The Town of Plenty by TA Moore + Giveaway

August 16, 2017

the town of plenty

 

Thank you for having me over today to talk about my new novel Bone to Pick by TA Moore, which will be available from Dreamspinner Press on August 14.

This blog tour is a bit of a departure for me. Usually I do a short story split between the blogs. However, that didn’t really work with Bone to Pick (the characters had met, briefly, before the start of this story but it didn’t go well. Someone might have got punched; someone might have deserved it!). So instead I thought I would give you a spoiler-free introduction to the cast of characters you’ll be meeting in Bone to Pick and tell you a little bit about how I came up with them — and maybe a bit about what I have planned for the future. I hope you enjoy meeting them! I love them all, even the terrible ones.

First of all, though, you’ll want to know what Bone to Pick is about.

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About the Book:

Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County’s Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home

He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.

This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of the day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks more and more unlikely that Drew will be found alive.

August 14, 2017. Cover Artist: Anne Cain

 

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Plenty — The Location

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Plenty - Moodboard

 

Plenty, California is TA Moore’s Castle Rock.

I promise I will try and make sure that is the last time I refer to myself in the third person! Delusions of grandeur aside, Plenty, California is the setting for Bone to Pick. It is a small town in San Diego County, and was created whole cloth by me.

Maybe it is the fantasy author in me, or the life-long Stephen King fan, but when I am settling down to build a series (which I hope Bone to Pick will be the start of) as opposed to a stand-alone book, I want to create the setting as much as I do the characters. I want to control the horizontal and the vertical, the past scandals, the well-known local gossip.

I want to drop Cloister Witte and his dented old Airstream trailer in a caravan park full of year long residents and occasional tourists. Somewhere with a conveniently located beach for him to chase his demons on, and kids playing so Bourneville can steal the tennis balls and bounce off the side of the Airstream.

It means I can give Javi Merlo a cool, minimalist loft space in an industrial area where gentrification has only taken in a couple of apartments. Where he can see some of the town’s best restaurants, but they’re always closed because he rarely makes it in before midnight.

It means I can capture the resentment of a town where the thin line between revitalisation and appropriation was passed years ago. Where people commute for two hours to have a taste of small town living, that they’ve made as much like the city they left as they can. Where the owner of the local hardware store has turned it into a curio coffee shop to appeal to the blow-ins, but still calls them names at the bar.

Of course, it does mean that I have to keep a book bible for the town as well as characters and chronology! I have a map, a sort of generic mid-town outline that I fill in as I go along, little scraps and tats of history that I need. It will get more complicated as it goes on, of course. For now it’s a couple of sheets in a dedicated file, eventually I’ll print it out so I can consult on the go.

The plan is that I will revisit Plenty in the future. I have a new book (hopefully a series) that I’ll starting work on in a couple of months. It will also be set — provisionally, unless it turns out to be a terrible idea — in Plenty.  It’s going to be a very different part of the town, a different tone — but, well, it’s different characters, isn’t it?

After that, well, we’ll see. My little town might not have enough space to carry too many narratives. I made one town though, and I can make more. I’ll probably keep them in SoCal though, it gives me an excuse to visit friends and, as a Northern Irish lass, I envy the weather!

What do you think? How murdery CAN a town get before you have to move on to pastures less red?

 

Check out Bone to Pick today!

 

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Win Liar, Liar or Dog Days by TA Moore

TA Moore

 

Bio:

TA Moore genuinely believed that she was a Cabbage Patch Kid when she was a small child. This was the start of a lifelong attachment to the weird and fantastic. These days she lives in a market town on the Northern Irish coast and her friends have a rule that she can only send them three weird and disturbing links a month (although she still holds that a DIY penis bifurcation guide is interesting, not disturbing). She believes that adding ‘in space!’ to anything makes it at least 40% cooler, will try to pet pretty much any animal she meets (this includes snakes, excludes bugs), and once lied to her friend that she had climbed all the way up to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, when actually she’d only gotten to the beach, realized it was really high, and chickened out.

She aspires to being a cynical misanthrope, but is unfortunately held back by a sunny disposition and an inability to be mean to strangers. If TA Moore is mean to you, that means you’re friends now.

Website: www.nevertobetold.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TA.Moores
Twitter: @tammy_moore

 

 

Agents and Shifters and Knights… Oh My! by M.D. Grimm

August 15, 2017

Agents and Shifters and Knights

 

Good day everyone! Thanks for joining me!

I’m M.D. Grimm and the proud author of The Shifters series with DSP. My latest, “Feather and Scroll” (book 11. Eleven!!) was released on August 9th and I am so stoked! How about I get right to it and talk about some behind-the-scenes info, shall I?

 

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Blurb:

Agent Pan has spent most of his adult life protecting shape-shifters from the Knights—an organization bent on their annihilation—and keeping the secret war in the shadows where it belongs. But the Knights are growing bolder, and a new threat has resurfaced after being buried in the ocean for decades.

The ancient scroll, a key to a devastating weapon, is now in the hands of a recalcitrant Russian hawk shifter named Viktor. As a bird shifter, he knows his duty is to protect the scroll, but he wants nothing to do with the war. He leads a quiet life and wants to keep it that way. But when agents come knocking on his door, he finds it difficult to resist the charms of Agent Pan, especially since this isn’t their first meeting.

Two years earlier they spent a passionate weekend together, neither aware of the other’s true identity. Viktor never really got over Pan. Now with sexual tension at its peak, they must learn to trust each other and work as a team to protect not only their loved ones, but every shifter in the world.

 

First things first: Viktor is Russian. I wrote this story about a year before certain events happened between the USA and, well, the rest of the world. So making him Russian was simply a diversity decision, and I thought it would be fun to write about a gruff, yet kind, Russian hawk shifter. He was a great character to work with and the way he and Pan played off each other kept me interested through the entire story.

Throughout the series I have endeavored to depict not only diverse shifters (wolves and bears, to sharks and snakes!) but also diverse people. A constant thread through the series has been: we may come from different places and cultures, but we are responsible for caring for those around us. My big-bad villains, the Knights of the Dawn, and their leader Arcas, are determined to “cleanse” the world and essentially make it a world of one culture, under one leader. Sound familiar? I wanted my heroes and heroines to come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences, and on the spectrum of identities and sexualities. We are all needed if the world is to be saved and the creatures on it to be protected.

Okay, stepping off my soap box…

In the first draft of this story, I actually didn’t have Viktor and Pan meeting two years before the story starts. I tried to have the initial connection within the confines of the story and it didn’t feel right. Nothing gelled and even *I* didn’t feel any romantic magic. The story moved too fast, and there wasn’t enough time for them to feel the buzz, and I try to avoid insta-love. I don’t always succeed, but I try! So I set the story aside and thought about it. Then the lightbulb went off, and I realized there wasn’t anything preventing me from having them know each other, at least slightly, before the story started. Once I inserted that into the story, everything gelled and I felt the magic and tension. Their relationship felt far more organic. I came up with the solution during one of my cardio sessions. Not surprising. That’s my usual problem-solving venue. That and the shower…

I really enjoyed getting these guys together, and Agent Jin’s exasperation with the two of them made me giggle a time or two.

This story certainly caused me to flesh some creative muscle that I hadn’t needed to before. The cat-and-mouse game between the agents/shifters and knights wasn’t something I’d really done yet, not on page. Trying to think warfare and espionage moves and countermoves isn’t my forte. I hope I managed it enough to make the story at least plausible. At the very least, entertaining. That’s the point of a fiction book, isn’t it? To be entertained. If you learn something, well, that’s a bonus, isn’t it?

“Feather and Scroll” takes place right after the events of “Shifting Moon” (10) and I suggest at least “Shifting Moon” be read before “Feather and Scroll.” But if you don’t feel like, don’t worry. I think you can pick up on things fairly quickly. This series is a true one, and think each book should be read in order, but again, that’s just me. I’m a stickler for starting a series with book 1 and then moving forward. Granted, each book is a different couple, but the overarching storyline runs through all of them.

I’m about halfway through folks. Yep, halfway. I have about 23 books planned, so look out!

Speaking of future books… Books 12, “Kindred Truths” will be available in October. Agent Poe and Nordik are back! It was a hoot to revisit those guys and see where life would take them. There were some surprises and twists as I wrote it, but it all came out the way I hoped it would. Unfortunately for our heroes, the Knights of the Dawn (and Arcas) will be winning a few more battles before their supremely satisfying comeuppance.

 

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Blurb:

Agent Poe loves being part of the Agency—an organization devoted to protecting shape-shifters—and he especially loves his mate of only a couple of months, Nordik, the nigh immortal master bear shifter. He has the best of both worlds—the man he loves and the job he loves. But when Nordik reveals he’s ready to rejoin society and accompany Poe on his missions, Poe must take the next step and make them a full partnership.

After the Agency intercepts a message from Arcas, the leader of the Knights of the Dawn—a cult bent on the annihilation of shifters—meant for his followers, their job gets a whole lot harder. The Knights don’t bother keeping their activities hidden anymore, stretching the Agency’s resources thinner than ever.

After a near-fatal mission almost costs Poe his life, Nordik insists on a break for both of them. They visit Poe’s family in Ireland and learn that true danger lies not without, but within. There’s no greater betrayal than that of a loved one.

 

To keep my sanity, I split up my series into five parts with several books in each part. That way, I could stay with a specific theme and keep *some* order while I outlined each book. The first part was books 1-6 (Psychic Moon – Master’s Blood) and it was simply labeled “Beginning.” It was my introductory phase into my world of shifters, agents, and knights.

Part Two was “Scrolls” where I introduced the mysterious and bothersome ancient scrolls, keys to a weapon of destruction. Books 7-12 are in that part (Hunted Guardian – Kindred Truths).

Part Three will be called “Blood.” There will be maybe four or five books in this part. I won’t say too much, but there is an inevitable effect to the Knights gaining the upper hand against the shifters and agents. A devastating, sad effect, that I introduce slightly in “Kindred Truths.” Watch for it!

Part Four is “Masters” and all about the other master shifters. There will be about four or five books in that part, and all the pairs will involve master shifters.

The last is Part Five, simply labeled “End.” I think there are only three books in that one. The last book will deal with the long life and tragedies of Merlin, the master shifter of all shapes. He has quite a story to tell and it will be bittersweet when I start writing.

So hold onto your hats everyone! I have quite a rollercoaster waiting for you. Care to join me?

My question for all of you is: what mythological creature and/or beast would you want to shift into? Think outside the box, consider that there are: Pegasus, unicorn, manticore, minotaur, chimera, griffin, centaur, faun/satyr, nymph (wood, tree, mountain, water, etc.), mermaid, selkie… Think of the beasts of Egypt, Sumeria, Japan, Ireland… you get the idea. What would *you* want to be and why?

Mine: Dragon (western, either wyvern or the more common depiction with four legs and a pair of wings);

Why?: Fire-breathing, fierce, flying, hoarding gold (though I would hoard books)… you get the idea. Of course I would be blue. I’ve loved dragons since I was a kid, when I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. It just grew from there. Yes, “How to Train Your Dragon” is my favorite movie. I’m not ashamed.

And you?

 

Cowboys Are More Than Butts by Julia Talbot

August 10, 2017

cowboys are more than butts

 

Hey y’all! My wife, BA Tortuga and I were talking cowboys. Not at all unusual, since she writes a lot of them, and Dreamspinner just released one of my favorite stories of mine, Sparkle and Shine. Based on a song, Everything That Glitters by Dan Seals, Sparkle and Shine follows friends to lovers Brooks and Evan all the way to the National Finals rodeo in Vegas.

Anyway, the discussion turned, as it often does, to how most comments we see about cowboys in the greater romance world center on Wrangler butts. Now, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate one of those as much as the next cowboy fan. I also like the way cowboy boots tilt that Wrangler butt just so. But that’s maybe a thimble full of what a cowboy is actually all about.

I grew up in cowboy country. No, not Texas, though West Texas was 45 minutes from my backyard. Southern New Mexico when I was a kid was small towns and lots of beef cattle. My grandpa was a cowboy. I would argue my mom was, too, despite the fact that she left Western Colorado young to join the Army. Then I married a Texan whose Daddy is a cowboy. Her brother was a bullrider, and one of her adopted siblings trains horses for a living.

If I’ve learned anything from my experiences it’s that most people see cowboys as an abstract. As an icon of a lost culture. But what I know is true is the opposite. Cowboys are still real, and so is cowboy culture. I see it when I visit my father in law. I see it when I go to the feed store here in a suburb of Albuquerque. I see it at rodeos and on vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It’s still going strong.

I once heard a well-known big 5 author state that she knew she didn’t write real cowboys because she didn’t like how they really were: dirty and bent from hard work, baked and lined from the sun, stubborn and a little foul mouthed. I thought, “How sad”, because cowboys are not cardboard cut-out romance heroes. If you write them with all their flaws, all their scars, and yeah, some dirt on their boots, they come alive in all the best ways. Absolutely, they’re stubborn. Sometimes problematic. Often vain. But, then again, I’ve never met one who didn’t love animals and children, who wouldn’t give you the shirt off his back to keep warm and out of the rain. They’re real people with real joys and sorrows, whether they’re riding the range or sitting in an office somewhere.

Cowboys are far more than just butts, and I hope y’all will help me embrace them in all their weird and wonderful glory!

 

XXOO

Julia Talbot

Check out Sparkle and Shine today!

 

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Blurb:

All that glitters is not gold. No-frills cowboy Evan learned that lesson the hard way while married to a rodeo princess, a relationship that was all flash and no substance. At least Evan held on to his daughter, Cheyenne, and his best friend, Brooks, when the sparkle wore off and things fell apart. Life could be a lot worse.

But it could also be better… if Evan and Brooks took a step beyond friendship. Just as they start to explore their feelings, Evan’s ex-wife sticks her nose in to sabotage them. Suddenly everything is up in the air, and they have difficult choices to make about the rodeo, Cheyenne, and the romance they both want so badly to pursue

First edition published by Torquere Press, November 2007.

 

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”

https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor

Confessions of a Book Addict by Vivien Dean

August 9, 2017

Confessions of a Book Addict

 

I was nine years old when I read my first adult romance. My school librarian had yet to cotton on to the fact that my two-book allowance at checkout barely got through me a single night, let alone a whole week, so I supplemented my reading addiction with whatever I could find around the house. The Encyclopedia Brittanica. Good Housekeeping magazines. Big band LP album covers and liner notes. I devoured it all. When I got too hungry for more fiction, I finally braved the last frontier – my grandmother’s romance novel stash.

I came by my addiction naturally. Everyone in my family is a reader. Toss in the fact that Grandma was a hoarder, too, and my nine-year-old self felt like she’d hit the mother lode. I lost hours to reading, curled up under a cloth-covered table in the living room with a flashlight or behind the shed if we got kicked outside to play or – blessedly – in my room while my two sisters were elsewhere so they wouldn’t tattle on me. Harlequin happy endings were my crack.

So when Dreamspinner announced their first venture into the same type of trope-y stories a couple years ago, my inner nine-year-old clapped with glee. There might even have been some clapping from my outer self, too. It couldn’t get any better, I thought.

I was wrong. They announced Dreamspun Beyond. My beloved tropes in paranormal worlds. There was absolutely no way I could let the opportunity slip by to write for it.

Out of all the romance I read and write, paranormal is my hands-down favorite. The draw is easy. I’m immersed in a brand-new world with characters who are subject to supernatural forces and still find ways to overcome them. You might ask, how is that different from fantasy or sci-fi? Paranormals, while offering new world rules, are most often grounded in a setting that’s at least initially set in our own existence. So it’s new, but still familiar. For me, that’s the perfect balance.

That’s the approach I took for The Charlatan’s Conquest. In this setting, ghosts exist, and it’s possible to interact with them, but it’s set in contemporary Pennsylvania and New York with very real issues surrounding both heroes. Cruz agrees to take on a ghost hunting job that his best friend can’t because he needs the money to help pay for his baby sister’s medical expenses. He’s a reflection of his working-class family. He throws everything he has into getting past hardships like the financial ramifications from treating his sister’s cancer. On the other hand, Brody has had his own share of troubles. His mother’s death when he was a child. Struggling with his identity in an affluent, conservative community. A distant relationship with his father. All of these and more mold the men who meet under such extraordinary circumstances. They face the incredible, but in a world with which the reader can empathize. That’s my idea of reading nirvana.

The best part about it is that this is the first of a series called “Phantom Fixers.” I get to go back to this world, which is a very good thing because Etienne, Cruz’s ghost hunter best friend, won’t stop nagging me about his own happy ending. For now, though, I’m going to sit back and enjoy Cruz and Brody’s story. I hope you will, too.

Check out The Charlatan’s Conquest today!

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Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback (buy the paperback and get the ebook for FREE!)
Amazon Kindle
Amazon paperback

 

BLURB:

With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.

Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.

Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together.

 

BIO:

VIVIEN DEAN is a firm believer that love doesn’t care about gender. That’s why her titles encompass both GLBT and het, erotic and sweet, as well as a wide variety of genres. After growing up in the snowy and isolated Midwest, she went off in search of her creative muse. She performed on stage, wrote and directed indie films in Orlando, then met her British soulmate online. One wedding, two children, and ten addresses later, she resides in the Bay Area where it’s easy to indulge in her favorite pastimes—good theater, great movies, and amazing food.

Vivien is a four-time EPIC eBook Award winner and collaborated with Pepper Espinoza to write as Jamie Craig for five years.

CONTACT VIVIEN

Website: www.viviendean.com
E-mail: vivien_dean@yahoo.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/vivien.dean.3
Twitter: @VivienDean

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
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

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

Rhubarb in the Family w/ Deanna Wadsworth + Giveaway

July 31, 2017

Rhubarb for Generations

 

I’m so excited about my latest Dreamspinner release THE RHUBARB PATCH.

It’s funny where inspiration comes from. THE RHUBARB PATCH, the first book in my new Men of Gilead series about a small country town in Ohio, has an exceptionally funny story at the heart of its creation.

Or humiliating, it depends on how you want to look at it.

Rhubarb is one of those fruits that’s often forgotten about, but it’s delicious in pies, rhubarb bread, or my grandma’s rhubarb crumble—you can find the recipe HERE. My family has a weird affinity for all things rhubarb so when someone gave my grandmother a free rhubarb plant years ago, naturally, she was thrilled. Sadly she passed away that spring and never got to plant it. So my mom brought the bucket over, wondering if I wanted to plant the rhubarb at my new house. I told her to just pop it in the ground by the woodpile and if it grew? Great. If not? Oh well. I had only recently moved into my new house and a vegetable garden was the last thing on my mind. We didn’t even have grass growing.

As with all things nostalgic, the rhubarb soon lured my attention after a year or so of neglect. I started watering the spindly looking plants, determined to get a nice harvest to make my grandma’s rhubarb crumble. The stupid plant went to seed and died on me…. or so I thought.

The next year it came back up!

And not just one plant, it had sprinkled seeds and had babies.

I was so excited! I landscaped around it, posted it on Instagram—yes, I post pics of my garden, my dogs and alcohol on Instagram LOL, you can find me here: @DeannaWads. I even tried to make jelly with my rhubarb, though the batches turned out lousy.

One day, five years into cultivating my precious rhubarb, I realized the cable company was on the back of my property tearing up the dirt to get at underground lines.

Right next to my rhubarb patch.

I was in my pajamas and no, not the cute ones. I hesitated at the door before I ran out to yell at them because I didn’t know if they were actually going to damage my grandma’s rhubarb. So like a logical person, I got up got dressed before I went out and checked.

My plants were safe.

Whew! Those guys didn’t want to face me if they’d harmed them, believe me!

As I was driving somewhere later that day, Phineas Robertson popped into my head.

I didn’t know who he was, or who we was going to fall in love with, but I knew darn well someone was going to tear up his precious rhubarb patch. Maybe the new man who just moved in next door would weed whack his rhubarb? If that happened, naturally Phin wouldn’t hesitate at the door and get dressed, would he? No! He would run outside in nothing but old white underwear and orange rubber garden boots!

The result of this little plot bunny was THE RHUBARB PATCH and the birth of my sweet little town of Gilead, Ohio—based on the town I live in.

It didn’t take long for me to plan the story or a dozen others to take place in Gilead. One thing I didn’t expect is for every single quirky gardening story I’ve ever been involved with or been told by friends or family—from the owl that gets into Phin’s chicken coop, to the little Schnauzer on the book cover eating all the beets and green beans out of the garden—to end up in THE RHUBARB PATCH. I’ve never written a book with so many true stories. As you’re reading the book and stumbling across something odd, like the existence of nuns who like to “hand screw tomatoes” or the raspberry jelly fiasco during the Red Wedding, or mysterious tomatoes from Italy, and even 150 year old sourdough starters…. rest assured it’s all true.

Well, with a little creative license to protect the innocent, of course.

Now you might be thinking, “Deanna, that’s not that really funny or humiliating.”

Wanna know a secret?

For seven years, I wasn’t growing rhubarb at all!

But I can’t tell that story, without spoiling THE RHUBARB PATCH. I’ll let Phin tell it, his version is better anyway.

 

Do you have a weird gardening story or something bizarre that happened to you in a small town? Maybe a favorite way you enjoy rhubarb?

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win one of my Dreamspinner backlist books.

 

Check out The Rhubarb Patch today!

 

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Blurb:

A Men of Gilead Novel

City boy, sci-fi novelist, and recovering pushover Scott Howe doesn’t know what to expect when he inherits his grandmother’s house outside the quaint village of Gilead, Ohio—but it isn’t an enormous bald man in nothing but tighty-whities and orange rubber boots shouting at him to keep his weed whacker away from the rhubarb patch.

Scott has never met anyone like Phineas Robertson: homesteader, recluse… Republican. A tender—if unlikely—friendship grows over the summer while Phin and his schnauzer, Sister Mary Katherine, teach Scott about life in the country and the grandmother he never knew. Opposites attract, but widower Phin worries his secret will send Scott running faster than his politics, and Phin isn’t convinced he deserves a second chance at romance.

Scott is convinced—rural life, and his one-of-a-kind older neighbor, is the future he wants. Before he can settle in, his mother drops a bombshell that strains their already tenuous relationship, and a cousin who believes he is the rightful heir to the property puts Scott in danger. It’ll take a lot of compromises, and even dodging a few bullets before they’re out of the weeds, but nurturing something as special as true love always takes hard work.

 

Author Bio:

Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. She has served multiple board positions at her local RWA chapter and is the current President 2017 for Rainbow Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. She loves music and dancing, and can often be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.

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You can also find her young adult alter ego, K.D. Worth FacebookTwitter

MJ and Sonny by BA Tortuga

July 24, 2017

 

MJ and Sonny

 

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of wild boys.

I never know what to say about the old boys that I haven’t said.

Road Trip Volume I is made up of the first two of the Road Trip series – Racing the Moon and Steam and Sunshine.

Racing the Moon was supposed to be a one off, just this silly thing, and I knew from the very start that MJ and Sonny weren’t going to be happy with just a 3000 word story, oh no.

No, those two have four books.

Four.

Now we meet Paddy and Neil halfway through Steam and Sunshine and then Duncan and Cowboy in volume II.

But the story has always been, and will always be, mainly MJ and Sonny’s.

A redneck ridge runner with a bent moral compassion and a surprising knack for pharmaceuticals.

A broken, brilliant ecoterrorist with a PhD and a twitchy trigger finger.

It’s one hell of a ride, y’all. Come play.

 

Much love, y’all.

BA

 

Check out Road Trip Vol. 1 today!

 

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Blurb:

The road to love is notoriously bumpy, full of twists and turns that can throw even the best driver. With obstacles around every corner, Sonny and MJ try to keep it between the lines in two tales that blend steamy romance with high-stakes action and intrigue.

Racing the Moon

Sonny runs moonshine the old-fashioned way. Too bad some fool blew up his road in the Carolina mountains, keeping him stuck, high and unfortunately dry.

Explosives expert and ecoterrorist MJ’s mission is to protect the environment by shutting down a logging company. An encounter with Sonny in the misty forest sheds a new light on his quest, but it’s not until Sonny drugs and kidnaps him for an impromptu holiday that their engines really start to rev.

Steam and Sunshine

A mission they can’t resist lures Sonny and MJ out of retirement when they get word of a man creating dangerous weapons for the government. They head to California to take him down.

What they find is Paddy, a physicist who doesn’t understand the scope of his own discovery, and Neil, his bodyguard. During a wild and unpredictable cross-country ride, an uneasy partnership develops between kidnappers and targets when the four men discover they have a common enemy.

 

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

 

Happy Release Day to Roe Horvat!

July 19, 2017

Roe Horvat

 

I feel like I’ve written all the words already. Nevertheless, here I am facing a blank page again. Just a few more sentences—it shouldn’t be that hard, right? I can hear the goblins laughing evilly.

I can only save myself by being concise. There’s an excerpt of The Layover below. The blog tour continues tomorrow with the next part of The Swiss Experiment (it’s a prequel to The Layover; you can find it on my website: http://roehorvat.com/swiss-experiment-1/ —the post will grow as the blog tour continues.)

The Layover is being released today. I’m forever thankful to my editor, Rose, and the wonderful staff at Dreamspinner Press for making me feel like I can do this. Malin, I’m going to spread a picnic blanket under your pedestal, sit there and just stare adoringly for all eternity or at least until the wind blows away the dust off my bones. I don’t think I would have made it without Grace, Hans, Jay, Xenia, Ben, Frederick, Phetra, Brandon, and all those kind people who beta-read for me, reviewed the ARC, advised me, or simply talked to me and helped me to keep my head above water. I’m humbled by how much kindness I’ve received from virtual strangers. I hope to pay back a part of my debt in happy endings.

Love

Roe

 

Check out The Layover today!

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Blurb:

Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.
Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either.

 

About Roe Horvat:

Queer author, storyteller & graphic designer
Roe was born in former Czechoslovakia and endured a miserable adolescence in the post-communist wasteland. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, they left for Germany and later, Spain.
Finally, they settled in Sweden, where the weather is nasty but the freedom great. Roe works as a motion graphics artist, loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams and everything in between, preferably by the fireplace with a strawberry daiquiri in hand. Roe writes contemporary romantic fiction – it conveniently balances out their real-life pragmatism.
When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

Get in touch with the Roe:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roe.horvat.98
Website: https://www.roehorvat.com

 

Excerpt:

He studied the empty glass like there were secret inscriptions on it. I don’t know where it came from, but I felt as if the moment were pivotal. As if whatever he said next would mean a lot. Possibly more than I’d like.

He put the glass down and looked at his hands, intertwining and twirling his fingers. “I got to go on this trip only because a colleague of mine got sick. Otherwise, they would never send a lowly minion like me. And sure, it was about work primarily. There was a meet-up about stem cell therapy in ophthalmology.” He stopped himself with a wave of his hand. A very graceful hand. “Never mind. I had a few days off in Zurich. I wanted to try something new, maybe let a little loose… I didn’t expect anything to be life-changing, just maybe get a little taste of a slightly different lifestyle. Nothing crazy or dangerous.

“But my friend, she had this idea that it was supposed to be more of an adventure. She bought me a travel pack of some stuff, you know. Like a go-out-and-get-laid kit. Ginny’s a bit weird. And she gave me the hat. She made me promise that I’d wear that thing.” He gestured toward the hideous headgear and sighed again. I sensed that I wouldn’t like the direction of his speech. “I googled some crazy club and tried to go out in Zurich. And I felt like an alien there, exposed. It’s ridiculous but getting hit on only freaked me out. It’s not my thing. In the end, I was ready to go home, looking forward to it even. And then….” He stopped talking and threw his hands up in the air, scrunched his face in apparent frustration. With me? With himself? With the boundaries of the English vocabulary? “And now you are sitting here flirting with me. And I… I’m sorry. I like you, I do. You’re funny and hot as hell. But I’m not….” He waved a hand in the air again, fishing for the right words. There weren’t any. “I’m not comfortable with one-night stands. I’m sorry.” He paused and seemed to brace himself before delivering the final blow. “I should go to bed. Long day tomorrow.”

It wasn’t my first I-like-you-but conversation. I was a champion of those too. More often pitching those than receiving, but still. I knew the game, but this time, it tasted bitter. Maybe it was because I was in a weird place in my head, feeling like the world was changing around me, and I was changing, and my life was at a crossroad, and it was all a chaos like a freaking Hungarian goulash soup. The world was bleak, and I didn’t want to let go of the only one still colorful, even vibrant thing in it. Since I felt that clingy, I should have ripped off the Band-Aid, fast.

“It’s a shame,” I said. He was probably the most interesting guy I’d met in months. Or years to be honest. Such a damned shame. “But tomorrow we’re flying away from here in opposite directions.” That shy smile he gave me…. So, so sweet. “I understand. I guess I respect it even.”

He had to think I was a slut. By some standards, I probably was. I stood, stretched my arms, and finished: “I’ve had a lovely evening. Thank you for not ditching me sooner.” It sounded whiney, and I winced inwardly. I gave him yet another crooked smirk and went to the bar. I took a napkin, borrowed a pen, and scribbled down a number. I went back, put it on the table in front of him, and he looked at me, frowning.

“In case you change your mind.”

I went all the way this time, and the odds were against me. But I would bang my head against the wall later if I didn’t try one last time.

He stared at the napkin for a second and scratched his temple. He lifted his large tired eyes at me, and my heart started beating a little faster.

“Thanks. Have a good flight tomorrow,” he said. The coffin snapped shut, the dirt was scattered on the lid, black shadowy figures stood in the rain, heads down—with that kind of finality.

I would remember him forever. If only for the hopeless kind of lonely he made me feel. So lonely, like I was at the bottom of a crater on the dark side of the moon, the temperature was absolute zero, and the last space shuttle left days ago.

My gaze slid over the napkin with my room number on it, and suddenly I felt like an ass. He was so much better than that kind of shit.

“Sorry for that.” I gestured toward the napkin briefly and went away, not looking back.

I was on the verge of a new era, trying to reclaim my life. Apparently, that made me vulnerable as fuck. I dragged my sorry ass upstairs, stripped, and packed my bag, in case I wanted to sleep in the next day and would have to leave in a hurry.

I brushed my teeth, took a piss, washed my hands, and blew my nose. Then I was lying in the strange bed unable to fall asleep. I felt a little cold but too lazy to get up and look for a T-shirt.

Funny and hot as hell, he said. It sounded lame, forgettable. And true. There were twenty-five of me in every gay bar in every larger city in Europe. And he was brilliant, genuine, most beautifully human, and real.

Jamie. His name was Jamie.

 

Venetian Memory Lane by Luca Domani

July 14, 2017

Venetian memory lane

 

Venice is a city dear to my heart. When I was younger, I dreamed of travelling there every year, but then graduate school happened. Still, I was fortunate enough to visit Venice more than once. My memories of the city are still vivid even though I haven’t been back for several years. So when I was given a chance to write a story for Dreamspinner’s World of Love series, I knew I had to go back to Venice, if only in my imagination.

Venice is charming and beautiful throughout the year, but in the colder months, it becomes even more enchanting. I set Tom and Giovanni’s story during this time, when Venice is quiet and rainy.  It is the off season and the city is returned to the Venetians after a long and crowded summer. Visitors can take in the sights at a slower pace, and perhaps pretend that they too are Venetian, if only for the moment. It is the perfect backdrop for falling in love.

Inevitably, Giovanni and Tom’s adventures in Venice draw inspiration from my own experiences. It was fun reliving these moments while I was writing. One of these scenes is at the very beginning of the book. Tom arrives in Venice during acqua alta, when the water level rises. The resulting flooding affects the neighborhood in which Tom’s hotel is located. Tom is greeted by several inches of water both inside and outside of his hotel. Fortunately, his room is dry, but he still must find some dinner. With no desire to venture farther than necessary for food, he wanders into the pizzeria next door, where Giovanni works. Alas, here the similarities end – there was no handsome Venetian flirting with me in the pizzeria next door!

Another memory that makes its way into the story is visiting Piazza San Marco at night. On my first trip to Venice, I stayed at a hotel close to the famous piazza. Late one night, I decided to spend some time in the square. To my delight, I found myself to be one of the very few people there at the time. It was like having my own little piece of Venice. I knew that if I ever came back, I’d have to do it again, and now it has become a tradition. For Giovanni, the piazza at night has been a haven since he was a teenager, a place for him to find some peace in a small crowded city, even in summer. Tom is the first person with whom he shares this special space, and now I have shared it with you. If you ever have the chance to go, I also recommend stopping by a bar along the way and picking up some beer and bruschetta to savor in your own private Piazza San Marco.

I truly enjoyed visiting Venice through this story, and I hope you will too! I invite you to continue the journey with Tom and Giovanni in An American in VeniceBuon viaggio!

 

Check out An American in Venice today!

 

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Blurb: 

Tom has always been steady and predictable—a formula he’s sure will lead him to success in his career. When his method fails him and he loses his job, he throws caution to the wind for the first time in his life and books a European holiday.

Maybe Tom shouldn’t be surprised that Cupid’s arrow finds him in one of the most romantic cities in the world: Venice, Italy. When he encounters Giovanni working in the family pizzeria, it’s lust at first sight. Their time together touring the city is so magical it feels like a dream. But Tom is shy while Giovanni is charming and flirtatious. Tom has a newfound freedom with his unemployment, while family burdens weigh heavily on Giovanni. Add culture differences and miscommunication into the mix, and their brief romance might fade as quickly as the beautiful dream it resembles.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

 

Author Bio:

Luca has been writing stories since childhood. Although he has a doctorate in engineering, he has never given up on his dream of being a writer. He adores science fiction and is partial to postapocalyptic epics with zombie hordes, but at heart, he is a hopeless romantic. Luca is married to his high school sweetheart, who is his muse and the love of his life. They reside in Massachusetts with their dog and cat. An American in Venice is his second publication outside of a technical journal.
Email: gianluca.domani@gmail.com

Real Life Mimics Fiction (sort of) w/ SJD Peterson

July 7, 2017

Real Life Mimics Fiction

 

Murphy isn’t the only one who finds himself in a new city and state with no friends and family. I too recently took the plunge as well. I didn’t come for a new job but a new adventure. You see, I’m an empty nester and being tired of spending 5 months of every year knee deep in snow, I moved south.

My best friend Scotty Cade bought a house in Greenville South Carolina. Unfortunately, for him, he had to return to Martha’s Vineyard for another tourist season. Luckily, for me, I volunteered to house/dog sit until he could return.  If you’ve never been to Greenville, I highly suggest you visit!  It’s an absolutely amazing town.

The downtown area, which I’m fortunate enough to live close enough to walk, is a happening place with many great shops and restaurants. Two of my favorites are:

SmokeOnTheWater

Smoke on the Water – Serving comfort food in a warm inviting atmosphere. Specialties are smoked items – prime rib, beef brisket, baby back ribs, and pulled pork.  And it doesn’t stop there. Chicken, seafood, burgers, and an amazing mix of sides. A variety of “saucy” sauces are available – tomato, mustard, sweet or vinegar-based. And don’t forget dessert. Smoke serves an amazing Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie, Fried Bourbon Bread Pudding, daily cobblers and fried Bananas Foster. The restaurant’s busy bar has one of Greenville’s best happy hours.

Website: http://www.saucytavern.com/

Lemongrass

Lemongrass – Thai cuisine manages to bring together the most diverse spices and aromas – fiery and mild, salty and sweet, sour and bitter – into perfect harmony. Lemongrass is one of the herbs used in Thai cooking among other spices such as basil, galangal, ginger, lemon leaf, cilantro turmeric and more.

Website: http://www.lemongrassthai.net/

 

TheBarkery

Many of the places around Greenville are pet friendly. Scotty’s dog Mavis has joined me to a few of them including Smoke on the Water and The Common Cure. There are also numerous Bark Parks, boutiques and even a bakery called The Barkery Bistro.

If you’d rather just get out for a nice walk don’t forget your pooch and be sure to head to Falls Park on the Reedy.  It’s a great place for you and your pup to get exercise as well as enjoy the gorgeous falls. Take a walk in the river or enjoy the view from the expansion bridge.

 

ReedyFalls

 

Whatever you do downtown Greenville, you’ll enjoy the sights, sounds and people!

 

Check out Something’s Brewing at Joe’s today!

 

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Blurb:

The promise of a dream job lures Murphy to Tampa, but he arrives to the rude awakening that the offer is on hold. Now he’s got two choices: slink back to Michigan with his tail between his legs or stay and look for work. Things perk up when he goes into a coffee shop and learns the owner is looking for someone to renovate the apartment above it. He happily takes the job, only later realizing he’s met Joe Sterling, Kaffeinate’s proprietor, before… when they hooked up at a club Murphy’s first night in Tampa.

Murphy and Joe are both proud, passionate, and outspoken. Neither is looking for a relationship, though they can’t deny they go together as well as coffee and doughnuts, in spite of their tempers. But that’s before Joe learns Murphy will be working for the corporation he believes is harming local businesses and the environment—and if Murphy will be supporting it, Joe wants nothing to do with him, dooming any possibility of an unexpected happy ending.

 

 

J

Meet Jo Peterson:

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

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