Cornelia Grey, Storm Moon Press

Characters of the Circus of Wonders – A Guest Post by Cornelia Grey


Hello, everyone, and thank you for having me around to talk about my newest release – Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders!

I sat down with the good intention of writing a post about how I create characters… and instantly found myself stumped because, well, the truth is I don’t.

Writers often talk about how they don’t feel like they’ve created a story, per se, but it’s more as if the story simply came to them, poured out of their brain already formed. For me, it’s partly true in regards to the story: the plot comes to me as if by magic and, within moments, the general gist of the story pours down on the page and I don’t really know where it came from. But then, I very deliberately work and think and tinker to craft a full, well-structured plot, so I know where that came from. It is, instead, absolutely true for my characters.

One of the common tools suggested to writers who need to come up with a character is the information sheet: a list of detailed questions about your character’s past, attitudes, preferences, how he would feel and react in certain situations, what was his teddy bear’s name… well, those have never worked for me. The characters come to me on their own terms, and reveal only what they feel like at the moment…

Over the years, I have accumulated a ton of inspiration pics – for settings, props, fantastical creatures, and for characters as well. So I like to browse around them for a bit, in case any of those jumps out, because I really like having visual references for what I’m working on!

When I start writing, apart from the physical aspect, I usually have just a rough idea of the personality and the general attitude of the character. Only rarely do I know a lot about their past at the beginning. It’s like I have just met a new friend, and I get to know them as I follow them along in the story. Sometimes a big revelation about their past slips out during a bit of dialogue, or as the character is thinking to himself, and surprises even me! It’s such an exciting adventure to discover who they are and how they think step by step.

Sometimes, I get halfway through the story and still don’t know the character’s name. I have pages and pages of potential names written down, but somehow I get through all of them without any of them jumping out at me. So maybe I try one for a while, then another… but there’s no way around it: the right name will pop out right away, and until that happens, nothing will work. Sometimes, instead, the names slip out naturally as I write, which is luckily what happened with Benjamin Pepperwhistle (yes, even with that surname!) and the handsome pistoleer, Cole Beauchamp. It is really quite perplexing to wonder where the heck those names may have come from – they just appeared on the page as I was typing, and I could swear I hadn’t come across the surname Beauchamp in years, let alone Pepperwhistle!

Benjamin and Cole were a pleasure to write. They came to life on the page easy as pie, almost on their own, complete with their contrasting personalities… and a magnetic attraction to each other! I hope you will enjoy getting to know them :)!

Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders
Now Available for $2.99 at Storm Moon Press

Benjamin Pepperwhistle has one overriding desire: to handle the glorious machinery that is a gun. So when he decides to run away to join the circus, it’s only natural that he should seek out the legendary pistoleer, Cole Beauchamp, and beg to be his assistant. Life in the circus has definite ups and downs, but as Benjamin settles in to his role, he finds that some perks are even better than he’d anticipated.

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Elizabeth Noble

And Now, A Cover Reveal And Giveaway From Elizabeth Noble


RftR final cover


BLURB: Wanting to end his pattern of choosing controlling and abusive men, Vladimir ‘Val’ Mihalic figures it’s better to live alone than live in fear. Just when things are settling down—his biggest trouble recently is a Kentucky Derby hopeful that won’t load into a starting gate—his best friend Janelle’s violent ex-boyfriend kidnaps her. After she’s seriously injured in a car wreck, Wyatt Harig, Janelle’s estranged father, comes around to tend to his daughter. Despite Val’s determination to avoid relationships, Wyatt interests him in ways that make his resolve waver. As complications and repercussions pile on in the aftermath of Janelle’s kidnapping—including a gambling charge and a murder—Wyatt and Val must work together to seek answers. And the closer they get to each other, the more Val wants them to stay that way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess named Rosie, and two cats, Murphy and Yeti. She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening, winter and summer sports (go Tribe!). When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.

AUTHOR LINKS: WEBSITE

THE GIVEAWAY: Beautiful etched glass mug based on the cover

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Dreamspinner Press, John Goode

You Don’t Have To Wait 151 Days For Kyle Stilleno and Brad Graymark – John Goode Has Brought Them With Him Today


This tape was sent to The Novel Approach from an address in Foster, Texas. This is a transcript of what is on it.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Hi, my name is John Goode and I am a writer.

Now, you say, “Hi, John,” and we talk about writing addiction and how it has affected our lives and…

Wait, this isn’t Writer’s Anonymous? Wow, awkward.

Ok, so this must be the guest post I agreed to do for The Novel Approach in conjunction with 151 Days coming out. Oh well, that makes much more sense. Of course, being a writer I have absolutely no idea on what to write, but that never stopped me before. There has to be something I can write that will be mildly interesting, and I do mean mild.

Ah, I got it, I can ask the boys some questions! When in doubt, force your characters to do the work for you.

John: Hi guys, welcome to the blog.

Kyle: Say what, now?

Brad: Who is this guy?

John: I’m John, the writer. I’m the guy who came up with Foster High.

Brad: You made the high school? What are you, like the mayor or something?

Kyle: You couldn’t have made Foster High, it was made in the 50s, and you’re old but not that old.

John: Getting called old by teenagers never stops being fun. Ok, look guys, I am a guy interviewing you about your life in Foster High, and you’re just going to have to trust me that it’s ok.

Kyle: And why would we do that?

John: I’m a friend of Gayle.

Brad: Oh, then you’re cool.

Kyle: Ask away.

John: Kids. Ok, let’s start with you Kyle, tell me a little about yourself.

Kyle: I’m 18 and I’m gay.

John:

Kyle: That about covers it, seriously.

John: There has to be more.

Kyle: Nope, I’m pretty boring.

John: Ok, let’s try it this way. Brad, tell me about Kyle.

Brad: Jeez, where do I start? Well, he is super smart, like Lex Luthor smart, but he has hair. He thinks he’s invisible to other people and that they don’t notice him, but in fact, a lot of people know him and like him a lot.

Kyle: No they don’t.

Brad: Hush, I’m talking about you. Let’s see, he wants to go to college in California, to the same place that Sam Winchester did…

Kyle: Stanford.

Brad: Right, that place. He likes comic books, video games, and he’s a sex addict.

Kyle: BRAD!

Brad: We just started having sex, and he is, like, crazy for it, no joke.

Kyle: I hate you.

John: Ok, and what do you think Kyle’s best trait is?

Brad: Oh hand’s down, his inability to let an injustice go unheard. Kyle doesn’t care if you’re a saint or a complete asshat, everyone deserves a fair shake to him, and if they don’t get it he is the first person to raise hell.

John: Fair enough. And Kyle, describe Brad for me.

Kyle: Mouthy.

::Brad laughs::

John: Come on, he was only answering a question. Your turn.

Kyle: Fine, Brad is a Disney prince in need of a quest, a rebel without a cause, a hero in need of some faith. He has more going for him than anyone else I know, and he wastes it all on caring about what other people think about him, and sometimes it is frustrating as hell, and sometimes it’s what makes him perfect in my eyes.

Brad:

Kyle: Still think this is a fun game?

Brad: That is like the nicest thing I have ever heard someone say about me.

Kyle: That says more about your old friends than me.

John: Ok, I asked for some questions online from your fans…

Kyle: We have fans?

Brad: I knew sooner or later I’d have some.

::Kyle gives him a withering stare until Brad collapses in laughter::

John: Ok, Will from Facebook asked, “What is your proudest moment of each other?”

Kyle: That’s easy, the moment when Brad stood up and threw his chance to play baseball away for bullying to stop. I had never seen anything so selfless before, because I know how much baseball means to him.

Brad: You never told me that before.

Kyle: You never asked me.

Brad: Well shut my mouth, I guess I didn’t.

John: And Brad?

Brad: There are a lot of times, but the proudest? When we went to state and our families were all having dinner, and Kyle got in my dad’s face. My mom had done that before, but it was mostly because they were in a fight. Kyle did it because he was tired of my dad ragging on me, and he was even a little scared. It was very gangster of him.

John: That’s from the new book.

Kyle: Book?

John: Never mind. Trisha, also from Facebook, asked two questions. One, “What do you guys see in your future together?”

Brad: A ton of sex.

Kyle (nodding): Yeah, his answer.

John: Guys…

Kyle: I just want to get through college, and I want us to be together.

Brad: I want him to get through college too, and being together is nice. Maybe marry him someday.

Kyle: You said what?

Brad: What was her next question?

Kyle: You do not get to change the subject after…

John: Her second question was, “What is your favorite part of the other person?” Can be anything, she said.

Brad: If I say something sexual he’s going to get mad, so I will say his eyes. When he gets mad there is this line that forms between them, and his eyes get like ice…that is the moment I know he is going to go all Pikachu on someone and kill them. I love seeing him get all Xena up.

Kyle: I’m a Pikachu?

Brad (nodding): It’s the blond hair and big eyes. Can’t deny that.

Kyle: I hate everyone.

John: And your favorite part of Brad?

Kyle: If I say nothing, he is going to get all pouty, so I will say his faith in us. He has never once blinked from us being together, even when I did lose it. It’s humbling to know there is someone out there that has that much belief in you.

Brad: You never told me that either.

Kyle: That’s ‘cause you are always too busy making Pokemon jokes.

Brad: Fair enough.

John: Sammy from Facebook…

Kyle: Sammy? Our Sammy?

John: Close enough. She asked Kyle, “Do you think you two will last?”

Kyle:

Brad: Yeah, I’d love to hear this answer too.

Kyle (sighing): Do I think so? No. I think Brad can find a dozen guys better looking than me or more like him or whatever. I think I am boring as hell and that he will just wander off first chance he gets. That is what I think. I know that he would never do that, I know when I look into his eyes there is something there that is so comforting, but terrifying at the same time. I don’t know what that is, but I know I want to know more of it.

John: And Brad?

Brad: Yes.

Kyle:

John: Just yes?

Brad (nodding): Just yes, we will last. Period.

John: She also asked if you guys would ever move back to Foster.

Kyle: No.

Brad: Yes, when Kyle is mayor.

Kyle:

John: Ok then, Lynn asked, “Brad, when you picture your life in ten years, what does it look like?”

Brad: Can I say with jetpacks? Or a lightsaber? Cause that would be wicked cool.

Kyle: This is why I don’t ask him anything.

Brad: Ok, ok. I see myself with Kyle, serving as his media consultant as he readies himself for his senate race. He will be the brains and the power, and I will be the smile and the shine. Together, he will rule the world.

Kyle: Don’t you mean we will?

Brad (looking at Kyle): Baby, this is your world, we are just living in it.

::Kyle blushes::

John: Lisa said, “Guys, Edgar Allan Poe once said, ‘Never to have suffered would never to have been blessed.’ What’s your greatest blessing so far?”

Brad: Um…can you repeat the question?

Kyle: Poe said that. He also said, “Stupidity is a talent for misconception,” which to me says that all of our suffering is caused by people believing the wrong things. Things like some people are lesser than others, that your God is the only God there is, or that things that are different are wrong. I think we are blessed by the fact we have never once thought that way. I was raised with the belief that all people are the same, no matter what they are. I just wish other people understood what that meant.

Brad: I only have one blessing and it’s him. So I think Poe said it best for me by saying “We loved with a love that was more than love.”

::Kyle looks at him stunned::

Brad holds up his phone: What? I can use the internet too.

John: Ok, Debbie asked, “You guys grew up in small town Foster but do you think that things are that much different in other places? How do you think things may have played out in a city like New York? Or Boston? Or a rural community, like a farm in Ohio? In other words – how much of the struggles you went through were due to Foster, and how much are just plain universal?”

Kyle: I think it would have been easier to fade away in a place like Boston or New York, so I would have just drifted through high school and never have met Brad.

Brad: I would have noticed the ninja like hot guy and stalked him relentlessly until he went out with me. Also, if we grew up in Boston I’d have to be a Sox fan, which would have been cool but no way. I could do the Yankees, so that would have been bad.

John: Ok, Chris asked, “What is your guys’ favorite character from Game of Thrones and why?”

Kyle: I’ve never seen the show ‘cause we don’t get HBO, but when I read the books I really felt that Tyrion was like me. Underestimated, always thought of as weaker, but the one that surprised everyone. I always wanted to be like that, the one that no one was ready for.

Brad: You do know you are, right? I mean not the midget thing but everything else, right?

Kyle:

Brad: I haven’t read the books, but I saw it over at a friend’s house, and I thought the horse guy was completely badass. I bet he would be a beast to fight.

Kyle: When did you watch Game of Thrones?

Brad: What? I have a life too, you know.

Kyle: When in the world would you ever sit down…you watched it during a D and D game, didn’t you?

Brad: Be cool, Kyle.

Kyle: Ok, one, his name is Drogo, and two, you do know in the book he dies of an infection, right?

Brad: He had mad skills. He’s a pimp.

John: Ok, let’s move on. Dawn said. “Brad, I cheered for you when you grabbed that bat out of your car and went after that ex-Marine “reverend” who was roughing up Kyle. Well done. Did you see red? Or were you thinking it through?”

Brad: Man, these people know a lot about us. Well thanks, no one touches Kyle while I am around, and I was only thinking one thing at that moment. That if I ever needed to hit a home run, it was as I was swinging at that jackass.

Kyle: That was very cool of you.

Brad: Yeah I know.

Kyle sighs: And this is why I don’t give compliments to him.

John: Mario asks Kyle, “When was the first time Kyle laid eyes on Brad?”

Kyle: Um, around. Next question.

Brad: Oh no, I want to hear an answer to this.

Kyle: It was a small town, we saw each other a lot, what’s the big deal?

Brad: So, you do remember. Ok, come on, spill it Stilleno.

Kyle sighs: Fine it was the summer of freshman year, and I had gone to the community center to get out of the heat and use the pool, and you were there with some friends. Happy?

Brad: Oh no, I know it is more than that, come on.

Kyle: Fine, I saw you get out of the pool, and I had a Fast Times at Ridgemont High moment, except you weren’t Phoebe Cates, and I wasn’t masturbating in a bathroom. Are we done?

Brad: I don’t even remember that day.

Kyle: I do. It was the first time I saw those ridges that guys have by their hips, and I had to wrap myself up with a towel for a while because I thought you looked like a model or something.

::Brad smiles::

Kyle: See? This does nothing but make his ego a million times worse.

Brad: You were in the library wearing a green hoodie concentrating on a book, and your bangs kept falling in your face, and you would blow at them to move them out of the way, and they’d just fall down again. And I wished I could walk over and move them out of the way ‘cause you were way too cute to cover up.

Kyle:

Brad: I didn’t know who you were, but I remember thinking that you were adorable beyond words. Now we’re done.

John: Ok. And Mario also wanted to know if Brad always knew he was gay?

Brad: No, I always knew I was attracted to guys, but I never connected that to being gay. I really thought it was just being horny. I never thought of myself as gay, as in wanting to spend my life with a guy, until I met him.

John: Anything to say to that Kyle?

Kyle: No, I am kinda speechless right now.

John: Moving along, Bev asked Brad if you missed your life as a jock?

Brad: What do you mean “miss”? I still run and lift all the time, and just ‘cause I am not playing baseball professionally doesn’t mean I am not playing. I bet you I find a gay league out there to play with.

John: And Kyle, she asked if you were ever going to find any life on Earth as intelligent as you are?

Kyle: Um, I don’t really think I am all that smart. Everyone has a something they excel at. I am just a guy who is doing the best he can.

Brad: That is what his alien species told him to say if one of us asks him about it. It’s all a front.

John: And the last question, Andrew asked what ever happened to Kyle’s dad?

Kyle: I’d rather not talk about that.

John: Not even a little hint.

Brad: Hey, buddy, back off, he said he doesn’t want to talk about it.

John: Ok, question dropped.

Kyle: We have a question.

Brad: Yeah, roundabout is fair play.

Kyle to Brad: Turnabout.

Brad (looks behind him): What?

Kyle sighs: We have a few questions for you.

John: Shoot.

Kyle: Why write Tales From Foster High?

John: Well, there is an easy answer and a hard one. The easy one is I think it is hard out there for a lot of gay teens growing up, and I wanted Tales to be not only a story they could identify with but a resource they can call on. Every lawsuit that is mentioned, every biblical passage that is debated, all of them are true. I wanted kids to take what they read and to use the knowledge to defend themselves against hatred and bigotry.

Brad: And the hard answer?

John: Growing up I was not a happy kid. I had a hard time with my sexuality and how it was going to affect my place in the world. I kept a lot of things to myself, and I read a lot and never really found myself in any books. I found the scrappy hero who fell in love with the fair maiden, and I found the super cool chick who had two completely different boys chasing her, but I never found myself. There wasn’t a gay character that was just a person and not a stereotype. So I decided to stop whining about the lack of stories I wanted to read and make a couple. These books are not just a gift to the kids out there who need them, they are a gift to sixteen year old me, who would have died to open a book and find someone who looks like them in there.

Kyle: How much of the book is made up, and how much is based on your life?

John: Well, everything that happens in the books happened to someone out there. Every single thing, each action, from Brad getting beat up in the locker room to Riley getting hit by a car, all of these things happened to someone out there. I have had people complain they think that the characters in the books that represent the adults and the school are unbelievable because they don’t do much to help you guys out, but that is honestly how it happened to someone. If you read these books and think it is not that bad for kids today, or that I made it up, then you are sorely in need of an education on the world today. It may not be like that for you, but it is like that out there for most.

Brad: And how much is your life?

John: Well…I wasn’t teased and bashed for being gay when I was in high school. In fact, my friends all assumed I was bi and didn’t care. I remember when I took my best friend aside to tell him I was gay, and he just looked at me and said, “I thought you wanted to tell me something important.” So most of the books come from what I have seen happen to other people I love, and not be able to do anything about it.

Kyle: So, now that this series is done, are we done?

Brad: Yeah man, what happens to us?

John: Well, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t going to go on with the series, thinking I had said all I wanted to. And I had, in some part, but something happened along the way that rarely happens to me. I got attached to you idiots. So though the books will not be Tales From Foster High, they will be about you two and your journey into college and beyond. I don’t know how many books it will be or how long, but yeah, you guys are coming back.

Brad: Sweet. Told ya he liked us.

Kyle: I guess we’ll see what happens next.

John: We sure will. Anything you guys want to say before we wrap this up?

Brad: Cowboys rule!

Kyle (sighing): The world is a mean place. I think evolution has done something to us that makes us unconsciously adversarial to other people. It is easy to just think about yourself and how you feel, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Life can be so much more if you just realize it is easier when everyone tries to care. If everybody in the world just gave a little bit then everything would change. So I say this to you, I dare you to try more. I challenge you to make the world a better place by just being a better person. Hold the door open more, smile a little longer, and try to think about how the person across from you feels just a couple of more times. Life is not a race, and it is not a game, and we all end up with the same prize at the end, so why not make this whole thing more enjoyable for everyone involved instead of trying to get just what you want?

I bet you’ll find at the end of the day you feel better about life.

Brad: You see this? And he wonders why I am in love with him. Boggles my mind.

John: Thank you, boys, this was fun. We should never do it again.

Kyle: I so agree.

Brad: So there’s no food? I was promised food.

John: Come on, burgers on me.

[[tape ends]]

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Cover Reveal, Riley Hart, Self-Published

Cover Reveal: Riley Hart’s “Stay” – Book Two In The Blackcreek Series


Stay (Blackcreek: Book Two)

Cover Image by: Jackson photographix

Cover Design by: Kelley York

Release date: April 22nd

STAY digital 1600x2400

Blurb: Wes Allen just lost the sister who raised him, and gained custody of his niece. The last thing he needs to add to his full plate is dealing with Braden Roth, the one-night-stand who continues to try to push his way into Wes’ life. He has a kid to raise now, and Wes isn’t great at getting close anyway.

Braden has never had a woman or a man sneak out on him the morning after. From the start, Wes intrigues him, and Braden isn’t one to deny himself something he wants. And he wants Wes. The more time he spends with Wes and the little girl who constantly keeps them on their toes, the more Braden realizes this isn’t just about getting the guy who walked away.

As their lives intertwine more and more, Wes discovers Braden isn’t as shallow as he thought. But after everything Wes lost in his life, he isn’t sure he can risk his heart, and truly want Braden to stay—and if he did, would Wes’ quiet life be enough for Braden?

About Riley: Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her reading. Riley lives in California with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.

Some of Riley’s favorite books:

THE NOTHINGNESS OF BEN by Brad Boney
THE RETURN by Brad Boney
TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levithan
FAITH AND FIDELITY by Tere Michaels

She is also addicted to chocolate and pictures of sexy men. She spends way too much time playing on the internet.

Riley loves hearing from readers. You can contact her at rileyhartwrites@yahoo.com

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Jayson James, Self-Published

Jayson James Makes A Return Stop On The “T.E.D.” Tour, And He’s Offering A Giveaway!



It is nice to be back here today at The Novel Approach as a guest blogger again!

I thought I would share my new book, T.E.D. today. Unlike my previously released books, T.E.D. is not part of my previously published series. It is not much like anything I have released before. If the initial reviews are any indication, T.E.D. is going to be a hit.

As I get started, I thought I would answer the number one question people have had about the book, “How did you come up with the title?” As the extended title on the cover shows it literally stands for Tim, Eric and Delsin. When I began writing the book, I did not have a name, but I needed a way to identify it. All of my previous books and stories I have always come up with a title, however with T.E.D., I drew a blank each and every time I tried to think of a title. When I sought out help for a title, everyone kept on leaning towards using the letters, “T, E and D,” which was something I liked. At last, the decision was made to simply give it the title it ended up with.

The idea came about a few years ago. I jotted down some notes and pretty much left it in my head. The initial story was about a character that wrote these journal entries admitting the frequent abuse and bullying he was dealing with at school. He had a best friend who was a girl and although those around him thought they should be more than friends, the attraction was missing. This boy is labeled a “fag” although he is not gay. This one person in particular keeps on hounding him in hopes to win over his friend. This boy ends up killing himself. Then the story dealt with the struggles the best friend and the bully left behind experience.

Like all my previous published books, T.E.D. takes place in Chandler, Washington. The time this book takes place, for those who have read my series, is during the time Derrick, Justin, and gang are in middle school. There are a few characters that readers of my other books will recognize in T.E.D.

Something I often get emails about (and some critiques) is writing books that shift from each characters point of view. As with my previous three books, T.E.D. was a story I thought was better told from each characters’ perspective. Something I did different with T.E.D. was I put Eric and Delsin’s parts into third person. This I felt gave the story flow and let the reader gain a deeper insight to the events taking place around Tim’s journal entries.

The three guys T.E.D. focuses on I think are all flawed, yet likable characters. I wanted them to be real people that my readers could identify with, both emotionally and opinionative. Tim is to be blunt a pussy, yet a kid you feel sorry for and want to give him advice to on how to better his life. Eric is a character that is hiding out of fear of being discovered, so he picks on others to keep himself from being discovered. Delsin is supportive and does what he can, but is dealing with his own monsters and struggles. These three lives are intertwined, and they have an effect on each other for better or worse.

I hope the readers enjoy T.E.D. as much as I did writing the book. It is exciting to have a book out there that is outside of my popular series. It is my wish for my current readers to be pleased with the new characters and my new readers have an interest in reading my other books.
Thank you The Novel Approach Reviews for having me as a guest blogger today!

Here is how you can find out more about me and my books:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon

BLURB: TIM is being bullied. No one in high school wants to be known as a tattle-tale and to do so would only make things rougher for him. The repercussions would most likely make him an outcast, and without any friends.

ERIC is frustrated with life. His parents are overbearing and if they ever knew the person he really was, they would throw him out of their house. His friends are not much better, they only like him when he is who they expect him to be.

DELSIN is gay and ready to come out. Unfortunately, life at home is on the brink of falling apart with his parents constant fighting. Admitting the truth could bring his whole world crashing down around him.

Each of these three needs to decide whether the risks of being honest about who they are outweighs the importance of being true to themselves. This could mean ruining life as each of them knows it. Maybe it is better to remain miserable in order to play it safe. On the other hand, doing nothing doesn’t seem to working either.

THE GIVEAWAY: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Dreamspinner Press, Susan Mac Nicol

Susan Mac Nicol’s “Waiting For Rain”, With A First Kiss And A Giveaway!


The Novel Approach is thrilled to welcome Susan Mac Nicol back on her Waiting for Rain Blog Tour. Read on for an excerpt, watch the gorgeous trailer, and see how you can win an e-copy of Worth Keeping or Waiting for Rain!

BLURB: The village of Stamford, the quintessential chocolate box English scene, seemed an impossible dream for foster kid Toby Prentiss. Now he’s found a home among the haystacks and village fairs as the general manager for the Duck and Drake Hotel. With the fears and demons from his youth hidden away in this bucolic oasis, he’s very protective of who he lets in. Until he stumbles across shirtless carpenter Rain Engel building the hotel’s new custom-designed bar.

Working in the countryside, Rain prepared to face his biggest fear: sheep. He didn’t expect to deal with his second biggest fear: commitment. Toby’s controlled tough guy façade coupled with his “find happiness where you can” optimism calls to Rain like nothing before. While Rain may be an exhibitionist, his romantic history forces him to hold his emotions close. As their relationship develops, secrets from their pasts drive a wedge between them: the ex-boyfriend who tore apart Rain’s trust and Toby’s history with the law. But can the secrets hiding among the quirky villagers bring them together? With missing sheep, pole dancing at the winter festival, and a crippling drought, everyone is waiting for Rain.

Excerpt: a scene from Rain’s POV- their first kiss…

The next couple of hours were spent dragging equipment from the van into the bar room. Lucas and I were sweating like the condensation on an ice-cold Coke by the time we’d finished. I’d just finished straining to put down a particularly big saw blade. As I let it drop to the floor, there was a loud ripping sound, and I felt a cool breeze where no breeze should blow. Lucas broke into peals of laughter as he pointed at my back.

“Fuck, Rain, you’re showing your skin, mate. Your bloody shirt has just ripped in two right down the middle!” His hilarity was not only off-putting, it was also really not on. I was standing in the middle of a swanky hotel with a shirt on my back that was ripped in half, flapping like wings.

“Christ, what do I do now?” This denim shirt had definitely had its day. “I don’t have anything else to bloody change into.” I looked at Lucas in dismay. He was laughing so hard now the tears fell down his ruddy cheeks. I was going to get no help from him.

I growled at him. “I suppose I’d better see if I can find the manager or someone and see if they have a lost property section. Maybe they can loan me a shirt, or it’ll mean driving home to go get one. I don’t fancy that much.”

I walked to the door and down the corridor, shrugging my shirt off as I did so. I rolled it up into a ball, about to throw it in a rubbish cart in the corridor on my way to reception, when I heard a soft cough behind me. I turned to find a man about my age staring at me. His right eyebrow was raised questioningly, and his face was very polite. He was well dressed in a suit and tie, his mid-length dark-blond hair artfully mussed and gelled. He was lean and wiry and very bloody sexy. My groin twitched in interest. I gazed at him, and he gazed back warily.

“Sir, we don’t generally allow people to wander around the hotel shirtless. It’s hotel policy. May I ask what’s wrong?” His voice was quite deep, a mix of Cambridge posh and something else. I scowled.
“I don’t usually make a habit of walking around half-naked. Not in public in hotels, anyway.” The other man’s eyes narrowed slightly, and his nostrils flared. “I can assure you that if I had a choice, I’d still be wearing a shirt. It ripped in half, so it was no bloody good to man or beast. I was going to ask the management staff if they had an overall or something I could put on. Maybe something from lost property—I assume you have one of those?” I raised an inquiring eyebrow at him. He licked his lips. He had very nice ones, I noticed distractedly. Full and pouty, definitely good for kissing.

Christ, Rain, get a grip, man! Stop ogling the staff. I was twenty-eight years old, but I was acting like an adolescent kid.

“I see.” He moved forward and extended a hand. “Toby Prentiss. I’m the general manager here. I’m sure we can find you something to wear, Mr.…?” He raised his eyebrows again, looking very alluring, and I gave a mental groan.

It has definitely been too long since I’ve gotten laid.

“Rain Engel. I’m here to build the new bar you guys ordered.” I shook his hand. A slight electric current ran through my palm as he touched it. He pulled his hand away quickly. He tried hard not to stare, but his gaze seemed hypnotically drawn to my hairy, bare chest. I suppressed a grin. This could be fun. I felt the thrill of the chase. My instincts at spotting other gay men were normally spot-on.

“Rain? That’s an unusual name.” He swallowed as I moved a little closer to him. I wanted to test my theory.

“It’s a long story. My name is Reinhardt. It was shortened to Rhine, mostly. But my last boyfriend didn’t like it. He said it was too Germanic. So he called me Rain, and the name stuck.”

I knew I smelled rank, but I could still see his pupils dilate slightly. He nodded. He’d definitely noticed the word “boyfriend.”

“You have a slight accent too. Where’s that from?”

I moved a little closer, watching his lips. He seemed mesmerized by my slow dance forward. “South Africa. I was born in Durban, then moved over here when I was ten. Eighteen years ago. I never seem to have lost some of the accent, though.” I cocked my head at him. “Are we done with the inquisition? I’m getting a little cold.” I looked down pointedly at my nipples, which were indeed hardening—but not from the cold. He cleared his throat as his eyes were drawn to them, and his pale cheeks grew rosy. He looked absolutely fucking adorable. I felt the stirring in my groin and smiled slightly.

Chalk one up to me.

“Of course. Let me try and find you something to wear. I don’t think we have any overalls, but I do have a lost property section with some tee shirts and such. But if you’re worried about wearing someone else’s clothes, perhaps I might have something that will fit you….” Toby’s voice trailed off as I shifted my shoulders. His face fell, and he shook his head in resignation as he realized we really weren’t a match.

Not in that way, anyway.

“No offense, but I’m not sure your clothes would fit.” I shrugged. “Lost property will do just fine. Let’s see what you’ve got.” I wasn’t sure whether he took the double entendre in my words, but I think he did. He stared at me, nodded, and motioned at me to follow him. It was a good move. His arse was a really great fit in his fancy pants, tight twin globes that moved with every step he took. I enjoyed the view. I spotted his face in the mirror as we passed down the hall. He was smiling.

My first thought was, shit, he’s seen me watching. My second one was, God, he has a great smile.

“Are you ogling my backside?” Toby asked in amusement. “I kind of think you were.”

I gave the only comeback I could think of. “It’s a nice backside. Who wouldn’t?”

He looked back at me and grinned as he reached a wooden door in the hallway. He took a bunch of keys off his belt, chose one, and inserted it in the lock. The door swung open. The room was dark and musty. He flicked on a light switch and entered, muttering to himself as he checked shelves.

“I know there was a sweatshirt and a bunch of tee shirts that some guy left from the wine-tasting convention we had here about a month ago. And then there was a suitcase that was left behind which had some really good stuff in it.” He sounded envious. “It was all Pierre Cardin and designer wear. I don’t know how anyone could just leave that behind. Where the hell is that bloody stuff?”

I listened to him ramble, thinking I’d never heard anything so completely cute. Although Toby might have boxed my ears for describing him as “cute.” He gave a sudden exclamation of satisfaction and pulled out what looked like a dark-green tee shirt and a large red hoodie, turning to me with a flourish.

“Eureka. I thought….” His voice trailed off as I moved forward, closer to him, and breathed in his ear.

“Toby, you are the sexiest thing I’ve seen in months. And I really want to kiss you.” I hoped my gaydar was right, or I could be about to get decked or arrested for sexual harassment. His breathing deepened. Toby was about six foot and I was six three, and I found him looking up at me a real turn-on. His lips parted slightly, and I took that as a yes. I moved in quickly, pressing my mouth against his, feeling the warmth and softness as he sighed slightly and leaned into me. I forced my tongue against his lips, parting them roughly, sliding my tongue in to touch his, slicking it against the underside of his as he slicked back. In that small room, with the smell of unwashed clothing, my sweat, and his cologne, time seemed to stop, and there was only the taste of this man in my mouth and the hardness of his cock against my groin. I felt like exploding. It had been too long.

Toby tasted like coffee and warmth and pure sex. His breathing into my mouth drove me crazy with sheer want, and the movement of his lips and tongue on mine was expert, teasing. I cupped his backside in my hands, pressing him against me, feeling his body shudder against mine. Lost in the moment, I groaned when he pulled away, his lips wet, his eyes unfocused. I reached out a hand to pull him back, and he moved away.

THE TRAILER: Featuring the stunning and talented Andre Corey

FAN ART:

AUTHOR BIO: Sue Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. At the age of eight, her family moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, where she stayed for nearly thirty years before arriving back in the UK in December 2000. The first year Sue was back in the UK, it snowed on her birthday, as it did the day she was born in 19*coughs* and she swears this was England welcoming her back.

Sue’s career has mostly been in the financial services area and she specialises in what she calls ‘boring’ compliance and regulatory work. That’s why she escapes into the world of writing and fantasy where she chats to her characters ad nauseum and is overjoyed when they reply. It beats the monotony of legalese, contracts and legislation and let’s face it, writing hot scenes between men can only be rewarding.

Sue is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. She is also a member of a rather unique writing group called the Talliston Writers Circle, whose ‘creator’ is a man who is both a Bard and a Shaman. It makes for a really interesting evening and dinner conversation. She lives in the quaint village of Bocking in Essex, set in the countryside and not far from the sea should she get the yen to eat oysters.

Find Susan on Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website

BUY LINKS:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Dreamspinner | All Romance eBooks

THE GIVEAWAY: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Schäffer & Ojeda Verlag Publishing, Stevie Gonzalez

It’s Not Quite Outer Space, But Stevie González Is Here All The Way From Spain With A Giveaway!


THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Stevie González is a forty-something guy in Spain. He lives with the greatest man in the galaxy, who is his better half and all-round inspiration. Among other things they enjoy: travelling, stargazing, reading, history, cooking & eating, and watching new and old TV sitcoms on DVD: particular favourites include, The Big Bang Theory, The Vicar of Dibley, Aquí no hay quien viva, The Royle Family, The Golden Girls and Will & Grace. They also love views from high-up, such as those that come after staggering breathless up the Giralda or Masada: hence the big dream is one day perhaps to be able to go together on a suborbital spaceflight (and come back afterwards in one piece too). You can find him on Twitter, his Blog, or drop him an Email.

The Adventures of Astropilots Stern & Moreno is a new series of novellas telling the story of the pilot (Zy Stern) and co-pilot (Bon Moreno) of a freight transporter in the mid-23rd Century.

It is set during the colonization of the outer planets of the Solar System, at a time when numerous bases on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn have become well-established and commercially active. The tone is sexy and funny and our two heroes have plenty of horny adventures, as well as solving mysteries, crimes and personal dilemmas en route. The titles published so far are: Framed on Titan (political thriller), Sweet Lemon (whodunnit murder mystery) and Five Golden Rings (Christmas ‘road-movie’).

Blurb: Framed on Titan – In the mid-23rd Century Zy Stern and Bon Moreno work as astropilots, transporting freight shipments between the various bases and colonies of the Outer Planet Region. On a routine assignment to Titan, they find themselves at the centre of a perfidious plot by a high-ranking Titanic official to gain control of interplanetary security for his own corrupt purposes. Somehow they must prove their innocence, and in doing so it will be necessary to succumb to the wanton lust that lurks in the dark corridors of Titan Base.

Blurb: Sweet Lemon – Almost stranded in space due to a fuel shortage, Zy and Bon are forced to dock onto the famous astroliner Sweet Lemon in order to refuel. Everything is running smoothly until Zy is inadvertently informed of the recent mysterious death of a passenger on the old spacecraft. Soon the astropilots become involved in the investigation and a race against time to identify the murderer in their midst.

Excerpt from “Sweet Lemon”, Chapter 1:

The astroliner Sweet Lemon was made of strong stuff, and she was made to last.

Constructed and launched at the end of the 22nd Century, in times of high quality technical craftmanship, she quickly became antiquated in the next. By the time a few decades had passed, she had come to be viewed as an anachronism to the pragmatically driven 23rd Century, in which commercial numbers governed and the previously chic and expensive dreams of ambitious engineers, technical designers and architects were no longer valued.

Sweet Lemon differed from many of the contemporary models of spacecraft in that she prized comfort and style over speed and cost. Whereas a large array of smaller, streamlined vessels were now being built in the new century, Sweet Lemon was now a dear memory of older times, when people wished to travel in an atmosphere of exquisite design and stressfree pleasure; when highly positioned and well-paid citizens were happy to throw tens of thousands of astros to the solar wind to enjoy a two-week voyage from the Jovian system to the Saturnian system with all life’s little luxuries covered on the way. Nowadays what the population wanted and what drove the travel market were quick cheap flights in which travellers were couped up in small spaces and had to queue for hygiene cubicles.

Fortunately though, Sweet Lemon still had her special niche in the market. It might be small and often looked precarious, but she was still able to prove herself to be financially viable. As long as she continued to hold herself in the cutthroat business and the company that chartered her PanSpa, remained afloat, Sweet Lemon would continue to meander through the Solar System.

Excerpt from “Sweet Lemon”, Chapter 10:

Bon turned over on the side of the bed, kicked off his already untied astroboots and wriggled his ass provocatively in the air, smirking. The captain regarded those small tight buns pushing against the material for a moment, his hands then reaching over and descending down to massage them, gripping tightly against the astrosuit and planting a single kiss there, his eyes going gooey. After a while, he grasped the top of Bon’s light astrosuit bottom and pulled it down over his knees and feet, chucking it to the side. Bon moved further onto the bed, making himself comfortable, and then splayed his legs and pushed his ass upwards, making the cheeks taut and giving the captain a tantalizing view of his love-hole.

The astroliner pilot hurriedly removed his clothes and then moved over to the bed, siddled up to Bon and between the back of his legs, opening his buttocks and rubbing softly inside the crack with the side of his thumbs before gently stroking his anus with a fingertip. With his large, deep-brown hands he smoothed round and round the cheeks, then rubbing and soft-fingering round the hole, at the same time enjoying watching the glory of the flesh on those twitching twin hills of ass.

The captain gave the cheeks a sudden slap and then forced them wide open, gazing inside at the rosette. Bon gave out a surprized “oh!” as he felt the blow, looking over his shoulder again at the captain, whose eyes were completely fixed on his ass. Another slap, and Bon cried “oow, sí,” which faded into a gentle purring “mmm”. There was one more light smack and then the captain dived like a gannet, sinking his tongue straight into Bon’s ass-hole and furiously shaking his head as he worked his tongue all around. By now Bon was moaning constantly, not just with the joy of the rimming, but also with the knowledge of what would be soon to come.

Blurb: Five Golden Rings: A Tale of Christmas Gaity – Hoping to make a little extra cash on the side, Zy accepts an unofficial assignment from an old business contact of his. The instructions that he receives seem straightforward enough at the beginning, but soon one problem after another arise en route. Can the spirit of Christmas bring about a happy resolution to the pilots’ misfortunes?

Excerpt from “Five Golden Rings”, Chapter 5

After a relatively short, four-hour flight, Zy and Bon and their menagerie finally reached Himalia, a dull oblate-spheroid rock that resembled more a giant, smooth meteor rather than an actual moon. Compared to other more well-established and extensive bases in the Solar System, such as on Callisto or Titan, Himalia Hub was a very small and purely functional station. In fact, as its name suggested, it was little more than a quick and easy springing board for vessels heading out from Jupiter’s moons towards the Saturnian system. Himalia Hub had few entry or exit restrictions and a tiny residential community that was almost purely devoted to the basic economic activity of serving the passing visitors. Apart from the basic infrastructure, Himalia Hub also housed a research station, a small military defense base separated from the central community, and a refuelling station for smaller spacecraft.

The big attraction that Himalia did however have to offer human travellers, was a first-class casino complex, one of the most popular in the Solar System. Thanks to its strategic location and lack of substantial real economy or family units, the governing body of Himalia had decided to exploit its financial and geographic position and had thus created a tax-free zone for gambling. All money won in the small and discreet casino zone could be taken from the moon in its complete form, ‘no questions asked’ as the vernacular goes, without a single astro being deducted by any bureaucratic or taxation excuse. In this way, it had more than doubled the size of its installations in the first decade of its existence and managed to attract a small but steady flow of visitors who now came for that sole purpose.

Nonetheless, the attraction of its gambling facilities often proved irresistible to those transitory pilots and other astroworkers, who had intended to stop off for a few hours between flights and ended up being drawn down into the glitzy world of infinite financial possibilities. It was a fever that often befell a passer-by who, deluded by moderate pay and long working hours hours, decided to try his or her luck for the sheer hell of it.

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Dreamspinner Press, M.A. Church

M.A. Church Is Here With A Naughty Recipe, And To Giveaway A Book!



Wrapped in Leather

“D/s is about relationships–trust and communication. It is not always about love. It is not always about orgasms. But it should always include communication–frank, honest, potentially hurtful, potentially freeing and enlightening communication.”
~Screamer

Buy link
Release date: January 3rd
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

How to Make the Perfect BDSM Relationship:

Ingredients-
1. One slightly bored Dom
2. One untrained sub
3. Chemistry
4. The desire to learn about the lifestyle.
5. Leather

Place the couple in a sexual relationship, add leather, and stir together. Add some flogging, spanking, cuffs, and subspace then mix together to taste. Turn the heat up to high and bring couple to a boil. Immediately remove from heat before the couple combusts. Let sit, undisturbed, until the relationship starts to jell. Gently tease until the couple is combined and smooth. For added taste, whisk in whipped cream until the sub begs for mercy.

Allow the couple to work through problems then serve and enjoy.

Photo courtesy of Gregory Anton. Many thanks to the model, Ben. :)


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Blurb:

To celebrate his decision to take the next step with his boyfriend Ian, Toshi Baylor plans a romantic evening at their favorite steak house. Toshi starts the special weekend with a bang by surprising Ian at home with lunch. There’s a bang all right, but it’s between Ian and another guy.

Jase Taylor’s auto repair shop and the BDSM club, Wrapped Up, keep him busy while he waits for Mr. Right, instead of Mr. Right Now. He’s a Dom, but playing with the club’s submissives isn’t providing the usual stress release. After a day from hell, he deserves a good meal at his favorite steak house.

Toshi and Jase find a mix-up with their reservations: a table for Baylor, not Taylor. When Toshi invites Jase to dine with him, they discover a mutual affection for leather and a shared belief that trust must be earned.

Before they can explore their common interests, Toshi suffers a series of attacks by vandals. Jase’s protective instincts kick in, but both wonder if it can lead to anything permanent.

Excerpt:

There wasn’t anything that shouted gay, but Jase’s gaydar was pretty good and it had been screeching like a banshee when he first saw Toshi. His eyes lingered on the guy across from him: mixed Asian heritage, slightly on the small side, dark hair, and well built. Nice all the way around, and he definitely interested Jase, which was a shock. He usually preferred his men with blond hair. And Toshi looked cute with flushed cheeks. He wondered just how far down that flush…. Jase cut the thought off.

“So you want to talk about it?”

The pretty blush faded from Toshi’s cheeks. “I’d planned to ask my boyfriend to move in with me about a month ago. It didn’t happen. What did happen was I dropped by his apartment after my dentist appointment was canceled, and I caught him in bed with someone.”

Jase cringed. Of all the things he’d expected, this hadn’t made the list and shit, the guy was fresh out of a relationship to boot. Not a good thing. The perfectly cooked steak turned to ash in his mouth. They were about done with their meal; maybe he should just cut his losses and scoot. He looked back at the man across the table from him and canceled the thought. He wasn’t ready to leave.

“Man, Toshi, I’m really sorry. I should’ve kept my mouth shut.”

Toshi’s mouth was pinched into a tight line. “I knew something wasn’t right, but I ignored it. Ignored it for way too long. The signs were there, and I… I feel stupid, and my ego is bruised some. But you know, as upset as I was, I’m not that upset now.”

Jase caught the waiter’s eye and motioned him over. “Okay, we’re both driving, so no more drinking. But—”

“Is there something else, sir?” the waiter asked. “Dessert, maybe?”

“Yeah, bring us that big, gooey chocolate cake thing with the ice cream and the white stuff on the top,” Jase said. “Bring coffee with it. Add it, and his meal, to my bill.”

Toshi’s eyes followed the waiter as he walked away, a shy smile teasing his lips. “Jase, you didn’t have to do that, really. But thank you.”

Jase shifted in the booth, trying to find a comfortable position to accommodate the swelling in his jeans. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this affected by a simple smile. But damn, Toshi had a nice smile. Jase noticed the button-up shirt Toshi wore was open at the throat, and what little of his chest he could see looked to be smooth.

Jase’s dick swelled more as he imagined that smooth chest lying bare before him, and that blush of his, dear God. When he blushed, it was all Jase could do not to pull Toshi up on the table, pull his jeans off, tie those slim legs open and have him for dessert. He’d look good covered in chocolate, some cream of Jase’s making, and Toshi could supply the… ah, nuts.

Jesus.


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Author bio:

M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.

But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.

By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.

My links:

Blog
Twitter @nomoretears00
Facebook: M.A. Church
The Harvest FB fan page
Goodreads


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THE GIVEAWAY:

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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T. Strange, Torquere Press

A Cover Reveal And Exclusive Excerpt From T. Strange’s “Amber”


Amber – Coming January 15, 2014 From Torquere Press


Blurb: Anthony was a painter until he lost the ability to see color. Worse than color blindness, the edges of objects and people blur together, making it almost impossible for Anthony to interact with anyone or anything. After retreating from the world for decades, he sees a glimpse of yellow that leads him to a musician, Teague. At first Anthony is frightened and overwhelmed by the color, but he can’t stay away from Teague for long. He finds the courage to confront Teague and explain his unusual problem and Teague’s role in helping him. To Anthony’s relief, Teague believes him. Very quickly, they both suspect that getting the colors back is more important to Anthony than his relationship with Teague. If Anthony pushes too hard, he’ll lose Teague, and possibly the colors, forever.

Excerpt: The next day, the colors started to blur.

I hardly noticed at first. Just the odd purple or green, up to their usual mischief. I would frown at them, and they would pop back. They were usually a bit prone to frivolity and playfulness, so I paid them no mind. I didn’t connect what was happening to the fortuneteller’s words. Not yet.

Then a blue, usually so solid and dependable, would start to shift while I was in the middle of a brush stroke. Or worse, before I had even gotten it out of its tube and onto my palate. It would just be gone, going from cobalt or aquamarine to a nonsense color, like pajamas or garbage. And all the scowling in the world wouldn’t bring those blues back.

I kept painting, stubbornly ignoring the fact that I was becoming deaf to color. It was worse than being blind. It was a catastrophe.

But this painting was a commission. I had to finish it.

I watched as, one by one, every shade vanished from my eyes, leaving me with a soggy mess of random hues that clashed and jarred and upset me badly. By the end of the day, they were gone.

I wish I could tell you that I now saw in black and white. What I wouldn’t give for a glimpse of clean black or pure white. My malady was far worse. I saw only muddy, indescribable, jarring concoctions of brownish-grayish-primordial-muckish tones.

When the painting was finished, or at least the canvas was covered in paint, I called my patron. He said that he would send someone to pick it up. The man, when he arrived, looked down his long, aristocratic nose at the painting and gave me a look like I was something nasty and squelchy he had found stuck to the bottom of his shoe. He began efficiently packing the painting into a box. He was so offended by the painting that he could hardly bring himself to touch it.

Already, I would have given almost anything to see what he saw in the painting. Even the most brutal, discordant visual cacophony, the most lurid, vibrant, glorious mess of color would have been a relief.

Even the tiniest hint of crimson. An echo of violet.

Not an hour later, my phone rang.

It startled me half out of my wits. I had been sorting and resorting my paints in every conceivable order, with increasing desperation, hoping that something, anything, would jar loose whatever was clouding my vision.

I picked up the receiver with an odd sense of faith, as though it would be God on the other end, and He would give me some arcane ceremony, some act of penance. It would be hopelessly complicated, but once I had performed it to His satisfaction, He would restore my sense of color.

It was, of course, my patron. I managed to tune out the individual words he said, but his meaning was clear. What is this shit you’ve given me? If you think I’m paying you, you’re mental. By the way, you owe me money. Click.

That was nearly a relief. If other people could see what a mess I had made, what a mess I was in, then I wasn’t just crazy. I had a genuine Problem. I wasn’t simply having some sort of temperamental, artistic breakdown. Problems could be solved.

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Guest Contributor, John Goode

“It Was A Dark And Stormy Night…” According To John Goode


It was a dark and stormy night…

So let’s get down to the brass tacks, the things that make a good writer a great writer—invoking emotion using the printed word, for example. Using images, it is so much easier since your brain can take visual information and then fill a story in for it, creating an emotional connection without a word being said. Look at those Humane Society commercials; they have become so heartrending in my mind that just hearing Sarah McLaughlin makes me feel both sad and guilty.

So what the people who made the commercials are doing with images of poor animals and a song is what we are trying to do with our words. If you’ve tried this before, you know how hard it is. If you haven’t, well, this should show you how hard it can be.
Continue reading

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A.F. Henley, Backlist Book Bump, Less Than Three Press

AF Henley Is Doing The Baclkist Book Bump, With A Giveaway Of “Inflori”!



If asked which of my novels is my favourite one, I always say the same thing: I have no favourite — each and every one of my novels tell a different story, a story that was important to me at the time, and, as such, they each have their own special spot on the bookshelf of my soul. Be it the premise of “we can’t choose whom we fall in love with,” or the struggle of obstacles seemingly far too high to scale, or the darker concept of having to make choices that tend towards the lose-lose scenario, I have a hard time writing lover-meets-lover/lover-wins-lover simplicity. Fucked up characters, putting themselves in bad situations, seems to have become the script-du-jour for me.

That’s not a bad thing — not for me, anyway. I’ve read other authors who get quite righteous in their indignation that the characters they write have nothing to do with them or their life. I, however, will resolutely, albeit somewhat ashamedly, admit that is not the case for me. I do, without doubt, expose the dirty little secrets of my heart on the pages of my stories, regardless of whether the concept is placed within plain sight to the reader or not. That kind of story tends towards the dark because, let’s face it, life is hard.

However …

“Choose (a) book to bump,” the Novel Approach asked me, “then … tell a little bit about why that book is special,” and for all the pontification that I do about how I have no favourites, my reply came without hesitation. Înflori.

I could have just spilled a couple of paragraphs about how Înflori was the first M/M novel that I wrote with serious consideration to publication. I could have rambled about how your first love is always the one that burns brightest in your memory. But that would have been white-washing the truth behind Înflori‘s existence. (And truth, no matter how hard you try to bury it, or how long you wear a mask over top of it, will never let you forget how you have let it down.)

Înflori was conceived with a simple question about a short story that I posted entitled Proteja. I paraphrase, but the question was something along the line of, “How in the hell did these two ever meet?” Good question, considering the differences between the two main characters. And I had no answer for it. So I started fumbling along the path of “how” to backtrack these two men’s steps and find a proper reply. You see, Nicolæ is no mere figment of my imagination. And when Nicolæ asks one a question, one best be prepared to offer him up an answer. Lest he visit you in the night and remind you by means of beheaded, yet somehow-still-hopping toads, that he’s patiently waiting to hear from you.

That’s why Înflori is special to me. It was a reply from my subconscious mind to a question posed from somebody valuable, and it became a journey of self-discovery that reminded me why I started writing in the first place — to prove the existence of love in the screwed up heart, mind, and soul of the every-man. The story sorted out the structure of how things don’t have to be perfect for them to work; that the effort and dedication a person gives to a relationship is the true definer of how much love exists underneath the sex and the fluff. You can offer a million rewards, but until you offer up your whole heart, you haven’t made an offer worthy of acceptance.

Thanks for reading,

AF Henley <3

Înflori
by AF Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press
M/M Contemporary Romance

Dustin gave up on being worthy of anyone’s affections a long time ago, drowning his problems in substance abuse and meaningless encounters. He has learned it’s better to avoid love altogether than risk the inevitable moment when it all comes crashing down.

Nicolæ has neither eyesight nor excess, but he does have a wealth of family and intuition. He is nothing that Dustin would have anticipated in a potential lover, but the more Dustin discovers, the more he finds himself willing to accept the risk – even if his conscience and the people in his life keep warning him away.

Purchase Link

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Kol Anderson, Videos

Oh My… They Call It A Teaser For A Reason, Don’t They, Kol Anderson?



On December 18, 2013, Kol Anderson is releasing his first ever full length novel, Heart, and in celebration of its official debut, The Novel Approach will be hosting Kol with a giveaway of the book. In the meantime, just to make your mouth water and your eyeballs stand up and pay attention (and perhaps other bits, too), we’re honored to be bringing you an exclusive first look at the teaser trailer for the book. A word of advice? Make sure you’re in a quiet room, alone, so you can crank up the volume and appreciate this the way its meant to be appreciated—with your imagination on full-throttle.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Heart:

“What if the person whose memory you held on to isn’t the person you thought he was?”

Lucas Mayer is a hit-man, running away from his past, and the one person he can think of having a future with is Roman Woodrow, a guy who’s always had trouble keeping steady relationships. Among the many addictions of Roman, is the devious and manipulative, Daniel Jones. But Lucas can’t give up Daniel’s secret without giving up his own.


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Cherry Dare, Guest Contributor

Please Welcome Cherry Dare And The Authors Of “His Prize Possession: Stories of Pleasure and Domination” – It’s Reading For A Great Cause!


American activist Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.” In that spirit, we offer this anthology. It’s sizzling hot… and for a good cause.

More than 80 countries in the world criminalize same-sex relationships between consenting adults, and many more countries discriminate against LGBTQ individuals and relationships. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Coalition partners with local activists across the world to end this cruel and discriminatory treatment.

All profits from this collection will be donated to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Coalition, which works to protect the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people around the world.

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From ruthless sultans, cruel emperors, and barbarian war chiefs, to captive warriors, arrogant princes, and thieves caught in the act, some men must dominate… and some men must submit.

These stories are available only in this collection.

“Captured by the Sultan,” by Cherry Dare. – A tale too hot for the Arabian Nights! When a young jewel thief is captured in the sultan’s bedchambers, the sultan makes him an offer: he can face the consequences for his crimes, or he can spend one night doing everything he can to please the dominating sultan!

“Caught by Scylla,” by Isabel Dare. – A beautiful but arrogant prince sails too close to the lair of the legendary Scylla. The monstrous being’s slick tendrils caress the humiliated prince everywhere, while an entire ship full of sailors watches!

“Bound for Pleasure,” by Calandra Hunter. – When the Roman commander Titus is captured by barbarian war chief Brinno, Titus uses his body to barter for his freedom. Titus thinks his only desire is to escape, but will he change his mind when he experiences the pleasures of submission for the very first time?

“He Whom the Gods Love,” by Lyla Luray. Hades. – the god of the underworld, burns with frustration while his wife Persephone is away. So his lusty brother Poseidon arranges an encounter with a gorgeous young man, Lysander. Pierced by love’s arrow, Lysander experiences his first time in Hades’s powerful arms!

“The Emperor’s Pet,” by Dawn South. – When Cornelius is imprisoned by the Roman emperor, he finds solace in bonding with the other captives. But they must all publicly perform for the emperor’s pleasure… and Cornelius’s new friends must break him in!

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His Prize Possession: Stories of Pleasure and Domination can be found at the following E-tailers:

AMAZON
SMASHWORDS
BARNES & NOBLE
ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS

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MLR Press, Vona Logan

Are You Ready To Go Hard ‘N Deep With Vona Logan? I Hope So, Because There’s A Giveaway

The Men of Hard ‘n Deep

Most of you met Aidan and Matt on the cliff in Queenstown, New Zealand in Rock Hard. First intended as a short story, I was amazed at the response to these characters and overwhelmed with requests for more. As this was my first attempt at being published, Rock Hard had been quite short, so I understood where these readers were coming from for more of the sexy men after the way it ended.

I felt sad to walk away from the story and immediately jumped on board for a sequel. The two men had just met and started a relationship, so there was more than enough room to write their story after the end of Rock Hard.

It is no mystery that relationships have their fair share of hiccups and shadows from different corners threatening the bliss of newfound love. Matt *sigh* is my baby and he’s got a very soft spot in my heart. He is also an adrenaline junkie – brave, fearless and determined when it comes to his career. Emotionally however, Matt has fears and insecurities always waiting to ambush and rob him of the things he desires most – in this case Aidan.

Aidan is the rock in Matt’s life and in these two books – solid, steadfast, secure and completely in love with Matt. His only frustration is getting the stubborn Matt to let go and trust in what they have. At times Aidan has his sizeable hands full (in more ways than one) of Matt, the spitfire. Matt’s fear forces him to run from hurt, but Aidan is adamant to make him stay.

Combine the shadows and insecurities with Matt’s fierce temper and a road trip on an amazingly hot motorbike, The Can-Am Spyder RSS, and you have an explosive encounter bound to tie these guys together or split them apart forever.

Blurb:

The past threatens to tear Aidan and Matt apart, but when Matt takes off, Aidan will stop at nothing to bring him back.

Aidan and Matt had conquered the mountain which almost killed them both and their relationship is secure. Or is it? Without warning the past inevitably rears its ugly head and the sparks begin to fly. While Aidan knows exactly what he wants, Matt’s fierce independence and insecurities threaten to tear them apart. Aidan sets out to prove to Matt he isn’t going anywhere and Matt needs to face and conquer the ghosts from his past. Does Aidan have what it takes to hold onto his man and will Matt allow himself to be loved?

Thank you for visiting today to read all about my new book. For those of you who read it, I sincerely hope it made the wait for a sequel so worth it.

Bye For Now,
Vona

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Charlie Cochet, Dreamspinner Press

Charlie Cochet And The Impetuous Afflictions Blog Tour Are Here – Rumor Has It There’s A Giveaway


CCBlogTourBanner

I suppose this is the part where I introduce myself. My name is Jonathan Wolfe, but everyone calls me Johnnie. I suggest you do too. First of all, let me just say that Charlie is screwy in the head, seeing as how she chose me to do this little tour. Why she didn’t ask the Englishman to talk about English things is beyond me, but then I’ve never been very good at understanding the dames. Then again, I don’t do all that well with the fellas either. Let’s just say I’m not the world’s most amicable fellow and leave it at that.

This is the first of six stops on my personal guided tour. After that, you’ll hear from Charlie and the Brats. What’s that you ask? Don’t I have other things I should be getting on with? Say, you got plenty of swift there. Yes I do, but when the lady of the house prods you—in a most unladylike manner might I add–you’ll do as asked if you know what’s good for you. Let’s get on with it, shall we? We’ll start from home: Hawthorne Manor.

HawthorneManor

[Attribution: Mattlever [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons]

Hawthorne Manor is filled with impudent whelps that drive me nuts, and Chance who is a nut. I will admit it’s the only place I have ever felt at ease in. It’s also the only place I’ve ever called home. Hawthorne Manor was built by Jacky’s grandparents back in the late 1800s, but it includes all the modern comforts, such as running water, central heating, and electricity. It’s situated two miles from the town of Aylesbury and employs thirty indoor staff and fifteen outdoor staff plus eight laundry room staff. The west wing of the house is an attachment that was built a good twenty years after the rest of the house, and Jacky gifted it to Henry when we arrived from Africa. There you’ll find Henry’s infirmary, a waiting room, small ward, his office, and a linen area. Yeah, the place is real swanky, with twenty five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, four studies, banquet hall, ballroom, billiard room, dining room, two libraries, two music rooms, breakfast room, morning room, and a bunch of other rooms I can’t quite recall. I know what you’re thinking, but when there are twelve fellas occupying the same space, believe me, the joint can’t be big enough.

FlowerBed

[Attribution: YK Times at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons]

This is the flowerbed outside my bedroom window. It’s also the flowerbed I land in when Elliot locks me in my room. It happens more often than you think. Fenton the grounds-keeper dislikes me greatly. Elliot is one of the impudent whelps I mentioned earlier. You’ll learn more about him later on in the tour. Piece of advice: don’t let that cherub face fool you, he’s a clever little scoundrel. He’s also known to use his teddy bear and pout as a means of distraction. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You’ll also get to know more about the Brats—that’s what we call’ em. Well, it’s what Chance used to call Bobby, Alexander, and me once upon a time when we were driving him crazy, and then it sort of became a term of endearment. Though the driving everyone nuts part is still very much a part of it.

Hawthorne Manor is more than just my home. It was Jacky’s dream to provide a safe haven for fellas like us, and over the last eight years, we’ve taken in seven Brats: Gideon, Rori, Aubrey, Oliver, Elliot, Connor, and Edmund. They range from six to twenty years old, each one with a heartbreaking story. The six of us who run the manor made a pact to protect these boys, provide them with a family, and help them regain their confidence. We help them find the strength they’ll need to face a world that had once been so cruel to them. Some days it’s crushing, but no matter what happens, we do our best to show them they can have a better life than the one they started off with, that there are folks who do care. It’s my job to help them get settled into their new life at the manor. It ain’t easy, but it’s worth it.

The manor is owned by Jacky, who’s a right guy. He’s the head of the household and as good as they come. Then there’s Chance—who we’ve established is nuts, who supports Jacky and keeps everyone in line. Bobby is a swell guy, and he teaches the Brats etiquette. Alexander is a pain in my backside. He’s also a qualified professor who educates the Brats. Henry looks after everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing. He’s also… uh, well, he’s um… What’s with the face? I ain’t having a sappy moment, so dry up. Okay, so maybe I am having a sappy moment. Henry’s off limits, so you just keep your wandering eye from wandering in his direction. Go look at the posies or something. What’s left of’ em. All right, tour’s over for the day. Flowers gave me the sniffles, so I’m just gonna drop in on Henry. For the sneezin’, cause you know, he’s a doctor and all. Aw, lay off. Next stop on the tour is the billiard room, now breeze.

 

Blurb:

IAJW200Eight years after leaving the deserts of Africa and the French Foreign Legion behind, Jonathan Wolfe has settled into life at Hawthorne Manor in the English countryside. Johnnie helps his adopted family run the manor and provide a safe, loving home for a new generation of “brats”: boys mistreated and discarded for their homosexuality—something all too familiar to Johnnie.

Although no longer an unruly youngster, Johnnie is as stubborn, foul-mouthed, and troublesome as ever. His recent rash behavior becomes a concern for those closest to him, especially Dr. Henry Young, the only man ever to capture Johnnie’s heart. Instead of soothing him, their closeness brings Johnnie’s insecurities from an unsettling past to the surface, and leads to an explosive situation that threatens to tear them apart. Then Henry’s past catches up to them….

 

Excerpts are in the form of a serial.

Excerpt Part 1

UNFORTUNATELY, I only made it as far as the empty waiting room before he caught up with me.

“So, what was that about?”

“Nothing.”

“Now pull the other one.” Chance took a seat in one of the deep, wine-red armchairs against the far wall and made himself comfortable. Damn it. There was no escaping him now. With a heavy sigh, I took a seat in the armchair beside him. The waiting room was large, tastefully decorated in muted yellows, golds, and deep reds, and resembled a drawing room more than a medical waiting room. There were plenty of potted plants and flowers, as well as a large, black iron fireplace on the opposite wall to keep the joint warm in the winter. The large rug in the center of the room was Grecian-styled to match the gilded mirror hanging over the fireplace and the various other frames containing paintings of serene landscapes. It was all very elegant but simple so as not to intimidate its visitors. Henry had been very adamant about that. He wanted folks to feel at ease when they came to see him, no matter their status.

“Well?” Chance angled himself toward me and waited.

There were few people in this world I trusted with my life, and Chance was one of them—the other two being Jacky and Henry. I also knew there was no escape, because Chance always got his way. Always. It was annoying as hell. I opened my mouth when he held a finger up. “Wait.”

“What?”

He threw his head back and laughed.

I sat and waited while he doubled over. It had been a while since I had seen him laugh this hard. “Glad to know my life is so amusing to you.”

Part 2 continued on Nov 11th over at Sue Brown’s blog.

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Available in ebook and print from Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4362

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Comment prompt: What gives you the sniffles? Flowers, puppies, sappy movies?


About the Author:

CCochet100Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website: http://www.charliecochet.com
Blog: http://www.charliecochet.com/blog
Email: charlie@charliecochet.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/charliecochet
Twitter: @charliecochet | http://www.twitter.com/charliecochet


Giveaway

1st Prize: $15 Amazon gift card + Impetuous Afflictions signed swag pack + signed 8×10 art print.

2nd & 3rd Prize: Impetuous Afflictions swag pack + signed 8×10 art print.

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To Enter

Just leave a comment on any of the blog posts along the tour, along with a contact email address. **If you would still like to enter the contest but don’t wish to leave your email address in the comment, you can also enter by emailing charlie@charliecochet.com.

Winners will be chosen at random and posted on Charlie’s blog at http://www.charliecochet.com/blog on Monday, December 2nd. Winners will then be notified via email.

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Contest ends

Sunday, December 1st at midnight, Eastern Time.


Tour stops:

11/9 – Welcome to Hawthorne Manor [Excerpt 1] – The Novel Approach

11/11 – Billiard Room Brouhaha [Excerpt 2] – Author Sue Brown

11/12 – A Trip to the Town of Aylesbury [Excerpt 3] – Author Kim Fielding

11/13 – Time for Tea [Excerpt 4] – Author Lex Chase

11/14 – Stopping for a Pint [Excerpt 5] – Author Andrew Q. Gordon

11/15 – Visiting the Furry Hat Man [Excerpt 6] – Author Eden Winters

11/18 – Meet Gideon Brooks [Excerpt 7] – Author Michael Rupured

11/19 – Meet Rori Curti [Excerpt 8]s – Author Shira Anthony

11/20 – Meet Aubrey Jepson [Excerpt 9] – Attention is Arbitrary

11/21 – Meet Oliver Darling [Excerpt 10] – Hearts on Fire

11/22 – Meet Elliot Young [Excerpt 11] – Author Elin Gregory

11/25 – Meet Connor & Edmund Grey [Excerpt 12]- Joyfully Jay

11/26 – The Devilish Duo [Finale] – Mrs. Condit & Friends

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Backlist Book Bump, Jordan Castillo Price

How About A Little Backlist Book Bump From Jordan Castillo Price? And How About A Big Ol’ Giveaway?


channeling-morpheus-series


I’m so delighted you’ve asked me to come talk about one of my backlist titles, Lisa! I’ve always loved vampire stories, and I set out to write the freshest, darkest, sexiest, scariest vampire story I could imagine. My Channeling Morpheus series was completed in 2009, and so it’s quite possible that plenty of readers discovered the genre well after the series wrapped. Here’s a taste of the first story, Payback:


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BLURB

The hunt is on.

Pretty young men and women like Michael’s best friend, Scary Mary, are disappearing from underground goth clubs all over Detroit. For over two years, Michael has been scouring the midwest for buried newspaper articles and obscure medical reports, and now he’s finally pinpointed the source of the problem. Too bad he can’t exactly go to the cops and tell them his friend was murdered by vampires. Since it’s his duty to start wiping out the scourge, he’s posing as bait—and he’s got a bag of sharpened hickory stakes to do the job.

Everything should go smoothly, given the amount of preparation that Michael has put into the hunt. He’s got a practiced repertoire of come-hither eyeliner looks and a full blister-pack of the date rape drug Rohypnol. But he didn’t count on Wild Bill showing up.

EXCERPT

Wild Bill is a vision in spiked hair and scuffed black leather—exactly the type of guy Michael would have fallen for…if he’d ever had the chance. Unfortunately, with a vampire in his sights, Michael has no time for an actual date. Despite his best efforts, it seems there’s nothing Michael can do to shake Bill loose. Looks like they’re in for a wild, wild ride.

I picked up my bag, or satchel, or whatever you want to call it, and checked it again—even though I knew everything was still there. It had to be, because it’d been pressed against my foot, and if anyone had been rifling through it, I would have felt them doing it. Mallet? Check. Wooden stake—hickory, of course? Check. Crucifix? Well, yeah. Like five of those. Rohypnol? Check. Holy water? Check. Eyeliner? Check.

Yeah, eyeliner. It looks good on me. Scary Mary used to say that. She’d sworn up and down that I was one of those guys who could pull it off.

My hand sank deep into the bag and brushed against the eyeliner. Or maybe it was a pen. I inched my fingers down the length of it and felt the tip. Damn. It was a pen. Maybe I could use it for touchup anyway if I sweated off all the eyeliner.

Or else I’d have to find the vampire and lure him out of the club before it came to that.

“Got a light?”

I jumped. I wasn’t scared, though. Just startled. It was way too early for vampires, barely an hour past sunset. But I hadn’t realized there was anyone standing practically on top of me while I was digging through my bag. Or whatever you want to call it.

“I don’t….” He was so hot he was incandescent. “I don’t smoke.”

The guy who’d wanted the light was smiling. Still standing practically on top of me, too. Staring me right in the eye.

You’d think that would be all. He asked for a light. I didn’t have one. And then he would move on. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe he’d just been looking for an excuse to talk.

He slid himself onto the barstool beside mine. I did my best to look nonchalant. He was…amazing. Tall and lean, with ripped up jeans and spiked blond hair, earrings and a snake tattoo on his neck and chipped black nail polish. And he wanted to talk to me.

Couldn’t I have run into him any other night? Like, a night that I didn’t already have a date with a vampire?

“Got a name, Mister Lung Association?” he asked me.

“Michael.”

“Michael, Michael, Motorcycle.” He tucked his cigarette behind his ear and shook my hand. Well, more like he jammed his hand toward me, and I either had to shake it or be knocked off the barstool. “Wild Bill.”

A hot guy who had the balls to call himself Wild Bill, straightfaced no less, was hitting on me in a mostly-empty bar. My mind reeled. I hadn’t been putting on my approachable vibe. I saved that for the vampires. I’d been going through my bag, minding my own business. And here he was, with a cigarette tucked behind his ear, chatting me up.

“Is your name really Bill?” I asked.

“Is yours really Michael?”

I rolled my eyes. He smiled wider, a weird, tight-lipped grin, and planted his elbow on the sticky bar top. “What’s with the purse?”

“It’s not a…look, I’m meeting somebody, okay? Don’t you have anyone else to bother?”

He shrugged and half-turned in his seat to spare a glance for the rest of the place. It’d be a cool enough club once it started to fill up, but right now there was only a scattering of people in it. A tight clique of girls in thick eyeliner and hair extensions dominated a pair of pushed-together tables beside the dance floor. A couple swayed together on the glowing tiles. They were so androgynous you could only tell the boy from the girl by the flat planes of his ass. Fog that smelled like cotton candy wafted around their platform boots. And the remainder of the early crowd hugged the perimeter of the bar, backs to the wall, drinking warily.

I pretty much looked like everyone else there. Black clothes and silver studs. Alone and staring. Except that I’d been staring into my bag instead of cruising.

“I’ll keep you company, then,” Bill offered. “Until she…or he…shows up.”

“He,” I said.

Wild Bill’s smile curled the corner of his lips.

Damn. If only there were some way, any way at all, I could ditch the vampire and take my chances with Wild Bill. But it’d taken me two whole years to track this vampire down and figure out where he’d been hunting. Two years’ worth of newspaper clippings, of Coroners’ reports photocopied by bribable janitors, of buried articles printed out from the Internet, accessed through the library’s computers, that I’d stared at until their letters slipped out of focus when my body forced me to rest my eyes.

Maybe Wild Bill would take a rain check. But I kind of doubted it. Besides, after I left a smoking corpse in my wake, I’d have to get out of town. Fast.


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morpheuscover200MORE ABOUT THE SERIES

Gritty, urban vampire tales

These novelette-length stories are scary as hell and packed with freaky sex. Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got his eye on Michael, and he’s willing to do anything to go home with him. If the romance between Gomez & Morticia gives you goosebumps of delight, if you look forward to Halloween movie marathons all year long, if you’ve got a soft spot for fake fog and black lights, then Channeling Morpheus is the series for you!


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sweetoblivion-200SPECIALS AND EXTRAS

The series consists of ten novelettes and two shorts. The novelettes are available in the paperback collections Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary and A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion.

Official Channeling Morpheus site with bonus wallpaper, flash fiction and character interviews –

Bundle Deals – Save on a Channeling Morpheus bundle at http://jcpbooks.com/bundles. Payback is also included in the $5 JCP Sampler


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The Giveaway

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Backlist Book Bump, Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press

It’s Time For The Backlist Book Bump With Brita Addams, And That Means A Giveaway!


Brita Logo
Are you like me, unabashedly in love with the broken hero? You know, those guys that the world has mistreated, and yet, they stoically carry on, sometimes just barely, beneath a thin veneer of bravado.

Such is the case with the heroes of my Regency historical, For Men Like Us. Benedict Wilmot and Preston Meacham survived the Napoleonic Wars, the Battle of Salamaca in particular, though just barely, and came away with deep scars, inside and out.

Their injuries weren’t only physical, but emotional as well. For me, those are the most difficult to weather. We’ve all had them—caused by our dysfunctional childhoods, bullying, failed relationships. Those voices and experiences live one, well past their welcome shelf-life.

Though scars cover Ben’s body, their causes affect him much more profoundly than their existence. The weight of a deeply held secret and the devastating death of a man he deeply loved, makes Ben’s life almost unbearable. Circumstances make Ben feel responsible for Pres, and that sentiment brings the men face to face in a dingy alley outside a London mollie house. As the rain pours down around them, Ben attempts to summon the courage to speak to Pres—not for purposes related to Pres’s job, but because of Ben’s concern for Pres’s welfare. This is the scene I’ve included below and the one that is depicted on the book’s brilliant cover by Anne Cain.

While writing For Men Like Us, I reflected on the men I’ve known, who’ve fought a war and came home somehow different, foreign in their responses, their maturity, their overall look at life. War kills more than bodies. It also kills a person’s spirit, their self-view, their abilities to cope with the very things that make them who they are—or once were. Their souls are scarred, changed, inured to the fear so inherent under the circumstances.

Through the surreptitious act of spying, an unscrupulous sergeant discovers Benedict Wilmot’s sexuality. The sergeant could have fully destroyed Ben’s life by turning him over to their commanding officer, but instead, he chose to use Ben’s fear of further discovery against him, and used torture and shame to manipulate Ben into doing his bidding.

The integrity with which Ben conducts himself makes him a favored employer of men like him. I suppose one might think Ben had gaydar, but he sought out gay men and housed them in the safety of his estate, to help him run the part of home he used.

Given the period in history, when being gay was a hanging offense, I created a world for these men to exist in relative comfort. For Ben and Preston, nothing comes easy, but then nothing in life comes easy, does it?

If you love broken heroes, you might enjoy For Men Like Us. You can find it on the Dreamspinner site

1815

THE mist off the Thames cloaked Ben while the heavily shadowed alley protected him as he watched the male whores go into the molly house. Droplets of rain fell off the brim of his tall beaver and soaked through the fabric of his greatcoat. The dampness had long since settled deeply into his bones, weakening him. He depended more than usual on his walking stick to support his weight.

His driver and all-round man, Briggs, waited a short distance away while Ben watched for the man he’d come to find. Many times, Ben had observed the comings and goings at Mama Lil’s, after having learned the man he sought worked there. From the same vantage point, he’d caught only passing glimpses of the well-groomed, dark-haired man who seemed so out of place amongst the other down and outers. From a distance, Ben thought him to be handsome and quite personable, judging by his interactions with the other men. There also seemed to be a sadness about him, and for that, Ben was aggrieved.

At the sound of two distinctly masculine voices, Ben moved deeper into the alley. He pressed his body closer to the ramshackle building, out of the dim light cast by the nearby streetlamp.

The men passed him by, neither apparently wise to his presence. Unable to resist, he stepped closer to the mouth of the shadowed alley, fairly dragging his useless leg, and looked out after them. The scuffing he’d caused must have alerted them, because one of the men turned, the moon illuminating his face. It was him; the man he sought.

Their eyes met and locked for the briefest of moments. Ben cursed inwardly. He hadn’t intended them to meet this way—him lurking about like a thief, or worse, a desperate man.

The young man clapped his companion on the back. “Go on ahead, Tom, I’ll be along. Gotta take a piss.”
Tom waved a casual hand. “Yeah, yeah, sure. Don’t be too long. There mightn’t be no cock left for ya.”

“Never a fear of that, now is there?”

“S’pose you’re right. See you inside.”

The door slammed, but no louder than Ben’s own heart.

The young man approached, cautious, yet somehow sure. The watery click of his boot heels against the wet cobbles echoed the pounding in Ben’s ears.

He filled the entrance to the alley, a slim-waisted figure clad in a frock coat and breeches, someone who would have been supposed a gentleman in any other setting.

“Can I help you, sir?” The voice was more refined than a moment before.

Ben opened his mouth, but his words were stunted. This was the closest he’d ever been to Preston Meacham. The light from the streetlamp illuminated his handsome face. Ben stared, forgetting himself completely.

“Sir, are you all right?”

Ben resisted a continued stare. “Yes, yes, I’m fine, th-thank you.”

“Is there something you need? You really shouldn’t be out on this street alone. It isn’t safe.

Unscrupulous characters are known to lurk about these parts.”

A slight feeling of indignation overset him. “I believe I am capable of taking care of myself.”

Preston’s gaze dropped to the walking stick, then back to Ben’s eyes. “Then I’ll leave you to it.”

The man took three steps before Ben found the words to continue the conversation. “A-are you available?” he asked on impulse.

A slight chuckle made him feel foolish. “I’m available, sir, if you have the blunt.”

Damn and blast, why must this be so difficult? “Can we go somewhere, alone?”

The younger man pointed toward the house. “Of course, I can get a room.”

“No! Away from here.”

“I’m scheduled to work. I don’t get paid if I’m not on the premises.”

“I don’t expect something for nothing. I’ll pay you for your time, however much you want.”

The younger man came flirtatiously close.

How could I have not noticed the extent of his physical beauty?

“Well then, if money is no object, sir, I’ll go wherever you wish.”

Ben swallowed hard and pointed toward the street. “My carriage is waiting. I live but a short distance from here.”

“You certainly are mysterious. How do I know you won’t slit my throat the moment we’re alone?”

“You don’t, but then, how do I know you won’t slit mine?”

A hint of a smile. “Fair enough. Be warned, I don’t sell myself cheap.”

“I don’t expect you to, and I assure you, you are entirely safe in my company.” Ben handed him a gold sovereign, which he took with alacrity.

Preston flipped the coin into the air. “Where is this carriage of yours?”

“This way.” Ben led him down the street and around the corner, where Briggs waited.

In the light of the carriage lamps, Preston appeared to be upwards of five-and-twenty. Ben’s hands itched to touch his full head of brown hair, to assess whether it was as soft as it appeared.

Preston sat back against the squabs in casual repose, one arm draped languidly over the back of the seat. Under other circumstances, they might appear to be old friends, out for an evening at White’s.
With the need to confirm what he already knew, Ben asked, “What is your name?”

“Preston Meacham. Pres, if you prefer, and what’s yours?”

Ben’s heart thudded. The confirmation made this moment all too real. He turned toward the window. “You may call me Ben.”

“Ben it is, but no last name?”

“For what I want, no last name is necessary.”

Jesus, how pompous. A quick glance ascertained that Preston’s expression hadn’t changed, save for a slight pinched look about his mouth.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.”

“Quite all right. I rarely get even that much respect.”

Ben’s heart dropped. He’d gone about this the wrong way.

“Whoa.” The carriage slowed, then stopped at Briggs’s shout.

“We’ve arrived.” When Briggs opened the door, Ben got out, then turned to see that Preston had followed him.

“This way.”

They’d gone around to the back of his townhouse. After they entered the kitchen door, Ben dropped his hat on a table beside the door, removed his soggy greatcoat, and left it on a peg outside the kitchen. With as much haste as his war-ravaged leg allowed, Ben led Preston up the servant’s stairs to the second floor.


~*~


And now, how about a little contest information? Brita would love to give TWO lucky readers the chance to win E-copies of For Men Like Us, as well as some great swag, including bookmarks, cover flats, pens, and more!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED


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Brita LogoBorn in a small town in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—Clint, her husband of 33 years, and fifteen year old fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals, as well as a few contemporaries, have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.


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Tarnished Gold, the first in her Tarnished series for Dreamspinner, received honorable mention, and is a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, historical romance category.

Brita and her husband love to travel. They’ve taken no less than twenty-five cruises and countless long car trips, as well as completed a Civil War battlefield tour, and visits to many sites involved in the American Revolutionary War. Their 2013 wedding anniversary tour of England, Scotland, and Wales gave Brita fodder for many new tales.

On a trip to Hollywood, California, Brita stood in the footprints of some of her favorite actors—Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and many others, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and she has even kissed Mickey Rooney.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter.

Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places:

Website
Blog
Twitter: @britaaddams
Facebook
Fan page
Goodreads
Pinterest
Booklikes
Monthly column at The Novel Approach

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S.E. Culpepper

Come “Fall Apart” with S.E. Culpepper, And You Just Might Win A Book!


Fall Apart Blog Tour


Author PicSide Jobs

For those that have read the books in the Liaisons Series, the mention of character Christian Blakely usually brings one thing to mind: tattoos. Most of Christian’s body is covered in tattoos, and the third book in the series, Lost Won, discusses some of that artwork and Christian’s thought process behind it.

In imagining that artwork—how far it went, the placement on his body—I was taking advantage of another great thing about being a writer. I got to take on a job that I wouldn’t be likely to try in my own life. I became Christian’s tattoo artist. In my imagination, I was able to discuss what he was looking to add, what he wanted to say through it, and…ahem…where he wanted the artwork to go. And, wasn’t that a pleasure!

With other characters, for instance, Zane Whitlow, I become an agent or a radio interviewer. I’m thinking up movie scripts, set ideas, troubles with paparazzi. With Alarik, one of the new characters in Fall Apart, released on October 28, I get to be a photographer and travel the world to exotic locations, snapping pics of yummy people.

I think that’s one of my favorite parts of writing; it turns me into a kid again, imagining different worlds and far-off places, jobs I could do, and things I’m scared of. That’s part of why I always encourage people to write if they feel even an inkling of an urge to do so—maybe just journaling is the best thing—but in so many ways, it can set you free.

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BLURB:

Dodging his ex, giving the Best Man speech, and smuggling home extra slices of wedding cake are Damon Wright’s only plans on his buddy’s wedding day. Capturing the attention of a renowned photographer with twice the sexual magnetism of James Bond doesn’t even make the list. Accustomed to a life spent keeping his head down, managing family obligations, Damon is unprepared for even a lukewarm pursuit, much less the hot, focused advances of a man like Alarik whose sophistication leaves Damon reeling.

Tired of the vapid, morally bankrupt and grasping fellows so common in his line of work, Alarik is through serving as just another step for mercenary men on the ladder to success. Damon’s kindhearted reserve excites a profound response within him, enticing him with the idea of an honest future. Compelled to dig beneath the surface in search of something lasting, Alarik can’t help but wonder if falling in love can be as easy as breathing.

Yet, fairytales don’t exist in the pace of real life; they disappear in shadow. Absorbed by the happiness of finding one another, Damon and Alarik never see the darkness coming…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

EXCERPT:

“There you go again, giving me that look,” Alarik whispered and Damon saw the heat in the other man’s eyes in the quick moment before Alarik slipped a pair of sunglasses on that he’d pulled from his pocket.

Desire…and Alarik was trying to hide it.

Where was that crash cart? Charge! Clear! Kaa-chooog!… We have a heartbeat.

“What look?” Damon answered huskily, his voice hitching as he immediately forgot about maintaining his composure. What if his mother walked out and witnessed this fraught moment?

Alarik gave a low groan and glanced away, his fingers combing through his hair again. He wasn’t going to answer. He removed his jacket roughly and then grunted in embarrassment as he folded it over his arm. “Forgive me, but if you could see your face, you’d know what I was up against.”

“Is this you leaving? I thought you were taking me to lunch.”

“Am I?” Alarik gave him a sideways glance.

“I’m begging you.”

Damon was vaguely aware of the folks seated at the tables in front of the coffee shop, but they turned into mist as Alarik slowly and purposefully closed the distance between them, his hand reaching up to grasp Damon’s chin. He could see his reflection in the other man’s sunglasses. He looked weak-kneed and turned on, and his fucking fifteen freckles were standing out at high alert. Alarik still hadn’t spoken, but his breathing was quick, his sensuous mouth tight.

“Look at you,” he finally whispered, then seemed to realize what he’d said and done and stepped away.

“Mr. Wright,” he tut-tutted. “You make it easy to forget how to be a gentleman.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author:

S.E. Culpepper lives and works in Oregon. After graduating college in New Mexico, she served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for four and a half years before deciding to strike out on her own as a writer. S.E. is addicted to YouTube, reading, and chocolate, not necessarily in that order. In her free time, she visits parks with her son, studies for her Masters, and bakes.

S. E. Culpepper loves to hear from her readers and makes it a point to get back to them.

Author Links:

http://seculpepper.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/S-E-Culpepper/120092924797403

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Buy Links:

Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Fall-Apart-Liaisons-Series-Volume/dp/1492876569/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_tnr_1

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Fall-Apart-Liaisons-Series-Culpepper-ebook/dp/B00G8U22XY/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_tnr_2

Smashwords: EPUB https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/371660

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The Giveaway:

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Amber Kell

It’s A Birthday Bash With Amber Kell, And She’s Brought A Gift!



2012-BirthdayBadge1The month of November has always been special to me mostly because my sister and I share the same birthday. I was born on my older sister’s fourth birthday a fact she still brings up every now and then when she wants to harp on me ruining her big day with my untimely birth.

For my fans, the month of November represents thirty days of prizes, stories and author interviews where I chose a winner a day. This year, I am also sponsoring a month of giving. Anyone who donates a minimum of $5.00 to a charity of their choice can receive a free e-book of their choice from my website. They have up to a year to pick one. More details are on my blog.

If you’ve never read any of my writing, I recently released Keeping Kylen, book eleven in my Moon Pack series. The first book, Attracting Anthony, can be found For Free at Amazon, ARe or most ebook stores or at my website http://amberkellbooks.com.

If you leave a comment it will enter you to win a $25.00 Amazon GC!


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Keeping Kylen 400x600Here is a little blurb from Keeping Kylen.

* * * *

“Dad, where’s Papa?”

Sammy stood in Farro’s bedroom doorway, his teddy bear dangling from one small fist. Blue-footed pajamas covered him from neck to toes. Farro blinked back tears when he recalled Kylen had insisted on buying Sammy a pair in every color. Farro had only put his foot down when Kylen had pointed out the hooded ones with bunny ears. Not even Kylen’s hopeful smile would persuade Farro to let his half-shifter son dress like prey.

Brushing off the memory, Farro walked over to kneel down to his son’s level. He wrapped his hands around Sammy’s smaller ones.

Talking past the lump in his throat made speaking difficult, but he pushed through. “Papa isn’t coming home. We talked about that. Papa has taken a job that moved him away from us. He still loves you, but he’s not coming back.”

Despite his anger over how Kylen left them, Farro had no doubt his mate still loved their son. Kylen just needed a good kick in the ass. For the past four months, Farro had given several variations of ‘Papa’s never returning’ talks to Sammy, and each time, the words tasted sour in his mouth. Sammy refused to believe the man who had adored him so deeply would just abandon him with only a brief letter and never a look back.

Farro couldn’t blame his son. Some days he had difficulty believing it himself. Unfortunately, Farro had grown to face the truth: Kylen wasn’t returning. Kylen was never returning. His inner wolf whimpered sadly inside.

“Why can’t he come home?” With the simplicity of a child, Sammy waited for an easy explanation.
A sigh escaped Farro before he could pull it back. “He’s in charge of the fae now. They need him to rule.”

“We need him more. You should go get him.” Sammy tilted his head and pinned his father with a no-nonsense look. In Sammy’s world, there wasn’t anything his father couldn’t do. Farro hated to disappoint him.

“It’s not quite that easy.” Farro stood and crossed his arms over his chest. He needed every advantage he could get. Unlike the other times he’d explained Kylen’s disappearance, Sammy didn’t appear willing to drop the subject. Farro wouldn’t back down. He had absolutely no plans for retrieving the asshole that had abandoned his family with only a note. He didn’t care how bad Anthony claimed Kylen felt about leaving. Kylen had left—end of story. Farro’s inner wolf might pine from lack of his other half, but Farro’s human half was made of sterner stuff and he refused to give in to his beast.

“But he’s lost!” Sammy wailed, a screechy, high-pitched sound. Farro winced at the noise.

“What makes you think he’s lost?” This was an approach Sammy hadn’t used before, and Farro had to admit he was curious over where it was going. His son had become increasingly creative in his demands for Kylen’s return.

“You told me if I’m not where I’m supposed to be, I’m lost. Papa is supposed to be here so he must be lost too. You need to go find him.” Sammy’s big eyes shone with tears.

Farro didn’t need to go and find Kylen, he knew exactly where his mate was with every breath of his being. The presence of Kylen lived in the back reaches of his mind like a festering wound, constant and painful. Farro was now eternally connected to a man who’d abandoned his family but could never leave him entirely. Now Farro knew why Silver had appeared so ragged after Anthony had vanished. Farro had already penned a letter for Dare and Steven to accept custody of Sammy if Farro snapped under the strain of losing his soul mate. Dare loved Sammy as if the half-wolf shifter was his own, and Steven would make sure Sammy wasn’t ridiculously spoiled.

Farro turned his focus on his child again. Sammy’s eyes were bright with tears, and the grip on his bear had turned his knuckles white. Biting his bottom lip, Farro nodded.

“I’ll go talk to him,” he agreed. His wolf howled in delight at the chance to see their mate again. This could either heal Farro or destroy him entirely.

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Jennifer Wright, Totally Bound

Boo! It’s A Vampire Kind Of A Day, And Jennifer Wright Wants To Give You A Halloween Treat, No Trick!




TNA: Welcome to The Novel Approach, Jennifer, we couldn’t be happier to have you here with us today. Why don’t we start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself, a few things that make you, you?

JW: Well, I’m originally from Arizona, but now live in Wisconsin (I know, drastic change in weather, right? :P). I live in a happy home with my sweetie-pie and our two cats. I love watching movies, reading, and spending as much time with my family that I can.

What makes me, me? Simple – writing. Writing defines who I am, my passion, my center, my everything. If I couldn’t be a writer, I’d be a sullen husk without purpose or personality. Wow, too deep? Nah! I know y’all can handle it. ;) I am a writer after all – Drama is my middle name.

TNA: Have you always written M/M Romance, or is that something that came along later in your writing career?

JW: It came along later. I very much enjoyed writing M/F, but then my reading took a turn to the M/M side and I found a whole new passion! My first published book, Pavarus, actually started out as an M/F. It was hell converting it, lol! Now, everything is M/M. My first two books I wrote will stay M/F, and one day when I find time to revamp them, I hope to get them published – maybe under a pen name.

TNA: What was your first published M/M title? Do you remember the precise moment you came up with the story idea and knew you wouldn’t rest until it was told?

JW: My first published M/M title was Pavarus: Finding Home Series book 1. I hate admitting this, but I honestly can’t remember when I came up with the idea, or what inspired it. I’m constantly coming up with new books in my head all the time – it’s hard to keep track of it all.

TNA: How long have you been writing?

JW: I started writing ‘for real’ only a little over 3 years ago. I dabbled in it a little growing up, but nothing serious, just for my own personal pleasure.

TNA: Let’s chat a little bit about the Finding Home series. When you started it, did you have all the books plotted in advance, or do you just write as the characters tell you their stories? Did you know in advance how many books there’d be in the series?

JW: In the very beginning, I didn’t have everything plotted out, but about halfway through writing Pavarus, the rest of the series came to me – well, for the most part. Originally, there were only going to be 4 books, but at the very end of the first one – when writing about Eli – Keddrick and Eli’s story came rushing in. Zane’s story was supposed to be book 2, but the impatient Keddrick and Eli wouldn’t wait and demanded their story next. Thankfully it was all thought out by the time I reached out to Totally Bound.

TNA: I know that Wesley didn’t get the mating mark because he is human, but with Eli being a magical being is there a reason he didn’t get the mating mark?

JW: Actually, it’s a family mark. It’s kind of like their last name – it represents who they are. The family mark is only passed between vampires. Since Wes had a way of getting Remus’ mark by an emblem on a necklace, I wanted Eli to get ‘something’, so I was going to have Eli getting Keddrick’s family mark tattooed on, but it didn’t really fit in well to the story.

TNA: The world building in these first two novels was very detailed. How did you come up with this universe that the vampires and their enemies are living in?

JW: Uh, I don’t know. Lol! It just kinda came to me. It wasn’t like I was thinking and devising it in my head, it was more like I was watching it all be created in my mind and I just wrote down what I saw.

TNA: Which authors have been your biggest influences?

JW: J.R. Ward and J.L. Langley. Ward has a writing style that I’m flat-out envious of, and Langley has some of the best story ideas I’ve ever read. There isn’t a book by either author that I don’t absolutely LOVE.

TNA: As I said in my review of Pavarus, I am a vampire story junkie. What are some of your favorite vampire novels?

JW: J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series has to be #1. Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series has to be #2. I know neither are M/M, but I don’t actually read a whole lot of vampire books.

TNA: Will any of your couples end up having children in the future, either by surrogate or maybe magical means?

JW: Unfortunately, no. There was a moment when I was going to add an abandoned child in and have the little boy be adopted by my couple in the 4th book, but it really doesn’t seem to be fitting in right anymore, so I don’t think it’ll happen.

TNA: Do you have any favorite characters in the series? If yes, which ones and why?

JW: Zane and Larken, hands down. For Zane, I love his attitude, his hardness (stop thinking dirty there Jackie), and his true personality that is only shone when he’s with Larken. And for Larken…well, what’s not to love. ;)

TNA: Will Aliam be given another mate? I would hate to see him mourn forever while all of his friends find true love.

JW: I hate to be the bearer of bad news then, but no, he doesn’t get another mate. His heart will forever only belong to Eveen.

TNA: Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs?

JW: Ugh! I wish I could tell you about Athis Dey: Finding Home Series book 4, but I don’t want to give anything away for the 3rd book. I really set the 3rd book up as a ‘who’s Zane gonna choose?’, so revealing the main characters in the fourth book will kind of give it away. But other than my FH Series, I’m writing 5 other books.

There’s too many to talk about so I’ll just tell you about a futuristic one titled Love Me As I Am. It’s about this woman, Anna, who has all along known that deep down she’s meant to be a man. Being the future, this is actually possible where she can be transformed completely into a man. Now Rayne (once Anna) has to get Emery, his best friend and the man he’s secretly loved, to except him as a man now instead of the woman he once was.

TNA: Where can readers find you on the internet?

Blog: http://authorjenwright.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferWright
Twitter: https://twitter.com/_JenWright
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferWright
Totally Bound: https://www.totallybound.com/index.php?route=product/author/info&author_id=253
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Wright/e/B00A2I2F80/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from Airos with us?

Blurb:

Zane has everything in his life under control and in order, but can he keep it that way when a young dragon is thrown into his life?

Zane was meant to be a warrior—end of story. Though he may not have had the most pleasant life living at the coven, he still loved being there. But the steadiness of his world came to a halt all within one day’s events. A man he never saw coming has pushed the boundaries of what little normalcy he has, and learning of a secret love is just confusing him even more. Zane has never felt more torn on what he should be feeling…and for whom. Though, if he assumed having two men plaguing his every waking thought was hard enough, learning of the danger his mother is in nearly has his head spinning off into another dimension.

The leader of the Dráguns is threatening to take everything away from him, his best friend is slipping further and further away from him, and a little dragon is managing to get under his skin in more ways than one. Sorting out what he has to do, what he wants, and what’s right for him will be the biggest challenge he’s ever been faced with. Will he follow his heart or will he take the easy path…or is the easy path the right path to begin with?

Excerpt:

Larken watched the tiny snowflake drift down from the sky. He reached out and let it fall into his hand, melting the moment it touched his skin.

If it were only that easy, to simply melt away and exist no more.

“Larken?”

Larken stilled at the sound of Zane’s voice.

“There you are. What are you doing out here? It’s fucking freezing.” Zane joined him on the balcony but didn’t come up to stand next to him, instead leaning against the ledge a few feet away. “I, uh… I was wondering if we could talk.”

Larken remained silent—he had nothing to say. And even if he did, he didn’t think he’d be capable of forming the words and speaking them out loud.

“All right, I’ll talk—you listen. Can we go inside, though? It’s colder than hell out here.”

Larken made no move to go inside, he just stared at the woods and at the tiny snowflakes that were slowly gathering on the leaves of the trees.

“All right, I guess we’ll stay out here then.” There was a moment of silence and Larken could hear Zane shuffling next to him. “I imagine today came as quite a surprise for you. Even though I hated to do so, that side of my life had to remain a secret. I did it for my mother.”

His half-breed side, that’s what he came to talk about? Of course, I should have known…why else would he be here.

“You have to know, though, that keeping it from you hurt the most.”

Not nearly as much as I’m hurting now.

“There were so many times that I wanted to tell you, to share that side of my life with you.”

Only a side? But I want all of it. I would have given anything to have it…to have you.

“I hate that you had to find out this way. But I just couldn’t… Bo had been hurt, and I had to go find him.”

Larken closed his eyes as a knot formed in his chest, stealing his breath away. The dragon. Zane exposed himself for Bo. His secret was important enough to go a century and a half without telling anyone…and he gave it up for the dragon.

When Larken had left the gathering room the hurt inside him had clutched at his soul and had been slowly sucking the life out of him. The ache had consumed him and spread throughout his body, attacking every nerve and every emotion—the last bit of it tearing at his heart just then, as the man he loved spoke of another.

“Do you have nothing to say?” Zane asked, concern lacing his words.

Larken let the silence linger between them, trying to figure out in his mind how every-thing had gone so wrong. “I don’t care that you’re a half-breed,” he finally replied. It was true, he didn’t care, and it was the least of his concerns. He looked over to Zane. So many times he’d gazed into those sapphire eyes, praying that someday his friend would look at him in the same way. “Yeah, I’m a little mad that you didn’t tell me before, but it doesn’t matter.”

“Then why do you seem so upset?”

Here’s your chance, he’s asking you up front, do not cower away this time.

Larken wanted to curse at the voice inside his head. He had never cowered away before—he just knew that he’d needed to give Zane time to come around on his own.

Bullshit! The time for excuses is over—you and him are over. You let him slip away. You were weak—too scared that he’d reject you, and look where it’s gotten you.

Larken mentally shook his head, shaking away the harsh words. He wanted to argue back, deny everything, but ultimately he knew the voice was right. This was his last chance to tell Zane how he felt, but there were no words to even begin to describe his love for him.

He would just have to show him instead.

Closing the distance between them, Larken framed Zane’s face with his hands and crushed their mouths together. He put all the love he had into the kiss, handing over every ounce of his heart. He wanted to devour every inch of Zane’s mouth, but he held back, keeping the kiss passionate—not possessive. Finally, he pulled back and rested their foreheads together.

Larken brushed his thumbs across Zane’s cheeks. “Tell me you felt something,” he whispered, then placed a chaste kiss on Zane’s lips. “Tell me you felt something for me.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

TNA: Thanks again for being here with us today, Jennifer!

JW: Thanks again for having me as a guest!

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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GayRomLit, Guest Contributor

Poppy’s Post-GRL Follow up (as requested!)



Poppy’s Post-GRL Wrap Up

Well, it’s happened again. The GayRomLit retreat is over. I’m back home, snuggled up on my couch and reflecting on an amazing week. True confession: I’m really sad. I miss everyone already. I knew I would, but it’s so hard to explain what it’s like to leave behind folks you’ve bonded with on such a deep level.

So, instead of being maudlin Poppy, I thought I’d share a few special memories with you of my week in Atlanta with the amazing authors and readers of this genre. To say I broke out of my shell a little more this year would be the understatement of the century.

First up, I did as promised in my pre-GRL post and tacklehugged the lovely Lisa (goddess extraordinaire of this blog) and the amazing Rhys Ford. It was worth the trip alone for those two moments! As I expected, Rhys tried to feed me. She does not approve of my microwave dinners. LOL. As to Ms. Lisa, I can’t believe it was the first time we’d met! I feel like I’ve known her forever! (And isn’t she absolutely gorgeous???)

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There were so many new faces for me at this year’s event. Some of my favorite new friends were found in the lobby of the Melia. Just sitting around chatting…it’s really the best part of GRL (amazing parties notwithstanding).  I particularly loved getting to know the Book Addicts crew. I might have glomped onto the adorable Glenn (isn’t he so huggable?) and am working on forgiving him for never delivering my promised coffee. And Cindi, lovely lady, you are a dear with the most amazing energy I have ever encountered. Thank you for greeting me with such a lovely smile and big hug.

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Remember me saying I broke out of my shell a little bit? I have proof. Yes, that’s me, wrapped around Charlie Harding, cover model for Accidental Alpha. You have no idea how glad I am that the room is lit in red lights…because believe me when I tell you, I was redder than I’ve ever been before!

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But that’s part of the magic of GRL, isn’t it? Doing things you’ve never done before, meeting people you have only the slightest connection with and realizing you have so much more in common than you ever imagined.

A few other shout outs to new friends: those of you who shared my table at the Dine With An Author event (L.A. Witt, Eugenia Worst, Nate, K.C. Wells, Brandi, Taylor, Christian, and JoJo) thank you guys for such great conversation!

Have I mentioned how hysterical it was to ask Rick Reed and B.G. Thomas if they wanted to taste my beaver? I still giggle every time I see their faces! In my defense, it was a bag of beaver nuggets that Xara Xanakas had brought along from Texas. But oh…the look on their faces. Priceless!

To Lorelei and Madysn, who made me feel like a princess for the night of the formal, thank you! You guys helped me walk into that room with confidence I didn’t have. It means the world!

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And to my “outside lobby” friends: Jackie, Denise, Suzie (yes, I’m wearing red right now!) Michelle and all the others I’m forgetting…thank you for sharing those moments with me! For my Kelly, who is so magically delicious, and Kade, my little hush puppy, you guys are adorable. Thank you for letting me give you silly nicknames! And for Doug, a new friend who did something nice for me, even though he barely knows me. You are a doll face. Gah, I know I’m leaving out a gazillion people from this list, but you all know who you are!

Another great about GRL? Fangirling. Oh yes. I did it. To one author in particular: Eric Arvin, you are a dreamboat. Seriously. I admire you more than you can possibly imagine, and seeing you sitting in my Q&A…wow. It was amazing. Catching your eye helped me remember how incredibly brave you are, and it helped me find my own courage. Thank you for your kind words and support. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one…

So now that I’ve gushed a bit, I’d like to switch to a more serious note for a moment. Some of you know that I suffer from severe anxiety. There’s no way I could have survived the week in Atlanta without the support of my posse.  The folks in this picture…

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there are not enough words to thank them. They held my hand when I trembled walking through the crowded lobby, bodyguarded me on packed elevators, and gave me giant hugs when it got to be too much. For the posse members not pictured, well, you know who you are. Each of you gave me the strength to walk out of the hotel room with a smile on my face and my head held high.  I heard from so many people this year that they have the same issues. Folks who had a hard time leaving their rooms, who couldn’t attend some of the events, but braved it anyway. You’re all an inspiration to me. Some of you out there might think you can’t come to GRL because of similar issues. Believe me, you can. No one there will judge you. The best compliment I received the entire week was a reader who saw me at a weak moment and said they had no idea. It’s hard being vulnerable, but there are ways to make it through. You don’t want to miss this experience, even if you do have to spend time locked away in your hotel room decompressing. And if it gets to be too much, just hunt me down. Trust me, I understand.

I’ll see you all next year in Chicago—if not sooner!

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A sassy southern lady, Poppy Dennison developed an obsession with things that go bump in the night in her early years after a barn door flew off its hinges and nearly squashed her. Convinced it was a ghost trying to get her attention, she started looking for other strange and mysterious happenings around her. Not satisfied with what she found, Poppy has traveled to Greece, Malaysia and England to find inspiration for the burly bears and silver foxes that melt her butter. Her love of paranormal continues to flourish nearly thirty years later, and she writes steamy love stories about the very things that used to keep her up all night. If her childhood ghost is lucky, maybe one day she’ll give him his own happily ever after.

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Katya Harris, Storm Moon Press

My First Guest Post – Katya Harris & “Dark Menagerie”


500Okay.

*Deep breath*

I’ve never done this before, written a blog post I mean. The extent of my social networking skills is a Twitter account, where I mostly talk about what I’ve read and the insanity of my pet rats. I also have a Facebook page I barely use. To say I’m awkward when it comes to public speaking, even through the filter of the Internet, is a gross understatement, so please, bear with me.

When I was asked by the lovely people at Storm Moon Press to write a blog post to promote my story “Dominant” in the Dark Menagerie anthology, I admit I completely panicked. There might even have been undignified flailing involved. What would I write about? Would I do a good job? What if I messed it up? Would anybody even want to read what I wrote? (I hope the answer to the last question is a resounding yes. Otherwise, I’m going to have a hella short writing career.

After a while—during which I really wondered why I don’t drink—my heart rate finally calmed down, and I had an idea.

The main character in “Dominant” is Kade Walker, a man who struggles to live after his life is ripped apart by a werewolf attack. Now, like the monster that left him for dead, Kade has become a bitter and lonely man who believes that his life is effectively over. Afraid of what he is, Kade has abandoned his family and friends and walked away from his future. He simply exists, struggling to control the animal that lives inside him. Then, into his world walks Jonas Forbeck, another werewolf who offers Kade something he never even knew existed or that he needed: a pack.

To a werewolf—at least my werewolves—pack is a family. Essentially, they are a home, a place to belong. The need, the search, for such acceptance is an idea that crops up a lot in my writing, probably because, for a lot of reasons, I never really had that growing up. It wasn’t until I became an adult and had a family of my own that I finally felt like I was comfortable enough to be completely myself.

It’s been on mind a lot lately, what with the controversy of the plague of misogynistic internet troll attacks and Russia’s heinous attitude towards their LGBT community. Acceptance seems to be in such short supply, and for no good reason that I—or I daresay, any sane person—can see. It is criminal that such backwards opinions born of a willful hate are allowed to fester in the world, a crime against the very spirit of that which makes us human.

In “Dominant”, the only person that persecutes Kade is himself, because he cannot see anything good in his new nature. Like any bigot or misogynist, all he can see are differences and not the similarities. In his case, all he sees is what he is and what he once was. He cannot see the man for the monster he perceives himself to be. Luckily, he has Jonas to show him the way. In the real world, I can only hope that those who persist in intolerance be shown a better way, and I shall do my part by being kind to those who are different, to accept people as they are. I hope someone else does the same for me.

I sound preachy, I know, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded of things that we as individuals might take for granted. To make up for it here is the beginning of “Dominant”. I hope everyone enjoys my story and the rest of the works in the Dark Menagerie anthology!

***

As soon as he walked into the bar, I knew what he was. Even over the sour smells of stale alcohol, cigarette smoke, assorted body odors and the heavy reek of greasy food, I could smell him. The freshness of the wind, the sweet astringency of evergreen, a hint of warm fur, all of it threaded together with the neck-ruffling musk of a wild thing. Familiar, even though I had never seen him before in my life. The burger fell from my nerveless hands, bouncing and falling apart on my plate.

Deep inside me, in the place I let no one ever see, the wolf pricked up its ears and growled.

The man’s face swung toward me, his eyes clashing with mine.

The shock of it reverberated through me, a blow that made every hair on the back of my neck lift in primal warning. Even across the dimly lit room, I could see the flash of fire that danced across the surface of his eyes. A flash I knew mirrored the one captured in my own gaze.

Whoever he was, he was like me and since the only werewolf I had ever encountered was the monster that had tried to kill me, that wasn’t good.

***

SMP_badgeIf you want to find out what happens next, go buy the Dark Menagerie anthology, and if you like my story (or even this blog post) come follow me on Twitter @Katya_Harris. I do say some funny things every now and again.

Thank you for having me on The Novel Approach! I hope it wasn’t too bad for my first time!

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Brita Addams, Guest Blogger, Guest Contributor

There’s A New Book Coming In The Tarnished Series, And Brita Addams Is Here To Tell You All About It





Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent: A story of guts and glamor in the Golden Age of Hollywood – not a romance.

When I started writing the second book in the Tarnished series, I created a character who was only intended to have a walk-on part, as a mocking antagonist. Frankie Monetti started out as a smalltime hood in Los Angeles.

Tarnished Soul was intended as the story of Detective Owen “Mac” McGregor and Grayson Adler and I had the whole thing planned out. Then, overnight, Frankie took on a life of his own. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a character speak louder or more emphatically than Frankie. “This is my story,” he said, over and over, until I relented and revised my entire plan.

In the 1930s and ‘40s, the mob had a foothold in Los Angeles, their grasp tight on the city and on the movie industry. They controlled the unions, gambling, prostitution, and booze after Prohibition ended in 1933. It is against this backdrop that I set the story. Frankie turned from a smalltime hood in New York, to a crime boss in Los Angeles, sent by the Family to take over the fertile territory for the New York syndicate.

In reality, Mickey Cohen ran the city, aided by the infamous Bugsy Segal, the man some say “invented” Las Vegas. I’ve chosen not to include these iconic names in the story, but I instead created my own insular world. However, a story like this isn’t one I created out of whole cloth. I couldn’t build the world Frankie and Gent live in without knowing that period in history. Though Tarnished Souls: Frankie & Gent is a 25k novella, it still required a tremendous amount of research. The readers expect me to get the history right.

I struggled with depicting some of the more unpleasant realities of life in the mob. As a crime boss, Frankie Monetti gives orders that might end a person’s life. As a hit man, Gent Vitali, is inured to the vagaries of “the life.” In grooming Frankie from an early age, fictional New York crime boss, Salvatore Sebastiani expected Frankie to develop the leadership skills needed to advance within the Family structure. Frankie possesses all he needs—good looks, intelligence, ambition, and charm. He also has a ruthlessness that sets him above the rest of his Mafia brothers. He makes his bones early, which pleases Sal and makes Frankie Sal’s golden boy.

At the same time, Sebastiani uses Gent to do all his dirty work. Gent’s a soldier for the mob. He runs numbers, makes collections, busts heads. He’s all brawn and he likes it that way. But he’s not stupid either. He uses his intelligence to his advantage, and appears as just another goombah when it suits.
Five years before Tarnished Souls begins, Sal’s men discover Frankie and Gent together, and the world as they know it, ends. Sal separates them, Frankie to California, and Gent stays in New York, at Sal’s beck and call. The lessons they learn in the intervening years make them the jaded men we meet as the book opens.

I struggled with how to characterize Frankie and Gent. Whether or not to have them remain true to themselves as I saw them, or to “clean them up,” sanitize them and their behavior for the sake of the story and reader sensitivity. I chose the first option, and the result is a gritty story of mob life, over the course of a tense three days.

These guys say unflattering things that, if readers allow, could offend some modern day sensibilities. I hope readers will understand the life I portray and within that context, understand I am not trying to offend. Rather, I hope open up the world Frankie and Gent live in, so readers can see it is quite different that the one we live in today. They are different men than most of us are familiar with. They see things through a prism of skewed values and their own very narrow world.

Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent is a story of two men who live each day as though navigating a mine field. When a dinner out could mean your death. When there is always someone who wants what you have and is willing to murder you to get it.

Betrayal has consequences and Frankie and Gent handle each case true to form. People die in Tarnished Souls. There’s no remorse, no angst. They are gangsters. They do what gangsters do, and sleep well at night. That’s not saying they don’t live with guilt. They do. However, each thing they must do is just another day at the office.

I’m very careful to point out that Tarnished Souls is not a romance. In no way is it a story of the shortest way to get them into bed. Problems arise that the mobsters must eliminate in order to live another day. Sex is not something they worry about.

Yes, there is sex, but that doesn’t equate to romance. Think figurative guns-to-the-head kind of sex. Consensual, but cautious. There aren’t any schmoopy pillow whispers. There is, however, an underlying sense of caring, which is expressed in deed, not in words.

This is a different kind of story for me, but one that will fuel the next book in the Tarnished series, Tarnished Souls: Mac & Gray. Mac is Frankie’s nemesis in the first book. TSII picks up where number one ends. There will be a resolution to Frankie and Gent’s story, as Mac and Gray’s story dovetails inexorably into Frankie and Gent’s.

I am going to do TSII differently, as we wind up the case that Mac can’t forget, one that has stolen his career, his relationship, and his view of self. There will be multiple points of view as we explore the lives of four men, and how events conspire to bring about a day of reckoning that will change those lives beyond recognition.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey, starting with Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent. To whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt from Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent, available for Pre-Order now at Dreamspinner Press.

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Monday, July 9, 1934

The early part of the evening turned out to be a real lulu. The wrap party for Cullen Reilly and company filled Suede to capacity. Reilly had just finished a picture for MGM and wanted to blow off some steam. Often did after a long shoot, or for any reason at all. Frankie Monetti’s best customer for the restaurant, bar, and not-so-secret activities on the top floor of the club. Reilly ordered up four muscular humps to keep him occupied while the party thrummed downstairs.

The district attorney’s bet with the mayor about who could win more at the craps table made for some swell action in the gambling room. Suede’s main floor filled with the curious, while both DA Fitts and the mayor peeled off C-notes as though they’d printed them in their basements. In the end, neither won as much as the house. A good night for Monetti’s lone legit venture.

At two fifteen, the party broke up, but not before Frankie did some serious ogling. From his usual booth, he watched the pretty boys sway and paw each other. He feasted eyes on the young bucks, who were only too happy to have their local mobster watch them fuck each other insensible.

Duke, his number one, drove him and a few of the boys home. Frankie always kept four close, just in case.

“You fellas get some sleep.” Duke, Fat Artie, Wild Eye, and Johnny went to their wing, while Frankie unlocked the door of his Holmby Hills mansion.

The night quiet, Frankie leaned against one of the fluted white columns under the portico and stared up at the fat moon, his senses dulled but not nearly enough, despite his being bent. As the clock in the foyer chimed three, he gave a fleeting thought to waking Tommy, his houseboy. “All good boys should be in bed.” He chuckled. “With me.”

Slivers of moonlight slipped into the breach as Frankie stepped over the threshold, into his foyer, then slid the bolt into place. For a few hours, no work, no orders to give.

The grandfather clock ticked overloud as moonlight glinted off the heavy pendulum. An orange glow caught his attention as he passed the middle arch that led to the living room. Through the open damask draperies, light from the streetlamp filtered in to reveal a shadowed figure, deep in the recesses of the room. Acrid cigarette smoke wafted through the still summer air.

His black onyx pinkie ring caught on his pocket as Frankie dug deep for the security of his body-warmed .38. “Who’s there?”

Another bright glow, then the sizzle of cigarette paper. “That any way to greet an old chum? I figured at least you’d remember me.”

The familiar gravelly voice lifted Frankie’s boozy haze like a movie curtain. Fear slithered down Frankie’s spine. Yeah, he remembered the Ansonia Hotel, the Turkish baths. “Gent? What are you doing here?”

“Hey, hey. Don’t need the hardware. I’m here to talk.”

“You shouldn’t be here. If Sal finds out, you know—”

“Sal sent me.”

The cock of the hammer echoed off the walls.

Frankie’s finger froze on the trigger. “Why?”

“He sent for ya. I’m here to make sure ya come in.”

The grit in Gent’s voice scraped over Frankie’s nerves. “Sent for me, huh? That doesn’t sound good.”

Frankie glanced into the empty foyer, his gun in hand.

Gent flipped on a lamp, then shifted in the corner sofa chair, his Fedora pulled down over his eyes. “T’ings don’t add up.”

“What things? He thinks I’m cheatin’ him?”

“Yeah.”

Frankie walked fully into the room, his grip still on his gun. “Like what?”

“I’m takin’ ya in. All I know is Sal wants ta talk. You have to explain.”

“Why’d he send you?”

“It’s what I do.”

“Everything’s copacetic here. Guaranteed.”

Gent shrugged. “He don’t believe it. Not bad enough, you fucked up the hit on McGregor. The one t’ing he asks you ta do, and you botch it. He ain’t happy, Frankie. Not happy at all.” Gent raised his head and tipped his Fedora’s brim back with the gun barrel. “I’m here ta clean up, then take you back. No more complicated ’an dat.”

The six-foot-four-inch Gent unfolded himself from the chair. His shadow loomed on the wall behind him—Sal’s hulking avenger.

When Gent stepped into the light, uncharacteristic fear ripped through Frankie and wrung him inside out. “Stay right there.”

“I ain’t killin’ you here and only on Sal’s word. We can keep our rods on each other, but I’m gonna do what Sal sent me to do.” Gent inclined his head, then stubbed out his snipe in the glass ashtray beside the chair.

“What’s he wanna know? Why now? Why you? I haven’t heard from you in five years. He said we ain’t s’posed to see each other. ’Member?”

Gent sighed, then tucked his gun into the chest holster. “All’s forgiven about that. Sal’s got a new bone to chew. Money and McGregor. He’s got ’em both stuck in his craw, and you gotta come get ’em out.”

“Fuck McGregor. As long as I steer clear, he’s got nothin’ to do with me.”

“Bullshit. He holds press conferences, accuses the Syndicate of shit they never thought of. Yak, yak, yak. He’s gonna clean up Los Angeles. Sooner or later, that flatfoot is gonna find somethin’ to hang on ya, and that makes Sal nervous.

After Gent sprinkled tobacco for a new cigarette, he licked the paper with a delicacy that belied his muscled bulk.

Being sent for was as harsh as it got. You go in alive and come out dead and always someone you know whacks you. No exceptions. “Why you?”

Gent scratched a thumbnail across the top of a stick match, then lit his newly rolled cigarette. “Sal respects me. I do what he says, keep my nose clean, ya know? Then he gives me more to do, trusts me.”

“You his man? He own you?”

Gent shrugged. “No one owns me. I’m just there.”

Frankie nodded. “Does he know your name?”

Gent turned his back. “I ain’t here to talk about me. I got work to do, then we take the train back to New York. That’s all there is.”

The ambivalence in Gent’s voice made him, like always, harder to figure. “So you’re here to kill McGregor?”

“Last thing before we leave. Gotta have a looksee at the books first. Get a feel for the operation.”

Frankie laughed. “What would you know about the books?”

Gent took two steps, then grabbed Frankie’s tie. “Five years is a long time. Even a dumb mook like me can learn shit in five years.”

Frankie calmly stared into Gent’s dead eyes. “I don’t doubt that, but last I heard, you’d racked up dozens of kills. When did he make you a book man?”

Gent pulled Frankie closer. “I know some shit. Learned to figure when Sal gave me the wire service to manage. Insteada breakin’ heads, I hung around and learned, top to bottom. Then I broke heads.” Gent released Frankie with a shove.

Frankie straightened his tie. “Big step. Your own operation.”

“Makes Sal a load and he likes that. I showed him he could trust me, so he figured I’d know what’s what out here.”

“Glad to hear it. I’ll have my man Nickels show you the books.”

“That or I take ’em. Either way.”

Fury rose up at Gent’s indifferent shrug.

“You changed, Frankie. You talk better, and look at your kippy digs. Just like fuckin’ Gable’s, for Chris sake. People notice ya. I see ya in the papers. Sal says drawin’ attention to yourself is bad for business.”

“Sal doesn’t understand how different living out here is. I can’t sound like a street hood from the Kitchen and chinwag with the bigwigs. To get things done, they have to respect me. I can’t talk all that goombah shit. Gotta live high, like they do. Meet ’em on their level.”

Gent shook his head. “Sal don’t like it. Thought you settled down. You don’t follow orders.”
“Fuck that! He doesn’t think killing a cop will draw attention? McGregor’s big news. Someone ices him and who knows what might happen.”

“Sal wants McGregor gone, and you lost your chance.”

“Why do I want to call attention to myself by offing the guy? That’s not good business sense.”

“There never was a cop Sally couldn’t buy.”

“Not that one. Sal doesn’t know what it’s like out here. You muscle in, but with finesse. I convinced the studios that turnin’ over thousands a month is their idea. Finesse.”

Gent stood loose and dandy while he smoked his cigarette. “Nah, I think maybe you wanna be in them movin’ pitchas.”

“You don’t know shit about my life. You’re still the same old Gent, listening to everyone’s bullshit. Maybe the organization needs some young blood at the top.”

“Sal’s had a guy out here, and he knows how you do things.”

Tired of the verbal hammering, Frankie flopped onto the sofa. “Yeah? Who is it?”

“Dunno. Word is, only Sal knows.” Gent sat down beside him. “The guy followed McGregor to Redondo Beach the same time you were s’posed to plug him. Seems McGregor spent that weekend there with a guy.”

“If he’s got someone tailing McGregor, why don’t he bump him off?”

Gent shrugged. “Not his job. Strictly hands off. Sal’s orders. He says you’re soft on the cop. That you ain’t changed any like that. McGregor was at Suede. You rump him, Frankie boy?” Gent brushed Frankie’s shoulder with an open palm. “Maybe the fuck didn’t go so well and you pissed him off? That why he’s after you?”

The silence stretched taut between them. The insult went sideways as Frankie assessed the mention of the club. “What does Sal know about Suede?”

Gent leaned forward. “Enough. Knows you have Hollywood drinkin’ your booze and movie stars and swank politicos fuckin’ each other in the fancy rooms. You have muckity-mucks in your pocket, but can’t get one cop to play ball. Sal wants his cut, is all. He don’t care if you deal cock or pussy, it’s alla same to him, but he figures you owe him for settin’ ya up so nice.”

Frankie slammed his fist on the coffee table. “He ain’t a part of that. I financed it myself. You tell him that, hear?”

Gent dragged deeply on his cigarette. “I’d like to hear you tell him that.” Gent wagged a brow. “After you killed Marino, Sal figured you’d lay low and build the organization, quiet-like. Wasn’t protection enough for ya? You made good scratch with that. Why’d you have to go and muck around with them that makes movies?”

“Sal knows too much. Is it someone in my crew?”

“Could be,” Gent said with a shrug. “But you’ll never know. Point is, Sal only trusts to a point, an’ you way over. When you set up shop someplace and don’t invite him along, he takes offense. Ain’t polite not to invite family.” Gent’s gaze never left Frankie’s. “You live or die because of him.”

Family. Frankie hadn’t thought of his in years. Hadn’t wanted to.

“With Suede set up like it is, Sal figures you haven’t reformed. He’s pullin’ you in.”

Frankie huffed. “And he sends you to do it, does he?”

“He thinks I’ve changed. Dat I don’t care about dat anymore. Difference between me and you? You never learned there’s a time and place for everythin’. By openin’ a setup like Suede, you rub it in his face. He got the message, and so will you.”

“What, you don’t like cock anymore?”

Gent licked his lips. “Never said that, but I learned to hide it. After what happened with you, I figured it all out. I stay alive ’cause I keep it to myself and a few parties who don’t dare talk.

It’s best. Never know who you can trust.”

“Come on. I know you. You can’t live without it. What good does it do to act like you can?”

Gent shook his head. “Keeps my fuckin’ head on my shoulders, that’s what. Look, Sal’s pissed and he wants to deal with you. Nothin’ to do wit’ me. I clean up, then I bring you in.”

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Are you coming to GRL? I’d love to meet you or renew old acquaintances. See you there.

You can also find me online at any of these places:

Email address: Brita@britaaddams.com
Website /Blog
Twitter: @britaaddams
Facebook
Fan Page
Goodreads Page
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