Let’s Talk About This Title, Shall We?

February 11, 2015

I’m bad at titling my work.  I’ll admit it.  I really struggle with coming up with the right title for a story.  Most of the time anyway (I always love it when something clearly presents itself).  And this story was no different.  I had written the whole thing, edited and tweaked, and gotten feedback from my betas and still no title.

Yeah, I was frustrated.  Everything I thought of just didn’t fit.  Or it fit, but it was like the wrong size sweater, and the wool chafed.  I was complaining (read: bitching) about it to a good friend, who also happens to be one of my beta readers.  We went back and forth for a bit until he suggested Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds.

For a second there, all I could do was stare.  And then, all I could do was grin.  Because, honestly, it was rather perfect.  Exactly fitting for the story.  And I was thrilled!

I’ve gotten a few comments about the title since it’s gotten out there.  Mostly along the lines of “I love that title!” which definitely makes me happy.  In fact, the only negative comment I got was from Mom, who wasn’t all that happy with the word porn being in the title (she’s adorably conservative about some things).

But if you read the book, you’ll see just how perfect this title is for the story within.  In the end, I couldn’t call it anything else.  And though I might have to whisper it when there are little ears about, it’s definitely the right title for the story.

Time for you to weigh in.  Answer me this, by 4:30 PM EST, and you’ll have a chance at winning a copy of the book: is a title of a story the thing that draws you in and makes you look twice?  Or do you not care what the heck the book is called, as long as it’s got an intriguing blurb?

The Way They Look

February 11, 2015

If you’re reading this post expecting to see pictures of how Joshua and Will, from my latest release Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds, look, then you’re about to be disappointed.  Because the truth of the matter is, I don’t have any.

I know that a lot of writers get inspired for their characters’ look by pictures of famous people or models or something they see on the Internet.  But for me, it just doesn’t work that way.  The only picture of my guys that I have is the one my brain has created.  And sadly, until they invent technology that allows the thoughts in your brain to be directly translated, you’ll never get to see how I see them.

But I have to wonder; is that necessarily a bad thing?  When I’m reading a book, and rest assured I read a lot, the image I create of the MCs is often more real to me than anything else.   Even if I’ve seen the picture the author says inspired his or her character, even if the cover art has the guys right there, in my head they often look differently than they do to the author.  But I like that because it helps me connect with the character I’m reading about.

This is from the first chapter, and how I see my boys:

He absolutely wasn’t the type of guy who normally turned my head. Joshua Rhinehardt was at least three inches over six feet and, well, beefy. Not exactly fat, but solidly muscled and a little soft in the midsection. He had a mop of curly brown hair he was constantly pushing out of his bright blue eyes and a full beard and mustache, though it was neatly trimmed. I could see the dark dusting of hair on his forearms where his sleeves were pushed up, and more than a bit of chest hair peeking out above the top button of his shirt. He was good-looking, but not gorgeous, and if I had just passed him on the street I wouldn’t have given him a second look.

My driver’s license said I was five foot eight, but that was a blatant lie. The truth was about two inches shorter. I’d never had any luck growing facial hair, and I kept my own red-brown locks cut close to my head. I was overly thin though I worked out; I still possessed a teenager’s metabolism despite the fact I’d left my teen years behind almost ten years ago.  When I was out trolling for a hookup, or even a date, I tended to be attracted to guys who were built like I was and hardly any taller. I had a type and I wasn’t ashamed of it. It was as much a part of me as the fact I liked men

PumpkinRollsAndPornSoundsFSSee my delicious cover lovingly crafted for me by AngstyG?  There was nothing to work with but my descriptions, and somehow that amazing piece of art was created.  And though it’s not a perfect representation of Joshua and Will as I see them, it’s pretty dang close. Joshua, in particular, with his floppy, curly hair and his neatly trimmed beard and that very sweet smile.  The instant I saw that cover, I knew.  These were the guys that were going to represent Joshua and Will

Would you rather have a concrete picture of what the MCs look like or do you like to be able to make it up in your own head?  Answer in the comments by 4:30 PM EST and you might win a copy of Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds.

Crafting The Story

February 11, 2015

Okay, I’m sure you’ve heard it before.  The author is a strange breed of human, and often has weird quirks or necessities for writing.  I am, admittedly, stranger than most.  Especially when it comes to writing.

I get inspired by any manner of things, and music plays a huge role.  In the before, when I’m plotting in my head or even on paper.  But when I’m actually writing, I need silence except for the white noise of a fan.  The sound of the water in my fish tank is also acceptable.  But nothing else.  Anything else is a distraction for me, and the words end up blocked, unable to make it from my brain to my fingers.

fishI need my chair in a certain position and my computer facing a certain way.  I need to be able to see the tank, because sometimes when I’m stuck I zone out, watch the fish, and things become clearer.  I need my drink on the left; coffee if I’m writing in the morning, tea the rest of the time.

I write better in the evenings, and that may be due in part to having an evil day job that I must report to five days a week.  My brain is conditioned to putting words on the page after work.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about my story all the time.

I’m definitely a combination plotter and pantser when it comes to the actual story.  And the plotting happens at the oddest times.  I usually keep a little pad on the side of my desk so I can jot thoughts down when they strike me at work.  I usually write in first person, and only occasionally in third, but always past tense.  Except when I write my notes. Then it’s always third person, present tense.

A good deal of Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds was jotted in those notes during the work day.  Especially after I got the opportunity to expand it. The original version was a complete story, one I was happy with.  But when I had to add more words, I had to think very carefully about what would enhance the story and flesh out what was already there.  I was very conscious of there not being gratuitous scenes.  It took me three days of plotting and planning before I was ready to write additional scenes.

One of those scenes was when Joshua and Will attend the Youth Gala. It was something I’d had the thought of when I was writing the original version, but didn’t make it into the final cut of that draft.  So one day at work, in between doing actual work, I plotted out the scene on my little pad of paper. But when I brought it home and set about writing it into the MS, as my fingers were flying over the keys and I was referring back to my notes, it changed.  Rather than fight where my brain was taking the story, I rolled with it, and it’s now one of my favorite scenes in the entire story.

So time for you to weigh in.  You’ve got until 4:30 PM EST to tell me if you have any weird quirks.  I want to hear ‘em!

Inspiration Behind Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds

February 11, 2015

Okay, so you have to start with an idea right?  For me, the impetus to start writing this story was the submission call for the Taste of Honey anthology.  Through a twist of fate, it ended up as a standalone novella.  Which was awesome for me, because I got to delve a little further into my characters and really get to show them off.

But it was that sub call that got me thinking about a character who was a bear.  Joshua formed rather quickly in my head.  I knew exactly who he was; a selfless, kindhearted, generous soul who was comfortable in his own skin.  But he’s also a dichotomy, and even though he doesn’t want to change anything about the way he looks, he’s also insecure about it.  I loved getting into his head and figuring out what made him tick.  But I also knew fairly quickly that he wasn’t the one to tell the story.

So I set about finding Joshua’s other half.

It wasn’t until I saw the opening scene in my head that I figured out what was going on.  Will was listening to Joshua speak, and that right there was what triggered his attraction.  If Joshua had been less engaging, Will wouldn’t have given him a second thought.  But Joshua’s heart shone through in his speech and captured Will’s attention. Before Joshua, Will was only attracted to a certain type of guy and he wasn’t ashamed of that.  But that didn’t stop him from going after Joshua.  And I loved that Will was willing to break his normal convention for a chance at happiness.

Tell me this: do you have a clear, set type that you’re attracted to?  Or is there a certain physical aspect that draws your attention?  Answer in the comments by 4:30 PM EST and have a chance at winning a copy of Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds!

Welcome to the Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds Release Party!

February 11, 2015

Hey everybody!  I’m Kris T. Bethke, and I’m here to chat with all you wonderful people about my newest release, Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds—out today!  Check it out, here or at Amazon.  I’m super excited, and really nervous too, because this is my first standalone novella.  I’ll be with you pretty much all day, talking about the story, but feel free to ask me anything you like.

Let’s start with the guys because the truth is, they wormed their way into my heart and wouldn’t let go.  Will Grant is our narrator, and he takes us on his journey of meeting Joshua Rhinehardt, getting to know him, and falling in love.  Will is a law clerk who loves nice clothes, and is unapologetically exactly who he is.  Which is why he doesn’t question it, much, when he finds himself attracted to Joshua…who normally he wouldn’t look at twice.

One of the things I really wanted to explore was my theory that people can get better looking, or not, depending on their personality.  Joshua is a good looking guy, but for Will, he gets even more gorgeous and sexy the more Will gets to know him.  So here’s what I want to know: have you ever had the experience were some became better or worse looking the more you got to know them?  Comment here before 4:30 PM EST and be entered for a chance to win one of two copies of the book!

PumpkinRollsAndPornSoundsFSWill Grant only attends the PFLAG meeting because his mother guilts him into it. But the instant he hears the night’s speaker, Will is glad he showed up. Joshua Rhinehardt is dynamic and engaging. Although Joshua isn’t physically Will’s type, Will can’t get the man out of his head.

Joshua may be comfortable in his own skin, but it isn’t often men like Will are attracted to him, and he’s not comfortable changing for someone else. He wants to make a life with Will, but his own insecurities keep getting in the way.

Will’s unwavering acceptance helps Joshua see that when two people connect, physical appearance just might not matter at all.

A few hours left to win prizes at the DEPENDING ON YOU release party!

February 5, 2015

Thanks so much, everyone, for stopping by the Depending on You release party! Benjy and Kyle and I couldn’t be more grateful. I had such a lovely time hearing all of your stories. PLUS I now have a bunch of new books to add to my TBR list (that thing’s gonna touch the ceiling soon), as well as cravings for many, many desert items…might be time for a new gym membership.

Please feel free to keep commenting! At 12 EST I’ll randomly choose winners for the two free books and announce them in a comment on this post.

Again, thanks so much for joining me tonight! I hope you all enjoy Benjy’s and Kyle’s adventures as much as I enjoyed writing them.

 

 

DEPENDING ON YOU release party! We’ve got free stuff and some solid best friends.

February 5, 2015

 

One of the best parts of writing Depending on You was writing Benjy and Kyle’s supporting cast. As you might have noticed from my last post, Benjy and Kyle don’t exactly carry this book themselves. They’re surrounded by people who watch out for them and want what’s best for them—even when good intentions lead to odd outcomes.

One such character is Brett, Benjy’s best friend. Brett and Benjy have that sort of relationship that you only get with a true best friend: someone who knows all of your quirks and calls you on them while still appreciating every single one. Here’s the scene from the book when we’re first introduced to Brett and Benjy’s friendship…and this is only the tip of their iceberg of banter.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering who Brett looks like in my head….DUDE. Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy. All. Day. Long.

 

Jesse Williams

 

“BRETT, I feel like a total dumbass. I was sure the guy was gay. But there he was, with this totally gorgeous chick.”

Brett, Benjy’s best friend for almost four years of college, three shared dorms, two attempted-yet-failed make-out sessions, and one night where Benjy had to bail Brett out of jail, was nonplussed. “Maybe he’s bi.”

Benjy pulled one of the throw pillows off Brett’s couch and chucked it at his head. They were supposed to be studying for a test in their statistics class, but Benjy was sure the most statistical analysis they’d done so far was calculating the odds that Kyle was straight.

“You always think everyone is bi.”

“Well, lots of people are.”

Benjy rolled his eyes. Ever since Brett had announced to the world (well, a college party, but that pretty much was their world right now) that he swung both ways, he seemed to have decided that most of the rest of the world must swing the same way.

“Listen, Brett, don’t get me wrong. I’m really glad you’ve finally had this sexual awakening, or whatever, and can now tell the world you like both guys and girls, but just because you like chicks and dicks doesn’t mean the whole world does. The dude’s straight, and I’m a dumbass.”

“Sure you are, but for many other reasons, Benjamin. I mean, you didn’t even call the guy back or anything. That might have qualified you as a dumbass—if you’d been fawning all over him for the last week and then found out he likes pussy. But luckily, you’re a cold and emotionally stunted little shit, no worries.”

“Hey! I’m not emotionally stunted!”

“Benj, you’re my best friend. I love you just the way you are, man. But dude, you are a cold little bastard. Don’t get me wrong—I find it to be an endearing quality. And I actually think it gets you laid far more than you trying to be charming would.” Brett shook his head, feigning sadness. “Luckily for you, I’m happy to be the charming one of the two of us.” 

Benjy glared. “Don’t call me emotionally stunted. Just because I don’t fall down flirting with everyone I meet who has a halfway decent rack or set of guns….”

“Hey, it’s a tough cross to bear, this charm. But seriously, in this case, your emotional unavailability pays off! You never even bothered to text the guy more than once. So why do you feel like a dumbass? Aside,” he added, “from getting in the car with a complete stranger who you’d known for all of two minutes and then letting him bring you to his house.” Brett had already made it quite clear how he felt about the fact that Benjy hadn’t just called Brett when he’d gotten sick at the restaurant but had gotten in a car with a total stranger instead. Benjy had reminded Brett that he’d been out of town with his family, but he had a feeling Brett was going to keep bringing it up until the two of them were at least in grad school.

Benjy shrugged. “I dunno. I mean, I slept over at the guy’s house. He was really nice. I guess I just thought….”

“Benjamin Moreland!” Brett took a long drag of beer and shook his head. “Could it be? Are you actually really into this guy? Has Benjy Moreland, Ice Man of No Committed Relationships, actually gotten completely attached to someone?”

In a comment, share your favorite quality in a best friend. Comment on this or any of the other Depending on You posts before 12 p.m. EST tonight for a chance to win one of two free copies of Depending on You!

 

DependingonYouCover

 

It all started with a diabetic kid who wouldn’t stop eating cookies. And a best friend who’d just announced his bisexuality and hit on everything that moved. And a kind pediatric nurse with an amazing rack, a lying ex-boyfriend, and a nasty case of the chicken pox. 

But mostly, it started at table 42.

When Benjy Moreland almost collapses during his restaurant shift, Dr. Kyle Penners wants nothing more than to take care of him… but if there’s one thing former foster kid Benjy values, it’s his independence. A dying man and a sick little boy force Kyle and Benjy to work together, and both of them have to make some important choices about what it means to depend on someone.

Release Party for DEPENDING ON YOU! Come by for free stuff and dysfunctional fictional people.

February 5, 2015

Hi! My name is J.E. Birk, and I’m here to celebrate the release of my first novella with Dreampsinner Press. It’s called Depending on You, and it came out yesterday—February 4th.  I’ll be here on the Dreamspinner blog for the next few hours giving away copies of the book, sharing excerpts, and probably making a fool out of myself at one time or another. So please hang out and join the fun!

First of all, let me introduce you to the stars of Depending on You. Let’s start with Benjy Moreland. In my head, Benjy looks a lot like Patrick J. Adams…from a few years ago, though,  seeing as how Benjy’s only 22.

Patrick J. Adams

Like I said, Benjy’s 22, and the boy’s a bit of a mess when we first meet him. He’s come down with strep throat (although he has no idea that’s what he has), and he’s refusing to take time off from his restaurant job. So he goes to work muddled by fever and promptly drops a tray of beers all over two of his customers. One of whom happens to be Dr.  Kyle Penners. My imagination has painted Kyle as a young Benjamin Bratt.  (Apparently everyone’s young in my head. It’s not a bad place to be, really.)

Ben Bratt

So begins the strange adventures of Benjy and Kyle. Kyle’s determined to take care of Benjy from the first moment they meet, but Benjy’s got some independence straight out of a Jane Austen novel, and he’s not letting anyone tell him what to do. Luckily, these two have plenty of help when it comes to finding happiness. Benjy and Kyle are surrounded by a cast of characters who make sure the two of them stay honest and real with each other—from Vanessa, the well-endowed nurse that Kyle attempts to date, to Brett, Benjy’s party-boy best friend, to Brandon, the diabetic eight-year-old who worms his way into both Benjy’s and Kyle’s hearts.

So, to get this party started off right, let’s hear some good stories: what’s the funniest way you’ve ever met someone? It doesn’t have to be someone you became involved with romantically—it could be the story of how you met your best friend, your mother-in-law, or anyone else. Did you dump beer all over each other? Comment on this or any of the other Depending on You posts before 12 p.m. EST tonight for a chance to win one of two free copies of Depending on You! 

 

DependingonYouCover

It all started with a diabetic kid who wouldn’t stop eating cookies. And a best friend who’d just announced his bisexuality and hit on everything that moved. And a kind pediatric nurse with an amazing rack, a lying ex-boyfriend, and a nasty case of the chicken pox. 
But mostly, it started at table 42.

When Benjy Moreland almost collapses during his restaurant shift, Dr. Kyle Penners wants nothing more than to take care of him… but if there’s one thing former foster kid Benjy values, it’s his independence. A dying man and a sick little boy force Kyle and Benjy to work together, and both of them have to make some important choices about what it means to depend on someone.

AN INFATUATION is a tribute to all of our infatuations

February 4, 2015

So buy your electronic copy today, and if you like it, post a comment on the AN INFATUATION page of Dreamspinner’s web site and on Amazon.com. It’s been great talking with you today. Here’s to your next Infatuation!

infat-coverphoto

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6009

http://www.amazon.com/Infatuation-Joe-Cosentino-ebook/dp/B00SZ9618S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422674484&sr=1-1&keywords=an+infatuation+joe

AN INFATUATION’s gripping storyline

February 4, 2015

If you are on Goodreads, check out my page at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino.

I’m often asked which are the hardest characters for me to write? It is always hard for me to write homophobic characters. How nonsensical is it for someone to spend his/her time, money, and energy trying to hurt, belittle, or take away the rights of someone else? I think in many cases the homophobic person is gay him/herself, and due to internalized homophobia, is battling with him/herself via the gay target. That is the case with the two homophobic characters in my novella. I’m also asked who is my ideal reader? I answer: a lover of a good story, someone who craves being swept away and becoming part of the novel. My reader enjoys humor, and being taken on a roller coaster ride. Finally, my reader relishes in captivating characters and romance, as she/he willingly enters the portal of my book. That’s why I love hearing from my readers!

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Thank you again for spending time with me today and being a guest at my release party for AN INFATUATION. I know this story will touch your heart, because it’s everyone’s story. We’ve all had an infatuation, and this novel is a testament to that!