August 25, 2016
Wade Kelly joins us today to talk about new book “Back Off! That’s My Jock”.
Thank you for stopping by Dreamspinner Press’ blog on this stop in my blog tour for my new novel, Back Off! That’s My Jock. I’ve been writing a number of character interviews in my blog tour where my characters ask the questions. For the most part, the number of questions has been limited to five. But for this guest spot, I thought I’d say a little about myself before I ask my main character, Doug Archer, to join me.
Hello. My name is Wade Kelly and I’ve been published with Dreamspinner Press since 2009. Yes, 2009. I originally wrote a novel under another pen name, but that one is out of print now. However, I have been published since then. I’ve been writing as Wade Kelly since 2011 with the novel When Love is Not Enough. I strive very strongly to write about controversial subjects and address culture and social issues in the LGBT community. When Love is Not Enough centered around gay suicide. While the other novels in my publication list are not as weighty as that one, I still try to write about subjects that are important in the world we live in. I also try to deliver a positive ending in a way that may bring hope.
I truly desire for my readers to think about the subjects in my books and not just seek to be entertained. Real life may be stranger than fiction, but fiction can also mirror real life.
Without further delay, let’s get on with the interview! Take it away Doug.
Doug: Hey. Thanks for including me again on the tour. It’s been fun so far. For those who don’t know, my name is Douglas Archer and I am the main character in Back Off! That’s My Jock. If you don’t know what the book is about and you haven’t read the other blog posts on the tour here is the blurb…
Defining his sexuality didn’t make sense until his best friend spelled it out.
Doug Archer did some pretty idiotic things in the first eight weeks of his junior year of college. First, he kissed his gay best friend, and second, he kissed a guy he’d mistaken for a girl. Not stellar moments for Doug. If he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his spot on the soccer team to the new freshman, or worse, he might misconstrue his new friend Rob’s overly affectionate tendencies for flirting. But if Doug isn’t bothered by another guy’s attention, and he normally dates girls, does that mean he’s gay or bisexual?
Sam Garber suppressed his same-sex attraction his entire life. His father told him it was immoral, and Sam did everything he could to bury his feelings. However, after meeting Doug at a party and kissing him, Sam can’t think of anything else. He decides dating girls is the best way to keep his secret hidden. With playoffs in sight, this is no time to think about guys in any other context than soccer. Only, neither boy anticipates the difficulty in suppressing his attraction for another jock!
Doug: So as you can see, this book is about me and my confusion over falling for Sam. I hope you like the story. I think it ends well, but I’m bias. Now, let’s get on with the interview before I ramble too long. Hey Wade, why don’t you start by telling the readers a little about yourself. Is there something they don’t know?
Wade: I hated reading when I was younger. I never wanted to read anything in school until I was allowed to chose my own book from the library and write a report. ANY BOOK. I chose The Black Caldron by Lloyd Alexander. It was the second book in a series and I didn’t care because it was the first book I got to choose in school. I had never read anything like it and from there I went on to read R.A. Salvatore, David Eddings, and Tad Williams in my late teens/early twenties.
Doug: I didn’t expect that answer, but I guess I understand. I’m not a big reader like my friend Chris. Have you written any science fiction books or all your stories contemporary romance?
Wade: As a matter of fact, some are not contemporary romance! This may also be news to some readers, but I started out writing sci-fi/fantasy. I wanted to create something between Star Wars and Sleepless in Seattle, so I messed around with mixing genres. I loved dwarves and elves and sword fights from the stories I read in my twenties, but I never got enough romance in strictly science fiction/ fantasy novels. I decided to write my own blend of sci-fi and romance roughly titled Escaping Reality. When I wrote it, it was 285,000 words. Technically, that was enough for a trilogy so I took it apart and planned on writing a series. It has never gotten farther than that, sadly. One day!
Doug: I look forward to that. If you were to spend time with one of the characters from your book, who would it be? And feel free to include the elves and dwarves too.
Wade: *chuckles* If it were an elf, it would be Drizzt Do-Urden from R. A. Salvatore’s Series. But If the character had to be one of mine, I’d have to say I’m quite fond of Sam.
Doug: Hey, now! Don’t forget he’s my love interest in this book.
Wade: Ah, but that’s why I wrote him the way he is. I wanted to create someone for you who complimented you. You Doug, are the tough guy. You’re strong physically as well as emotionally. You’ve never been afraid to be yourself…. Well, until now maybe. I created Sam to bring to the surface your tender side. And Sam, he’s my broken character who needs a Knight in shining armor. He’s my favorite character in this book. But if you want me to pick someone else to spend the day with, I choose Darian Weston from When Love is Not Enough & The Cost of Loving. He’s someone else I wrote as a broken soul who needed a champion. I just love those kind of characters.
Doug: Next question. Is there something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?
Wade: Yes. I was told one of my stories was a mirror of a fan and their partner. That partner had passed away, so that fan truly appreciated my story because both main characters were the two of them—personalities, etc.—so it was like a tribute. When I write, I never know if people will like the story or not. So when that fan made me cry with their words of appreciation, it made writing it worth it! No matter what people say about that story, good or bad, I know I touched one person deeply and for that I am grateful.
Wade: As I have done in other interview guest blogs, I get to ask one question of my interviewer. So Doug, what do you think the moral or lesson in my story was?
Doug: No comment.
Wade: Oh, come on.
Doug: Don’t act stupid. No, seriously… I guess the moral is not to be afraid of who you are. Even if you are normally self-assured like I am, there are still secrets in our hearts that can be difficult to expose. Trust your friends to have your back, and don’t be afraid to be who you are. Gay, Bi, Trans, questioning, whatever is in your soul—you are who you are. The world can be scary, but it’s not a guarantee. There are people out there to support you. Find them! Don’t hide.
Wade: Thanks Doug. That’s what I was trying to say. I hope the story conveys that. As a wrap-up, I want to let readers know about prizes!
I, Wade Kelly, will be giving away one GRAND PRIZE (items listed below) and three runner up prizes of a $10 gift card for Amazon. What you need to do is leave a comment on the blog post. ALL comments are logged for a chance at the prizes. ONLY those who leave a comment on ALL eleven blog stops will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Last time I think there were 15 people in the Grand Prize drawing.
Note: If we’ve never chatted and you aren’t on Facebook, it is a good idea to leave an e-mail address because I need to know how to reach you. If I can’t, and I reply to your comment on the blog post that you’ve won but don’t hear from you, I have to give the prize to the next person on my list. Each comment gets you a chance in the drawing. If you leave one on each, that is eleven entries PLUS you are listed in the Grand Prize drawing. For a reminder of the rules, and where I’m stopping next, visit my blog post HERE.
Grand Prize includes all of the following:
One of my famous spoons in the colors of your choice
A $10 gift card from Amazon
One paperback signed from my back list (Not counting JOCK 3)
An e-book copy of JOCK 4, when it comes out.
And last, but not least, a soccer jersey for the player of your choice from the players in JOCK 3. (I’ll list them on my website along with pictures of the jerseys. They come in adult S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, & 4XL)
So there you go. If you have any questions, please let me know. Comment here or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wade Kelly on Tour
July 27th – Caraway Carter’s Wednesday Walkabout
August 1st – Jeff and Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast.
August 17th – 2 Chicks Obsessed
August 19th – Prism Alliance
August 22nd – Love Bytes Reviews
August 24th – Ashley John’s blog
August 25th – DSP’s Blog
August 26th – Release Day! I’m on Elisa Rolle’s blog
August 29th – Joyfully Jay
August 30th – Long & Short Reviews
August 31st – TTC Books & More
September 2nd – MM Good Book Reviews
Thank you for stopping by! I can be found:
Face book Fan group, The Wade Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/groups/247976895406172/
Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it’s not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Wade writes passionately about controversial issues and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. There is a lot of pain in the world and people need hope. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her children. She likes snakes, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry.
Check out Back Off! That’s My Jock today!
August 20, 2016
In The Luckiest Master, Saw is very superstitious. In fact, he believes that he himself is bad luck, that anything he touches turns to ashes. So I’ve been talking about luck and superstitions a lot when talking about the book.
I myself am not very superstitious and I believe you make your own luck. However, there are a few little superstitions that I tend to follow. Firstly, for me a Friday the 13th is lucky – I did an exam on Friday the 13th in 7th grade got a perfect score. Ever since I love Friday the 13th. Often I’ll buy a lotto ticket if it happens to be a Friday the 13th. Especially if the drawing is the same evening.
The other one is from the adage – see a penny pick it up, pocket it and have good luck (I have heard a number of different variances on this.) I have always picked a penny up when I see it on the ground and pocketed it for good luck. Of course now that we did away with the penny here in Canada, it might be even luckier, because you’re not nearly as likely to see one on the ground.
What superstitions do you follow? Do you know where the superstition came from? Do you believe in it or are you just in the habit and/or paying lip service to it?
Saw’s superstition about himself has been several years in the making and it goes deep, so it’s going to take some work from Day to convince Saw that it’s just not true, that Saw isn’t a bad luck charm.
Day locked the office door and waited for Saw to collect his things so Day could take him out to dinner. It was after nine, and he didn’t know about Saw, but Day was starving. He wanted something big and meaty with a bunch of sides. He wouldn’t say no to a drink, either. But he’d need to be back early tomorrow, so it was probably wiser not to indulge.
He was looking forward to more than just the food, though. He wanted to get to know Saw better. He knew Saw had lost his master to a nasty car crash several years ago and that he was old enough that the younger subs considered him “old.” But that was about it.
Saw seemed quiet, gentle, and preternaturally efficient. Tall and lean, he had a runner’s body, cropped white-blond hair, a neatly trimmed beard, and icy gray eyes that seemed to see everything. Day found himself fascinated. He wondered what the man was like as a sub. From the gossip he’d heard, though he tried very hard to discourage gossip and not to listen to it, Saw had not taken on a new master, hadn’t even gone to anyone for occasional scenes.
It seemed very lonely.
“Thank you for waiting,” Saw said, zipping up his light coat. “I appreciate it.”
“No problem.” He nodded to the night-shift clerk, a huge sub with great big rippling muscles. It would take an idiot to mess with Serge, which was why he was the one who worked nights.
“What kind of food do you like?” he asked as they exited the gym.
“I’m easy, sir. What’s your pleasure?” The words sounded comfortable in Saw’s mouth.
“Well, I’m starving. So tonight I’d like a plate with a huge steak, potatoes, and lots of vegetables. Maybe a salad.” Day didn’t need fancy, he needed filling. And good. “I’m not really picky, and most of the time I’m happy to explore. Just not when I’m this hungry.”
“Of course. Lead the way.”
So self-contained, like there was nothing but this moment with Saw.
Check out The Luckiest Master today!
When Master Damien Richardson (Day to his friends) takes over the front desk manager job at the Iron Eagle Gym, he knows he’s going to need an assistant. But finding the right person for the job is harder than he thought it would be. When he meets Saw, he thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, and maybe something more.
Sawyer Whitehead lost his master to a tragic car accident some years ago, and since then one opportunity after another has gone sour on him. Thoroughly convinced he’s cursed and a jinx to everything and everyone he touches, he refuses to officially become Day’s assistant because he knows that as soon as he does, something terrible will happen. He’s even more determined not to get involved with Day, despite his attraction, because it would kill him to be responsible for tragedy befalling the lovely man.
Day must convince Saw that he’s not cursed and that together, they can face any challenge that comes their way—in both their professional and personal partnerships.
Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.
Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.
Sean Michael on the web:
August 18, 2016
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 by Phyllis Emerson
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!
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.
August 17, 2016
Hi everyone! I’m so excited to become a part of Dreamspinner Press! Thank you for coming to check out my guest post. It was a great day when I got the acceptance e-mail for my Sword and Silk series. My name is Sedonia Guillone. (I’m the person underneath. Sitting on my back is my cat, Molly Kaufman. She likes to climb on my back if I happen to bend over while I’m working at the counter, lol).
I’ve been writing M/M since 2006, beginning with my multicultural contemporary, Danny’s Dragon. That’s when I got hooked on writing in this genre. Until then, I had built up a backlist that consists of plenty of M/F and M/F/M ménages both historical and contemporary, such as Manwich and Lady of Two Lairds. But once I got bit by the M/M bug, those stories began pouring out from under my pen, especially yaoi inspired stories set in both feudal Japan and modern-day Tokyo (for example my White Tigers series which features a cast of hot guys who live and work together in a men’s hotel in Shinjuku ni-Chome, Tokyo’s swanky gay quarter.)
Flying Fish and the two following stories (upcoming from DSP, of course!), Blind Love and Blossom of the Samurai are the only exclusively samurai historical novellas I’ve written. I wrote a couple of short stories of very high heat level in my backlist some years ago, but these are stories of epic love, enduring loyalty beyond human endurance and the power of love to bring about redemption and soul-healing. In each story, a masterless samurai has given his heart to his beloved and nothing will stop him from ensuring that love survives and flourishes.
I hope you’ll want to read Flying Fish and that if you do, you’ll love it. Have you ever read samurai stories before and if so, how did you enjoy them? I’d love to hear from you and please keep in touch. You can find me at my website: www.sedoniaguillone.com
All the best, Sedonia
Check out Flying Fish today!
In eighteenth century Japan, during the golden age of samurai and of the Kabuki theater, young actors known as “flying fish” traveled the countryside, performing for audiences by day and giving their bodies to their samurai patrons at night.
Genji Sakura is one such flying fish, yet he dreams of finding the man he can give his heart to and leave the loneliness of his itinerant life behind. Though he loves theater, he doesn’t love every part of his profession, especially some of the patrons. So when a handsome ronin comes upon him stealing some solitude for a bath in a hot spring and their encounter turns passionate, Genji’s surprised and delighted.
Daisuke Minamoto’s past fills his life with a bitterness that grips his soul and makes him dangerous. Yet passion takes him when he spies on a graceful young man bathing naked in a hot spring. He has always loved women, but he can’t deny the call of his heart.
After an afternoon of sexual bliss, his heart and soul are tormented and torn. Keeping this miraculous lover will require giving up the one thing that has kept him alive for years: his hatred for the lord who murdered his wife. If he loves another, how will he go on and who will he become?
A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.
August 13, 2016
Today, Real World’s Dan and Weldon drop by for an interview with BA Tortuga.
Hey y’all, it’s BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things cowboy and redneck.
Stares at Dan and Weldon. Okay, y’all. Make with the cute.
Weldon: She means pretend that we’re all classy and shit, honey. Like romantic heroes.
Dan: Didn’t I give that up when I left the service?
Weldon shrugs: It’s our job, apparently. We’re supposed to be swoon worthy.
Jakob: Dad, did you just say swoon worthy?
Weldon: I totally did. It’s completely on fleek.
Jakob: Oh my god. I’m totally out of here.
Dan: Babe, what’s a fleek?
Weldon grins: Something that makes my kids roll their eyes and run for the hills. I intend to use it daily.
Dan: You know, cowboy. Kissing me does the same thing and it’s way more fun.
Weldon: And it’s probably fleeky too.
Ta da. My boys.
Much love, y’all.
Check out Real World today!
A Love is Blind Novel
Dan White is trying to acclimate to civilian life after a long career in the military with multiple combat deployments.
Now he’s home in the Austin area, living with his brother Dixon, Dixon’s husband, Audie, and their two nine-year-olds. During the New Year celebration, Dan meets Abraham Weldon, and the connection is instant.
There’s a kiss. There’s a dance. There’s a proposition.
Then Dan finds out Weldon is bisexual.
And a dad.
With five kids. Five kids, one of whom is a blind fifteen-year-old.
Weldon has been in love twice in his life—with his high school best friend, Blake, and with his wife, Krista, who he met in a Dairy Queen as she was crying over a positive pregnancy test. Love number three hits Weldon like a hammer when he meets Dan.
But since Dan isn’t interested in a guy with kids, they might only get one night together.
About BA Tortuga
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com
August 10, 2016
Tia Fielding joins us today to chat about hew new book One Step Forward.
In 2010, I had been writing fan fiction for a while. I loved to write, and I’d been doing it as an escape of my problems with depression, anxiety, and ADHD. I’d been studying business—that’s the closest I can easily describe it in English anyway—and it hadn’t quite panned out for me. I’d loved some of the studies, but the depression had snuck back up on me and there I was, unable to study or maintain a day job.
The fan fiction I wrote was 95% slash, meaning male/male pairings. At some point I figured, hey, there has to be actual books, original stories, out there, right? Some of the people I knew in fan fiction circles wrote original stuff and a couple of them got publishing deals, and I started to wonder, what if…?
I think I found Dreamspinner Press quite randomly. I started to read their books and gaze upon the submission calls page longingly every now and then. I realized they were awesome as a publisher, I never read a “bad book” by them, and they sort of became the ideal for me when it came to gay romance.
One day I saw a call for submissions for a cowboy themed anthology. It was immediate, how I got the idea and started writing, thinking I’d never get in but what the heck, at least they might give me feedback. I wrote a story called Auld Lang Syne, sent it to Dreamspinner, and pretty much forgot about it.
I got a reply many, many weeks later. They said they didn’t want the story for the anthology. My heart was crushed, but then I read the rest of that email. They wanted to know if I’d let them publish the story as a standalone instead, outside the anthology.
Now, for those out there not familiar with the publishing side of things, anthologies make very little money for the authors of the stories. More authors, less money to divide between them, and you pretty much end up one of many inside the theme, especially if you’re a new author. Being published separately means people notice you. You get all the royalties from the story for yourself. I jumped up and down, and answered yes as soon as humanly possible.
Before Auld Lang Syne came out, another story of mine beat it to it. Unwind was published part of the 2011 Daily Dose which was all about first times, whatever that meant. A bit over a month later Auld Lang Syne was published, and there it was, the elusive writing thing had finally “paid off,” if only in a small way.
Because my writing original fiction had kicked up a notch and I’d produced my first novel in November of 2010 during NaNoWriMo, the next book of mine that got published was By Any Other Name. That book has many fans who tell me about their love for it still, and I find that miraculous in itself. My very first novel and people love it five years later? Yeah, whoa.
In 2012 I had six releases, in 2013 three (two of those were novels), and in 2014 two (both novels, one of which I co-wrote with Anna Martin who I’d originally met during the fan fiction days and who still is one of my best friends.) Things had started to wind down for me. The depression was getting worse and worse, and that had started to affect my muses in a way I hadn’t expected. I had to give away all my deadlines, knowing I wouldn’t make them anyway. That felt like giving up, but it was all I could do at that point.
Things got pretty bad, writing wise. Last year, I only had one release, the short story Up To Boil, once again part of the Daily Dose anthology. My mental health had rendered me incapable of doing the one thing I now knew was the thing I wanted to do with my life: writing.
I had an old story, all the way back to the very beginning of my writing career, that I’d never finished. Around the end of 2015 I took a look at that story and decided it was time to write the rest of it. It took me surprisingly little time to finish it, and a whole lot of editing and pre-reading by friends and beta readers, but I managed to submit it to Dreamspinner Press in a timely manner (I’d asked for a deadline for it, just so I had a schedule for the story if they wanted to publish it.)
By some miracle, they wanted the story. It had a different name originally, but we changed it into One Step Forward during editing. It was a tricky story to write, which meant it had been more than five years coming. It was even trickier to finish, in some way, because one of the main themes in the story is depression and the long road to recovery. I wasn’t there with the recovery, myself, still aren’t, so it took some wrestling with my head to get it done but there it is!
I guess finishing the old story kicked up my writing again, because somehow I ended up claiming a state for the States of Love collection and wrote a story about Colorado with surprisingly little effort. That story is now in the editing stages, and I’m writing a story for the World of Love collection, too. Because I’m from Finland, still live here, I wanted to write the World of Love story for my country. Fingers crossed I make yet another deadline in a long row of many yet to come!
For me, writing has always been a part of me. It’s my identity, a thing that nurtures me. When depression gets the best of my writing muse, it gets worse. On those times when the depression lessens, my muses perk up and I manage to write some. After I write, I feel better, and the depression takes a step back. So far those steps have been temporary, but let’s hope I’ll manage to kick this thing enough to be able to write full time one day!
In any case, my journey with Dreamspinner Press has been nothing short of wonderful. Once, I never thought they’d want to publish me, and yet here I am, five years, seven novels, and many other stories later, and still feel like part of the family.
Thanks for reading my books and this blog post! I hope you enjoy One Step Forward, and the Finland story whenever that one comes out. In the name of writing about my home, I wanted to ask you this:
If I—or any other foreigner—came to your home town, what would you show me?
For me, the obvious choice would be the nature around where I live. Like in the above picture of me. That is from a place called Koli, which is one of Finland’s national landscapes and definitely one of my go-to spots if I ever got a foreign visitor!
Come find me on social media:
Check out One Step Forward today!
Sam Becker, a horse whisperer, agrees to take one last job before retiring to his Texas ranch. It’s clear as soon as he meets the Taylor family in Kentucky that he’s in for a challenge. What he doesn’t expect is the way his own wounds reopen. He’s never really dealt with the suicide of his mentally ill wife, and he won’t be able to ignore that hurt forever.
Joshua Taylor and his horse, Calla, were a force to be reckoned with on the eventing circuit until an accident ended their careers. Most of the pain is on the inside, however, and Sam knows those injuries are the slowest to mend. Sam’s unique methods help Calla and, surprisingly, Josh, but he’s still lost without riding. Their feelings for each other come hard and fast, and Josh starts his first steps of recovery, but Sam needs to return to Texas eventually. Even if Josh is able to move past the accident, they’ll still have a long and difficult journey to make before they can be together.
Tia Fielding is a thirtysomething Scandinavian who is a lover of witty people, words, cats, sarcasm, autumn, and the tiny beautiful things in life. Tia struggles with stubborn muses and depression, but both are things she has learned to live with. Tia identifies as genderqueer, but isn’t strict about pronouns. Why? Because luckily, in her native language there aren’t gender-specific pronouns. Being a reclusive author living with her fur-babies is another fact of life for Tia, among the need to write that seems to be a part of her psyche.
August 9, 2016
Vicki Reese joins us today to talk about her new book, What the Carpenter Saw.
Hi all! I’m Vicki Reese, a new to Dreamspinner author and I’m really excited to be part of this amazing group of authors. So, pull up a chair, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, put your feet up and relax and we’ll chat a bit.
There, isn’t that better?
Like other authors I’m here to tell you a little about me and a little about my book, What the Carpenter Saw.
Right now it’s mid-summer where I am and hot as blazes with high humidity (about 93 degrees F with 95% humidity). Ugh. Thank goodness for AC – and ice, especially in my tea. I’m partial to either English Breakfast or Green Mint. Or I make my own with homegrown mint – they call it “Meadow Tea” in these parts, but I just call it good. It’s really refreshing on a hot day. Sometimes, I just toss pieces of frozen lemons and some fresh ginger into water along with some ice. What’s your favorite beverage on a hot day?
I live in a small town in Amish country, which was the inspiration for my story. I’ve never lived in a big town. Okay, not never, but even the “big city” I lived in for a very short time was actually rather small by most standards. I’m a country girl at heart, and so is my character, Jake Cramer. I love the slower pace of a small town. For us, taking twenty minutes to get from one end of town to the other is a huge traffic jam. And we can always avoid the main drag by taking the back roads around it. There’s nothing like driving through fields waving with ripening wheat, pale green spikes of corn coming up, cows and mules chewing the grasses in their fields. Though I will admit that the “aromas” aren’t always mouthwatering (more like eyes tearing up). I have to laugh when I see air fresheners with “Fresh Country Scent” as their title. The people who name it obviously haven’t ever been to the country when the farmers have just fertilized the fields with manure, or had to scrub skunk from their dog. Not the best smell in the world.
Big cities may have their neon lights and excitement, but for me, that doesn’t compare to sitting on the front porch swing at dusk watching the fireflies blinking through the yards or seeing the real stars up in the sky.
But just because we’re small doesn’t mean we don’t have our troubles. They just may not be as prevalent as in bigger cities, but we have them. And that was the basis for my story. Drugs, theft, murder – we have them here too, unfortunately. But when you have a good support system, as my characters Alex and Jake do, it can mean everything.
I hope you enjoy reading “What the Carpenter Saw” as much as I enjoyed writing it.
JAKE CRAMER stared out the kitchen window at the thick woods behind his dad’s house. A mixture of brilliantly colored hardwoods and evergreens edged with a gurgling stream—so different from the harsh rock and sand of the Middle East. Though he wasn’t cold, he shivered a little as wisps of steam rose from the water, forming tendrils of icy fog along the bank. Frost had coated the lawn and garden overnight and was still visible in the areas the sun hadn’t yet touched. South Central Pennsylvania was so much better than the Middle East, and he loved the small town of Robinwood. It was the kind of place where you knew your neighbors and the shopkeepers by their first names. The kind of place that was great to grow up in, raise a family in. The kind of place it was good to come back to.
“Jake? You okay?” his dad, Micah, aka Big Mike, asked.
Mike came to stand next to him as Jake nodded. “Yeah. Just looking at the trees. I missed this when I was over there.”
“I know what you mean. Though where I was stationed wasn’t as bad as Afghanistan, I can’t say I was fond of the desert when I was there.” His dad clapped him on the shoulder, and Jake fought back a wince. The scars there still bothered him, but he refused to let it show.
His dad handed him a coffee thermos. “You ready to get to work? Your brother’s already on his way.”
Jake nodded and turned from the view. His dad had served in the Gulf War. Different area, same scenery. The Pennsylvania landscape held Jake’s heart. And work with the family construction company was exactly what he needed. Hammers and saws and wood. Building things, not blowing them up or shooting them full of holes. Though coming home hadn’t been easy. His family, especially his mom, had coddled him to the point of smothering him. He loved them all dearly, but he also needed to find his own way. It was slow, but he was getting there. “I’m coming. We working on the Johnson place today? I’ve got the cabinets ready to go in.”
“No. There’s a delay on the flooring for the kitchen. We’re working the McKenzie lot today. I want to get it under roof before the cold sets in. Sam will handle the crew there. I need you to go to the old Wilson place and make a list of what we’ll need to do there and in what order. The new owner wants to do a complete overhaul. He’s turning the old mansion into a B and B. I’ll meet you there after I do a supply run for your brother.”
“Works for me.” Jake shivered and grabbed his heavy jacket from the peg next to the back door as Mike opened it. Though he’d been back for a month, the cold October air still chilled him after the heat of the Middle East. Even with the cold, he’d rather be working a site than doing paperwork, but Mike was the boss, and Jake didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter.
The chill also made his left arm and leg ache more. At least, what was left of his leg. Because of his injuries, he could no longer do ladder work, definitely not roofing. He was still too unsteady to work a sloping roof. But honestly, he didn’t mind too much. The awkwardness and pain meant he had most of his leg, unlike a lot of other servicemen and women he knew. Sure, metal held parts of it together and it ended below the knee, but that was enough for him to get around with a prosthetic. He rarely needed to use the hated wheelchair anymore. As for his arm, it still worked, sort of. Just not nearly as well as before. Heavy scar tissue and tendon damage made it more of something to fill his sleeve than an actual working arm, though the therapists said he would get some use back the more he worked it. But he’d lived, unlike two other members of his team. And it was also the reason he was stuck doing estimates instead of site work.
(For the full excerpt, click HERE and click on the excerpt link)
Check out What the Carpenter Saw today!
Wounded warrior Jake Cramer returned from the Middle East missing part of one leg and with a partially paralyzed left arm. He feels useless in his family’s construction business, but carpentry is all he knows. He needs to relearn how to work and how to live. He can’t even consider finding a man to love. Who would want him this way?
Alex Ford is a top-of-the-line architect who’s tired of big cities and wants to settle down, maybe run a small inn. The mansion he inherited from his grandparents might be the ticket to his dream, but it needs a lot of work. When he meets the handsome builder, he knows he’s made the right decision. He just needs to convince Jake that his scars don’t matter. Unfortunately, Alex’s greedy family has other ideas, and they’re determined to ruin Alex’s plans and take the inheritance for themselves—even if they have to kill to do it.
Vicki Reese has been married forever to the one person who accepts that she lives in a fantasy world most of the time. She’s even been seen at the beach building worlds for her stories out of sand. In addition to creating fun characters, fantasy worlds, and suspenseful situations, she also enjoys and is very good at things like writing policy and procedures manuals and setting up continuity and organizational spreadsheets, both of which she has actually earned money doing. She has a master’s degree in library science so likes things organized. Okay, so her family thinks having the spice rack alphabetized it a bit much, but she has no trouble finding what she needs when she needs it. And just because her extensive library is cataloged and organized, that doesn’t mean she’s obsessive. Honest. When not writing, Vicki works as an editor, helping other authors with their manuscripts. When not doing either one of those, she can be found in the kitchen whipping up gluten-free, lactose-free, other allergy-free meals for her family. Or watching the world go by from her front porch swing.
Where to find Vicki:
August 8, 2016
Hi! I’m Lane Swift and I’m here to tell you about my new release, The Losing Game. It’s a story about two men, Lucas Green and Dante Okoro, who experience tragedies in their lives which they struggle to move past. Still, through pain and heartache, they find each other, and eventually find the love and the strength to move on. It’s a dark and weighty tale, with a hopeful and happy ending.
The story is set on the fictional Roseport Island, but is loosely based on Portsea Island in the south of England. It’s home to the city of Portsmouth which has a long naval and maritime history, as well as a lot of modern redevelopment. The whole island has a wealth of character and atmosphere.
The street below provided the inspiration for Mill Street where Dante has his shop:
The story is also set twenty years in the future. The main reason I chose to do that was because I wanted to explore how future technology, especially surveillance, might affect our everyday lives, behavior and freedom. How pervasive will social media be? Will CCTV really protect us from crime? Or will criminals find ways to get around it? These were important things to consider for this story, because Lucas wants to get away with a crime without getting caught.
A lot of authors will say that writing can be a cathartic experience; that their craft can help them to work through things that have caused them difficulty in their lives. This turned out to be the case for me with The Losing Game, though I didn’t realize it until the first draft was almost finished! In 2015, I lost two family members, one of whom was especially dear to me. Another was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and another had a tragic accident which has left her permanently disabled. For almost a year, I was mired in so much grief and helplessness, it’s little wonder those feelings found their way onto the page
The Losing Game is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, and Lucas’s and Dante’s indomitable capacity to give each other and themselves a chance at love, in spite of how broken they are when they meet. But their future continues to get brighter, including after the end of this story. I’ve just finished the first draft of a sequel with a working title of The Gamble in which the two men work together to help a friend in need. I hope to have it ready for submission in a couple of months.
One of the things that keeps Lucas going through the tough times is his dream to travel. He wants to visit East Asia—a place he’s never been to before. I’ve travelled to a few countries in Asia, yet there are places much closer to home that I’d like to visit but haven’t. For example, Edinburgh in Scotland. How about you? Is there a place you dream of travelling to? And is it on the other side of the world, or somewhere much closer to home?
Leave a comment by 12th August 2016 and two lucky winners will each receive a copy of my first solo release with Dreamspinner Press, Dormant Heart, plus a voucher for $15 to spend in the Dreamspinner store.
You can find out more about me, Lane Swift, at:
Check out The Losing Game today!
Winchester Crown Court, October 2035: Richard Shaw leaves, a free man.
Grief-stricken and angry, Lucas Green is hell-bent on revenge against Richard Shaw, who killed his sister. Lucas has heard of a man who can help—the handsome and urbane owner of a boutique sex shop with a head for planning crimes. But Dante Okoro has a past he’s desperate to keep buried. Though Lucas piques his interest in more ways than one, Dante turns him away. Still, he wonders if he made the right decision….
An unexpected death brings Dante and Lucas together once more. This time they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. But courting a lover with lies is a dangerous game. Dante has been spying on Lucas, convinced he has plans to kill Shaw. Lucas has been spying on Shaw, waiting for the right moment to strike. If Dante admits his suspicions to Lucas, he’ll surely lose him. If he doesn’t, Lucas might do something reckless—and end up losing everything.
August 4, 2016
Hi! I’m Brooke Edwards, and so very glad to be back with DSP for the second time, with “When Fate Falls Short” in the Bittersweet Dreams line. I was beyond excited when I received the contract offer for this one after having such a great experience with my first piece “Mens Rea” in the Never Too Late anthology last year. This has been wonderful, right from the initial edits and cover art production all the way to the final galley before my part was done. As the first time I’ve been involved in the promotion side of things, there were so many different things to consider and do this time that were completely new.
It has been especially good over the last few weeks, having lots of things to learn and do, because I find that I work best when I have several things to concentrate on at once. It means much less panic about the impending release! If I sit there and have to focus strictly on one thing my mind wanders very quickly to the very furthest thing from what I’m supposed to be doing. This causes major problems when I’m doing things that require absolute undivided attention, but luckily writing seems to work better for me when I’m a little distracted. It’s not at all unusual for me to have my laptop or a notebook up on the kitchen counter while I’m experimenting, or satisfying a craving. Writing and food often go hand in hand for me.
One of my favorite things to do once I have settled on the characters for a story is to spend some time figuring out what their relationship with food is. Sometimes it works out because my MC will have a favorite food that I share and I can justify making batches and batches of it as research. This was part of the reason for the immense amount of hot chocolate I drank last winter, on behalf of both Sean and Nathan. Sean’s fondness for marshmallows is something I don’t share, unfortunately.
When the laptop isn’t in the kitchen with me, chances are it’ll be in front of the TV instead. I wrote ‘Mens Rea’ I was binge-watching ‘The Office’ for the first time and now, every time I hear the music from the opening credits, I’m taken right back to the nerves and excitement of putting together my submission email. The entire process, from writing to submitting, lasted about as long as it took me to watch the entire series.
In comparison, the writing, rewriting and submission of “When Fate Falls Short” was stretched out over nearly 12 months so there was a lot less consistency in sources of inspiration. I cycled through a lot of shows while I was writing it, most notably ‘White Collar’, ‘Swamp People’, ‘The IT Crowd’ and ‘Friends’. It was pretty emotionally draining at points so funny, lighthearted shows helped. I had to drag myself away from the story more than once before I found myself down the rabbit hole. I didn’t go into it with a clear plan for what I wanted to happen, only the central idea of the tangle between Nathan, Sean and Jesse. When I finally realized where the story was going, it was less of a jubilant epiphany and more of a soul-crushing realization that neither Sean or Jesse were going to get their happy ending with each other. My iTunes was playing through an old Blink 182 album and ‘Feeling This’ came on. For anyone who doesn’t know it, the inspiration for the title came right from a line in the song and I had it on loop more than once during the rest of the writing process. I doubt I’ll ever be able to listen to it without drowning in a sea of feelings about Sean, Jesse and Nathan.
Do you have any songs like that? Ones that are associated so strongly with a person or event or feeling that you get sent back in time every time you hear them?
I’ll pick one lucky commenter to receive a free copy of “When Fate Falls Short” so make sure to leave the email address you have registered with DSP in the comment, and I’ll end this with a little excerpt to hopefully pique your interest!
Sean and Isaac, along with Jacob Lawson, launch their tech startup at the end of February in 2010. Isaac’s inheritance from his grandmother funds a large portion of their initial setup, and the three sink a not-inconsiderable amount of their savings into the business. By the middle of June, things are getting uncomfortably lean, but in July something clicks. By September they’re viable enough that their first investor approaches them.
Nathan’s squadron of firefighters invades the office for an impromptu party at midday on the twenty-fifth of September, after a night shift. Nathan smells like a strange mix between soap and smoke when he wraps himself around Sean and hums happily into the side of his neck.
“I’m so damn proud of you,” he says, and Sean honestly thinks it’s the greatest moment of his life.
Nathan and Sean put a down payment on their house in March and move in on April 11. Nathan takes two weeks off, and Sean pretends he’s going to work from home even though Isaac and Jake both know he has no intention of doing any such thing. They still let him leave the office the Friday before moving day with grins, exuberant congratulations, and a truly terrifying garden gnome with a polka-dotted bow around its neck.
Sean promises them it will sit right by the front door, and that night he laughs himself almost sick at Nathan’s horrified expression when he shows him.
Around dusk on the twelfth, after two hectic days of moving, Deanna stands up and surveys the front yard. Her clothes and gloves are dirty and dusty, but her smile is bright. The gerbera daisies are vivid spots of color in the otherwise sparse garden beds.
“There,” she says, and Sean bites back a playful jab at the sight of tears in her eyes. “Now you can pick your own flowers instead of ransacking my garden.”
Nathan beams at them from the other side of the yard, where he’s patting the dirt down around another patch of daisies. Tania and Richard are laughing from the driveway, and Sean thinks he might explode with the joy swelling in his chest. Not even the slightly pained expression his father has worn all day can take it away.
Check out When Fate Falls Short today!
Childhood sweethearts Nathan Maxwell and Sean Adams took ten years to realize they belonged together, followed by ten years of bliss. When it is snatched away, Sean is left alone with the aftermath. Lost and grieving in a world that doesn’t make sense without Nathan by his side, he struggles to keep himself afloat… until he meets Jesse Lawrence.
The shadow of a congenital heart defect has hung over Jesse like a dark cloud all his life. Nathan’s death saves Jesse’s life—providing the heart Jesse needs to survive—and a chance encounter between their best friends plants Jesse in Sean’s orbit. But how well can a love triangle between a dead man, his grieving lover, and the one with his heart beating in his chest possibly turn out? Real feelings and pure intentions might not be enough.
Author, dreamer, fangirl and foodie – twenty-something Brooke Edwards will always call Australia home no matter where the wanderlust takes her. Her tertiary education bounced from history and linguistics to criminology and history and even went as far as nutrition and sports/exercise science. Making ends meet through a similarly wide variety of jobs from education, retail, fitness, hospitality and finance means she never has any shortage of inspiration for characters or their adventures. Writing, closely followed by the culinary arts, has been her longest-running and most consistent passion and her greatest dream would be to one day not have to do anything else but write. Until then, she can probably be found in a caffeine-induced haze either behind her computer or in the kitchen.
August 3, 2016
Hi I’m K–Lee, I’m new to Dreamspinner Press, and I’m really excited to be here. I guess I’m new and old at the same time because to use Brett Taylor’s voice, “This ain’t my first rodeo.”
Unbreak My Heart goes live on August 5. It’s my first book with Dreamspinner and since it’s a re-release, it’s been meticulously re-edited with a few add-ons and tie-ups to some scenes and interactions between characters. I’m so happy to know that it will soon be available to readers, in this new, even-better version.
You see, this book is my own personal favorite, and in 2013 it was my first book with a new and excellent small publisher, who sadly closed their doors earlier this year. That was heartbreaking, not only for the grief of losing a company that I considered to be my family, but for the loss of so many other friends and family members in the form of my characters in books that went out of print. I can tell you that when you lose a publisher and your books vanish off retailers’ shelves, it feels like they’ve disappeared off the face of the earth. They will no longer be swimming in the online ocean and no one new will be able to meet those beloved characters or read their struggles. Basically, it’s like starting from scratch to get your books back into play.
Self-publishing was an option for me, but not for Unbreak My Heart. It’s special and meaningful and I couldn’t even think about it simply disappearing, or being released imperfectly in my early attempts to figure out self-pub. Brett Taylor and JT Campbell are the most important characters I’ve written to date—that’s to say, they are closest to my heart. (Something we definitely won’t tell the rest of my guys.) I had also already written and published four sequels for Brett & JT and if the original book in the series wasn’t safe, the others would be lost as well. So it was a great comfort when Dreamspinner offered to give Brett and JT a new home.
I have Cody Kennedy to thank for helping me find the courage to submit the manuscript to Dreamspinner for re-release in the first place. He was with me every step of the way, a real trooper in my corner when I was afraid to try. Thank you, Cody. Of course, I highly doubted the book would be accepted, but when I received the contract from Elizabeth North, I’m certain that I squealed like a teenager at a One a Direction concert or me at a photo op with Sebastian Stan.
It could be said that Dreamspinner Press stepped-in to unbreak my heart. You know I had to go there.
I have to thank my publisher for giving me the chance to work with and have an actual cover designed by the fabulous Reese Dante. Her art sweetened the pot to cavity-prone proportions. I also had the best experience working with my new editor, Sue Adams. So here’s a shout-out to Reese and Sue for being helping me so much during this new beginning. I’m excited about being part of this publishing family and the excellent attention and assistance I’ve already been given. I’m also thrilled to have the opportunity to have my book translated and possibly turned into an audio book—I will admit this is an ultimate dream for me.
So if I haven’t mentioned it enough yet, I couldn’t be more grateful to see Unbreak My Heart up for pre-sale on the Dreamspinner site. It’s surreal and awesome and so many other words you don’t want to hear me go on and on about.
Before I go, I’d like to offer a giveaway of an ebook copy of on my backlist to one lucky commenter. Since Unbreak My Heart is a book about second chances, tell me about a second chance you’ve been grateful for in your life or even something you’d like to get another shot at. Leave your second chance memory and an email address in the comments section below.
So that’s it for me. Thanks for stopping by and whether you’re a new reader to the series or have already being introduced to Brett and JT, I hope you enjoy their little world. Peace out.
Check out Unbreak My Heart today!
Brett Taylor’s world collapsed three years ago when he lost the love of his life. Almost as bad as the grief is the advice he’s starting to get from everyone and their brother, telling him it’s time to move on. They’re flat-out wrong. He left his career as a musician and escaped to his ranch because he needs the peace and quiet, and he’s doing just fine. He doesn’t want anyone invading his memory-filled, booze-fueled solitude.
JT Campbell’s world has been defined by his parents’ money, status, and his own empty relationships, until he’s desperately sick of it. A quest to find something meaningful leads him to Brett’s failing ranch. It’s supposed to be a brief stay. JT never wanted to be anyone’s savior or compete with the ghosts of lovers past. Still, he can’t help wanting this gruff and grieving man.
JT’s mind knows it’s a bad idea, but his heart keeps pushing him to find out what lies beneath Brett’s rough and broken exterior. Brett’s not going to make it easy. JT can only be patient, keep his sense of humor, and hope for the day he may be allowed far enough into Brett’s world to unbreak his heart.
K-lee Klein loves guys with long hair and tattoos, and you’ll often find her front and center at her favorite rock concerts. She has bounced around Western Canada all her life, but will always consider the solitude and beauty of the British Columbian mountains home. Her life is blessed as the proud mother of three now-grown but still spoiled kids, the servant of two bossy felines, and the wife of a truly patient husband.
Her writing muse is terribly temperamental, so to keep him close by and in check, she had him inked on her left calf. The gorgeous, long-haired, mostly naked, kneeling angel that resulted is truly a work of art, although he’s still a handful and hopelessly uncontrollable. She writes on his schedule and inspiration.
K-lee tends to fall easily into obsessions. When something grabs her attention, she jumps into it headfirst with complete abandon. Actors, musicians, superheroes, fictional characters, and brainwashed assassins all hold spots on her cannot-get-enough list. She once followed Thirty Seconds to Mars around the United States and Canada and saw them perform fourteen times that year. Obsession sometimes leads to ideas for her kneeling angel to turn into stories.
Although an introvert in person, she’s extroverted online and has met many wonderful friends there, sometimes with the added fun of meeting them in person at gay romance conferences. She’s grateful for all the people in her life who accept her as she is and support her through her ups and downs as mom, wife, and joyfully obsessed writer.
Places to find K-lee.
Website – kleeklein.com
Blog – http://chaosinthemoonlight.blogspot.ca
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Klee_Klein
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kleemoon
Facebook author/reader group https://www.facebook.com/groups/812548795471921/