Summer Fever: The Norwegian Mountains

September 10, 2014

TT Kove here, back to continue the release party of my novella Summer Fever. For this post I shall tell you a bit more about the setting of the book: The Norwegian Mountains. And let me just say, Norway has a lot of mountains.

Ever since I was little, my grandparents had a cabin up in the mountains, and we used to spend our holidays there. A few weeks during summer holidays, Easter holiday, Winter break, Autumn break… Only holiday we didn’t spend in the cabin was Christmas, I believe. Especially Easter was fun, when I was a kid anyway, as we were so excited about the Easter Bunny leaving eggs for us outside, which we had to go out digging in the snow for, as well as look for his tracks in it to give us a pinpoint on where he’d been.

But, Summer Fever is set up in the mountains in summer, which is an entirely different thing. Norway is beautiful when everything is covered in white snow, but the summer… the summer’s brilliant with all it’s colours, all the trees blooming green! I’m just going to leave you with a few pictures:

jostedals-glacier-norway-1400

Look at that green grass! But even in the middle of summer, some mountains are still covered in snow.

Naturarkivet-KA_01_00_0209 [1]

Fallen tree in a forest. Again, look at all that green!

Valdresflya-1994-lake

And this one, looking out over a forest, a fjord and the surrounding mountains.

 

Question: Do you like to hike? If given the chance, would you like to go hiking in the beautiful nature of Norway?

 

TT Kove

www.ttkove.com

Summer Fever: Inspiration

September 10, 2014

Hello, TT here again, back with another post about my recently released novella, Summer Fever. For this post, I thought I should give you a little inside information about my inspiration for it. Now, bear in mind, it’s been years since I wrote the first draft of this book, so my details might be a bit fuzzy!

What I do know is I had plans for a series. A Seasons of Love kind of thing, but only the plot for the ‘summer’ part of it stuck. Now this is where my recollection gets a bit fuzzy, because I either saw a picture of a red-headed bloke entirely covered in freckles or I read about someone not thinking this was very attractive. Maybe I did both? Very likely. Anyway, this sparked me into writing Summer Fever. Axel is a red-head, covered in freckles, and a bit self-conscious about it, because he’s been bullied for it.

I wanted to show that there’s nothing at all ugly about freckles in this book, and the other protagonist, Folke, falls instantly in lust with Axel. Axel cannot believe it at first, what with the way he ‘looks’ (his words, not mine), but he comes to realise that maybe freckles isn’t so bad after all.

I tried to google to find the picture I saw years ago, but couldn’t find it. However, I did find another picture. What do you think about this?

66cb81b3ebc19d085e391b98c69a1839

Hot, right?

 

TT Kove

www.ttkove.com

Summer Fever: the novella

September 10, 2014

Hello, my name is TT Kove, and I’m here today to chat with all you lovely people! My latest novella (and first release with Dreamspinner Press) was released today, September 10th. It’s titled Summer Fever. It’s set in Norway (where I live!), and it’s a story that’s been with me for a few years now. It was rewritten many times, and has finally ended up the version that has been released today.

Some of you may wonder, why set a book in Norway? Well, because it’s my country and because no one else has done it before! (Or has someone other than me written a book set in Norway? In that case, please recommend it my way!)

This is a feel-good book, or at least that’s how I felt writing it. A sweet little insight of the burgeoning love of Axel and Folke and their love for the Norwegian mountains. I’ll get back to that in a later post, with some pictures and all!

I’ll leave off this blog post with the blurb for the book, in case you’re interested:

 

SummerFever

 

Basking in the long summer days, Axel hikes away from his worries through Norway’s idyllic mountain passes. He’s so at ease that he slips off his clothes and bathes in the cool lake water with no fear of being called out for his bright red hair or body full of freckles. Life is grand. 

Peace and quiet doesn’t come easy for mystery writer Folke. When he stumbles across his copper-haired muse naked in a mountain oasis, plans for his future novel are long forgotten in favor of love. Nature takes a bite out of the serenity the two find, and the real world encroaches, making the happy couple wonder if they didn’t just suffer a summer fever.

Question for you all: Have you ever been to Norway? Or any of the other Scandinavian countries? If so, what do you think of them? 

 

TT Kove

www.ttkove.com

Newsletter Quickie: Hug by Clare London

September 5, 2014

“Hug,” said Harry, arms thrown wide.

“What?”

“Hug!” Harry demanded, his head tilted to one side, his eyes wide. “That’s what you need! Come here and make it happen.”

“For God’s sake.” Spencer grumbled. “What am I, your kid brother? It’s not like a hug is going to make any bloody difference.”

“You know that for a fact, do you?”

Spencer frowned. Harry was always so … bold. So challenging. “You know what I mean. Look, it’s just been one of those days. I can sort things out myself.”

“Let me help, Spence.” Harry took a couple of steps forward. His arms were still wide open, there was sympathy in his eyes. He was close enough for Spencer to feel the warmth of his body heat. “Don’t be the stupid arse everyone else thinks you are.”

Spencer opened his mouth to protest and in that moment Harry slipped his arms around him and hugged him firmly. His head rested against Spencer’s temple and he sighed, gently. “That’s better, see?”

Spencer stood rock still for a second. Harry was such an idiot. Such a play actor. Such a … Spencer’s frustration gave a small shudder inside him and morphed into something very different. Very deliciously different. Harry’s chest was tight against him and he could feel the steady heartbeat. Harry’s arms were strong but surprisingly comforting. His breath was brushing at Spencer’s ear.

Then Spencer lifted his own arms and slid them around Harry. He wasn’t sure why he did that, but it seemed the right thing to do. It seemed to make them fit better. And it felt really, really good.

“Spence?”

“Mm?”

“There’s no way I think of you as a kid brother.”

Harry’s voice was muffled but Spencer felt the tension in his shoulders, heard the hesitancy in his voice. He smiled. “I know.”

“No way.” Harry seemed to think it needed more emphasis. “Never. In fact …”

“I know.” Spencer repeated. He smiled again, though now his head was nestling into Harry’s shoulder and knew his friend couldn’t see it. His best friend. His much-more-than-best-friend. Turning his head, Spencer pressed his lips to Harry’s neck and felt the goose bumps rise under his touch.

“Spence?”

“Yes,” Spencer whispered in answer to an unspoken question. As Harry turned his head as well, Spencer kissed him on the mouth. It was a bit clumsy, it was a bit crooked, but … oh God … it was the best thing ever.

“You’re right,” he murmured. “This is better.” And he tightened his arms around Harry.

________________________

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy.

Harmony Ink New Release – September 4, 2014

September 4, 2014

First Time for Everything

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

The teens in these stories take the first steps toward happiness and living on their own terms. These are the first times they won’t forget. First Time for Everything, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

FirstTimeForEverythingHARMONYFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s nothing like the first time. Whether it’s a first crush, first date, first kiss, or finding tolerance and approval for the first time, for gay, lesbian, bi, and trans teens—or those still exploring and discovering their sexuality and identity—these important firsts can shape the rest of their lives.  Gathering the courage to come out to their families, admit their feelings to a friend, or go to school presenting as the people they really are can be a struggle. But with the support of their allies and their own inner strength, the brave young people in these stories take the first steps toward happiness and living on their own terms. From sweet stories of newly discovered love, humorous accounts of awkward dinners and dances, to fights for acceptance and even survival, the teens in this anthology must face new challenges and rise to meet them. These are the first times they’ll never forget.

Midnight in the Maze by J. Leigh Bailey
A Warrior from a Different Tribe by S.A. Garcia
His World by Eric Gober
Just Right by John Goode
It’s In Their Kiss by Kevay Gray
It’s Not Our Fault by Charli Green
Courting Billy Roth by Nick Hasse
Dressed to Swim by Renee Hirsch
Beautiful by Ella Lyons
First Date by Nicole McCormick
Step by Step by Emily Moreton
Kissing Scars by Jo Ramsey
Dear Cody by Eric Renner
Dating My Best Friend by Caitlin Ricci
Summer Crush by SR Silcox
When Wolverine Met Taylor by Andrea Speed
Me and My Friend by Emery C. Walters
Kiss and Makeup by Allison Wonderland

Length: Anthology Novel (350p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender | Release Date: September 4, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-449-0) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-447-6)

Finally Home Release Party: Bon Voyage

August 29, 2014

Toast

Well, it’s been a heck of a party, folks. Thank you to Dreamspinner Press for letting me take over their blog for a day, and thank you to everyone who stopped by to listen to me talk about Finally Home!

We do have one bit of unfinished business before we part ways–it’s time to announce the winner of the giveaway!

And, according to the random number generator, the winner is:

 Trix!

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations! Please email me at zeekensington @ gmail.com so I can arrange your prize!

If you didn’t win, please don’t fret. There’s a second way to win! This release party marks the kick-off of a two-week blog tour (August 29-September 12) where not only will I be talking up Finally Home, but I’ll be giving away an autographed book bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise.

Finally Home blog tour banner

August 29: Dreamspinner Press Blog Party 

August 29: MM Good Book Reviews

September 1: Allison Cassatta

September 2: The Novel Approach

September 3: Charlie Cochet’s Purple Rose Tea House

September 4: Cup o’ Porn

September 7: LIVE Facebook Chat with Dreamspinner Press

September 8: Prism Book Alliance

September 10: Guys Like Romance, Too

September 11: Vicktor Alexander’s Purple Fantasy Den

September 12: Zee Kensington (home blog)–Giveaway winner reveal

 

Thank you all again! I hope to see you again down the road. May your travels be safe, and may you always find your way back home.

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

 

Finally Home Release Party: Location Inspiration Part 2

August 29, 2014

Let’s bring it back to Marco and Chris’ respective hometowns: Los Angeles and New York.

Santa Monica Palm Trees

Santa Monica, CA

…Marco resumed the important task at hand—updating his Facebook account with pictures of yesterday’s after-work walk on the beach in Santa Monica. Sure, it hadn’t been a weekend in tropical Hua Hin, but the sun and surf had done wonders for his mood.—Finally Home

 

LAX International Terminal

Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, CA

Marco felt like he was waiting in the bowels of a spaceship, with the ring of lights hovering above and the panels of cobalt light lining the wall. In a place like this, it seemed more likely that little green men would materialize than Chris would actually show up.—Finally Home

*Source

 

405 Freeway

405 Freeway, Los Angeles, CA

“I swear, freeways look the same everywhere. Only difference is the language of the signs,” Chris murmured. “I’m not used to seeing them only in English.”—Finally Home

*By Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

FDR Drive

FDR Drive, Manhattan, NY

Autumn dusk was swallowing New York slowly, and the streets and buildings fought back with hundreds of little lights of their own. He didn’t have a poetic view of the downtown skyline from here, but the sight of the East River was enough to make his New York pulse beat a little faster.—Finally Home

*Photo by Ryan Vaarsi (Flickr: Comedy on the FDR, New York City, May 2011) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Upper West Side NYC

Upper West Side, Manhattan, NY

With the TV off, the apartment was nearly silent, with no hint of the urban, nocturnal energy humming outside. More than the expensive leather couch or the granite countertops, the silence was testament to just how pricey the condo was, a combination of prime location and well-insulated walls.—Finally Home

 

Central Park

Central Park, Manhattan, NY

He hummed as he scrolled through the dozens of pictures he’d taken with his smartphone since he’d left Chris’s apartment around eleven. He’d traipsed through Central Park until he came out on the Lower West Side, then navigated the subway to Greenwich Village.—Finally Home

 

Brooklyn_Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, New York

He told Chris about the phone conversation. By the time he finished, they were at the first arch of the mile-long bridge. They had the viewing platform mostly to themselves—aside from a few hearty bicyclists, they seemed to be the only visitors crazy enough to brave the cold October wind lashing the bridge.—Finally Home

 I hope you enjoyed the slideshow!

How about you? Do you have any links you want to share to your favorite travel photos?

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Finally Home blog tour banner

Join me on my blog tour (August 29-September 12) and enter to win an autographed book bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise!

 

Finally Home Release Party: Location Inspiration Part 1

August 29, 2014

Since travel is a huge theme in Finally Home, I drew a lot of inspiration for both the character and plot from the various cities the guys stop in. Whenever I could, I tried to use locations I’d visited before so I could more accurately capture their experiences, from the smell of the air to the color of the buildings.

I’d like to share with you some of the photos of the places that inspired Krung Thep, City of Angels and Finally Home. Let’s start with the international locations, Thailand and Mexico.

Grand Palace Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

They’d spent the past couple hours wandering the expansive palace grounds, taking in the detailed murals, jeweled temples, and towering yak demon statues. They’d said little, but a sort of quiet camaraderie had grown between the two travelers amid the tinkle of hundreds of golden bells.—Krung Thep, City of Angels

 

View from Baiyoke

Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

From up here, they seemed closer to the large, honey-colored moon than to the ground below, and Marco’s heart soared as he drank in the view. —Krung Thep, City of Angels

 

 Sukhumvit road

Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

They left the restaurant, joining the flow of foot traffic back toward Sukhumvit Road, one of Bangkok’s main drags. The night lent some relief from the constant humid heat, though not a real reprieve. That was the rainy season in the tropics for you.—Finally Home

 

elephant in night market

Hua Hin Night Market, Hua Hin, Thailand

“And that was when the elephant walked down the street! I mean, right down the middle of the night market!” Marco waved his hand for emphasis, almost spilling his Thai iced tea on his date. “It was a baby, sure, but it was still almost as tall as I was!”—Finally Home

 

Street in Coyoacan

Coyoacan, Mexico City, Mexico

Chris had been staying in Coyoacán for a couple of weeks with some old ex-pat friends…after spending a month in the crowded, diesel-soaked hub that was the heart of Mexico City, it was a relief to take some time in one of the city’s quieter, greener boroughs.—Finally Home

*Photo by AlejandroLinaresGarcia (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

PlazaHidalgoCoyoacan

Plaza Hidalgo, Coyoacan, Mexico

He turned into the heart of the Plaza Hidalgo, which was bustling with color and activity, hoping to banish the shadows from his mind.—Finally Home

*Photo by AlejandroLinaresGarcia (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Finally Home blog tour banner

Join me on my blog tour (August 29-September 12) and enter to win an autographed book bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise!

Finally Home Release Party: Creating Chris and Marco

August 29, 2014

Hello again! Now that I’ve introduced myself more properly, and given you a peek into how Finally Home came to be, I thought I’d share a bit about what went into shaping my main characters, Chris and Marco.

Like most characters I write, Marco and Chris are composites created from bits of people I’ve met, other fictional characters and/or famous folk, and traits that are created to serve the story.

Anthony Bourdain

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that travel writer/TV personality Anthony Bourdain was a big inspiration in creating my travel writer, Christopher J. Springer. I love Bourdain’s brusque, no-nonsense New York attitude, and how fully he embraces new flavors and cultures, no matter how outside his normal comfort zones. Those definitely were traits at the core of Chris, though his background came from journalism and foreign correspondence rather than Bourdain’s as a chef.

I had a much more personal—though similar—inspiration in the friend who played host to me in Thailand. He was an American who traveled extensively, and had spent years studying in Thailand before falling in love with and marrying a Thai woman. He knew how to navigate Thai space almost as well as any local—even as a tall, redheaded farang (the Thai word for Westerner). However, because he was still an outsider, he was also able to easily move through the expatriate community. The man could ingratiate himself to about anybody, and thanks to his friendly and educated manner our experience of Southeast Asia was unique and memorable.

As for Marco…well, in all honesty, Marco, the novice backpacker, was modeled a bit off me, the traveler who felt lost and overwhelmed in a completely foreign country. It was easy to write that fish-out-of-water feeling, and that terror and joy you feel when your deepest dream comes true and you don’t know what to do.

Luke Skywalker

It’s hard to point to any one other fictional character as an inspiration for Marco, though.  He’s meant to be a bit of the “everyman,” or for those who prefer Joseph Campbell’s terminology, the archetypal hero. He’s a little Luke Skywalker, a little Bilbo Baggins (especially with that curly hair!). He craves adventure and excitement in his boring, suburban life, but when he gets it he doesn’t quite know how to handle it. He has to face himself and his fears, come to terms with who he is before he can get his happily ever after.

Hmmm…if we follow the monomyth, though, then that makes Chris his Obi-Wan Kenobi. Or Gandalf. Marco is always teasing Chris for being nine years older than him…

How about you? Who are some of the people or fictional characters you draw inspiration from?

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Finally Home blog tour banner

Join me on my blog tour (August 29-September 12) and enter to win an autographed book bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise!

Finally Home Release Party: Giveaway!

August 29, 2014

Alright, I think it’s about time for the giveaway! Oh boy!

I’m offering an eBook bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise (the anthology Krung Thep, City of Angels appeared in) to one lucky winner.

The giveaway is open until 7 pm PST tonight, August 29, 2014. At that time, I’ll randomly select one winner from the answers below, and announce at the end of the party at 8 pm PST. To be valid, though, you have to answer my question: are you more of a traveler or a tourist?

suitcase stickers

Are you like Chris, who prefers to go off the beaten path on his own and discover new treasures—though it occasionally leads to trouble? Or, are you more like Marco, who plays it safe by sticking to known areas and traveling with friends—though it sometimes means missing out on experiences? Or, are you a little of both?

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Finally Home blog tour banner

Join me on my blog tour (August 29-September 12) and enter to win an autographed book bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise!