Maple Dreams by Emjay Haze – Recipes + Giveaway

January 31, 2018

maple dreams

 

Hi everyone. Thank you DreamSpinner Press for hosting the next stop on my blog tour. My new release, Home is Where You Are is set in rural Vermont at a maple orchard and sugar house.

I love pure Vermont Maple syrup. But, it’s not just for pancakes. There is Maple Sugar, Maple Cream, and my favorite Maple leaf candy.  And, maple syrup is a great substitute for white sugar. You use less and it has a lot of nutrients and anti-oxidants.

I thought it would be fun to share a few maple syrup recipes, including the drink Darla makes for Eric, Vermont Harvest Moon and a surprise at the end.

 

Maple Cream

There’s only 1 ingredient for this tasty treat that’s sweet like maple syrup, but has the consistency of peanut butter so you can spread it on toast or pancakes.

Ingredients
Pure Vermont Maple Syrup

Basically, you want to boil the syrup (don’t stir) until it reaches 235 degrees, or according to Spruce.com, 24 degrees over the boiling temperature of water. Add a little butter or oil to keep the foaming down

Once it’s done, you want to cool the pan, using an ice bath and then pour into glass containers.

All directions are here at Spruce.com. They also have a great recipe for Maple Leaf Candy, Courtesy of Spruce.com.

 

Traditional Vermont Maple Pie

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups pure Vermont Maple Syrup
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 – 9 in unbaked pie shell

Visit VermontMaple.org for the entire recipe, courtesy of Vermont Public television.

 

Eric’s Vermont Harvest Moon

When I first searched for a cocktail made using maple syrup, I found several different versions, but I can’t find the one I based the one in the book on any longer, so I improvised.

Ingredients
3 parts Hard Apple Cider
1 parts Cranberry Juice (Not cocktail)
1 (or 2) shots vodka
Teaspoon maple syrup
Slice of Orange

Pour hard apple cider in a glass
Then add the cranberry juice
Pour shot of vodka into the glass
Add the maple syrup
Stir
Top with slice of orange

 

Vermont Maple Cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (Grade B preferably)
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of chopped walnuts

For complete directions, visit SimplyRecipes.com, courtesy of Simply Recipes.

 

And last but not least, the ultimate comfort food. This is my recipe. My family loves it!

Mrs. B’s homemade Chicken Pot-Pie

Ingredients
3 cups chicken broth (made ahead of time)
½ cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 cup peas
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced onions
½ cup chopped mushrooms
2 cups cooked chicken small pieces ( I bake chicken tenders at 350 for 30 minutes and then shred)
1/4 cup flour (I use glutenfree)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp pure Vermont maple syrup

Directions

If cooking chicken, make it first and then cut up
On medium-high, heat to boiling chicken broth, bay leaf and thyme,
Add carrots and potatoes and cook till tender, about 10 minutes
Remove bay leaf
Add wine
Mix flour and cream and whisk together
Slowly stir in flour/cream mixture until it thickens
Add celery, onion, and mushroom
Remove from heat
Fold in peas, chicken and maple syrup
Pour mixture into 4 individual oven safe bowls or one pie pan
Cover each with pie crust (I use gluten-free)
Melt 1 tsp butter and 1/4 tsp maple syrup
Brush butter mixture over each pie crust
Crinkle the edges, and fork the middle three times
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown

Giveaway:

I have a rafflecopter giveaway of 3 e-copies of Home is Where you Are, and a Grand prize of the e-book and a gift pack of Vermont maple syrup and maple candy.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out Home Is Where You Are today!

 

o-home-is-where-you-are

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
iTunes
Google Books

 

Blurb:

For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.

Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.

A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place….

 

Emjay Haze profile pic

Author Bio:

Emjay Haze is a Pennsylvania girl living in a Virginia world, growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs and moving to Northern Virginia to follow her now husband of twenty-plus years. She has two kids in college, a year-old puppy named Max, a black-and-white cat named Tux, a gecko named Rex, a yellow tang called Reggie, and we hear the eels are coming this week.

The family pastime is baseball, specifically the Nationals. She’s also a huge Redskins fans and loves classic rock. Emjay graduated with a degree in Creative Writing in 2015 after realizing it was the only thing she really wanted to do.

She has a wide and diverse work history in the fields of travel, hotel management, high-tech communications, web development, real estate, and the nonprofit health care industry where she has held positions such as travel agent, hotel concierge, web programmer, Realtor, account manager, and many, many others, giving her a varied and unique set of experiences that she draws upon in her stories and characters.

Emjay fell in love with the m/m romance genre after discovering the world of fanfiction several years ago and hasn’t looked back. Her family keeps asking when she’ll write something they can read, but she’s still having too much fun with her boys. Her goal is to broaden the minds of those who might not normally pick up a gay romance because it’s more about the person than the sexuality. She’ll take you on a roller-coaster journey, but you’ll always get a happy ending.

Website: www.mjhauthor.com/emjayhaze
Twitter: @emjayhaze
Facebook: www.facebook.com/emjayhaze
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14254769.Emjay_Haze

 

E-Flat Inspiration by BA Tortuga (NSFW)

January 18, 2018

E-Flat Inspiration

 

Howdy, y’all. I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and country music addict.

This story features Markus and Sebastian from Fighting Addiction. This piece is set ten years before the novel starts, but it was the story they wanted me to share.

Much love, y’all.

BA

 

***

 

E-Flat Inspiration (m/m, NSFW)

 

Sebastian looked across the postage stamp sized stage at the finest son of a bitch that had ever slinked out of West Texas and into Nashville.

Dark and tight, with eyes like buttons, Sebastian was into the man — up to his neck.

They tended to glomp together — songwriters and pickers, solo artists and bands, deep South boys and the Texans.

Fortunately for him, Sebastian was a fucking Cajun and he’d just rub all up in anybody’s business.

Tonight he fully intended to find out all about Markus Kane’s business.

Markus Kane, who was sitting there, head bobbing a little with the music, foot tapping while he sucked back a beer. That mouth was like all the good sins.

Seb was sure that he needed desperately to be introduced to at least five or six sins, immediately if not sooner.

As soon as Bruce Walker finished his set, of course. Seb was seriously considering talking to the man about starting a band. Bruce sounded a little like a goose with a head cold when he sang, but damn, the man could pick, and it sure sounded like he could write a song.

When he glanced back at Markus the man was staring at him, and there was interest there, not just friendly.

He met that look head-on, making the clearest offer he could without getting his ass handed to him.

Come get me, gorilla man. I could use a nice, hard fuck. We could play alligator wrestlers.

Markus stood, those long, long legs moving, bringing the man to him. “You want another beer?”

“Nope. You want to take a walk?” He didn’t need to be fucked up to get what he wanted.

Dark eyes scanned the room, and he knew Markus was making sure no one was watching. It was a thing, and Sebastian understood it. “You know it,” Kane finally said, nodding toward the door.

“Rock on.”

He nodded to Bruce, to Seeley, and then took his Cajun ass out, whistling on the way.

Markus followed, warm and solid behind him, almost too close, but not close enough.

“I got a place. It’s tiny, but not foul.”

“I share with three other guys.” Those pretty lips twisted wryly. “Yours is a better bet, huh?”

“It’s a closet, but it’s my closet and there’s a bed in it.” Thank god, Mamma sent money. Lots of money.

“I like beds.” One hand slid over his ass for a moment, almost like a promise.

“I like fucking. Sucking, too. I’m also not opposed to handjobs.”

A short chuckle came from behind him. “I am not opposed to any of that.”

“Excellent news.” He turned down an alleyway, leading Markus up a short flight of stairs.

“Oh.” When he turned around, Markus was still at the bottom, staring in the general direction of his ass.

He rolled his hips, nice and slow. “Come get it.”

Markus hit the stairs like a locomotive, charging up, reaching him just as he unlocked his little apartment. The big guy pushed him inside, and Seb’s back slapped against the wall, Markus kissing him hard.

He hooted, legs wrapping around Markus’ hips, heels digging in but good so he could rub. The man was like a giant jungle gym. Hard. Hot. Solid.

Markus tasted like hops and barley and pure heat and Seb pushed into it, fucking Markus’ lips for all he was worth.

With a low moan, Markus lifted him higher, hands under his ass.

Oh, Jesus fuck. He loved that — the strength, the power, the need. “More, cowboy.”

“Uh-huh. Bed.” Markus took him right over to the bed, which was sort of central to the apartment, laying him down.

He pulled Markus’ shirt out of the second tightest pair of jeans in history, then sucked in his belly so Markus’ fingers could work on the fly of the tightest.

Markus had picker’s fingers, clever and quick. His jeans were open in no time.

His cock battered its way out of his fly, pushing right into that touch. “Touch me.”

“Hell, yes.” That big hand closed around his cock, pulling. There was nothing gentle about it.

“Fuck!” He rolled up, his eyes rolled back, and he thought seriously about giving praise.

“Hot as a firecracker, Cajun.”

“You know it. Don’t stop on me, now.”

“No.” Markus kissed him again, and it was like eating something too hot, burning his lips. They ate each other up, tongues duelling, and suddenly Markus’ prick was sliding alongside his, fat and heavy, and his hand joined Markus’.

The heat ramped up a thousand degrees, and they were both straining to get to the endgame but he was sure enjoying the ride.

Markus grunted, and it was blisteringly hot, damn near musical, and he dug his thumb into the dripping slit.

“Fuck! Fuck, man. I need.” Marcus really got into it, humping and pulling at him.

“Got you. Got you, come on and we’ll start over.”

“Okay.” Those eyes met his, like two holes burned in a blanket, and Marcus came like a ton of bricks, wet and good on his hand.

His balls drew up, and he curled up, humping in a random syncopation until he lost it, shooting his brains out the tip of his cock.

Markus stared at him, panting, his chest heaving. He was so beautiful that Sebastian knew he was utterly lost.

“Hey.” His smile grew, slow, from the pit of his belly.

“Hey. That was– I could write songs.”

“Yeah?” He reached for a pad of score paper, a pen. “I got a couple of guitars.”

Markus sat up, too, stretching a little before grinning. “Can we get naked to write?”

“Oh, hell yeah. I write best in the buff.” He made a show of looking Markus up and down. “You know, I’m all about inspiration.”

“Well, I’m happy to be inspiring.” Markus wiggled out of his clothes before grabbing a guitar.

He hooted, grabbed his baby acoustic, strumming an E flat. “So, what do you think of Beer-Soaked Heaven as a hook?”

 

 

Check out Fighting Addiction today!

 

o-fighting-addiction

Blurb:

Country hat act Markus Kane is skeptical when he’s asked to do a joint tour. He hasn’t seen Sebastian Longchamps since he gave up drinking—and since their compulsion for each other nearly cost them both their livelihoods. But Markus’s career is on the downhill slope, while the country-fried Cajun rocker’s star is still rising. His label thinks it’ll be a match made in ticket-sales heaven.

Sebastian knows better. One wrong move and Markus will break his heart all over again. This time he has much more to lose.

Time has changed both men, though, and while Markus and Sebastian try to fight their addictions, the big music industry machine has plans for them that don’t include a quiet retirement. Can Markus convince Sebastian that there are things in life more important than adrenaline and control? And can Sebastian make Markus understand that all he really wants is his music and his man?

Second Edition

 

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

How Karaoke Bars Work in China w/ Z. Allora + Giveaway

January 15, 2018

how karaoke bars work in china

 

Greetings! I want to thank Dreamspinner for the opportunity to share a little bit about me, China and my new release The Great Wall. To celebrate I’ll be doing a giveaway: 3 e-books of Secured and Free, 5 e-books of Finally Fallen and a $20 gift card to Dreamspinner. (Details about the giveaway are below.)

KTV

KTV stands for Karaoke TV in China which comes in two variety. One is family friendly for singalongs with friends and loved ones while munching on snacks. The other is a “special” KTV where young women are part of the singing experience. They will pour alcohol, light cigarettes, sing, and see to the businessman’s every need depending on the establishment.

How can you tell the difference? My song loving friends in Suzhou taught me the family safe KTVs are near shopping centers while the “special” KTVs are more upscale looking.

Why are they popular? I was told Karaoke is where people could let their emotions out. I watched my friends become very emotional while singing love songs to their significant others or single friends weeping during songs of lonely and loss. In some cases, it provides a safe place to let out your feelings almost like therapy. Though most times Karaoke is a night out and it’s fun.

 

The Great Wall Excerpt:

Styx was relieved Li had picked the KTV they went to and not Indigo. This KTV had a family-friendly, cool, space theme. It wasn’t sleazy at all. There was no line of aggressive girls whose sole purpose was to get the customers to buy them drinks while they pretended each singer was the best she’d ever heard. The KTV girls usually harbored hopes of giving the men a completely satisfying experience, either right in their private karaoke room or at the nearby hotel, for tips. In contrast, this establishment allowed wannabe singers to croon in peace without pressure.

The band got there early. Styx enjoyed the beginnings of his first- ever vacation from work. Li and Indigo purchased a room with the minimum time to get them on the right door with the other singers.

Not to waste the money and to kill some time, everyone sang a song. They cheered each other on as they lazily flipped through the automated playlist and watched the bad videos accompanying each song on the room TV.

When Jin’s turn came, he stood and faced the group. Into his second beer, Styx relaxed as he admired how Jin’s golden hair shone and sparkled in the dancing lights that Indigo had figured out how to operate.

Jin surprised him by singing a very sweet love song. His soft voice trembled with emotion as he sang the words while staring directly at Styx.

Styx had heard the lyrics a thousand times before, but they were never meant for him. Could Styx dare to hope Jin meant the words and that they were directed at him?

Staring into Styx’s eyes, Jin sang to him, pouring love and hope into the song.

Styx’s heart expanded with even more affection for Jin. He tried in vain not to blush, though he felt his face heat up.

When the song ended, Jin bit his lower lip and glanced away. He scurried back to the couch and took a huge gulp from his bottle of beer.

Styx needed to let Jin know he returned the affection, but he couldn’t respond in words. He took his cue from Jin and stole Li’s turn.

The relaxation alcohol had given him allowed the luxury of expression. No one said anything, but his friends—somehow in the last few months, Indigo and Li had become good friends—watched him closely as he chose a simple but heartfelt song to sing back. His voice cracked a few times with all the emotion he tried to keep reined in.

Jin’s eyes were brimming with unshed tears by the time Styx finished the song. Styx stood frozen with the microphone still gripped in his hands as he stared at the man he adored, hoping the song conveyed all he might never be able to say.

The moment was broken by Indigo’s low whistle. “Is my Mandarin fucked, or did Styx proclaim he loves Jin more than a mouse loves rice?”

Indigo’s bewildered seriousness made everyone laugh.
“What? Mice love cheese not rice,” Indigo proclaimed.
Li wrapped an arm around Indigo’s neck and pulled him down into

a quick kiss, probably trying to shut him up. Then he said, “Think about it. There’s much more rice than cheese here, Indigo.”

To Enter the Giveaway: Leave a comment telling us have you ever Karaoked? Winners will be picked on Jan 19th.

Many hugs, Z.

Check out The Great Wall today!

 

o-the-great-wall

ebook: http://bit.ly/2krcnoY
paper: http://bit.ly/2AyafHa

 

Blurb:

Destiny will be decided by a battle between heart and mind….

Jun Tai “Styx” Wong loves two things: playing the drums and his best friend, Jin. But being a good Chinese son means he can’t have either—he’ll have to marry a girl of his parents’ choosing and settle into a traditional job. His move to the bigger city of Suzhou is both a blessing and curse, as living with Jin makes it harder for Styx to suppress his desires. Nearly dying while trying to eradicate his feelings serves as a wake-up call for Jin, who takes extreme measures to keep Styx safe from harm.

When given a second chance at life and happiness, will Styx be able to claim the future he wants with Jin, his bandmates, and his music? Can love and hope grow with the constantly looming threat of Styx’s parents ordering him home? Great things await—if Styx finds the courage to break down the wall that stands between him and everything he wants.

Author Bio:

Z. Allora believes in happily ever after for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.

To contact Z. Allora:

E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com
FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora
Website: www.zallorabooks.com
Twitter: @ZAllora
Blog: http://zallora.blogspot.com
Queer Romance Ink: www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/z-allora
Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/z-allora-637

Scene Commentary w/ Anne Barwell + Giveaway

January 10, 2018

Scene Commentary

 

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Prelude to Love, a Dreamspun Desire novel from Dreamspinner Press.

I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.

Finding blog post topics when writing heaps of posts for a blog tour can be a challenge. A friend suggested I flip through the book, see where it opens, choose a paragraph or two from that page, and blog about it.  I did that years ago with a story, and wrote it like a DVD commentary so here goes.

Unfortunately due to my days off since the beginning of the year being stat holidays my hardcopies of the book are still sitting at the Post Office ready to pick up—I hope!—so I opened my galley and chose my excerpt using a random number generator instead.  I’m not including an excerpt with this post as you’re getting an exclusive one as part of the commentary.

“Joel’s very good, isn’t he?” Mavis asked, yet it sounded more like a statement than a question. “I often hear him playing when I’m in my garden, although I haven’t for a few months. I had hoped I’d missed it because I’d been out rather than he’d given up. Talent like that should be nurtured, don’t you think?”

Mavis is Joel’s neighbour.  She reminds Joel of his gran, always knowing what’s going on, but would be the first to offer help if it was needed.  I included her in the story as I wanted to show a bit more of Joel’s world apart from his immediate friends, family, and work mates.  And it’s always nice to know neighbours are looking out for you.

“Yes. He is very good.” Marcus glanced at his watch. He’d been gardening for an hour, his thoughts distracting him for a good amount of that time. Good thing he did a lot of this kind of work on autopilot. Nevertheless he double-checked to make sure he hadn’t targeted anything that wasn’t a weed. He stood back to take a better look and smiled, satisfied with a job well done.

While Joel plays piano to relax and work through whatever is getting to him, Marcus gardens.  I liked the way they’re different, but in some ways the same in that.

“You’ve been working hard.” Mavis nodded approvingly. “If I get to the point where I can’t do my own gardening, I’ll keep you in mind.”

This is a reminder that although Marcus enjoys being outside and what he does for a living, it is still his job.  The fact that he does gardening for Joel because he wants to says a lot about how he feels about him.  Usually people don’t want to continue their job at a weekend, but do something else.

“Thanks.” Marcus didn’t want to get into a discussion about how what he’d done that afternoon was something he’d wanted to do for himself—and for Joel. “I should probably head inside. It’s been nice talking with you again.”

“Thanks. I’d hoped to catch you at some point so I could thank you for your work in person.” Mavis handed him a small basket. “I’ve made some muffins and thought you and Joel might enjoy some.”

This also shows the tone of the neighbourhood, that people are looking out for each other. It’s one of the reasons I like living where I do—we’re still part of a city, but it’s not a huge one so still very personable.  Also, as a side note, I usually make a batch of muffins each week which is why there are muffins in her basket.  Although it’s not specified, they’re blackcurrant/blackberry as that’s what I was making when I wrote that scene, and I have bushes/vines in my garden which keep me well supplied each year. It’s also another case of whatever I’m baking making its way into the story.  Or vice versa. I made several batches of scones a few years ago while writing Cat’s Quill.

“Thank you, that’s very kind of you.” Marcus was surprised by her generosity.

Mavis smiled. “It’s the neighborly thing to do. I’ve kept an eye on Joel for some time now, as he does work so very hard.” She lowered her voice. “It’s lovely seeing the two of you together and knowing he’s got someone like you looking out for him when he gets caught up in things and works too hard. Sometimes you have to help people who don’t help themselves, you know?”

Mavis is very observant, and knows Joel a lot better than he realises.  But it’s not just Joel who needs Marcus as Marcus needs Joel to remind him when he’s withdrawing and not talking about stuff he should be.

Marcus wasn’t sure how to reply to that. Joel hadn’t been kidding when he’d said that Mavis knew everything that went on in their neighborhood. “Thanks,” he said again. “When is the best time to return the basket?”

“Oh, just leave it on my front doorstep. Goodness me, it is late. I’d better go fix dinner. Bye, Marcus.”

Marcus doesn’t know the half of it. Mavis wasn’t in my original outline. She turned up when I was writing  with the comment that those boys need someone to look out for them, and then was in more than just this one scene. I’m reminded of the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Apparently it needs pretty much that to get these two together too!

 

Check out Prelude to Love today!

 

perf4.250x7.000.indd

 

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

 

Blurb:

Music speaks directly to the heart.

Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….

Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.

Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.

With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude.  But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony….

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here:

https://annebarwell.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/blog-tour-prelude-to-love/

 

Bio:

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Website & Blog: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115084832208481414034/posts
Instagram: https://instagram.com/anne.barwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annebarwell
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4862410.Anne_Barwell
Queeromance Ink Author Page: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/anne-barwell/
New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/491382394538058/
Sign Up For My Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/c6D9wP

Songs of Love by Scotty Cade

January 3, 2018

Songs of Love

 

Happy New Year All!

I like to thank my publisher Dreamspinner Press for allowing me to spend a little time with you in the New Year and chat about my latest release, “Someone to Kiss.”

Today I’m gonna talk about the inspiration for the story and some of my novels. “Someone to Kiss” as well as several of my books are inspired by music. Music has always been important to me and a very large part of my life. One of my fondest memories was riding on the back of my mother’s Hoover canister vacuum cleaner as a small child while we cleaned house singing along to greats like Dinah Washington, Keely Smith, Brenda Lee and Timi Yuro. Those artists and songs have stayed with me throughout my life.

In 2016 I released “Only Forever” which was inspired by an old song of the same name. It has been covered by many people, such as Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Dean Martin, to name a few. But my favorite version is by Kay Starr. Here’s a link if you care to take a listen.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOzokJG0jNA. I first heard the song two winters’ ago while watching an old black-and-white movie and after the first line, I sat up and listened intently. For some reason the song tugged at my heartstrings. It appealed to the romantic in me so deeply, I just had to write about it. The lyrics are very simple but very powerful if you allow yourself to really listen to them. Since then I’ve written two more books inspired by, or titled after a song that touched me. “Someone to Kiss” is one of them.

I’m not sure how many of you listen to country music but “Someone to Kiss” was inspired by a song sung by the newcomer Brett Young titled “You Ain’t Here to Kiss Me.” It’s about a guy flying home alone right after a breakup on New Year’s Eve. We’ve all been there, maybe not flying home, but spending a New Year’s Eve alone after a breakup. Again, the lyrics touched me so much I had to write about it. Here is a link for it as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bMgyDyfDWk.

For me, there are two things that I can always count on to trigger a memory or inspire me in some way. A song and a scent. The whiff of a certain cologne on the air can remind me of someone or the scent of a shampoo or soap I used while dating a certain person can always make me think of that person. The smell of certain foods can also trigger an emotion or memory.

Secondly music. OMG! I had an “our song” for almost everyone I dated for any length of time. And still today, I can hear a song and it takes me back to a special time with a special person, or a memory of my parents or my mother grandmother.

Which brings me to my next novel “From a Jack to a King,” which will be released in a few months by Dreamspinner. It was named after one of my grandmother’s favorite songs, sung by Ned Miller. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPMhQhYYSNo. I heard it on Sirius radio one late night driving from Martha’s Vineyard down to South Carolina. Kell was asleep and it was me and the radio and the song. I listed to every word and by the next day I was writing the story. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well.

Well, I have a word limit to adhere to, so I have to end this now. But it was great sharing a little of me you won’t read about in a bio and I hope you’ll drop a note below just to tell me what triggers great memories in you. Is it a song or a scent or something else? And if you do, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win an ebook of “Someone to Kiss.”

Thanks for spending the time with me and I wish you and yours all the goodness the New Year has to offer.

Check out Someone to Kiss today!

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Blurb:

Dane McCormick’s job negotiating leases and building out furnished office suites takes him all over the country. He stays until the job is done—and then he moves on. As satisfying as the job is, it leaves him no place to call home and no chance to build a personal life. After arriving in Greenville, South Carolina, for a job, a severe stomach virus knocks Dane for a loop. He finds a local urgent care clinic… and a tall, dark, and handsome doctor who goes well above and beyond his duties to treat Dane. The doctor’s bedside manner makes Dane forget all about his stomach flu.

Carter Baldridge has dedicated his life to caring for others. Since graduating from medical school, he has spent all his time and energy building his urgent care business. But the morning he steps into his examining room and sees Dane McCormick on the table, he realizes it might be time to devote some attention to a part of life he has neglected. The spark is there, but so is a major obstacle in the form of Dane’s peripatetic lifestyle and a bad experience in Carter’s past. Both have to decide if the risk is worth the reward.

 

Author Bio:

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

Here’s where you can find me:

www.scottycade.com
www.facebook.com/scotty.cade
www.twitter.com/ScottyCade
scottycade@gmail.com
scotty@scottycade.com

 

 

Holidays Carols w/ Sean Michael

December 21, 2017

Holiday Carols

 

Hello Dreamers,

With it being the holiday season, I’m thinking of cookies and carols and gifts. Ryan’s favorite carol is What Child is This, while Alex loves I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.

My favorite is the Huron Carol as sung by Tom Jackson, which I’ve shared the words to below. What’s your favorite?

The Huron Carol

‘Twas in the moon of wintertime
When all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead
Before their light the stars grew dim
And wandering hunters heard the hymn
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born
In excelsis gloria
Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp’d His beauty round
And as the hunter braves drew nigh
The angel song rang loud and high
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born
In excelsis gloria
The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory
On the helpless infant there
The chiefs from far before him knelt
With gifts of fur and beaver pelt
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born
In excelsis gloria
O children of the forest free
O sons of Manitou
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you
Come kneel before the radiant Boy
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born
In excelsis gloria

 

Sean Michael

Smut fixes everything

 

Check out Daddy Needs a Date today!

 

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Blurb:

With four girls, single dad Ryan Withers has his hands too full to look for romance. He’s not complaining—he loves his daughter and the three nieces he adopted when their parents died, and he would do anything for them. He’s caught off-guard when his mother and daughter conspire to play matchmaker.

Alex Bernot works in disaster relief, his job taking him all over the world for extended periods of time, helping others. He’s staying with his aunt while he’s home, and she sets him up on a blind date. Finding a special someone isn’t really on his mind, but he goes to make his aunt happy.

Ryan and Alex enjoy each other’s company more than either of them expected, and they soon make a second date. Their lives are complicated, though, in very different ways, and soon family needs and their jobs conspire to pull them apart. They’ll need to figure out how to work through the things keeping them apart, but first they’ll have to decide if they even want to….

 

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:  https://www.instagram.com/seanmichaelpics/

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? w/ Pat Henshaw + Giveaway

December 14, 2017

Where do you get your ideas

 

Short Order, the 8th and last of the Foothills Pride stories, releases on December 13. When I was thinking about blog pieces to write, I realized that a lot of readers want to know how an author gets an idea and develops it to use in a fictional piece, in this case a novella.

Since John, a minor character in When Adam Fell, is one of my favorite peripheral characters, I knew I wanted to write about him finding his happily ever after. I also already knew from Adam that John had a troubled past, but had finally found himself by becoming a sous to celebrity chef Adam.

But whom could I put with John? For reasons readers will discover in the story, John is leery of tall, dominating men, so his lover would have to be someone smaller, not the tall, dark, and handsome guy of romance cliché.

When my husband and I had a layover for a cross-country flight, we sat in a waiting room where a short, wiry man from the airline went from customer to customer explaining to those who needed it how the airplane’s Wi-Fi worked with their computers. The young man had a quick sense of humor and was very patient. The instructor also had a tattoo of computer parts—a motherboard, some chips, and a screwdriver on one of his his forearms.

His look and his personality traits were perfect as a foil for serious, driven John. But what kind of tattoo would John’s lover have? Whatever it was would have to reflect his passion, just as the computer parts obviously were an integral part of the airport instructor’s life.

A more important question was whom John needed in order to stop shutting himself off from people and be able to grow into a loving relationship. The more I thought about it, the more I realized he needed nourishing and patience. What better person for that than someone who loved plants and saw plants as a way to change the world?

I’d read a piece sometime back about a project to bring plants into inner city school rooms and public housing. Not only would the plants enrich the air, but they also responded to TLC on the part of their owners. In addition, they wouldn’t be an added expense for those who were trying to make ends meet.

As I read the article, I could feel the writer’s passion about getting a grant to put common, easy-to-grow houseplants in at-risk households and classrooms. Wouldn’t John’s perfect mate have this same passion? And John’s need to be lovingly looked after would parallel that of a plant that would produce gorgeous blooms.

John’s backstory, his horrific experiences in San Francisco after his parents had disowned him, came from a tiny article in the Bay Guardian that I’d read years before and that lingered in my mind. Remembering it, I now had all the pieces for my story. Now I just had to sit down and write.

I’m not sure this really answers where ideas come from and how they become a story, but these are the pieces that came together for Short Order.

Do you have bits and pieces running around in your head from things you’ve heard or people you’ve seen that you wish were parts of a book? What are they? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have somewhere we could all share these snippets?

I’d love to hear from you and am offering a $10 Dreamspinner Gift Card to one randomly selected person who answers this piece.

Happy holiday, everyone!

Peace.

Check out Short Order today!

 

ShortOrder_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust.

While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him.

As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.

 

Author Bio:

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, has spent her life surrounded by words:  Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Pat was born and raised in Nebraska where she  promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion.  Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

Author media links:

Website: http://patbooked.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pat.henshaw.10
Twitter: https://twitter.com/phenshaw
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pat-Henshaw/e/B00BPDEDEA/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6998437.Pat_Henshaw
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+PatHenshaw
Email: patoisca@yahoo.com

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

[Previously in the story, Fen and John had gone out on a date for a beer at the local Stonewall Saloon, and John had said goodnight with a “See you next time.” Fen’s been wondering when that would be.]

Next time turned out to be a couple of days later after I got back from work. I felt like a tractor had run over me, and I smelled like fir-tree resin. My apartment, on the other hand, smelled like I could eat it. Any doubts I had about John’s cooking ability dried up as I walked into my kitchen to survey my frozen dinner choices. Talk about haves and have-nots. Whatever he was making downstairs smelled delicious.

I was just settling on a Hungry-Man spicy fried chicken and mashed potatoes dinner, a gourmet delight ready to go in six-to-eight minutes, when he knocked on my door. I was so tired I carried my rock-solid dinner with me.

“What the hell is that?” John recoiled, taking a step back and staring at Mr. Hungry-Man.

It wasn’t hello or how are you, so I stood still to get my bearings. I held up the box and peered at it.

“Dinner. Why?” Nothing seemed to be falling out of the box. Why was he getting so upset?

He laughed a few rusty barks, which quickly turned into guffaws. Tears streamed down his face.

“Hey, not all of us are cooks.” I lowered the box. “You need something? Cup of sugar, maybe?”

His laughter tapered off and died. He wiped his cheeks with his fingers, then stared at the tears a minute, surprise shining from his eyes. Finally, he looked at me, his eyelashes stuck together in a few places. “Yeah. I need you.” His voice slid over me like smoky molasses. It slowly dripped into my imagination.

If I’d been less tired, I would have jumped him right there. But while the spirit was willing, the body was wilted lettuce. He’d asked for help. I could give him help. Just barely.

“Sure. Let me take a shower and eat, then I’ll be right down.” I started to close the door, but he grabbed my Hungry-Man and walked it back to the freezer. He shoved it in with the others. His face scrunched in a grimace.

“Just put on some shoes and a coat. You’re eating downstairs.”

My tired brain recorded one more whiff of the aroma coming up from his kitchen, and I did as he commanded. It was next time, and I was sorta ready.

His place, like mine, was furnished in jewels from the past. As I expected, our floor plans were almost identical except he had a front and back door. His fireplace was alight with a warm, cheery fire. His rooms ranged from stately and formal to cozy and intimate. But none reflected the holiday season: no tree, no garland, nothing.

“You should come down to the nursery.” With a groan, I sank into the dining chair he’d indicated. “We can fix you up with a tree and evergreen swags.”

He put a plate in front of me without comment. The best-looking roast beef and new potatoes stared up at me. I started to drool. While he set his plate down and sat, I breathed in the home-cooked meal and then sighed.

“This looks perfect. Thanks. I’d call it pot roast, but I’m sure it has some fancier name.” I was babbling, trying desperately to be polite and not dig in like the starving man I was.

He laughed and pointed to my plate with his fork. “Just eat. It is pot roast. My variation on straight Yankee Pot Roast.”

Even though his eyes twinkled, he said it without a grin. I laughed. In response his smile lit up, and he laughed with me. Now I knew the green light was on. We could become friends with benefits. Or even landlord and tenant with a booty bond. Tonight, if I wasn’t so damned tired and hungry.

We ate in silence. Now I felt more than ever like we were becoming friends.

As I sopped up the last of the gravy with a piece of roll, I looked around. Since I worked in the glut of Yule paraphernalia, I again noticed how beautiful but bare of holiday cheer the rooms were.

“You don’t celebrate Christmas?” I wondered if maybe he was Jewish or atheist or something.

“Not really.” He grimaced. “You’re probably up to your eyeballs with it now.”

I nodded. “I could use your help tomorrow night if you’ve got the time.”

“Sure. With what?” He looked interested, which I took to mean he wasn’t just humoring me.

“I picked out a tree and need to get it up the stairs.”

“Huh?” He sat back and looked like he was studying me. “So even though you work in the middle of the holiday crap all day, you want to bring it home with you?”

I nodded. I wouldn’t exactly call it crap. Besides, who didn’t like the holiday season? Bright lights, often cheerful people, foods and snacks made with tons of sugar. True, a lot of annoying songs, but I could overlook them. One more verse from Trini Lopez, though, and I’d have to shoot someone—probably myself.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Well, you smell good. I’ll give you that.”

I laughed softly as my dick perked up, but I was too tired for any follow-through. “I smell like a fucking Christmas tree.” My eyes were drooping.

“And I smell like a pot roast.” He got up and started clearing the plates and utensils. Ordinarily, I would have helped, but I couldn’t move. It occurred to me I was going to have to go outside and get my ass up the stairs in order to be home. Then I drifted.

As we tackled the stairs, I tilted into him like I was drunk, only I wasn’t. Just so fucking tired. His body felt wonderful next to mine. I could snuggle and sleep on him.

We’d reached the top of the stairs, and I was panting. I handed him my key and muttered, “Can you unlock it for me?”

He opened the door.

I leaned, resting against his back.

“Thanks for dinner, handsome,” I slurred.

Then he turned, and I kissed him, a little sloppy and a lot off center. But I managed to make it lips on lips.

He stepped back, a shocked look on his face, but lust shone from his eyes.

 

Other titles in the Foothills Pride series:

What’s in a Name?
Redesigning Max
Behr Facts
When Adam Fell
Relative Best
Frank at Heart
Waking the Behr

Celebrating Chanukah w/ Avery Duran + Giveaway

December 12, 2017

Celebrating Chanukah

 

Thank you so much to Dreamspinner Press for hosting me today to talk about my novella, Ahava is Love. Ahava is Love came out this summer, but the majority of the book takes place during Chanukah, and the themes of the holiday – faith, miracles, and resilience – run through the story.

I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a Chanukah blog party. Since no celebration is complete without food, conversation, and gifts, I’ll spend the rest of the holiday visiting different blogs to share recipes, stories, excerpts, and a great giveaway. Tonight is the first night of Chanukah, and I hope you’ll join me for the rest of the holiday!

In the fall of 2000, I lived and worked in Brooklyn, NY. I loved my job and was enjoying the city life, yet I felt like something was missing.  I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was. In a real life plot twist, I was speaking to a friend about my need to shake up my life, on the same day she had just spoken to someone who mentioned they were interviewing for American group leaders for a 10-day trip to Israel. She suggested I apply; I took her advice, and I got the job.

On December 25th, 2000 (my 31st birthday), not knowing any of my fellow voyagers, I boarded a plane to Israel. I spent the next 10 days traveling with a group of young adults. Being in a land with such history, making new friends with diverse backgrounds, seeing members of my family who had settled there, celebrating Chanukah while in Israel, all added up to one life changing experience. For me, it was not about romance, I did not find love or a happily ever after with someone else—but I did find myself, and I came home much more comfortable in my own skin.

When I was thinking of writing for the World of Love line, I was intrigued by the concept of taking my own adventure to the next level. What would happen if one of the group leaders fell in love with another? Layering romance (and sexytimes) on top of such a meaningful experience would be so powerful. Same sex leaders share a room, so if there is a mutual attraction, resistance can be futile – and frustrating!

I loved writing this book, using my journals, pictures, imagination, and a whole lot of research to create Josh and Yaron’s world. Josh is frustrated with where his life is going and hopes a change of scenery will help him find his way. To that end, he accepts a position as a group leader for a tour of Israel. He meets Yaron, the Israeli security guard for the group, who lost his boyfriend in a terrorist attack a few years earlier. Yaron now lives his life without strings, looking for the next good time. Their chemistry is off the charts, but they are in different places – both emotionally and physically. Making a relationship work between them would really take a miracle.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know a little about me and my writing process. I will be sharing more over the coming days, so please join me when I visit the below blogs. They have been kind enough to host me to celebrate Chanukah with Ahava is Love!

Ahava is LoveAhava is the Hebrew word for love, I think you’ll enjoy falling in love with Josh, Yaron – and Israel!

Check out Ahava is Love today!

 

AhavaIsLove_postcard_front_DSP

 

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Blurb:

Brooklyn Realtor Josh Perlman desperately wants to settle down. Unfortunately he can’t find a man who wants the same. Tired of disastrous dates, he travels to explore his heritage.

Yaron is an Israeli security guard and medic charged with looking after Josh and his pilgrimage group. For Yaron, the need to protect has become more a duty than an honor since he lost his long-term boyfriend to a terrorist attack—a loss that continues to haunt him.

As they embark on their journey through the Holy Land, it’s hard to deny the attraction that sparks between Josh and Yaron. Yet with America calling Josh home, and Israel, and the death of his lover holding Yaron prisoner, it seems only a miracle can keep them together.

But Israel is an ancient land, one that has seen miracles before. Surrounded by structures that have been destroyed and rebuilt time after time, Josh and Yaron might just learn that their futures can be found in the wisdom of the past.

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

 

AveryPortrait

About the Author:

Parent Association President by day, Romance Author by night, Avery Duran enjoys the best of all worlds. She’s a minivan-driving, cupcake-baking, soccer mom, who works outside the home while raising three rambunctious boys. Easily distracted by shiny things, Avery found making up stories in her head was an effective way to fool people into thinking she was paying attention. Eventually she decided to write down one of those stories, and her alter-ego was born.

She’s always been a voracious reader, Avery’s mother still brings up the time her school called because she refused to stop reading during math class. Avery is pleased to confirm that she has managed just fine without whatever important math lesson was being taught that day.

A native New Yorker, she often incorporates her favorite city into what she writes. During the day, while driving, watching endless YouTube videos, or animated shows with her offspring, she plots her stories. At night, when her husband and children go to sleep, Avery sits in a quiet house and puts those words on paper. She loves spending her down time creating a world filled with people loving and laughing their way to happily-ever-after.

She’d really love to hear from you!

Author Social Media Links

Website & Blog:  http://www.averyduran.com/ Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Avery-Duran/e/B018RE20I0 Facebook https://www.facebook.com/the.avery.duran Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TheAveryDuran Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/averyduran18/ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/averyduran0234/ Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14742913.Avery_Duran BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/avery-duran

 

Giveaway

Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

PLUS, enter to win a $5 Dreamspinner Gift Card. Simply tell us what one of your favorite adventures has been in the comments and you’ll be entered!

 

Other Tour Hosts

Dec 13: V’s Reads
Dec 14: Pointedly Blunt Reviews
Dec 15: Samantha Macleod
Dec 16: Ebs and Her Reads
Dec 17: Pick a Genre Already

Bobby and Paolo by Joe Cosentino

December 8, 2017

Bobby & Paolo

 

Dreamspinner Press was like a far-off panacea for me. I had read so many of their terrific novels, secretly wishing I could join the ranks of their talented writers. After majoring in theatre at college (you guessed it, I’m a drama queen), I acted professionally in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. That morphed into becoming a playwright, director, and now college theatre professor/department chair. However, the thought of being a Dreamspinner Press author continued to haunt me. So, with laptop in hand I adapted my hit one-act play, An Infatuation, into a novella and sent it off to Dreamspinner Press with an email and a prayer. I was elated two months later when the contract arrived!

Many readers told me that novella made them laugh, cry, feel incredibly romantic, and remember their first love. That little story changed many people’s lives—including mine! Since An Infatuation was loosely based on my high school days, I next wrote a companion novella, A Shooting Star, loosely based on my college days. The two e-book novellas did so well that Dreamspinner Press released them together in my own paperback anthology, In My Heart (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention).

The writing bug had bitten. Dismayed that classic fairytales were vacant in terms of gay characters, I next had lots of fun writing The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Favorite Audiobook of the Month), my comical gay take on my favorite fairytales. Dreamspinner Press published the first very popular e-book novella and audiobook (performed by the multi-talented Joel Leslie), and I just finished writing the second novella in the Adventures from Fairyland series now.

Finally, in recalling my amazing trip to the magical, gorgeous, and romantic island of Capri, I wrote a short novella also published by Dreamspinner Press, A Home for the Holidays. In the story, Bobby, a young, Italian American law student traveling to Capri during the winter holidays meets his quaint Italian relatives, and falls in love with his handsome, muscular, sexy Italian distant cousin, Paolo. In reading the e-book novella and listening to Joel Leslie’s versatile performance in the audiobook, listeners felt as if they could see, hear, taste, and touch the captivating characters and romantic locations. Many also begged to find out what happens to new couple Bobby and Paolo after they leave Capri and head for Bobby’s home in Philadelphia. Since I was writing my two other popular MM series (the Nicky and Noah mysteries and Cozzi Cove), I thanked the readers for asking, and filed that away for future. The future is now in The Perfect Gift, Bobby and Paolo’s holiday story, book two, published by Dreamspinner Press.

The two-part novella begins a year after A Home for the Holiday ends. Bobby and Paolo are living in Philadelphia as a junior lawyer and junior fashion designer. When Paolo proposes, Bobby’s family and friends are intent on giving the couple a gaudy, elaborate wedding against their wishes. Bobby and Paolo jump through quite a few holiday hoops and finally have their perfect December wedding (December Grooms). A year later, since it’s again Christmas time, the couple tour many of the quaint and wonderful holiday sites in their area featuring elaborately decorated trees and wreathes, Dickensian villages, Victorian carolers and bell ringers, vendors selling hot mulled cider and roasted chestnuts, and bay-windowed shops. They exchange beautiful gifts, and enjoy spending Christmas with Bobby’s eccentric family and hilarious friend Jared. While playing department store Santa, Bobby’s father suffers a heart attack. A man in a Santa suit, who Bobby assumes is his father’s replacement, brings the young couple to the hospital room of a sick little boy. Could this boy be the holiday gift leading to happily ever after for Bobby and Paolo (An Unexpected Present)?

Will there be a third Bobby and Paolo holiday novella? It’s up to the readers. This time, if they ask, I’ll follow orders right away.

Thank you, readers, for your love, support, and requests for more Bobby and Paolo holiday stories. And thank you, Dreamspinner Press, for making my holiday wish come true. I hope everyone enjoys my special holiday gift novella to you. Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of love.

 

 

What reviewers said about A Home for the Holidays (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 1):

“I adore the character of Bobby…the heartwarming family moments…the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written…..When you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

“Joe Cosentino’s holiday novella, A Home for the Holidays, delivers in every way that a romantic, feel-good story should. Every book I read by this author continuously pulls me in and wraps me up like a warm blanket.” Kathy Mac Reviews

“The one thing you can’t escape when reading Cosentino’s books is his humour; it’s what draws me back time and again to this author. Sometimes the humour is subtle, sometimes it’s unashamedly overt – every time it is hilarious.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

I’m going to go on record saying that Joe Cosentino pretty much has me at hello. His writing style is incredibly smooth with beautiful details that never feel like too much or too little. Even in this very short story, I felt like I was right there in Capri with Bobby. Both the scenery and Bobby’s emotions are painted with lush, vivid detail…exceptional writing and beautifully gift-wrapped love story.” AM Leibowitz

 

 

Excerpt:

“Hi, Mom. What are you doing?”

“Sitting home alone like a dog.”

That’s Mom’s logic. If their house isn’t full of people eating and carrying on, she’s alone.

“Where’s Dad?”

“In his den, watching the game on TV as usual.”

I’m Bobby McGrath. Since this is my story, I should tell you more about myself. I have frizzy red hair, green eyes, and a swimmer’s body, thanks to the pool at my gym. The swimmer’s body is thanks to the pool. The red hair and green eyes are courtesy of my dad’s side of the family, which my mom calls the Bad Seed. And I passed the bar. I don’t mean I’m a recovering alcoholic. I aced my bar exam, and I’ve been a junior lawyer for nearly a year now.

“Bobby, are you listening to me or thinking about one of your cases?”

“I’m listening, Mom.” I sat on the window seat in my Victorian apartment’s turret and gazed out at the carolers appropriately dressed in Victorian garb as they sang in front of the department store across the street. That’s the department store where my father is manager and plays Santa every December. “How did Dad’s physical go with Dr. Sherman?”

“He said Dad’s overweight. Like we didn’t know. For that we shelled out a thirty-dollar co-pay.”

“Did you mention how Dad’s been forgetting a few things lately?”

“I told him how your father forgot to take out the garbage, sweep out the garage, and chase the squirrels out of our summerhouse in the backyard.”

I couldn’t help thinking Dad’s memory lapses were intentional.

“Dr. Sherman asked Dad some questions, like Dad’s birthdate and our anniversary.”

“And?”

“Your father never remembers things like that, so I answered for him.”

“Mom, you shouldn’t have—”

“Your father’s fine, except for an enlarged prostrate.”

“That’s prostate.”

“Don’t correct your mother, especially now.”

“What’s wrong?”

“You know I don’t like to burden you with my problems.”

“All right. I should get on my laptop to do some research for a—”

“I’m worried about your sister.”

“Which one?”

“Both of them.”

I took a sip of Lemon Zinger tea and braced myself for a long story.

“They work so hard at their jobs and taking care of the kids, they never see their husbands.”

My sisters’ know-it-all spouses? “Is that a bad thing?”

“Watch your mouth, mister. I’m your mother. In my day we never disrespected our parents, no matter how wrong they were about everything. And we never took drugs.”

“I don’t take drugs, Mom; neither does Paolo.”

“But plenty of young people today are drug addicts, Bobby. They say they’re nervous. If young people are nervous, they should do what I do, and take a Prozac.”

As Mom rambled on about the sad state of our youth, I glanced over at the antique cherry coffee table to a framed picture of Paolo and me smiling in front of the Mascobello villa in Capri, Italy. That’s where I met Paolo, when I visited my extended family. Don’t freak out. Paolo is a very distant cousin. He has dreamy sapphire eyes, wavy chestnut hair, more muscles than a daytime television star, and a little-boy pout that makes me want to take care of him for the rest of his life. Which I do. Since Paolo was quite the playboy in Capri, I had my doubts about our relationship. But we’ve been living in boyfriend bliss here in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, for a year now.

 

Check out The Perfect Gift today!

 

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Dreamspinner Press
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

 
Blurb:

Back in America after finding “A Home for the Holidays” and each other in Capri, new couple Bobby McGrath and Paolo Mascobello are ready to tie the knot during the winter holidays. Their families, friends, and pastor offer more advice than sages on speed. So, young lawyer Bobby and fashion designer Paolo are caught in the matrimonial holiday circus. Will a shocking turn of events somehow lead to the perfect wedding for the December grooms?

The following Christmas, Bobby and Paolo aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. They have a nice apartment, designer clothes, entertaining and supportive friends and family, but little time for each other. While out shopping in their quaint local holiday village, Bobby and Paolo encounter Gregory, an adorable seven-year-old who changes their lives forever, offering them a true holiday miracle… if they’re willing to accept it.

 

Author Bio:

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star. 

http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Sucker for Submission Calls by Kris T. Bethke

December 5, 2017

 

Sucker for Submission Calls

Hi there! I’m Kris T. Bethke, and I’m here to talk about how my new release, Hearts and Hazelnuts came to be.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a sucker for submission calls. And when I saw the one for the States of Love collection, I was hooked. I loved the idea of a romance taking place in each of the 50 states, and was quick to put in a claim. But authors were claiming states so fast, I missed out on my first choice.

(It was New York, for those who are curious. Both because it’s where I’m from, and because I wanted to showcase a part of the state that wasn’t New York City. Don’t get me wrong, NYC is amazing. But there’s more to the state that just that. :D )

So I thought I was destined to miss out on this collection. Some months later, I was trolling through the list again (because I was curious) and I saw Montana was back up for grabs. This time I was a little more cautious, but I had a story in my head that would be perfect. So I put it together, planned it out, and sent it in.

And was once again denied, because someone else was quicker than me.

I was disappointed, sure. But I knew whomever had both of these states would do a great job, and I once again thought I was destined not to be a part of the collection.

Fast forward to October of last year, when I thought I’d take a look at the list again. I wanted to see what was claimed and contracted, and what stories I would have to look forward to as a reader. And I was totally surprised to see a few states up for grabs again. And one of them was Oregon.

Cue the spotlight and the ringing bells.

I’ve long had a love affair with the Pacific Northwest, and Oregon and Portland in particular. There was a fire in my belly to write this story, but I wanted to find something that would set it apart. A lot of research later, I had my answer. Hazelnuts. And a whole story to go with it.

But this time, I hemmed and hawed about sending in the claim. I knew, right down to my toes, that I’d get denied again. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I put together my synopsis, sent in the claim, and held my breath.

Turns out, third time really is the charm.

For the next three months, I lived and breathed Oregon. Arm chair traveled and researched, got into my MCs’ heads and really found out what made them tick. I wrote massive revisions when they were asked for, and the result is something I’m supremely proud of.

Jordan and Beck fall in love with each other while already being in love with their home state. And I fell in love too. All over again.

I may have been disappointed in the beginning of my journey, but in the end, I was telling the story that needed to be told. Right place, right time, everything fell into place. And I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Has that ever happened to you?

 

Check out Hearts and Hazelnuts today!

 

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Blurb:

Mechanic Jordan Hart is down on his luck, so he gladly accepts a temporary job servicing tractors at a hazelnut farm in Newberg, Oregon. He doesn’t expect to be attracted to his boss, Beckett Shaw. Still working on embracing his bisexuality, he’s reluctant to start anything, but Beckett’s gentle coaxing convinces Jordan to take a risk.

Beckett has vowed not to get involved with anyone until he can restore the Shaw Farms name as a leader in hazelnuts. But there’s no denying his interest in the shy mechanic who shows up at his door. Just as they begin to find a balance, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Job opportunities force Jordan out of the Portland area he loves so much. But when danger comes too close to Beckett, Jordan must decide if he can follow his heart to the Willamette Valley… and straight back to Beckett.

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

 

Author Bio:

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and weekend naps are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a very fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of the people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated. And she loves to hear from readers, so feel free to drop her a line.
Email: kristbethke@gmail.com
Blog: kristbethke.com
Twitter: @KrisTBethke
Facebook: www.facebook.com/people/Kris-T-Bethke/100014524539852