Jenn Burke’s Fave Canadian Places to Set a Book + Giveaway

December 13, 2017

Jenn Burke's Top 5 Places

Whenever possible, I prefer to set my books in Canada because, well, I’m Canadian. Setting my books close to home is fun, and I don’t see enough books set in the True North. But there are only so many books I can set in the Ottawa area, so here are some other locations I’ve got on my radar.

 

Toronto

Toronto is Canada’s largest city. Seriously, it’s huge. At last count, the GTA—Greater Toronto Area—is home to nearly 6 million people, and it’s just as cosmopolitan as, say, New York City or L.A.

The CN Tower in Toronto

Why I want to set a book here: The Toronto area is so diverse. You’ve got upscale areas and rundown areas; harbourfront and countryside (or close enough). You’ve got major business and industry located there, as well as huge national sports teams, and museums, and tourist attractions like Canada’s Wonderland, and…yeah, you get the idea. It’s a treasure trove of a setting.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: A few! I’m working on plotting out a Toronto-set paranormal mystery featuring a demon who broke free of his summoner and a witch-knight with PTSD and a service dog who have to work together to solve a series of murders.

 

Prince Edward Island

PEI—also known as the Island—is Canada’s smallest province. With a population of just under 150,000 people, only slightly more people live there than in the Ottawa suburb I grew up in! It’s largely a rural community with a focus on farming (potatoes!), tourism and fishing. Fun fact: you can drive from the east point of the Island to the west point in about three hours.

Wind turbines on the east point of Prince Edward Island

Why I want to set a book here: I love PEI with a passion. It’s my favourite place to visit. The pace of life is so much slower than Ontario or other urban centres, so you really feel like you get a chance to breathe while you’re there. There’s a rich history, too—PEI is the home of Canada’s most famous literary heroine, Anne of Green Gables, and it’s the birthplace of Canadian Confederation (kind of like the US’s Declaration of Independence). It’s like a small town in province form.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: I have a sweet contemporary mostly plotted, about a university student who has to abandon his dreams of a mainland career to take over his family’s goat farm and goat soap business suddenly to support his sister, and a school acquaintance who comes to his rescue when times get tough.

 

Almonte

Almonte, Ontario, holds a special place in my heart because it’s my adopted hometown. We moved here in 2013, and it was honestly the best choice we ever made. It’s just far enough away from Ottawa to be out of the hustle and bustle of the city, but close enough that it’s easy to access Ottawa’s conveniences, and it still has a lovely small-town feeling to it.

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Downtown Almonte, Ontario

Why I want to set a book here: On our first night here, someone told us that Almonte is this really interesting mix of yuppie and redneck—and it’s totally true. You have the wonderful ruralness of the Ottawa Valley and Lanark County mixed with the hipster/yuppy artist vibe of upscale gift shops and galleries. There’s a Riverwalk right next to the Mississippi River (not that Mississippi River…this is another one) where you can watch the water as it works its way through rapids and a couple of dams.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: I have ideas for a couple of contemporaries, one of which involves a sugar shack farmer (someone who collects maple syrup) and his best friend, and the other is about a kids’ hockey coach and the father of one of his players.

 

Alberta foothills

I spent a good chunk of my early years in Edmonton, Alberta, and the prairies will always have a place in my heart—but some of my best memories come from spending a week at a horseback riding camp and ranch in the Alberta foothills when I was 10 years old. It was an incredible experience.

Why I want to set a book here: When you think of a book set in the West, you normally think of the western or southwest states. Canada has a west, too—one that is often overlooked. I would love to introduce readers to this area that was dear to me in my childhood.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: I have thoughts about a LGBTQIA+ guest ranch set in the foothills. I’d like to write a romantic suspense in this setting, but the plot isn’t jibing for me yet.

 

Cape Breton

Cape Breton is part of Nova Scotia and is situated off the province’s east coast, connected to the mainland by a causeway. Unlike PEI, Cape Breton is not at all a tamed environment. There are a few farms, and towns polka-dot the landscape, but mostly it’s filled with wilderness and mountains. It reminds me a lot of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta—smaller, of course, but the same level of wildness.

Part of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Why I want to set a book here: The wilderness of Cape Breton calls to me. When my family visited this summer, I was inspired over and over again by things I saw. Like a barely visible cabin tucked on the side of a mountain, only detectable because of powerlines and a hole cut in the trees. Or a distillery in the middle of nowhere that uses spring water from the nearby mountain to make absolutely delicious single malt whiskey.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: I had some thoughts on a story set in the same world as The Gryphon King’s Consort, but nothing has really jumped out at me yet. I’ll need to keep thinking about it!

Thanks for joining me on my wishful tour of Canada! If you’ve ever visited Canada, please share your favourite spot in the comments section—and if you haven’t visited Canada, let me know where you would like to visit.

 

Check out The Gryphon King’s Consort today!

 

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Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Blurb:

Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love.

 

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Author Bio:

Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.

Jenn is the author of The Gryphon King’s Consort from Dreamspinner Press and the co-author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (with Kelly Jensen) from Carina Press. She’s also the author of Her Sexy Sentinel, a paranormal romance from Entangled Publishing.

She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Thank you so much for joining me on The Gryphon King’s Consort blog tour. Enter for your chance to win one of two $25 store credits for Dreamspinner Press!

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Julia Talbot’s 5 Favorite TV/Film Shifters

December 8, 2017

julia talbot shifters

 

Hey, y’all!

I’m here to give you a little info about Fangs and Catnip, my very first Dreamspun Beyond from Dreamspinner Press.

Carter is the new manager at the Dead and Breakfast Inn, and he falls for vampire silent partner Fallon, who is sure they don’t need a were-cougar as a manager…

I love shifters. Love them. The owner of the Dead and Breakfast is a bear shifter named Tanner, and Carter is a mountain lion. If y’all love shifters like I do, stick around here for my five favorite shifters in movies and TV.

 

5. Teen Wolf. I love the whole cast, but I especially love Derek Hale, because he’s older, a little death wish obsessed, and obnoxiously hot. I like the Teen Wolf spin on were-ism, too, where they don’t fully shift unless *spoiler spoiler spoiler* they evolve.

4. David Kessler from An American Werewolf in London. Played by David Naughton. Plagued by the dead. He cracks me up, and the werewolf effects are so BAD now, but I still have love love love.

3. Paul Gallier in Cat People. OMG y’all. Yes, I am aware Malcom McDowell is old now. He wasn’t then, and as twisted as this whole movie is, he was omg hot. Like take me instead if her hot. See it! Uhn.

2. The Harry Potter shifters. Prof. McGonagall turns into a cat. Remus Lupin is a werewolf, Sirius Black is a grim… This makes me happy. I love a magical world where shifters are varied and are not all young and broad shouldered and man boobie popping…

1. Oz, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh, Oz. Let me count the ways I love you. Oz was an accidental werewolf. (check trope, boop.) He was completely willing to be chained up during the full moon. (Bondage. Boop.) The one thing he loves the most is the thing that sets him off (tragic hero. Boop) He’s played by Seth Green with this immense humor and subtlety. (boop) Oz is the most like the shifters I write off all of these, and that’s why he’s #1.

 

XXOO

Julia Talbot

 

Check out Fangs and Catnip today!

 

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Blurb:

A romance worth fighting for—tooth and claw.

Solitary vampire Fallon Underwood gets all the social interaction he needs being the silent partner at the Dead and Breakfast B and B high in the Colorado mountains. Change is hard for Fallon, so when his business partner, Tanner, suggests hiring a new manager for the inn, he’s adamant that they don’t need help, especially not in the form of bouncy werecat Carter Hughes.

Carter is a happy-go-lucky kitty, and he loves the hospitality industry, so the D and B ought to be a great place for him. He falls for Fallon as soon as he picks up one of Fallon’s novels, and begins to woo the vamp with gifts. When Fallon finally succumbs to Carter’s feline charms, the results are unexpected, to say the least. Their mating will have irreversible consequences—for their bodies and their hearts.

 

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”

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

Recipe for a Dreamspun w/ Shira Anthony + Giveaway

September 15, 2017

Recipe for a Dreamspun

 

Today is release day for Finder’s Keeper! I’m so excited to share this romantic paranormal story with you dreamers. For this special post, I’m offering up reader’s choice of one of my Dreamspinner books—any except Finder’s Keeper. The winner from this special contest can choose whatever ebook format they like, or choose an audiobook instead. To enter, just comment on the blog post!

Finder’s Keeper is my first novel in the brand new Dreamspun Beyond line of contemporary paranormal stories that are romance-forward in the tradition of the old category romances from Harlequin and Mills & Boon. Finder’s Keeper is the sweet story of a half-human, half-fox spirit named Kit who guards a gate between the human and spirit worlds and Zane Mayer, an engineer who inherits the old gothic brownstone where the Gate is hidden.

Kit is a hybrid, human and fox spirit, and the Dreamspun Beyond line is a hybrid as well. It’s one part romance and one part paranormal. Of course, romance is front and center with the Beyond line, but there’s also enough worldbuilding and paranormal fantasy to satisfy those of us (me included!) who love a bit of otherworldly mystery with their romance. Not a huge paranormal or fantasy reader? I think you’ll still enjoy the Beyond line, and, who knows? Maybe you’ll grow to love this wonderful genre.

Now you’ve got the recipe for a Dreamspun Desire, I hope you’ll join Zane and Kit as they explore their deepening feelings for each other, as well as the spirit world both men are bound to by destiny. Will they figure out a way to bridge the chasm between them and build on the ties that draw them to each other? It’s a Dreamspun. You can count on a sweet HEA. You’ll just have to read the story, though, to see how it all works out! -Shira

 

Check out Finder’s Keeper today!

 

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Blurb:

The truth might ruin his dreams—or make them come true.

When Zane moves into an old gothic brownstone, he discovers the house comes equipped with a caretaker—Kit, who lives in the basement. Zane is immediately drawn to the charming and attractive Kit. But Kit is much more than he seems. He is a two-hundred-year-old half-human, half–red-fox spirit who guards a Gate between the mortal and spirit worlds—a fact Zane should recognize, but doesn’t.

Orphaned at a young age, Zane never learned he comes from a long line of mystical Keepers. Kit needs Zane’s help to protect the Gate, but how can he tell Zane of his legacy when that will crush Zane’s dreams of traveling the world? If he takes up the mantle, Zane will be bound to the Gate, unable to leave it. But when Zane realizes Kit’s true nature, and his own, he’ll have to make a choice—fight to protect Kit and the Gate, or deny his destiny and any chance of a future with Kit.

 

About Shira:

Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, i Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle. You can hear Shira singing “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca by clicking here: Shira’s Singing

Shira loves a great happily-ever-after and never writes a story without one. She’s happy to write what her muse tells her, whether it’s fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, or contemporary romance. She particularly loves writing series, because she thinks of her characters as old friends and she wants to visit them even after their stories are told.

In real life, Shira sang professionally for 14 years, and she currently works as a public sector attorney advocating for children. She’s happy to have made writing her second full-time job, even if it means she rarely has time to watch TV or go to the movies. Shira writes about the things she knows and loves, whether it’s music and musicians, the ocean, or the places she’s lived or traveled to. She spent her middle school years living in France, and tries to visit as often as she can.

Shira and her husband spend as many weekends as they can aboard their 35′ catamaran sailboat, Land’s Zen, at the Carolina Coast. Not only has sailing inspired her to write about pirates and mermen, her sailboat is her favorite place to write. And although the only mermen she’s found to date are in her own imagination, she keeps a sharp lookout for them when she’s on the water.

Beyond: The Beginning w/ Ari McKay

August 1, 2017

Beyond- The Beginning

 

Hello, everyone!!!! Ari here, and McKay and I are so excited about today, because it is the release of our latest story, Out of the Ashes. This book is incredibly special to us, not just because of it’s an urban fantasy, but because it is the first book in the new Dreamspun Beyond house line for Dreamspinner Press. To say that we were honored and thrilled to be selected as the lead-off story for the new line is an understatement — both McKay and I felt as though Dreamspinner had handed us the best gift a writer could ever receive!

As most everyone who has read our stories knows, McKay and I are southern girls with a love of setting our tales in the areas we are most familiar with. We both adore the Asheville region, and because it is an area which is both very liberal and friendly to the arts, we thought it would be a fantastic setting for our story. We’d previously written about paranormals in that area, and so we began to build an entire world of supernaturals who live among and yet separate from their human neighbors. We came up with the idea for a Council who acts as informal oversight for the issues the supernatural beings face in being part of a very modern, human world, and like most bureaucracies, we imagined them getting a little… well, hidebound over time. Which is why, as our story opens, both Arden Gilmarin, a half-elf and member of the Council, and Eli Hammond, an alpha werewolf who comes to ask for help, have reason for frustration.

Fortunately for Eli, Arden doesn’t always play by the rules, and has no problem offering his assistance, and that of his friends, to help Eli find out what horror could have left five members of his pack dead and have kidnapped the rest. But Fate is working in very strange ways, as Eli discovers that Arden is his destined mate. Talk about bad timing! Not only is Arden a different species, he looks small and delicate and backwoods Eli thinks of him as a city boy. But even if Arden had been a shapeshifter, Eli’s mind isn’t on romance, and he feels as though Fate is playing a very bad joke on him.

Well, no one ever said that the road to true love, or the path of fated mates, was going to be easy! But they quickly learn that destiny has brought them together for a reason, and that more hangs in the balance than their lives, or the lives of Eli’s pack. They have to learn to appreciate their different strengths and abilities, and learn to trust one another if they’re going to have any hope of saving themselves and everyone they care about from the danger that’s coming.

This first story sets up a conflict that will carry through two more books, and McKay and I are thrilled that we’ve been able to work in actual folklore and mythology from the Asheville region. In particular, there are Native American legends about the mountains and the forests in the area which we’ve woven into our tales, and Arden’s best friend, Whimsy, is a half-Cherokee mage who will get his own story next.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading this story as much as we enjoyed writing it! And since we still have two more stories in Asheville Arcana to go, we want to hear from you! Please comment below and tell us what types of supernatural creatures you enjoy most — we’d love to be able to give cameos to more of your favorites!

Check out Out of the Ashes today!

 

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Dreamspinner Press
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Blurb: 

In their differences, they’ll find strength—and love.

Alpha werewolf Eli Hammond returns from a fishing trip to discover a nasty surprise—five members of his pack murdered and the rest missing. He needs help locating and rescuing his pack mates, but the supernatural council in Asheville, North Carolina, turns him away.

Except for one man.

As they work together, Eli is stunned—and not especially thrilled—to discover half-elf Arden Gilmarin is his destined mate. But as Arden and his friends struggle to help Eli in his quest, Eli surrenders to the demands of his body—and his heart. They’ll need to bond together, because the forces opposing them are stronger and more sinister than anyone predicted. The evil has its sights set on Arden, and if Eli wants to save his mate and the people he is entrusted with protecting, he’s in for the fight of his life.

 

Author Bio:

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

 

Contacts:

Website: http://arimckay.wordpress.com
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ari.mckay.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay

Family Love w/ Tray Ellis

June 28, 2017

Family Love

 

Hello readers! My name is Tray Ellis and I’m excited to be here today for the opportunity to discuss my new story Pyresnakes, available starting on June 28th (today!) through Dreamspinner Press.

Here’s the Pyresnakes story summary to get you up to speed:

There is another world existing alongside the one most see everyday, and although it is a place of magic and wonder, the dangers are very real. 

Aran, an artist, grew up on his grandmother’s tales of the Side-by-Side world. He never expected his knowledge of folklore would aid his boyfriend, Brandon, in an arson investigation, but the snakes that burst into flames when agitated are something he recalls from those childhood stories. 

When Aran vanishes, Brandon knows his time as a State Trooper won’t help find him, so he enlists the aid of Aran’s grandmother, Ruth, and they venture into the Side-by-Side world.  

But Aran has no memory of his life prior to crossing between worlds, and he’s enjoying the company of his handsome new companion, Ren. Even if Brandon and Ruth reach him, convincing him to return to his former home won’t be easy. In a contemporary fairy-tale adventure set among forests and trails, Aran must choose between a mystical fantasy world and the man he loves.

 

~*~

 

Although Pyresnakes is a decidedly romantic story, with a great couple in Brandon and Aran, this is also a story about family love. Aran’s grandmother, Ruth, plays a strategic role when she becomes Brendon’s guide and advisor through the new world of the Side-by-Side.  Ruth is an unusual choice for such a prominent character in a romantic story. She’s much older and a family member. The reader may think she’ll actually slow Brandon down, but she doesn’t! Her involvement in the story is crucial, and I think she’s a perfect fit for her role.

In her youth, Ruth had to overcome the circumstances of her life when what she wanted for herself clashed with her family’s expectations. She spent time having her own adventures and making her own friends in the Side-by-Side world. Part of her strength comes from her innate personality and from the time she had independence and freedom.  Her youthful adventures, along with her years of experience, give her a perspective and a calm wisdom that is needed to assist Brandon.  He is full of deep worry and concern as he embarks on his rescue mission, and Ruth helps keep him moving forward.

Less overt, but still central, is Ruth’s love for her grandson and her genuine fondness and acceptance of the man he’s chosen as his partner. Aran is like his grandmother. He can walk in the Side-by-Side just as she can, and she adores that someone in her family has inherited that trait from her, even as she cautions him about it. She understands what he is going through because she’s gone through it, too. Her responses and empathy are all the more impressive because this time around, she is on the opposite end of the situation. She’s been left behind, along with Brandon, while Aran has gone on an adventure.

When Brandon calls to tell her that Aran has gone missing, she never hesitates. She is ready to support Brandon and Aran in whatever way she can. It’s a testament to the love of her family that she becomes so involved.

 

~*~

Excerpt:

Brandon scanned the area, but he didn’t see a trail. With enough determination, a person could push through the vegetation and rocks, but it would be rough going. There was no reason he could see for Aran to decide to go off trail at this point. He also couldn’t detect any sign of a person leaving the trail. None of the branches were broken, no footprints marred the dirt, and the moss and ferns looked beautifully intact. “I don’t agree,” he said. “There aren’t any signs of someone stepping on anything. Aran’s careful, but he isn’t a ghost.”

Ruth made an aggravated noise. “You can’t see it.” She clutched a handful of Brandon’s shirt and pulled him to the side of the path.

“Hey,” he said, jerking back. There was nothing at the edge but trees and weeds, rocks and stones. Ruth’s grip was tight, and she tugged harder than he’d expected. He tottered off-balance, and his feet skidded off the trail. For a moment, everything grew confused. Then his orientation returned, and he realized a side trail did join the first. It was almost comically obvious, since it stretched three feet wide and sloped straight down, as if hewn out with the help of a straightedge.

Ruth let go. “Do you see it now?”

“Where did this come from?” Brandon asked. He turned in a circle. He noted the first trail and then the obvious junction where the second one branched off. He stepped backward onto the original trail, but the second trail remained clearly present. Brandon moved forward again. He scratched at the side of his face, trying to piece it together. “Shit,” he said. “I couldn’t see it thirty seconds ago.” He looked over to find Ruth watching him with bemusement.

“Aran saw this,” she said. “Like I see it and now you do too.”

 

~*~

Here is my gorgeous cover, by the talented artist Christine Griffin, which contains so many important elements of the story itself, and definitely lets you know this is going to be adventurous as well as amorous:

 

Check out Pyresnakes today!

~*~

Tray Ellis grew up across from an empty field, where she spun a lot of imaginary adventures, helping to prepare her for a lifetime of writing. When she isn’t writing, she stays active by hiking, cooking, stacking the odd cord of wood in the shed, baking, and being too busy to keep her home in any semblance of order. Currently she tries to find a balance between the logical way she thinks and the flights of fancy she often daydreams about. Mostly, the daydreams are winning.

Website: trayellis.dreamwidth.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tray.ellis.54
Blog: trayellis.blogspot.com
Twitter: @TrayEllisWrites

Gabriel: Going Where the Story Leads w/ RK Staunton

April 21, 2017

 Going Where the Story Leads with RK Staunton

 

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

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

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

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

 

Check out Gabriel today!

 

Gabriel by RK Staunton

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Blurb:

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

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

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

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

 

About the Author:

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

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

Find her Online:

Website – http://www.rkstaunton.com/
Blog – http://www.rkstaunton.com/blog/
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For Love of the Anti-Hero w/ Thianna Durston

January 10, 2017

For Love of the Anti Hero with Thianna Durston

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now he waited for information on his target.

 

Question:

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

 

Check out Vespar today!

 

Vespar by Thianna Durston

 

About The Order of the Black Knights:

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

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

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

 

Blurb for Vespar:

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

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

 

Buy Links:

Amazon
B&N
Dreamspinner Press
iTunes
Kobo
Paperback

About the Author:

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

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

Find her Online:

Website – http://mm.thiannad.com/
Blog – http://blog.thiannad.com/
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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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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Depth of Return: Home with M. Raiya – Post + Giveaway

September 13, 2016

Depth of Return- Home

Hi, I’m M. Raiya, and I want to thank the folks at DSP for hosting me on their blog today. This is the last stop on my Depth of Return blog tour. Depth of Return is an urban fantasy novel set in northern Vermont, where I live. It’s the second book in the Another Healing universe. The main characters of the first novel make an appearance, but Depth of Return’s characters are new and the novel stands alone. The two main characters, North and Alan, are a witch/demon pair, predestined before they were born to make magic together. I’m really excited to be here — this feels a bit like my home base. So I thought I’d talk about home today, since it’s really important to both main characters in Depth of Return.

North’s home is a cabin on an island in the middle of a pond in Vermont. It provides the safety and privacy he craves, as well as the seclusion his coven of witches and demons needs. North’s coven is one of several in the area, and each one has a specialty. One is made up of mostly healers (that’s the one James and Ambient from Another Healing have joined for obvious reasons.) There is another coven of people who call themselves “Enforcers.” They’re the ones who get called when a witch or demon has trouble with another witch or demon, which happens too frequently.

In this excerpt, North describes his coven to Alan, who is about to become part of it.

 

“What is your coven’s theme?”

“‘Our’ coven,” I corrected. “At least as long as you want it to be. We’re… I don’t know. It’s a little hard to explain. We all have strong academic backgrounds, especially in history. We’re a bit philosophical. Magical theorists, if that makes sense. We focus on the ‘whys’ just as much as the ‘hows.’ Practically speaking, what we do is what you saw us do tonight. We link to each other and to the stars, raise power, and then release it into the world to do what it will.”

Alan stopped slicing the tomato on his cutting board and stared at me.

I shrugged. “The other covens think we’re a little impractical and out there. I grant you that our coven was originally formed back in the sixties, and Arnold just lost his beard and long hair a little while ago. We don’t fix problems. We try to prevent them. Hence it’s a little difficult to prove that we accomplish anything at all. No one ever comments on a war that was prevented, because no one knows about it. Easier to sing songs about the heroes. And we’re fine with that.” I shrugged. “And maybe they’re right. Maybe we aren’t accomplishing anything.”

“No way.” Alan shook his head. “I might not know much yet, but I can feel shit, and you guys… we… sent up a trainload of power. I’ll bet if we stopped, those other covens would suddenly have their hands full with people who needed healing or had to be enforced. Without so much peace raining down on them, people would be even crazier.”

“Well, it’s what we do, for whatever it’s worth. They say we’re just throwing away our power. What they don’t understand is how much we get back from doing it. But covens pretty much keep to themselves, anyway. I couldn’t even tell you how many there are around the world. I guess it used to be a form of protection, not to know. Now it’s a habit.”

 

North describes the members of his coven as “A mismatched collection of misfits.” One of the DSP editors I worked with called them, “North’s quirky coven,” and I thought that was both perfect and very funny. They are quirky, for sure, and I had way too much fun writing about them.

Alan has never really had a home until he meets North. He fits right into the quirky coven. He was abandoned by his parents and raised by an aunt until she got tired of it. He lived in a series of foster homes until high school, and then he couch surfed amongst his friends. Despite all that, Alan grows up to be a really nice, decent guy. But when he finds out he’s a demon, it all becomes too much and his past catches up to him. North’s island becomes a sanctuary.

Home is very important to me, too. I’m incredibly lucky to have two of them — the house my husband and I had built on a dirt road up in the mountains, and a camp on Lake Champlain that has been in my family for four generations. For the last three years, my husband and I pack up our cat and move in for the summer. Our camp is on the top of a thirty foot cliff overlooking three miles of open water with the Adirondack Mountains in the background. We live here from mid May to the first of October, weather allowing. Followers of my social media know that I spam people endlessly with photos of sunsets, but I can’t help it; they are absolutely magical here.

Since it’s August as I’m writing this, and I’m at camp, I just took a few photos of the space where I do my writing and the view over my shoulder. I love this place with all my heart — my father designed it and all the relatives worked together to built it, and it has so many windows that you feel like you’re outside even when you’re inside. And lots and lots of good memories. I can completely identify with North and Alan about how much they love their cabin on the island.

M. Raiya Writing Space

I would love to hear about special places for you in the comments below. Or feel free to ask me anything. Anyone who comments in the next 72 hours will be entered into a drawing for a free book from my backlist at Dreamspinner.

Thanks so much for reading!

Check out Depth of Return today!

Depth of Return

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

Blurb:

Betrayed and left for dead by his lover, North has retreated to a secluded island to nurture his coven of witches and their demon partners. His group uses the magic of starlight to bring as much peace to the world as they can. It’s enough. North has no desire to look for love again.

When an accident on a carpentry job reveals that he is a demon, Alan Holsen is sent to North for training. Alan possesses a rare healing ability—one he might be able to use to close the old wounds in North’s heart. While North teaches Alan magic, Alan teaches North to love again, and they both struggle with the leftover resonance of their haunted pasts.

Just when they dare to relax, North’s old enemy returns—and sets his sights on Alan. To save him, North must enlist the aid of neighboring covens, and he learns he isn’t as alone as he thought. But in the end, only North’s love for Alan and the power of the stars have any chance of saving them.

 

About M. Raiya:

M. Raiya knew she was a writer since second grade when her teacher kept her in for recess because “Somebody had better teach you about semicolons!” She started her first fantasy trilogy in fifth grade. She majored in writing in college, got her master’s degree in English, published some literary fiction, and fortunately emerged from all that with her imagination unscathed.

She is a native Vermonter and often needs four-wheel drive to reach her home on a dirt road in the mountains. Her other passions are birdwatching, nature photography, and swimming. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks with a big lens and a pair of binoculars, often standing motionless for hours waiting for the right lighting for the perfect shot, or climbing into places not meant to be climbed into for the right angle. Or she might be found in the nearby lake in the summer or a handy swimming pool in the winter, since she will turn into a mermaid if she doesn’t submerge at least once a day.

She is married and has two almost grown daughters, a cat who demands to lie between her and her computer whenever she dares to sit down, and a day job working with high school kids with special needs who frequently tell her that she is completely crazy, which she’s always known and definitely would not want to change.

Blog: http://mraiya.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mraiya.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/raiya_m
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4190439.M_Raiya

What’s Cooking with Lex Chase! Recipe + Giveaway

August 18, 2016

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Hello, everyone! I’m Lex Chase and today I’m here to dish about my new release Urban Fairy Tale!

Urban Fairy Tale is the grand finale to the Screw-up Princess and Skillful Huntsman Trilogy where our heroes dude Princess Taylor Hatfield and his true love jackass Huntsman Corentin Devereaux take one last journey to save all of Enchant kind.

The villain of the series is Taylor’s brother, Atticus Hatfield who is generation’s current Snow White. And with Snow White, comes the iconic apple. Atticus himself is actually allergic to apples and all things apple related. From the fruit itself, to the pectin, to even the very scent of apple potpourri.

However, fairy tales are full of sweets from cakes and cookies, to gingerbread houses to lure in unsuspecting children.

How about this sweet and deadly treat to stop Snow White in his tracks? Why don’t you try to save the world with my grandmother’s very own applesauce cake? Enjoy this wicked delight!

 

Applesauce_Cake

 

Applesauce Cake by Phyllis Emerson

Cream:

1 cup sugar

½ cup Crisco (aka shortening)

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground cloves

1 cup chopped raisins

Dissolve 1 tsp baking soda in ¼ cup hot water.

Stir into 1 cup cooked sour applesauce.

Mix with sugar and spices.

Add 1 ¾ cup flour.

Mix well and bake for 40 minutes.

 

Do you have a favorite dessert? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to click the graphic to enter the giveaway!

 

Check out Urban Fairy Tale today!

 

Author Bio:

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, she has intense emotions about Hannibal’s Hannigram, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.