The Image of Old Town Stone Acres with Pat Henshaw + Giveaway

May 31, 2017

 

the image of old town stone acres

 

Hi, I’m Pat Henshaw, the author of the Foothills Pride contemporary gay romance series. Today’s the release day for Frank at Heart, #6 in the series. Like the other five novellas, Frank can be read as a standalone, so you don’t have to have read any of the other books to enjoy this one.

When I first realized I was writing a series about a fictional Gold Rush town that was suffering growing pains as it entered the 21st century, I had a hazy idea of what the place looked like.

My husband and I liked to get away whenever we could and explore the Sierra Nevada foothills outside Sacramento where we live. There we would eat lunch in small town cafés and stroll around community parks which often sported elaborate bandstands.

As is the fictional town of Stone Acres, these communities were struggling with how much of the past to keep and how much to let go when the year 2000 rolled around.

Should they keep the wooden sidewalks, the hitching posts, and the crumbling facades? Or should they rebuild and refurbish? Do they appeal to tourists’ interest in history or outdoors activities?

When it came time to work with an artist to design a cover, I was at a loss. I knew I wanted something that reflected both the old and the new. But most gay romances I’d read had a naked or near naked torso and nothing much else on the cover.

While that would have been an easy solution, it wouldn’t have reflected what the books were about. As a reader, I think it’s important that the cover give an idea or a feeling about the book. Sure, I can get this from the blurb, but the first visual impression is important to me too.

Fortunately, through the randomness of draw, my cover was assigned to AngstyG. She not only held my hand through the process, but understood how to meld the idea of old meets new in all the covers she’s designed for the series.

In fact, we’re so in tune that the cover for Frank at Heart was perfect from the first submission. I couldn’t (and didn’t) change a thing—including the bird on the roof of the hardware store. (I love the whimsy of it.)

The covers follow a simple pattern, but even using that and a similar color palette, they all reflect their stories. Not only are the central characters depicted, but a building like one found in typical Foothills towns and images important to the story are included.

AngstyG is so good that after Redesigning Max released, a gay friend of mine asked to be introduced to one of the cover models. I had to tell my friend that not only did the guy not exist, but that, as AngstyG put it, he was Frankensteined, meaning she’d built his image from photos of four different men.

As an artist she’s so good that the jagged scar Adam from When Adam Fell got as a teen looks and feels real even though it’s just smoke and mirrors, as she described it.

The publishing process includes so much more than my writing a book and having editors who smooth it out. So if you feel as if you’ve met these characters as you begin reading the stories, part of the reason is that AngstyG has set you up to like them.

It’s been my privilege to work with all the people at Dreamspinner in getting my books to see the light of day, but one of the people I’m particularly grateful to is AngstyG.

Do you have a favorite book cover that you think wonderfully illustrates its story? Please share it with us below in order to win a copy of one of my backlist titles.

 

 Check out Frank at Heart today!

 

FrankAtHeart_postcard_front_DSP

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
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Blurb: 

Everything about thirty-five-year-old Stone Acres hardware store owner Frank McCord is old-fashioned—from his bow tie and overalls to the way he happily makes house calls to his dreams of lasting romance, true love, and marriage. Frank’s predecessors have run the store and been mainstays in the small California town for over a century. While genial Frank upholds tradition and earns the respect of friends and neighbors, he fears he’s too dull and old to attract a husband.

Then handsome thirty-six-year-old electronic games designer Christopher Darling and his fifteen-year-old son, Henry, come into his life. Christopher has everything Frank could want in a potential partner: charm, kindness, and compatibility. Also, he’s a terrific father to Henry. When their Stone Acres home turns out to be uninhabitable, Frank offers the Darlings temporary lodging in his ancestral farmhouse, where he and his tenant Emil reside. Since Emil thinks Frank is his, sparks fly. Suddenly, Frank’s monotonous life promises to explode with love and threatens to change him forever.

 

FrankAD22

 

Author Bio:

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, has spent her life surrounded by words:  Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Pat was born and raised in Nebraska where she  promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion.  Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

Author media links:

Website: http://patbooked.blogspot.com
Website: www.pathenshaw.com (under construction)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pat.henshaw.10
Twitter: https://twitter.com/phenshaw
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pat-Henshaw/e/B00BPDEDEA/
Email: patoisca@yahoo.com

 

 

Jeff Adams: Using a Romance to Create a Romance

April 27, 2017

 Using a Romance to Create a Romance

 

Despite my love of hockey (and the Detroit Red Wings), the first thing that came to mind when I decided to pitch a Michigan-set story for States of Love was Mackinac Island and the movie Somewhere in Time.

Here’s how the elements came together for me to write Somewhere on Mackinac.

Mackinac Island holds many childhood memories for me. I grew up in Flint and my family would occasionally take the trip up. I think I developed my hate for bridges going over the Mackinac Bridge when I was five or six. It’s currently the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere (the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan, is the longest). In my young view, it was terrifying to go over. What was more fun was when my grandfather bought a plane, a four seater Cessna, and we could fly to the island for the day.

Mackinac was wildly different than any place I’d seen. First off, there were no cars. You got around with horses, bicycles or on foot. I didn’t fully get it back then, but the place was of another time—and it still is. I did know it was very different than other places I’d been, like Flint, Detroit or even out of state to visit relatives in Texas.

What I vividly remember, besides the horses, is the fudge. Ryba’s Fudge Shop was delicious—and it still is too. Earlier this month, I had a box shipped to me for the first time in a couple of years. You have to be careful with the stuff. As I note in the story, you have to be careful not to eat too much. Its creamy richness makes it’s easy to eat more than you should.

Years later, after my family moved to Alabama, I was reminded of Mackinac Island when I saw the 1980 film Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. I caught the movie one day while I was home sick from high school (the same way Jordan in Somewhere on Mackinac sees it). I liked Christopher Reeve and there was time travel in it, so why not?

I admit, my sixteen-year-old self didn’t quite get the romance. A few years later though it clicked. The lengths to which Elise went to find Richard across the decades was incredible. It was matched only by Richard’s search to find out who she was and get to her at all costs. The combination of intense love and heartbreak makes it one of my favorite films.

The film was mostly shot on Mackinac Island, especially in and around the Grand Hotel. To this day, the Grand holds a Somewhere in Time weekend each October to celebrate the film.

The film, and specifically the celebration weekend, was the perfect setting to create a romance. Jordan has loved the film since he first saw it and, currently single, he’s finally taking the trip to the Island from Chicago. Jordan soon finds himself in the company of Miles, an Island native and stable owner.

It was tremendous fun taking advantage of what the Island and the SIT weekend had to offer to create the opportunity for these men to fall for each other. It’s not all smooth sailing, of course. Not only is there the distance to consider with Jordan living in Chicago, there’s other obstacles on the road to happiness.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Somewhere on Mackinac and see for yourself how Jordan and Miles, along with some help from the amazing setting, find their timeless love. If you’d like to read an excerpt, you can head over to the book page and read chapter one.

And if you do make the trip to Mackinac with Jordan and Miles, I’d love to hear what you think of the journey.

 

Check out Somewhere on Mackinac today!

 

Somewhere on Mackinac by Jeff Adams

 

BLURB

How far would you go for the man of your dreams?

Now that he’s single, Chicago businessman Jordan Monroe can finally take his long-desired trip to Mackinac Island for the Somewhere In Time fan celebration weekend. On the first day, Jordan finds himself attracted to Miles Colter, a handsome local stable owner who is giving horseback tours of film locations.

Jordan is surprised and charmed that Miles pursues him. When Jordan learns the stable is in trouble, he wants to help despite Miles’s resistance. As their relationship grows personally and professionally, Jordan dreads the issues that face them—an ex who won’t let him go, the complications of a long-distance relationship, and a secret he knows he shouldn’t be keeping.

Can Jordan and Miles find a way to forge a love as timeless as the romance in their favorite film?

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

 

Somewhere on Mackinac Blog Tour Schedule

April 26 – MM Good Book Reviews
April 27 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
April 28 – Open Skye Book Reviews
May 1 – Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter
May 2 – My Fiction Nook
May 3 – Divine Magazine (Release Day!)
May 4 – Love Bytes
May 5 – The Novel Approach
May 8 – Two Chicks Obsessed

 

Jeff Adams

Author Bio:

Jeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published.

Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.

He also co-hosts the weekly show Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast with his husband. You can learn more at BigGayFictionPodcast.com.

Links:

Website: http://jeffadamswrites.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeffAndWill/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterJeffAdams

 

Music Is My Deal with BA Tortuga

April 18, 2017

Music Is My Deal with BA Tortuga

 

Hey y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things cowboy.

Music is my deal. It’s funny, I’ve made my living as a visual artist, as a writer, but music is my true love.

Now, I admit, unashamedly, that country music is my soul. It’s not all I listen to, but it’s the one genre where I know all the words, where I know the melodies. Hell, I know why Texas twin fiddles are a thing, who wrote what song, and I challenge you to find a song from 1920 on that I don’t know.

It’s not the only genre on my iTunes/Amazon music player/Pandora player/Sirius player. It’s just the favorite.

For instance, I love baroque music. Vivaldi is my all-time favorite composer, followed closely by Pachebel. Industrial music? Uhn. It’s made to fuck to. (Can I say fuck on this blog? O.o)

What about what my wife calls ‘angry girl music’? Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Meredith Brooks, the Indigo Girls. OMG, Tori Amos. I got to interview her once when I was working for a magazine. She told me, “You don’t fuck to a metronome.”

I damn near died. Seriously.

Then there’s my beloved old school doo-wop, the psychedelics of the late 60s. Folk music. 80s pop. Weird Al – I adore Weird Al.

Grins

Seriously.

I love it all.

Why am I blathering about this now?

The Seashores of Old Mexico is inspired loosely by the Willie Nelson song of the same name, and when I sat to tell y’all all about it? This is what popped out.

Much love, y’all.

BA

Check out Seashores of Old Mexico today!

 

Seashores of Old Mexico by BA Tortuga

Blurb:

After a bar fight gone horribly wrong, Clint is on the run, tired, hungry, and desperate to get out of Texas and across the border as fast as he can. But more than anything, he needs a place to relax and feel safe—at least for a little while. Searching for work, he stumbles into a cantina on the beach and runs into its owner. Jack might be a little older and a little worldlier, but the two men have enough in common to form a fast friendship that soon spills over into the bedroom.

But Clint isn’t the only who’s done things he isn’t proud of, things he’d rather keep hidden. Both of them have to be ready to drop everything and run if the past gets too close, and that’s no foundation for a relationship—especially since the truth always comes out eventually.

About BA Tortuga:

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com

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

Dreamspinner Press
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Books2Read
Amazon

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/

 

Julia Talbot’s Top 10 Real Life Cowboy Experiences

April 6, 2017

Julia Talbot's Top Ten Real Life Cowboy Experiences

 

Hey y’all!

I’m Julia, and I’m a cowboy-o-holic.

Okay, so I write a lot more werewolves and bears and historical dudes. But I love me some cowboys. I mean, I married BA Tortuga, the queen of the down to earth cowboy book.

So, what is it about the cowboys?

There’s the iconic aspect of them. The heroic John Wayne figure, riding off into the sunset. There’s the Wranglers. There’s the work hardened body, a lean, mean fighting machine with a farmer’s tan.

But really, for me, there’s a lot more to it. I grew up watching the rodeo team at the college where I lived practice. I went to visit my grandpa in the summer, where he still did his job on horseback. I wore cowboy boots to school. While I was a suburban kid at best, I’m only one generation removed from people who worked the very land I write about in my Riding Cowboy Flats series.

So, here I give you Julia’s top ten real life most cowboy experiences, so you can see where I’m coming from. Trust me, some were fun, some not so much…

 

10. Being told a calf can’t  buck you off if you ride him backward and hold onto the tail. And trying it. Not true.

9. Getting shot at with buckshot while diving through a barbed wire fence.

8. Watching my wife string fence on her Daddy’s ranch in Texas, while she wore flip flops and threw a ball for the dog

7. Going to watch the tiniest rodeo on earth at the Hunt County fair

6. Buying my first pair of adult cowboy boots at an outlet store in Texas

5. Hitting all the little rodeos in Central Texas over the 4th of July, also called Cowboy Christmas. We must  have gone to 15 in one year

4. Cattleman’s Days in Gunnison, Colorado. The oldest rodeo in CO

3. Cowboy poetry competition in Colorado- holy moustache batman

2. Seeing George Strait at the Houston Rodeo and shaking his hand

  1. 1. Cheyenne Frontier Days, y’all. The Daddy of ‘em All!

 

Check out Just a Cowboy today!

 

Just a Cowboy by Julia Talbot

 

Blurb:

2nd Edition
Riding Cowboy Flats: Book Two

Can an old-fashioned cowboy and a young man on the run from his dark past find a future together?

Herschel is a simple rancher who believes everybody deserves a second chance, which is why he tends to hire underdogs—like Dalton, a young cowboy who needs all the support and TLC Herschel can offer.

Dalton doesn’t think anyone can forgive him for what he did, but Herschel seems willing to try. In fact, he might be the best thing that has ever happened to Dalton. He might even be the one to help Dalton trust in the future again. Just when he’s about to tell Herschel everything, all hell breaks loose. Herschel must help Dalton break free from everything that’s haunting him, or they’ll both end up alone.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2010.

 

Author Bio:

Stories that leave a mark. Julia Talbot loves romance across all the genders and genres, and loves to write about people working to see past the skin they’re in to love what lies beneath. Julia Talbot lives in the great mountain and high desert Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Dreamspinner and Changeling Press among many others. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. She also writes BDSM and erotic romance as Minerva Howe. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at www.juliatalbot.com “The mountains are calling, and I must go”

Author links:

www.juliatalbot.com
https://twitter.com/juliatalbot
https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor

A Teacher and a Poet: Making Romance w/ Cy Blanca

March 15, 2017

Making Romance with Cy Blanca

 

Hi there. I’m Cy Blanca, and I have no idea what I’m doing. But before we get into that, I must extend a huge thank-you to the Dreamspinner Press family. Thank you for taking a chance on me. When I say I have no idea what I’m doing, that’s 64089% the truth. I’ve spent all my adult writing life (that is post high school) writing editorials and reviews for other people. Fiction is new territory for me, and for DSP to give me a chance really means so much. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Now with all the gushy stuff out of the way….

Seeing as this is a house that publishes stories of m/m love, I wanted to write about something we can all relate to on at least living vicariously through these characters: romance. I’m not going to wax philosophical (though this early in the morning I’m sure I could come up with some things to say that are both overblown and somewhat space-age-y, but let’s not). What I really want to focus on is the ways in which romance manifest themselves in this story, what it means to my two characters—because romance is probably the main reason why their relationship has worked for so long.

Curtis Ramírez is a poet. Period. His love of words is more than just an appreciation for language. It suffuses everything he does, everything he says. Words have become stitched into his DNA. Just breathing, walking, tasting is poetry. There’s no greater expression of that poetry than when he’s around his lover, Antony James. Antony has a less abstract approach to life, but romance is no less part of his character. He’s brash and unshy, but there’s a softness to him that speaks to Curt, an intangible silkiness that forces Curt to act.

When I was writing these two characters, I put so much of who I am into their creation. I’m more Curt than Antony, what with his love affair with language and his affinity for all things pretty and decadent. However, Antony and I both share a love of really good food and soft kisses, and we both need to feel reassured that they’re safe with the people around them from time to time. Both men are fiercely protective of each other and the people they care about. With that in mind, I had to set about creating a romance that was believable but maybe just a little bit fantastic in scope.

I draw much of my inspiration from music. In fact, most everything I write has a melody in it, something that physically moved me and gave me the emotional weight I needed for each scene. Considering just how in love the two of them are with each other, the music I listened to had to evoke this sense of abundant romance. There was a lot of D’Angelo, Van Hunt, and as I referenced in the story itself, Najubes. All of these artists in their own way know how to bring out the sensuality in the very air they breathe. Scenes that were playful and flirtatious had hints of Amel Larrieux and Van Hunt, while the rawer, more sexual situations were Maxwell, Nujabes, and Anderson .Paak. I wonder what everyone else listens to to create that candlelight and champagne mood between their boys—or with their own significant others. One can never have too much baby-makin’ music.

As much as I wanted the physical feel of my story to come from music, the more tender moments I drew on my experience in college. I got my degree in English writing with a focus on poetry. I can’t even hide it. Curt is most definitely a product of my experiences, while Antony is sort of an augmentation of my personality—maybe bordering on id territory….

When it came to fleshing out a story between them, it all started with a scene. I knew my guys were going to be completely involved with each other. With that—especially in a school setting—comes certain… complications. They want and need to be around each other, especially Curt—he is a poet after all. That idea, the image of needing a moment to reconnect physically, was the first image in my head when I decided to write about my birthplace, Topeka, KS. From there the story of these two men came to me.

Two gorgeous black men in love and incapable of hiding it. Oh, the places they went in my head before I settled where they finally went (not too far, in the end. They are teachers at a primary school after all). That makes me wonder, where are some of the most interesting places people have become… needy? You know, that tense feeling where you just need to touch something? Mine is fairly innocuous, I’m afraid—a friend’s bedroom while there was a party going on in the living room…

But, hey, we can’t all be as adventurous as Curt and Antony, right?

Thank you all for letting me blather on. Thank you again to the amazing DSP family. You all have just made my first experience with a published piece of work so memorable and really fun!

If you’d like to get in touch with me, see exactly how nuts I am:

Twitter: @madcywhite

Instagram: mindless_cy

K-music Twitter: @mindlesscy (if you want to spazz about Korean music with me)

 

 

 

Check out A Teacher and a Poet today!

 

A Teacher and a Poet by Cy Blanca

 

Blurb:

Shawnee County, Kansas, might not be the most accepting place for a gay couple, but boyfriends Antony James and Curtis Ramírez have made it their home. Both of them work at Pauline Central Primary School, and while Antony is content teaching, Curt would rather pursue his passion: poetry. He plans to resign, but he doesn’t get the chance.

Working together has its risks, and when a student witnesses Antony and Curt sneaking a kiss in the workroom, they’re reprimanded. The school board’s punishment is mild, but some members of the community aren’t willing to let the indiscretion go. That small mistake could cost Antony and Curt their home—or it could remind them that home is in the heart, and as long as they stay strong in their love, they’ll always have a place to belong.

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

 

 

Author Bio:

Cy Blanca has enjoyed words since she was in elementary school. They hold magic powers for her, and she loves playing with them to see just what they can do. She got her degree in English poetry, but she’s been doing mostly editorial work for online magazines YAM Magazine, Rock ’N Seoul, and SeoulBeats (yeah… she loves Korean music and gets to interview folks and write about it). She’s exceptionally blessed to actually be able to do exactly what she went to school for, and fiction is a new avenue she’s trying to explore. Hopefully she can make some magic happen with the words she’s been in love with since she was in elementary school.

She’d love to hear from people who want to know a bit more about her, or just want to become homies.

You can reach her on Twitter: @madcywhite
You can also reach her on Instagram: @mindless_cy
(For K-pop related fangirling, venture over to @mindlesscy if you dare.)

 

Pipelines in Paradise: Tropical Research w/ Foster Bridget Cassidy + Giveaway

February 9, 2017

 

Tropical Research w/ Foster Bridget Cassidy

 

This is Foster Bridget Cassidy and I’m eager to share my debut novella with you.

Pipelines in Paradise follows Palmer Simpson, a thirty-three-year-old high school teacher, who packs up and moves to Oahu.  There, he throws himself into the surf culture, trying to reconnect with his younger self.  Along the way he meets friends and foes, and even a lover, skilled surfer Riku Usami. His new circle of support helps him adjust to life on the island.

As an Arizona native, the setting of Hawaii presented a challenge to me.  I’ve been to the ocean a handful of times, but never experienced the kind of culture you get living next to the water.  Naturally, in Hawaii, these norms take center stage.  They’re integral to everyday life.  This meant I had my hands full with research.

I watched movies–everything from travelogues, like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, to documentaries, like Highwater (2009).  I listened to surfing podcasts and traditional Polynesian music to steep myself in as much of the local flavor as possible.  I read up on surfboards, the different sizes, shapes, fins, etc. needed for different beaches.

The most interesting aspect of this was the food. Regional cuisine reveals much about people and their way of life. I feel it’s important to get these details correct. It adds to the credibility of the story and the characters.

Researching food is the most rewarding experience a writer can have. However, there is a snag when trying to find Hawaiian seafood in Arizona.  There’s also the fact that I don’t eat seafood. The other option was to try this fabled delicacy of Spam.

One of my close friends grew up on the island of Guam, and when I asked her about Spam, she was eager to share with me.  It’s a staple in her family’s dinner routine.  Comfort food.  For me, she made Spam and rice.  Of course the stigma of canned meat was foremost in my mind, but I pushed on.  For science.

Spam and Rice

And it actually surprised me how delicious it was!  The grilled Spam was perfectly salty, and mixed with short grain Calrose rice, the duo was exceptional!  Or maybe it’s that my friend is just an amazing cook.

There’s a ton more recipes I’d love to try.  A whole new culture I can explore.  I’ve taken my first steps, and I know they won’t be my last.

So what’s the most bizarre thing you’ve eaten?  Add your comment about the most interesting/adventurous thing you’ve tried, and you may win a copy of Pipelines in Paradise to can see that Spam in action!  A winner will be selected on February 12th.

Or, if you don’t feel like waiting, Pipelines in Paradise is available for purchase now.  Dive right in and soak up some of that Hawaiian sunshine.

 

Check out Pipelines in Paradise today!

Pipelines in Paradise by Foster Bridget Cassidy

Blurb:

One is trying to heal a broken heart, the other, a broken family.

After separating from his partner of nine years, Palmer Simpson flees to the island of Oahu to pursue a carefree life of surfing. There, he meets Riku Usami, a more skilled surfer—but one with a bad attitude and a boatload of family drama. A contest between the two men leads to friendship and the possibility of something more meaningful. When a tsunami threatens the island, a friend is stranded out on the waters of the deadly Banzai Pipeline. Palmer and Riku must face the dangers of the barrel waves and the looming forces of nature in order to get their friend to safety. If they survive, they’ll have to contemplate what their future together will look like after the storm blows through.

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

 

About the Author:

Foster Bridget Cassidy has wanted to be a writer since becoming addicted to epic fantasy during high school. Since then, she’s studied the craft academically and as a hobby. A million ideas float in her head, but it seems like there’s never enough time to get them all down on paper. Her favorite things include taking pictures of her dachshunds, sewing, staying in pajamas all day, and laughing with her husband.

E-mail: FosterBridgetCassidy@gmail.com
Blog: fosterbridgetcassidy.wordpress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/FosterBCassidy
Twitter: @FosterBCassidy 

 

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/

 

Writing Beyond Borders w/ Bonnie Dee + Giveaway

January 19, 2017

 

Writing Beyond Borders with Bonnie Dee

 

I’m Bonnie Dee, author and sometimes co-author of numerous gay historical novels which you may see on my web site. The Mighty Have Fallen is my first foray into contemporary since my earliest attempt at writing gay romance titled Undeniable Magnetism. I decided it was time for a change of pace in order to keep my historical stories from becoming too familiar. Everybody needs a little shake up once in a while.

Imagine you were to lose not only one of your primary senses but your mode of earning a living, your savings, and your lover all at the same time. That is the fate suffered by Trevor Rowland, the protagonist of The Mighty Have Fallen. Acclaimed star of the London stage, Trevor is struck by a serious illness which leaves him inoperably blind. His boyfriend/ financial manager deserts him after bleeding him dry. Trevor is felled in every way possible and can hardly summon the will to drag himself out of despair and back into life.

Enter Jack Burrows, a hard working East Ender with whom Trevor shares lodgings after leaving a rehab facility. At first, Trevor is too self-pitying and angry to appreciate his friendly flat mate, but soon they forge an unexpected bond beyond anything Trevor expected to ever feel. Through Jack, Trevor finds a way to continue to use his acting talents in a manner he never would have dreamed of, performing a drag act in a nightclub.

I have been writing UK based books for quite some time although I live smack in the middle of the U.S. I jumped at the chance to be included in Dreamspinner’s new Perchance to Dream line, staffed by British editors. I learned from my editor, Sue Adams, not only figures of speech but habits of English folk that I never would have known. She helped me make Jack’s Cockney accent thick and authentic, which I hope readers will enjoy.

As anyone who has read many of my books knows, I really have a thing for cross class romance. While Jack and Trevor may not be separated by the enormous chasm dividing the protagonists in my current work in progress—a gay take on Pygmalion (aka My Fair Lady), their differing backgrounds still bring an interesting element to their love story.

As for featuring a blind protagonist, this isn’t my first venture into writing a disabled hero. I have a het contemporary featuring a blind hero and a het historical with a deaf hero. I’m interested in how the loss of one sense heightens the others. Which brings me to a question for this blog’s readers, if you had to do without one of your senses, which would you sacrifice? Please drop a comment here with your answer for a chance to win any one of my backlist titles. Two winners will be chosen from among the commenters.

You can learn more about me, Bonnie Dee, and my backlist of many romance books at http://bonniedee.com. Find me on FB at Bonnie Dee Author or Bonnie Dee. My Twitter handle is @Bonnie_Dee. I’m not the most active social media person but I turn up occasionally. Most importantly, please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter to learn of upcoming releases. Newsletter signup form

Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Hope you’ll leave a comment and then pick up your copy of The Mighty Have Fallen.

 

Check out The Mighty Have Fallen today!

 

The Mighty Have Fallen by Bonnie Dee

 

Blurb: 

Theatre headliner Trevor Rowland is at the peak of his career when disaster strikes. In one fell swoop, he loses his eyesight, his fame, and his boyfriend, who absconds with most of his money. Trevor must take on a flatmate, hardworking East Ender Jack Burrows, to afford the rent. Anger and bitterness have taken up residence in his heart—but Jack shines light into the shadowy corners with his relentlessly sunny disposition.

Jack introduces Trevor to a local drag club and convinces him he can enjoy the stage again. Trevor’s defences slowly come down as Jack becomes much more than a barely tolerated roommate.

But will Trevor’s fragile trust be destroyed when it appears he’s been manipulated yet again by a man he’s come to care for? Will he reclaim his life or crawl back into a shell of defeat? Trevor must learn to trust not only a man, but himself, once more.

 

About Bonnie Dee:

Bonnie Dee began telling stories as a child, the designated ghost-tale teller at sleepovers. She still has a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch, and a talking cat. Writing childish stories evolved into inventing fan fiction romances and later into writing for publication. Bonnie enjoys reading stories about people damaged by life who find healing with a like-minded soul. When she couldn’t find enough books to suit her taste, she began to write them. Along with frequent coauthor Summer Devon, she has written numerous historical novels, a couple of which have won Rainbow Awards for best gay historical.
Since giving up a day job, she has oodles of time to explore any plot idea that crosses her mind. Contemporary or historical, paranormal or mystery, the genre doesn’t matter so long as there is an abiding romance at its heart.

Website: bonniedee.com
Blog: www.bonniedee.com/blog
E-mail: bonniedeeauthor@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bonnie.dee.144
Street Team: www.facebook.com/groups/BonnieDeeAuthor
Twitter: @Bonnie_Dee
Newsletter signup: tinyurl.com/hsdnfzj

Dance Music in Holiday Weekend w/ Charley Descoteaux + Giveaway

December 16, 2016

Dance Music in Holiday Weekend

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter!

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

 

Tour Dates and Stops:

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

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

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 21: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 27: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

 

Check out Holiday Weekend today!

 

Holiday Weekend by Charley Descoteaux

 

Blurb:

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

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

 

Excerpt:

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

“What are you doing for Halloween?”

Damn, even that sounded naughty. “Nothing.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m game.”

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

“Yeah. That sounds good.”

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

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

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

 

Buy Holiday Weekend:

 

Dreamspinner Press (ebook)

Dreamspinner Press, Buchanan House series page

 

Charley Descoteaux

About the Author:

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

Rattle Charley’s cages:

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

 

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