A Visit to the Soldati Realm w/ Charlie Cochet

November 24, 2016

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Hello, all! Thank you for joining me here at the Dreamspinner Press blog as we continue to celebrate the release of The Soldati Prince, the first book in the Soldati Hearts series. The Soldati Prince was originally a short story published last year in the fabulous Charmed & Dangerous Anthology from JCP Books. Since then I had planned to return to the Soldati world, expand on the story, and continue the series. The second edition is more than twice as long with even more story, plot, romance, and action! I had so much fun delving back in, and the second book in the series is already with my publisher, and I can’t wait to get started on the third book. This world has been so much fun to write.

Although we start out in the human world, the majority of our story takes place in the Soldati Realm, a kingdom inhabited by different types of magical shifters, but ruled by the Soldati. Just who are the Soldati? They’re a powerful race of tiger shifter warriors who wield great magic. They possess what’s called “the Soldati soul” which manifests itself as a blinding white light when released from within. This white light has the power to vanquish dark magic, and kill demons. The Soldati have been hunting and destroying demons since the beginning. It’s what they have always done, and what they always do: protect the world, and humans from the demons out to harvest souls. It’s not a pretty job, but the Soldati take pride in what they do, and what they do is crucial to continuation of the human race, even if the human race has no idea the Soldati exist. With the help of the Soldati Eye, a mysterious orb that sees all and knows all, the Soldati use portals to enter the human world, going wherever the Eye sends them to stop the vile creatures.

The Soldati prince is more than a prince or intended mate for the Soldati king. It’s a position of power, honor, and privilege, meant to bring the king and his kingdom greatness. Which is why Khalon King is a little miffed when he discovers his prince is a human. Riley may not have been born a Soldati, but he’s about to prove that what’s in his heart is just as great.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Gay Romance, Shifters, Demons
Series: Soldati Hearts
Length: Novella, 97 pages
Published: Nov 23rd, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781634775809

One moment, Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next, he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger-shifter he would rather strangle.

Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world, where he belongs. On their journey, they might discover why the goddess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.

First Edition short story published as The Soldati Prince in Charmed & Dangerous by JCP Books LLC, 2015. Second Edition has been re-edited and extended to novella length with new content.

ADD TO GOODREADS

READ CHAPTER ONE

PURCHASE LINKS

DREAMSPINNER PRESS :: AMAZON :: ARe :: BARNES & NOBLE

OUT NOW!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charlie Cochet by Madison Parker

Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | THIRDS HQ | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Newsletter | DSP |Amazon |Goodreads

 

GIVEAWAY

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Nov 21st – The Novel Approach
Nov 22nd – Joyfully Jay
Nov 23rd – Man2Mantastic
Nov 24th – Dreamspinner Press Blog
Nov 25th – Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy

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Check out the Soldati Hearts inspiration board on Pinterest.

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Visual Inspiration w/ Laura Lascarso + Giveaway

November 22, 2016

 Andre in Flight: Visual Inspiration with Laura Lascarso

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

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

 

Collage for Andre in Flight by Laura Lascarso

 

Check out Andre in Flight today!

 

Andre in Flight by Laura Lascarso

 

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

 

Blurb:

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

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

 

Laura Lascarso

About Laura Lascarso:

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

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

 

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More Than Friends? with J.R. Loveless – Giveaway + Excerpt

November 9, 2016

More Than Friends with J.R. Loveless

Release day is always exciting! Today is November 9th and the release of my newest novella You Belong With Me. There are some of you who may know me from my first novel from Dreamspinner Press, Touch Me Gently, but for those who don’t, I’m J.R. Loveless, and I have been writing gay romance for a little over ten years now. Dreamspinner gave me a chance in 2010 and I have been publishing with them ever since. My long term dream is to be able to spend my days writing, but until then, I work in an office as a manager of a System Support department while dreaming up countless stories I hope to bring to you all someday.

Many of us have experienced, or are experiencing right now, the most painful of all type of loves – unrequited. There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching from afar as the person we want to be with showers their affection and attention on someone else. Except when they’re your best friend and they don’t even realize you’re in love with them. Because then it’s an up close and personal view that you wish you never had to witness.

In You Belong With Me, Scott is in love with his best friend Craig and has been for some time. He’s been there to experience the heartache of Craig falling for someone for the first time and then having to listen as Craig tells him everything about the relationship, including the night Craig lost his virginity. The story is told from the POVs of Scott, Craig, and Scott’s twin sister Karen, giving you the perspective of an outsider who cares very deeply for Scott and would love nothing more than to knock some sense into Craig. Maybe some will be able to relate with Scott and some may even be able to relate with Craig, but hopefully by the end of the story you’ll be cheering for them both. Just don’t hate on either too much because without communication misunderstandings happen and yes, Craig does do something which some may find unforgivable, but you’ll have to read the story to find out!

Keep reading for an excerpt to whet your taste buds and give you a glimpse of what is to come in You Belong With Me.

Want to win a free e-book copy of You Belong With Me or have your choice of one of my backlog if you’ve already pre-ordered or purchased YBWM? Then post a comment answering this question: What is the one thing you’ve wanted more than anything in the world and did you get it? A random winner will be chosen from the commentators! Please include your email address so I know how to contact you. :)

Check out You Belong With Me today!

You Belong With Me by J.R. Loveless

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
All Romance eBooks

 

Blurb:

Scott has been in love with his best friend Craig for years, but watching Craig with his manipulative boyfriend has worn Scott down, and he knows he needs a break from the pain and maybe a change of scenery and perspective. His twin sister, Karen, convinces him to spend a summer in Paris.

Karen is sick and tired of seeing Scott suffer, and she’s not going to stand for it anymore. She confronts Craig and tells him what he’s been missing by spurning Scott’s affection in favor of a jerk who mistreats him.

When Craig unknowingly breaks Scott’s heart, Craig opens his eyes—and his own heart—to the possibility of a future with Scott. He plans to use the time while Scott’s abroad to orchestrate a romantic surprise that will show Scott they belong together. But when he sees Scott with another man at the airport, Craig fears he’s too late.

Excerpt:

Scott

Anger and hurt simmered beneath the surface as Scott slammed the door behind him. He was glad the house was empty, because he didn’t want to talk to anyone. The fact that for the first time in four years Craig wasn’t there at lunch and didn’t even text him made him so angry, but the anger paled in comparison to the pain he felt. As the lunch hour had ticked by and he came to the realization Craig wasn’t coming, it had felt like a sharp knife in his stomach. A hollow feeling had swamped him on his way home. His best friend had forgotten him.

Scott’s eyes stung but he gritted his teeth and refused to let the tears fall. He wouldn’t allow Derek to do this to him. He wouldn’t cry. He tossed himself across his bed and buried his face in the pillow. Somehow Derek had guessed his feelings toward Craig and, whenever he could, went out of his way to make Craig hurt Scott without realizing it. The bastard was so coldhearted he made the devil seem nice.

Scott had gotten each and every one of Craig’s texts, but he knew if he responded, Craig would get the brunt of his pain and anger. Before he spoke to him, he needed to get control of his emotions. If he didn’t, he’d wind up blurting out something he shouldn’t. More than likely it would be about Derek being an asshole, and it might cause a rift between them too wide to repair. He’d lose Craig for sure.

Scott allowed his mind to drift as he lay there. The internship to France being offered by Emerson was starting to look better and better every day. Maybe some time away would be a good thing. If he could get over the way he felt about Craig, his emotions could even out and he wouldn’t constantly have to worry about destroying their friendship. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on breathing in and out slowly. Eventually he started to fall asleep. Only there was no peace, even in his dreams. Immediately he started dreaming of Craig.

Craig kissed his way down Scott’s spine, lips traveling over each vertebrae slowly. He smoothed his calloused hands over Scott’s arms and shoulders with calculating accuracy. Scott moaned when he felt Craig’s hot breath on his lower back, just above his pale rear end. The moan grew louder as Craig slid the tip of his wet tongue along the beginning of the crease leading to Scott’s tight entrance. Sweat built along his skin in a fine sheen at the roar of pleasure that rushed through him. Craig tenderly spread Scott’s cheeks open with his strong hands, baring the puckered channel dying to feel him inside. A small cry rattled in Scott’s throat when his tongue came into contact with Scott’s hole. Quick lapping motions against him made Scott’s cock throb painfully against the sheets. But when Craig probed into his body, Scott heard himself shamelessly begging, “Please.”

He felt Craig smile. “Please what?” Craig asked huskily.

“Craig,” Scott whimpered.

“Tell me.”

“I want you inside of me,” he growled in frustration.

Craig laughed softly and rose up to press the full length of his body over Scott’s. Scott could feel Craig’s hard prick rubbing into the crease of his ass. “Do you, Scott?”

“God yes,” he hissed.

The blunt tip of Craig’s dick nudged the entrance to his hole. Scott reached back with one hand to grip at his hip to try to pull him inside. He shuddered when he felt Craig drop a kiss on the nape of his neck. His firm lips grazed Scott’s ear as he whispered, “I love you, Scott.”

Just when he started to enter him, Scott heard his name again from a distance. Then someone was shaking him. “Scott, wake up.”

Find Me Here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjrloveless
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrloveless
Blogger: http://jrloveless.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.jrloveless.com

Of Robots, Romance, and Real Possibilities with Asta Idonea – Post + Giveaway

May 25, 2016

Of Robots, Romance, and Real Possibilities

My name is Asta Idonea and this is my first time on the Dreamspinner Press blog, so let me commence with a brief introduction for those who’ve not yet “met” me.

I’m an English-born writer who now lives in Australia. I started writing professionally in 2011 under my mainstream pen name Nicki J. Markus, and in 2014, I branched out into MM, using the alternate pen name Asta Idonea. I work as a freelance editor, and when I’m not busy with that or my own writing, I love going to the theatre and cinema, playing and listening to music, sketching, learning foreign languages, writing to my many pen pals, researching history, mythology, and folklore, and (of course) reading.

Today, I am here to promote Fire Up My Heart, my first standalone release from Dreamspinner Press. This sci-fi novella focuses on a young man named Fane who finds an abandoned service Bot and takes it home. But there’s something unusual about Jo-E, and when Fane finds himself increasingly drawn to the Bot, he must make a difficult decision.

Like many of my story ideas, this one came to me at night. My mind often wanders while I’m waiting to fall asleep, and this story was born from a thought I had during that time. I’d watched some robot-based sci-fi a few days prior, and Fire Up My Heart developed into my personal spin on the theme.

Although I’m not a huge sci-fi reader when it comes to alien worlds and starships, I do enjoy speculative fiction that questions future technology. With new gadgets and gizmos invented every year, I love to consider what else the future will hold and how it will impact our everyday lives. Already technology invades so many things we do, and humanoid robots are certainly on the horizon. When that day comes, I wonder at the ways in which we’ll employ them and the different types of human–robot relationships that might be possible, and that is one of the principal themes in Fire Up My Heart.

Twenty-sixteen is shaping up to be a busy year for me writing-wise with seven new releases already out, two more coming in June, and a number of additional works currently under consideration. Right now, I am working on several projects: three MM short stories for anthology calls closing soon, two MM novellas (one contemporary and one paranormal), a paranormal MF novella, and a Steampunk MF short novel. I often do have a selection of manuscripts in progress at the same time. It suits me to work that way since, if I find I am not in the right mood to continue with one, I can switch to another for the day. Once the first draft is complete, it also means I can set it aside while I work on something else and then return to it with fresh eyes, ready to edit and redraft. So far, I am lucky in that I never run out of story ideas—only time in which to write them. I guess I need a new form of technology to help me draft and edit double-time!

On that note, I’d like to open the floor to comments. If you could have a robot capable of performing any task for you, which task would you choose and why? Let’s try to keep it clean, guys; otherwise, do give your imaginations a workout and be inventive. I will randomly select one commenter to win a copy of my previous Dreamspinner Press release, the contemporary MM short story Northern Lights.

If anyone has any questions for me, please comment below. I’ll be checking this post during the next few days and will do my best to answer them all. Readers and fellow authors are also always welcome to connect with me on social media.

Check out Fire Up My Heart today!

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Blurb

London bartender Fane thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds a rare and expensive service Bot discarded in a dumpster, and he takes it home to get it working again. The Jo-E brings some much-needed companionship to Fane’s lonely life, but there’s something different about this Bot, as indicated by its odd behavior. Fane’s developing feelings toward Jo-E trouble him, and things go from bad to worse when a robotics engineer arrives on Fane’s doorstep, demanding the return of his property. Fane is forced to choose between a hefty reward and following his heart. Giving in to his forbidden desires might get him killed—or change his life forever.

Author Pic 2015

Chat with Asta Idonea!

Blog: http://www.nickijmarkus.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nickijmarkus/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4567057.Nicki_J_Markus
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolamarkus
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
DeviantArt: http://aleera21.deviantart.com/gallery/
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/nickijmarkus

“Oh the Tangled Webs we weave…” with S.A. Ozment – Post + Giveaway

May 18, 2016

Oh the (1)

Hi Everyone!

I’m S.A. Ozment and I want to introduce my new novella that will be released by DSP on May 18th. It tells the story of a young guy, “Ashley Stevens”, who is an ER nurse by day and a fan boy by night. However, the only object of his affection is the smokin’ hot and extremely talented “Sebastian Gray”.  One night while Ashley is online, Sebastian reaches out to Ashley and thanks him for a job well done. Ashley is in full blown “OMG, I’m talking to Sebastian Gray” and “I’ve drank an entire bottle of wine” mode and fumbles his way through the conversation. Things are going great until Sebastian makes it clear that he believes he is speaking to a “girl” named Ashley.  After a minute of contemplating, Ashley decides to let Sebastian think what he wants as long as the conversation continues.  A few months later the conversation is still continuing and Ashley still has not told Sebastian the truth out of fear of losing what he has gained with his long time idol, who is now his friend.

As a thank you, Sebastian surprises Ashley with a free airline ticket to NYC to attend a fan gathering and then they can enjoy the city together. Ashley tries to get out of the meeting but Sebastian is not taking no for an answer.  Ashley gives in and says yes, knowing that he will have to come clean. I won’t say how the meeting goes but let’s just say Ashley is not the only one keeping secrets.

I originally wrote this story as a submission for the “Star Struck” Anthology. However, to tell the story, it was over the amount of words needed. Therefore, I submitted to DSP as a novella. The story idea came to me while watching the television show “Catfish”. I thought about how I could have two characters innocently catfish each other and still have a happy ending.   I didn’t want a mean spirited catfish story, just a sweet story where the two men didn’t set out to catfish each other, it just kind of happens.  With those thoughts in mind, “Tangled Web” was born.

Have you ever been infatuated with a celebrity and finally had the opportunity to meet them?  Is there a celebrity that you would love to be real friends with? Leave a comment below and tell me your story.  I will pick one winner  (in 3 days) and will send you a copy of my first book, “Illusions” by PDF format.

Hope to hear from you all!

S.A. Ozment

Sozment1@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/saozment

Check out Tangled Web today!

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Blurb:

By day Ashley Stevens is a dedicated nurse; by night he runs multiple social media sites for his crush and all-time favorite actor, Sebastian Gray. After a particularly grueling day at work, Ashley drinks away his misery while dreaming about being with Sebastian—only to realize it’s no dream when Sebastian actually contacts him.

Sebastian asks him to officially run his sites and Ashley is thrilled—right up until Sebastian makes it clear that he thinks Ashley is a girl. And maybe it’s the wine, or maybe it’s a fear that if Sebastian knew the truth, he wouldn’t want him, but Ashley never sets him straight. But keeping the secret becomes a nightmare as Ashley and Sebastian talk online night after night, forging a true connection. And the longer Ashley waits to tell the truth, the more tangled the lies become.

A plane ticket from Sebastian along with an invitation to meet in New York City for a fan event brings it all to a head. Ashley must face Sebastian and tell all, but he might not be the only one keeping secrets.

The College Experience with Aishlar Snow

May 10, 2016

The College Experience

Hi! I’m Aishlar Snow, author of I Experimented Once in College, and I’m excited to be sharing my first published work with you. I’d like to thank Dreamspinner Press for the opportunity to share.

My inspiration for the book came during a bout of nostalgia for my college days. I had a pretty rocky college experience where I faced down a number of serious situations, but I still look back on it and remember how I met my fiance – and my best friend – there. My main character, William, faces similarly daunting challenges during the semester, and he also ends up finding love and friendship along the way.

While I was writing, one of the things I enjoyed most was painting a picture of a magical university with all the same quirks and routines of a modern one. The freshmen are fresh-faced and often lost, those about to graduate don’t have their books half the time, and throughout the crazy rollercoaster semester the RA plays mediator to such a variety of student concerns you can only find in a soap opera. It’s a confusing place, college, no matter what year you’re in. Maybe your friend is still undecided in his third year, you’re sitting on boxes because none of your roommates remembered to buy chairs, and you can never figure why that one campus building is out in the middle of nowhere. There is a universal quality to college, ineffable, no matter if it’s planted in the real world or fantasy.

Even the music I listened to while writing had ties to my college days, although not in the way you might expect. When I started college in 2009 I listened to a lot of older classics because they were comforting and energetic. My working title for the book was actually “Do You Believe in Magic?” from the 1965 song by The Lovin’ Spoonful. My playlist also included “Magic” by Pilot (1974), “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club (1985), and “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics (1983) among others. These familiar songs brought me back to memories of college as well as setting the stage – with lyrics I could relate to the story – for a few of my favorite scenes.

Weirdly, I threw a handful of 2000′s club mixes into the playlist at one point while writing a scene that never made it into the book. When I was a freshman, my friends dragged me to my first club, and that experience was so profound that I knew I had to write William reluctantly stuck in a magical nightclub. For me, that first glimpse into the world of nightlife and dancefloors and shady under-the-stairwell hookups was as shocking as it was fascinating. Writing William, a reserved and tightly buttoned-up PhD student, in a club setting where he was forced to unwind required club mixes that were pretty jarring after the 80′s hits. In the end, I had a better version of the scene with the setting changed to a professor’s office, but maybe the next book can incorporate a magical nightclub?

I’ve asked my fiance what it was like living with me while I wrote I Experimented Once in College over the course of a month, and his contribution was, “You were kind of a brat.” When asked to elaborate, he shrugged, but then he started laughing at the look on my face, so I think we’re good.

In reality, writing a book in a month, while doable, can be a real whirlwind. I was working at a public library at the time, and I had just finished my Masters in Library Science. Much like William, I was overqualified for my clerical position and growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of high-level positions. I used that frustration to illustrate William’s situation at Efeldon University, especially at the beginning of the book. William knows his worth, and he isn’t afraid to say when he’s being underutilized. It is that frustration in part that contributes to his antagonistic relationship to Taliesin, someone who should be a mentor figure but is more often an additional source of irritation for him. During the month when I wrote I Experimented Once in College, I led a very busy, work-filled life; I wouldn’t recommend it every month, but it was a blast!

Readers, do you have certain songs that remind you of high school or college? Were they popular songs at the time, or were they favorites from another decade? You can reach me at aishlarsnow@gmail.com, @Aishlar, and aishlarsnow.blogspot.com, or by commenting on this post. I would love to hear what’s on your mind!

Check out I Experimented Once in College today!

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Blurb:

PhD candidate William Yderis comes to Efeldon University to teach and finish his degree in charmcrafting. For methodical, sedate, and scholarly William, the school defies his expectations—and not in a good way. The biggest surprise comes when William meets his boss, absent-minded Archmage Taliesin Karsus, a man as infuriating as he is sexy.

As William struggles to carve out his place at the university, he is drawn in to Tal’s chaotic experiments… and drawn to Tal despite his logical mind’s protests. And if Tal’s wavering affection isn’t enough to complicate William’s studies, he uncovers a plot involving an ambitious staff member, brainwashed students, sexual assault, and a threat to the lives of everyone on campus. When it comes time to face the danger, William is on his own. For the first time in his life, he’ll have to trust in his heart instead of his head.

 

Winter Anonymous with Sean Michael, Author of “X-Factor”

May 6, 2016

Winter Anonymous

Hi, my name is Sean and I love winter.

If there was a Winter Anonymous group, it would be for people who love the cold and the snow and the shorter days to band together and spend a little bit of time with like-minded people and remind each other that we’re not crazy for loving the winter. Because honestly, most people don’t. Given that I live in Eastern Canada, though, it’s a good thing that I do love the winter. We usually get four solid months of snow and cold and often it’s closer to six.

This year was entirely different and we had less than three months of solid winter weather, and even that was warmer than winter often is here. And it did make me pout! There’s just something about the snow and the cold that makes me happy and makes me feel at home. I even have a favorite kind of snow – it’s when there are enormous flakes that float gently down onto the ground and coat everything on the way. There’s a hush to the world when it snows like that, as if the snow itself has insulated the air from the usual sounds. And when it’s done, everything has a coating of white on it, even the tree branches. It’s quite magical.

What’s your favorite kind of snow? (And yes, ‘no snow’ is a valid answer!). And what is your favorite season?

Sean
Smut fixes everything

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X-Factor blurb:

Game designer Henry Delloit loves his life, his mountain community, his isolated dream home, and the snow. He also loves that the X-treme Games blow into the area for a month every year, bringing with them hundreds of athletes.

Ecco Rasmussen loves boarding. He knows he’ll never make it to the big time, but as long as he can get on his board and go, he doesn’t care. If only his manager, Blake Dobbs, would cut Ecco a break. The man’s possessive and mean, and believes he owns Ecco.

When Henry and Ecco meet at the Branchberry Games, it’s lust at first sight. An injury on Ecco’s qualifying run offers an opportunity to spend quality time together at Henry’s home, away from the crowds and out from under Blake’s thumb.

At this rate, lust might turn into love, but not if they can’t keep their romance hidden from Blake.

 

Buy links:

Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7638
All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-xfactor-2017019-149.html
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/X-Factor-Sean-Michael-ebook/dp/B01E30ZNWW/

 

Author bio:

Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

 

www.seanmichaelwrites.com
@seanmichael09
http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca/
https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

Facing Your Fears with Sera Kane – Post + Giveaway

April 20, 2016

Facing Your Fears

When I was young, I was informed that writing wasn’t a career.  It was a hobby, a thing you did when you happened to have some time from doing your Real Life.  Going to college.  Getting a job.  Getting married, having kids.  Being “normal”.

It cannot be a surprise that ‘normal’ was never on my list of personal descriptors.  I thought I wanted to do the college thing, though it did not hold my attention too terribly well.  I knew I wanted a career—that was what I’d been told to do in order to be successful.  I was ambivalent about marriage, and terrified of children.

And here I sit in a coffeehouse with a Macbook—what in the world has happened to the old Computer Science major—trying to decide how to interact with strangers who think that my writing is valuable.  That this story I’ve painfully eked out despite my past, my thoughts, my fears, is something they find entertaining.  I just have to say, you, dear readers, are amazing.  Without you, so much of worth would be lost.  Thank you.

My name is Sera Kane, and today I am proud and honoured to introduce you to my novella Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow.

When I originally lurked around on DSP wondering if I dared to try, I was caught by an anthology call.  For cooking type things. Something of which I know essentially nothing about.  My spouse is the chef in our household.  I’ve failed at boiling water.

No.  Seriously.  He had to take over.  And, yes, the water did start boiling for him, almost immediately.

It would be a challenge, then.  A challenge to write a story that tied into cooking.  I could tap into my spouse’s knowledge, though, and, really, that’s where the recipe at the end came from.  A challenge to write under a deadline.  But I am lackadaisical at best when it comes to scheduling, so a deadline would force me to work at a steady pace.  A challenge to write for the sole purpose of trying to get it published.

It was the last that I most feared.

LoH is a story of two men hiding from their fears.  Aimes Cully is a full-blooded human, something unusual in a world where ‘fae’ blood has diluted the world.  When his brother—and only surviving family member—disappears after being accepted as a chef at the palace, Aimes sets out to be accepted, too.  But magic is possible through one’s fae heritage, so Aimes must find other ways to make up for his lack and that includes chancy raids into faerie rings.

Fae.  Faerie.  Elf.  So many misnomers for his kind, the Elfaegaard, and very little truth of his ancestry remains among the humans, mixed blood or not.  Keanewyeth Ordioral, however, is unaffected by any of these could-be slurs, for he is the lord of his own hollow.  A cursed hollow.  He is a prisoner within the home of his own lands.  For two centuries, Keane has been trapped here with no opportunity for escape.  He cannot leave and none come and so, he’s been alone.  Until a particular human is captured attempting to plunder one of his hollow’s rings, and, suddenly, Keanewyeth is reminded of the outside world and all that he has been locked away from, not the least of which is the love of another.

As their pasts cross, Aimes must come to terms with the truth of his family, and Keane must confront his so that they have a chance to overcome their fears and emerge into a brighter future, together.

Aimes and Keane are gentle reminders that we can reach beyond our current circumstances to find better things.  Not just running wildly in any direction, like Aimes, or hiding like Keane, but with focused purpose.  You are not defined by your circumstances, no matter how easy it is for others to try to do that to you.  You are valid and worthwhile, exactly as you are.

It’s so easy to let fear decide our reactions to things, but it doesn’t have to be a wall keeping us from our hopes and dreams!  When is a time that you’ve used fear to motivate you to accomplish your goals?  Is there a time you overcame your fear to do something anyway?  Or even a time when the fear kept you from doing it?

One thing you don’t need to fear, though, is boredom!  I’m pleased to announce an exclusive giveaway. One lucky traveler will be chosen to receive a copy of Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow.  Your entry fee is merely to comment here!  I need a chance to meet you, after all!  We can talk about fears, cooking, writing, anything you’d like.  I’m happy to answer questions or just shoot the breeze.  So, dear travelers, let’s meet!

Check out Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow today!

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Blurb:

Culinary school is hard enough for Aimes Cully without mixing in an utterly underwhelming physical appearance—too small, too delicate, too red-haired, too freckled, too human—added with the inability to magically improve the food—still too human—and facing the too beautiful, too fae-looking Aleksi’s teases and taunts. When rumors surface that Aimes’s older brother’s success is a lie, Aimes is determined to prove them wrong and show that pure-blooded humans are the equal of anyone with mixed blood.

But things get worse after Aimes is caught in a faerie ring and transported to the fae hollow of Lord Keanewyeth Ordorial. As the attraction heats up, it becomes obvious that there’s something wrong in the magical home. A cursed creature appears, and everything becomes jumbled as the secrets of their lives collide into a painful concoction of Aimes’s past and Keanewyeth’s present. But if they can meld their talents, they might be able to save each.

Author Bio:

Sera Kane has loved the written word for essentially forever, in this particular case, somewhere in the range of thirty years or so.  She writes to share the fantastical things that go on in her mind on a daily basis.  Her secret-but-not-so-secret desire is to write pieces that are impossible to put down.  And, also, to kill off a beloved character.  She has not succeeded at either of these things, but be warned that she wants to!

She currently lives in southern California, but she’s been quite a few places in her day!  Her favourites include Washington– the state, not DC– Texas, and Japan.  Her house is filled by an exceedingly tall husband, a very swift son, a derpy German Shepherd, and a grumpy yet loving Shih-Tzu.  If she ever won the lottery, she’d have houses in all three of those places and breed Shepherds in at least one of them.

Social Media:

Website: http://serakane.com
Blog: http://serakane.com/writes
Facebook: http://facebook.com/worldsofserakane
Twitter: @serakaneworlds

August Li’s The Kitchen Boy

April 7, 2016

August Li's The Kitchen Boy

Hi everybody. I’m August (Gus) Li, here at the blog today to talk about my novella The Kitchen Boy.

If you’ve read much of my work, you probably know I like to put a lot of pressure on my characters to see how dealing with conflict will force them to adapt and hopefully grow. In a lot of my books, characters face large-scale battles, conspiracies, assassinations, and powerful magic. I took a little bit of a different approach to this book. There’s still magic, and there’s political intrigue, some fights, and a body count. There are characters with selfish motivations, and there are betrayals. But the main conflict for my main character, Yoli, is internal, which leads to the topic I’m interested in exploring.

Does personal interest have a place in romance?

It’s easy to say no, that of course a character should put aside personal pursuits to chase love, to sacrifice selfish goals for the greater prize of a lasting connection with another person. But I like to poke around in the gray areas where things aren’t so simple. Love and partnership is a wonderful thing to have, but is there a point when its price is too high? What if a character must give up a lucrative career to be with another, or leave his homeland? Do we as readers cheer, or do we have to wonder if he made the right decision? What makes it a fair trade for the character who is giving something up? What does the love interest have to provide to balance the scales?

Or, as is the case in my book, what if the character is given a choice between loyalty to the man he loves and safety, freedom from being hurt, having his basic needs met, and the opportunity to realize his dream? It sounds too good to be true, and, in a way, it is, but walking away will make his life much easier and more comfortable. It might even mean the difference between life and death. It’s an interesting conflict to explore, because the desire to find love is such a basic and compelling one. But self-preservation is also a strong need. And not every character is a tragic hero who would rather die than lose they person he loves. Some characters are more practical. Some characters have also learned from experience that they have to look out for themselves.

As my character finds out, loyalty is lovely as a concept, but can become messy in practice. He wants to be an idealist, to stick to his beliefs no matter the opposition, but he also wants a future, and he wants that future to include enough to eat and the chance to do something he finds fulfilling. He’s put in a position where he must make an impossible choice. You’ll have to read the book to see how he reconciles everything, but does a certain amount of self-interest make for a bad romance protagonist?

Nobody likes a self-absorbed jerk who only cares about himself, but personally, I also don’t like a character without his own interests, without an investment in his own success, or who doesn’t use his agency to ensure a satisfying outcome for himself. I don’t like a character who only cares about what his love interest wants, at the expense of his own wishes and goals.  Most characters are never forced into a situation where they must, in absolute terms, choose between one and the other, but putting them there makes their most basic personality rise to the surface. As a writer, moving that dial between selfish jerk and doormat is a delicate balancing act. Push it too far, and the result is an unlikable character—no one cares about his success because he really doesn’t deserve it. Wiggle it in the other direction, and you end up with a character who lacks believability at best, comes across kind of deluded and pathetic at worst. Most people have a strong survival instinct, but most people also want to be loved—and to see those they love thrive. If they cannot have it both ways, what do they do?

So how do you like your protagonists? Self-sacrificing idealists or practical people who look out for themselves? It’s somewhere in between for me. Do you prefer characters that lean more one way or the other? What lines can a character not cross without losing your affection?

Check out The Kitchen Boy today!

KitchenBoyFS

Blurb:

Kitchen servant Yoli is one of only three men who know a carefully guarded secret about High Commander Koehen, the brilliant general who united their lands against a common invader. The enemy wants that secret, and they are willing to use either kindness or cruelty to obtain it.

Yoli must decide if his loyalties lie with the commander, who has shown him more affection than anyone in Yoli’s life, or with his own best interests. High Commander Koehen’s attention is capricious at best—he summons Yoli only when it is convenient for him, and Yoli knows there’s little hope of a future together. Is a glimmer of a hope for love worth sacrificing a chance for prosperity beyond his wildest dreams?

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“Scrolls, why did it have to be scrolls?” With M.D. Grimm

April 6, 2016

scrolls (1)

Hello lovely readers! M.D. Grimm here, author of “The Shifters” series. I’m glad you all can join me, so let’s get to it!

 

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I’m here to ramble on about book #10—good grief, 10?—of the series, titled “Shifting Moon.”

 

Here’s the blurb: (You can find more info on it here)

After a year together, wolf shifter Derek Williams and vet Brian O’Donogue decide to marry. All Brian wants is to be legally part of Derek’s family, after his own disowned him for being gay. As far as Derek is concerned, he already belongs to his mate, heart, body, and soul. But their plans are put on hold when Derek discovers an injured young shifter, Tommy, one night while running as a wolf.

When they learn the truth behind Tommy’s presence in Washington, they are quickly drawn into a war that has waged in the shadows for decades. Brian, Derek, and their allies must fight against the Knights and their leader, Arcas, to prevent them from attaining an ancient scroll, one piece of a weapon that can destroy all shifters.

When worlds collide, no one will be spared.

I hope many of you will be pleased with the return of Derek, the wolf shifter, and his veterinarian mate, Brian. We first meet them in the very first book of the series, “Psychic Moon.” They were truly the couple that started it all. When I wrote “Psychic Moon” I didn’t have a clear idea where I was going with the series, but by the time I wrote “Blind Devotion” (3) I knew for certain the direction.

I feel as though I’ve come full circle—at least one of the circles—in the series by bringing back my first couple. They’ve been together a year and have melded their lives quite well. But no relationship is perfect and it’s in times of tragedy that you see someone’s true colors. Their teamwork and trust warms my heart and I *knew* they were the ones who had to be in this book at this stage of the series.

After spending the previous three books (“Hunted Guardian,” “The Serpent and the Angel,” and “Predator and Prey”) in the past, it was refreshing to come back to contemporary times. I could use modern slang and references and focus more on plot and character. It was less research, and though I’m a research fiend, even I need a break sometimes. ☺ And working with an established couple allows me to deepen their relationship and once again focus on other things instead of the “getting to know you” part of the romance. It changes the dynamic of the story trajectory and I apparently love to shake things up for myself. Because if I’m one thing, I’m *never* easy on myself.

What was immensely fun about “Shifting Moon” was the introduction of new characters and re-introduction of Gregor. Do any of you remember him? He’s the right-hand man of Arcas, the main villain. He’s also Arcas’s lover and most trustworthy supporter. Fun fact: the prologue for “Shifting Moon” is actually the second half of the epilogue for “Master’s Blood.” They are connecting scenes in a sense, though I had to modify the scene in “Shifting Moon” to give enough information for readers to follow along. I greatly enjoy the circular motion of the series and interconnectedness of events over time and distance. I did this intentionally to illustrate the simple fact that *everything* is interconnected. Nothing is truly isolated, not an event or a person. Life is a constant ripple effect and though it might take years to see the connection, it’s there.

Without Quincy and Con in “Hunted Guardian” boarding a ship to North America, then the scrolls wouldn’t have been dumped into the ocean, which means Reef and Digger (“Predator and Prey”) wouldn’t have met and one of the scrolls wouldn’t have fallen into Diana’s hands (the mother of Arcas). Also, Quincy and Con helped found Haven, which is where Tobias and Angel (“The Serpent and the Angel”) ended up with their scroll, which will play a large part in later books…. And without the founding of Haven we wouldn’t have Jack and Travis (“Blind Devotion”) and later Xavier and Josh (“Healing Minds”). I could keep going but for all of you how’ve read the series, you know this already. ☺ I hope you all caught the connections and the part Arcas has played through the centuries in one form or another.

For “Shifting Moon,” the scrolls still play a vital role, and Derek and Brian get tangled up in the war. I’m dealing with a lot more characters in this book, in terms of POV, then I have in previous ones. That also adds some complications as well as complexities. It was a story that had to be told with an established couple. There just wasn’t time for “getting to know you” since the story takes place in the span of a week, thereabouts. So why not bring back the guys that started it all?

“Shifting Moon” also acts a little like a “part one” since it connects intimately with book 11, tentatively titled “Feather and Scroll.” A few new characters introduced in “Shifting Moon” will take a prominent role in “Feather and Scroll.” And then that book will lead into book 12, which also brings back another established couple… *cough* Nordik and Poe *cough*

For those of you who don’t know, this series will run into the low 20s. So hold onto your hats! I have all the individual plots, couples, and overarching series plot planned out for the series. I just have to write the darn things. That’s the hard part.

I still have more bird shifters to play with, the return of Ryan and Caleb (“Love is a Whirlwind”), master shifters finding their mates, a historical about the founding of the Agency, and Merlin, the master shifter of all shapes, himself. It all starts and end with him and the secret he’s keeping. You’ll want to stick with the series just to get to HIS story. Trust me, it’s a doozy. Plus, I’m sure you’d all like to know what/who the hell Arcas is and his grand plan. In due time, my pretties. In due time.

Well, that’s it for me. My question to you is: If you could shift into any animal, what would it be and why? For me, it would totally be a dragon. If I have to choose actual, living animals, then I’d say a golden eagle. I totally want to fly.

Here’s a short excerpt for “Shifting Moon” to hold you over until you can get your hands on the book itself.

Brian came home to a surprisingly empty house. He was an hour late, and it was raining hard outside. Careful about tracking in mud, he took off his shoes and coat at the entryway and walked on stocking feet to the kitchen. He draped his coat on the back of one of the kitchen chairs and set his shoes in a corner to dry. The simple trips to his car from the clinic, and from his car to the house, and he was soaked.

He had to assume Derek would be even more soaked. And the dogs. He groaned.

As it was six o’clock, Brian started dinner. About ten minutes passed before he heard noise at the front door. Hurrying back to it, he wasn’t quick enough.

Derek came in soaked to the bone, and their dogs were no better shape. And then, before his horrified eyes, all the dogs shook violently, spraying water and mud on the floor, walls, and even the fucking ceiling. Brian flung up his arms to protect his face and knew all hope was lost to avoid a mess.

Even Derek—the jerk—shook like a dog, a big-ass grin on his face.

“Honey, I’m home.”

Brian scowled and punched Derek’s arm. “Look what you did! And you are damn well going to clean it up!”

Derek looked around and had the grace to wince. Brian noticed the dogs trying to sneak away, their ears and tails down. They knew his tone.

“Oh, no you don’t,” Brian said. He pointed. “In the bathroom, now.” He sent them all an image to make sure his point was clear.

The dogs obediently padded down the short hallway into the downstairs bathroom, which was just big enough to accommodate them all. Brian winced at the tracks they left before glaring at Derek.

“What?” Derek said defensively. “There was no way to clean them all before getting in the house. And—”

“Clean them up, clean yourself up, then come back here and clean up your mess.”

Derek’s eyes sparked, his skin rippled, and Brian braced himself. He knew and accepted Derek’s temper. Since Derek had never once harmed him or their dogs and rarely even destroyed their property when he was really pissed, Brian didn’t fear him. But he still braced himself because Derek could shout with the best of them and curse like sailor.

Derek suddenly lunged at Brian and pushed him up against the wall. Before Brian could speak, his mouth was assaulted and invaded and strong, rough hands slipped under his shirt, pressing against his bare skin, cold and wet. Brian gasped and could only cling to Derek’s shoulders to keep his balance during the assault.

Brian became soaked by Derek’s sopping clothing, but he didn’t care. He couldn’t make himself care. They hadn’t made love since Henry had passed, and now Brian felt as ravenous as Derek was. As Derek slipped his hands into the back of Brian’s pants and gripped his ass, Brian yanked and pulled at Derek’s shirt and sweater, desperate to find skin and heat.

Intent on getting naked, they barely heard the several snorts and sneezes and whimpers nearby.

Derek pulled back, and Brian looked over to the source of the noises. Their dogs had returned and stared at them. Brian noticed a few, like Fenrir, were trembling from cold.

“Take care of them,” Brian said, his voice noticeably husky. He cleared his throat. “I’ll clean up here.”

Derek looked back at Brian, frustration in his eyes but acceptance as well. He pulled away and yanked down his shirt and sweater. Then he corralled the dogs back to the bathroom, and Brian, trembling and hard, searched for towels and cleaning supplies. Dinner would be later than usual.

 

May dragons guard your dreams,

M.D. Grimm

 

Website: www.mdgrimmwrites.com

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