The genesis of the shifters

September 5, 2013

I’m a huge fan of mythology. HUGE. Any mythology peeks my interest, especially the tales about how the world/universe was formed/created. From Greek, to Norse, to Celt, to Egyptian, even Sumerian and Babylonian, my interest is peeked. I love to see what the different cultures of the world thought about their world, their gods, and their origin stories. Because of this interest, my Shifters series has its own origin story, which I’m starting to slowly reveal. More will be revealed as the series progresses, but I think I’ll leave many things hidden until the last two books of the series.

I touch on the origin, or at least the myth/legend of the shifters and fae, in “Master’s Blood”. Since Poe is an agent, he would have more info than the average shifter or fae descendant. I call it “The Three Tribes in the Beginning”. I also speak of Merlin, the immortal Master Shifter of All Forms. He is very important to my overall series arch and he’ll slowly start being mentioned more, and might even take a role in later books. I’m not sure yet. He’s one to work behind the scenes. He was there in the beginning, with the three tribes and…well, can’t reveal too much, can I? Let’s just say, he was a catalyst, and his actions have reverberated through history to modern times.

But, back to “Master’s Blood”. I did a lot of research for this one. Mostly because of Sanctuary and the national parks in the north around Montana, as well as Native American history. (I listened to “Creek Mary’s Blood” by Nightwish a lot when writing this story- it’s about the Trail of Tears – makes me cry every time) And, of course, the legend of the Spirit Bear. All that really helped me form Nordik’s character and his acceptance of what he is. Being and immortal master shifter isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – especially when all your mates keep dying! Poor guy. But Poe’s different. That’s all I’ll say on that score – I don’t want to reveal too much!

If you want to learn more, purchase the book at: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4155

And remember – the coupon code is: Grimm0905 and is only good for 48 hours!

Question: What cultural mythology is your favorite? Greek? Egyptian? Aboriginal?

MD

Master’s Blood

September 5, 2013

My favorite shifter: Dragon shifter. Must you ask why?

Some of you might notice my little message to my sister – well, she is the reason Nordik is a spirit bear. I’d never heard of a spirit bear until she’d mentioned it, one time when I was telling her about my story. She was one of my first really eager fans to read “Master’s Blood”, so I thought I’d like to “dedicate” it, in a way, to her.

My Shifters series has truly been an eye-opening experience for me. Mostly because I’m diving in a series were there will be around 20ish books. That’s right… 20ish. I have a series arch, which I’m sure some of you guessed when reading books 1-6. Especially my little epilogue in  ”Master’s Blood”. I have 5 parts to my series, and books 1-6 make up Part 1. It sets up the rules, characters, and villains for the coming parts, which will be more focus on one aspect, which concern the overall series plot. It’s all very organized and mapped out. I’ve spent many an hour, with a dry-erase board, plotting and mapping how I’ll take the series from Part 1 to Part 5. But I left some things undetermined, so I can still have some surprises.

“Master’s Blood” really should be seen as the ending of Part 1 but also a teaser beginning to Part 2 which I hope to start next year. More characters will be introduced, shifters, fae descendants, and humans alike. And though the Knights are disbanded, they’re not completely defeated. Especially since Arcas is still running around out there. I love to hate that man.

When “Master’s Blood” was released, it truly was a “finally! thank god!” moment. I actually had to re-write it from page one from it’s original incarnation when I wrote it after “Psychic Moon”, but that wasn’t an issue. I knew exactly how I wanted it to be. It was one of the few stories in my series that I truly knew and understood. I know and accept that some might not like it. Why? Well, it’s always the way with characters you love and cling to from book 1 – since Poe was so popular I knew I couldn’t satisfy everyone. So, all I could do was tell the story he wanted told, and be satisfied with it. And I am. Immensely. There were usually some books I felt like I could have added something, or tweaked something, but not with “Master’s Blood.” It’s exactly the way it needs to be, which means I can accept reviews by those who didn’t like it. They’re allowed. It wasn’t the story they wanted, but it was the story that had to be.

Also – I do plan on a sequel, sometime in the future. I’m not willing to let Poe and Nordik go that easily. It will be a story, most likely unrelated to the overall series arch, much like my Christmas themed sequel to “Psychic Moon”, “Celtic Warrior and Wolf Spirit”. It won’t be Christmas though, most likely St. Patrick’s day, since Poe’s mother is Irish and has a very big family. Haven’t figured out the details yet.

Question time: what are your favorite shifter books? It can either be a stand-alone or series. I’m always on the lookout for new favs, especially with shifters. I’m overjoyed that I can write in a genre I love to read.

MD

Hello and welcome!

September 5, 2013

Hello everyone! M.D. Grimm here and ready to celebrate the release of my newest novella, “Master’s Blood” with you lovely people. This is Book 6 of my Shifters series, and I am over the moon with how loved it already is.

You can find the book here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4155

Also – here is an awesome coupon code for all you lovelies who join me today: Grimm0905 – It is good for 25% off my shifter stories, as well as other shifter stories. You can find all those steamy titles here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=56_61_588.

There you go! Already a gift for joining me :D But the coupon code is only good for 48 hours, so hurry and use it before it’s gone!

Now, all that lovely info has been given, let’s dive right in, shall we?

So – “Master’s Blood”… this is Agent Poe’s story. For those following my series, you know how great this guy is. And I honestly couldn’t have predicted the fanbase Poe would receive, even from his first appearance in “Psychic Moon”. Not that I don’t understand the love he’s gotten. While I’ve loved each and every character in this series, Poe is truly one of my favorites. Maybe that comes off in my writing? Hmmmm. The thing with Poe is, he’s been with me for years. The character himself, even before he had a name, has been hopping from one project to another, trying to find a place to call home. I knew his personality, his looks, everything about him except a name and a place to put him. I am so thrilled where he ended up. And who he ended up with. *grins*

To tell you all a secret, “Master’s Blood” is actually the second story I wrote in this series. That’s right… I wrote Poe’s story right after the publishing of “Psychic Moon”. But there were far too many revelations and changes that took place in this story for it to be released yet. So I pushed him off. And pushed him off. Again. And then again. Trust me, it hurt me more than you. :) I was playing around with the idea to release “Master’s Blood” before “Healing Minds”, but again, that just didn’t work. I had to put Poe on the back burner, but I knew he would have his day in the sunlight. And now he has! He has been set free to have his hot, steamy romance with an equally interesting and thrilling character, the Master Shifter Nordik.

For those following my series, you know I love to use all different sorts of shifters, not just wolves. Though, wolf shifters are undeniably sexy… but I wanted to shake it up a bit. I’ve had wolves, of course, but also a bull, a cougar, deer, and now a bear. But I plan to have many other, more exotic shifters in the future.

So, my question to y’all is: What is your favorite shifter? Whether you’ve read about the shifter in a story or not, I want to know what animal you think would make a great shifter? The skies the limit! Let me know and I will reveal my favorite shifter in the next post.

MD

Spark eBook Winners

September 3, 2013

I had a ton of fun yesterday with everyone, and now to announce the winners!

Jess1, Trix, and Juliana. Congrats! If you didn’t use the email you register with in the Dreamspinner store, email me at posywrites@gmail.com with the correct address so the book can be added to your bookshelf.

And enjoy!

Spark: Release Party & Sensitive Topics

September 2, 2013

As I finish up my release party today, I’m getting ready to send my daughter off to middle school, one of those things that many parents dread. It’s more scary than it is to release a new book out into the wild, but I’m so glad you’ve been here to help me celebrate this wonderful day. Thank you. I’ll give you another little taste from Spark, one that deals with family, but first, I’d like to talk about sensitive subject matter.

I’m used to writing about sensitive issues, controversial topics, and even kinks that are squick-worthy to some, but not to all. When I wrote Spark, knowing from the start that it was going to be a trilogy inspired by something that actually happens in Fusion of North Star (book 2), I knew I was going to need to touch on sensitive topics.

Bisexuality. What? How is bisexuality a sensitive issue? To me, it’s not, but it is often one of the less visible letters in GLBT. And there are a lot of assumptions made about bisexuals that are far from true. Kevin Magnus just so happens to be bi. When we meet him in high school, he’s only dated girls. He’s never even been attracted to boys, until he meets Hugo Thorson. (Ooo, just writing that makes me excited! Self-discovery is wonderful.)

Kids. Wait. Before you run away, please hear me out. Over the years I’ve heard people talk about their dislike of kids in fiction. Spark (and all of North Star) is not centered around kids, but Kevin does have children who are part of the story. No matter what, Kevin is their dad, and one of his internal struggles his entire life has been to not turn into his distant father. Kevin would never abandon his children, so his kids are present. I’ve occasionally been the reader who rolls her eyes when a three-year-old talks like she’s twenty-three, but hopefully my child development degrees have helped me create kids who act developmentally appropriate.

The over-arching theme of North Star is family. I use that term loosely at times, meaning community, neighborhoods, and chosen family. I also use it in the more formal sense: family of origin as well as the family you create when you move away from your family of origin.

As an adult, Hugo’s family (aside from his mom and sister) really consists of Summer and Gilbert. Summer is Hugo’s best friend who is practically a sister, and Gilbert is the friend who understands Hugo in a way he doesn’t even know himself.

Kevin’s family consists of his almost-ex-wife Erin and their two kids, Brooke (10) and Finn (5). Brooke and Finn meet Hugo, who isn’t sure he wants anything to do with kids, and Summer, who is a kindergarten teacher that thinks kids are the greatest thing on earth. So how do you start a romance between a guy who’s not sure he even likes kids and a man who already has two kids of his own? You’ll have to read.

Separation/Divorce. That’s the third sensitive topic Spark deals with. Kevin is weeks away from finalizing his divorce when he meets up with Hugo seventeen years after their high school romance ended. Erin and Kevin have both agreed to start dating other people. Their romance was over long before Kevin asked for a divorce. They’d had a loveless marriage for years, and Erin even buys him a box of condoms (scene from book 2, Fusion), reminding him how often newborns wake up in the middle of the night. Erin is dating as well, so neither Erin nor Kevin see dating as cheating because of their agreement.

Erin is part of this story as well. She needs to be, because Kevin and Erin are still raising their kids together. That parenting relationship doesn’t dissolve as easily as a marriage does, or at least that’s the hope, even if in real life that happens a lot.

I truly enjoy writing about more than just a couple. I like writing about all the people surrounding the couple, because they make life richer, more complicated, and certainly more colorful. I can’t help but think of the saying “No man is an island” right now. It’s very true. We are shaped by the people around us and our experiences with them. I find writing about all those players to be very rewarding, and I believe it gives readers a richer understanding of the characters they get to know in fiction.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 16 where Kevin and Hugo’s families meet.

As Hugo and Kevin chopped a variety of veggies to wrap in foil packets for the grill and Summer added seasoning, the adults took some time getting to know each other, covering what they did for work and fun as well as where they were originally from. They inevitably tried to play Six Degrees of Separation with the people they knew from the various towns in Minnesota they’d each lived in over the years but could only come up with one connection which seemed to be at least eight degrees away. Unless you counted Myles, but they didn’t.

“I should get Brooke and Finn down here. I put in The Princess Bride so we could have a few uninterrupted adult minutes. You ready to meet them?” he directed at Hugo and Hugo alone.

He finished a swallow of wine and nodded. “Sure.”

Kevin climbed the stairs two at a time, Hugo watching after him, unable to keep from noticing how Kevin’s pants seemed to hug him in all the right places. And the bare feet on the wooden stairs distracted him again, so he missed Summer’s patter of conversation beside him. Kevin disappeared around the corner, no longer visible from the dining area where they were now seated. Hugo’s knee started bouncing, and Summer pressed a warm, calming hand to it.

“You’re not here on an interview to be their dad, okay?” she reminded him. “You’re just an old friend. Nothing else, so don’t work yourself up.”

“You’re right,” he whispered. “You’re always right.” He took a deep breath and slowly let it out through his nose, relaxing the muscles in his neck at the same time. With all the thinking he’d done in the last day about their past, his feelings for Kevin seemed to be reignited and burning white-hot, but he couldn’t get ahead of himself. “What do you think so far?” he asked, beyond curious.

“He’s hot and nice. His smile is amazing, and so are his gray eyes.”

Grey, ringed in midnight, he thought and was glad he’d kept his description to himself. “Okay, I already know all that. What do you think of him?”

“So far, so good. He seems… kind, warm. But I’m withholding my judgment like you asked me to. I’m going to give him the whole night until I’m even going to let myself go there and just be your best friend, okay?” Hugo nodded and took a quick, nervous sip. “Really, I’ve spent most of my time watching you, so far. Considering you haven’t seen him since you were eighteen, barring the other night, I’d think you guys had known each other forever. Well, except for the little moment you had back there where you were drooling over him.”

Hugo threw a cocktail napkin at Summer’s face and shook his head, ready to start berating her for being too harsh when a tall but slight girl with waist-length dark hair slowly walked down the stairs as if she had just woken up from a nap. Behind her, following quickly, was a cherubic-faced, strawberry-blond boy who easily overtook her. Kevin trotted down in bouncy movements to land at the bottom of the stairs at the same time as the girl.

“Brooke and Finn, I’d like you to meet my good friend Hugo and his friend Summer.”

The children were very polite, saying, “Pleased to meet you,” in unison. Obviously Kevin’s father had ingrained good manners into these kids before he died. More likely, it was Kevin and his ex, Hugo corrected his thoughts. Kevin rested his large hands on his kids’ shoulders in what seemed like a comforting gesture and gently squeezed when they spoke. All his motions did was distract Hugo from the children and draw all attention to Kevin’s hands. When had they gotten to be so big? The sight took his mind to dirty places it shouldn’t be while meeting children.

Hugo returned to pleasantries as best he could but was more than relieved when the teacher side of Summer came out, naturally moving the conversation on to things the kids were engaged in. It was as if a switch had been flipped, and Kevin’s kids came to life, talking animatedly and pulling Summer into the backyard to show her their sea glass collection.

“Sea glass?” Hugo asked Kevin skeptically. “Don’t you need a sea for that?”

“It’s just tumbled glass they find washed up on the beach. They love the stuff, and we spent most of today digging in the sand. I think Brooke wants to make some jewelry for her friend. Something about BFF necklaces, whatever those are. Finn just likes to dig in the sand and water. He’d be just as happy finding fish skeletons and chunks of concrete.”

“Best friends forever,” Hugo informed, but Kevin looked at him with a very puzzled expression on his face. “BFF means ‘best friends forever.’ Just thought I’d help decode the kid-speak for you.”

“Thanks. They say things I have no clue about sometimes. Well, at least Brooke does. Finn isn’t quite there yet, but Brooke is using abbreviations that make no sense to me half the time. I just figured out what ‘LOL’ meant on our drive back to the lake.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah. I’m kinda pathetic when it comes to pop culture.”

“Well, I can help with that,” Hugo flirted, smiling over his wine glass as he took another sip. “They seem like great kids. I have two nieces. The youngest is about Brooke’s age, but the oldest is getting into the testy teen years. Nothing seems to please her unless it’s related to technology. Sometimes I just end up texting her while in the same room to draw her out. It’s unconventional, but worth doing to be a part of her life.”

“Do you see them much?”

“Yeah. Quite often. Charisse and her family live in Robbinsdale, right on Twin Lake. I’m their unofficial baby-sitter and chauffeur when she or her husband needs help. They’re almost too old for a baby-sitter now, but I go and hang out with them.”

“So you’re good with kids?”

“I’m… I’m good with my nieces because I know them,” Hugo answered with uncertainty in his tone due to his lack of confidence in where the conversation was going. “I mean. I don’t have a ton of experience with kids aside from the girls. It’s hard to say if I’m good with kids or not based on nieces I held before they were even an hour old. They’ve never not known me.”

“Well, don’t be intimidated by my kids. Brooke is a bit slow to warm up to new people, but once she does, you won’t be able to get her to stop talking about things that interest her. Not so much about herself. And Finn is pretty much a bundle of energy all the time, but easily entertained.”

“I’m sure Summer will be able to keep up with them.”

“It already looks like it. She seems to know you really well,” Kevin observed.

“Yeah. Probably better than anyone aside from my sister.”

Kevin sipped his wine and took a quick look down toward the water. Hugo looked as well and saw Summer and the kids huddled over what must’ve been the beach glass. Summer picked up a piece of something cobalt-blue and held it up to the sun. Brooke’s face lit up, and Hugo watched as she animatedly told a story he couldn’t hear, but he suspected from all her pointing and mimed swimming that Brooke had seen the piece deep in the water and had to dive to get her hands on it. Summer beamed, smiling and laughing. Finn seemed to try to get in on the retelling of the story, but Brooke rolled her eyes and sat next to Summer while Finn took center stage. Hugo loved watching Summer with kids.

I’ve lived away from my hometown and family since right after my eighteenth birthday, so I’ve had to create a chosen family. I have friends nearly 20 years younger as well as 20 years older and everything in between. What sort of people make up your own chosen family?

This is the last chance to enter to win by commenting. I’ll post winners tomorrow. Thank you so much for allowing me to play with you today. I hope you enjoy Spark as much as I enjoyed writing it, and look for Fusion coming out sometime in November.

Spark: Two Stories in One

September 2, 2013

When I set out to write North Star and Spark in particular, I knew one of my challenges was making it believable that Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus could have such a strong connection once they see each other again after their high school romance ended. I could’ve easily written a paragraph or two about how they’d been hot for each other as teens, but I knew that would create a paltry connection for readers compared to what the characters’ emotions truly were. I wanted readers to see how intensely these men loved when they were boys, so my path was pretty well set up for me. I have basically written two love stories in one book between the same men.

About a third of Spark is the coming-of-age story of Hugo and Kevin. I wanted readers to understand the foundation these men will eventually be building on. They meet in high school and start out as friends. Eventually it becomes more, but that doesn’t mean things go smoothly for them. At all. There are several challenges they have to navigate, and the issues that arise are challenging for adults, let alone sixteen-year-olds.

Another reason I wanted to explore these two men as boys was to see where they started. Family is very important to this story and these characters, and their history certainly affects them for the rest of North Star, from interpersonal dynamics to what they value.

Then Hugo and Kevin meet again years later, and they both feel their attraction almost immediately reignite. That doesn’t mean there aren’t doubts or real-life obstacles to get in the way. There certainly are, because life at thirty-five is often more complicated than it was at sixteen. At least for the weekend at the lake when they meet again, they try to make it as simple as they can. They’re just two men attracted to each other. After that weekend, they need to figure out how a relationship could possibly work.

Here’s a little taste from Spark, Chapter 4 of Hugo and Kevin’s first conversation after a seventeen-year separation. You can read it, or you can listen to me reading it by clicking the link below. Or you can even read and listen at the same time. I apologize ahead of time for not sounding like a sexy man at all.

Listen to Posy Read.

Kevin laughed deep and warm in his chest and stopped walking, pulling Hugo to a stop with him. “God, Hugo. I missed you. You always did know what to say to make me feel better. How the heck did we ever lose track of each other after everything we discovered together?”

Hugo shrugged, not knowing how to answer after their gradual drift from talking on a regular basis during their first month in college to nothing by the time winter break came. Hugo’s mom and sister had moved to the Twin Cities mere months after Hugo left for college, and that certainly hadn’t helped matters. But it was more, he realized.

“We just had different lives, I think,” Hugo said with a shrug. “We went our separate ways after I said good-bye to you in your driveway.”

“I still regret not kissing you that day. I should have just said ‘screw it’ and kissed you like I wanted to, even if my dad was right there.”

Hugo looked up the few inches to meet Kevin’s gray eyes and tried to smile, but it probably came across more as sadness than a smile. He couldn’t believe Kevin still thought of that day too. He wondered if Kevin’s mind ever drifted to the kiss in the wooded meadow when he was bored in a meeting or like Hugo’s had that very afternoon in the car. Slowly, he felt the corner of his mouth turn into something akin to flirty, and he asked, “Oh?”

“Yes,” Kevin said as his warm thumb trailed across Hugo’s jaw toward his chin. “I’ve thought about that day a lot, about our last kiss and how I wish it never would’ve ended. Damn the rain. Would you mind if I showed you how I’ve always imagined that moment in the driveway would’ve happened? Or are you with someone?”

“No. I mean, yes, you can show me,” Hugo stammered, his heart beating hard against his chest.

Kevin’s smile lit up his face, and he looked so young just then, the careworn lines that had appeared between his brows while talking about his father smoothing.

“Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly like I would have said things back then, but this is how I wish I would’ve done it. Ready?”

Hugo nodded and licked his lips, drawing Kevin’s attention to his mouth.

“So pretend we’re standing next to my open trunk,” Kevin directed as he led Hugo near the tail end of a car parked in a driveway close to the roadside. Kevin tilted his head left and right, shaking his hands out loosely next to his body as if trying to get into character.

“Hugo,” he started, somehow pulling youthful nervousness into his voice, “we should plan on getting together in a few weeks.”

“Sure,” Hugo answered, ready to play along with the conversation he barely remembered. He recalled the feelings he’d had, though: excitement about leaving Austin but sadness about leaving Kevin. “I can get a ride down to St. Peter, or you can come up to Minneapolis. It’s not that far.”

That drive never ended up happening for either of them because Hugo auditioned for a play in the U’s theater department and got a lead role as a freshman, something unheard of. He had no time to get together on weekends because he had homework to do and lines to memorize and blocking to learn and sets to help build.

“Seventy miles or so.”

That’s where Hugo vaguely remembered Kevin’s dad clapping his big hands and telling Kevin he’d better hit the road. Now there was just the sound of far-off waves and traffic from the highway on the other side of the trees peppered with exploding fireworks.

“I’d love that,” Hugo said, regretful he hadn’t taken the time to find a ride and just go. “I’ll make it happen,” he promised, and he wished he’d kept it.

Kevin looked at Hugo with such intensity; even in the darkness surrounding them, Hugo could see how blown Kevin’s pupils were.

“It’ll happen this time,” Kevin whispered against Hugo’s mouth, lazily closing his eyes as he spoke.

Hugo tasted Kevin’s breath on his tongue, remembering it, even with the faint scent of lemon lingering. A silvery thread of his memory seemed to actually weave this moment to the moments in his past, pushing Hugo back into that world, filling him with all those emotions he had for Kevin when they were just boys. Kevin was the only man Hugo had really and truly been in love with. He was the ruler every single boyfriend since had to unwittingly measure himself against. And none, not a single one, had ever gotten anywhere near.

Hugo took in a quick breath and pushed forward, capturing Kevin’s mouth with his own as his fingers threaded through thick blond waves and shorter razor-cut strands; his hands landed on Kevin’s neck. Hugo thumbed over Kevin’s ears, allowing the pads of his fingers to tease the fine hair along his earlobes.

They fused their mouths, opening and closing with lips caressing, teeth nipping, and tongues pushing against each other in an attempt to taste the familiarity that was new again.

Kevin trailed his hands down Hugo’s back, kneading his fingers against Hugo’s ass once he got there, then pulling them closer. Hugo felt Kevin starting to firm up beneath the thin material of his shorts, and he wanted so badly to thrust. He barely restrained himself.

They stood on a darkened road and kissed how they both wished they would have years ago, giving to each other more than they took away. But by doing it that way, Hugo felt more content than he had in years.

“Come back to my place?” Kevin panted against Hugo’s temple. “Please, Hugh?”

Hugo nodded as he tried to catch his breath and then nodded again.

You know those moments when you see someone after years and years? They can sure be awkward. Or they can be great! What sorts of experiences have you had? For the record, I’ve avoided high school reunions for this reason. If you share, I’ll enter you in a drawing for one of three free eBook copies of Spark.

Oh, and just for the heck of it, click here to listen to me read another clip from Chapter 4 that I lovingly call buttboy1978.  :)

~Posy Roberts

Spark: Character Inspiration & More

September 2, 2013

Spark is story about Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus at two different times in their lives: their teens and their mid-thirties. Gladly, I no longer look like I did when I was sixteen, because it was the eighties and I permed my hair, wore more makeup than was good for me, and thought shoulder pads were still cool. At least Hugo and Kevin were teens in the nineties and missed out on mullets, but that did leave me with the opportunity to find two very different looks for both of my main characters.

I had a lot of different faces representing Hugo and Kevin at different stages, and I also had a lot of hairstyles as well. Kevin had longer hair in his youth; Hugo had shorter. As adults, they switched. I knew the overall look I was going for with both of my characters, even if I couldn’t always find the exact face to fit. I’d like to share a few with you here.

Hugo has blue eyes, pale skin, and dark hair that is almost blue-black. As an adult, he has very defined cheekbones, and the model, Miles McMillan really became Hugo to me. While Miles has hazel eyes, in my head I always made them blue.

I described Kevin as an all-American golden boy. And while his long hair in his youth made him look more rebellious than he ever was, his father hated that image. Kevin secretly loved that his father hated his longer hair, but as you can see by the photo on the right, he cut his blond waves off as he matured into adulthood.

I could look at photos of these men for a very long time and not tire of it, but I realize some people may not quite get the Hugo in my head being represented by these photos. The joy of reading a book is that we get to create our own dream man, so if the images that inspired me to write don’t work for you, make your own. I’d love to see those images, in fact.

I also made very good use of my Pinterest boards to keep track of other images I wrote about in Spark. I have locations, items used by characters, food, dishes, and even images that just give the feel of a scene or two.

Since I live within driving distance of most of the locations in Spark, I was able to take several day trips and photograph important places. I used some of those photos of where Hugo and Kevin lived as teens to help create a video while I read an excerpt. If you’d like, go here to see it. I know the production value has a lot to be desired.

Here’s another little taste of Hugo’s impression of Kevin that takes place right after the reading in the video. You can read Chapter 1 here.

Kevin’s hair was much shorter than it had been when they first met, now cropped along the sides and back with thick, long strands pushed back off his forehead. It was still the same golden-blond that had attracted Hugo so many years ago when they introduced themselves on Kevin’s first day working at Hormel. When Kevin had stepped into the room where a nearly sixteen-year-old Hugo was just starting to hand-wash the delicate blown-glass vessels used in research and taste testing, Hugo almost broke a large beaker which probably cost more than he made in a week.

Nineteen years prior, Kevin had silky blond hair just skimming past his shoulders, which he had pulled back to look more office appropriate, but wispy bangs escaped the binding, framing his eyes and dark-blond brows. His eyes were gray and piercing, ringed in blue so dark it looked like the color of the sky at dusk right before it turned black. He was beautiful, but not classically so. His lips were too full for a man’s face, too full for him to not be called pretty, at least. But his long nose, high cheekbones, and strong jaw gave his face masculinity, even if all those distinctive lines did were draw Hugo’s focus right back to those pink, parted lips.

Question time: In your youth did you have a regrettable hairstyle? I certainly did. Answer and I’ll enter you in a drawing for one of three free eBook copies of Spark.

I can be found a number of other places too. My websiteFacebook, and Twitter. My website has a listing of everywhere else I can be found.

Spark: Cover Inspiration

September 2, 2013

Find an image to represent your novel. Sounds easy enough, right? But I had no clue what I wanted on the cover of Spark. None. And it was driving me nuts.

I finished the first draft of Spark in June 2012, and I had seriously considered the images I wanted on the cover for nearly a year with no luck. That’s very unusual for me. When I wrote Fall Into You, I knew red Doc Martens were somehow going to be part of the cover. They just had to be. So when nothing came to me for this book over all those months, and then I was “suddenly” asked what I wanted, I did my best to complete the paperwork the art department sent me. My responses ended up being a rambling mess, which showed just how clueless I was.

I think part of it was intimidation, because what I chose to represent Spark would affect everything else in my North Star trilogy. So I wasn’t just visualizing one cover; I had to consider three or at least find something that could be carried over to pull the entire trilogy together. The only thing I truly knew was what color I wanted each of the covers to be.

The wonderful designer, Anne Cain and I both agreed a simple, conceptual cover was going to work best. As I was writing to her about more thematic ideas from the book, I finally had a brainstorm, right there as I was composing my email. I’m so glad I went with my gut and just started typing away.

The golden spiral.

So what’s that? It’s based on the golden ratio of 1:1.618…, phi (φ), and it’s related to the Fibonacci sequence. As much as I love math, I’m sure I’ll mess this up, so watch this short video hosted by Hank Green who explains the Fibonacci sequence and how it relates to the golden ratio and golden spiral.

This number relationship is used to create a golden rectangle, which the lovely golden spiral fits right inside. Everything is related. This spiral occurs in nature in pinecones, galaxy formations, flowers, veggies, pineapples, some shells, ears, fingerprints, and more. Artists and architects use it, and there are even bridge arches designed based on the curve.

The golden spiral is also related to the golden triangle, which easily becomes a pentagram or star. Yeah, I nearly fell over when I read about that considering my trilogy is called North Star. It’s crazy. Of course, once you start looking for something, you find it everywhere you go. Still, I think the mathematics of all of this is truly fascinating, especially how it relates to art, nature, and what people consider pleasing to the eye. It’s pretty amazing no matter how you slice it.

But why did I want to use the golden spiral as inspiration for my book cover? Fire or sparks would’ve seemed more appropriate based on the title, I suppose. Yet that didn’t work for Anne or me because it was too literal. The golden spiral was a great jumping off point, so I finally had that image in my head that I’d been searching for. The lovely thing is that Anne is going to use portions of the golden spiral for all three covers, so I have that element spanning all three books. I found the connection I had been seeking.

One of the reasons the image works so well for me in Spark is that the main characters’ lives have spiraled around each other for years. Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus met as teens, fell in love, and grew together. Then college and adulthood separated them, but they continued to grow and were still influenced by each other despite no longer being together. In their thirties they meet again at a Minnesota lake and both find that they’re still just as attracted to each other. The question they need to decide is if they can possibly join their lives and grow together. It’s also a lovely tie-in that Hugo and Kevin spend time digging in the sand at the lake with Kevin’s kids.

As I continued to edit the rest of the books in my trilogy, I realized the theme of spirals or portions of spirals, like arches, kept popping up again and again. This was after Anne had already worked on the cover for Spark, so it almost felt like fate had a hand in that moment of inspiration while composing that email. Beyond that, North Star is truly about Hugo and Kevin growing, and when you see how quickly those Fibonacci numerals add up, I can’t help but give a little chuckle. Granted, growth isn’t quite that dramatic for Hugo and Kevin, but the math is still inspirational to me.

I’m beyond grateful for Anne Cain’s talent. I think she did an amazing job.

And in case you hadn’t noticed, the Dreamspinner Press logo looks an awful lot like a golden spiral. Doesn’t it?

So, what do you think makes a good cover for a book? Are those criteria different for a romance novel than another genre? I’d love to hear from you, and I’ll enter you in a drawing for one of three free eBook copies of Spark.

And if you’re a math nerd like me, where else have you seen the golden spiral?

~Posy Roberts

P.S. If you want to watch more videos on the golden spiral, check out this mind blowing one by Vihart that shows how the golden spiral shows up in plant life.

Release Party – Spark by Posy Roberts

September 2, 2013

In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.

By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.

When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.

Hello readers. I’m Posy Roberts, and I’m here to celebrate the release of my book Spark, which is released today, September 2nd. It’s the first book in my North Star trilogy. Here’s the blurb to give you a taste of what the story is about.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d write a trilogy. They seemed too big and too involved. With the amount of notes I have scattered around my writing studio, stuck to my computer monitor, and tucked away in journals, I was right about them being very involved. When I first started talking about this story with my friend who actually inspired it, I quickly realized there was no way I could tell it in just one book unless I wanted it to be mammoth. The entire trilogy covers two time periods in Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus’s lives and several years. Spark deals with both time periods—high school and adulthood—and covers about two months of modern day. The rest of the trilogy is modern day.

I’m so excited I’m finally able to share this story. I wrote it in the summer of 2012, so it seems like I’ve known Hugo and Kevin for ages. Of course, they’re very new to you.

I quickly found out that writing over three books allowed me to leave unfinished threads drifting in the breeze that I could easily pick up again and start weaving into the next book. That was fun. There are issues I introduce in Spark that aren’t even discussed again, let alone resolved, until book three. In many ways, that was like a treasure hunt for me as I wrote. That’s also why there were (still are, actually) so many notes all over my house. But it was fun, and I’m glad I took up the challenge.

Today I’ll be celebrating the release of Spark here on the Dreamspinner Press blog. I’m going to writing about what inspired the cover art, what it was like to essentially write two love stories in one book, discuss some of the images that inspired me along the way, and also what it was like to write about some sensitive topics. There will be several excerpts from the book, and if technology is on my side, I will share some clips of a few readings from Spark as well. I’d love it if you could stick around and help me celebrate.

But first, since this is a story about having a second chance at love, I’d love to hear from you. Have you had or wish you’d had another chance with someone you once loved? I’d love to hear about it. As a bonus for sharing, I’ll enter you in a drawing for one of three free eBook copies of Spark.

Thanks so much.

~Posy Roberts

Finding Jackie Release party contest Winners!

May 18, 2013

Contest 1 (Going to the Dogs) winner: H.B., whose name was drawn from the hat. H.B.’s entry was Loving Fur Ball, name Cuddles! Love it. I’ll be contacting you, H.B. to get your preference of which e-book. Thanks!

Contest 2 (Easy Peasy) winners: 1st draw, Catherine! I’ll contact you, Catherine, to get some mailing info. 2nd draw, Holly! I’ll be in touch to make sure you can get your prize downloaded! Thanks to you both.

And thank you to everyone else! I had a great time.