Twelfth Night Release Party with Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae – Locations and Stories

August 13, 2015

 

From Racheline:

Like many New Yorkers, I’ve spent most of my summers visiting the Jersey Shore. For me, that’s been the stretch of beach that includes Ocean Grove and Asbury Park.

Both towns, which together encompass little more than two miles of beachfront, are peculiar relics of another age. Asbury was one an amusement park town; today, while the mini golf and pinball hall of fame remain, the rides are all gone.  Ocean Grove, on the other hand, started and continues life as a Methodist Camp Meeting town.

Today both towns are also popular destinations for LGBTQ travelers and have significant LGBTQ populations.  Sometimes, this makes things awkward, like that time someone hissed something about lesbian witches at my partner and I as we walked down the boardwalk.  Mostly,though, no one cares.

We set the opening of Twelfth Night in Ocean Grove and Asbury because we wanted to capture our hero John, who is still in the process of coming out to himself and others, adjusting to being someplace that was strongly queer and would recognize him as one of their own. But we also wanted to capture the sense he has of embodying a lot of internal conflicts, much like these towns.

Both towns are easily accessible by public transit and are just a few hours from New York City, and our worth your visit in you’re in the area.  Regrettably, the nightclub with the “Less Lights, More Fun” marquee mentioned in Twelfth Night is no more.

What are your favorite locations, either as vacation destinations or as settings for stories? What’s your favorite location (or type of location) that you like to read about, or that you like to write about? What place have you read about in a book and decided you want to visit? Let us know in the comments below!

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Twelfth Night Release Party with Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae – Meeting the Parents

August 13, 2015

If you’ve ever dated anyone, chances are you’ve had some version of the awkward, unpleasant, or just downright embarrassing version of the meet-the-parents experience. For me, it was the first time I met the woman who would become my mother-in-law: I had just slept over at her house, with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Ben. An d in Twelfth Night, when Michael has to admit to his parents that he’s dating someone seventeen years older than him, and John has to admit to his parents that his boyfriend is seventeen years younger than him…and a boy.

We love writing about people navigating romantic relationships and having awesome sexytimes (and Twelfth Night has plenty of both). But we also really like the fun, and farce, and yes, embarrassment, of people meeting their S.O.’s parents for the first time. Because no matter how embarrassing or awkward things get as our heroes try to introduce their boyfriends to their families, it makes a great story.

 What we want to know about here, though, is your stories of meeting the parents/families/friends/etc of your significant other(s), and also holiday dsiasters. Did something go horribly awry? Was anything exceptionally embarassing? What made you want the floor to swallow you up? We are here to comisserate and also share our own less-than-perfect experiences with family and the holidays.

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Twelfth Night Release Party with Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae: Shakespeare and Inspiration

August 13, 2015

In a lot of ways, it was inevitable that, at some point, Racheline and I would write a backstage story about a Shakespearean theater troupe. We’re both theater people — she an actor and playwright; me, a techie and production designer. With our love of words and stories in general, have a great soft spot for the Bard.

Book 1 in the Love’s Labours series, Midsummer, is based around a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is a play we both enjoy. Because Racheline and I are both queer and because we write LGBTQ stories, Racheline and I are intrigued by productions that explore the genders and orientations of the characters. For instance last summer, the Stratford Festival put on a four-actor production: Four people playing all the various couples of the play, all set as the backdrop of a same-sex marriage. One of our other favorites is The Globe’s 2013 production, which played up an unwritten queerness in the text and portrayed a physical relationship between Oberon and Puck.

When it came time to write a sequel for Midsummer, the hunt for our next Shakespeare play began. After some consideration we decided on Twelfth Night, which takes place at Christmas, when the normal rules of society are allowed to slip a little. That premise ended up being the perfect frame for our next story as John and Michael cope with the holidays, meet each other’s families, and break the news about their relationship to their collective parents and siblings. And while the action of Midsummer centered around an actual professional production of the play, in Twelfth Night, Michael introduces John to one of his family’s favorite traditions: an extremely amateur performance of Twelfth Night in the living room.

And so, our question for you is, what is your favorite Shakespeare play (and why?) Has an existing book or play (or movie, or TV show) ever made you want to write a story of your own?

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Twelfth Night Release Party with Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae

August 13, 2015

Hello! Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae here, and we’re here to talk about our writing inspirations, family holiday disasters, story settings, and of course our new release, Twelfth Night.


Twelfth Night
is the second book in our M/M May-December gay-for-you(ish) contemporary romance novella series Love’s Labours. Book 1, Midsummer, came out this past spring. Lush, funny, magical, and a little bit morbid, the Love’s Labours series chronicles a romance between two actors who first meet during a summerstock production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Sure, 42-year-old John Lyonel has never been attracted to men before, but falling for 25-year-old Michael Hilliard is actually the least screwed up thing that’s happened to him in years. Even if sometimes he thinks Michael’s a changeling.


Michael and John, a May/December couple, navigated the repercussions of their gay-for-you love affair in the hothouse of a summerstock theater production.

Back in New York City at the conclusion of their show’s run, John is overwhelmed by his obsession with Michael and the difficulties of learning to date again after the death of his young son and his recent divorce. John gradually comes out to his colleagues, his football rec league friends, and even his ex-wife.

But when he invites his parents over for Christmas to meet the person he’s been seeing, the holiday—featuring Michael’s family’s amateur production of Twelfth Night—quickly turns into a French farce of potentially catastrophic proportions, forcing John finally to take the lead in claiming his evolving identity as he takes the next step in his relationship with Michael.

Now available from Dreamspinner
Our website

We’re thrilled to be your hosts here for the next little while , so hello to everyone wherever you may be in the world, and we’re looking forward to chatting with you!

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Man’s Best Friend with K. Lynn

July 22, 2015

-POP

Hello, all! K. Lynn here, talking about my new novella Must Love Dogs.

This novella was a labor of love and had its origination as an anthology piece. The story expanded outward and I wanted to see where it went, so the anthology submission didn’t happen. Instead, I went on a journey with my main characters, Colt and Ben and Dr. Jay, to discover how Ben’s recovery was still an ongoing process, but a determined veterinarian is going to be a vital part of that.

I’ve always been drawn to stories that feature characters dealing with life changes, including disabilities. For this story, I knew I wanted to focus on an artist who became blind, to delve into how he had to adapt and what that might mean for his future. However, it wasn’t until I was in the middle of writing that I realized just how challenging writing from the viewpoint of a blind character actually was. Ben can’t describe what’s going on around him visually, he doesn’t know what his new love interest looks like, so he must rely on other senses to ground him. I enjoyed the challenge, though. It stretched my creative muscles.

Ben took me places that I didn’t know I would go to, but that’s similar to all my characters. I never know what they might reveal, what kind of personality or secrets they might have, which makes the writing process all the more fun. With Ben, he has been through quite a lot in a short amount of time. He lost his boyfriend, his sight, and his livelihood. He has walled himself away to begin his recovery process, and his closest companion is his guide dog, Colt. When that connection is put in danger, Ben couldn’t realize what a fortunate situation it might actually turn out to be. He wasn’t looking for love, but it found him anyway.

Dr. Jay was a fun character to work with because he’s so different from Ben. He hasn’t been touched by tragedy, and he’s got a constantly upbeat outlook on life. All I knew going in was that he loved animals and he was going to fall in love with Ben. All the rest was up to Dr. Jay, and he certainly delivered. When Ben tries to push him away, Dr. Jay’s just that more determined to make their relationship work. And that determination is what helps see them through the ups and downs of what life throws at them.

And, of course, Ben and Dr. Jay would never have gotten together if it weren’t for Colt. He was their basis for introduction and remained a vital character throughout the story. Ben loves Colt, Dr. Jay does as well, and he is the third point in their triangle. The three of them together makes for a very strong unit, and I foresee Colt being an important part of a marriage ceremony if Ben and Dr. Jay make it down the aisle in the future. For now, he’s happy to stay by their sides and bask in the happiness that they are creating.

***

Speaking of dogs, do you have a favorite? Maybe you prefer poodles over pugs. Great Danes over Greyhounds. Or are cartoon dogs your preference? Leave a comment with your favorite dog, real or otherwise.

 

I hope you enjoy Must Love Dogs, and the journey of Colt, Ben, and Dr. Jay. If you want to keep up with my current and future releases (it’s been a busy year for me so far!), you can check out my site at WriterKLynn.com or find me on Twitter @WriterKLynn.

Get your copy of Must Love Dogs here!

***

Author bio:

K. Lynn has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. While in college, she increased her involvement in LGBT issues and writing within the LGBT fiction genre. She is a fan of authors who explore the commonality that exists within all sexualities and genders. Most of her own work features LGBT characters, many of whom are in established relationships and show how love perseveres. She has particular interest in seeing transgender characters gain a larger foothold within the genre and hopes the market for these works expands in the future.

 

Wrapping it up folks!

March 27, 2015

One of the fun things about writing a book is that I can make playlists for it or identify unofficial theme songs. For “The Serpent and the Angel,” there is a song by Falconer called “Wings of Serenity” that is such a perfect fit, it’s eerie. If Tobias could sing, that would be his song for Angel.

 

Here it is and it is work safe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-lTBVsaZ2I

You can find the lyrics here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/wings-of-serenity-lyrics-falconer.html

 

I love his voice, I love the lyrics, I love the music… everything! This is the sort of music I listen to frequently.

 

I don’t always find a theme song or a love song from one character to another, but when I do, it’s magical!!

 

That about wraps it up for me this time around. I’ll probably be back when “Predator and Prey” is ready to be released. One of my favorite things about writing is coming up with the titles for the stories. Sometimes I already know the title even before I start to write and other times I have to edit the story a few times before the title reveals itself. It can be the most frustrating part, yet also the most gratifying especially when I come up with that perfect title.

 

I enjoy this title because of the contrast—”serpent” often means evil and “angel” often means good. But nothing is ever so black and white, there are always shades of grey (and no, I’m not talking about that book).

 

May dragons guard your dreams,

-M.D.

Villains

March 27, 2015

Hi there! Still promoting my story “The Serpent and the Angel” book 8 of my Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201

 

As I stated in my first post, “The Serpent and the Angel” continues the story of the scrolls and their guardians. But I also wanted to mention that it also furthers the story of the main villain of my series: in present days, he’s known as Arcas, but he’s had many names over many centuries. Some of my readers might have guessed it already and that’s great, I really don’t want it to be a secret, but I also wanted a little intrigue and mystery surrounding my villain.

 

There’s a reason I spent some time describing Arcas’s sapphire blue eyes and his beauty. Lady Anne Blackthorn (Hunted Guardian) had sapphire blue eyes and was a great beauty. Another character will appear in “The Serpent and the Angel” that has the same eyes and similar beauty. Try and spot him! (yes, it’s a man).

 

My villain is just as important as my heroes, perhaps even more so. He works behind the scenes as well as occasionally stepping to the front. He has a goal/plan and nothing will stop him from executing it. ;) I really love to hate that guy.

 

What are your thoughts on villains? Do you love to hate them? Just plain hate them? Or would you rather see more of them in a story?

 

-M.D.

Excerpt!

March 27, 2015

Hello everyone! M.D. Grimm here promoting “The Serpent and the Angel,” the latest story in my Shifters series.

 

“The Serpent and the Angel” continues the story of the ancient scrolls and their bird guardians. For those of you puzzled by the direction I’m taking with this series, rest assured I have a plan, the scrolls are very important and that’s why I’m diving into the past to introduce them. And because it’s fun J

 

If you want to learn more about my “grand plan” for the series, you can check out my blog at: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!blog/cqsg

I share all you ever wanted (or not wanted) to know!

 

I’m not too familiar with historicals, which is why I wanted to challenge myself with “Hunted Guardian” (book 7), “The Serpent and the Angel” (book 8), and the nearly-completed book #9 “Predator and Prey.” I wanted to introduce the scrolls in a historical setting to set up where they are in the present (which will be books #10-#12, and possibly later ones).

 

Now here’s a short excerpt:

 

Tobias knew how to intimidate, to make others fear. Lord knew it was his greatest skill. He had a deadly stare, aptly like that of a rattlesnake, and his eyes, his expression, were blistering cold. His boots thumped up the two steps of the general store’s long porch before he entered the building itself. He turned smartly to the counter where an older gentlemen, one in a snappy suit, stood, waiting for the few customers inside to purchase their items. The man’s gaze shot to Tobias’s, and he visibly paled, his eyes widening.

With a casual lean on the counter, which didn’t fool anyone, Tobias lifted the brim of his hat a fraction before considering the man.

“Good morning, Mr. Thompson.”

Mr. Thompson had to clear his throat before he found his voice. “Good morning, Sheriff.”

“I hear we might have a problem.”

He blinked. “Problem, sir?”

“Aye, a problem. Namely, a problem you might have with a few of the hardworking miners the coal mine employs.”

“I got no problem with those men.”

Tobias’s lips lifted slightly. It wasn’t a smile. “Right glad I am to hear it, Mr. Thompson. That puts my mind at ease. Now, I’ll just leave here and go tell those nice hardworking Chinese men that you don’t have a problem with them.”

Mr. Thompson scowled, his wrinkled face becoming more wrinkled. “Damn Chinamen. What kinda trouble they causing now?”

Tobias lifted his eyebrows. “They claimed, mistakenly, I’m sure, that you be raising the prices for them, while keeping the prices reasonable for the other miners. I reckon that ain’t true, is it, sir?”

Mr. Thompson, while obviously still wary of the sheriff, didn’t seem to want to appear cowardly. There were a few decent women in the store, including his seamstress wife, who were obviously staring at the two of them, eager to see what transpired.

“They come to this country, stealing work from decent folk. Lord knows they gotta damn pay for it.”

Tobias tilted his head slowly to one side, his eyes flat, his face emotionless. Then, without warning, Tobias lashed out. He gripped Mr. Thompson’s collar and yanked him forward, causing his upper half to lie flat along the counter. Mr. Thompson gasped and choked, his eyes reeling. Tobias shoved his face near the older man’s, their noses almost touching.

“Let me make myself perfectly clear, Mr. Thompson,” Tobias said in a low voice only the two of them could hear. “Consider this your only warning. Whether it’s a Negro, Chinaman, Indian, or a damn dandy who walks into this store, you had better treat them with the same decency you treat those who look like you.”

Mr. Thompson sputtered. Tobias tightened his hold, his strength absolute.

“I don’t got a use for bigots in this town, and you know how I feel about useless folk.”

Mr. Thompson paled even further, his eyes growing dark with terror.

Tobias paused, making sure his point sunk into the man’s thick skull. “If a person got a use in this town, they get the same damn items for the same damn price. Have I made myself clear?”

“Aye.” It was nearly a squeak.

Tobias let go and shoved Mr. Thompson lightly on the shoulder, sending him back across the counter. Mr. Thompson stumbled and panted, his hands shaky as he tried to straighten his clothing.

Tobias gripped the hem of his vest and gave a light tug to resituate it, before smoothing out his shirt. He sniffed and lowered the brim of his hat again, casting his face into shadow, his eyes the only things gleaming.

“Remember, Mr. Thompson, I only give one warning.”

Mr. Thompson nodded vigorously, gulping. “Y—yes, sir.”

Tobias spun on his heal, tipped his hat to the ladies who stood behind him, stunned. Then he was gone, striding out of the store and back down the lane. The sun glinted off the sheriff’s star pinned to his vest as he now observed his surroundings. Parkers Hollow was a tough town with tough people, and he had damn well be tougher. That had never been hard for him. He was cold, detached, and merciless. He’d never pretended to be otherwise. Lord knew he was exactly the type of sheriff a town like this needed.

He lived by one rule: If a person had a use, then that person deserved his protection. In these rough lands, there wasn’t any room for laziness or parasites. The last sheriff had learned that lesson quickly… when Tobias had put a bullet in his brain. The man had been a corrupt, drunken horse turd in fancy suits. He’d certainly had no use whatsoever.

 

Which do you prefer: series with the same couple/characters every book or different characters/couples but with a related theme?

 

I shall be back!

-M.D.

Time To Desert the Desert

March 19, 2015

Well, that about wraps it up for me.The cookies are done and the verdict is…not so good. They spread despite chilling out in the fridge for awhile. Oh, well.

I saw an old travel poster and decided I couldn’t afford to start buying old travel posters, so I recreated it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into Something To Die For. It’s available now on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and your favorite ebook retailer.

 

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy! I’m going to be hanging out, answering comments, and looking out for the winner of the giveaway. I’ll make one last post to announce the winner later on, so check back in a few hours or tomorrow to see if you’ve won.  If you are the winner, please comment on my blog and I’ll get back with you.

Please check out Something To Die For by me, Piper Doone. Out now.

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

 

Thank you.

Call For Backup!! And a Giveaway

March 19, 2015

Calling in for Backup…and a giveaway!

 

As much as this is Josh and Adam’s (and the desert’s) story, there are a number of important secondary characters in  Something To Die For.

 

And I want to talk about them so badly, but in the words of River Song on Doctor Who…spoilers.

 

I can say right off the bat we meet Josh’s husband, Sergio. Sergio is an amazing guy: patient, kind, playful, sexy, and gorgeous. And so not what he seems.

 

Josh and Sergio’s kids, as well as Josh’s mother and siblings, figure heavily in the story as anchors for his sanity. Or do they? Because there are others who show up and throw that idea on its head, leaving Josh to wonder just who is real and who isn’t.

 

Saying too much more would give it all away…so, in that spirit…let’s do a giveaway!

 

In the comments, tell me the most magical, inspirational place you’ve ever been to. The more unusual, the better! This isn’t your typical café in Paris or three weeks in the Alps kind of question. Mostly because I haven’t been on real vacation in over a decade. Well over a decade, actually.

 

If you have photos, show us! Tell everyone about the time you took a wrong turn in Kenosha and ended up almost getting eaten by a moose and you were taken in by a kindly old couple who housed you for a night and you learned to crochet and make maple syrup pie.

 

Winner receives a copy of Something To Die For!

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.