Lucie Archer’s Chicken Parmesan + Giveaway

May 11, 2017

Lucie Archer's Chicken Parmesan

 

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog tour for Past the Breakers.

Today thought I’d share a recipe in homage to Casey’s food blog. And just so Myles doesn’t feel left out, I decided on chicken parmesan since it’s his favorite. This recipe is really easy and something I make all the time. It might not be up to restaurant standards, but how can you go wrong with fried chicken topped with tomato sauce and cheese?

 

Ingredients:

1 pound of chicken breast
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
2-3 cups flour
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, optional
Garlic powder, optional
Oil, for frying
Salt, to taste
Pasta, optional

Prep:

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First, you’ll need a bowl to mix your dry ingredients. I used a 9×9 glass baking dish for ease, but any kind of container will do. Add in your flour and Italian breadcrumbs, then stir until combined.

I like to add extra garlic powder, but this can be omitted. You can also add parmesan into the mixture for an added kick.

Pour oil into a frying pan until half full and turn the heat to medium high. This is also where I put the sauce on to simmer on low heat. (And the water for paste, if you’re cooking that too.)

While the oil is heating up, it’s time to cut up the chicken to ensure even cooking. Butterflying is best, but trimming away the excess fat and breaking them down into more manageable pieces is all you need to do.

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(Alternatively, you can pound it out with a meat tenderizer or even a heavy pan to get it thin and even.)

Now it’s time to get dirty.

Salt one side of your chicken, then place it salt-side down in your dredging mixture. If you are watching your salt intake, this can be skipped, otherwise a light coating will do just fine. Salt the top side as well, then toss the chicken to coat it evenly.

The chicken, and your hands, should look like this:

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Cook:

Once your oil is nice and hot, add in your chicken. Make sure to dust off the excess flour first, and take extra care not to burn yourself.

Cook the chicken for 6 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown, turning half way through. Place on paper towels to drain.

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Plate your spaghetti and chicken, then spoon on hot spaghetti sauce to your liking. I add some parmesan cheese on top as well.

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(If you’ll notice the spaghetti, I seem to have caught a class one apparition on camera in my kitchen. Casey would be proud. Or maybe that’s just steam. Guess we’ll never know…)

All that’s left is the mozzarella cheese:

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Macintosh HD:Users:Mickey:Desktop:CWC Blog:IMG_1447.jpg

 

And voilá. There you have it.

Alternatively, you can put the sauce-and-cheese-covered chicken on a baking sheet and pop it in the over to melt the cheese, but I usually don’t have the patience for that. The heat from the sauce and chicken melts the cheese enough for my liking, but I’ve done it both ways. And both are just as yummy!

I hope y’all enjoyed the recipe, and thanks for joining me on this stop on my tour.

 

Check out Past the Breakers today!

 

Past the Breakers by Lucie Archer

 

Blurb:

Casey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long-dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades, he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

 

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. She tells stories of romance, love, and life, with a little bit of passion thrown in for good measure. Because what’s life without a little pop and sizzle?

When she’s not writing, she can be found tending to her garden, playing with her four-legged children, or procrastinating. Although, she spends a lot of time fending off random plot bunnies that threaten to derail her WIP’s.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog tour:

May 8 - MM Good Book Reviews
May 11 - Dreamspinner Press Blog
May 12 - Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
May 15 (Release day!) - Long and Short Reviews
May 16 - Love Bytes
May 17 - Two Chicks Obsessed
May 18 - Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter
May 19 - My Fiction Nook
May 20 - Boy Meets Boy
May 22 - Tammy’s Two Cents
May 23 - Alpha Book Reviews

Can’t Resist Collaborating w/ Chris Owen and Tory Temple

May 2, 2017

Can't Resist a Collaboration

 

Hi there! Tory Temple and I are so excited about our latest release, Adding it Up. This is the second book featuring Trey, Deuce, the puppies, and all the mayhem that goes along with them. We’re also thrilled to be releasing both of the By the Numbers books in an anthology!

These stories stemmed from Tory’s Oceanside Fire books and my fascination with her character, Trey. He appeared, my heart went ping, and I asked her a million questions about him. She was gracious enough to share what she already knew and make up answers for things I wanted to know that she hadn’t had reason to consider, and then the inevitable happened.

“Uh, honey? There’s a dude in my head who has a crush on your Trey. And he’s got a pregnant dog.”

Luckily for me (and for you!) she’s my bestie and had time to play with me. It didn’t take long for Trey and Deuce to take root and take over. Before long we were working away and trying to piece together a relationship that had more external pressures that either of us were really used to writing about. It isn’t a merely romantic relationship between two strong minded men, it’s a relationship involving an ex, a child, three dogs, a crew of firefighters, a wanna-be-grampy… Things got hectic quickly!

Because of all those factors I really feel that this relationship is true and honest, bringing romantic reality to the story. Life is life, and the true love and romance in this story is how these two guys make it work, and how they show each other that they’re in love.

If you’ve read the first book, you could see how Trey and Deuce show that they love each other. What moment touched you as a reader? What did they do that proved to you that they were meant to be together?

I’m a sucker for the grand romantic gesture. Share a gesture you’ve been party to – acting or receiving! – for a chance to win of our books.

 

Tory can be found at the following places:

www.torytemple.com
https://www.facebook.com/torytemple
https://twitter.com/ToryTemple?lang=en

Chris can be found her

Site: http://www.chrisowen.net
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/chris_owen
Blog: http://www.chrisowen.net/chrisblog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100015072407034

 

Check out By the Numbers: Adding It Up today!

 

By the Numbers: Adding It Up by Tory Temple and Chris Owen

 

Blurb:

Dogs, a young daughter, and shift work make for an unpredictable and never boring life for new couple Deuce and Trey. Trey is keeping his ex-wife out of their hair, but Deuce is determined to forge a truce between them all. Trey is vehemently opposed to a friendship between Deuce and Holly—she’s the last person Trey wants more interaction with. Deuce persists, however, and tensions between them could spell the end of their relationship.

They’ll have to find a way to make it all add up again—or lose everything.

Jeff Adams: Using a Romance to Create a Romance

April 27, 2017

 Using a Romance to Create a Romance

 

Despite my love of hockey (and the Detroit Red Wings), the first thing that came to mind when I decided to pitch a Michigan-set story for States of Love was Mackinac Island and the movie Somewhere in Time.

Here’s how the elements came together for me to write Somewhere on Mackinac.

Mackinac Island holds many childhood memories for me. I grew up in Flint and my family would occasionally take the trip up. I think I developed my hate for bridges going over the Mackinac Bridge when I was five or six. It’s currently the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere (the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan, is the longest). In my young view, it was terrifying to go over. What was more fun was when my grandfather bought a plane, a four seater Cessna, and we could fly to the island for the day.

Mackinac was wildly different than any place I’d seen. First off, there were no cars. You got around with horses, bicycles or on foot. I didn’t fully get it back then, but the place was of another time—and it still is. I did know it was very different than other places I’d been, like Flint, Detroit or even out of state to visit relatives in Texas.

What I vividly remember, besides the horses, is the fudge. Ryba’s Fudge Shop was delicious—and it still is too. Earlier this month, I had a box shipped to me for the first time in a couple of years. You have to be careful with the stuff. As I note in the story, you have to be careful not to eat too much. Its creamy richness makes it’s easy to eat more than you should.

Years later, after my family moved to Alabama, I was reminded of Mackinac Island when I saw the 1980 film Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. I caught the movie one day while I was home sick from high school (the same way Jordan in Somewhere on Mackinac sees it). I liked Christopher Reeve and there was time travel in it, so why not?

I admit, my sixteen-year-old self didn’t quite get the romance. A few years later though it clicked. The lengths to which Elise went to find Richard across the decades was incredible. It was matched only by Richard’s search to find out who she was and get to her at all costs. The combination of intense love and heartbreak makes it one of my favorite films.

The film was mostly shot on Mackinac Island, especially in and around the Grand Hotel. To this day, the Grand holds a Somewhere in Time weekend each October to celebrate the film.

The film, and specifically the celebration weekend, was the perfect setting to create a romance. Jordan has loved the film since he first saw it and, currently single, he’s finally taking the trip to the Island from Chicago. Jordan soon finds himself in the company of Miles, an Island native and stable owner.

It was tremendous fun taking advantage of what the Island and the SIT weekend had to offer to create the opportunity for these men to fall for each other. It’s not all smooth sailing, of course. Not only is there the distance to consider with Jordan living in Chicago, there’s other obstacles on the road to happiness.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Somewhere on Mackinac and see for yourself how Jordan and Miles, along with some help from the amazing setting, find their timeless love. If you’d like to read an excerpt, you can head over to the book page and read chapter one.

And if you do make the trip to Mackinac with Jordan and Miles, I’d love to hear what you think of the journey.

 

Check out Somewhere on Mackinac today!

 

Somewhere on Mackinac by Jeff Adams

 

BLURB

How far would you go for the man of your dreams?

Now that he’s single, Chicago businessman Jordan Monroe can finally take his long-desired trip to Mackinac Island for the Somewhere In Time fan celebration weekend. On the first day, Jordan finds himself attracted to Miles Colter, a handsome local stable owner who is giving horseback tours of film locations.

Jordan is surprised and charmed that Miles pursues him. When Jordan learns the stable is in trouble, he wants to help despite Miles’s resistance. As their relationship grows personally and professionally, Jordan dreads the issues that face them—an ex who won’t let him go, the complications of a long-distance relationship, and a secret he knows he shouldn’t be keeping.

Can Jordan and Miles find a way to forge a love as timeless as the romance in their favorite film?

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

 

Somewhere on Mackinac Blog Tour Schedule

April 26 – MM Good Book Reviews
April 27 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
April 28 – Open Skye Book Reviews
May 1 – Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter
May 2 – My Fiction Nook
May 3 – Divine Magazine (Release Day!)
May 4 – Love Bytes
May 5 – The Novel Approach
May 8 – Two Chicks Obsessed

 

Jeff Adams

Author Bio:

Jeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published.

Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.

He also co-hosts the weekly show Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast with his husband. You can learn more at BigGayFictionPodcast.com.

Links:

Website: http://jeffadamswrites.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeffAndWill/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterJeffAdams

 

Fishy Riot: 9 Weird Things w/ Lindsey Black

April 26, 2017

 9 Weird Things with Lindsay Black

 

Weird things happen in Australia. I mean…obviously. We have the world’s longest fence. That’s…weird. I like to think a lot of what makes Australians unique is their sense of humour, and I think that stems from the weird stuff that happens to us. So I thought I would talk about nine ‘weird’ things that have happened to me (or just weird things) that in some way influenced Fishy Riot.

  1. 1. I met my partner. This really has nothing to do with the book, even though it has everything to do with it. Because my partner is one of seven children and the oldest is a riot squad officer. He’s obnoxiously tall—6’11—bald and weighs something like 120kg. He’s literally the largest person I have ever met, so I stole his job and his size for the twins. Not his personality though, for which you should be grateful.

  2. 2. I’m a music teacher by day. Some students of mine were carrying a Korg keyboard in its nice hard-case, got distracted and walked into a door. One dropped their end and stumbled forward. The other end smashed the second student in the face, breaking their nose and giving them the best shiner I’ve seen in years. The paperwork I had to fill in was spectacular—there were maps involved and everything!

  3. 3. In 2015 230kg of methamphetamine worth $156million was discovered trying to enter Australia in 20000 bottles of lemonade. Lemonade! It’s hard to take our epic drug war seriously when it’s being hidden in a shipment of 20000 lemonade bottles. Who the hell needs that much lemonade? How did they not think someone was going to look at that and go ‘oh hey, wait…I don’t think that’s lemonade’? I was, when I learned of this bust, sitting with a friend drinking lemonade. They kindly sprayed it all over me as we watched the news report. Australians love to sit around and talk about things that have absolutely nothing to do with them, but you can’t really blame us when people are shipping lemonade-meth.

  4. 4. I’m nervous about sharks. When I did my scuba diving course I was disturbed when the majority of the insurance waiver I signed read something along the lines of ‘if a shark eats me I understand it’s not your fault, or the sharks, because clearly I’m delicious’. So I was horrified when on my first dive we went down and right there was a grey nurse shark. To settle my nerves the guide then took us through a shark nursery. He obviously didn’t know me well. But what’s really interesting is that on average about 3 people die from shark attacks in Australia each year. If you remove firearm murder-suicides, that’s not a very different statistic to the likelihood of being shot dead in Australia. So, I’m just as likely to be eaten by a shark as I am to get shot, and yet people wonder why Australians think being shot is a little weird. Incredibly, more people have been eaten by sharks in the last decade than police officers who’ve died on duty.

  5. 5. I love to bushwalk (or, hike, if you don’t speak Aussie). I really, really love to bushwalk. Preferably solo long distance. I’ve done a few great Aussie walks, like the Overland Track, the Great Ocean Walk, the Great South West Walk…you get the idea. My love of hiking stemmed from my parents taking me on long walks as a kid in the rainforest. I’m a waterfall addict. I was once out on a walk in the Dorrigo reserve with some mates when we found ourselves in the odd predicament of hanging off the side of a ravine over the side of a waterfall (it’s really best not to ask and just go with it). My mate slipped and caught himself but rained a nice sized rock on me and I fell. Luckily, it was a waterfall, so other than a big splash nothing truly horrible happened. Oh, except the rock hit my arm and I didn’t know I’d broken it until six months later when I fell off an entirely different waterfall and hurt the same arm. The doctor was suitably amused by my stupidity and I was just happy I didn’t have to have it re-broken to fix it since you know…I’d already re-broken it myself! Awesome!

  6. 6. My first phone was a Nokia 3310. Despite having recently upgraded to a google pixel, my 3310 is still fully functional. Which is great, since they’re making a comeback and all, so I’m going to be all cool again and increase my cool-credit with my students who didn’t believe me about how amazing my ‘old dud phone’ was. It’s not that surprising though. Most Australians have a 3310 in the bottom of the kitchen drawers, they just can’t find the charger. Randomly, I’ve had the same mobile phone number since I was 15. That’s crazy. Not one stalker. I feel this says more about me than I would like.

  7. 7. Where I live the dirt can kill you. Yeah…the dirt. Melioidosis is a horrible thing, look it up. This has nothing to do with Fishy Riot, other than it may explain why Australians are so blasé about everything. I mean, if the ground you’re walking on can kill you, why worry, right? Fascinatingly, Melioidosis has been considered for weaponization/chemical warfare. It’s a scary world we live in.

  8. 8. I was once bitten by a white tail spider. I have a cool scar on my leg from the bite. At the time, I just assumed I had an ingrown hair or a weird pimple, right? A week later I’m having rotting flesh carved out of my thigh. Those things are so gross! Again, it should come as no surprise that Aussie’s are blasé about injury. I’ve also been bitten by a total of seventeen red-back spiders, but that’s a whole other story.

  9. 9. Thongs in Australia are the national shoe (or should be, though I think we would have to fight Brazil for the honour and they dance martial arts while we just drink beer so I think maybe we should let that fight slide), not a string you shove up your… you know what, it’s a shoe okay? I mention this because despite being on the Perchance to Dream line I had to change an awful lot of Aussie slang to words no one here would ever use because no one else would have understood what was being said. Like doona. This is not the same as a quilt, folks. I had no idea ‘you weren’t born in a tent’ was an Aussie-ism. I do now.

Australia’s a weird place. Weird people live here as a result. But that’s what makes it fun. I hope you have fun reading Fishy Riot even if it’s a tad…well, weird!

P.S This was the first waterfall…

 

Check out Fishy Riot today!

 

Fishy Riot by Lindsey Black

Dreamspinner Press / Amazon / B&N

Blurb-a-rama:

Most people think riot squad officer Taylor Jameson is an asshole. Little do they know his apparent indifference stems from having a meddlesome family always butting into his business. And little does Taylor know he’s about to stumble into a situation that’ll make indifference impossible.

When everything goes horribly wrong at a political rally on a harbour ferry, Taylor encounters Sietta Salisbury. The son of a wealthy politician, Sietta is a revered—but presumed dead—musician, and an enigma who is so strange, Taylor is compelled to look into his background. What he discovers draws him into a bizarre mess of prisoners, politics, and attempted murder that makes him realise what he’s been missing.

Falling in love isn’t hard. Trying to convince someone else you’re worth loving despite your crazy family and the people trying to kill you? That’s a whole other can of worms.

 

About Lindsey Black:

Lindsey Black lives in Darwin, Australia, where the weather report permanently reads ‘humidity at 100%, only going to get worse’ for ten months of the year and ‘monsoon at 4:00 p.m. for exactly fifteen minutes’ for the remaining two. Between teaching and studying full-time, she escapes this oppressive environment to bushwalk for weeks on end wherever the mobile phone reception has zero bars for as long as possible and the weather report reads something along the lines of ‘blizzard likely.’ She enjoys martial arts, music, and mayhem, which explains the untidy state of her home where she attempts to write while splitting her minimal amounts of spare time between her incredulous husband, lazy Chinchilla cat, and crazed Siberian husky. If you expect her to sit and have a chat, it’s best to have a matcha green tea latte with almond milk on hand and your hiking boots within reach. Oh, and be sure to bring a guitar for impromptu jam sessions.

You can find Lindsey on facebook / twitter / www

Getting Political w/ Laura Lascarso + Giveaway

April 25, 2017

 Getting Political with Laura Lascarso

 

Oftentimes readers ask, what inspired you to write this story? Usually, I can point to exact experiences, current events, and other creative works that inspired a story for me. In the case of THE BRAVEST THING, it was a poem, a television show, and a tragedy.

The poem is “Trevor” by Ocean Vuong, a deeply personal account of a love affair between two teens, one of whom is struggling with his sexuality in the face of an unaccepting father-figure. I loved the intimacy and honesty of this poem, and it made me want to translate into story-form the stakes and risks associated with coming out in a community that doesn’t approve, and the bonds we form with friends and lovers that must sometimes supplement or supplant the love and support we would otherwise receive from our families.

The television show is Friday Night Lights (Texas Forever). FNL covered a wide range of sensitive subjects, including racism, addiction, sexual assault, and poverty, but it didn’t touch on homophobia, which is a shame because it’s an important conversation, and FNL could have given the topic wide and diverse exposure. Similar to FNL, I wanted to recreate the small-town Texas vibe, the almost godlike status of football players, and the conflicts that occur when you have to break away from the herd to stand up for what’s right.

The third inspiration for me was more accurately a motivation. I was at the very early stages of drafting THE BRAVEST THING when the Pulse shooting occurred. I don’t think mainstream America has given this tragedy the gravitas it deserved. Nor do I think enough discussion has been had about the ways in which toxic masculinity saturates every aspect of our lives, from the way our children are conditioned at an early age to act a certain way to how we as a society idolize athletes and celebrities at the expense of accountability.

The Pulse massacre galvanized my commitment to exploring the roots of homophobia, and in particular, how hate crimes affect already vulnerable individuals, for instance, those struggling with addiction and recovering from abuse. I also wanted to show why a victim might choose to let a hate crime go unreported, as are two-thirds of hate crimes in the U.S.

Some authors prefer to keep politics out of their writing. For me, all of my writing is political. Part of the reason I chose early on in my career to write for young adult audiences is because I am actively trying to change hearts and minds. While THE BRAVEST THING deals with heavy topics that may be more appropriate for older audiences, I would say that these are precisely the conversations we need to be having with teens while they are still forming their opinions on the world. (Adults should be having these conversations as well, so please don’t think I mean for them to be excluded.)

Because the main characters in THE BRAVEST THING are teens, it would have been a hard sell in the adult mainstream market. On the other hand, mainstream YA publishing would not have touched it, not necessarily because of the violence, but because of its graphic depictions of gay sex. This too was a deliberate choice on my part because young people (and adults) of all sexual orientations should be offered the opportunity to read and learn about a variety of sexual experiences, so that two men kissing doesn’t shock or offend, but is met with a shrug or a sigh and maybe even a, “isn’t that romantic?”

So my final sentiment is to say I’m grateful to Dreamspinner Press for being so supportive of my creative works, so wonderful to work with, and offering me a platform to publish stories that are outside of mainstream so that I might find my readers, and they might find me as well.

I hope you’ll give THE BRAVEST THING a try. If you have any questions about the story, please feel free to email me at lauralascarso(at)yahoo(dot)com. Thank you for your patronage!

 

Check out The Bravest Thing today!

 

The Bravest Thing by Laura Lascarso

Dreamspinner Press eBook
Dreamspinner Press Paperback
Amazon

Blurb:

High school junior Berlin Webber is about to reap the fruits of his hard work and land a football scholarship—if he can keep his sexuality a secret from his best friend, Trent, and their homophobic coach. Then Hiroku Hayashi swerves into the high school parking lot on his tricked-out motorcycle like some sexy comic book villain, and Berlin knows he doesn’t stand a chance.

Hiroku is fleeing his sophisticated urban scene to recover from drug addiction and an abusive relationship when he arrives in Berlin’s small Texas ranch town. Initially sarcastic and aloof, Hiroku finds in Berlin a steady, supportive friend who soon becomes more. As Hiroku and Berlin’s romance blossoms, they take greater risks to be together. But when a horrific act of violence tears them apart, they both must look bigotry in the face. While Berlin has always turned to his faith for strength, Hiroku dives into increasingly dangerous ways of coping, pushing them in opposite directions just when they need each other most.

Two very different young men search for the bravery to be true to themselves, the courage to heal, and the strength to go on when things seem darkest. But is it enough to bring them back together?

Laura Lascarso

About Laura Lascarso:

Laura Lascarso aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform a society. She lives in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. Her debut novel, Counting Backwards (Simon & Schuster 2012) won the Florida Book Award gold medal for young adult literature.

For social critiques, writer puns, and Parks and Rec gifs, follow her on Twitter @lauralascarso

Facebook: /lascarso
Twitter: @lauralascarso
Web: lauralascarso.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

From Backstreet Boys to American Idol w/ Andria Large

April 24, 2017

 From Backstreet Boys to American Idol w/ Andria Large

 

Hi! I’m Andria Large. My new release, From War To Forever, is my first traditionally published book. I’ve been self-publishing since 2013. I write both MM and MF Contemporary Romance.

Being an author wasn’t in my plans. At all. When I was 13 years old, I was a huge Backstreet Boys fanatic and while trolling the internet one day, looking at BSB fan websites, I happened upon a fan fiction site. Completely intrigued, I started reading these stories that other people had written about the boys. The gears in my head started turning, so I found an empty notebook and the words began pouring out. Story after never-ending story filled who knows how many notebooks. The stories revolved around The Backstreet Boys (mostly Brian and Nick) and myself as the main characters.

I eventually told a couple of my closest friends at the time and let them read my stories. They loved them and began writing their own stories. We would all trade notebooks in school and read each other’s BSB fan fiction. It was a fun little secret between best friends.

When I got my first real boyfriend at the age of 16, it took me some time, but I told him about my stories and he asked to read some and I let him. Being young and insecure, he became jealous of my love for The Backstreet Boys. It made me regret letting him read my stuff. I mean, seriously, who gets jealous of a story about someone your girlfriend will most likely never in a million years meet in real life? Silly boy.

I filled up a large Xerox box with over a dozen notebooks, every page completely covered. By then, I got an old laptop and started writing on there instead. I would spend hours in my room just writing. At that time, I never finished a story. Whenever I got tired of one, or had a new idea, I would just start over on a fresh page. I was also now making up my own characters, ones that had nothing to do with BSB. And I stopped putting myself in the stories I was writing. My creativity and storytelling was expanding.

Once I graduated high school, the writing sort of dwindled away. I had started community college taking liberal arts classes because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Nothing really appealed to me as something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I didn’t finish my first semester, failing out because I stopped going to classes. I got a job instead, working in a grocery store.  I became too preoccupied with friends and work to write.

I had been working at the grocery store for almost two years when I walked in one day and there was a new guy working in loss prevention. All the younger girls that I worked with were talking up a storm about this guy because he was young and cute. I was 19 and single at the time, so I was like, “Oooh, where?!”

I met him soon enough since I was a cashier and he kept coming through my line when on his break. We started talking and I found out that he was only working in our store for a week while one of our regular guys was on vacation. He was from New Jersey (I lived in Philadelphia) and he was 24 years old. On his last night working in my store, he asked me out on a date. We’ve been together ever since. Why is this relevant you ask? Because my husband has been my biggest supporter and a big part of how I got to where I am today.

My inspiration to write again came during season nine of American Idol (don’t judge me), the one where Lee DeWyze won. I fell in love with Lee’s voice and humble demeanor. My mind started wandering and a story started to form. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and knew that I had to get it out. So, I went to my computer and started writing. It was a sweet love story about a male singer and a female ballroom dancer who had no idea who he was. I never did finish the story and I’m actually not even sure what happened to the file, but what did happen was that I started writing again. New plots and characters were going crazy in my brain. My husband knew about my writing and even encouraged it. It was an escape for me, a place for me to go and unwind.

A friend of mine then introduced me to the paranormal romance genre. There was this series that he was reading and knew I would like it, so he basically demanded that I read it. Well, I soon got sucked right in. I was reading 2-3 books a week. When I wasn’t reading, I was writing my own stories. My mom told me about this trilogy that everyone was beginning to talk about called Fifty Shades of Grey. It sounded interesting even though it was nothing like what I usually read. So I read it, and enjoyed it, and it got my imagination working double-time.

That was when Henry was born. Henry was the first story I ever finished and planned on turning into a series with his brothers. Around this time, another friend of mine was starting a book blog and wanted to read unpublished books that she could review. No one but my husband knew that I was writing. I asked him what he thought about it, if I should send her my story. His response was, “What do you have to lose? The worst that can happen is that she doesn’t like it.” Well, shit. Okay then. I sent my friend my book and waited anxiously while she read it. I honestly didn’t think it was any good, so when she came back to me and said that she LOVED it, I was shocked. She told me about how you can self-publish on Amazon. I had no idea this even existed. So being overly excited and curious about what other people would think, I put the book up on Amazon–UNEDITED! I know. I cringe when I think back on it. But remember, I knew nothing about publishing a book. I knew nothing about the authoring world or what it entailed. All I knew was that someone liked my story.

Surprisingly, the reviews started coming in. The ones that weren’t tearing the book apart for editing were actually really freaking good. People were loving the story and wanted more. I did find an editor, or I should say, she found me. She had read Henry and contacted me through Facebook, basically saying I enjoyed your book, but girl, you need help, and offered her editing services. Four years, fifteen edited books, and four co-authored books later, she’s still my editor,  best friend and go-to person when I need to hash out ideas.

I delved into the gay genre with the fourth book of my first series. Christian was the youngest of his brothers and had fallen in love with his life long friend, Shea. Some readers shied away from reading Christian because the first three of the series were straight and they didn’t read gay romance. But then, there were the other half of readers who just had to know Christian’s story and even though they never read anything in the gay genre before, they read Christian. I can’t tell you how many times readers have told me that I popped their MM cherry. I’ve been told that they never would have read MM if it weren’t for Christian. I didn’t know of any other authors at the time who were mixing or crossing over genres, but I didn’t care, I was doing what my characters wanted me to do; plus I’ve never been one to follow rules all that well.

After Christian, I started a new MF series called Renegade. While in the midst of writing it, two of the secondary characters started yelling at me, demanding I write their story. An MM story. The kind of story that isn’t about sexual preference, but more about love and the need for that other person in your life. The War Trilogy is what evolved from those two characters shouting at me and readers fell head over heels in love with Dennis and Tucker.

For Dreamspinner to pick this series up was an incredible achievement for me. I never thought that I would ever be an author, let alone a traditionally published one. And working with the editors has been an amazing learning experience for me that I am truly grateful for. The War Trilogy is now one book and has been renamed From War To Forever. There have been some changes made to the story, but for anyone who read it the first time around, you will still recognize it.

The gay genre has definitely sucked me in and I find that I have a hard time writing anything but that right now. So maybe this is where I’m supposed to be? Time will tell. I’m just glad I got here. Tell me, who was the author who popped your MM cherry?

 

Check out From War to Forever today!

 

From War to Forever by Andria Large

 

Blurb: 

Dennis
The love of my life is dead. Is there a reason to live anymore?

I’m a veteran Marine. Terrorists took not only my foot, but also my wife. Recurrent nightmares, a dead-end job, and a painful limp are all I have left. My best friend, Tucker, and my sister, Lizette, keep me afloat. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Tucker… literally. And then, out of nowhere, there are these feelings. The kind I haven’t felt in years. The kind I’m not sure I can handle, or even want to. But they’ve started wrapping around my broken heart, trying to mend it. Only they are not for a woman, but for the man suddenly sharing my bed. I’m not so sure I’m ready to give love another go.

Tucker

The war took my hearing, but I’m alive. Many of my friends are not. I am building a life with my best friend, Dennis. We have become practically inseparable. And now, we are more than friends. I’ve never had feelings like these for a man. My parents, my brother, my buddy, Duke—will they understand how I feel about Dennis? Can I risk losing my family?

 

About Andria Large:

Andria Large is a traditionally published and self-published contemporary romance author. She doesn’t always follow the rules, so you will find both M/F and M/M books mixed into some of her series. She considers herself open and friendly, so feel free to send her a message if you have a question or just want to chat.

Website: www.AuthorAndriaLarge.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndriaLargeAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Author_ALarge
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_alarge/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nyD5P

 

Gabriel: Going Where the Story Leads w/ RK Staunton

April 21, 2017

 Going Where the Story Leads with RK Staunton

 

Writing Gabriel has been something of a departure for me in several ways. It’s my first romantic suspense, my first story that didn’t include elements of spanking/domestic discipline, and the first M/M romance I’ve ever written. Of those three things, making the transition from writing M/F to writing M/M was by far the easiest. I’ve been reading M/M for years. In fact, these days I probably read more M/M books than I do M/F. I’ve been asked before, more than once, why I read – and now write – M/M romance. Since this week is National Book Week and the #lovereading campaign is going on, I decided this was the perfect time to talk about why I love reading this genre.

I’ll be honest, at first, when people started asking me, their questions confused me. I’ve never understood why the gender and/or sexuality of characters in the story should be that big a deal. A good story is a good story. Yes, good stories are often character-driven, but frankly to me, that has more to do with who the character is as a person than what I consider secondary details like hair color, eye color, gender, and sexuality. It just doesn’t matter to me. Good characters and good stories matter to me regardless of the body that particular character happens to inhabit.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in no way trying to belittle or dismiss the legitimate struggles that come with having a non-heteronormative gender or sexuality. To be perfectly blunt, I’m disabled, demisexual, and kinky. I know just a little bit about what it means to live outside of the mainstream myself. I’ve come to suspect that’s probably why I can move pretty easily between writing M/F and M/M books. Given my own make-up, it’s the emotional component that matters to me most of all.

As such, I think I will probably always go back and forth between writing M/F and M/M books, just as I do as a reader. Now that I’ve stepped over into the M/M genre, I have no intention of going back, at least not permanently. I’ll go where the stories lead me, wherever that may be. Gabriel took me all sorts of new places, and I’m sure the next one will as well. That’s a big part of what makes being a writer fun, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 

Check out Gabriel today!

 

Gabriel by RK Staunton

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Blurb:

Gabriel Ingram is running from his past. It’s common knowledge at the college where he teaches that he’s a former CIA technical analyst, but no one knows the things he really did—or about the rage and bloodlust that are his constant companions. He’s holding on to his normal life with both hands, but he knows someday he’ll lose his grip.

Lucas Craig is a social worker studying to become a family therapist. For reasons Lucas can’t understand, the normally reclusive Professor Ingram takes an interest in him, and Lucas secretly hopes their friendship might become more.

Then Eric, Lucas’s roommate, disappears. Lucas is frantic. The police are no help. With nowhere else to turn, Lucas begs Gabriel for his expertise.

What starts as a simple errand to help a friend becomes a journey into a violent world of gangs and human trafficking—one that will bringGabriel face-to-face with the forces intent on stealing his soul. But Lucas might be the one who can save him—if Gabriel can get them out alive.

 

About the Author:

RK Staunton rebelled against having a Christmas birthday in favor of making an unexpected debut in early fall, and she’s been doing the unexpected ever since. This tendency has resulted in many adventures, including a ten-year stint as a guide in that strange urban jungle called middle school. While entertaining, that expedition ultimately proved too harrowing. After finally making her escape, she turned to a quieter life masquerading as a crazy cat lady living in a small town in the southeastern US.

RK has lived with a menagerie of characters inside her head for as long as she can remember. In a desperate bid to preserve her sanity, she has begun to transcribe the tales they tell her. This endeavor has proven to be fun, occasionally profitable, and cheaper than therapy. It has also fueled raging addictions to caffeine and chocolate on top of her lifelong addiction to books, but everyone is entitled to a vice or three, right?

Find her Online:

Website – http://www.rkstaunton.com/
Blog – http://www.rkstaunton.com/blog/
Newsletter – http://www.rkstaunton.com/home/newsletter/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rkstaunton/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/rk_staunton

Music Is My Deal with BA Tortuga

April 18, 2017

Music Is My Deal with BA Tortuga

 

Hey y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things cowboy.

Music is my deal. It’s funny, I’ve made my living as a visual artist, as a writer, but music is my true love.

Now, I admit, unashamedly, that country music is my soul. It’s not all I listen to, but it’s the one genre where I know all the words, where I know the melodies. Hell, I know why Texas twin fiddles are a thing, who wrote what song, and I challenge you to find a song from 1920 on that I don’t know.

It’s not the only genre on my iTunes/Amazon music player/Pandora player/Sirius player. It’s just the favorite.

For instance, I love baroque music. Vivaldi is my all-time favorite composer, followed closely by Pachebel. Industrial music? Uhn. It’s made to fuck to. (Can I say fuck on this blog? O.o)

What about what my wife calls ‘angry girl music’? Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Meredith Brooks, the Indigo Girls. OMG, Tori Amos. I got to interview her once when I was working for a magazine. She told me, “You don’t fuck to a metronome.”

I damn near died. Seriously.

Then there’s my beloved old school doo-wop, the psychedelics of the late 60s. Folk music. 80s pop. Weird Al – I adore Weird Al.

Grins

Seriously.

I love it all.

Why am I blathering about this now?

The Seashores of Old Mexico is inspired loosely by the Willie Nelson song of the same name, and when I sat to tell y’all all about it? This is what popped out.

Much love, y’all.

BA

Check out Seashores of Old Mexico today!

 

Seashores of Old Mexico by BA Tortuga

Blurb:

After a bar fight gone horribly wrong, Clint is on the run, tired, hungry, and desperate to get out of Texas and across the border as fast as he can. But more than anything, he needs a place to relax and feel safe—at least for a little while. Searching for work, he stumbles into a cantina on the beach and runs into its owner. Jack might be a little older and a little worldlier, but the two men have enough in common to form a fast friendship that soon spills over into the bedroom.

But Clint isn’t the only who’s done things he isn’t proud of, things he’d rather keep hidden. Both of them have to be ready to drop everything and run if the past gets too close, and that’s no foundation for a relationship—especially since the truth always comes out eventually.

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

Celebrating Shira Anthony’s 20th Book! + Giveaway

April 15, 2017

Celebrating Shira Anthony's 20th Book!

 

Hi everyone! I’m Shira Anthony, celebrating the release of my 20th book from Dreamspinner Press, Forgotten Paradise! If you’re reading this post, you are in for a double dose of giveaway. For you only, I’ve got a special giveaway: reader’s choice of one of my 20 Dreamspinner Press backtitles (anything but my brand new book). And actually, that’s 21 backtitles, since I’m part of the Once Upon a Time in the Weird West anthology as well but didn’t count it as a book. To enter this special release day contest, answer this question: What kind of men’s bathing suits are the sexiest? I’ll choose a winner after 4/18. Then read down to the end of the post on how to win the grand prize for the blog tour contest, a December Diamonds Cupid Merman ornament!

Merman Ornament

For those readers who may not already know, Forgotten Paradise is my second entry in the Dreamspun Desires line of gay category romances from Dreamspinner Press. I love these sweet, tropey romances that recall the Harlequin and Silhouette books I used to read as a high school student. They’re all about sweaty palms, sweet romance, and a satisfying HEA. Light on the angst, a little sexy (mine does have some explicit sex in it), and a lot of fun.

My love of snorkeling, diving, and sailing inspired the Mermen of Ea trilogy (mermen shifters) from Dreamspinner Press. For Forgotten Paradise, my diving inspired one of the MCs: Jonah James is a dive instructor with the all-inclusive resort where the other MC, Adam Preston, stays for a week.

Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony

Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony

Forgotten Paradise is all about finding out who you truly are. Not only because Jonah doesn’t remember who he was before he woke up on a Punta Cana beach ten years before! When Jonah’s past and Adam’s future collide, the two men must weather a storm of emotions and challenges. Of course, this is a Dreamspun title, so you can be sure it all works out in the end!

I hope you’ll enjoy finding out who Jonah really is and that you’ll be able to imagine the sand between your toes as you read Forgotten Paradise. To enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for the blog tour, go to one or more of the blog stops and answer the question I’ve asked in the post. Each blog stop comment is an entry. Good luck! –Shira

 

Check out Forgotten Paradise today!

 

Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony

Blurb:

It’s dangerous diving for secrets.

When a megacompany threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.

But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?

Forgotten Paradise Blog Tour

Yes, That’s My Family (Sort Of) with Tali Spencer

April 14, 2017

 Yes, That's My Family (Sort Of) with Tali Spencer

 

When writing stories, authors pull from life. Write what you know, and all that. For fantasy and science fiction, that means drawing on emotions, landscapes, science, and my unique experience of being human, but not very much about actual people or places. With contemporary stories, though, those people and places can mirror real ones. I certainly did it in Breaking the Ice.

When Dreamspinner put out a call for the States of Love series, two states came immediately to mind: Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. I’ve lived in eleven states, but those are the two I know best. I was born in Wisconsin and raised my sons there. I currently live in Pennsylvania.

When writing what you know, it helps immensely if you know it well.

My family still lives in Wisconsin and bits and pieces of them color the landscape and characters of Breaking the Ice. The main characters, Matt and John, are regular guys—just like my brothers. Neither brother is gay, so please don’t read anything into that. It’s just that, like one of my brothers, Wisconsin native John is a man who built his career by going straight from high school to work at a small heavy industry company, of which Wisconsin has a great many. The company John and Matt work for is located in the town of Slinger. Why? Because my brother lived in Slinger, which lies just off one of the exits of I-45 leading to Green Bay and, importantly, Fond du Lac.

Fond du Lac is where Matt lives, and Matt… well, we’ll get to him later.

I’m familiar with the Slinger exit and the kinds of bars and supper clubs nearby. Sam and Sally’s bar is fictional… but Dale’s in Milwaukee is not. My sister used to hang out at Dale’s and maybe still does. They’re famous for their soup. The crowd at Dale’s, and at many small Milwaukee bars I’ve had occasion to visit (with my sister, as I don’t think I have ever gone to a bar alone), is friendly and social. If you’re a regular, everybody does, truly, know your name. Matt’s social group is loosely based on an evening spent at Dale’s.

Or take bowling. I’m a bowler, or was one, so there’s that. The bowling in Breaking the Ice, though, while a minor plot point, belongs squarely with my brother again, who goes bowling with guys from work—just like Matt and John. Brother got promoted into management and still bowled with the guys… also like Matt. All names are made up, but the fact one of the co-worker bowlers is Hispanic is true to life: Milwaukee has more Mexicans, and Mexican restaurants and businesses, than the entire Philadelphia metro area. Seriously, I can’t find a decent Mexican restaurant near me. But in Milwaukee…

Speaking of Milwaukee, John’s mother’s house is real. It stands about four blocks away from my Mom’s. Whenever I visit and we drive past that house, I just… like it. It’s homey and friendly and everything a house should be. Right off Lloyd Street in Wauwatosa. The kitchen of the house in the book, though, is Mom’s. John and his mom talk at my Mom’s table. Matt’s house also exists, with a boathouse that can be seen from boats on Lake Winnebago. The interior of Matt’s house, but not the exterior, is based on my good friend Amy’s house because her kitchen is awesome.

Breaking the Ice owes a huge debt to my sister. She and her husband inspired Matt (remember, I said I’d get to him). They love to fish and hunt; they own a boat and tons of gear; they’ve speared sturgeon… or at least like to party with the folks who spear sturgeon. Matt, with his passion for the outdoors and conservation, is based on them. I wanted to capture the joy of the outdoor lifestyle. A few of Mary’s anecdotes made their way into Breaking the Ice. Babe and his grill really happened. Ice glow. John’s misadventure with a sturgeon hole. The female warden (I’m sitting on a great story about her that needs a MF book!). And who knew sturgeon spearers like to swig blackberry brandy?

Oh, and don’t tell her, because she’ll probably never read this, but I gave Racko my sister’s no-nonsense personality. And another character her husband’s beard.

Matt’s petty, vengeful streak, though? That one’s all me.

Write what you know.

 

Check out Breaking the Ice today!

 

Breaking the Ice by Tali Spencer

 

Blurb:

For Matt Wasko, February in Wisconsin is the best time of the year, and ice fishing on Lake Winnebago is his idea of heaven. With shanty villages cropping up, barbeques on the ice, monster sturgeon to spear, and plenty of booze to keep everybody warm, things couldn’t be better—until a surprise storm hits and an uninvited guest shows up at his frozen doorstep.

Matt’s not happy to see John Lutz, a coworker who cracks lame gay jokes at Matt’s expense. But John’s flimsy new ice shelter got blown across the lake, and it wouldn’t be right to leave even a jerk outside to freeze. Would it?

In the close quarters of Matt’s fabulous ice shanty, between stripping off wet clothes, misadventures with bait, and a fighting trophy-sized walleye, the two men discover creative ways to keep the cold at bay. And when John confesses his long-running attraction, Matt must decide if he can believe in John’s change of heart—and crack the ice for a chance at finding love.

 

About Tali Spencer:

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy, science fiction and the occasional contemporary or western. In the real world, she is currently in the process of getting new knees. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, including works in progress, check out her Pinterest boards.

Visit Tali’s blog at http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com
E-mail: tali.spencer1@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/talispencer/