Warming Up the Night with Charley Descoteaux – Post + Giveaway

September 22, 2016

Warming Up the Night

Hello! Charley Descoteaux here, to talk about my new release Safe House.

Well, actually, I’m probably on an Amtrak train as you’re reading this, on my way from Portland to Seattle for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up! If you’ll be in the Seattle area Saturday the 24th I hope you’ll drop by the Seattle Central Library and check us out. Admission is free this year and the day will be packed with games and panels and giveaways and an after-party at the Rendezvous!

This week I celebrated the release of Safe House, the fourth book in my Buchanan House series. One thing that’s played an important role in the series is food. Not only does the cast feature a few chefs, they’re all foodies to one level or another. In Tiny House (Book 3) Nathan came up with a special event and it’s back in Safe House: Guest Chef Night.

Let me back up a little. If you’ve been following the tour it won’t surprise you to learn that my original plan for the series was for Kyle to end up with Derek. They’ve been best friends with benefits for years so it seemed like a natural way to go, with the added bonus of pairing a Japanese hero with an African American love interest (or vice versa—since they’re both core members of the family it could have gone either way). I haven’t seen many male-male Romances with main players like this and thought it would be a fun story to write. But Alex had other plans and she swept Derek off his feet in book one.

I still feel a little bad that Derek ended up as a subplot instead of the star of a book (even though I never heard him complain about getting an HEA without jumping through flaming hoops to get there), but since his spouse identifies as female most of their road to the altar took place off page. I love Derek, though, so he gets a turn to be the guest chef in Safe House. In Tiny House some of Derek’s backstory came out and he’s from the Southwestern US, so he creates a Southwestern feast for Guest Chef Night. This part of the story takes place in late February, which is the perfect time to enjoy steaming bowls of Chile Verde and spiced hot chocolate. And that steamy atmosphere is perfect for flirting.

A few Trato Hechos didn’t hurt the flirting. Here’s a recipe I found for the drink while researching Derek’s feast, followed by a nice long excerpt.

3/4 oz Pineapple-Infused Mezcal

3/4 oz Green Chartreuse

3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

3/4 oz Lime juice

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.
Shake, and strain into a coupe glass.

To make your own Pineapple-Infused Mezcal, peel, core and chop a whole pineapple into 1-inch cubes. Add to a large jar or other container with a lid, and add a 750-mL bottle of mezcal. Let stand for 5 days and strain before using.

***

And now the excerpt!

Bran suppressed a blush, but only pulled it off because most of his blood had pooled into his lap the first time Kyle touched him. As soon as their table was served, last (one of the drawbacks of being friends with the proprietors), Bran noticed immediately that Kyle was not a lefty. If he wasn’t careful, their elbows would be knocking together all through the meal—which also had probably been scripted by Nathan. Paulie too, if Bran knew him at all. They really were shameless.

It would be a shame to disappoint them.

He decided to let Nathan’s plan unfold as he’d envisioned it, so he stopped being careful about where his left elbow went while he ate. A gentle nudge against Kyle’s arm earned Bran a smile. If that smile made Bran sigh, it just as easily could’ve been the food. If anyone was paying attention.

It sounds and feels like sex waiting to happen in this room anyway.

Or maybe that’s just me.

The rest of the meal passed quickly and with surprisingly little conversation around the table. Bran guessed the rest of the men were so at ease with each other as longtime friends that a silent meal didn’t make anyone uncomfortable. If he hadn’t been so preoccupied with the man beside him, and thoughts of how he could get him alone, Bran would have been far less comfortable with the silence. He was used to directing the flow of any scene he found himself in, or at least making a good show of it, but tonight he wasn’t accomplishing that. He devoured the heavenly food and told himself there would be time to take control of the situation later.

When everyone had finished their quesadillas and chili, which sounded simple but tasted delightfully complex, Nathan stood again. Bran had been attracted to Nathan since the first time he laid eyes on him, but right then he found his fascination had dulled to a simple appreciation for his beauty and sense of style. He would have been happier focusing his attention on the man beside him, but Kyle wasn’t the one delicately clinking his knife against the rim of a wineglass.

“Derek, that was heavenly, darling. Thank you for a lovely meal.” Nathan smiled in the direction of the kitchen, and all heads turned to look at the chef—happy and handsome, he also looked tired and a little bit wilted.

Not surprising. If everything Bran had heard about Guest Chef Night was true, he’d even made the tortillas from scratch. Considering the full dining room had a capacity of thirty-five, that meant a bit of work.

The diners all applauded. Someone near Bran whistled—not at full volume, but enough to be heard over the applause and smattering of cheers. He could’ve sworn it was Kyle, but since all Bran could see was the back of his head, he couldn’t be sure.

When the noise level began to taper off, Nathan cleared his throat and drew the spotlight back to himself. “Once all the tables have been cleared, we’ll start the dessert course. Buñuelos are traditionally served with hot chocolate, so we have that. If you’d rather get your party started faster, we also have Trato Hechos—a fruity, spicy drink with mescal. Choose your poison, men, but if you drink, please don’t drive.” Nathan winked in Bran’s direction, and even though a groan or two was audible from the dining room, his smile didn’t falter. “No need to fret, gents. We have a designated driver and a van that seats about ten—a dozen if you’re friendly—leaving at eight for dancing in Lincoln City!”

Bran started to worry that he’d already had too much to drink when he pulled his attention from Nathan and realized their table had been cleared and fresh plates set. Servers descended on the room with drinks—steamy mugs on one tray and pitchers with light greenish drinks in martini glasses on the others—filling the room with the aromas of chocolate and pineapple. Brandon took a mug, as did everyone at the table except the two new guys.

Paulie laughed his infectious laugh. “You two are incorrigible. Do you plan on remembering any of this weekend?”

The smaller of the two men, delicate, with pale skin and auburn hair and fingertips stained black—Garrett—laughed and raised his glass. “Not if I can help it.”

Before anyone could comment, the kitchen doors opened again and flooded the room with such cinnamony goodness that all conversation stopped. The servers worked even faster than before, leaving plates with three crispy circles stacked like pancakes and dusted with powdered sugar.

“Oh, God, I love these.” Paulie sighed and picked up his fork even before his plate arrived. “Be careful, they’ll be hot.”

Bran watched as their desserts arrived, catching a whiff of something fruity along with the cinnamon. He’d just taken a bite when a warm hand clasped his shoulder. He jerked in surprise and turned to find Derek standing between him and Kyle, a hand on each of their shoulders.

“What do you guys think? Ever had a tortilla cookie before?”

Bran shook his head. “Good. The whole meal has been delicious.”

“Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed it.” Derek grinned and might have pulled Kyle closer but might not have.

Which is none of my business.

Bran wanted to say something more, to show his appreciation and maybe not seem so much the stereotypical plodding hick, but he didn’t get the chance. Derek dropped a kiss onto the top of Kyle’s head and then sped around the table doing the same for the rest of the Portland family before moving farther into the room to mingle. Bran watched as he worked the room, chatting with almost everyone and basking in the well-deserved kudos aimed in his direction.

The buñuelos disappeared in moments, crispy little cinnamon bombs with sugar and sugary syrup that Bran thought meant an extra workout or two so they wouldn’t show on his gut. Then the dining room started to clear.

Kyle turned to Bran for the first time since they’d started eating and looked him straight in the eyes. “Are you going into town?”

“Hadn’t planned on it. You?”

Kyle shrugged, an elegant gesture that sent a shiver down Brandon’s spine. “I’ll save the van space for paying guests.”

Bran didn’t point out that he hadn’t seen Kyle drink one drop of alcohol. He could barely form the thought while captured by Kyle’s gorgeous dark eyes. It took a few beats too long, but he finally recovered enough to speak. “I haven’t had anything to drink—” He checked his watch. “—for almost an hour. If you wanted to go dancing, you could ride with me.”

“Sounds good. I need to work off some of this food.”

Bran didn’t want to seem overeager, but he did fold his napkin and place it beside his plate. When he uncovered his lap, his dick seemed to take that as a signal that it was game time and jerked to life. More than one way to work off extra calories.

 

Thank you for reading!

This post was about food, so let’s continue that in the comments. What would you make if you were the guest chef at a beach resort? Or if you’d rather sit in the dining room and be served, what would you like to find on the menu?

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter before you go!

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway (9/12/2016-10/01/2016):

Three winners! Prizes: One signed paperback of Safe House (US Only); one ebook copy of book one of the series, Buchanan House; one backlist book (any ebook except Safe House)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Check out Safe House today!

 

Safe House

 

Blurb:

Kyle Shimoda is an asshole magnet, has been for as long as he can remember. At forty-seven, he doesn’t see much chance for improving his luck in love. His friends who run Buchanan House, a gay retreat on the central Oregon coast, know he wants to find “someone nice” to settle down with, and they set him up with Officer Brandon Smith. Kyle has a turbulent history with law enforcement, but he can’t deny his attraction to the buff cop.

Brandon has been a police officer in Lincoln City almost since the day he graduated from high school over thirty years ago. He’s cultivated the facade of a serious, disciplined law enforcement officer, but beneath his overdeveloped chest beats the soft heart of a drama queen. A cancer scare shifts Bran’s focus from finding a serious relationship to having as much sex as he can—putting his goals squarely at odds with Kyle’s. If he can’t find the courage to be honest about his feelings for Kyle, the happiness they’ve both been searching for could slip through their fingers.

 

Tour Dates & Stops:

Sept. 12: MM Good Book Reviews

Sept. 19: My Fiction Nook

Sept. 20: Alpha Book Reviews

Sept. 21: Open Skye Book Reviews

Sept. 22: Dreamspinner Blog

Sept. 23: Love Bytes

 

About the Author

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Rattle my cages:

Blog:  http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/

 

Series: Buchanan House
Book Number: 4
Release Date:  September 19, 2016
Pages:  200
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

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

Blurb:

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

Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Blurb:

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.

Grins

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.

BA

 

Check out Commitment Ranch today!

Commitment Ranch by BA Tortuga

Blurb:

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
Amazon
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

 

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.

IMG_3809

IMG_3810

IMG_3822

IMG_3824

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

 Blurb:

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

Blurb:

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

BLURB:

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.

 

EXCERPT:

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 BIO:

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”.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

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

No joe = No Jo by SJD Peterson

September 5, 2016

no joe = no jo

Staring at a blank screen, I was struggling to come up with a blog post, when I hear in the background; Can you make it through your day without coffee?  To which I chuckled. I can barely make it out of bed in the morning to make it to the coffee pot. To go a full day without my cup of joe, ridiculous.

I then hear the reporter say—You may need to—then cuts to commercial.

Panic sets in. What???? Make it through a day without coffee! You jest. Of course, I can’t think of blogs, promo, or anything else but the loss of my beloved coffee. What, No coffee? This can’t be. I am sitting on the edge of my seat when the news resumes. I clutch my mug, a hundred scenarios going through my head, none of which are good. One my even have involved cutting a b*@ch.

Mrs. News Lady then informs me that:

Scientists in the United Kingdom recently completed a study suggesting that Arabica coffee, the species that makes up 75 percent of coffee beans sold, could become extinct in 70 years. Due to climate change and its symptoms including deforestation, at team at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens ran a series of computer simulations that indicate that wild Arabica coffee could become extinct by 2080.

*you can read the full article HERE*

It dawns on me, my coffee is safe, and thus humanity, but I weep for the future. Can you imagine a world without coffee? *shudders* I wouldn’t be able to function, no writing, no reading…No joe = No Jo

So this coffee addict can’t imagine a life without coffee, what can’t you imagine having in our life? Leave a comment and one random person will win an ebook copy of my new release, Override.

Override

Check out Override today!

An Underground Club Tale

Don’t judge a book by its cover….

At over six feet, with a body honed in the gym, auto worker Donavan Gregory is used to people assuming he’s a dominant top. Unfortunately, they’re wrong, and Donavan’s desire to explore his submissive side goes unfulfilled.

Smaller and older than Donavan, Dr. Seth Manning might not look like a typical Dominant, but when the two men meet at Pride, Donavan realizes Seth might be his perfect counterpart. The trouble is, Donavan doesn’t have as much experience with the BDSM world as he’d like. What could an educated, handsome, and confident man like Seth possibly see in someone like him? Seth must convince him that despite the differences on the surface, when it comes to kinky fun and discovery, they’ll fit together just fine.

Meet Jo Peterson

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

AUTHORS AMAZON PAGE

Writing About Where You Know with Renee Stevens – Post + Giveaway

September 1, 2016

Renee Stevens joins us today to talk about the state that inspired Wide Open Spaces.

Writing about where you know

Part of the requirement for the States of Love Series was that it was clear what state the story took place in. Generally, when I write a story, I build the “scene” myself. There is rarely something that makes it take place in a certain state, and that has its benefits. You can just write without worrying about whether or not the location is true to a specific state/area, as long as you remain consistent throughout the book. That wasn’t an option with Wide Open Spaces.

However, there are also benefits to using a specific city or state, especially if you know the area well. I chose Sweetwater County, because I know it well. Yes, I could have had the story take place in Yellowstone, or Cheyenne, or any one of numerous places, but I don’t know them like I do Sweetwater County. Could I still make the story realistic? Yes. Could I simply do the research? Yes, I could have, but to me it wouldn’t be the same.

Writing about a place I know made the story so much more realistic. Every setting in Wide Open Spaces I’ve seen with my own two eyes. I know how the specific dirt feels, how intense the wind can get, and how cold it can get after dark. I know these things because I’ve felt it, I’ve experienced it for myself. I could look at pictures, but that doesn’t really show me the distance between aspects of the scene.

Take a photograph of a snow covered mountain range. From that picture, do you know how far it is? Do you know what’s between that picture and where it was taken? Not necessarily. I’ve been on the Wild Horse Loop and saw the Wind River Mountain Range from that distance, and I know how far it is. I know that while there are a few rolling foothills, there’s mostly just sagebrush between the Wild Horse Loop and the Wind Rivers.

The biggest downfall of writing an area you know is figuring out how much to include. What aspects of the area make it unique? What areas really stand out? How much description should I go into? But the benefits far outweighed the downfalls. I enjoyed being able to add that realistic touch to my story and hopefully show what life is like living here in a small town, in the state with the fewest number of people in the country.

To finish up, I wanted to take a quick look at a couple of places you’ll see in my States of Love novella Wide Open Spaces.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir – Flaming Gorge is approximately 90 miles wide and covers parts of Wyoming and Utah, with the majority being in Wyoming. It has awesome fishing, with large Lake Trout (Mackinaw) and numerous other species of fish. It’s the type of place that if you go out on the water in a boat, you better be prepared to head for shore as soon as the wind picks up because the waves could easily capsize a small boat. Flaming Gorge is a favorite of both locals and tourists alike, whether they’re into camping, fishing, or cliff jumping. And you might even see a Golden Eagle nest in the cliffs!

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Wild Horse Loop – The Wild Horse Loop is one of the very unique aspects of Sweetwater County in Wyoming. It’s a 25 mile loop that visitors and residents alike can take a self-guided tour along in the hopes of seeing wild horse herd. The Wild Horse Loop is a dirt and gravel road that spans between Green River and Rock Springs. Not only can you see wild horses (foals too, if you’re lucky) but you can also see some of the wildlife that calls Wyoming home, such as elk, deer, pronghorn antelope, and of course rabbits. You might even see a coyote or two.

Wild Horse Loop

Wild Horse Loop

Wild Horse Loop

Author Bio:

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties.  Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal.  When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of admin and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters.  Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works. When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts.

When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors.  She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby.  Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

Follow Me!

Twitter * Facebook *  Goodreads

 

Now it’s time for the give-a-ways! One lucky winner will win an eBook copy of No More Hiding. All you have to do to enter is comment and tell me one place that is unique to your state!

I’m also throwing a Facebook event through September 7th and will be doing a lot of different give-a-ways there! Come join us! https://www.facebook.com/events/1672333403093781/

Check out Wide Open Spaces today!

Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens

Blurb:

Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.

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

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

August 30, 2016

Figuring Out a Story

Hello to everyone!

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

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

What about the oldest city in the United States?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lemme hear from you.

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

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

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

 

Check out Treasure Trail today!

TreasureTrail

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

Blurb: 

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

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

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

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

About Nicole Dennis:

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

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

Contact & Media Info:

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