Treasure Trail: Figuring Out a Story with Nicole Dennis – Post + Giveaway

August 30, 2016

Figuring Out a Story

Hello to everyone!

My name is Nicole Dennis. I get the lucky spot to be the first to introduce my book – Treasure Trail – to kick off Dreamspinner’s new series – States of Love. The series comprises of fifty different authors of contemporary novellas with each one representing and highlighting a specific state.

Almost as soon as I read the submission call, I knew I wanted Florida. I live here and know there is far more to Florida than the theme parks and beaches. Everyone knows about the beaches, the Everglades, the Keys and even the sun-drenched decadence of Miami. Nope. None of that even came to my mind. I focused on another city I wanted to incorporate into the store.

What about the oldest city in the United States?

It’s right here in Florida. St. Augustine.

Once I read a submission call, this is a little insight ‘behind the scenes’ of how I built Treasure Trail from the idea of just St. Augustine into a complete story. Before I could add characters and plot, I needed to learn as much as possible about St. Augustine to figure out what exactly I wanted to focus on.

Research! Yay. Honest. I love research and gathering all kinds of bits of information.

Here’s a bit of a history lesson and some of what I found during the research. I know. This isn’t History class and I promise this isn’t on the test.

First founded by the Spanish, St. Augustine is located on the northern end of the state on the Atlantic coast. It’s this almost historical, but magical city with a magnificent Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, standing guard. The Castillo is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. It’s located on the western shore of the Matanzas Bay and designed by a Spanish engineer. The Spanish used the fort and growing town to hold their control over Florida from the English, the French, and pirates. Over the earlier years, it changed hands multiple times, been attacked and burnt, but the Castillo continued to stand strong, providing a perch to observe enemy vessels and protect St. Augustine, what is now known as the ‘Old City’.

When you visit St. Augustine, the historic feel from the cobblestone and brick paths throughout the oldest part draws you in almost immediately. The paths are thin and narrow. The buildings with all the little shops, restaurants and taverns reflect the Spanish feel. You want to visit this place and spend as much time as possible to see all the nooks, crannies and hidden places. I’ve been to St. Augustine many times and still haven’t seen anything.

Another huge tidbit, St. Augustine is very LGBT friendly. So, extra yay!

So… Back to configuring the story with all of this research. At least it’s the bare beginnings of the story. Again, I needed to figure out certain pieces that could give me what I need. Yup, more research.

I wanted to showcase the historic downtown and the Castillo. I remember reading and seeing something about ‘St. Augustine Historic Walking Tours’. I know. Sounds all big, boring and a crap load of walking, but then I focused in on the ‘Pirate Pub Crawl’. For this one, a tour guide (dressed as a pirate – how can it get any better than this?) leads their merry crew on a walking tour of the historic downtown and visit multiple pubs for a pint of brew and tales of the golden age of piracy and Pirates. Pubs. Beer…er, grog in this case.

Hey, it was either Pirates or Ghosts. I went with pirates.

Now the ideas continued to build and grow. This was what I needed. This Pub Crawl could be the way for my characters to see each other all the time. How to make that happen? This is where I start generating and growing my main characters, Derick and Chris.

Derick became the owner of a brewpub-tavern with a pirate theme and brews craft beers to go with the rest of the menu. His brewpub is on the list of the Pirate Pub Crawl where he offers one of the specialized craft brews to the guests. He also turned into a steady, quiet type of man, with some social anxiety that crops up now and then but he manages it. After leaving home, he created several goals for himself – get a good job, own a home, and fall in love. Simple goals. He started working at the brewpub when he arrived in St. Augustine and never left. Before purchasing the brewpub from the previous owner, he signed papers for his new home. He tried the love thing once, but it backfired on him so he’s been a bit gun-shy.

To counteract Derick, I set up Chris as the pirate tour guide. He trained in acting and has an easygoing, charming personality, which helps him interact with a different crowd almost every day, depending on his schedule. He has a wacky group of friends, some are housemates, and seems to have it all. Only it’s the talking one-on-one that has him all twisted up.

There’s the set up. A pub owner who interacts with the pirate guide only during working hours, crushes on him all the time, but unable to take the necessary step. We have the enigmatic pirate able to charm his guests with various tales of the golden age of piracy, but can’t take the leap from crowd to a personal talk.

All with the background of a brewpub in historic St. Augustine.

What else could I do to them or showcase the city? I placed everything within the timeframe of the Annual St. Augustine Pirate Gathering. This three-day festival attracts pirate lovers from all over the United States for music, food, singing, parades and pirate demonstrations (ok, I changed this to battles). Of course, Chris would be neck deep in the gathering.

Things were going along fine while writing it, but the story needed something more. Yeah, right smack in the middle of writing, my stinky muse put a dramatic halt and kept me locked in place. What else do I need?

There’s something other than a pint of grog when you bring up the idea of pirates. Treasure. Could I use this part as a way for Derick to open up and interact more with Chris? Yup. One special treasure hunt is ready to go. Not only will the hunt bring them closer, but it takes you, the reader, around St. Augustine and learn about a couple of the unique shops found there.

The guys also need a special place outside of their homes and the tavern to talk, flirt and have a little fun. After finding their homes, both are actually up for sale on a real estate sight, I found a centralized spot. Chris hangs around for Derick to close the bar and they ride bicycles through the night to this special historical home and a park. Yeah, more than talking happens here, but I’ll let you enjoy those bits firsthand.

With these extra pieces, I could complete the story. Are you exhausted yet? Overwhelmed? Yeah, so was I, but it’s so worth it in the end.

Oh, there’s a little something extra about the title – Treasure Trail. There’s two different meaning behind it. Can you figure them out?

Lemme hear from you.

Here’s another question. It goes back to the beginning of my research. There were two options I looked at while thinking about the Pub Crawl – Pirate Pub Tour or Spirits with Spirits Tour. Would you rather read all about sexy pirates or haunting ghosts? Why?

Leave a comment with your answers for a chance to win your ebook choice of my backlist books.

I hope you’ll enjoy your visit to St. Augustine, her history, lore and pirates!

 

Check out Treasure Trail today!

TreasureTrail

Dreamspinner Press
All Romance E-books
Amazon US
Goodreads
Kobo
B&N

Blurb: 

Owner of Matey’s Tavern, a popular brewpub-tavern in St. Augustine, Florida, Derick Keyes loves his adopted hometown and job. He also harbors a crush on a pirate captain.

Tour guide for the popular Pirate Pub Walking Tour, Christopher Easton portrays a pirate captain as he takes visitors on a guided tour of St. Augustine, stopping at certain taverns for a pint of grog and tales of the golden age of piracy. With a little liquid courage, Chris breaks the endless looping dance and talks to Derick. Things change between them. Derick wants a chance for more with Chris.

During the Annual Pirate Festival, Derick creates a treasure hunt for Chris after “cursing” him. To break the curse, Chris must find four clues before the final battle on Sunday night. Only then can the curse be broken.

States of Love: Stories of Romance that span every corner of the United States.

About Nicole Dennis:

A quiet one, Nicole Dennis curled up with the latest book of a favorite author. Since the beginning, there were these characters in her head, worlds wanting to be built on paper, and stories wanting to be told. She began writing during class and continues to this day. Now she can let others into her imagination and worlds that always celebrate the love between two or more people within LGBT, paranormal, and fantasy.

During the day, she works in a quiet office in Central Florida, where she also makes her home, and enjoys the down time to slip into her imagination. She is owned by a semi-demonic tortie calico, affectionately known as Fat Cat.

Contact & Media Info:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NicoleDennis.Author
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NicoleDennis.Musings/
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nicoledennis.author/
Blog: http://nicoledennisauthor.blogspot.com
Website: http://nicoledennisauthor.com
Email: nicoledennis.author@gmail.com
Twitter: @NDennis_Author
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ndennis_author/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nicoledennisaut/
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/nicoledennisauthor
GoodreadsQ&A with Nicole Dennis: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/50397-q-a-with-nicole-dennis
Goodreads Profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2791975.Nicole_Dennis

An Inappropriate Breakup by Allison Cassatta – Post + Giveaway

August 29, 2016

Allison Cassatta joins us today to share a bit about Three Little Words with us.  

An Inappropriate Breakup

It’s likely at some point in your life you’ve been the victim of a break-up. If nothing else, you’ve probably broken up with someone else. In Three Little Words, Matt comes home to an empty house and his dog locked up in the backyard. Both had been well taken care of, but left alone nonetheless. Brandon, Matt’s longtime live-in boyfriend, the man Matt planned on marrying, had left him. To make matters worse, Brandon broke up with him in a letter–as you’ll read in the excerpt. Of course, Matt’s heart was utterly destroyed, but like all good love stories, a white knight will come charging in to make things better, but you’ll have to read about that on your own. <insert cheesy grin here.>

Now, I’ve had my fair share of inappropriate break-ups, both getting and giving, but they’ve never involved a letter. In some cases, I think a letter might’ve been easier than looking someone in the eye and saying, “I’m sorry, but this isn’t working anymore.” It would’ve been easier not to have to witness the hurt there, but for me, I think I would’ve felt like a coward. My ex-boyfriend could’ve given me a letter and saved me from a lot of rage, I think. All of those breakups led to a much better future, but at the time, they really hurt.

Do you think leaving a letter is an inappropriate way to breakup with someone? How would you have handled it. Have you ever been part of an inappropriate breakup? How would you have done it differently? Tell me about it. Or tell me how you would’ve done better than a Dear John letter.

 

EXCERPT:

Taking a deep breath, Matt reached for the yellow page. He closed his eyes and exhaled slowly as he silently encouraged himself to man up and read the damn letter. In his heart, he already knew what it said. Right before he’d left for work three weeks ago, they’d gotten into a huge fight about all of his traveling. Matt tried like hell to convince Brandon that he wouldn’t go if he could make as much money staying home. Unfortunately, he couldn’t. Unfortunately, he wanted to give Brandon everything he wanted or needed, and Brandon didn’t have cheap tastes.
He flipped the page over, opened his eyes, and stared down at the writing. At first, he couldn’t focus on the words, like his brain refused to comprehend Brandon’s messy scribble. He blinked a few times, then brought the page closer to his face.
Matt,
I love you, but this isn’t working anymore. I want someone who is going to be there when I need them. I know you have to work, and maybe I’m being selfish, but this is what I need. I love you. I’ll always love you, but I need more.
Brandon
The page fell from Matt’s hand and flittered to the floor. It landed at the tips of his black steel-toed boots. He couldn’t sit down and couldn’t move from that spot despite his suddenly quivering legs. His chest ached, and his eyes burned, but he didn’t cry. Matt wouldn’t cry, and that was yet another item on the list of imperfections Brandon had so eloquently pointed out during their last screaming match.
How dare Brandon break up with him on a piece of legal paper?
Who the hell did that?
Who did Brandon think he was?
Did Matt not deserve better?
Holy shit.
Suddenly, the backs of his knees hit the edge of the bed the two of them had been sharing for the last five years. Matt wasn’t even aware of stumbling back toward it. He just found himself sitting without making a conscious choice to do so.
He rubbed his sweaty palms over his tattered, faded jeans and hung his head. As much as he’d been looking forward to being in his own bed again, there was no way in hell he could sleep without Brandon beside him. Brandon’s light snoring in his ear had become a lullaby over the years, and Brandon’s warmth against his chest as Matt spooned his lover’s back was better than any blanket.
Now it was gone.
Scrubbing his meaty, work-calloused hands against his face, he sighed and fell back on the bed. His bags were still at the front door, and Zeus was still locked up in the backyard, but Matt didn’t have the wherewithal to deal with any of it right now. Frankly, he wished he could rewind time and go back to the moment he began losing Brandon, the moment they stopped being best friends and started feeling more like acquaintances.
“Shit, I knew this was coming,” Matt muttered in realization.
Yes, he had been aware of their problems, their disconnection. He’d seen something extraordinarily different in Brandon’s otherwise light, shimmering hazel eyes during that last explosive fight. There was a foreboding darkness, and before Matt had left for his three-week stint in New Orleans, he’d felt Brandon’s distance.
The phone in his pocket started to ring, and Matt debated ignoring it. There wasn’t really anyone he needed or wanted to talk to right now—Brandon included. But the longer he lay there and let it ring, the more pissed off he became, so angry in fact, he thought he might grind his teeth down to nothing. The whole time, he hadn’t realized he was clenching his jaw so tightly.
He dipped his hand into his denim pocket and wrapped his fingers around the phone, lifted it to his face, and stared blankly at the screen. It was his mother, more than likely calling to make sure he’d made it home safely.
Great.
Now wasn’t a good time to talk to her. He could try to hide behind carefully chosen words and a flat tone of voice, but his mother was too intuitive for her own good. She could read him better than anyone. But if he didn’t answer, she would worry, maybe even come looking for him.
Time to face the music.
“Hello?” he answered with a sigh.
“You sound exhausted,” she said, voice dainty and demure. She always sounded so soft and elegant… until someone pissed her off. “Was your flight that bad, honey?”
“No, ma’am,” he softly responded. “I sat in the airport for two hours waiting for Brandon before finally calling a cab. When I got home, no one was here and Zeus was locked up in the backyard.”
“That doesn’t sound like Brandon. Is everything okay?”
Matt sat up on the bed and looked down at the curling yellow paper lying on the floor, at the angry scribbles and the way Brandon had claimed he still loved him. He pressed his elbow to his knee and rested his forehead on his palm. Closing his eyes, he exhaled slowly.
“Matty?” his mom said. The inquisitive tone of her voice, the I-know-something’s-up lilt, triggered that sensation all sons got when their mothers knew they were hiding something. “What happened, Matty?”
“He’s gone, Mom,” he said, voice low.
“Gone where?”
“I don’t know. Gone.”
“What happened?”
“He left me a letter that said he needed to go.” Matt shrugged, even though his mom couldn’t see him. “Said things weren’t working and he needed more, but he still loves me.”
“Baloney!” And there was her angry voice. “How is he going to break up with you on a damn letter and tell you he loves you?”
“I don’t know, Mom.”
“That’s just not right.”
“I know.”
“Well, what are you going to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“I found the letter ten minutes before you called. I haven’t brought Zeus in. I haven’t unpacked my bags. Honestly, I haven’t thought about anything except for the fact that I’m alone now.” Matt took another deep breath. He could feel his temper flaring, and God help him, if he got snippy with his momma over this mess, she wouldn’t let him forget it.
“Sorry,” he finally said. “I’m just tired, and I can’t deal with this crap right now.”
“Why don’t you rest, then call me when you’re feeling up to it? We’ll figure all this mess out.”
“Thanks. I love you, Mom.”
“I love you too, son. Now, get some sleep.”
“I will.”
Standing from the bed, he ended the call and tossed the phone onto his dresser, then headed out of his room, back down the hall, and into the kitchen. Zeus already sat on his haunches at the back door, staring up at the window as if he felt his master’s presence before Matt had ever entered the room. He opened the door, and the fifty-pound pit bull puppy all but leapt into his arms. At least someone was happy to see him. At least someone greeted him with kisses. Zeus wagged his tail with excitement as he licked at Matt’s face. Matt hugged the puppy tight against him, and in that moment, he finally broke down.

Check out Three Little Words today!

ThreeLittleWords

 

BLURB:

Is it better to keep some secrets locked away?

Matt thought his life was perfect, but he learns there’s no such thing when the man he planned to marry breaks his heart and leaves him holding the pieces. Needing to escape and lick his wounds, Matt heads to New England to spend time on his brother’s lobster boat. A one-night-stand proves to him that empty sex does nothing to mend old hurt, and neither does running away.

So when Matt’s best friend, Luke, a firefighter, is seriously injured, Matt steps up, even if it means facing bigotry and ignorance. Luke has been hiding his feelings from Matt all their lives, and revealing them after so many years won’t make life easier for either of them. But nothing worth having ever comes easily….

 

LINKS TO THE BOOK:

AMAZON – http://amzn.to/2azgDfH
DREAMSPINNER – https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/three-little-words-by-allison-cassatta-7378-b
BARNES & NOBLE – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/three-little-words-allison-cassatta/1115091878?ean=2940157063047
ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-threelittlewords-2085030-149.html

 

LINKS TO ALLISON:

WEBSITE – http://www.allisoncassatta.com/
FACEBOOK – http://www.facebook.com/pages/author-allison-cassatta/158938557051
TWITTER – http://twitter.com/#!/allisoncassatta
PINTREST – http://pinterest.com/allisoncassatta
GOOGLE+ – http://pinterest.com/allisoncassatta
TUMBLR – http://allisoncassatta.tumblr.com/
BLOG – http://allisoncassatta.blogspot.com/

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Coming Home to Sylvan by Jan Irving

August 27, 2016

Coming Home to Sylvan

I’m Jan Irving and a Westener as well as a long-time author. I think that’s why I love to write books set in small towns like those I experienced growing up.

Sylvan, the fictional setting for my anthology of four country stories, is actually also a real country lake town I spent summers in growing up. I walked to the well to get water. We had an outhouse, and no plumbing. You took a bath under a hose or in the lake. And when a summer storm hit, you put pillows on the windows so the glass didn’t shatter from a lightning blast.

I think that the appeal of country life is it puts us in touch with the real rhythms of life. Since I recently moved back to the country, I’m totally aware of this. Bio-regional eating? Oh, yeah. You eat what is in season out here. I go to farmer’s markets twice a week—and often just to the farmers themselves. My flowers come from roadside stands with honor system rusty cans you put your cash into. When you get hot weather, you can smell cow manure coming up from the valley.

There’s an honesty to living in tune with what is truly the real world on our planet. People are, it’s true, friendlier and likely to be a lot more nosy.

Recently I won a bouquet of flowers in the country fair. And everyone in town was saying they’d seen that picture! I had never enjoyed such publicity.

Jan Irving Contest Winner

Wilde Wunder Gardens Contest Winner Jan Irving

I first wrote the Sylvan stories, Sylvan, the story of a down-on-his-luck ex Olympic athlete named Mal and a carpenter  named Leif nine years ago when I was struggling with a diagnosis of dementia for my mother. Like the character Leif, in the story, my parent was my best friend. It hit me hard and I became pretty depressed. So I wrote the story to get some of those feelings out, letting Leif experience them. The story offered me a surprising healing.

I wrote Luke as almost a light hearted comic romance. A cowboy wakes up on a wrinkled bed with a hangover…and discovers a baby lying beside him! What now? Turns out she’s his from a one-night stand. Luke has no idea how to care for a baby. Fortunately Morgan is the town doctor in Sylvan and he offers Luke not only support but a place to live. And of course, Luke the cowboy is going to be attracted to Morgan, a polished Bostonian. Opposites attract.

Nate is another story of healing. A young cowhand helps a father with a mute son to find each other again. It’s my own favorite.

I had long wanted to write a sequel to Luke, called Luke’s Baby and see how my men were progressing. Life keeps moving on and sometimes love can be shattered. I did something terrible to my guys in the new novella and then left them to pick up the pieces. It was an intense story that had me in tears the entire time I wrote it—which was one day since I couldn’t stop writing.

Shortly after I wrote Luke’s Baby, my mother passed away. And Sylvan again offered me a lot of comfort as I did my edits and reread the stories.

I also found myself rereading classic favorite books for about a month, reaching for that solace that only books can provide.

Have readers here experienced that, gone through an intense time and only found comfort in reading? I’d love to hear your stories.

You can find me at my website: www.janirvingwrites

And on facebook: Janice Irving

Check out Sylvan today!

SylvanCollection

Blurb: 

Return to small-town Sylvan in Jan Irving’s bestselling series—reimagined and re-edited with an all-new bonus novella.

The small Western town of Sylvan is a place for new beginnings for those who won’t settle for anything less than true love. These sweet tales of slow-simmering romance and the old-fashioned values of commitment and pulling together when times get tough prove that sometimes the best matches are also the most unexpected.

With the help of a storm, a washed-up Olympic swimmer and a carpenter cracking under the strain of caring for his Alzheimer’s-affected father learn that opposites sometimes really do attract.

A likable cowboy called Happy Nate is determined to help a mute boy speak again—and to help his father move beyond the repression of the Mennonite community to find the love he deserves.

When a hard-partying cowboy is suddenly saddled with a surprise baby, he’s at his wit’s end. Luckily the local doctor is available to help, and if the two men can find the courage to accept themselves and step into a new life, they might just make a real family. They’ll need to lend each other strength when an unspeakable tragedy strikes—and when it’s time to pick up the pieces.

When Fiction Mirrors Real Life with Wade Kelly – Post + Giveaway

August 25, 2016

Wade Kelly joins us today to talk about new book “Back Off! That’s My Jock”.

When Fiction Mirrors Real Life

Thank you for stopping by Dreamspinner Press’ blog on this stop in my blog tour for my new novel, Back Off! That’s My Jock. I’ve been writing a number of character interviews in my blog tour where my characters ask the questions. For the most part, the number of questions has been limited to five. But for this guest spot, I thought I’d say a little about myself before I ask my main character, Doug Archer, to join me.

Hello. My name is Wade Kelly and I’ve been published with Dreamspinner Press since 2009. Yes, 2009. I originally wrote a novel under another pen name, but that one is out of print now. However, I have been published since then. I’ve been writing as Wade Kelly since 2011 with the novel When Love is Not Enough. I strive very strongly to write about controversial subjects and address culture and social issues in the LGBT community. When Love is Not Enough centered around gay suicide. While the other novels in my publication list are not as weighty as that one, I still try to write about subjects that are important in the world we live in. I also try to deliver a positive ending in a way that may bring hope.

I truly desire for my readers to think about the subjects in my books and not just seek to be entertained. Real life may be stranger than fiction, but fiction can also mirror real life.

Without further delay, let’s get on with the interview! Take it away Doug.

Doug: Hey. Thanks for including me again on the tour. It’s been fun so far. For those who don’t know, my name is Douglas Archer and I am the main character in Back Off! That’s My Jock. If you don’t know what the book is about and you haven’t read the other blog posts on the tour here is the blurb…

Defining his sexuality didn’t make sense until his best friend spelled it out.

Doug Archer did some pretty idiotic things in the first eight weeks of his junior year of college. First, he kissed his gay best friend, and second, he kissed a guy he’d mistaken for a girl. Not stellar moments for Doug. If he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his spot on the soccer team to the new freshman, or worse, he might misconstrue his new friend Rob’s overly affectionate tendencies for flirting. But if Doug isn’t bothered by another guy’s attention, and he normally dates girls, does that mean he’s gay or bisexual?

Sam Garber suppressed his same-sex attraction his entire life. His father told him it was immoral, and Sam did everything he could to bury his feelings. However, after meeting Doug at a party and kissing him, Sam can’t think of anything else. He decides dating girls is the best way to keep his secret hidden. With playoffs in sight, this is no time to think about guys in any other context than soccer. Only, neither boy anticipates the difficulty in suppressing his attraction for another jock!

Doug: So as you can see, this book is about me and my confusion over falling for Sam. I hope you like the story. I think it ends well, but I’m bias. Now, let’s get on with the interview before I ramble too long. Hey Wade, why don’t you start by telling the readers a little about yourself. Is there something they don’t know?

Wade: I hated reading when I was younger. I never wanted to read anything in school until I was allowed to chose my own book from the library and write a report. ANY BOOK. I chose The Black Caldron by Lloyd Alexander. It was the second book in a series and I didn’t care because it was the first book I got to choose in school. I had never read anything like it and from there I went on to read R.A. Salvatore, David Eddings, and Tad Williams in my late teens/early twenties.

Doug: I didn’t expect that answer, but I guess I understand. I’m not a big reader like my friend Chris. Have you written any science fiction books or all your stories contemporary romance?

Wade: As a matter of fact, some are not contemporary romance! This may also be news to some readers, but I started out writing sci-fi/fantasy. I wanted to create something between Star Wars and Sleepless in Seattle, so I messed around with mixing genres. I loved dwarves and elves and sword fights from the stories I read in my twenties, but I never got enough romance in strictly science fiction/ fantasy novels. I decided to write my own blend of sci-fi and romance roughly titled Escaping Reality. When I wrote it, it was 285,000 words. Technically, that was enough for a trilogy so I took it apart and planned on writing a series. It has never gotten farther than that, sadly. One day!

Doug: I look forward to that. If you were to spend time with one of the characters from your book, who would it be? And feel free to include the elves and dwarves too.

Wade: *chuckles* If it were an elf, it would be Drizzt Do-Urden from R. A. Salvatore’s Series. But If the character had to be one of mine, I’d have to say I’m quite fond of Sam.

Doug: Hey, now! Don’t forget he’s my love interest in this book.

Wade: Ah, but that’s why I wrote him the way he is. I wanted to create someone for you who complimented you. You Doug, are the tough guy. You’re strong physically as well as emotionally. You’ve never been afraid to be yourself…. Well, until now maybe. I created Sam to bring to the surface your tender side. And Sam, he’s my broken character who needs a Knight in shining armor. He’s my favorite character in this book. But if you want me to pick someone else to spend the day with, I choose Darian Weston from When Love is Not Enough & The Cost of Loving. He’s someone else I wrote as a broken soul who needed a champion. I just love those kind of characters.

Doug: Next question. Is there something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

Wade: Yes. I was told one of my stories was a mirror of a fan and their partner. That partner had passed away, so that fan truly appreciated my story because both main characters were the two of them—personalities, etc.—so it was like a tribute. When I write, I never know if people will like the story or not. So when that fan made me cry with their words of appreciation, it made writing it worth it! No matter what people say about that story, good or bad, I know I touched one person deeply and for that I am grateful.

Wade: As I have done in other interview guest blogs, I get to ask one question of my interviewer. So Doug, what do you think the moral or lesson in my story was?

Doug: No comment.

Wade: Oh, come on.

Doug: Don’t act stupid. No, seriously… I guess the moral is not to be afraid of who you are. Even if you are normally self-assured like I am, there are still secrets in our hearts that can be difficult to expose. Trust your friends to have your back, and don’t be afraid to be who you are. Gay, Bi, Trans, questioning, whatever is in your soul—you are who you are. The world can be scary, but it’s not a guarantee. There are people out there to support you. Find them! Don’t hide.

Wade: Thanks Doug. That’s what I was trying to say. I hope the story conveys that. As a wrap-up, I want to let readers know about prizes!

Giveaway Time!

I, Wade Kelly, will be giving away one GRAND PRIZE (items listed below) and three runner up prizes of a $10 gift card for Amazon. What you need to do is leave a comment on the blog post. ALL comments are logged for a chance at the prizes. ONLY those who leave a comment on ALL eleven blog stops will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Last time I think there were 15 people in the Grand Prize drawing.

Note: If we’ve never chatted and you aren’t on Facebook, it is a good idea to leave an e-mail address because I need to know how to reach you. If I can’t, and I reply to your comment on the blog post that you’ve won but don’t hear from you, I have to give the prize to the next person on my list. Each comment gets you a chance in the drawing. If you leave one on each, that is eleven entries PLUS you are listed in the Grand Prize drawing. For a reminder of the rules, and where I’m stopping next, visit my blog post HERE.

 

Grand Prize includes all of the following:

  1. One of my famous spoons in the colors of your choice

  2. A $10 gift card from Amazon

  3. One paperback signed from my back list (Not counting JOCK 3)

  4. An e-book copy of JOCK 4, when it comes out.

  5. And last, but not least, a soccer jersey for the player of your choice from the players in JOCK 3. (I’ll list them on my website along with pictures of the jerseys. They come in adult S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, & 4XL)

So there you go. If you have any questions, please let me know. Comment here or email me: writerwadekelly@gmail.com

 

Wade Kelly on Tour

July 27th – Caraway Carter’s Wednesday Walkabout
August 1st – Jeff and Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast.
August 17th – 2 Chicks Obsessed
August 19th – Prism Alliance
August 22nd – Love Bytes Reviews
August 24th – Ashley John’s blog
August 25th – DSP’s Blog
August 26th – Release Day! I’m on Elisa Rolle’s blog
August 29th – Joyfully Jay
August 30th – Long & Short Reviews
August 31st – TTC Books & More
September 2nd – MM Good Book Reviews

Thank you for stopping by! I can be found:

Web: www.writerwadekelly.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wadekellywriter
Face book Fan group, The Wade Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/groups/247976895406172/
Blog: writerwadekelly.blogspot.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterWadeKelly
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writerwadekelly/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5141623.Wade_Kelly
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/writerwadekelly/

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Bio:

Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it’s not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Wade writes passionately about controversial issues and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. There is a lot of pain in the world and people need hope. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her children. She likes snakes, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry.

 

Check out Back Off! That’s My Jock today!

BackOffThatsMyJock

Friday the 13th and Other Superstitions with Sean Michael

August 20, 2016

 Friday the 13th

In The Luckiest Master, Saw is very superstitious. In fact, he believes that he himself is bad luck, that anything he touches turns to ashes. So I’ve been talking about luck and superstitions a lot when talking about the book.

I myself am not very superstitious and I believe you make your own luck. However, there are a few little superstitions that I tend to follow. Firstly, for me a Friday the 13th is lucky – I did an exam on Friday the 13th in 7th grade got a perfect score. Ever since I love Friday the 13th. Often I’ll buy a lotto ticket if it happens to be a Friday the 13th. Especially if the drawing is the same evening.

The other one is from the adage – see a penny pick it up, pocket it and have good luck (I have heard a number of different variances on this.) I have always picked a penny up when I see it on the ground and pocketed it for good luck. Of course now that we did away with the penny here in Canada, it might be even luckier, because you’re not nearly as likely to see one on the ground.

What superstitions do you follow? Do you know where the superstition came from? Do you believe in it or are you just in the habit and/or paying lip service to it?

Saw’s superstition about himself has been several years in the making and it goes deep, so it’s going to take some work from Day to convince Saw that it’s just not true, that Saw isn’t a bad luck charm.

 

Excerpt:

Day locked the office door and waited for Saw to collect his things so Day could take him out to dinner. It was after nine, and he didn’t know about Saw, but Day was starving. He wanted something big and meaty with a bunch of sides. He wouldn’t say no to a drink, either. But he’d need to be back early tomorrow, so it was probably wiser not to indulge.

He was looking forward to more than just the food, though. He wanted to get to know Saw better. He knew Saw had lost his master to a nasty car crash several years ago and that he was old enough that the younger subs considered him “old.” But that was about it.

Saw seemed quiet, gentle, and preternaturally efficient. Tall and lean, he had a runner’s body, cropped white-blond hair, a neatly trimmed beard, and icy gray eyes that seemed to see everything. Day found himself fascinated. He wondered what the man was like as a sub. From the gossip he’d heard, though he tried very hard to discourage gossip and not to listen to it, Saw had not taken on a new master, hadn’t even gone to anyone for occasional scenes.

It seemed very lonely.

“Thank you for waiting,” Saw said, zipping up his light coat. “I appreciate it.”

“No problem.” He nodded to the night-shift clerk, a huge sub with great big rippling muscles. It would take an idiot to mess with Serge, which was why he was the one who worked nights.

“What kind of food do you like?” he asked as they exited the gym.

“I’m easy, sir. What’s your pleasure?” The words sounded comfortable in Saw’s mouth.

“Well, I’m starving. So tonight I’d like a plate with a huge steak, potatoes, and lots of vegetables. Maybe a salad.” Day didn’t need fancy, he needed filling. And good. “I’m not really picky, and most of the time I’m happy to explore. Just not when I’m this hungry.”

“Of course. Lead the way.”

So self-contained, like there was nothing but this moment with Saw.

 

Check out The Luckiest Master today!

LuckiestMaster[The]_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

When Master Damien Richardson (Day to his friends) takes over the front desk manager job at the Iron Eagle Gym, he knows he’s going to need an assistant. But finding the right person for the job is harder than he thought it would be. When he meets Saw, he thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, and maybe something more.

Sawyer Whitehead lost his master to a tragic car accident some years ago, and since then one opportunity after another has gone sour on him. Thoroughly convinced he’s cursed and a jinx to everything and everyone he touches, he refuses to officially become Day’s assistant because he knows that as soon as he does, something terrible will happen. He’s even more determined not to get involved with Day, despite his attraction, because it would kill him to be responsible for tragedy befalling the lovely man.

Day must convince Saw that he’s not cursed and that together, they can face any challenge that comes their way—in both their professional and personal partnerships.

 

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press

All Romance Ebooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Bio:

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com
BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/
TWITTER: seanmichael09

 

What’s Cooking with Lex Chase! Recipe + Giveaway

August 18, 2016

 UrbanFairyTale_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeed

Hello, everyone! I’m Lex Chase and today I’m here to dish about my new release Urban Fairy Tale!

Urban Fairy Tale is the grand finale to the Screw-up Princess and Skillful Huntsman Trilogy where our heroes dude Princess Taylor Hatfield and his true love jackass Huntsman Corentin Devereaux take one last journey to save all of Enchant kind.

The villain of the series is Taylor’s brother, Atticus Hatfield who is generation’s current Snow White. And with Snow White, comes the iconic apple. Atticus himself is actually allergic to apples and all things apple related. From the fruit itself, to the pectin, to even the very scent of apple potpourri.

However, fairy tales are full of sweets from cakes and cookies, to gingerbread houses to lure in unsuspecting children.

How about this sweet and deadly treat to stop Snow White in his tracks? Why don’t you try to save the world with my grandmother’s very own applesauce cake? Enjoy this wicked delight!

 

Applesauce_Cake

 

Applesauce Cake by Phyllis Emerson

Cream:

1 cup sugar

½ cup Crisco (aka shortening)

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground cloves

1 cup chopped raisins

Dissolve 1 tsp baking soda in ¼ cup hot water.

Stir into 1 cup cooked sour applesauce.

Mix with sugar and spices.

Add 1 ¾ cup flour.

Mix well and bake for 40 minutes.

 

Do you have a favorite dessert? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to click the graphic to enter the giveaway!

 

Check out Urban Fairy Tale today!

 

Author Bio:

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, she has intense emotions about Hannibal’s Hannigram, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.

Flying Fish: Hi, I’m Sedonia and I’m a Yaoi Freak.

August 17, 2016

Sedonia Guillone and I'm a Yaoi Freak

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to become a part of Dreamspinner Press! Thank you for coming to check out my guest post. It was a great day when I got the acceptance e-mail for my Sword and Silk series. My name is Sedonia Guillone. (I’m the person underneath. Sitting on my back is my cat, Molly Kaufman. She likes to climb on  my back if I happen to bend over while I’m working at the counter, lol).

I’ve been writing M/M since 2006, beginning with my multicultural contemporary, Danny’s Dragon. That’s when I got hooked on writing in this genre. Until then, I had built up a backlist that consists of plenty of M/F and M/F/M ménages both historical and contemporary, such as Manwich and Lady of Two Lairds. But once I got bit by the M/M bug, those stories began pouring out from under my pen, especially yaoi inspired stories set in both feudal Japan and modern-day Tokyo (for example my White Tigers series which features a cast of hot guys who live and work together in a men’s hotel in Shinjuku ni-Chome, Tokyo’s swanky gay quarter.)

Flying Fish and the two following stories (upcoming from DSP, of course!), Blind Love and Blossom of the Samurai are the only exclusively samurai historical novellas I’ve written. I wrote a couple of short stories of very high heat level in my backlist some years ago, but these are stories of epic love, enduring loyalty beyond human endurance and the power of love to bring about redemption and soul-healing. In each story, a masterless samurai has given his heart to his beloved and nothing will stop him from ensuring that love survives and flourishes.

I hope you’ll want to read Flying Fish and that if you do, you’ll love it. Have you ever read samurai stories before and if so, how did you enjoy them? I’d love to hear from you and please keep in touch. You can find me at my website: www.sedoniaguillone.com

Blog: www.sedoniaguillone.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sedonia.guillone
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SedoniaGuillone
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/915705.Sedonia_Guillone

All the best, Sedonia

Check out Flying Fish today!

FlyingFish_postcard_front_DSP

Blurb:

In eighteenth century Japan, during the golden age of samurai and of the Kabuki theater, young actors known as “flying fish” traveled the countryside, performing for audiences by day and giving their bodies to their samurai patrons at night.

Genji Sakura is one such flying fish, yet he dreams of finding the man he can give his heart to and leave the loneliness of his itinerant life behind. Though he loves theater, he doesn’t love every part of his profession, especially some of the patrons. So when a handsome ronin comes upon him stealing some solitude for a bath in a hot spring and their encounter turns passionate, Genji’s surprised and delighted.

Daisuke Minamoto’s past fills his life with a bitterness that grips his soul and makes him dangerous. Yet passion takes him when he spies on a graceful young man bathing naked in a hot spring. He has always loved women, but he can’t deny the call of his heart.

After an afternoon of sexual bliss, his heart and soul are tormented and torn. Keeping this miraculous lover will require giving up the one thing that has kept him alive for years: his hatred for the lord who murdered his wife. If he loves another, how will he go on and who will he become?

A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.

Real World: Dan and Weldon with BA Tortuga

August 13, 2016

Today, Real World’s Dan and Weldon drop by for an interview with BA Tortuga.

Dan and Weldon

 

Hey y’all, it’s BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things cowboy and redneck.

Stares at Dan and Weldon. Okay, y’all. Make with the cute.

Dan: Whut?

Weldon: She means pretend that we’re all classy and shit, honey. Like romantic heroes.

Dan: Didn’t I give that up when I left the service?

Weldon shrugs: It’s our job, apparently. We’re supposed to be swoon worthy.

Jakob: Dad, did you just say swoon worthy?

Weldon: I totally did. It’s completely on fleek.

Jakob: Oh my god. I’m totally out of here.

Dan: Babe, what’s a fleek?

Weldon grins: Something that makes my kids roll their eyes and run for the hills. I intend to use it daily.

Dan: You know, cowboy. Kissing me does the same thing and it’s way more fun.

Weldon: And it’s probably fleeky too.

Ta da. My boys.

 

Much love, y’all.

BA

Check out Real World today!

RealWorld_postcard_front_DSP

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
All Romance Ebooks

 

Blurb:

A Love is Blind Novel

Dan White is trying to acclimate to civilian life after a long career in the military with multiple combat deployments.

Now he’s home in the Austin area, living with his brother Dixon, Dixon’s husband, Audie, and their two nine-year-olds. During the New Year celebration, Dan meets Abraham Weldon, and the connection is instant.

There’s a kiss. There’s a dance. There’s a proposition.

Then Dan finds out Weldon is bisexual.

And a dad.

With five kids. Five kids, one of whom is a blind fifteen-year-old.

Weldon has been in love twice in his life—with his high school best friend, Blake, and with his wife, Krista, who he met in a Dairy Queen as she was crying over a positive pregnancy test. Love number three hits Weldon like a hammer when he meets Dan.

But since Dan isn’t interested in a guy with kids, they might only get one night together.

 

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com

 

Tia Fielding: My Dreamspinner Journey So Far

August 10, 2016

Tia Fielding joins us today to chat about hew new book One Step Forward.

My Dreamspinner Story So Far

In 2010, I had been writing fan fiction for a while. I loved to write, and I’d been doing it as an escape of my problems with depression, anxiety, and ADHD. I’d been studying business—that’s the closest I can easily describe it in English anyway—and it hadn’t quite panned out for me. I’d loved some of the studies, but the depression had snuck back up on me and there I was, unable to study or maintain a day job.

The fan fiction I wrote was 95% slash, meaning male/male pairings. At some point I figured, hey, there has to be actual books, original stories, out there, right? Some of the people I knew in fan fiction circles wrote original stuff and a couple of them got publishing deals, and I started to wonder, what if…?

I think I found Dreamspinner Press quite randomly. I started to read their books and gaze upon the submission calls page longingly every now and then. I realized they were awesome as a publisher, I never read a “bad book” by them, and they sort of became the ideal for me when it came to gay romance.

One day I saw a call for submissions for a cowboy themed anthology. It was immediate, how I got the idea and started writing, thinking I’d never get in but what the heck, at least they might give me feedback. I wrote a story called Auld Lang Syne, sent it to Dreamspinner, and pretty much forgot about it.

I got a reply many, many weeks later. They said they didn’t want the story for the anthology. My heart was crushed, but then I read the rest of that email. They wanted to know if I’d let them publish the story as a standalone instead, outside the anthology.

Now, for those out there not familiar with the publishing side of things, anthologies make very little money for the authors of the stories. More authors, less money to divide between them, and you pretty much end up one of many inside the theme, especially if you’re a new author. Being published separately means people notice you. You get all the royalties from the story for yourself. I jumped up and down, and answered yes as soon as humanly possible.

Before Auld Lang Syne came out, another story of mine beat it to it. Unwind was published part of the 2011 Daily Dose which was all about first times, whatever that meant. A bit over a month later Auld Lang  Syne was published, and there it was, the elusive writing thing had finally “paid off,” if only in a small way.

Because my writing original fiction had kicked up a notch and I’d produced my first novel in November of 2010 during NaNoWriMo, the next book of mine that got published was By Any Other Name. That book has many fans who tell me about their love for it still, and I find that miraculous in itself. My very first novel and people love it five years later? Yeah, whoa.

In 2012 I had six releases, in 2013 three (two of those were novels), and in 2014 two (both novels, one of which I co-wrote with Anna Martin who I’d originally met during the fan fiction days and who still is one of my best friends.) Things had started to wind down for me. The depression was getting worse and worse, and that had started to affect my muses in a way I hadn’t expected. I had to give away all my deadlines, knowing I wouldn’t make them anyway. That felt like giving up, but it was all I could do at that point.

Things got pretty bad, writing wise. Last year, I only had one release, the short story Up To Boil, once again part of the Daily Dose anthology. My mental health had rendered me incapable of doing the one thing I now knew was the thing I wanted to do with my life: writing.

I had an old story, all the way back to the very beginning of my writing career, that I’d never finished. Around the end of 2015 I took a look at that story and decided it was time to write the rest of it. It took me surprisingly little time to finish it, and a whole lot of editing and pre-reading by friends and beta readers, but I managed to submit it to Dreamspinner Press in a timely manner (I’d asked for a deadline for it, just so I had a schedule for the story if they wanted to publish it.)

By some miracle, they wanted the story. It had a different name originally, but we changed it into One Step Forward during editing. It was a tricky story to write, which meant it had been more than five years coming. It was even trickier to finish, in some way, because one of the main themes in the story is depression and the long road to recovery. I wasn’t there with the recovery, myself, still aren’t, so it took some wrestling with my head to get it done but there it is!

I guess finishing the old story kicked up my writing again, because somehow I ended up claiming a state for the States of Love collection and wrote a story about Colorado with surprisingly little effort. That story is now in the editing stages, and I’m writing a story for the World of Love collection, too. Because I’m from Finland, still live here, I wanted to write the World of Love story for my country. Fingers crossed I make yet another deadline in a long row of many yet to come!

For me, writing has always been a part of me. It’s my identity, a thing that nurtures me. When depression gets the best of my writing muse, it gets worse. On those times when the depression lessens, my muses perk up and I manage to write some. After I write, I feel better, and the depression takes a step back. So far those steps have been temporary, but let’s hope I’ll manage to kick this thing enough to be able to write full time one day!

In any case, my journey with Dreamspinner Press has been nothing short of wonderful. Once, I never thought they’d want to publish me, and yet here I am, five years, seven novels, and many other stories later, and still feel like part of the family.

Thanks for reading my books and this blog post! I hope you enjoy One Step Forward, and the Finland story whenever that one comes out. In the name of writing about my home, I wanted to ask you this:

If I—or any other foreigner—came to your home town, what would you show me?

For me, the obvious choice would be the nature around where I live. Like in the above picture of me. That is from a place called Koli, which is one of Finland’s national landscapes and definitely one of my go-to spots if I ever got a foreign visitor!

Come find me on social media:

Website –  http://www.tiafielding.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authortiafielding
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tiafielding
Instagram: https://twitter.com/tiafielding

Check out One Step Forward today!

OneStepForward_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

Sam Becker, a horse whisperer, agrees to take one last job before retiring to his Texas ranch. It’s clear as soon as he meets the Taylor family in Kentucky that he’s in for a challenge. What he doesn’t expect is the way his own wounds reopen. He’s never really dealt with the suicide of his mentally ill wife, and he won’t be able to ignore that hurt forever.

Joshua Taylor and his horse, Calla, were a force to be reckoned with on the eventing circuit until an accident ended their careers. Most of the pain is on the inside, however, and Sam knows those injuries are the slowest to mend. Sam’s unique methods help Calla and, surprisingly, Josh, but he’s still lost without riding. Their feelings for each other come hard and fast, and Josh starts his first steps of recovery, but Sam needs to return to Texas eventually. Even if Josh is able to move past the accident, they’ll still have a long and difficult journey to make before they can be together.

 

About Tia:

Tia Fielding is a thirtysomething Scandinavian who is a lover of witty people, words, cats, sarcasm, autumn, and the tiny beautiful things in life. Tia struggles with stubborn muses and depression, but both are things she has learned to live with. Tia identifies as genderqueer, but isn’t strict about pronouns. Why? Because luckily, in her native language there aren’t gender-specific pronouns. Being a reclusive author living with her fur-babies is another fact of life for Tia, among the need to write that seems to be a part of her psyche.

Tia Fielding

Hot Summer, Cool Reads with Vicki Reese

August 9, 2016

Vicki Reese joins us today to talk about her new book, What the Carpenter Saw.

Hot Summer, Cool Reads

 

Hi all! I’m Vicki Reese, a new to Dreamspinner author and I’m really excited to be part of this amazing group of authors. So, pull up a chair, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, put your feet up and relax and we’ll chat a bit.

There, isn’t that better?

Like other authors I’m here to tell you a little about me and a little about my book, What the Carpenter Saw.

Right now it’s mid-summer where I am and hot as blazes with high humidity (about 93 degrees F with 95% humidity). Ugh. Thank goodness for AC – and ice, especially in my tea. I’m partial to either English Breakfast or Green Mint. Or I make my own with homegrown mint – they call it “Meadow Tea” in these parts, but I just call it good. It’s really refreshing on a hot day. Sometimes, I just toss pieces of frozen lemons and some fresh ginger into water along with some ice. What’s your favorite beverage on a hot day?

I live in a small town in Amish country, which was the inspiration for my story. I’ve never lived in a big town. Okay, not never, but even the “big city” I lived in for a very short time was actually rather small by most standards. I’m a country girl at heart, and so is my character, Jake Cramer. I love the slower pace of a small town. For us, taking twenty minutes to get from one end of town to the other is a huge traffic jam. And we can always avoid the main drag by taking the back roads around it. There’s nothing like driving through fields waving with ripening wheat, pale green spikes of corn coming up, cows and mules chewing the grasses in their fields. Though I will admit that the “aromas” aren’t always mouthwatering (more like eyes tearing up). I have to laugh when I see air fresheners with “Fresh Country Scent” as their title. The people who name it obviously haven’t ever been to the country when the farmers have just fertilized the fields with manure, or had to scrub skunk from their dog. Not the best smell in the world.

Big cities may have their neon lights and excitement, but for me, that doesn’t compare to sitting on the front porch swing at dusk watching the fireflies blinking through the yards or seeing the real stars up in the sky.

But just because we’re small doesn’t mean we don’t have our troubles. They just may not be as prevalent as in bigger cities, but we have them. And that was the basis for my story. Drugs, theft, murder – we have them here too, unfortunately. But when you have a good support system, as my characters Alex and Jake do, it can mean everything.

I hope you enjoy reading “What the Carpenter Saw” as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

 

JAKE CRAMER stared out the kitchen window at the thick woods behind his dad’s house. A mixture of brilliantly colored hardwoods and evergreens edged with a gurgling stream—so different from the harsh rock and sand of the Middle East. Though he wasn’t cold, he shivered a little as wisps of steam rose from the water, forming tendrils of icy fog along the bank. Frost had coated the lawn and garden overnight and was still visible in the areas the sun hadn’t yet touched. South Central Pennsylvania was so much better than the Middle East, and he loved the small town of Robinwood. It was the kind of place where you knew your neighbors and the shopkeepers by their first names. The kind of place that was great to grow up in, raise a family in. The kind of place it was good to come back to.

“Jake? You okay?” his dad, Micah, aka Big Mike, asked.

Mike came to stand next to him as Jake nodded. “Yeah. Just looking at the trees. I missed this when I was over there.”

“I know what you mean. Though where I was stationed wasn’t as bad as Afghanistan, I can’t say I was fond of the desert when I was there.” His dad clapped him on the shoulder, and Jake fought back a wince. The scars there still bothered him, but he refused to let it show.

His dad handed him a coffee thermos. “You ready to get to work? Your brother’s already on his way.”

Jake nodded and turned from the view. His dad had served in the Gulf War. Different area, same scenery. The Pennsylvania landscape held Jake’s heart. And work with the family construction company was exactly what he needed. Hammers and saws and wood. Building things, not blowing them up or shooting them full of holes. Though coming home hadn’t been easy. His family, especially his mom, had coddled him to the point of smothering him. He loved them all dearly, but he also needed to find his own way. It was slow, but he was getting there. “I’m coming. We working on the Johnson place today? I’ve got the cabinets ready to go in.”

“No. There’s a delay on the flooring for the kitchen. We’re working the McKenzie lot today. I want to get it under roof before the cold sets in. Sam will handle the crew there. I need you to go to the old Wilson place and make a list of what we’ll need to do there and in what order. The new owner wants to do a complete overhaul. He’s turning the old mansion into a B and B. I’ll meet you there after I do a supply run for your brother.”

“Works for me.” Jake shivered and grabbed his heavy jacket from the peg next to the back door as Mike opened it. Though he’d been back for a month, the cold October air still chilled him after the heat of the Middle East. Even with the cold, he’d rather be working a site than doing paperwork, but Mike was the boss, and Jake didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter.

The chill also made his left arm and leg ache more. At least, what was left of his leg. Because of his injuries, he could no longer do ladder work, definitely not roofing. He was still too unsteady to work a sloping roof. But honestly, he didn’t mind too much. The awkwardness and pain meant he had most of his leg, unlike a lot of other servicemen and women he knew. Sure, metal held parts of it together and it ended below the knee, but that was enough for him to get around with a prosthetic. He rarely needed to use the hated wheelchair anymore. As for his arm, it still worked, sort of. Just not nearly as well as before. Heavy scar tissue and tendon damage made it more of something to fill his sleeve than an actual working arm, though the therapists said he would get some use back the more he worked it. But he’d lived, unlike two other members of his team. And it was also the reason he was stuck doing estimates instead of site work.

(For the full excerpt, click HERE and click on the excerpt link)

 

Check out What the Carpenter Saw today!

 

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Blurb:

Wounded warrior Jake Cramer returned from the Middle East missing part of one leg and with a partially paralyzed left arm. He feels useless in his family’s construction business, but carpentry is all he knows. He needs to relearn how to work and how to live. He can’t even consider finding a man to love. Who would want him this way?

Alex Ford is a top-of-the-line architect who’s tired of big cities and wants to settle down, maybe run a small inn. The mansion he inherited from his grandparents might be the ticket to his dream, but it needs a lot of work. When he meets the handsome builder, he knows he’s made the right decision. He just needs to convince Jake that his scars don’t matter. Unfortunately, Alex’s greedy family has other ideas, and they’re determined to ruin Alex’s plans and take the inheritance for themselves—even if they have to kill to do it.

Bio:

Vicki Reese has been married forever to the one person who accepts that she lives in a fantasy world most of the time. She’s even been seen at the beach building worlds for her stories out of sand. In addition to creating fun characters, fantasy worlds, and suspenseful situations, she also enjoys and is very good at things like writing policy and procedures manuals and setting up continuity and organizational spreadsheets, both of which she has actually earned money doing. She has a master’s degree in library science so likes things organized. Okay, so her family thinks having the spice rack alphabetized it a bit much, but she has no trouble finding what she needs when she needs it. And just because her extensive library is cataloged and organized, that doesn’t mean she’s obsessive. Honest. When not writing, Vicki works as an editor, helping other authors with their manuscripts. When not doing either one of those, she can be found in the kitchen whipping up gluten-free, lactose-free, other allergy-free meals for her family. Or watching the world go by from her front porch swing.

Where to find Vicki:

Website: http://www.vickireese.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoria
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorVictoria