October 10, 2014
So, let’s talk a little bit more about Most Beautiful Words…! And then how about a giveaway?
Twelve-year-old Autumn’s world is shattered when her beloved Great-Pop, Tommy Johnson, suffers a stroke that leaves him comatose. With everyone around her resigning themselves to the inevitable, Autumn is the only one not willing to give up. She and Great-Pop have more secret stories to share with each other, after all. More stories about Roy McMillan—the great love of Tommy’s life whom he lost fifty years ago.
Autumn struggles to keep Great-Pop on this side of death’s door. But how can she compete with the beautiful and mysterious Valley—a place of surreal magic where the sun never fully sets? Especially when there’s someone familiar in the Valley who will do everything he can to keep Great-Pop from returning to her.
~ ~ ~
The idea for this story came to me one day as my husband and I were cleaning the kitchen. I think I had a grand total of three half-sentences to say about it. A little girl befriends an old man who’s lost his partner and the man tells her all the stories of his past. When NaNoWriMo 2012 came along, the story grew to encompass Tommy and Roy and Autumn.
The place in the Valley where the sun never sets? Inspired by meditation practice. When I was trying to calm my nerves for the day, I would imagine a cottage, forming every detail of it in my mind. By the time I went to put it to paper, it was very familiar to me.
Interested in winning a copy of Most Beautiful Words? Comment below with your answer to the following question:
What are the most beautiful words you’ve ever heard?
October 10, 2014
It’s such a pleasure to meet you! My name is Raine O’Tierney and today a 20 year old dream of mine came true… Today, I am a published novelist. But Raine? You might ask. Weren’t you published before? And with Dreamspinner Press, too? True! But Most Beautiful Words is my first novel. And this, m’friends? Is the release party!
So, how can we really get to know each other through these blog posts? Q&As are always fun but I thought I’d up the ante…What if, instead of 10 random Q’s…I went through the pictures on my phone and found some that really illuminate the strangeness that is Raine O’Tierney.
1) I’m really quite fond of tiny hats… I’ve even dedicated a blog to it. Hats + LGBT author interviews = The Hat Party!
October 9, 2014
Under the Stars by Geoff Laughton
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Out and proud Ethan meets closeted Jason during his family’s vacation at a dude ranch. Their friendship grows into something deeper. Under the Stars by Geoff Laughton, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
Ethan Tanner is an out and proud, fastidious, and fashionable sixteen-year-old vegetarian who likes theater and musicals. This year, it’s his sister’s turn to pick the vacation destination, so he ends up on a dude ranch he knows he is going to hate. What with the dirt, animals, and germs, he can’t possibly be happy.
Jason McCoy is the closeted sixteen-year-old son of the ranch owners and is trying to find his place in a world that doesn’t seem to fit him. He takes an interest in Ethan, shows him around, and gets him to ride a horse. When he invites Ethan camping, Ethan thinks Jason must be joking. But Ethan takes a risk, and the two boys bond under the stars.
After that, Ethan and Jason are inseparable. Their friendship grows into something deeper as they begin to figure out what they want from life. But Ethan’s home is in Chicago, and the distance might be more than the two teenagers—and their blossoming relationship—can withstand.
Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Western, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: October 9, 2014
October 8, 2014
Bright Star by Talia R. Blackwood
Prince teaches Phae, a clone, the meaning of love. However, their mission becomes more complicated than either man was led to believe.
“I am his guardian angel. I don’t know who he is. I know every line of his face—the curve of his lips is carved in my soul—but I don’t know his name. I always called him just Prince.”
Tasked to watch over a young man in suspended animation, Phae, a clone, spends his life alone on an empty spaceship, focused only on the protection of his ward. Prince isn’t scheduled to wake for another twenty years, but an attack on the ship starts the automatic awakening procedure. Prince relieves Phae’s loneliness and teaches him the meaning of love. However, the mission becomes more complicated than either man was led to believe—and far more dangerous. Their destination is a world held hostage, where clones are disposable and Phae is scheduled for “recycling” when his duty is done.
Length: Novella (164p.) | Genre: Science Fiction | Release Date: October 8, 2014
Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-278-6)
Davis’s Magic by Lisa Clarke
Even as misunderstandings threaten their tentative connection, Davis and Jamie are determined to hold on to each other.
When a chance encounter after a night of celebration brings Davis Anderson unexpectedly crashing into Jamie Greene’s life, Davis knows the universe has delivered the man of his dreams. Unfortunately, love is the last thing Jamie is looking for. The attraction between the two men is nothing short of magical, but for Jamie, the timing couldn’t be worse. Consumed by grief over the death of his mother, Jamie pushes Davis away, for Davis’s own good—or so Jamie insists. For Davis, walking away from Jamie isn’t an option. He must find a way to soothe Jamie’s pain and earn his trust. Even as misunderstandings threaten their tentative connection, they’re determined to hold on to each other—and hope the magic between them will be enough.
Length: Novella (58p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: October 8, 2014
Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-105-5)
Trapped in Oz by Andrew Grey
When Gary confesses that his family disowned him for being gay, Martin makes his own confession that opens a world of possibilities.
Martin Long has plans and dreams, but they are derailed when his parents move and must sell their house. In need of a place to stay, fast, he answers an ad for a roommate, and even though the house needs work, the owner seems nice so Martin agrees to move in.
Gary Hunter is barely making ends meet, with mysteriously disappearing tips at work and tuition to pay. Disowned by his family and left with a house in need of repair, Gary desperately needs the extra set of hands along with the money.
When Gary confesses that his family disowned him for being gay, Martin makes his own confession that opens a world of possibilities. But Gary has paid a heavy price for being who he is, and Martin’s unwillingness to open up to his family puts strain on the fledgling relationship.
Length: Novella (156p.) | Genre: Contemporary, New Adult | Release Date: October 8, 2014
Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-021-8)
October 6, 2014
It’s almost time to return the blog to Dreamspinner. Thanks to everyone who has dropped by today. I’m leaving the contest open until the end of my weekend, which is Wednesday NZ time, and also checking back on the blog so it’s not too late to comment if you still want to take part.
What’s next for me? I have a WW1 novella called On Wings of Song coming out from Dreamspinner Press on Christmas Eve, and am currently writing on Family and Reflection, which is the 3rd book in The Sleepless City, a series I’m co-writing with Elizabeth Noble.
After that – ie plans for next year and beyond – is finishing The Harp and the Sea with Lou Sylvre, One Word which is a side story to Cat’s Quill, A Mage to Forget which is book 2 of Dragons of Astria and then Comes a Horseman.
October 6, 2014
Splintered by SJD Peterson
To catch the killer before anyone else falls victim, Hutch and Noah will have to work together, and quickly, to bring him to justice.
A string of murders targeting effeminate gay men has the GLBTQ community of Chicago on alert, but budget cuts have left many precincts understaffed and overworked. Not to mention, homophobia is alive and well within the law enforcement community and little has been done to solve the mystery. When the FBI calls in Special Agent Todd Hutchinson and his team, the locals are glad to hand the case off. But Hutch finds a bigger mystery than anyone originally realized—seventeen linked murders committed in several different jurisdictions. Hutch’s clues lead him to Noah Walker.
Working on his PhD in forensic psychology, Noah has been obsessed with serial murders since he was a child. But coming to Hutch’s attention as a suspect isn’t a good way to start a relationship. Noah finds himself hunted, striking him off Hutch’s suspect list, but not off his radar. To catch the killer before anyone else falls victim, they’ll have to work together, and quickly, to bring him to justice.
Length: Novel (220p.) | Genre: Mystery/Suspense | Release Date: October 6, 2014
Winter Duet by Anne Barwell
Loyalties are tested as Kristopher and Michel journey across Germany toward Switzerland while trying to help others and reach safety.
With Kristopher finally fit enough to travel, he and Michel leave the security of their safe house and continue their journey across Germany toward Switzerland. Caught in a series of Allied bombings, they stop to help civilians and narrowly escape capture by German forces.
While investigating a downed aircraft in the Black Forest, the two men discover an injured RAF pilot. After they are separated, Kristopher and the pilot are discovered by a German officer who claims he is not who he appears to be. Determined to find Michel again, Kristopher has to trust the stranger and hope he is not connected to those searching for him and the information he carries. Meanwhile Michel is intercepted by one of the Allied soldiers he met in Berlin. His help is needed to save one of their own.
Time quickly runs out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo closes in. Michel can only hope that they reach safety before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s lives, but those of the remaining members of their team—if it is not already too late.
Length: Novel (226p.) | Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Historical European
Release Date: October 6, 2014
Work in Progress by John Inman
Harlie and Milan soon learn that love is always just around the corner waiting to pounce. Whether you want it to or not.
Dumped by his lover, Harlie Rose ducks for cover in the Belladonna Arms, a seedy apartment building perched high on a hill in downtown San Diego. What he doesn’t know is that the Belladonna Arms has a reputation for romance—and Harlie is about to become its next victim.
Finding a job at a deli up the street, Harlie meets Milan, a gorgeous but cranky baker. Unaware that Milan is suffering the effects of a broken heart just as Harlie is, the two men circle around each other, manning the barricades, both unwilling to open themselves up to love yet again.
But even the most stubborn heart can be conquered.
With his new friends to back him up—Sylvia, on the verge of her final surgery to become a woman, Arthur, the aging drag queen who is about to discover a romance of his own, and Stanley and Roger, the handsome young couple in 5C who lead by example, Harlie soon learns that at the Belladonna Arms, love is always just around the corner waiting to pounce. Whether you want it to or not.
But tragedy also drops in now and then.
Length: Novel (226p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Humor | Release Date: October 6, 2014
October 6, 2014
Winter Duet can be described, in part, as a road trip across Germany. However, it’s not your average road trip as it takes place in 1944 and there are bombs dropping and they’re on the run from the Gestapo.
While the first book in the series, Shadowboxing, took place in Berlin, in Winter Duet, the characters need to make their way toward Switzerland. In order to do so they needed to cross Germany during wartime, not an easy task as they’re wanted men and identification papers needed to be carried at all time.
I’ve already mentioned using google maps. Travel guides and web sites about the different places they went through were invaluable too so was the big topographical map that hung from one of my bookshelves while I was writing the book. One of my betas, Susanne, and I spent an afternoon plotting routes using that map. I say routes, plural, as we needed two as the characters are split up after the stop to help a downed RAF pilot in the Black Forest.
I can’t thank Susanne enough for her help with this book, and the previous one. The map I used was hers as well and, as helping with location stuff, she also provided—and suggested—the German I used.
In choosing the locations I also had to keep in mind what was happening in that time period in those places. After all, they were in a city where bombs were dropping, I needed to make sure that was referenced by either having them there at the time, or they’d just missed them. But then, why make things easy? Where’s the fun in that?
October 6, 2014
As a musician—I play violin and piano—I tend to have music somewhere in my books. Sometimes it’s just that characters are musicians (Simon in The Sleepless City series plays the piano), or that music plays a part in the plot (a flute plays an important part in the Hidden Places series, and music is very important in On Wings of Song).
In Winter Duet both Kristopher and Michel are musicians. Kristopher plays violin and Michel, flute. The duet in the title is a reference to that and the fact that in Shadowboxing, Michel promised Kristopher a duet one day. He intends to keep that promise.
Knowing there is a risk they will be separated, Kristopher devises a way to write code using music so they can leave each other a note which won’t be easily deciphered. Music code is nothing new and was used by Bach and Schumann, amongst others. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea—it was used in WW2—and one of the lectures in a music history paper I did went into it in some depth, so it was great to be able to use it in the story.
As well as using music in the story, I tend to have music playing when I write, and often have a ‘soundtrack’ for my stories. Winter Duet was no different. As well as the music which is referenced directly in the story, there were other songs that made up the soundtrack. These included: “I Hope You Dance,” by Ronan Keating, “Close Your Eyes,” by Michael Bublé, and “Touch of Your Hand,” by Glass Tiger.
I’d love to know if you have any music that reminds you of characters you read or write about. I love hearing new music.
October 6, 2014
As I mentioned I write in different genres. This year is historical year for me writing wise, as I also have a WW1 novella, On Wings of Song, coming out at Christmas. I love research, which is probably a good thing with writing historicals. I work in a library and it’s not a good idea for me to shelve in the 940.5 section as I get distracted by shiny things.
Half the fun was finding the resources and as is the case with a lot of research, finding answers often led to more questions. By the time Winter Duet was written I had a very long list of resources I’d used. I prefer to use a mix of resources rather than just all internet sources—books and databases, as well as internet sites.
I used more than just history books as I want to get the locations as right as I can too. Google maps has a great feature where you can put in two locations and it will calculate the time it takes for the journey. I used that a lot, although I had to adjust it to the fact this was taking place in 1944. I also looked up specifics of the guns they would have used, which was very useful in a scene where Michel and Ken are counting how many bullets they have left. It’s the little things that I enjoy finding out about.
With one bit of researching I struck gold when I was researching a period in history called ‘The Big Week.’ I found a website that listed types of aircraft used, what time the raids were and where the Allied bombs were dropped. Brilliant!
This next question is also for the contest/giveaway as it ties into the fact Winter Duet is set in the past. If you had access to a time machine, which period in history would you like to visit, and why?
I’d love to visit the time periods I write about: both World Wars and the 2nd Jacobite Uprising in 1745.
October 6, 2014
I love book covers. One of the most exciting things about being published is seeing the cover of my new book for the first time. Dreamspinner Press is great in that they ask their authors want they want with their covers. Obviously some covers aren’t possible but I’ve been very lucky with mine with the artist often taking my ideas and running with them to create something way beyond my expectations.
Dreamspinner also provides an advertising pack with each new release. Here’s a picture of the bookmarks and postcards I had printed out for Winter Duet:
Reese Dante did the covers for both books in the Echoes series. I love them, and I think they capture the feel of each book very well, without giving away too much of the story.
Here’s a photo of some of my other covers:
When I pick up a book I look at the cover first, then the blurb, then I read the last couple of pages of the book.
What do you look at first? Cover, blurb, or what, and what kind of things are important to you with a cover?