Taming the Wyld: In the Name of Research with Lucie Archer – Post + Giveaway

September 20, 2016

Taming the Wyld: In the Name of Research

Hello everyone! I’m Lucie Archer, another States of Love author here, and today I thought I’d offer a little insight into a few things I learned while writing Taming the Wyld. But first I should probably start with a little background since I’m new around here.

When I stumbled on the open call for the series, I wasn’t exactly looking to write my first novella. I had just begun researching publishers for the book I wrote for NaNoWriMo, but as soon as I saw the word Alaska, the idea for the book formed in my mind and I couldn’t shake it. I took a leap of faith, sent in my claim, received the go ahead, and immediately set out to write. Or rather, I started scouring the web in the name of research.

As a self-proclaimed nerd who loves learning, nothing gets me more excited when starting a new project than the research I know will go into it. I get to learn all sorts of things I wouldn’t have thought to look up otherwise, and then I get to mash them together and sprinkle them into a nice plot with handsome guys and call it a day. What’s not to love?

So without further ado, here are the top five things I learned about the great state of Alaska:

1) It’s not a frozen wasteland

This might seem obvious, but I’m a bit guilty of associating snow with Alaska. It does snow there, A LOT, but the summer temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which sound like heaven to me to a Texan like me. There are also vast acres of green forests teeming with life, but I bet when you hear the word Alaska, the first images that form in your mind are of their infamous glaciers and near-frozen animals trudging through snow. Maybe even a random polar bear or two.

Taming the Wyld is set during the summer months, and there are scenes involving a few lakes and natural forests, but there is also talk of polar bears, in particular the fascinating factoid Jake, my MC, mentions on the connection of polar bears and Sasquatch.

2) Glacier ice is blue

While not necessarily restricted to Alaska, even though it has around 100,000 glaciers, this is a little tidbit I did not know. Glaciers are huge, which means they weigh tons and tons. All this weight puts pressure on the ice molecules and essentially changes them. This change affects the light waves they reflect and absorb, and because of this [insert long-winded scientific explanation] they appear as a beautiful blue.

3) Alaska is the biggest state with one of the smallest populations

This is probably another intuitive fact some may know, but I thought I’d provide a little comparison to illustrate the point. Alaska is twice the size of my home state of Texas, but there are more people living in my hometown of Fort Worth, almost 800,000, than there are in the whole state. That doesn’t even include the rest of the crowded DFW metroplex that I’m used to, which contains over 6.5 million people.

In contrast, the fictional town of Two Pines in Taming the Wyld has about 600 residents. I can really relate to JD, my second MC. He’s from Los Angeles, and I had fun toying with his culture shock.

4) Boomtowns

Like with many western states in the US, Alaska had its fair share of gold rushes in the 1800’s. During my research on geography, I came across many towns, or former towns, that once burst at the seams with thousands of people but now currently boast populations of a hundred or less. And some, maybe most, are now ghost towns.

Why did I bother mentioning this? Because I’m a huge history nerd who loves boomtowns, and there is also a very real and possibly haunted hotel by a hot spring Jake and JD visit in the book. The town of Circle, Alaska, where the hotel is located, started as a mining supply town.

And finally…

5) The indigenous history

I can’t go into much about this because there were so many different indigenous populations in Alaska, and I don’t have time to cover them all in a blog post. I’m half Native American myself, and I kind of wanted to pay tribute to that history with Denny, who is half Alaska Native as well as Jake’s best friend and co-pilot.

In the book, Denny makes Jake and JD Eskimo ice cream, or Akutaq, which is a native dish traditionally made with whipped fat mixed with berries, fish, greens, and sometimes reindeer. Not sure how good that sounds to most of our modern day American pallets, but it was a staple for thousands of years for native inhabitants.

And there you have it, a crash course on Alaska that should wet your whistle until you can pick up a copy of my debut novella!

Check out Taming the Wyld today!

Taming of the Wyld by Lucie Archer


The Witness Protection Program dumps JD Smith practically at the ends of the earth—in Two Pines, Alaska—to protect him until he can testify against a dangerous gang. He tries to stick to his story and keep his head down, but it’s impossible to ignore bush pilot Jake Wylder, a sexy loner with quite a reputation around the small town.

Flying medical supplies around Alaska suits Jake’s wild streak and love of freedom. He’s perfectly content to keep his romantic encounters casual—at least until he meets JD. Something about the nurse makes Jake think settling down might not be such a hardship. Now he just needs to convince JD he’s serious—which won’t be easy, given his past.

For a relationship to stand a chance, JD must testify so he can return to Two Pines as the man he really is—and Jake must grow into the man JD needs him to be.


Dreamspinner Press


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Meet Lucie:

Lucie Archer is a student of the universe who is obsessed with the stars, in love with beaches, and crazy about dudes falling in love. Her weaknesses include a big heart, the sun, self-doubt, and kryptonite… probably. Not the exact recipe for a supervillain, but she has plans to take over the world nonetheless.

Her first foray into nonacademic writing started with fanfiction—hardly an original origin story—but after a few years of honing her craft with other people’s characters, she realized she was perfectly capable of creating her own. Her underground lair, somewhere in Texas, is now overflowing with them as she prepares to unleash them on an unsuspecting world one book at a time.

As a realist, she works hard to write stories that are as honest and accurate as possible, regardless of whether that means staying up till 5:00 a.m. researching circumcision in the Ol’ West or refusing to quit until she knows exactly what the runway in Circle Hot Springs, Alaska, consists of. (It’s gravel, in case you were wondering.)

When she’s not writing, she can be found tending to her garden, playing with her four-legged children, procrastinating, or planning world domination. Although she does spend an awful lot of time fending off random plot bunnies that threaten to derail her WIPs.

Website & blog: www.luciearcher.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/luciearcherwrite
Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/writerluciearcher
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Lucie_Archer

David, Renewed: Coming Home by Diana Copland

September 19, 2016

Coming Home


Hi! My name is Diana Copland, and my new release coming out through Dreamspinner is David, Renewed.

I don’t know how many people remember this, but the very first time I was  published was at Dreamspinner Press. I wrote a short story called ‘The Four Seasons’ for the Sindustry I anthology. Man, was I a nervous wreck over sending in that story. I liked the story of the high end rent boy and the fledgling lawyer, but you never know how someone else is going to feel about what you write. When I got the email telling me that my story was being included in the anthology, I made a noise that was a cross between a squeak and a scream, and my daughter, who was in the other room, knew without being told what had happened. I was a published writer; the dream of a lifetime was being fulfilled. It was a heady moment.  If I remember correctly, it was 2007.

I’ve been published other places, good and bad, but I’ve never forgotten that it was Dreamspinner who gave me my first chance. David, Renewed, the book I have coming out on September 21, grew out of what was supposed to be a short story for another Dreamspinner anthology. I hadn’t written anything in two years as I began it. Life, unfortunately, had gotten in the way of my career. It’s kind of a long story, and I won’t go into detail, but I lost both of my parents, my dad to Alzheimer’s. Every bit a creativity you might have can be dried to a husk while watching someone you love disappear a piece at a time.  That’s what happened to me. I was really afraid I’d never tell another story.

Then I saw Dreamspinner’s submission call for short stories about Blue Collar heroes, and for the first time in a very long time, and little ember of interest sparked to flame inside of me. I began the story of a man who lost his home when his lover cheated on him. The condo they shared was no longer home to him, and he hated living out of a suitcase in a hotel. Then he saw the little craftsman style house for sale on the street where he grew up, and acting on impulse, David, my average guy hero, bought it. The house was everything David wanted; hardwood floors, intricate built-ins, antique appliances in the kitchen. He could picture himself sitting in front of the river rock fireplace with a cup of tea on a cold winter evening, curled up with a good book. The idea appealed to him so much he agreed to a rushed timeline, buying the house ‘as is’, with no inspection. That was a mistake. A big one.

A hundred year old house, even a well maintained one, can be a money pit. This one wasn’t well maintained. The problems were legion. You name it, it was broken. Just shy of giving in to despair, David’s mother recommends a handyman and David calls him. Enter Jackson Henry, the handyman and the other main character in David, Renewed.

The inspiration for David’s house, about six blocks from where I live.

Needless to say, David’s tale did not remain a short story. It grew to include a town not unlike the one where I live in Eastern Washington, and a love interest that David feels is so out of his league as to be untouchable. (He’s wrong.) There’s also a cast of secondary characters that piped up, demanding to be included. (They’re also really pushy about wanting their own stories, and I’m working on it, but that’s for another day!) All of it grew to 81,000 words, and my desire to tell the story about a man named David who was looking for a place of his own.

Dreamspinner Press has given David a home. They have welcomed me back, as well, and having been around the block a time or two since 2007 I can tell you; there’s no place I’d rather be!

So what was the first place you’ll always think of as home? Was it a house, an apartment, a flat? Who lived there, and was it the people who made it home or the place itself?

You can reach me at:

My email, diana.copland11@gmail.com
My Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/diana.copland.7
My Website, www.diana-copland11.com
My twitter, @dianacopland
My blog, http://diana-coplands-blog.blogspot.com/
My Pinterest, including my inspiration page for David, Renewed, https://www.pinterest.com/blamb10421/david-renewed-blue-collar-book-one/

Check out David, Renewed today!

David, Renewed by Diana Copland


When interior designer David Snyder buys a beautiful century-old house in eastern Washington, he is reeling with heartbreak and looking for somewhere to put down roots. Unfortunately his new home comes with a laundry list of problems: electrical, plumbing, heating… things David knows nothing about. When his mother offers him the business card of a local handyman, David pictures an overweight, balding man in his fifties. But Jackson Henry couldn’t be further from that stereotype.

Dark-haired, muscular, and handsome, Jackson left a large construction firm in Seattle to take care of his sick mother. However, his hometown still has an active “good old boy” network, and finding employment in construction is almost impossible for an openly gay man. Determined to persevere, Jackson takes odd jobs as a handyman. He’s exactly what David needs—in more ways than one.

David isn’t ready for his attraction to Jackson, not considering the way his last relationship ended. But as the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear that the heart often knows best, and it rewards those willing to listen.

Commitment Ranch: The Playlist with BA Tortuga

September 16, 2016

Commitment Ranch: The Playlist


Hey y’all, it’s BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things cowboy and redneck and recent New Mexican. ;-)

Most everyone that knows me knows that I run on playlists.

The music is so important to each story and each one has its own folder on my iTunes – it grows and shrinks as the story does and, truth is, I rarely go back and revisit a playlist – unless of course the book is one of a series.


Stoney and Ford are the beginning of the Leaning N Ranch series and I intend to revisit this playlist often, add to it as new boys come and go. I bet the basis stays the same, though. What’s on the list?


Wake Up Older by Julie Roberts

Break Down Here by Julie Roberts

Heartbreak Town by Dixie Chicks

Sick And Tired by Cross Canadian Ragweed

Better In the Long Run by Miranda Lambert

Sunshine (Go Away Today) by Jonathan Edwards

Ropin’ Pen by Trent Willmon

Better Stories by Craig Morgan

Fire Away by Chris Stapleton

Better Than I Used to Be by Tim McGraw

I Believe In You by Don Williams

I Will Not Fall Down by Tim McGraw

Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold) by Dan Seals

Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each Other)  by Willie Nelson

Better Than I Used to Be by Tim McGraw

Hand Me Down by Matchbox Twenty

Two Lanes of Freedom by Tim McGraw

Stronger by Faith Hill

If I Go, I’m Goin (feat. Macy Maloy) by Bart Crow


Much love, y’all.



Check out Commitment Ranch today!

Commitment Ranch by BA Tortuga


Leaning N

A fist fight, a snowstorm, a stolen kiss in the barn… and a second chance at love.

Ford Nixel has two law offices, two fancy condominiums, and all the right connections. In short, he has everything he wants.

The last thing he needs is his Uncle Ty’s stake in the Leaning N, a ranch that’s been in the family for generations. Ford hasn’t even been to the ranch in over a decade, not since he left his boyfriend Stoney behind and headed back to college alone.

Ford arrives at the Leaning N to find Stoney, now a single father, right where he left him. A fist fight, a snowstorm, and a stolen kiss in the barn later—Ford knows none of the heat between them has dissipated.

Dreamspinner Press
All Romance Ebooks


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


Obsidian Moons: The Triad with Jon Keys – Post + Giveaway

September 15, 2016

Obsidian Moons- The Triad

Hello, folks! Thanks so much for inviting me on the release of my newest novel, Obsidian Moons, book two of the Obsidian series. In Obsidian Sun, the first novel of this series, readers were introduced to the Talac and Varas, and the unique elements of their culture. In Obsidian Moons we are introduced to the Ubica who have an exclusive society of their own. Each Triad is comprised of three members: the forge, hammer and anvil. Each member of the Triad has specific characteristics, but I thought it might interest everyone to look at the weapon specialization of each member.

Oka is the forge for this Triad. The forge of each Triad is a master of thrown weapons. Legend says each forge carries a hundred blades. You can also see the throwing spikes in Oka’s topknot on the cover image. But Oka’s skills are focused on thrown knives and spikes.

Daya is the hammer of our Triad. Not too surprising his weapon of choice is the war hammer. These weapons look more like an ice ax than a traditional hammer. Daya sees himself as the protector of the other Triad members.

The final member of our Triad is Gurvan, the anvil of the Triad. As the anvil Gurvan is the spokesman for the Triad and carries a sword as his weapon on the battlefield. Gurvan’s sword is similar to the katana of medieval Japan. He’s skilled to where he can deflect arrows.

So there is a little more background on our newest culture in the Obsidian Series. I hope you enjoy reading more about the Ubica in Obsidian Moons.

Check out Obsidian Moons today!

Obsidian Moons by Jon Keys


After achieving the impossible and releasing their people from the Varas slavers, Anan and Terja, a spellweaver and spellspinner, start the arduous journey back to their homeland. A winter trek across the grasslands is dangerous enough, but the traitor, Xain, is tasked with recapturing the slaves, and failure will mean his death. As added insurance, the Varas High Regent hires a Triad of legendary Ubica assassins and assigns a full regiment of his personal guards, along with their captain, to the task. Their mission is clear: recapture the escaped Talac slaves destined for the Varas pleasure houses—and the bed of the High Regent—at any cost.

The newly freed Talac travel toward their homelands with the full knowledge they are likely being pursued. The flight westward is fraught with new and unexpected dangers as Anan and Terja struggle to save their tribe. The battle for shelter, food, and a way to defend themselves becomes an all-consuming task, but they are reminded by the avatars of their gods that all is not as it appears.

Author Bio:

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

Social Media:

email: Jon.Keys@ymail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jon.keys.773
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jon4Keys
Website: http://jonkeys.com



As the lamps were extinguished and the room darkened, Oka curled up facing the wall and tried to sleep. He listened to the night sounds around him, but they brought no comfort. They served only to emphasize the foreign setting. He’d surprised himself by sharing a secret of the Forge sect. It wasn’t forbidden, but as Gurvan pointed out, it wasn’t common unless the Triad was forged. For Oka, it seemed the right thing to do.

He felt the wounds of loss reopen as he thought about Ata and Lanvi. His Triad had been on their final contract and planned to forge the mating bond afterward. But things went terribly wrong. Oka missed an impossibly easy knife throw, and the target’s personal guards had burst through the door with crossbows loaded. The chaos had been short and lethal. His Triad had practically thrown him out the window to save him.

“Questioning their choice is not helping, Oka. They wanted you to live or they wouldn’t have protected you so you could escape,” said Gurvan when the silence stretched longer.

“And I let them. I fled faster than a rockdiver.” Oka cringed at the memory of scurrying away in fear. Retracing the event brought the same feeling of hollowness and pain it always did.

“The time will come when you must forgive yourself, or when you go to the Master Smith for reforging you will be found faulty.”

He searched for a response when a knock came from the thick wooden door. Gurvan motioned Oka to light a lamp.

He quickly struck the back of a blade against a piece of firestone he kept. The spark hit the lamp’s wick and a flame formed quickly. Gurvan moved beside him, and Oka handed him the flame. Oka saw he had a blade palmed as he moved to open the door.

Holding the light low, Gurvan cracked open the entrance. During the heartbeat that followed, Oka readied himself for a throw. He could only guess Daya was arming himself too. Only a fool disturbed a Triad under contract. But these Varas didn’t seem to understand the nuances of working with the Ubica.

“Let me in, fools!” hissed the voice from the other side of the door.

Gurvan’s eyes narrowed, causing Oka to tense, but then he opened the door wide enough to allow the nocturnal visitor admittance. The shadows moved but more lamps were not lit. Oka wondered why, but knew Gurvan would have his reason.

Oka’s vision adjusted to the flickering light and he recognized the furry Talac. Why would he come here? I can see Gurvan’s hand twitch with the need to feed his iron with this one’s blood. The Talac should state his business quickly.

“Why are you disturbing our sleep, slave?” Gurvan asked.

Oka was a little surprised Gurvan spoke so abruptly. Ubica tradition dictated a more hospitable approach, but he was the Anvil of their Triad. He waited to see what the Talac’s response to the offense would be. He was surprised to see the tall man fold into a bow of subservience.

“My apologies for disturbing you, Anvil. But I hoped for a moment of the Triad’s time.”

Gurvan’s only response was a low grunt.

The slave slipped into the room, his movement echoing those of a hunting longtooth. This was no helpless slave. Gurvan held the lamp higher and the two locked eyes.

This time with a short, less formal bow, the slave began. “My name is Xain. This mission is important to me. I know your contract is with the High Regent, but we will be working together and you will need my help, or you will be unable to complete your agreement.”

The muscles in Gurvan’s jaw tensed at Xain’s words. Oka could imagine only the forging with the Master Smiths kept the Talac alive. Then he noticed something else about the visitor. The Talac was wearing a spiritknife at his waist. How did he get the short sword? Only certain Triad Anvils carry that weapon. It was an incredible blade in the right hands. But even for someone of the Iron People, it was not to be treated lightly. Gurvan hadn’t been awarded one because their Triad wasn’t life forged. How the Talac had gotten one was beyond Oka.

“We will finish our mission, furry one. There is nothing you can tell us that we do not already know,” Gurvan said.

“You know the Talac magic? You know, the two you are assigned to kill have more skills than any Talac I’ve ever seen. I think they are blessed of the Twined Ones. I believe the spellspinner somehow survived akhir. No one since the clans were joined has survived akhir.”

Oka caught the twitch traveling along the dark skin on Gurvan’s face. A wash of surprise came over Oka. Gurvan doesn’t know. Or he hadn’t known. Interesting.

“What of it? And what do you ask of us? I’m sure even you are aware we will not go against the forging we have already created with the High Regent.”

The Talac’s expression changed even further. This was not a man Oka wanted at his back. “I want those two. The spellspinner and his mate. They destroyed my plans. Now I am living only at the grace of the High Regent. Do you have any idea what that means?”

Oka shook his head in a negative but Gurvan nodded, and his expression seemed to soften. After a moment of silence, he spoke to Xain. “We cannot help you directly. But our goals are similar. I understand you are marked, but our current forging is with him.”

Xain glared at Gurvan until the tension became palpable in the room. “You want to be my ally, Ubica. I am not a person you want to be pitted against. I am not the helpless slave you think I am.” Xain rested his hand against the spiritknife’s hilt.

Oka stepped from the shadows at the same instant Daya moved to Gurvan’s other side. Oka could see the eyes of the other two were echoes of their roles. Gurvan’s became the coal black of the anvil and Daya’s the shining silver of a working hammer. He knew from past experience his own eyes were the deep red and yellow from the forge.

Oka was pleased the combined energies of his Triad drove the Talac back until he was pinned against the door. Oka’s fire built as he watched the man who was rapidly becoming his prey. The feeding hunger sensed the fear from Xain until Oka twitched his arm and held three throwing spikes in his palm. Three, the sacred number, it’s a sign from the Great Smith. Oka tensed to launch the lethal missiles, but a heavy hand closed on his shoulder.

The fire he was about to unleash drained from him. He tensed as his desire faded faster than a drop of water against red hot metal. I will have words with Gurvan later. But I will play my role for now.

Gurvan spoke and this time it had the true ring of the Anvil. The almost crystalline chime in his voice traveled through Oka, soothing some of his fire. He glanced at Daya and got a small nod. Daya agreed with Gurvan. Tonight his fire would not be fed.

“Leave now and we will forget this ever happened. Don’t interfere with our forging again. Know that whatever you feared from the pair of weavers would be nothing compared to the wrath of a Triad of the Iron People,” Gurvan said.

The conflict in the room built until Oka thought he felt the waves traveling through him. Xain reached behind him, slipping across the face of the heavy wooden door until he reached the latch. Oka enjoyed the moments of fumbling as the Talac tried to open the lock. With the bolt’s click, the door pivoted open, and Xain slipped through.

Oka glared at the door as he calmed his racing heart. Once he thought he could speak to Gurvan with the respect due his station, he turned to catch his gaze. “Why would you—”

Gurvan silenced him with a flick of his hand. “You were unleashing the hunger of the Forge. I know the outlander carries a spiritblade, which will make our forging more difficult. I couldn’t allow you to send him to the Ancients for reforging. We have many obstacles ahead of us. There is no need to make it more difficult.”

The heat inside Oka built for a moment, and then he allowed Gurvan and Daya to calm him. Without looking at either of them, he returned the throwing spikes to their sheaths and moved to the corner and his sleeping mat.

“Oka, come. Sleep with us,” Daya said.

Oka stared at the two men for several moments. Do I want to become close to these two? They are different from Ata and Lanvi. Ata would never have quenched my fire. He enjoyed seeing me use it. But Ata is dead, and I have a second chance with Gurvan and Daya.

“Come. You can give us some of the heat you are filled with. These Smith-cursed northlands are cold,” Gurvan said with a throaty tone to his words.

Oka chuckled at the idea of Gurvan being affected by the cool temperature. It served its purpose too.

“All right. But don’t complain to me in the morning about feeling as if you’d slept with a live ember.”



Answer a simple question in the comments and make yourself eligible for a free eBook from my backlist. The question? What was the Talac term for the youngsters who cared for their kuri herds. I’ll go through the comments on Sept 20th and select a winner.

If you have any other questions for me be sure and leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.


A Lethal Mistake: Meet Bruce with Scotty Cade

September 14, 2016

A Lethal Mistake: Meet Bruce

Beau Bissonet and Tollison Cruz are back, along with Bruce, Auggie, and now Bastien, Tollison’s ex-partner. From the initial spark between them in Zurich, Bruce and Bastien’s attraction has flared, and Bastien has come to the Big Easy to explore what lies ahead for them.

It’s Mardi Gras, and New Orleans is alive and festive, teeming with excited tourists and locals alike. The first few parades go off without a hitch. And then a man is targeted, shot, and killed right in the middle of a crowded street. Auggie and Bruce are called in to investigate, but before they even get started, more deaths occur, one at each of the next two parades. Auggie realizes he’s dealing with a serial killer and jumps into action.

The next shot the killer fires affects the tightly knit group of friends in a way none of them could have ever imagined. Beau and Tollison join the investigation and stumble upon some similarities that are too strong to ignore. They begin to unravel the perpetrator’s motives and get ahead of him. Together they come up with a plan to stop the killing and serve justice in the process.


 Hi All,

Scotty Cade here. First off I’d like to thank my publisher, Dreamspinner Press for handing their blog over to me for a little while to toot my own horn (LOL! No horn jokes please) and tell you about my latest novel, “A Lethal Mistake,” which is the third book in the “Bissonet & Crus Investigations” series. Today I’m gonna give you a nice excerpt, but before I do that I’d like you to meet one of the main characters, Bruce Jenkins.

To date, the Bissonet & Cruz Investigations series has had four main characters. Beau Bissonet, Tollison Cruz, Bruce Jenkins and August Hebert. In book two, Veiled Loyalties, you briefly meet a fifth character, Sebastien “Bastien” Andros but in “A Lethal Mistake” you get to know Bastien a lot better.

Additionally, while promoting this release I’ll be doing five or so blog spots so you’ll get to meet each of the main characters, which in turn will help you understand them better for past and future novels.

Next up is Bruce Jenkins. I’ll let Bruce take it from here.

Hiya Guys,

Look! It’s me on the cover up there. Man! They polished the shit out of me. I guess the fact that they made me shave for the photo shoot worked in my favor. Hell, I almost look pretty. And trust me, I am not pretty. Beau was always the pretty one. I’m just average, slight of build, a little on the rough side, but I think I’m just average at best.

Wow! I still can’t believe I finally got my own book and now I have a chance to explain some things from my point of view.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m just a simple guy who fell in love with a complicated asshole named Beau Bissonet way back when. While we were together I thought it was the kind of love that only came along once in a lifetime, which made it almost unbearable when it all came crashing down around me. But…recently I have changed my stance. I’ve decided that things work out the way they are supposed to and maybe…just maybe you do get a second chances at happiness.

Anyway, Beau and me. In the beginning we fit like a hand and a glove. Beau’s a great guy, but he comes with a lot of baggage. Not all his fault of course, but baggage just the same. His insecurities may be the reason he rubs people the wrong way, but I can tell you first hand when he loves, he loves hard. We met and fell in love when we were both rookies on the New Orleans Police Department. Man, life was good back then. No! Not just good, it was great.

We were both working very hard trying to get ahead on the force, but Beau’s “in your face” style, coupled with his intimidating personality did the trick and before long he was promoted to “Lead Detective.” And that’s where all our troubles began.

I was very happy for him, but as you can imagine, I felt more then a little left behind. And to make matters worse, Beau’s new job took him away from me a lot. I had shift work, we both did, but now Beau was “on duty” 24/7. The job took him away at all hours of the day and night and some nights he didn’t even get to come home.  I sucked it up, did what I could to support him but little by little we started to drift apart. While Beau saw his hard work as an investment in our future, he never realized what it was doing to us in the here and now. So he kept at it and I started resenting him for it.

When Beau finally got the slightest inclination about what was happening between us, unbeknownst to me, he arranged for a promotion to fall into my lap. Detective Bruce Jenkins at your service. In Beau’s mind, the promotion would allow us to spend more time together and therefore fix everything in our relationship. But by that time it was too little too late. I was so lonely I committed what Beau called the “cardinal sin” and I cheated on him. It was one time. Down and dirty. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t want it, but somehow it happened.

Looking back, I don’t think it was the act of cheating that hurt him as much as the fact that the trust was now gone. Forever. Beau always said he couldn’t love a man he didn’t trust and he certainly lived up to that admission. And since in his mind, he could no longer trust me, he threw me out. Well technically he asked me to leave, but it sure as hell felt like I was being thrown out.

So there we were. No longer a couple. Beau hating me and us having to work together, very closely, day after day because of the promotion he’d arranged. Talk about karma being a bitch. And not only was karma a bitch, Beau was a royal asshole. Man, he was rough on me. But not near as rough as I was on myself. It was bad. I mean…I deserved everything I got and more. In the time it took me to shove my dick up some stranger’s ass and get off, I was able to fuck up both of our lives forever. It was the most painful time in my life. I thought about ending it all, but that would have been the easy way out and I didn’t think I deserved that luxury. So I took the abuse from Beau day in and day out as my punishment.

But then Tollison came into our lives. Man was it hard watching he and Beau get closer. It was like stabbing me repeatedly and then twisting the knife. I wanted Beau to be happy, but I wanted him to be happy with me. Looking back, I secretly thought if I hung in there and took the crap he handed me everyday, he might just forgive me. But I finally realized that was never going to happen so I had to accept Tollison as his new guy. And once I did that, everything turned started to get better. Tollison was instrumental in helping Beau deal with me and my actions. He became my advocate, my friend and then eventually like family.

When Tollison needed help rescuing Bastien, I was immediately onboard. And am I ever glad I did. When I saw Bastien for the first time in Zurich, he was restrained and had such a look of fear on his face, all I wanted to do was hold him. And thank God. He let me. That was three months ago and now Bastien is coming to New Orleans to see me. To see what there is between us. This is the first time since Beau’s and my demise that I am truly hopeful for my future.

So there you have it. The whole shit storm from my point of view. But I don’t want to dwell on that time. I wanna focus on the future. And in doing so, I think Scotty has an excerpt for you. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it enough to pick up our little story. And please…cut Beau some slack. He really is one of the good guys.



Thanks Bruce. I do indeed have an excerpt, a little about me and some buy links if case you’re interested.



Bruce pulled up in front of the Lafayette Hotel on St. Charles Avenue in the heart of the arts and warehouse district and put his SUV in park. The trip downtown felt like it was over before it even started. There hadn’t been any awkward moments of silence, and the conversation flowed freely between them during the entire trip.

Over the last few months, he’d learned a lot about this mysterious man, but he still had so many questions. Over the course of their long-distance conversations, Bastien had modestly told Bruce he owned a small company called Andros International, which produced drilling equipment for mining operations. But when Bruce had later googled Andros International, he found a different story. Bastien’s company was the world’s leading provider of drilling services, drilling equipment, and performance tooling for the mining industry. The company operated in over thirty countries for a diverse mining customer base spanning a wide range of commodities, including copper, gold, nickel, zinc, uranium, and other metals and minerals.

Bruce, to say the least, was intrigued. Bastien seemed so refined and worldly, and Bruce was in awe of him. There was still much he wanted to know.

As soon as Bruce popped the locks, the doorman opened his door and leaned in. “Bonjour, gentlemen. Welcome to the Lafayette Hotel.”

The doorman took a step back and snapped his fingers. Bruce slid out of the SUV, but before he could make it to the back, a bellhop was already unloading the luggage.

Wow! This is some service.

Bastien came around from the passenger side, and the doorman stepped up again and nodded in Bastien’s direction. “Mr. Andros, I presume.”

“Oui. Bonjour,” Bastien said.

The doorman held the door open as Bastien and Bruce entered the lobby of the hotel. It was a small and very charming historic New Orleans hotel, and the staff seemed eager to assist. A young woman greeted them immediately.

“Monsieur Andros. Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Julia Draper, your private concierge, and I will be personally taking care of your needs during your stay at our hotel.”

Bastien shook the young woman’s hand. “Tout le plaisir est pour moi.”

Julia flashed a faint smile.

“You must forgive me,” Bastien said. “I meant to say the pleasure is all mine. I’ve been in Geneva too long and forget my manners sometimes. Yes. And this is my companion, Bruce Jenkins, and during my time here, he will be allowed entry to my penthouse at his request.”

Julia turned to Bruce and nodded. “At your service, sir.”

“My car?” Bruce asked.

“Of course. I’ll have the valet park it for you.”

“Thank you.”

Julia turned back to Bastien. “Your penthouse is ready, and I received word just before you arrived that your rental car will be delivered within the hour.”

“Splendid,” Bastien said. “Now if you’ll excuse us, I’ve been traveling for seventeen hours and would like to get a little rest before the festivities of the evening.”

“Of course, sir,” Julia said. “Would you like me to show you to the penthouse?”

“That won’t be necessary.” Bastien winked at Bruce.

Julia handed Bastien and Bruce separate keycards. “The elevator is right around the corner. Simply slide the card into the slot labeled Penthouse, and you’re all set. Your luggage will be up momentarily if it’s not already there. Can I get you anything else?”

Bastien retrieved a bill from his wallet and slipped it into Julia’s hand as he shook it once again. “That will be all. Merci, Julia.” He turned to Bruce and took him by the hand. “Lets go, ma puce.” The elevator doors closed, and Bastien slid the key card into the slot as instructed. The Penthouse button on the panel illuminated and the car went up smoothly.

“Oh, that reminds me.” Bruce squeezed Bastien’s hand. “Beau and Tollison invited us to their house this evening for drinks, the parade, and then a late dinner.”

“Really? I was certain Mr. Bissonet wasn’t that taken with me.”

Bruce laughed. “Yeah. That’s most people’s reaction, but that’s just Beau. He takes a little while to warm up, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better man.”

“Sounds grand, then.”

The elevator dinged, and the doors opened into the foyer of a grand parlor with two free-standing stairways leading to a second floor. Bastien’s luggage was neatly stacked at the base of one set of stairs.

“Wow!” Bruce stepped off the elevator and looked around. The floors were white Carrera marble, with colorful rugs defining separate sitting areas flanking two large fireplaces. The furnishings were formal and a bit over-the-top, but lovely just the same. The room was voluminous, with floor to ceiling windows at least twelve feet high. When his eyes followed the heavy brocaded draperies from the floor up, he was surprised to see a mural painted on the ceiling. It depicted several ladies in flowing gowns of pale blues, pinks, and yellows with cherubs at their feet smiling up at the ladies adoringly. The mural was framed by gilded crown molding at least a foot thick. “This is quite a place.”

“Unfortunately it is.” Bastien looked around with his hands on his hips. “Personally I prefer a more understated, less formal décor, but there are some, of course, who would find this rococo mess attractive.”

“I’m relieved to hear that,” Bruce said. “My place is probably way more understated than you would prefer. Rococo?”

“Oh, it’s a style of architecture and décor originating in France in the early 18th century. I was never one to care for it, but it’s characterized by elaborate, but graceful, light ornamentation, often containing asymmetrical motifs. Much like you see here.”

Bruce laughed. “I must be the straightest homosexual in the world. Why didn’t I know that?”

Bastien took Bruce into his arms and rested his forehead against Bruce’s. “Because you are way more practical, ma puce. So am I.”

“Who wants to live like this” was the last thing Bruce heard Bastien say before he brought their lips together. Bruce wrapped his arms around Bastien’s waist and brought his hands to rest on the globes of Bastien’s firm ass. Bastien’s kiss was gentle at first and then became heated and needy, his tongue seeking entry and Bruce willingly opening to him. When they finally came up for air, they were both breathless.

Bastien cupped Bruce’s face in his hands. “I’ve wanted to do that since the moment I saw you at the airport.”

“Me too.” Bruce said.

“Can you stay awhile?” Bastien asked.

Damn! I hate my job right now! “I would love to, Bastien, but I’ve got to get back to the station. We had a shooting last night at one of the parades, and someone was killed. Things are a bit crazy right now. Besides, you need to get some rest.”

“I’m sorry about the shooting. Such a barbaric and heinous world we have become. But I must admit, I am a little tired. Not too tired to….”

Bruce pressed his lips against Bastien’s in a soft, gentle kiss. “I know. God, I know. But I’ll be back to pick you up around four thirty. Is that okay?”

“Perfect, ma puce. Oh. What does one wear to a parade?”

Bruce chuckled. “Very casual. Jeans and a sweater. Oh, and bring a jacket. It may get a little chilly after dark.”

“Consider it done.”

“Okay. The sooner I get back to work; the sooner I get to leave.”

“Be off, then.” Bastien stole one last kiss, then shoved Bruce toward the door. “Until four thirty.”

“Until four thirty, then,” Bruce repeated, stepping into the elevator.

When he turned around, Bastien was leaning against the banister at the base of the stairs eyeing him seductively, his arms folded across his chest and one foot crossed over the other at the ankle. He was looking every bit like a New York runway model. Then the doors closed and Bastien disappeared.

On the ride down, Bruce toyed at least three times with the idea of blowing off his job and going right back up to take the handsome Bastien Andros right there in the foyer. But in the end he was too responsible. He knew he couldn’t do that to Auggie. And besides, it was way too soon for that type of intimacy. Kissing? Hell yeah! Sex? Soon, but not yet.

En route to the station, Bruce called Beau.

“How did it go?” Beau asked without saying hello.

“It went well.” Bruce blushed and cleared his throat, remembering the kiss.

“So are we on for tonight?” Beau asked.

“Yep. We’ll be there around five. And, Beau?”


“Please behave yourself,” Bruce begged. “Just… this one time?”


“Oh Christ, Beau. Don’t give me that,” Bruce interrupted. “No dredging up the past. No jokes at my expense. You know what I’m talking about. Just give me this one night, and I’ll never ask for another free pass.”

“Fine! But I still—”

“Bye, Beau.” Bruce ended the call.



Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication.  When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side.  Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, all of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there.  He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.


Here’s where you can find me:


Depth of Return: Home with M. Raiya – Post + Giveaway

September 13, 2016

Depth of Return- Home

Hi, I’m M. Raiya, and I want to thank the folks at DSP for hosting me on their blog today. This is the last stop on my Depth of Return blog tour. Depth of Return is an urban fantasy novel set in northern Vermont, where I live. It’s the second book in the Another Healing universe. The main characters of the first novel make an appearance, but Depth of Return’s characters are new and the novel stands alone. The two main characters, North and Alan, are a witch/demon pair, predestined before they were born to make magic together. I’m really excited to be here — this feels a bit like my home base. So I thought I’d talk about home today, since it’s really important to both main characters in Depth of Return.

North’s home is a cabin on an island in the middle of a pond in Vermont. It provides the safety and privacy he craves, as well as the seclusion his coven of witches and demons needs. North’s coven is one of several in the area, and each one has a specialty. One is made up of mostly healers (that’s the one James and Ambient from Another Healing have joined for obvious reasons.) There is another coven of people who call themselves “Enforcers.” They’re the ones who get called when a witch or demon has trouble with another witch or demon, which happens too frequently.

In this excerpt, North describes his coven to Alan, who is about to become part of it.


“What is your coven’s theme?”

“‘Our’ coven,” I corrected. “At least as long as you want it to be. We’re… I don’t know. It’s a little hard to explain. We all have strong academic backgrounds, especially in history. We’re a bit philosophical. Magical theorists, if that makes sense. We focus on the ‘whys’ just as much as the ‘hows.’ Practically speaking, what we do is what you saw us do tonight. We link to each other and to the stars, raise power, and then release it into the world to do what it will.”

Alan stopped slicing the tomato on his cutting board and stared at me.

I shrugged. “The other covens think we’re a little impractical and out there. I grant you that our coven was originally formed back in the sixties, and Arnold just lost his beard and long hair a little while ago. We don’t fix problems. We try to prevent them. Hence it’s a little difficult to prove that we accomplish anything at all. No one ever comments on a war that was prevented, because no one knows about it. Easier to sing songs about the heroes. And we’re fine with that.” I shrugged. “And maybe they’re right. Maybe we aren’t accomplishing anything.”

“No way.” Alan shook his head. “I might not know much yet, but I can feel shit, and you guys… we… sent up a trainload of power. I’ll bet if we stopped, those other covens would suddenly have their hands full with people who needed healing or had to be enforced. Without so much peace raining down on them, people would be even crazier.”

“Well, it’s what we do, for whatever it’s worth. They say we’re just throwing away our power. What they don’t understand is how much we get back from doing it. But covens pretty much keep to themselves, anyway. I couldn’t even tell you how many there are around the world. I guess it used to be a form of protection, not to know. Now it’s a habit.”


North describes the members of his coven as “A mismatched collection of misfits.” One of the DSP editors I worked with called them, “North’s quirky coven,” and I thought that was both perfect and very funny. They are quirky, for sure, and I had way too much fun writing about them.

Alan has never really had a home until he meets North. He fits right into the quirky coven. He was abandoned by his parents and raised by an aunt until she got tired of it. He lived in a series of foster homes until high school, and then he couch surfed amongst his friends. Despite all that, Alan grows up to be a really nice, decent guy. But when he finds out he’s a demon, it all becomes too much and his past catches up to him. North’s island becomes a sanctuary.

Home is very important to me, too. I’m incredibly lucky to have two of them — the house my husband and I had built on a dirt road up in the mountains, and a camp on Lake Champlain that has been in my family for four generations. For the last three years, my husband and I pack up our cat and move in for the summer. Our camp is on the top of a thirty foot cliff overlooking three miles of open water with the Adirondack Mountains in the background. We live here from mid May to the first of October, weather allowing. Followers of my social media know that I spam people endlessly with photos of sunsets, but I can’t help it; they are absolutely magical here.

Since it’s August as I’m writing this, and I’m at camp, I just took a few photos of the space where I do my writing and the view over my shoulder. I love this place with all my heart — my father designed it and all the relatives worked together to built it, and it has so many windows that you feel like you’re outside even when you’re inside. And lots and lots of good memories. I can completely identify with North and Alan about how much they love their cabin on the island.

M. Raiya Writing Space

I would love to hear about special places for you in the comments below. Or feel free to ask me anything. Anyone who comments in the next 72 hours will be entered into a drawing for a free book from my backlist at Dreamspinner.

Thanks so much for reading!

Check out Depth of Return today!

Depth of Return

Dreamspinner Press


Betrayed and left for dead by his lover, North has retreated to a secluded island to nurture his coven of witches and their demon partners. His group uses the magic of starlight to bring as much peace to the world as they can. It’s enough. North has no desire to look for love again.

When an accident on a carpentry job reveals that he is a demon, Alan Holsen is sent to North for training. Alan possesses a rare healing ability—one he might be able to use to close the old wounds in North’s heart. While North teaches Alan magic, Alan teaches North to love again, and they both struggle with the leftover resonance of their haunted pasts.

Just when they dare to relax, North’s old enemy returns—and sets his sights on Alan. To save him, North must enlist the aid of neighboring covens, and he learns he isn’t as alone as he thought. But in the end, only North’s love for Alan and the power of the stars have any chance of saving them.


About M. Raiya:

M. Raiya knew she was a writer since second grade when her teacher kept her in for recess because “Somebody had better teach you about semicolons!” She started her first fantasy trilogy in fifth grade. She majored in writing in college, got her master’s degree in English, published some literary fiction, and fortunately emerged from all that with her imagination unscathed.

She is a native Vermonter and often needs four-wheel drive to reach her home on a dirt road in the mountains. Her other passions are birdwatching, nature photography, and swimming. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks with a big lens and a pair of binoculars, often standing motionless for hours waiting for the right lighting for the perfect shot, or climbing into places not meant to be climbed into for the right angle. Or she might be found in the nearby lake in the summer or a handy swimming pool in the winter, since she will turn into a mermaid if she doesn’t submerge at least once a day.

She is married and has two almost grown daughters, a cat who demands to lie between her and her computer whenever she dares to sit down, and a day job working with high school kids with special needs who frequently tell her that she is completely crazy, which she’s always known and definitely would not want to change.

Blog: http://mraiya.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mraiya.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/raiya_m
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4190439.M_Raiya

Memory and Imagination with George Seaton

September 12, 2016

Memory and Imagination

Greetings! I’m George Seaton, and I’m happy to be here because Dreamspinner Press has been so kind as to publish and release my novella, “Shane Thorpe Knew Jesus and Rode Bulls.” A long title, but an apt one given the storyline. This novella was submitted for the States of Love submission call which asked for stories specific to an American state. I chose Texas. (As an aside, I believe it was two fellow Colorado authors, Caitlin Ricci, and A. M. Burns, who suggested this themed project to Dreamspinner.)


Here’s the blurb:

Eighteen-year-old Joe Vasquez leaves Denver for Texas with Harley Bray, the cow kid who never fit in at their high school. In spite of discovering there’s another side to Harley’s natures—occasional “withdrawals” from roadside convenience stores, a nefarious skill he teaches Joe—Joe shares Harley’s dream of riding bulls and a life together on the Texas plains outside of Abilene. A life that will hopefully see the fulfillment of another of Joe’s dreams—to become a veterinarian.

When a rank bull kills Harley in a rodeo in Longview, Texas, Joe accepts an offer from another bull rider, Shane Thorpe, to partner up and ride the circuit together. The problem is that the blond-haired, blue-eyed Shane found Jesus a long time ago, and he’s torn between his faith and his attraction to Joe. As they make their way across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona to their final top on the circuit at the National Western Rodeo in Denver, Joe bides his time for what he hopes will be a relationship with Shane as fulfilling as the one he’d had with Harley. His hope for the future, however, are challenged along the way when he discovers that his “withdrawals” have captured the attention of a very dedicated Texas Ranger.


That’s the gist of the story without the twists and turns it takes. And certainly without the development of the characters, which is something I think storytelling cannot do without. I fell in love with character development when I first read Charles Dickens—a master of that essential component to all stories worthy of reading.

I had already finished nearly half a story about two young men infatuated with bull riding who happened to live in Texas when Dreamspinner issued the States of Love submission call. Little of the first half changed as I completed the manuscript for submission. Suffice it to say, I was thrilled when Dreamspinner accepted it for publication.

When I tell my husband, David, about story plots I’m working on, he always says, “How do you come up with that stuff?”

My usual response is simply raising my arms, my palms outstretched, and saying, “I don’t know. It’s just there.”

Actually, I do know where it comes from. I think an author has two primary tools—memory and imagination.

We all know what imagination is. As I wrote in a short story not long ago here’s what imagination gives us: “I have a friend who writes in the erotic romance genre. Several years ago he found a publisher for his stuff who just adored his boy-meets-boy, boy-fucks-boy, boys-live-happily-ever-after storylines that defy real life scenarios to the point that he is now interjecting shifters, zombies, vampires, dreary dystopian sagas, and Apocalyptic backdrops into his writing. Suffice it to say, his publisher didn’t bat an eye when he lately presented her with one-hundred thousand words about a beaver humping a muskrat, the critter timing his thrusts to the thump, thump, thump of a steam engine that somehow, in some way powers the production of greenery upon a landscape leveled by the unfortunate effects of several hundred-thousand kilotons of atomic energy released three hundred years prior. I believe it’s called speculative fiction.”

Then there’s memory. For me, memory is the font I dip into for characterization. All of our experiences, whether sight, sound, touch, or smell are cataloged somewhere in our brains (though I read years ago that lab experiments theorized that memory is not in any one place in the brain, but may well reside within the entirety of the organism). Our first love, the loss of a family member, a dog or cat, joy, the smell of onions and green peppers in the frying pan, the sound of a child’s laughter, the sensate reaction to danger, how we perceive the Grand Canyon the first time we see it, the sight of a dead body, the spread of the stars and planets above in a place with no ambient light, the lilt of an Oklahoman’s or Texan’s voice; all of this and so much more is who we are and, for an author, provide the components of characterization. From my memory, I give my characters the traits, idiosyncrasies, movements, expressions, voices, odors and aromas, and certainly, appearances that I’ve cataloged in those overstuffed file cabinets, I keep in my brain for just such a purpose. And, thankfully, I’m able to convey through words what I see in my memory.

As readers, and probably some authors, too, I’m curious what you find interesting or even fascinating about an author’s ability to make a character come alive? How thoroughly do you want to know what makes a character tick?

Once again, I’m grateful that Dreamspinner Press chose to publish this little story.

Website: http://www.gmseatonauthor.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/george.seaton
Twitter: @GeorgeSeaton

Check out Shane Thorpe Knew Jesus and Rode Bulls today!

Shane Thorpe Knew Jesus and Rode Bulls

Shira Anthony’s Take Two: Different as Night and Day – Post + Giveaway

September 9, 2016

Take Two Different As Night and Day

Hi everyone! I’m Shira Anthony, former opera singer, sci fi fantasy geek, anime otaku, and gay romance writer, here to introduce my latest Dreamspinner Press release, Take Two!

Take Two is a lighthearted, funny story about second chances at love. For those who have read my Blue Notes series, contemporary and very angsty stories about classical musicians, this story will be a bit of a departure. It’s low on angst, and more about pure romance, and friendship between lovers that runs deep. Two men who are very different—the geeky professor and over the top Hollywood superstar—but who were and are still attracted to each other in spite of a long separation.

I set Take Two in one of my favorite places, Bald Head Island, at North Carolina’s coast and not far from Wilmington, North Carolina. It’s a lovely island that’s as much a study in contrasts as the two main characters in my story. On the one hand, much of the island is still the way nature created it, with sand dunes, long, white sand beaches, and an inland waterway you can kayak on. On the other, the island has some of the nicest and most expensive beach houses (think more like beach mansions!) I’ve ever seen. People drive around the island on golf carts, since cars are forbidden. The grocery store in the center of the island sells foie gras, the best cuts of steak you can buy, imported wine and beer, and the sorts of foods you’ll only find in upscale stores on the mainland like Whole Foods.





But Bald Head works in spite of its strange mix, just like Wesley and Sam in my story. Yin and yang. It’s a wonderful refuge from reality, accessible only by boat. A little fantasy island. Romantic and relaxing. And a perfect place to film a movie! Because that’s what brings Wesley and Sam back together again, and it’s what literally sets the scene for their second chance at love.

To celebrate the release of Take Two, I’m offering up a copy of another lighthearted romance, First Comes Marriage, from Dreamspinner Press’s Dreamspun Desires line. For folks in the U.S., I’ll give you the choice of a paperback or ebook copy. For folks outside the U.S., you’ll receive an ebook copy.

How do you enter? Answer this question: What’s the most romantic place you wish you could travel to? I’ll choose one winner from all the comments after midnight on Sunday, September 11th. Good luck! -Shira

Check out Take Two today!

Take Two


Shiver me timbers! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be ex, movie star Sander Carson. Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life.

Sam acknowledges it’s his fault they split up. He lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel. Sam soon realizes that convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than apologies and reminders of good times past. If he wants Wesley back, Sam will have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together—a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.

About Shira:

Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira can be found on:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/shira.anthony
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony
Twitter: @WriterShira
Website: www.shiraanthony.com
E-mail: shiraanthony@hotmail.com

You’re Gonna Be the One that Saves Me: The Empty Net Playlist – Post + Giveaway

September 8, 2016

You're gonna be the one that saves me


Hello! My name is Avon Gale, and my newest release, Empty Net, came out on September 2nd. The book is a hockey romance, and features two goalies for the Spartanburg Spitfires of the ECHL. The characters, Isaac Drake and Laurent St. Savoy, first appeared in the third book of the series, Power Play. In that book, Laurent St. Savoy was the starting goalie for the Spitfires’ rival team, the Asheville Ravens.

In Empty Net, Laurent finds himself traded to the Spitfires and having to compete with Isaac for the starting spot on the team. The two had an altercation in the playoffs the previous season that was decidedly less-than-friendly, so as you can imagine, neither of them are very happy about this turn of events. Laurent has a bad attitude and Isaac can’t for the life of him figure out why, but he does his best to ignore it and focus on hockey. Of course, that doesn’t happen and at some point, Isaac figures out what’s really behind Laurent’s behavior…and everything changes.

Today, I thought I’d share a few songs on my Isaac and Laurent playlist, which you can find here on Youtube in its entirety. I love making playlists, and there are a lot of songs on there. But for brevity’s sake, here are a few that remind me specifically of the two of them.

Headstrong by Trapt

This song is totally Isaac. “I see your motives inside/Decisions to hide/Back off I’ll take you on/Headstrong to take on anyone.”

It’s also the kind of “arena rock” you’ll hear if you go to hockey games.

(Isaac wants me to point out that his favorite band is the Arctic Monkeys, but it doesn’t change the fact this song reminds me of him. Sorry, Isaac.)

Crucify by Tori Amos

And this song is totally Laurent. “Nothing I do is good enough for you/Crucify myself/Every day/And my heart is sick of being in chains.”

One Thing by Finger 11

There’s a very pivotal scene in the book where Isaac finds out exactly why Laurent is such an asshole all the time, and this song reminds me of that moment. “I promise I might/Not walk on by/Maybe next time/But not this time.”

Make Damn Sure by Taking Back Sunday

This song is definitely Isaac/Laurent to me. “A long night spent with your most obvious weakness/You start shaking at the thought you are everything I want/’Cause you are everything I’m not.”

True story – I heard this song because my friend sang it while we were playing Rock Band, stopped, immediately went and sent myself a text message with the name because I was shrieking at how well it fit the two of them.

It’s Been A While by Staind

If there was one song that Laurent would say makes him think about his relationship with Isaac, it’s probably this one. “And it’s been awhile/Since I’ve gone and fucked things up just like I always do/And it’s been awhile/But all that shit seems to disappear when I’m with you.”

Wonderwall (by Oasis), sung by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams is probably one of my favorite musicians, and I love his version of this song. It’s sad and wistful, with just a little bit of hope in it. The aching quality of this song really fits Isaac and Laurent’s relationship. “Because maybe/You’re gonna be the one that saves me/And after all
You’re my wonderwall.”

Call Me by Shinedown

“I’ll always keep you inside/You healed my heart and my life.”

Good Morning, Magpie by Murder by Death

“Just follow some other storm/Cause I’ll only weigh you down/You carry me home/My love.”

This is my favorite song by my favorite band, and I have a tattoo of the lyrics “follow some other storm” because it’s always resonated strongly with me. I thought the song fit well for Laurent, who seems cold on the outside but is definitely a storm of emotions on the inside.


And there you have it! Those are some of my favorite songs from my Isaac/Saint playlist, and like I said, there are a lot more on there if you’d like to check out the YouTube link.

Do you have a strong association between music and fictional characters/relationships? If so, let me know your favorite in the comments! I’ll choose one random commenter to win a title from my backlist. Thanks so much for reading!

Check out Empty Net today!

Empty Net


Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

About Avon Gale:

Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites. Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy. At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Website: www.avongalewrites.com
Email: avongalewrites@gmail.com
Twitter: @avongalewrites
Facebook: www.facebook.com/avongalewrites
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/avongalewrites

Bear Among the Books: Telling Stories with T.J. Masters

September 7, 2016

Telling Stories


In the Story of Bear Among the Books, librarian Ben uses a story telling technique to teach Jason to read.

Of course storytelling existed long before the printed word. We tend to think of the oral tradition of storytelling as the oldest form but many experts now think that cave paintings or ‘rock art’ may have been an even earlier tradition of remembering and telling stories. This tradition transcends all cultures and peoples both ancient and modern and appears in a variety of forms. Without the written word, storytelling was the primary means of preserving history and culture, teaching a moral code and instilling its values, educating people of all ages and of course as entertainment.

In this story, Ben believes very much in the engagement of the reader with the story in order to fire the imagination. It may appear strange that Ben chooses text free graphic novels to start the process of teaching Jason to read. Although there are no words on the page but the images feed Jason with enough clues to complete the story in his mind. Starting with Raymond Briggs’ Snowman and later with Shaun Tan, Jason proves to be adept at interpreting the images and therefore at ‘reading’ the books.

Check out Bear Among the Books today!

Bear Among the Books


Forty-eight-year-old Ben Thompson is a librarian, a passionate book lover, and a man who embodies the definition of a bear. He’s also lonely after the loss of his long-term partner. Young ex-gymnast Jason Barnes piques his interest, but Ben quickly realizes there’s more to Jason than his good looks. While Jason visits the library almost every day, he never checks out a book.

With gentle persistence, Ben befriends Jason and learns the nineteen-year-old’s tragic secrets. After years of abuse at his father’s hands, Jason was kicked out of his family home for being gay. And despite his apparent love of books, Jason never learned to read. Ben offers to teach him, and the two men bond over their lessons. Ben can’t deny his attraction to Jason, but he wonders if Jason is too young and too handsome to return his interest. With the help of the close-knit library team and Jason’s growing self-confidence, they move beyond the books and into the bedroom, where their own story is just beginning.



When I returned Jason had pulled his sexy legs up to sit cross-legged on the window seat. Somehow this made him look even younger, but his reaction to the book had the opposite effect. I handed him a hardback copy of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. “Do you know this one?”

“Yeah, but it’s a kid’s book.” There was an angry edge to his reply. “Will I have to learn with kids’ stuff?”

“No, not at all. This is just an introductory test for both of us. Just humor me and read it.” Jason reluctantly opened the book and then started turning the pages. He looked up.

“But there’s no words. How can I read it? Are you making fun of me?” He slammed the book shut, but I reached out a calming hand.

“You said you want to read stories. Long, long before books, people were telling stories, and that’s what I want you to do. When I ask children to read that, they don’t question it, they just sit down and follow the story as they look at the illustrations. Just look at the pictures and tell me the story in your own words.”

Jason reluctantly opened the book and glanced over the first two or three pages. He glanced up at me with a look something akin to fear in his eyes. I couldn’t imagine what it must feel like whenever anyone asked or expected him to read something. Turning his attention back to the book as if considering whether to try or to find some excuse, Jason returned to the first page and started to narrate the story. He was hesitant at first, but as soon as the first lines were spoken, his confidence grew.

“One morning, Tom woke up and he knew that something was different. He was in his own room and his own warm comfy bed, but something had changed. Tom always liked to sleep with the curtains open, so it was normal to wake up to daylight coming in the window. This morning the light was different. It was unusually bright, but it wasn’t sunny because there were no shadows. Tom threw the covers back and rushed to the window. The usual view across the fields had completely changed. In fact, the world Tom saw outside his window every morning was gone. It was replaced by a thick blanket of pure white snow.”

Jason looked up at me. “Is that okay?”

“Jason, that’s more than okay, it’s fantastic. You’re telling me a story based on what you see in the pictures, but already it’s way more than the pictures show. By the way, who said the little boy was called Tom?”

“I don’t know.” Jason laughed. “He just looks like a Tom.”

“That’s perfect. You really are reading the book. Have you ever experienced a morning like that yourself?”

“Not really, no.” Jason looked puzzled.

“So you’ve taken the images in the book and added that information to other things you’ve experienced, and all that is helping you to imagine the story. That’s what we do when we read. That’s really all we do. The best authors give us an outline to the story, but they leave us to fill in our own details. We start to experience the story that they want to tell us, but we make it our own.”

Jason looked down at the book again and nodded thoughtfully.



Author T.J. Masters recently and somewhat reluctantly passed his 60th birthday. After a long and happy teaching career T.J. wanted to follow a new path before senility set in. Books and stories have been a lifelong passion and there are many tales waiting to be told.

As a happily partnered gay man T.J. chooses to write what he knows best. His overactive and ever exploring mind is probably best described by the Oscar Wilde quote that “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”.


Website: www.tjmasters.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tjmasterswriter/
Twitter: @TJMasters