at the bar.

Of course, it does mean that I have to keep a book bible for the town as well as characters and chronology! I have a map, a sort of generic mid-town outline that I fill in as I go along, little scraps and tats of history that I need. It will get more complicated as it goes on, of course. For now it’s a couple of sheets in a dedicated file, eventually I’ll print it out so I can consult on the go.

The plan is that I will revisit Plenty in the future. I have a new book (hopefully a series) that I’ll starting work on in a couple of months. It will also be set — provisionally, unless it turns out to be a terrible idea — in Plenty.  It’s going to be a very different part of the town, a different tone — but, well, it’s different characters, isn’t it?

After that, well, we’ll see. My little town might not have enough space to carry too many narratives. I made one town though, and I can make more. I’ll probably keep them in SoCal though, it gives me an excuse to visit friends and, as a Northern Irish lass, I envy the weather!

What do you think? How murdery CAN a town get before you have to move on to pastures less red?

 

Check out Bone to Pick today!

 

BonePick_postcard_front_DSP

 

 ***

 

Win Liar, Liar or Dog Days by TA Moore

TA Moore

 

Bio:

TA Moore genuinely believed that she was a Cabbage Patch Kid when she was a small child. This was the start of a lifelong attachment to the weird and fantastic. These days she lives in a market town on the Northern Irish coast and her friends have a rule that she can only send them three weird and disturbing links a month (although she still holds that a DIY penis bifurcation guide is interesting, not disturbing). She believes that adding ‘in space!’ to anything makes it at least 40% cooler, will try to pet pretty much any animal she meets (this includes snakes, excludes bugs), and once lied to her friend that she had climbed all the way up to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, when actually she’d only gotten to the beach, realized it was really high, and chickened out.

She aspires to being a cynical misanthrope, but is unfortunately held back by a sunny disposition and an inability to be mean to strangers. If TA Moore is mean to you, that means you’re friends now.

Website: www.nevertobetold.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TA.Moores
Twitter: @tammy_moore

 

 

Agents and Shifters and Knights… Oh My! by M.D. Grimm

August 15, 2017

Agents and Shifters and Knights

 

Good day everyone! Thanks for joining me!

I’m M.D. Grimm and the proud author of The Shifters series with DSP. My latest, “Feather and Scroll” (book 11. Eleven!!) was released on August 9th and I am so stoked! How about I get right to it and talk about some behind-the-scenes info, shall I?

 

FeatherandScroll_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

Agent Pan has spent most of his adult life protecting shape-shifters from the Knights—an organization bent on their annihilation—and keeping the secret war in the shadows where it belongs. But the Knights are growing bolder, and a new threat has resurfaced after being buried in the ocean for decades.

The ancient scroll, a key to a devastating weapon, is now in the hands of a recalcitrant Russian hawk shifter named Viktor. As a bird shifter, he knows his duty is to protect the scroll, but he wants nothing to do with the war. He leads a quiet life and wants to keep it that way. But when agents come knocking on his door, he finds it difficult to resist the charms of Agent Pan, especially since this isn’t their first meeting.

Two years earlier they spent a passionate weekend together, neither aware of the other’s true identity. Viktor never really got over Pan. Now with sexual tension at its peak, they must learn to trust each other and work as a team to protect not only their loved ones, but every shifter in the world.

 

First things first: Viktor is Russian. I wrote this story about a year before certain events happened between the USA and, well, the rest of the world. So making him Russian was simply a diversity decision, and I thought it would be fun to write about a gruff, yet kind, Russian hawk shifter. He was a great character to work with and the way he and Pan played off each other kept me interested through the entire story.

Throughout the series I have endeavored to depict not only diverse shifters (wolves and bears, to sharks and snakes!) but also diverse people. A constant thread through the series has been: we may come from different places and cultures, but we are responsible for caring for those around us. My big-bad villains, the Knights of the Dawn, and their leader Arcas, are determined to “cleanse” the world and essentially make it a world of one culture, under one leader. Sound familiar? I wanted my heroes and heroines to come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences, and on the spectrum of identities and sexualities. We are all needed if the world is to be saved and the creatures on it to be protected.

Okay, stepping off my soap box…

In the first draft of this story, I actually didn’t have Viktor and Pan meeting two years before the story starts. I tried to have the initial connection within the confines of the story and it didn’t feel right. Nothing gelled and even *I* didn’t feel any romantic magic. The story moved too fast, and there wasn’t enough time for them to feel the buzz, and I try to avoid insta-love. I don’t always succeed, but I try! So I set the story aside and thought about it. Then the lightbulb went off, and I realized there wasn’t anything preventing me from having them know each other, at least slightly, before the story started. Once I inserted that into the story, everything gelled and I felt the magic and tension. Their relationship felt far more organic. I came up with the solution during one of my cardio sessions. Not surprising. That’s my usual problem-solving venue. That and the shower…

I really enjoyed getting these guys together, and Agent Jin’s exasperation with the two of them made me giggle a time or two.

This story certainly caused me to flesh some creative muscle that I hadn’t needed to before. The cat-and-mouse game between the agents/shifters and knights wasn’t something I’d really done yet, not on page. Trying to think warfare and espionage moves and countermoves isn’t my forte. I hope I managed it enough to make the story at least plausible. At the very least, entertaining. That’s the point of a fiction book, isn’t it? To be entertained. If you learn something, well, that’s a bonus, isn’t it?

“Feather and Scroll” takes place right after the events of “Shifting Moon” (10) and I suggest at least “Shifting Moon” be read before “Feather and Scroll.” But if you don’t feel like, don’t worry. I think you can pick up on things fairly quickly. This series is a true one, and think each book should be read in order, but again, that’s just me. I’m a stickler for starting a series with book 1 and then moving forward. Granted, each book is a different couple, but the overarching storyline runs through all of them.

I’m about halfway through folks. Yep, halfway. I have about 23 books planned, so look out!

Speaking of future books… Books 12, “Kindred Truths” will be available in October. Agent Poe and Nordik are back! It was a hoot to revisit those guys and see where life would take them. There were some surprises and twists as I wrote it, but it all came out the way I hoped it would. Unfortunately for our heroes, the Knights of the Dawn (and Arcas) will be winning a few more battles before their supremely satisfying comeuppance.

 

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Blurb:

Agent Poe loves being part of the Agency—an organization devoted to protecting shape-shifters—and he especially loves his mate of only a couple of months, Nordik, the nigh immortal master bear shifter. He has the best of both worlds—the man he loves and the job he loves. But when Nordik reveals he’s ready to rejoin society and accompany Poe on his missions, Poe must take the next step and make them a full partnership.

After the Agency intercepts a message from Arcas, the leader of the Knights of the Dawn—a cult bent on the annihilation of shifters—meant for his followers, their job gets a whole lot harder. The Knights don’t bother keeping their activities hidden anymore, stretching the Agency’s resources thinner than ever.

After a near-fatal mission almost costs Poe his life, Nordik insists on a break for both of them. They visit Poe’s family in Ireland and learn that true danger lies not without, but within. There’s no greater betrayal than that of a loved one.

 

To keep my sanity, I split up my series into five parts with several books in each part. That way, I could stay with a specific theme and keep *some* order while I outlined each book. The first part was books 1-6 (Psychic Moon – Master’s Blood) and it was simply labeled “Beginning.” It was my introductory phase into my world of shifters, agents, and knights.

Part Two was “Scrolls” where I introduced the mysterious and bothersome ancient scrolls, keys to a weapon of destruction. Books 7-12 are in that part (Hunted Guardian – Kindred Truths).

Part Three will be called “Blood.” There will be maybe four or five books in this part. I won’t say too much, but there is an inevitable effect to the Knights gaining the upper hand against the shifters and agents. A devastating, sad effect, that I introduce slightly in “Kindred Truths.” Watch for it!

Part Four is “Masters” and all about the other master shifters. There will be about four or five books in that part, and all the pairs will involve master shifters.

The last is Part Five, simply labeled “End.” I think there are only three books in that one. The last book will deal with the long life and tragedies of Merlin, the master shifter of all shapes. He has quite a story to tell and it will be bittersweet when I start writing.

So hold onto your hats everyone! I have quite a rollercoaster waiting for you. Care to join me?

My question for all of you is: what mythological creature and/or beast would you want to shift into? Think outside the box, consider that there are: Pegasus, unicorn, manticore, minotaur, chimera, griffin, centaur, faun/satyr, nymph (wood, tree, mountain, water, etc.), mermaid, selkie… Think of the beasts of Egypt, Sumeria, Japan, Ireland… you get the idea. What would *you* want to be and why?

Mine: Dragon (western, either wyvern or the more common depiction with four legs and a pair of wings);

Why?: Fire-breathing, fierce, flying, hoarding gold (though I would hoard books)… you get the idea. Of course I would be blue. I’ve loved dragons since I was a kid, when I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. It just grew from there. Yes, “How to Train Your Dragon” is my favorite movie. I’m not ashamed.

And you?

 

Mood Music: Writings Playlists and Setting the Tone w/ L.A. Merrill

June 8, 2017

mood music

 

My life has always had a soundtrack. My mother sang Beatles’ songs as lullabies; my sister and I listened to endless OBC albums on our brown plastic Fisher-Price record player. As a teenager, I would spend hours trawling through the radio stations late at night, seeing what I could hear, what words and music could keep me company. Christian allegory radio plays; experimental orchestral suites; French-Canadian car ads and dirge-like love songs about fisherfolk.

The first album I ever bought was KT Tunstall’s Eye to the Telescope. This was quickly followed by Sara Barielles’s Little Voice, and Brandi Carlile’s Give Up the Ghost. I exhausted the cd sections at the library, finding Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor, Carole King, and Katie Melua. I devoured music, and it accompanied everything I did—washing dishes, homework, daydreaming on the kitchen floor about the romantic life I would lead in a Scottish island castle all my own.

The inevitable progression of growing up surrounded by music and books was that I would either start writing stories or making music of my own. I did neither of these things in any kind of a normal, expected way. I didn’t teach myself guitar and write songs about feminism—I joined a tiny DIY opera company. I didn’t write my way into an MFA—I waited until I was bedridden with autoimmune disease and then started scribbling gay romances and chucking them into the void.

Music remained constant. The music itself changed and morphed and expanded to fill different corners of my life, but music was always, will always be there. Hymns and spirituals, opera choruses and classic rock. And then a whole new area opened up: THE WRITING PLAYLIST.

I’d always listened to music when I wrote anyway, but it was usually familiar, repetitive classical pieces, used to build a wall of sound in place of a room of my own. A young woman on the NaNoWriMo message boards introduced me to the concept of listening to music that evoked your story; character music, leit motifs to help structure and solidify the story in your mind.

Now I usually pick a couple albums that remind me of the story I’m trying to tell, songs with a soul sound I want to echo, a kind of musical subtext. For my latest novella, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch, I went back to one of my first (and most constant) musical loves, Brandi Carlile. I don’t think there’s a single one of her albums I haven’t loved, from The Story up through The Firewatcher’s Daughter. I collected all of them into one gigantic playlist and hit shuffle every time I sat down to write about my Montana men. Falling into a difficult but ultimately rewarding love; fucking up and making amends; finding ways to be who you are come hell or high water—this is what her music says to me. It is strength and beauty in variety and grace, and there’s an underlying respect for nature and a higher power. Her music has held me up through many rough patches in my life so far, and it bolstered this story that I didn’t think I was going to finish, until suddenly, I did.

Now I’m deep into writing a Hanukkah story about a man whose ordered life starts unravelling at the edges until everything is a tangled mess—but at the calm center of it all are eight mysterious gifts and a scatterbrained scholar who wants to show our hero the magnificent, beautiful chaos of the cosmos. I think this calls for some Beethoven, Coldplay, and Of Monsters and Men’s My Head is an Animal. What are you listening to? Are you a creative person? What do you listen to while you work, or are you a fan of the sound of silence? Leave a comment below and tell me! I’m always on the lookout for new music—you never know, the right song might strike the right note and tell a story all its own

 

Check out Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch today!

 

MeanwhileBackattheRanch_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

         David Marks is looking for the perfect place to film his new web series and recover from his latest failed relationship. When reclusive writer Michael Sharp opens his Montana ranch to paying guests, David knows he’s found the right place—but he doesn’t expect to find Mr. Right too.

         Forty years ago, Michael Sharp’s father was murdered in front of him. No one believed a six-year-old boy’s testimony against the powerful Carver brothers. For years Michael has lived in self-imposed exile, the only living witness who can bring down the Carver criminal empire. But now the money is running out, and he’s forced to play host to a troupe of temperamental web actors and their energetically attractive director in order to stay alive.

         The Carvers aren’t about to stand for rebellion. Michael has outlived his usefulness. Now Michael and David have to find a way to end this fight once and for all, finding justice for Michael’s father and meeting David’s funding deadline—all before one or both of them ends up dead.

 

Author photo

 About the Author:

         L.A. Merrill is a tiny blonde woman who loves a good story. She has worked as a tour guide and an assistant stage director, and spent one memorable summer as a camp counselor. After five years in vocal performance, production work, and arts education, she now writes full-time. Her work has appeared in Kansas City Voices magazine, on the YouTube series The Blank Scene, and online. Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch is L.A.’s fourth story with Dreamspinner Press, and her first published novella. (There’s an unpublished novella, about murderous husbands and Scottish ghosts, written when she was thirteen, that is sitting in a file at home. It will likely never see the light of day.)

         An avid knitter, she has yet to follow a pattern and has made some interestingly shaped hats as a result. L.A. makes handknit and crocheted blankets and hats for local charities, as well as leading a LGBT+ writers group in her hometown. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she can usually be found reading, writing, and making things up as she goes along. Follow her on Twitter for feminism and fangirling at @la_mer92

 

Gabriel: Going Where the Story Leads w/ RK Staunton

April 21, 2017

 Going Where the Story Leads with RK Staunton

 

Writing Gabriel has been something of a departure for me in several ways. It’s my first romantic suspense, my first story that didn’t include elements of spanking/domestic discipline, and the first M/M romance I’ve ever written. Of those three things, making the transition from writing M/F to writing M/M was by far the easiest. I’ve been reading M/M for years. In fact, these days I probably read more M/M books than I do M/F. I’ve been asked before, more than once, why I read – and now write – M/M romance. Since this week is National Book Week and the #lovereading campaign is going on, I decided this was the perfect time to talk about why I love reading this genre.

I’ll be honest, at first, when people started asking me, their questions confused me. I’ve never understood why the gender and/or sexuality of characters in the story should be that big a deal. A good story is a good story. Yes, good stories are often character-driven, but frankly to me, that has more to do with who the character is as a person than what I consider secondary details like hair color, eye color, gender, and sexuality. It just doesn’t matter to me. Good characters and good stories matter to me regardless of the body that particular character happens to inhabit.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in no way trying to belittle or dismiss the legitimate struggles that come with having a non-heteronormative gender or sexuality. To be perfectly blunt, I’m disabled, demisexual, and kinky. I know just a little bit about what it means to live outside of the mainstream myself. I’ve come to suspect that’s probably why I can move pretty easily between writing M/F and M/M books. Given my own make-up, it’s the emotional component that matters to me most of all.

As such, I think I will probably always go back and forth between writing M/F and M/M books, just as I do as a reader. Now that I’ve stepped over into the M/M genre, I have no intention of going back, at least not permanently. I’ll go where the stories lead me, wherever that may be. Gabriel took me all sorts of new places, and I’m sure the next one will as well. That’s a big part of what makes being a writer fun, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 

Check out Gabriel today!

 

Gabriel by RK Staunton

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Blurb:

Gabriel Ingram is running from his past. It’s common knowledge at the college where he teaches that he’s a former CIA technical analyst, but no one knows the things he really did—or about the rage and bloodlust that are his constant companions. He’s holding on to his normal life with both hands, but he knows someday he’ll lose his grip.

Lucas Craig is a social worker studying to become a family therapist. For reasons Lucas can’t understand, the normally reclusive Professor Ingram takes an interest in him, and Lucas secretly hopes their friendship might become more.

Then Eric, Lucas’s roommate, disappears. Lucas is frantic. The police are no help. With nowhere else to turn, Lucas begs Gabriel for his expertise.

What starts as a simple errand to help a friend becomes a journey into a violent world of gangs and human trafficking—one that will bringGabriel face-to-face with the forces intent on stealing his soul. But Lucas might be the one who can save him—if Gabriel can get them out alive.

 

About the Author:

RK Staunton rebelled against having a Christmas birthday in favor of making an unexpected debut in early fall, and she’s been doing the unexpected ever since. This tendency has resulted in many adventures, including a ten-year stint as a guide in that strange urban jungle called middle school. While entertaining, that expedition ultimately proved too harrowing. After finally making her escape, she turned to a quieter life masquerading as a crazy cat lady living in a small town in the southeastern US.

RK has lived with a menagerie of characters inside her head for as long as she can remember. In a desperate bid to preserve her sanity, she has begun to transcribe the tales they tell her. This endeavor has proven to be fun, occasionally profitable, and cheaper than therapy. It has also fueled raging addictions to caffeine and chocolate on top of her lifelong addiction to books, but everyone is entitled to a vice or three, right?

Find her Online:

Website – http://www.rkstaunton.com/
Blog – http://www.rkstaunton.com/blog/
Newsletter – http://www.rkstaunton.com/home/newsletter/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rkstaunton/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/rk_staunton

Leap of Faith: Surprises Along the Way w/ Jackie Keswick

April 10, 2017

Surprises Along the Way with Jackie Keswick

 

Thank you very much for hosting me on the blog today and giving me a chance to talk a little about Leap of Faith, my latest friends-to-lovers action/suspense story.

As stories go, writing this one held a lot of surprises for me. For one, it ended up being set in a coastal town in the US, while I usually make up fantasy worlds or write stories set much closer to my home in England. The writing muse gave me the story long before I had the actual setting, so by the time I made it to the end I needed to pull the marina, hospital, warehouse district, and Marius’s home in the hills together into one location.

Since I had a shopping list for the place I needed, there was only one thing for it: research.

Put three writers in a room together and soon they’ll be discussing the chances of getting arrested the moment someone gets hold of their search history. Not that we’re looking at anything dodgy, you understand. We’re just researching how to blow up yachts, the best way to stab someone to incapacitate rather than kill, how to hack a High Street bank or impersonate Elvis Presley. Totally normal stuff if you make stuff up for a living.

Research isn’t all about arcane or illegal knowledge, of course. In the last few years I’ve been reading restaurant menus and train timetables, Army training manuals and cookery books. I’ve looked up the best way to re-upholster a chair, how to make venison pie and clam chowder, and tried to find out what kind of cars the police would drive in Connecticut. And I’ve spent hours with Google Earth open on my desktop studying the Connecticut coastline.

Since I’ve never visited Connecticut, Lissand, the home of FireWorks Security, ended up being wholly fictitious. I didn’t want to set it somewhere real and then stumble over little things that neither Google Earth nor guidebooks can tell me. Things like brand-new one-way streets, condemned buildings, or shops that went out of business. And, of course, I needed to make sure I had all my story ingredients in one place, logically arranged to fit the story.

I had a great deal of fun working all that out.

The next surprise that Leap of Faith had for me was what happened to the story itself. You see, when it comes to books I’m a bit of a serial monogamist.

There are plenty of serials out there all set in the same universe, where each book follows a different couple. I do read and enjoy those, but my favorites to read (and write) are series that follow one couple through significant parts of their relationship. That may have something to do with me having stuck it out for over a quarter of a century or maybe I’m simply too stubborn to quit. I really don’t know.

For me, there’s more to romance than meeting, falling in love, and deciding to give it a go. That part with the trouble breathing, the fluttering heart and sweaty palms is exciting. But I think true romance really starts with the daily nitty-gritty, with the million and four annoyances and irritations we all face every year, with learning to pull together and make it work. Stories and series that stick with one couple beyond that first flush of attraction have a good chance to feed that craving for me, whether I’m reading or writing.

So imagine my surprise when I was in the middle of writing Leap of Faith, a standalone story as far as I was concerned, and I found myself falling for one of the secondary characters in a pretty serious way.

At that point I already knew that there was more to Kieran’s story than I wanted to explore in Leap of Faith. Realizing that Kieran’s story is closely linked to that of the dishy surgeon didn’t require any great stretch. I let the writing muse play with the idea and before I knew it, Dr. Marius Leven had a book of his own, complete with love interest. That’s not how I usually roll, but it’s exciting all the same.

And it drives Joel up the wall.

Here I got my third surprise. I knew both Kieran and Joel quite well before I started writing. Kieran, the intense, stubborn one, prone to overthink and brood, still coming to terms with losing his partner and his career and finding the courage to start over. Joel, quick, decisive and easygoing by comparison, with a short fuse for bullshit and a need to watch over Kieran. I knew their past, their likes and fears, and I knew how their relationship would bloom. Then Marius Leven arrived on the scene and the story started to change.

Kieran and Marius have a connection from the moment they meet. True, Kieran draws a knife on the doctor, but Marius has faced worse. And when someone needs help, he’s right there, knife or no. Being a doctor, he sees through Kieran’s masks and he has no compunction to push boundaries, be they personal or professional. Kieran responds to that approach, not realizing the effect their easy interaction has on Joel.

I’ve always seen Leap of Faith as Kieran’s story, Kieran’s journey. I saw Joel as Kieran’s strength, that missing piece that, once in place, gives Kieran the courage to deal with his past. I hadn’t expected to have a catalyst like Marius in the mix. His presence changes the interaction between Joel and Kieran and – in the sequel that’s still a work in progress – will change Joel to a point where he and Kieran have to fight if they want to hang on to the relationship they’re building.

Did I say earlier that I preferred series where we get to follow a single couple through several books over series where each book tells a different love story? I could be changing my mind in this instance, but I wonder how everybody else feels about this. Which kind of series do you like best and why? Please leave me a note in the comments.

Check out Leap of Faith today!

 

Leap of Faith by Jackie Keswick

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Blurb:

Close friends and partners at FireWorks Security, Joel Weston and Kieran Ross know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They have each other’s backs, make a formidable team, and carefully ignore their volatile chemistry.

When Kieran struggles with the aftermath of an assignment gone wrong, Joel is there to help. When Joel is caught in an explosion, Kieran jumps into a burning marina to rescue the man who means so much to him. But they never discuss what’s closest to their hearts, not prepared to risk their friendship for the mere possibility of something more.

Faced with bombs, assassins, and old ghosts, Joel and Kieran must find out why they’re targets, who is coming after them, and—most of all—how each would feel if he lost the other. Should they continue as best friends, or is it time to take a leap of faith?

 

About Jackie Keswick:

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:

Website: http://www.jackiekeswick.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctY9RD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieKeswick
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackieKeswick
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jackiekeswick/

 

Ethan Stone: Shifters and Pregnant Men – Post + Giveaway

March 8, 2017

 

Shifters + MPREG with Ethan Stone

 

Hello, I’m Ethan Stone and today I’m talking about Wild Instincts, book two in my Seaside Shifters series. Even though it’s a sequel it can be read as a standalone.

Wild Instincts stars Tyson Dakota, a brand new police cadet, who finds himself involved in a local mystery as well as falling for a mysterious stranger.

I introduced Tyson in the first book, Wild Retaliation, as the cousin of the police chief, John Dakota. Tyson isn’t seen much in that story and I didn’t really have plans to use him as more than a supporting character in future books. In fact, my initial idea was to focus on John and his boyfriend Trevor and Trevor being pregnant.

I really wanted to write an MPREG story but as I tried to do it I just couldn’t find an original spin on the story. I also had a whiff of an idea regarding John’s friend who was in a coma at the end of the story. Frustrated at being at an impasse I sent Wild Retaliation to a friend to read. After reading it she said she wanted Tyson’s story before anyone else’s. And that got my brain working.

In book one Tyson is still a whiny teenager and book two was going to take place a year or so later so I had different options for Tyson. He could’ve continued down a bad path and become a bad boy or he could’ve taken a lesson from his cousin and started down a positive path.

Initially I wrote Tyson as sort of a bad boy with plans to go down a path to redemption but nothing I wrote felt right. Then I made Tyson more like John and things just clicked. I chose to explore the bad boy angle with Tyson’s love interest, Amante.

Tyson is a bear shifter while his boyfriend is not. Amante eventually discovers that the world is far bigger than he had any clue about. I love exploring regular people discovering the paranormal world which happens to Amante when he learns Tyson is a shifter. But that’s not the only thing he discovers because he’s involved in Trevor giving birth to cubs during a dangerous situation.

Tyson is a bear shifter but I have supporting characters as wolf shifters, cougar, bobcat, coyote, lynx and more. I’ve chosen to focus mainly on predators but I’ve always wondered if readers would like to see shifters of other breeds as well. In the comments let me know what kind of animals you’d like to see written about and enter to win a book from my backlist.

 

Check out Wild Instincts today!

 

Wild Instincts by Ethan Stone

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Dreamspinner
Amazon

 

Blurb:

Police cadet and bear shifter Tyson Dakota looks forward to his on-the-job training in Seaside, Oregon, working alongside his cousin, Chief of Police John Dakota. Their goal is to investigate the growing meth epidemic and identify the kingpin bringing the drugs into their community. All signs point to someone inside law enforcement working with the drug traffickers, and Tyson must find out who before the body count gets any higher.

Along the way, Tyson meets Amante, a charismatic and attractive man in town for reasons he doesn’t want to share. Tyson is drawn to Amante despite his secretive ways and is sure there could be more between them than explosive passion, if he could just get Amante to make his stay in Seaside permanent. But when Tyson’s pursuit of justice puts him at odds with Amante, they could lose more than their fledgling relationship.

They could end up losing their lives.

 

About Ethan Stone:

Romance on the Edge

Ethan Stone doesn’t write your typical boy meets boy stories. With a combination of love and suspense he makes his characters work hard for their HEAs. If they can survive what he puts them through, then they can survive anything. He enjoys Romance with an Edge.

Ethan has been reading mysteries and thrillers since he was young. He’s had a thing for guys in uniform for just as long. That may have influenced the stories he writes.

He’s a native Oregonian with two kids. One of whom has made him a grandfather three times over; even though he is way too young.

Readers can find Ethan online.

www.ethanjstone.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ethan.stone.54
Twitter: @ethanjstone
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ethanjstone/
Tumblr: www.tumblr.com/blog/ethanstone
Email: ethanstone.nv@gmail.com
His books: http://www.ethanjstone.com/my-books

 

The Enchantment of New Orleans w/ Hunter Frost

January 20, 2017

 

The Enchantment of New Orleans with Hunter Frost

 

Hello dutiful Dreamspinner blog readers! I’m Hunter Frost and on January 18th, Cemeteries by Moonlight, my first novella with Dreamspinner Press was released out into the world. This book is part of the States of Love series and I was thrilled to be able to claim Louisiana as my state of choice. The story is set in New Orleans and revolves around a cast of quirky characters, anchored by the budding romance between a crime fiction writer and a cemetery tour guide. It’s noir-ish mystery at heart, with a dash of supernatural, steamy romance, and loads of New Orleans cuisine!

I’ve visited New Orleans at least five times in the past fifteen years and no one has to ask me twice if I’m up for another trip to the Big Easy. I’m ready now. Let’s go!

Besides the delicious varieties of food, the eccentric yet amazing people, and the nightlife filled with music and laughter, just the “feel” of the place is inspiring. It’s a difficult thing to describe, but something about being in such a history rich city, built on conflict as well as a melding of cultures, calls out to me. Maybe it’s because I consider myself part of the gothic subculture – though I don’t think dressing in black, wearing pale make-up, or dyeing your hair black is necessary to be goth (though I’m sure it doesn’t hurt ☺). I believe goth is a state of mind – the habit of attuning yourself to the romantic nature of humanity, celebrating the macabre of life and death, and loving all aspects of history and literature. But I’m getting too deep here, even for myself. I’m only trying to analyze why I, and many others, feel an instant connection to the Crescent City.

New Orleans and its often violent history make it easy to see why the place draws those hoping to catch a glimpse of the paranormal. Death and suffering is said to bring out the spirits! On one of my visits, a friend and I took a ghost tour, led by a wonderful woman with long graying hair and mischievous eyes, who took us all around the French Quarter. We stopped at numerous landmarks where horrible things had taken place listening to her recount the grisly details and describe the paranormal activity said to go on there. From vampire dens to psychotic lunatics torturing slaves, the stories were bone-chilling. Even though we got a bit of rain during the tour, it only added to the spooky ambience, and to this day my friend still claims a glowing dot we caught in one of our shadowy photos of the Jesus statue behind the St. Louis Cathedral is a ghostly orb and not a water spot. I guess we’ll never know.

That tour inspired the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc., tour company in my book. My characters give a variety of tours throughout New Orleans: Cemetery, Ghost, Voodoo, Vampire, and Garden District tours. Finn runs the Cemetery tour though he is well acquainted with the ghost stories of the region, and you get to hear some of those morbid tales if you read the book. It was a blast being able to translate those tour memories into my novel and I hope you get that same creepy feeling when reading it.

I know some ghost tours can be campy, silly, or overly dramatic, but I think it all depends on the guide. Have you ever been on a ghost tour? In what city? How did you like it? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

Check out Cemeteries by Moonlight today!

 

Cemeteries by Moonlight by Hunter Frost

Blurb:

When a serious bout of writer’s block threatens to delay mystery author Drew Daniels’s newest book, his aunt offers her New Orleans apartment in the heart of the French Quarter as a writing retreat. She neglects to mention that it’s occupied by the enigmatic and sexy Finn Murphy, a cemetery tour guide with a penchant for Victorian attire and a Cajun accent.

A body discovered in an open crypt forces reclusive Drew to deal with Finn’s eccentric group of friends and his underlying attraction to the hot Cajun—despite warnings about Finn’s violent past. Drew might write this stuff, but he’s never had to solve a real-life murder. With a deadline looming and a killer on the loose, this retreat is proving to be anything but helpful for Drew’s novel. Drew can only hope he won’t end up a tragic tale for the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc. haunted tour.

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

 

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Preorder
Amazon Preorder
Barnes & Noble Preorder

 

Hunter Frost

Author Bio:

Hunter’s early addiction to the smell of printed books led her to spend most of her childhood in libraries and bookstores. There she fell in love with stories featuring medieval castles, ghosts, and handsome heroes. Though writing has always been a part of her life, after college she went on to explore careers in graphic design, the culinary arts, and dog grooming before returning to graduate school to get her MA in British history. To pay the bills she spends her days working for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but to appease her overactive muse, she writes the kind of fiction that keeps her sane. She adores romance in all forms, but prefers her stories with two heroes that find their happily-ever-after with each other.

Hunter would rather watch Spaceballs (or any Mel Brooks movies really), despite being born in the same year as Star Wars. She loves Monty Python, MST3K, and cheesy rom-coms from the ’80s and ’90s. Her wacky sense of humor is only paralleled by her hopeless romanticism. She’s a goth at heart and a sucker for men with long hair. She adores everything British, but insists tea be drunk without milk. She’s a pescetarian with vegan tendencies and has two fat little cats named after her favorite beverage – Latte and Java. She dreams of coastal living, marshmallows, and Matt Bomer.

Feel free to connect with her through any of her social media accounts, or send her an email. She welcomes messages from readers and/or Brits looking to adopt.

E-mail: hunter@hunterfrost.net
Website: www.hunterfrost.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hunterfrostMM
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HunterFrostMM
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hunterfrost75/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hunterfrostmm/

 

For Love of the Anti-Hero w/ Thianna Durston

January 10, 2017

For Love of the Anti Hero with Thianna Durston

 

Will he kill the one who can save him… again?

 

Some books are out because the author wants to write them. Other books are out because the author’s muse insists. And yet, others are out because the character wants their story told. Thus was the case of Vespar, my wonderful anti-hero.

Do you like anti-heroes? I have to admit I love them. Ever since I saw the first Indiana Jones movie and watched as Indie was fighting the bad guys and a huge bad guy stepped up with a huge sword. Instead of continuing to fight with his whip, Indie groaned, pulled out his gun, and shot the guy. I’ve had a love affair with the anti-hero ever since.

So what is an anti-hero? A character that isn’t all shiny and bright – not your typical hero at all – who is thrust into being the hero. Such as Vespar is a killer. He was born to be a killer and had spent years honing his skills. And as he turns from Special Ops to Professional Killer, his intent is to do his job and then disappear until he has to do it again. Only his first professional kill is a man who throws his entire world off kilter and just might make him a hero, whether he wants to be or not.

It was kind of fun. Even though Vespar was very clear about telling his story, I sometimes felt as though I was dragging him kicking and screaming into being the good guy. He glared at me quite often.

I don’t know how other authors feel, but my characters become very close to me and when you have a character who you know is a killer who glares at you, it can put you off your supper… And he found ways to get back at me for it. He woke me up at 1 or 2 every morning to tell me his tale. He would be quiet all day long and then as soon as I got to sleep? He’d want to talk.

I loved writing this story and hope you enjoy reading it as well. This book is dedicated to all the anti-heroes I’ve ever loved :)

 

Excerpt:

Vespar McKauley slid the blade along the stone and stared blankly at the room around him. While he noticed the utilitarian off-white walls and tan furniture of the hotel room, they were so bland that he paid them no attention. He had swept the room when he came in. There were no weapons that could harm him hidden there. And yet there was no way he would let his guard down entirely.

He lifted the long knife and observed the edge. Still a little rough. Not sharp enough. He flipped the blade over in his hand, stroked it along the stone, and gave it far more attention than he would any of his other weapons. For while guns had saved his life most often over the last fourteen years, Vespar still clung to his knife. There was something far more personal about a blade than a gun—the way it felt as it slid into skin and that moment of resistance as it finally punctured and slid home.

While he had only used the knife as a defense in the past, he hoped to use it more often. When he needed to.

A deep frown pulled the corners of his mouth downward. “Need to,” he grunted. A small amount of the fury he usually felt leaked through with that one reminder. He needed to kill. Not all the time, but as long as he could remember, that singular yearning had run his life. From his first deer at age ten to the last bastard he killed as a member of a covert-ops team in the Army, the desire was insurmountable. As if to agree, a small birthmark throbbed on his left shoulder, just underneath the clavicle.

His birthmark was in the shape of a sword with half of the blade missing. Maybe that was why he was so attached to his knife.

He thought—or perhaps wished—that his time in the military had fulfilled the compulsion to kill. There he was allowed to hunt and kill a mark every few weeks. Sometimes even more often. When he left the team, it was by mutual agreement. He wanted out because his time was up and he had mistakenly assumed his sheer number of kills had muted the killer inside. The CIA tried to recruit him, but he ran away from that option. There was no way he wanted to be a permanent killer. At least not then.

But six months later, Vespar had to admit he’d been wrong. The peace afforded by his time in covert ops lasted barely a couple of months before the need came back. Deep in his muscles, a tension began that could only be assuaged one way. The intense burn and throb around his birthmark intensified every day. And yet he fought it.

For some reason he could not understand, his body needed to kill, even though he didn’t want to. Vespar longed for nothing more than to find a hut in the middle of nowhere and live there for the rest of his life. But that was impossible. In just three months, the need kicked back in and he finally gave in to his anxiety and put his skills up for sale.

Now he waited for information on his target.

 

Question:

Who would you rather be on the run with? A perfect hero or the anti-hero? And is there a specific one that comes to mind?

 

Check out Vespar today!

 

Vespar by Thianna Durston

 

About The Order of the Black Knights:

Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done—what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.

Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.

If the Knight pardons his enemy, he will no longer be cursed. If not, he will continue to live the same life again and again, and each life will make him harder and more unyielding. And each life will make it less likely that he can be saved.

 

Blurb for Vespar:

Special ops turned professional killer, Vespar McKauley is hired to take out Marcolm Rogers, son of his employer’s worst enemy. But Marc isn’t like any hit he’s ever done. He’s just twenty-one, he goes to a private university studying English Lit, and for fun he plays computer games with his friends. No drugs, no partying, no crime. The day he bumps into Marc and looks into his azure eyes, the world drops out from under him.

With his father in the Chicago Crime Syndicate, Marc and his mom have stayed out of the limelight, hiding from those that might harm them. He figures he’s safe at a small liberal arts university all the way across the country. Only midway through his senior year, he feels eyes on him and the shadows encroaching. Just as he’s about to run, he meets Vespar and experiences an instant attraction. When Vespar tells him he’s in danger and offers to protect him, Marc wants to believe him. But he’s been hunted before, and this time he isn’t sure he’ll get away. Especially when he finds out he is Vespar’s target.

 

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About the Author:

Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?

She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.

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