All About Balance by Jodi Payne

September 20, 2017

all about balance

 

Hey everyone!

My name is Jodi Payne, I’m a proud Jersey Girl, I love Broadway musicals, the beach, tequila, and I’m almost always caffeinated like whoa.

I am so excited to be joining the Dreamspinner family with my new novel, Creative Process. I was asked to blog here about it, but I have to tell you, blogging isn’t really my strong suit. I do much better with making up stories than I do with presenting real ones in a way that’s entertaining. But since I’m new here, I thought a little background about me and my inspiration for Creative Process might be in order and with this book, I can do both at once.

I started this book eight years ago. No really, I did. My writing time back then was spotty at best because I had a young daughter, and then I got pregnant with my son and was trying to work full time, parent his big sister, be pregnant and write all at the same time.

Nope.

Something had to give, and unfortunately, it ended up being my writing. It wasn’t a choice, it’s just what happened. Writing, for me, requires focus, and I had none to spare.

Fast forward to more recently, my kids grew up a little and became more independent, and I found myself with some quiet time now and then. I went searching through my ancient archives and found Reese (but not Owen – originally Benjamin, another character in the book, was intended as his love interest). I read it and figured out why I got stuck on it way back then, reworked the story in my head and BOOM. I was off to the races.

Art of any kind requires focus. It demands the artist keep hold of their train of thought or thread of emotion for a sustained period of time. It’s unpredictable, too: sometimes it’s demanding at inconvenient times, and sometimes inspiration just isn’t there when you need it. It requires practice, research and sometimes just plain hard work.

It’s not for everyone. And as many of you probably know, it’s not for everyone’s partner either.

Creative Process is entirely fictional, but holds a thread of truth from my own experience. My wife is not an author, she’s a crafter and a musician. We have little moments all the time where she’ll be quilting and want to be chatty and I’ll be writing and need to be in the zone. Or I want to run something by her but she’s in the middle of practicing a piece on her harp and can’t be interrupted. Balance is essential. Indulgence, patience and sometimes forgiveness are also essential. Priorities are essential. These are some of the things Reese (an author) and Owen (a cellist) navigate together in Creative Process, as together they veer way off the beaten path to find their HEA.

Also, for those of you that love a fairly developed cast of supporting characters like I do, you’ll find all kinds New York artists back up this story, as well as Reese’s publicist and Owen’s best friend, all of whom are pretty crucial to the story. Reese and Owen might not have made it without them.

Thank you to DSP for the warm welcome!

Jodi

 

Check out Creative Process today!

 

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Blurb: 

Best-selling thriller author Reese Kelsey knows his career isn’t conducive to romance. He doesn’t work the normal nine-to-five, and sometimes his characters take hold and demand all his attention, causing him to neglect important appointments… and lovers. Rather than go through another heartbreak, Reese contents himself with his small circle of friends—fellow gay New York City artists—and his dedicated publicist, Chad.

Until he sees Owen Mercado lugging his cello toward the subway and impulsively offers him a ride.

Owen has worked long and hard for a career in the symphony, and success comes with a demanding schedule—something Reese understands. Their desires and lifestyles are surprisingly compatible, and Reese and Owen certainly set the bedroom on fire. They’re both carrying baggage, but they fit, and it’s hard not to hope for a future that once seemed impossible.

But when Reese’s work inevitably pulls him into its dark world and refuses to let go, Owen draws a hard line, and Reese discovers he can’t rely on good intentions alone. He will have to control the obsession that drove his other lovers away or risk losing Owen as well.

 

Author Bio: 

Jodi Payne spent too many years in New York and San Francisco stage managing classical plays, edgy fringe work, and the occasional musical. She therefore is overdramatic, takes herself way too seriously, and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her men are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likeable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after.

For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec and tequila however you pour it. She’s also obsessed with Shakespeare and Broadway musicals. She can be found wearing sock monkey gloves while typing when it’s cold, and on the beach enjoying the sun and the ocean when it’s hot. When she’s not writing and/or vacuuming sand out of her laptop, Jodi mentors queer youth and will drop everything for live music.

Jodi lives near New York City with her beautiful wife, and together they are mothers of dragons (cleverly disguised as children) and slaves to an enormous polydactyl cat.

Website: www.jodipayne.net
Email: jodipaynewrites@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/payne.jodi
FB Author Group: www.facebook.com/groups/jodisgents
Twitter: @JodiPayne
Instagram: @jodipayne1800
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/267617.Jodi_Payne

 

Earning His Trust Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway

September 11, 2017

Earning His Trust

 

What do you do when the pure emotion of a picture grabs you, and you can’t do anything but write the story you get when you see it? Well, that’s what happened to me when I saw the image that spurred me to write the following scene below in this exclusive excerpt. There’s happiness and joy in the picture, but to me, I knew there was more beneath the surface going on… and that is just what happened when it came time to write this chapter.

Happy Baby Boy And Dad Play Together

 

Exclusive Excerpt 

 

“Why don’t we go out to eat? The three of us? And before we go to the restaurant, we could stop at the park. Micah would love the swings.”

“Why don’t we stay in?” Evin was on the floor next to Micah, who was sitting in just a diaper, his blocks and a ring stack in front of him. “He’s happy playing with his rings right now, and if we take him to the park, I’ll have to bundle him up, which he hates. And I thought I’d make stew.”

“Well, I need to head over to my house and get some clean clothes for tomorrow. You could come with me.”

“It would be faster if we stayed here. You’re coming back, right?”

“Yeah.” Ben hated the anxiety in Evin’s voice as he walked out the door. He was distracted the whole drive over to his house. He didn’t like the way this was going. He’d seen more and more signs of Evin’s unwillingness to leave the house. The last time he needed groceries, he did an online order. He said it was because Micah was running a low-grade fever and it was too wet and cold to take him out.

He might be primarily an emergency room physician, but Ben knew the signs of post-traumatic stress. Evin was restless but didn’t want to leave the house. Anytime it was brought up, his anxiety level went through the roof.

He was allowing his house to become a barrier between him and the big, bad world. Worse, he refused to admit to his fear or his coping mechanism of avoiding life. Maybe it was easy for him to slip into because he’d done it before when Micah was born, but Ben thought he’d made progress, that he’d decided to rejoin the world.

Now he was locked away from it again. Ben didn’t know what to do, what to say, to make this fear better. Sure, they lived in a liberal area. Nine times out of ten, hell, ninety-nine times out of one hundred, openly gay couples were safe. Violence wasn’t the norm, but Evin had been the victim of too much of it, and worse, he was afraid of it spilling over onto the people he loved.

So he was holding on tight to where he was comfortable, to his safe zone.

And Ben had no idea how to fix it.

 

Check out Earning His Trust today!

 

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Blurb:

Evin lost the only two men he ever loved. But he might get a second chance with one of them—if he’s willing to take the risk.

Following the death of his husband, Evin is living in Portland and raising the infant son they had through a surrogate. Six-month-old Micah is his life, and if it means no time for activities or friendships beyond his minuscule support network, that’s a sacrifice Evin is willing to make. When he suffers a burn baking teething biscuits, the last person Evin expects to encounter in the ER is Ben, his lover from college—and the man who left him without a word of explanation.

Ben knows it won’t be easy to earn Evin’s trust and prove he’s not the same man Evin once knew, but he can’t bear to watch Evin struggle to care for Micah, hurting and alone. He wants back in Evin’s life, as a friend and hopefully more, but Evin’s heart is fragile, and the years have changed him too.

 

Author Bio:

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social Media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

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Remember When? with SJD Peterson + Giveaway

August 24, 2017

 

 

Remember When-

 

So, I’m trying to come up with a blog post and I look over at my mom and ask;

Me: What’s the first thing that pops into your head when I say, remember when?”

Mom: Remember that time when I didn’t have indoor plumbing.

Me: Um, no. I wasn’t born. But seriously, that’s the first thing that pops into your head?

Mom: Yes, you don’t know how horrible it is to go out there and go in a slop pot?

Me: Nope! Nope! Nope! This conversation is over. *Sigh*

 

This wasn’t what I had in mind when I was thinking of romantic or cute memories. I guess I should have been more specific. Especially when talking to Linda Faye. She is after all my mother and where my evilness comes from lol.

 

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I shall be more careful this time. You and your significant other are having a romantic candle lit dinner. She/he looks into your eyes and says;  “Remember When…..”

Finish the sentence and one person will win any ebook copy from my back list.

“Good Luck”

 

Check out Remember When today!

 

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BLURB:

Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.

Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.

Impossibly, fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.

 

J

 

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.

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Rhubarb in the Family w/ Deanna Wadsworth + Giveaway

July 31, 2017

Rhubarb for Generations

 

I’m so excited about my latest Dreamspinner release THE RHUBARB PATCH.

It’s funny where inspiration comes from. THE RHUBARB PATCH, the first book in my new Men of Gilead series about a small country town in Ohio, has an exceptionally funny story at the heart of its creation.

Or humiliating, it depends on how you want to look at it.

Rhubarb is one of those fruits that’s often forgotten about, but it’s delicious in pies, rhubarb bread, or my grandma’s rhubarb crumble—you can find the recipe HERE. My family has a weird affinity for all things rhubarb so when someone gave my grandmother a free rhubarb plant years ago, naturally, she was thrilled. Sadly she passed away that spring and never got to plant it. So my mom brought the bucket over, wondering if I wanted to plant the rhubarb at my new house. I told her to just pop it in the ground by the woodpile and if it grew? Great. If not? Oh well. I had only recently moved into my new house and a vegetable garden was the last thing on my mind. We didn’t even have grass growing.

As with all things nostalgic, the rhubarb soon lured my attention after a year or so of neglect. I started watering the spindly looking plants, determined to get a nice harvest to make my grandma’s rhubarb crumble. The stupid plant went to seed and died on me…. or so I thought.

The next year it came back up!

And not just one plant, it had sprinkled seeds and had babies.

I was so excited! I landscaped around it, posted it on Instagram—yes, I post pics of my garden, my dogs and alcohol on Instagram LOL, you can find me here: @DeannaWads. I even tried to make jelly with my rhubarb, though the batches turned out lousy.

One day, five years into cultivating my precious rhubarb, I realized the cable company was on the back of my property tearing up the dirt to get at underground lines.

Right next to my rhubarb patch.

I was in my pajamas and no, not the cute ones. I hesitated at the door before I ran out to yell at them because I didn’t know if they were actually going to damage my grandma’s rhubarb. So like a logical person, I got up got dressed before I went out and checked.

My plants were safe.

Whew! Those guys didn’t want to face me if they’d harmed them, believe me!

As I was driving somewhere later that day, Phineas Robertson popped into my head.

I didn’t know who he was, or who we was going to fall in love with, but I knew darn well someone was going to tear up his precious rhubarb patch. Maybe the new man who just moved in next door would weed whack his rhubarb? If that happened, naturally Phin wouldn’t hesitate at the door and get dressed, would he? No! He would run outside in nothing but old white underwear and orange rubber garden boots!

The result of this little plot bunny was THE RHUBARB PATCH and the birth of my sweet little town of Gilead, Ohio—based on the town I live in.

It didn’t take long for me to plan the story or a dozen others to take place in Gilead. One thing I didn’t expect is for every single quirky gardening story I’ve ever been involved with or been told by friends or family—from the owl that gets into Phin’s chicken coop, to the little Schnauzer on the book cover eating all the beets and green beans out of the garden—to end up in THE RHUBARB PATCH. I’ve never written a book with so many true stories. As you’re reading the book and stumbling across something odd, like the existence of nuns who like to “hand screw tomatoes” or the raspberry jelly fiasco during the Red Wedding, or mysterious tomatoes from Italy, and even 150 year old sourdough starters…. rest assured it’s all true.

Well, with a little creative license to protect the innocent, of course.

Now you might be thinking, “Deanna, that’s not that really funny or humiliating.”

Wanna know a secret?

For seven years, I wasn’t growing rhubarb at all!

But I can’t tell that story, without spoiling THE RHUBARB PATCH. I’ll let Phin tell it, his version is better anyway.

 

Do you have a weird gardening story or something bizarre that happened to you in a small town? Maybe a favorite way you enjoy rhubarb?

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win one of my Dreamspinner backlist books.

 

Check out The Rhubarb Patch today!

 

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Blurb:

A Men of Gilead Novel

City boy, sci-fi novelist, and recovering pushover Scott Howe doesn’t know what to expect when he inherits his grandmother’s house outside the quaint village of Gilead, Ohio—but it isn’t an enormous bald man in nothing but tighty-whities and orange rubber boots shouting at him to keep his weed whacker away from the rhubarb patch.

Scott has never met anyone like Phineas Robertson: homesteader, recluse… Republican. A tender—if unlikely—friendship grows over the summer while Phin and his schnauzer, Sister Mary Katherine, teach Scott about life in the country and the grandmother he never knew. Opposites attract, but widower Phin worries his secret will send Scott running faster than his politics, and Phin isn’t convinced he deserves a second chance at romance.

Scott is convinced—rural life, and his one-of-a-kind older neighbor, is the future he wants. Before he can settle in, his mother drops a bombshell that strains their already tenuous relationship, and a cousin who believes he is the rightful heir to the property puts Scott in danger. It’ll take a lot of compromises, and even dodging a few bullets before they’re out of the weeds, but nurturing something as special as true love always takes hard work.

 

Author Bio:

Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. She has served multiple board positions at her local RWA chapter and is the current President 2017 for Rainbow Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. She loves music and dancing, and can often be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.

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You can also find her young adult alter ego, K.D. Worth FacebookTwitter

MJ and Sonny by BA Tortuga

July 24, 2017

 

MJ and Sonny

 

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

I never know what to say about the old boys that I haven’t said.

Road Trip Volume I is made up of the first two of the Road Trip series – Racing the Moon and Steam and Sunshine.

Racing the Moon was supposed to be a one off, just this silly thing, and I knew from the very start that MJ and Sonny weren’t going to be happy with just a 3000 word story, oh no.

No, those two have four books.

Four.

Now we meet Paddy and Neil halfway through Steam and Sunshine and then Duncan and Cowboy in volume II.

But the story has always been, and will always be, mainly MJ and Sonny’s.

A redneck ridge runner with a bent moral compassion and a surprising knack for pharmaceuticals.

A broken, brilliant ecoterrorist with a PhD and a twitchy trigger finger.

It’s one hell of a ride, y’all. Come play.

 

Much love, y’all.

BA

 

Check out Road Trip Vol. 1 today!

 

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Blurb:

The road to love is notoriously bumpy, full of twists and turns that can throw even the best driver. With obstacles around every corner, Sonny and MJ try to keep it between the lines in two tales that blend steamy romance with high-stakes action and intrigue.

Racing the Moon

Sonny runs moonshine the old-fashioned way. Too bad some fool blew up his road in the Carolina mountains, keeping him stuck, high and unfortunately dry.

Explosives expert and ecoterrorist MJ’s mission is to protect the environment by shutting down a logging company. An encounter with Sonny in the misty forest sheds a new light on his quest, but it’s not until Sonny drugs and kidnaps him for an impromptu holiday that their engines really start to rev.

Steam and Sunshine

A mission they can’t resist lures Sonny and MJ out of retirement when they get word of a man creating dangerous weapons for the government. They head to California to take him down.

What they find is Paddy, a physicist who doesn’t understand the scope of his own discovery, and Neil, his bodyguard. During a wild and unpredictable cross-country ride, an uneasy partnership develops between kidnappers and targets when the four men discover they have a common enemy.

 

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

 

Happy Release Day to Roe Horvat!

July 19, 2017

Roe Horvat

 

I feel like I’ve written all the words already. Nevertheless, here I am facing a blank page again. Just a few more sentences—it shouldn’t be that hard, right? I can hear the goblins laughing evilly.

I can only save myself by being concise. There’s an excerpt of The Layover below. The blog tour continues tomorrow with the next part of The Swiss Experiment (it’s a prequel to The Layover; you can find it on my website: http://roehorvat.com/swiss-experiment-1/ —the post will grow as the blog tour continues.)

The Layover is being released today. I’m forever thankful to my editor, Rose, and the wonderful staff at Dreamspinner Press for making me feel like I can do this. Malin, I’m going to spread a picnic blanket under your pedestal, sit there and just stare adoringly for all eternity or at least until the wind blows away the dust off my bones. I don’t think I would have made it without Grace, Hans, Jay, Xenia, Ben, Frederick, Phetra, Brandon, and all those kind people who beta-read for me, reviewed the ARC, advised me, or simply talked to me and helped me to keep my head above water. I’m humbled by how much kindness I’ve received from virtual strangers. I hope to pay back a part of my debt in happy endings.

Love

Roe

 

Check out The Layover today!

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Blurb:

Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.
Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either.

 

About Roe Horvat:

Queer author, storyteller & graphic designer
Roe was born in former Czechoslovakia and endured a miserable adolescence in the post-communist wasteland. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, they left for Germany and later, Spain.
Finally, they settled in Sweden, where the weather is nasty but the freedom great. Roe works as a motion graphics artist, loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams and everything in between, preferably by the fireplace with a strawberry daiquiri in hand. Roe writes contemporary romantic fiction – it conveniently balances out their real-life pragmatism.
When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

Get in touch with the Roe:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roe.horvat.98
Website: https://www.roehorvat.com

 

Excerpt:

He studied the empty glass like there were secret inscriptions on it. I don’t know where it came from, but I felt as if the moment were pivotal. As if whatever he said next would mean a lot. Possibly more than I’d like.

He put the glass down and looked at his hands, intertwining and twirling his fingers. “I got to go on this trip only because a colleague of mine got sick. Otherwise, they would never send a lowly minion like me. And sure, it was about work primarily. There was a meet-up about stem cell therapy in ophthalmology.” He stopped himself with a wave of his hand. A very graceful hand. “Never mind. I had a few days off in Zurich. I wanted to try something new, maybe let a little loose… I didn’t expect anything to be life-changing, just maybe get a little taste of a slightly different lifestyle. Nothing crazy or dangerous.

“But my friend, she had this idea that it was supposed to be more of an adventure. She bought me a travel pack of some stuff, you know. Like a go-out-and-get-laid kit. Ginny’s a bit weird. And she gave me the hat. She made me promise that I’d wear that thing.” He gestured toward the hideous headgear and sighed again. I sensed that I wouldn’t like the direction of his speech. “I googled some crazy club and tried to go out in Zurich. And I felt like an alien there, exposed. It’s ridiculous but getting hit on only freaked me out. It’s not my thing. In the end, I was ready to go home, looking forward to it even. And then….” He stopped talking and threw his hands up in the air, scrunched his face in apparent frustration. With me? With himself? With the boundaries of the English vocabulary? “And now you are sitting here flirting with me. And I… I’m sorry. I like you, I do. You’re funny and hot as hell. But I’m not….” He waved a hand in the air again, fishing for the right words. There weren’t any. “I’m not comfortable with one-night stands. I’m sorry.” He paused and seemed to brace himself before delivering the final blow. “I should go to bed. Long day tomorrow.”

It wasn’t my first I-like-you-but conversation. I was a champion of those too. More often pitching those than receiving, but still. I knew the game, but this time, it tasted bitter. Maybe it was because I was in a weird place in my head, feeling like the world was changing around me, and I was changing, and my life was at a crossroad, and it was all a chaos like a freaking Hungarian goulash soup. The world was bleak, and I didn’t want to let go of the only one still colorful, even vibrant thing in it. Since I felt that clingy, I should have ripped off the Band-Aid, fast.

“It’s a shame,” I said. He was probably the most interesting guy I’d met in months. Or years to be honest. Such a damned shame. “But tomorrow we’re flying away from here in opposite directions.” That shy smile he gave me…. So, so sweet. “I understand. I guess I respect it even.”

He had to think I was a slut. By some standards, I probably was. I stood, stretched my arms, and finished: “I’ve had a lovely evening. Thank you for not ditching me sooner.” It sounded whiney, and I winced inwardly. I gave him yet another crooked smirk and went to the bar. I took a napkin, borrowed a pen, and scribbled down a number. I went back, put it on the table in front of him, and he looked at me, frowning.

“In case you change your mind.”

I went all the way this time, and the odds were against me. But I would bang my head against the wall later if I didn’t try one last time.

He stared at the napkin for a second and scratched his temple. He lifted his large tired eyes at me, and my heart started beating a little faster.

“Thanks. Have a good flight tomorrow,” he said. The coffin snapped shut, the dirt was scattered on the lid, black shadowy figures stood in the rain, heads down—with that kind of finality.

I would remember him forever. If only for the hopeless kind of lonely he made me feel. So lonely, like I was at the bottom of a crater on the dark side of the moon, the temperature was absolute zero, and the last space shuttle left days ago.

My gaze slid over the napkin with my room number on it, and suddenly I felt like an ass. He was so much better than that kind of shit.

“Sorry for that.” I gestured toward the napkin briefly and went away, not looking back.

I was on the verge of a new era, trying to reclaim my life. Apparently, that made me vulnerable as fuck. I dragged my sorry ass upstairs, stripped, and packed my bag, in case I wanted to sleep in the next day and would have to leave in a hurry.

I brushed my teeth, took a piss, washed my hands, and blew my nose. Then I was lying in the strange bed unable to fall asleep. I felt a little cold but too lazy to get up and look for a T-shirt.

Funny and hot as hell, he said. It sounded lame, forgettable. And true. There were twenty-five of me in every gay bar in every larger city in Europe. And he was brilliant, genuine, most beautifully human, and real.

Jamie. His name was Jamie.

 

Venetian Memory Lane by Luca Domani

July 14, 2017

Venetian memory lane

 

Venice is a city dear to my heart. When I was younger, I dreamed of travelling there every year, but then graduate school happened. Still, I was fortunate enough to visit Venice more than once. My memories of the city are still vivid even though I haven’t been back for several years. So when I was given a chance to write a story for Dreamspinner’s World of Love series, I knew I had to go back to Venice, if only in my imagination.

Venice is charming and beautiful throughout the year, but in the colder months, it becomes even more enchanting. I set Tom and Giovanni’s story during this time, when Venice is quiet and rainy.  It is the off season and the city is returned to the Venetians after a long and crowded summer. Visitors can take in the sights at a slower pace, and perhaps pretend that they too are Venetian, if only for the moment. It is the perfect backdrop for falling in love.

Inevitably, Giovanni and Tom’s adventures in Venice draw inspiration from my own experiences. It was fun reliving these moments while I was writing. One of these scenes is at the very beginning of the book. Tom arrives in Venice during acqua alta, when the water level rises. The resulting flooding affects the neighborhood in which Tom’s hotel is located. Tom is greeted by several inches of water both inside and outside of his hotel. Fortunately, his room is dry, but he still must find some dinner. With no desire to venture farther than necessary for food, he wanders into the pizzeria next door, where Giovanni works. Alas, here the similarities end – there was no handsome Venetian flirting with me in the pizzeria next door!

Another memory that makes its way into the story is visiting Piazza San Marco at night. On my first trip to Venice, I stayed at a hotel close to the famous piazza. Late one night, I decided to spend some time in the square. To my delight, I found myself to be one of the very few people there at the time. It was like having my own little piece of Venice. I knew that if I ever came back, I’d have to do it again, and now it has become a tradition. For Giovanni, the piazza at night has been a haven since he was a teenager, a place for him to find some peace in a small crowded city, even in summer. Tom is the first person with whom he shares this special space, and now I have shared it with you. If you ever have the chance to go, I also recommend stopping by a bar along the way and picking up some beer and bruschetta to savor in your own private Piazza San Marco.

I truly enjoyed visiting Venice through this story, and I hope you will too! I invite you to continue the journey with Tom and Giovanni in An American in VeniceBuon viaggio!

 

Check out An American in Venice today!

 

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Blurb: 

Tom has always been steady and predictable—a formula he’s sure will lead him to success in his career. When his method fails him and he loses his job, he throws caution to the wind for the first time in his life and books a European holiday.

Maybe Tom shouldn’t be surprised that Cupid’s arrow finds him in one of the most romantic cities in the world: Venice, Italy. When he encounters Giovanni working in the family pizzeria, it’s lust at first sight. Their time together touring the city is so magical it feels like a dream. But Tom is shy while Giovanni is charming and flirtatious. Tom has a newfound freedom with his unemployment, while family burdens weigh heavily on Giovanni. Add culture differences and miscommunication into the mix, and their brief romance might fade as quickly as the beautiful dream it resembles.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

 

Author Bio:

Luca has been writing stories since childhood. Although he has a doctorate in engineering, he has never given up on his dream of being a writer. He adores science fiction and is partial to postapocalyptic epics with zombie hordes, but at heart, he is a hopeless romantic. Luca is married to his high school sweetheart, who is his muse and the love of his life. They reside in Massachusetts with their dog and cat. An American in Venice is his second publication outside of a technical journal.
Email: gianluca.domani@gmail.com

Real Life Mimics Fiction (sort of) w/ SJD Peterson

July 7, 2017

Real Life Mimics Fiction

 

Murphy isn’t the only one who finds himself in a new city and state with no friends and family. I too recently took the plunge as well. I didn’t come for a new job but a new adventure. You see, I’m an empty nester and being tired of spending 5 months of every year knee deep in snow, I moved south.

My best friend Scotty Cade bought a house in Greenville South Carolina. Unfortunately, for him, he had to return to Martha’s Vineyard for another tourist season. Luckily, for me, I volunteered to house/dog sit until he could return.  If you’ve never been to Greenville, I highly suggest you visit!  It’s an absolutely amazing town.

The downtown area, which I’m fortunate enough to live close enough to walk, is a happening place with many great shops and restaurants. Two of my favorites are:

SmokeOnTheWater

Smoke on the Water – Serving comfort food in a warm inviting atmosphere. Specialties are smoked items – prime rib, beef brisket, baby back ribs, and pulled pork.  And it doesn’t stop there. Chicken, seafood, burgers, and an amazing mix of sides. A variety of “saucy” sauces are available – tomato, mustard, sweet or vinegar-based. And don’t forget dessert. Smoke serves an amazing Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie, Fried Bourbon Bread Pudding, daily cobblers and fried Bananas Foster. The restaurant’s busy bar has one of Greenville’s best happy hours.

Website: http://www.saucytavern.com/

Lemongrass

Lemongrass – Thai cuisine manages to bring together the most diverse spices and aromas – fiery and mild, salty and sweet, sour and bitter – into perfect harmony. Lemongrass is one of the herbs used in Thai cooking among other spices such as basil, galangal, ginger, lemon leaf, cilantro turmeric and more.

Website: http://www.lemongrassthai.net/

 

TheBarkery

Many of the places around Greenville are pet friendly. Scotty’s dog Mavis has joined me to a few of them including Smoke on the Water and The Common Cure. There are also numerous Bark Parks, boutiques and even a bakery called The Barkery Bistro.

If you’d rather just get out for a nice walk don’t forget your pooch and be sure to head to Falls Park on the Reedy.  It’s a great place for you and your pup to get exercise as well as enjoy the gorgeous falls. Take a walk in the river or enjoy the view from the expansion bridge.

 

ReedyFalls

 

Whatever you do downtown Greenville, you’ll enjoy the sights, sounds and people!

 

Check out Something’s Brewing at Joe’s today!

 

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Blurb:

The promise of a dream job lures Murphy to Tampa, but he arrives to the rude awakening that the offer is on hold. Now he’s got two choices: slink back to Michigan with his tail between his legs or stay and look for work. Things perk up when he goes into a coffee shop and learns the owner is looking for someone to renovate the apartment above it. He happily takes the job, only later realizing he’s met Joe Sterling, Kaffeinate’s proprietor, before… when they hooked up at a club Murphy’s first night in Tampa.

Murphy and Joe are both proud, passionate, and outspoken. Neither is looking for a relationship, though they can’t deny they go together as well as coffee and doughnuts, in spite of their tempers. But that’s before Joe learns Murphy will be working for the corporation he believes is harming local businesses and the environment—and if Murphy will be supporting it, Joe wants nothing to do with him, dooming any possibility of an unexpected happy ending.

 

 

J

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

 

 

What is Control? w/ Leigh Carman + Excerpt

July 7, 2017

What is Control

 

 

Hello Dreamreaders! I’m Leigh Carman and I’m here to discuss the release of Two-Man Advantage, book 3 in the Players of LA series. Two-Man Advantage is the story of a hockey player named Viktor Novak, a self-destructive young man who for reasons you find out in the book, cannot stop his life from spiraling out of control. Viktor is reckless, immature, and prone to violent outbursts.

That’s when Bowen Miller steps in. Bo is the absolute epitome of control. The cocky PR specialist operates under the mistaken belief he can teach Viktor a thing or two about self-discipline, and the ability to clamp down on his emotions, successfully bringing the guy to heel. Bo finds out how wrong he is.

Now that I gave you some background on the MC’s, it’s clear that in Two-Man Advantage, I put one man who is way, way out of control, up against an obsessive-compulsive control freak. Reckless vs. cautious. Spur of the moment vs. planned out to the nth degree. Of course, these differences lead Vik and Bo to butt heads constantly, the friction between personalities sending tempers exploding with every interaction. But it’s possible Vik and Bo’s relationship goes deeper than two polar opposites who rub each other the wrong way. Perhaps their constant bickering is a sign that there’s more going on in Vik and Bo’s minds than visible at first glance. The back and forth, the men playing off each other, delving into both men’s histories to carve out each individual persona is what drove me as an author. I have to admit I loved writing these two highly emotional, temperamental, and stubborn men.

After I pinned down traits for each character along with the reasons behind them, I had to shape Vik and Bo’s relationship with each other. To do this, I researched a lifestyle called Power Exchange. For those of you who don’t know, a Power Exchange is a facet of BDSM in which one person gives up total control—a.k.a. the submissive—trusting their partner to make every decision, thus caring for their needs. The partner in control—or dominant—has the responsibility of ensuring the submissive is happy, healthy, and fulfilled. A Power Exchange can be a full-time lifestyle, or something that only comes up in certain situations, such as in the bedroom.

What I found interesting was the more I read, the more realistic the dynamic between Vik and Bo became. Except despite the research, I still had questions. Who would be the one to take control? The man who plans out every action and word in advance, or the man who struggles to get a grip on his flying-off-the-handle temperament?

Does the rigid control freak in Bo extend to every part of his life, including dominating any action in the bedroom? Or is it possible that Bo is exhausted. Weary from having to make every single decision down to the smallest minutiae, on a day-to-day basis. Maybe Bo needs a minute, an hour, a night, to let go and allow someone to see the cracks in the façade. To stop doing so much thinking, even if only for a brief respite.

Or is it Viktor who steps up to the plate? Is it possible for the guy who feels as though he has no say over anything that happens in his life, in both his career and personal interactions, to find safety within the walls of his bedroom? Is sex the one and only facet Vik actually can control, whereas he’s a passenger in every other aspect of his life?

For me, it could go either way, but it was fun figuring it out. To find out who dominates who, you’ll have to read Two-Man Advantage. Here’s a brief excerpt to introduce you to the guys.

 

Check out Two-Man Advantage today!

 

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Blurb:

A hockey star skating on the edge of a catastrophe.

A PR specialist so adept, he’s called “the Fixer.”

Working together will be the biggest challenge of both their careers.

The LA Vikings hockey team is fed up the violent outbursts of its huge, intimidating enforcer, Viktor Novak. Hounded by a homophobic and domineering father, Viktor takes out his frustrations by spilling blood—on and off the ice. Now he has one last chance to clean up his image, or his career is over.

That’s where Bowen Miller comes in.

Bo has taken on the hardest cases and succeeded—by micromanaging every aspect of a client’s life—at the expense of his own happiness. But in the stubborn, hot mess that is Viktor, Bo might have met his match—both in and out of the bedroom. One man is out of control, and one controls everything. But when sex and attraction come into play, those roles are open to negotiation.

 

 

Excerpt- Bo and Vik meet

Bo

After speaking with Dom then meeting with upper management about working with the Vikings to clean up Viktor Novak and his explosive personality, I spend the rest of the weekend doing research on my new client. More research than strictly necessary for this type of job, but for some reason every time I try to close down my computer and walk away, I’m drawn right back in, addicted to skimming through photo after photo of Viktor Novak.

Hockey isn’t a sport I’m very familiar with as I’m not a fan, and this will be my first NHL client. I don’t know why, but I’m shocked to find out the rugged hockey player is flat-out physical perfection. No missing teeth or crooked nose, though Viktor does have the requisite scar slashing across one pale eyebrow.

According to his Vikings stats, the man is twenty-three years old, six foot three inches and two hundred pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes that pretty much confirm the Eastern European—or possibly Scandinavian—heritage that his surname suggests. As I stare, my mind begins to wander, and I can’t help but wonder if Viktor Novak is blond all over. Actually, from the looks of him, he probably doesn’t have much body hair.

Damn. I blink back the dirty thoughts, determined to get my mind on track. I need to figure out a plan, not fantasize about my client.

In 99 percent of the pictures I flicked through online, a deep frown furrows Viktor Novak’s strong, handsome face. Even in his team photo he’s wearing a menacing scowl. It’s as if the man doesn’t know how to smile. For such a young guy, he looks way older.

By the time I walk into the conference room of the Vikings’ home office at Brinks Arena Monday morning, I pretty much know what to expect. A grumpy, grimacing, angry blond hulk of a hockey player with a hair-trigger temper and a loud bark. When I enter the room, however, what I see instead shocks the hell out of me.

First, the man in the conference room isn’t merely big, he’s freaking enormous. Even with Viktor sitting down, I can tell he’s much, much larger than he appeared in any of the photographs. Second, not a single one of those hundreds of pictures did the man justice. At this moment, he doesn’t look scary, or even angry for that matter. No, what Viktor Novak does look like is drop-dead fucking gorgeous. The hockey player in front of me is so good-looking, his physical presence so overwhelming, I can’t bring myself to look directly at him for fear I’ll either spontaneously combust or come in my dress slacks like a horny kid.

To avoid embarrassment and maintain control of the situation, I keep my eyes low, my jaw clenched, and force myself to focus on the task at hand. Anything to keep from staring at the stunning man who is no doubt watching my every move with his sharp, calculating gaze. I’m sure if I were to glance over and make eye contact, I wouldn’t be able to hide the fact I’m undressing him in my mind.

My sudden inability to speak or look at him must piss Viktor off, because he threatens to leave.

“If you’re not going to talk to me, or even look at me, I see no point in being here. I’m a busy guy and don’t have time for bullshit games, so, I guess I’ll see you later.” His voice is low and menacing. Husky and over-the-top sexy, just as I imagined. It vibrates straight to my groin, sending a rush of heat down my spine and into my cock.

Jesus, get ahold of yourself, Miller, and act like a professional, not some simpering virgin.

Unfortunately, the method I choose to deal with my inappropriate attraction to my new client overrides common sense. My need to seize back control of my body and the awkward situation has the first words out of my mouth making me sound like a massive douche.

I stare at the attractive man, my fingers curling into the polished wood of the table to maintain restraint and keep my dick under control. “I suggest you stay exactly where you are, Mr. Novak. If you want to keep your job, that is.”

The big man jerks back in surprise. “Now you’re going to speak?”

Afraid I’ll say something laced with innuendo—instead of apologizing or remaining calm—I continue acting like a flaming jackass, poking the beehive with a pointy stick. “I’ll speak when I’m ready, and you’ll listen. That’s how this works. You make messes, and I clean them up.”

The inexplicable need to get closer to the shocked man has me thinking with the wrong head. Even as dangerous and hostile as Viktor appears, I circle the conference table, drawn to the hockey player like a moth to a flame. Once I’m close—too close—I lean over his chair in a show of dominance. Big mistake. For the first time in my life, it backfires on me. When I inhale, Viktor’s raw, masculine scent clogs my nostrils, hitting me hard. The potent scent sends a dizzying sensation from my brain straight to my dick. When he turns his head to scowl at me, I catch a whiff of… sour apple?

As I wonder what that apple scent is, Viktor shoots me a deadly glare, his upper lip curled back to expose perfect white teeth. Viktor’s blue eyes spark with…. What? Lust? No way. Fury. It must be fury. A man like Viktor Novak doesn’t appreciate being put in his place.

So what do I do? Do I back off and put some space between us like any normal human being with any sense of their own safety would do? No, I choose to lean in even closer toward the dangerous man, watching with rapt interest as the hockey player’s cheeks turn red.

“So, do you understand why we’re here?”

Viktor nods, shifting in his chair uncomfortably. I glance down and note his big hands are balled up, clenched tight in his lap. That’s my cue to get out of his face before he lands one of those enormous fists on my chin.

“Good.” Now that he knows who’s in charge, I step back and extend my right hand. “I’m Bowen Miller. Call me Bo.”

 

About the Author:

Leigh Carman is the pen name for the M/M romances written by bestselling Contemporary romance writer, Heather C. Leigh.

She lived outside Atlanta for 15 years and recently moved to Houston with her husband, 2 kids, and French bulldog.

She is leaving explicit directions in her will for her friends to discreetly scatter her ashes around Fenway Park. Then they are to sit back, watch a game with a beer and a Fenway frank and have a wicked good time.

Summertime Fun w/ Sean Michael + Giveaway

July 5, 2017

Summertime Fun

 

Hello, Dreamspinners!

It’s summertime! If you know me already, you probably know that summer is not my favorite season. It is however when Making a Splash takes place. Austin is showing off for his friends at the public pool and diving when Vince discovers him.

Going to the pool is a great summer activity. I prefer the country and a lake to the city and a pool – the chlorine irritates my eyes and skin. And I prefer the breeze off the lake, which is usually lacking at a city pool.

Other summer activities I enjoy are evening walks because it’s cooler when the sun begins to go down. Picnics if there’s shade. And sitting inside with the air conditioner cranked high!

What’s your favorite summertime activity? One responder will win a copy of Making a Splash.

 

Sean Michael
smut fixes everything

 

Check out Making a Splash today!

 

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Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Blurb:

After a scandal of Olympic proportions, Vince Dawson lost his job as a diving coach and is on a downhill slide. So when he sees Austin Brody at a local pool, diving like a trained athlete, he thinks he’s found his ticket back to the big leagues.

Austin thinks Vince is crazy for wanting him to dive competitively. He dives for beer and smokes, while working double shifts as a welder. Still, he’ll give training with Vince a shot.

But Austin isn’t willing to let Vince rule his life, and Vince—used to hopeful young athletes folding under pressure from him—finds Austin baffling… and hot. Even if they can work together and become more than friends, they still have a long way to go before they’ll be ready to compete.

 

Excerpt:

Vince took it, the kid’s hand cool and damp, the sensation familiar. How many times had he hauled a diver up out of the water? Too many to count. Vince gritted his teeth and didn’t linger on the handshake, stepping back to find his perfect dive-watching spot again.

Austin swarmed right up the ladder, waved. Then the little fucker did Louganis’s reverse two and a half somersault in the pike position. The entry was shit this time, but still.

Fuck him.

He had a hunch dinner was going to cost him his last dime, but, damn it, it would be money well spent if he could convince Austin he had to start competing. The assholes on the national team would shit bricks if he showed up at the next meet with this diver in tow.

He pushed his way back to the edge of the pool, there when Austin hauled himself up out of the pool. “Your entry was crap.”

“You still owe me a steak.”

“I do.” He nodded toward the street. “You wanting that now?”

“Sure. Let me go get my jeans on and shit. Oh. I’m Austin Brody. Pleased.”

“Vince Dawson. I’ll wait outside the gate for you.” He could have a cigarette and work on his pitch.

He got one and a half smoked before Austin came sauntering out of the showers, dressed in a black T-shirt and a pair of jeans, straw hat on his head. The kid lit up a cigarette on the way over, nodding to him and grinning. “Hey. Wasn’t sure you’d hang out.”

He shook his head. “I’m a man of my word.” Not to mention that every second made him want to coach this kid more. He hadn’t seen a natural diver like this since he was a kid himself. “So where do you like your steak?”

“There’s a steakhouse down the road. My aunt Jenny’s a waitress there and can get us the rolls right out of the oven.”

He gave Austin a smile. “Sounds good. I like warm buns.”

The kid hooted, blew out a big puff of smoke. “Oh, you’re clever. I like it.”

“You shouldn’t smoke, you know. Those things’ll kill you.” He pointed to his red Dodge truck, then headed toward it as he took another puff on his own cigarette.

“Gotta die of something. Nice ride.”

 

Bio:

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

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

Sean Michael on the web:

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