A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, The Joyful Approach

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week!



Well, folks, we’ve got another exciting and giveaway filled week ahead, as well as some great reviews to share. This is a week you’re most definitely not going to want to miss!

Included in the Joyful Approach Countdown to GayRomLit fun will be:




>> Monday: Amelia C. Gormley
>> Tuesday: Marguerite Labbe
>> Wednesday: Rick R. Reed
>> Thursday: Poppy Dennison
>> Friday: Jade Buchanan


>> We’ll also have graphic artist A.J. Corza (from GotYouCovered) here on Wednesday with her weekly Top Cover Pick.


But that’s not all! The giveaways continue on into the weekend:

>> Saturday: Santino Hassell visits on his After Midnight Blog Tour
>> Sunday: J.H. Trumble will be our guest on her Just Between Us Tour

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

We hope to see you all in the days ahead. In the meantime, Happy Reading!

Standard
Michael Taggart

And Now For Something Completely Different… And A Bit NSFW

Hold on to your e-readers, folks, because we’re taking a bit of a detour from the review business this morning, and it’s not with an author interview or giveaway either. No, when I say “completely different”, I mean it in a “this post has absolutely nothing to do with books” kind of way.

Today, we have the honor of welcoming photographer Michael Taggart to The Novel Approach. Michael’s come by for a visit to share not only a little bit about himself but also to share some of his art with us.

I hope you enjoy perusing some of the photos he’s chosen to share and will take a moment to say hello and let him know how much you appreciate what his talent.

**Note: All photos are clickable and link to the full-sized image on Michael’s Flickr page**

§§§§§§§§

Continue reading

Standard
Dreamspinner Press, Wade Kelly

We Invited Wade Kelly To Stop By And Discuss “The Cost of Loving”. And Yes, There Are Goodies Involved!

The Novel Approach is so pleased to welcome Wade as our guest today, so go grab yourself a drink, kick back in a comfy chair, and read on. Hint: Giveaway details are at the end. :)

TNA: Hi, Wade, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out with you telling us a little bit about yourself?

WK: On Twitter it says: “I’m an author of m/m romantic fiction for Dreamspinner Press. I’m sarcastic. I like snakes. I can’t spell. And I have a tendency to make people cry.” This could not be more true. I am a mother of three. I have a hard time balancing everything in my life, but it is getting easier as people in my life encourage and support me in my writing endeavors.

TNA: Was there someone who inspired and encouraged you to begin writing creatively?

WK: Lonliness. I had two small children in 2006 and while spending long hours alone with them, I began talking to myself in a sense by writing characters. I wrote 284,000 words in 8 months. It was sci-fi and is yet unpublished.

TNA: Why did you start writing M/M romance?

WK: I was inspired to write a story for a friend on how he would meet his “Prince Charming”.

TNA: You recently “came out” as a woman. This totally blew apart the mental picture I had of you. Why did you decide to do this now?

WK: I heard tales of other authors who “hid their identities” in order to sell more books. That wasn’t my intent. I did it out of a need to survive. In order to write at all, I had to be “someone else.” People assuming I was male made my secrecy easier, but it was also dishonest. The success of Jock spurred on my deep need to be honest and forthright. I “hid” to be ABLE to write, but hiding as success was looming felt wrong. As I moved into a new stage of life away from a hurtful set of people and found REAL friends, I found I no longer needed to hide. So, I came out. Then, if people liked my books, I knew it would not be because they thought I was a man.

TNA: From where did you choose the name Wade Kelly?

WK: Sliders! It was a TV show from the 90’s I think. Wade Wells. She was one of the main characters. And since she was a “she” I thought Wade would be more neutral, but it wasn’t. Oh well. And I like the name Kelly form a girl I went to school with in elementary school.

TNA: What is the perfect writing atmosphere for you?

WK: Perfect quiet. No children in the house!

TNA: Many of your characters are in their late teens and early twenties. What is it that draws you to characters in this period of their personal growth?

WK: This is the age group where I see the most despair. I draw my stories from culture. I want to bring a little hope, if I can. I use that one picture (I’m sure you’ve seen it) as my icon the most because I think the stats are alarming and sad. “40% of homeless youth are LGBT. And the #1 reason they are on the street is family rejection.” The thought pains me.

TNA: How much input do you have in the design of your book covers?

WK: Some. Paul Richmond did a great job with When Love Is Not Enough. And Enny was spectacular on The Cost of Loving. I think all the designers have to do is show it to me and I’ve been happy.

TNA: Have you ever seen a particularly sexy photograph and knew you had to write a book based on that picture? If so, which book(s)?

WK: No. I like the “inspirational” pictures but I cannot say I have seen one and wrote anything based on one.

TNA: You blog a lot about the ups and downs of the creative process and the frustrations you have had while turning The Cost of Loving from an idea to a manuscript to a hold-it-in-your hands book. How has the feedback been from your fans to you sharing so much of yourself with us?

WK: Some fans were “taken a back” by my “coming out” so to say, but most fans were very gracious. They have always been supportive and encouraging and patient. Especially waiting so long for this next book. This fact influenced my dedication in the front of the book.

TNA: In My Roommate’s a Jock? Well Crap! you destroyed some long-held stereotypes about jocks and nerds. Was this something you had planned, or did it just evolve as the story developed?

WK: Oh, I planned it. I like mixing things up.

TNA: Another author recently began the third installment of a popular series and as he started writing, he said, “Man, I’ve missed you guys.” Did you feel that way about Matt and Darian in between <iWhen Love is Not Enough and The Cost of Loving?

WK: Yes and No. The Cost of Loving took 2 years of editing. I don’t think it was ever off my table. I’ve been plugging away at it forever. It was more like “finally,” sigh.

TNA: How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?

WK: Quirky and acquired. I often think I am only laughing at myself and others think my sense of humor is stupid.

TNA: If you could sit down to dinner with one person, past or present, who would it be and what’s the one question you’d love to ask?

WK: Lol. I have no clue. Maybe Sir Elton John. He is famous, but wasn’t always so. And he’s gay, which was not always something he could probably deal with. I guess I would ask him how he handled being gay in a time when that wasn’t accepted and grasp for his dream while being persecuted? Assuming he underwent persecution in the early years.

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

WK: Names Can Never Hurt Me. It is about stereotypes and bullying. And like Jock, I mix it up and try something different with the stereotyping. Stay tuned. It is at 59,000 words and I hope to finish it before GRL in October. I also submitted a short story to Dreamspinner for the Advent Calendar in December called Last Minute Shopping.

TNA: Where can readers find you on the internet?

WK: http://www.writerwadekelly.com , also on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, and blogspot.

TNA: Would you like share an excerpt from The Cost of Loving with us?

Excerpt:

Prologue

I feel him enter my body and everything else drains away. I’m no longer me. I become the pliable embodiment of orgasmic rapture when he sinks impossibly deep inside and touches those spots that never knew pleasure before. His titillating touch transforms me into a wanton beast of insatiable lust, and I’ve never felt as ravenous as I do in his arms.

It frightens me—this unquenchable desire. What will I become when the thunderous throes of gratification end and I’m simply left with a hollow heart?

I have no answer.

Chapter 1

September 28, 2010

Teetering on the verge of an anxiety attack, Matthias Dixon drove to work with his brain on autopilot. His nerves were shot—not because his best friend, Jimmy, affectionately known as “Jamie,” died last week; not because he came out to his entire church congregation and faced possible excommunication; not because he feared confrontation from his family; and certainly not because he didn’t want to be gay. Matt drove to the fire station Tuesday morning practically hyperventilating and shaking in his skin because he had to step back into his everyday routine and leave one very important piece of himself at home in his bed: Darian Weston.

Inexplicably, Matt could not function without holding Darian.

What the fuck is wrong with me? Matt thought for the thousandth time.

He’d only just met Darian last Wednesday. Any sane person would not become attached to another person so quickly… would they? Maybe that was the reason. Matt was insane! He could believe it. It had been an extremely difficult week, full of high emotion and stress. Watching as Jamie’s casket was lowered into the ground almost did him in. That is, until he saw Darian completely break down.

Matt had been standing there drowning in his own sorrow as the pastor spoke a few last words but when Darian crumpled to the earth sobbing, Matt felt his inner Legolas—his champion—take over. He couldn’t let Darian suffer alone. He had to go to him and comfort him—protect him. Darian’s heart was broken. Jamie would want Matt to take care of him.

Matt could easily rationalize his actions with the facts: (1) Darian had been Jamie’s fiancé; (2) Jamie had loved Darian; (3) Matt had been Jamie’s best friend; and (4) Darian was Matt’s last physical link to Jamie. Conclusion: Matt needed to care for Darian.
The only complication was sex.

Matt had had sex with Darian. Lots of sex! Darian was like a drug, and Matt’s senses craved more with every touch. Matt knew it was wrong to swoop in on Jamie’s territory so soon after his death, but it had happened accidentally. At least he kept telling himself that. The first few times could be attributed to bad judgment, but the last few… several… several… times could not be blown off as “accidental”. Even after Matt knew who Darian was, he still went back for more and unabashedly fucked him without restraint.

As he drove to work, Matt tried to clear his mind. Who was he kidding? He was intoxicated by a living opiate, and there was no twelve-step program to cure him.

Staind came on the radio, and Matt sang along. When the chorus played, he got the eerie impression the song was written for him. “I can’t live without, all I think about, all I want is you….”

It was all so true.

For the second time in his life, Matt’s hands shook. He turned the corner onto Main Street and thought back to the day he had heard of Jamie’s death, and his hands quaked uncontrollably for several minutes. He wasn’t able to control his nerves then, and now it was happening again only for different reasons. At the red light, he groped under the seat for the crumpled brown bag he remembered from three weeks ago. He inhaled the stench of greasy burgers in a desperate attempt to control his breathing. When the light turned green, he flung the useless bag to the floor. He didn’t need a fucking bag! He couldn’t breathe because he missed Darian’s scent. He couldn’t think because he missed Darian’s voice. Even the steering wheel felt unbearably ridged because his fingers craved Darian’s smooth skin.

§§§§§§§

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all our nosy questions, Wade, and also for sharing that excerpt with us!

Now, let’s talk contest, shall we? Wade is offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an E-copy of either When Love is not Enough or The Cost of Loving, and entering this giveaway couldn’t be simpler!

All you have to do is leave a comment right here on this post by 11:59pm Pacific time on Saturday, August 17, 2013. and ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing, you’re automatically entered to win! The winner will be drawn on Sunday, August 18th via Random.org and notified via email for prize delivery.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone, and best of luck to you all!

§§§§§§§

A six-year downward spiral into a world of lies and deception leads to the end of one man’s life when self-discovery crosses the line between being the perfect son or following his heart. 



Jimmy Miller never intended to lead a double life starting the day he fell in love with Darian, but his parents’ divorce, fighting in school, and constantly keeping secrets for his closeted best friend and protector, Matt, force his hand. Jimmy finds the demands too great to withstand and ends it all prematurely, leaving behind an angry best friend and a shattered lover. 



Matt and Darian cling to one another in the aftermath of their loss, forging a new friendship immediately tested by the truths of their relationships with Jimmy that are hidden in the pages of Jimmy’s journals. Will Matt and Darian discover what truly happened to their friend? And will this tragedy birth something beautiful between them as they learn the balance between life, family, and friendship when love is simply not enough?


Matt Dixon, a young firefighter, is the golden child of his family, and he never dreamed that coming out would challenge more than the way his church sees him. 



For years, Matt has led a double life hoping to avoid ridicule. When a self-righteous pastor’s statements provoke him to defend his recently deceased best friend’s honor and subsequently out himself, he suffers the brutal aftermath of his revelation. Everyone in his life, including his family and his new lover, Darian, must deal with the ramifications as Matt struggles to come to terms with guilt, shame, and his very belief in God. 



Darian Weston lost his fiancé when Jamie took his life, and his feelings for Matt added guilt to his burden of grief. Confused and lonely, Darian clings to Matt despite his inner strife. But small-town realities keep intruding, and if Matt and Darian hope to make a life together, they must first take a stand for what they believe in, even if they fear the cost.

Standard
GoDeeperPress

Ready To Rumble? “Huddle” Brings The Sexy And The Sporty!




Huddle wasn’t planned to be an M/M anthology. At Go Deeper Press, we focus on all sexualities, and we’re known to publish anthologies that offer a little bit of everything for a little bit of everyone. That was my intention with this collection, with the only qualifier being that it would fall under the “queer” umbrella. And, as we know, that’s a pretty big umbrella.

I haven’t read much M/M erotica. Isn’t that a terrible thing for an anthology editor to say? “Oh, I haven’t read a whole lot of that, but I’d like you to consider buying the book I edited.” This was a concern, actually, as I waded through all the submissions for Huddle, and I found myself leaning toward the stories that only featured male characters. It was all I could think: “What would the hardcore fans of M/M erotica think of this?”

But then I got over it—not what you’d expect in an M/M anthology from Go Deeper Press (this is, in fact, incredibly important to us), but these insecurities of mine, thinking that I couldn’t pull it off for some reason? If I may, I know a good story when I see it. I can identify desire, lust, and longing, and I know when an author is comfortable enough in his or her world—in his or her sex scenes—to really feel on the page, to paint a sexy, steamy scenario or the quickest, most tantalizing moment that is loaded with so much heat that it may stay with you forever.

Plus, hot sex is hot sex, and this has little to do with the body parts being used.

So now, I’m proud to announce, we have Huddle: five stories from Dario Dalla Lasta, Benji Bright, Theophilia St. Claire, Tamsin Flowers, and Christopher Stoddard about sexy, sporty male characters doing very manly things with their man parts, and I couldn’t be happier. I know I’m biased, but I’ve got to say: It is a rollicking good time. Go Deeper Press and I hope you think so, too, and very much welcome your feedback.

Huddle is available from GoDeeperPress and all your favorite e-book retailers on Monday, 5 August 2013. Please feel free to get in touch with me at angela@godeeperpress.com.

Angela Tavares

Standard
Anne Tenino, Riptide Publishing

Well, It’s That Time Again – Anne Tenino Blog Tour Time!! Woooot!!

This tour is in celebration of my July 22 release from Riptide, Sweet Young Thang. This book is the third (but not the last) in my Theta Alpha Gamma series. As is usual for the blog tour, I’ll be giving something away, but what’s unusual (for me) is that this year, what I’m giving away is a mystery. To me. In other words, I’m going to offer the winner their choice of a number of items, like signed copies of my print books, or possibly a crocheted to order phallus, or even a different handmade item—I have a few things in mind . . .

So, how do you win? Well, it’s simpler this year. There will be one question and one question only about Sweet Young Thang, but you have to find the question somewhere on this tour. I’ll be announcing just before the tour where each post will be, so make sure you check in if you want to win.

Okay, enough housekeeping, on with the tour!

* * *

Eric Doing What He Does

I never planned on writing about firefighters or paramedics. In fact, I specifically planned on not writing about them. For me, the reality of emergency services and the fiction of it are different, and something I wasn’t interested in tackling. Yet somehow, I ended up making Eric, one of the main characters in Sweet Young Thang, a firefighter paramedic.

I was a wildland firefighter for seven seasons. Wildfires are sometimes different than forest fires, and a lot different than structural fires. I worked with and went on calls with many rural and municipal fire departments, was stationed in regular fire stations, and dated my share of emergency services workers. Then I married a paramedic (hereafter called the Husband).

At this point in my life, firefighters and paramedics aren’t that interesting to me in general. I’ve noticed I’m in the minority, there.

The Husband used to have some friends (which presumably he still has, but we can’t seem to find them) who worked for an insurance company. They had boring jobs, like entering data about new subscribers, or accident claim stuff. The Husband was thought by his friends to have an interesting job—possibly made doubly interesting by the fact that they dealt peripherally with emergency incidents, but in a very removed, data-entry-in-a-cubicle kind of way.

One night he went to a party at the house of a couple of these guys, and most of the people at the party also had data-entry jobs at the insurance company. A bunch of them (who were fairly well drunk) cornered the Husband in a dead-end hallway, and started pestering him. “What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever seen?”

The husband was fairly drunk himself, and after some persuasion he told them a story. He got to the end, “ . . . and then I pulled her shoe off, but her foot came with it!” and started laughing.

To him (and to me, I confess) that’s funny. Gallows humor. But for those people at the party, who stared at him in horror, it was a bit too much reality, and not in keeping with their romantic, heroic vision of the job.

I want to be clear, the people who do these jobs do incredibly heroic things, but most of the time, what they mostly seem to do is . . . wash rigs. Sure, in some areas paramedics run their asses off, and some fire companies are busier than others, but the majority of emergency calls are “B.S.” calls. Frequent flyers, hypochondriacs, fakers, old and/or very ill people CTD (circling the drain) and of course the DRTs (dead right there). Not to mention some legitimately ill people who need an ambulance, but for whom a paramedic can do very little other than give them oxygen and put in a saline drip. Firefighters also have B.S. calls—false alarms, fires that are extinguished by sprinkler systems before they show up, calls for manpower that result in them directing traffic around an accident. They only rarely get to go on a really good fire, and for them that’s what it is—a “good” fire.

It’s not that firefighters and paramedics don’t understand the enormity of the tragedy that’s happening, it’s that they have to deal with it too. It affects their lives and emotions as well as the victims. It’s stressful to know someone could live or die by your actions, or to walk into a burning building, regardless of whether you’re wearing SCBA’s and turnouts or not (SCBA = self-contained breathing apparatus). These things take their toll, especially when you know you’ll have to do it again, no matter how rarely those calls are toned out.

There’s another issue that stopped me from writing them for a while—different areas of the country have different protocols and laws, which affect how they treat patients or set up their incident command on a fire, or even the way their stations are manned. During the writing process, I worked with a medic from the east coast, and we had a constant back and forth on the differences. I expect to hear from a few readers about those differences as well.

So, you may be wondering why I went ahead and wrote a story about the firefighter paramedic named Eric. Well, it’s because that’s what he wanted to be. I’ve given up arguing with my characters—it never ends well for me. So I let Eric do his thing, and here he is doing just that in Sweet Young Thang.

Chapter 1

“I’m probably going to die, aren’t I?”

Eric Dixon fiddled with his patient’s IV for a few seconds, collecting his thoughts. Mr. Siskin was on a fair amount of pain medicine, but his speech seemed clear. Eric met his gaze. “Do you remember what I said the problem was?”

Siskin grimaced. “Uh . . . aneurism in my abdomen, right?”

“Well, that’s what I think, but we don’t carry the equipment on the ambulance to know for sure.” Not to mention he wasn’t a doctor. Eric watched the pulsing swelling just below Siskin’s navel and could only imagine that was one thing, though. “It’s called a thoracic aortic aneurism. It means your aorta—the main artery supplying blood to your body—is in danger of rupturing. If I’m right, and that happens, you’ll bleed to death.” So fast that even if he was already in surgery and opened up, they might not be able to save him.

“How much danger?”

Eric blew out a breath. “You hear the sirens?”

Mr. Siskin nodded tightly, closing his eyes a second. Sweat beaded on his forehead.

Eric leaned forward to adjust the drip, giving his patient more medication. “We don’t always go to the hospital code three, meaning with the lights and sirens on. Only when someone’s in imminent danger of death or permanent injury.”

Mr. Siskin nodded again. Maybe he believed in the power of prayer. Eric hoped it’d work, because there was nothing he could do except keep the patient as comfortable as possible. This sort of call frustrated the crap out of him. In this case, Lincoln’s job—getting them to the fucking hospital as fast as he safely could—was the more important one.

Lincoln’s job was extra hard today, though, because the Siskins had been vacationing at their cabin up on the McKenzie River, right at the border of their ambulance service district. Eric glanced at his watch. Best-case scenario; ten more minutes to the hospital.

Crap, he should have fucking called for a helicopter. But no, it wouldn’t have been any faster. He’d had Siskin nearly ready to go when the swelling in his abdomen had started. One of those cases where even though the patient had shown signs of a heart attack, the EKG hadn’t backed the diagnosis up. Eric’d had a bad feeling, and he and Lincoln had to take the guy in anyway, so they’d been working fast.

Siskin flinched, grimacing again. Even though his eyes were closed, when Eric reached for the IV again, he said, “No.”

Eric looked down at him. “How bad is the pain? Remember the pain scale? Give me a number between one and ten—”

“I don’t care.” Mr. Siskin waved him back. “I don’t want to die while I’m stoned.” He smiled for a split second. “More stoned, I mean.”

“Gotta tell you, Mr. Siskin, in my professional opinion, you need to believe you’re going to live.” He’d seen some people who should be dead refuse to die, and he’d seen a few who had no medical reason to die go ahead and do it.

“Call me Bryson.”

“I can do only do that if you promise me you’ll live.”

Siskin’s eyes opened again and he actually grinned. Not for more than a couple of seconds, but he met Eric’s gaze and shared a moment of humor.

Humor is a good thing. Eric smiled back, trying to make it genuine.

“Okay, it’s a deal.”

You can read the rest of the chapter (and a whole lot more excerpt) at http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/sweet-young-thang-theta-alpha-gamma-3 (go to the bottom of the page and click on the “excerpt” tab). And of course, you can also buy the book there, or at any of your favorite online booksellers.

* * *

Raised on a steady media diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino rocked the mental health world when she was the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.

Anne’s husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. Her two daughters are mildly confused by Anne’s need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. They were raised to be open-minded children, however, and other than occasionally stealing Ken1’s strap-on, they let Mom do her thing without interference.

Wondering what Anne does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.

Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her site. http://annetenino.com

SYT_TourBanner

Standard
Hank Edwards, Wilde City Press

Ladies and Gentlemen, here all the way from Venom Valley–no, not really–please welcome Hank Edwards!

Thanks for having the Wilde City Press authors on your website! We’re quite a diverse group of authors, aren’t we? We seem to have hit all the major genres.

My first few books published with Wilde City Press are from my Venom Valley Series, and they land firmly in the paranormal genre. When I was planning the series, I decided I really wanted to place the story in an unusual setting, so even before the movie Cowboys & Aliens came out, I had started writing the first book, now titled Cowboys & Vampires, and set the story in the American Old West. I wanted to explore how a vampire–an old school, evil, blood-thirsty brand of vampire, not the redemption seeking good guys of today–could swoop into a small prairie town and quietly start turning its residents into vampires. I drew from the likes of the original Dracula and Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot for inspiration. I knew I wanted the classic vampire scenario–three bites to turn a person, holy items, silver, and garlic can wound or ward off, and a stake through the heart and exposure to sunlight can kill–but I also wanted a new way to combat the vampire threat.

That was when Josh Stanton popped into my head. To me Josh is the main character of the series. When Cowboys & Vampires opens we are inside Josh’s head as he’s discovering the body of someone close to him. But he’s reacting to the presence of the body in a physical way that’s much different than grief. Along with his despair over the loss of someone he loves, Josh feels a power thrumming through him, manifested by building heat. And then the body begins to move. It slowly, painfully gets to its feet and lurches toward him, hungry for flesh.

To this end, I took the classic zombie and made it more of tool for a necromancer. Josh is just discovering this power inside him, and he spends a good deal of the first book learning how to use this power to fight the growing vampire threat, for, as he and his best friend since childhood–and, to date, unrequited love interest–Dex Wells discover later on, where lead bullets cannot penetrate vampire skin and bone, zombie teeth and nails can. I had this idea that only another species of the undead, for instance a zombie, can tear into another undead creature, such as a vampire. It’s my personal twist on the “rules” of the paranormal world.

So now I had a witch, Josh Stanton, a vampire, the big bad Balthazar and his evil minions, and a handful of corpses that reanimate when Josh is near. That’s a pretty full plate for any paranormal series. Throw in the hunky, deputy best friend/love interest Dex, and I was good to go.

But then I heard a new voice as I started plotting out the book, one that was–to me, at least–very unique and fascinating. It was a woman, and as Glory whispered her background in my ear, I wrote it down as fast as I could. She was half white and half Native American and she worked in the One-Eyed Rooster, the town saloon. Glory’s father had been pure-bred Apache and fell in love with her mother, a white woman from town. They married the only way possible back then for a mixed race couple, by Native American custom, and lived outside of town where Glory was conceived, born, and raised. When Glory was very young, her father took her out into the woods and called forth a spirit guardian to act as her guardian and protect her from danger. Not long after, Glory’s father was taken by a group of men from town and hung for lying with a white woman.

Now in her early twenties, Glory lays with the men in town for money, the only work she can find. Her one and only love is her spirit guardian, Ohanzee, who can only appear to her when Glory is in danger. Because of this, Glory is quite the risk taker, as she tries to see Ohanzee as often as possible. When the vampire Balthazar begins to prowl the halls of the One-Eyed Rooster at night, hypnotizing the other girls into inviting him into their rooms, Ohanzee’s protection keeps Glory from falling under the vampire’s spell and allows her to escape.

Hot off the presses, the cover of Stakes & Spurs: Venom Valley Book Two!

As if things weren’t crowded enough in the town of Belkin’s Pass, I now had a Native American spirit to throw into the mix. But the story grew inside my head to an epic showdown between living men, protective spirits, the risen undead, and the vampire threat. I don’t think it would be as fulfilling if one of these creature types were left out, the story really works because they are all included. The characters themselves have been defined by the paranormal elements around and within them, and, should one or two of these elements suddenly be removed, they may have to learn how to be themselves in a totally different context. It’s interesting times out there in Belkin’s Pass, just on the edge of Venom Valley and not too far from the US Army post of Fort Emmerick. Very interesting times.

And always remember, where there are a few paranormal creatures, another one or two may be lurking in the shadows nearby, eager to tell tales of his own.

Here’s a blurb from the first book of the series, Cowboys & Vampires – Venom Valley Book One, now available at Wilde City Press in all major e-book formats, and at most e-book retailers. Enjoy!

Excerpt:

“Josh!” Dex knelt in front of him and grabbed his shoulders. He gave him a rough shake, but Josh could not focus. All he knew, all he could feel, was the heated rush of his blood.

Dex pulled Josh against him, hugging him against his chest. As if through a wall of rushing sound, Josh heard the crack of Dex’s Colt and felt the jump of the man’s shoulder as Dex held off the wolves. Then Dex had his hands under Josh’s arms and was dragging him across the hard packed sand and dirt to the mine entrance. Josh tried to speak, tried to warn Dex not to get any closer, but his tongue was hot and swollen behind his teeth.

Josh felt himself spin around, and then Dex sat him up against the weathered and rotting boards that covered the old mine entrance. Cool, dank air washed over him, bringing with it a hint of things left too long in the damp. The cool air chilled his fevered, sweaty skin and Josh shivered. His senses returned a little, and he watched Dex kneeling before him, protecting him, waving the burning branch at the advancing wolves as he shouted. Dex was saving his bullets, Josh knew, for when the wolves were close enough for them to feel their breath.

Soft, skittering sounds whispered out of the mine. Shuffling, crackling sounds that sent a familiar chill through him. Someone, something, was moving behind the rotting boards that covered the mine entrance. Josh slowly turned his head, the rugged, splintered surface of the board beneath catching in his sweat-damp hair.

A face with skin dry as parchment hovered just on the other side of a gap in the boards. Rotted teeth stuck up from brown gums and a milky white eye rolled to meet Josh’s gaze. The thing let out a rank gasp of air as it moaned and stuck skeletal fingers through the narrow gap, the tips brushing along Josh’s cheek.

He gave a start, the touch of the thing snapping him from his daze even as the heat in his body burned hotter. More fingers from other walking corpses reached out for him. Josh pushed away from the boards that covered the mine, letting out a shout of fear. As he watched, a number of bone thin hands gripped the edges of the boards and pulled them apart, making a path for the walking dead miners to shuffle out toward them.

Buy links:
Wilde City Press: https://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-mainstream/cowboys-vampires-venom-valley-book-one/#.UbzPGuvkB6w
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Vampires-Venom-Valley-ebook/dp/B00CQDY7OO/
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cowboysvampiresvenomvalleybookone-1194152-145.html

Standard
Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press, Guest Blogger

In Which Brita Addams Asks The Question, Do Romances Truly Need Heaps Of Conflict? – And She’s Also Offering A Giveaway!

couple having a relationship problem
Recently, I read a review for my latest release, Tarnished Gold, in which the reviewer stated that the book didn’t have enough conflict. She liked the book, gave it a great rating, but the fact that the conflict wasn’t, in her estimation, present, bothered me, because I know better.


Of course, I accepted the review with a thank you and I meant it. I also stated this:

Just a note on conflict. My take on the subject was that they lived in a time of great change and conflict. Every day they were faced with situations that affected the way they lived and worked. There was a lot of conflict, but it was the way Jack and Wyatt chose to handle it that made them what they were.

As a reader, I tend to get worn out with stories that wring it out of you with one conflict after another, often contrived for the sake of the formula. By design, I chose to have Jack and Wyatt circle the wagons so to speak, and together, work through whatever life threw at them. Real people do that, that’s the way I live my life. No particular fanfare, just dig in and work through things, which makes you a stronger person and makes your relationship stronger as well. For these characters, the way they did that suited their personalities.

This review has stayed with me, because I know my book and I know that conflict did exist in it and what that conflict was. The major conflict is that the Hollywood that first doted on its gay residents then changed mid-stream, casting gay and lesbian actors as deviant. Amidst this atmosphere, what does one do about one of the most basic of human needs—to be themselves?

The choices were few if one was to keep their dignity and integrity intact. Should they be true to themselves, or play the game as set forth by others—the powers that be?

Studios forced many an actor to marry a beard in order to hide who they really were. In the years after those depicted in Tarnished Gold, Rock Hudson fell victim to this edict, as did Rudolph Valentino, Charles Laughton, Cole Porter, even Sir Laurence Olivier. There are rumors of current day actors in such marriages, while they can only be themselves in private.

Some actors, like William Haines, refused to knuckle under to studio demands, telling Louis B. Mayer that he was already married. He and his lover, Jimmie Shields, spent 42 years together, before Billy’s death in 1973. In 1934, actor Ramon Novarro refused as well, but instead of facing the world as boldly as Billy Haines did, Ramon chose a life of seclusion. For many years, he walled himself inside his Laurel Canyon home, where, in 1968, two brothers murdered him.

The conflict these men, and so many others, felt was the internal terror of never realizing the safety and security that straight actors took and take even today, for granted. Every day they lived with the pain others expecting them to live two lives. Their lives, professional and private, were, in many cases, a charade. Even their names, for some, weren’t their own.

In Tarnished Gold, I made a deliberate decision to not follow the formulaic theme of most romance novels, that being boy meets boy, they fall in love, all is well, boom, big major conflict, they break apart, then find their way back to each other, all is well, and they live happily ever after.

This is the same formula followed by writers of TV shows, movies, and books. Sometimes, conflict is used subtly, where the character fights the conflict within. These conflicts are often set in a character’s youth, some life-changing event, but always something major.

Then we have the silly conflicts, the lack of communication types, where you find yourself screaming, “Just tell him.” Those irritate and often cause me to put the book down or shut off the movie.

Reviewers have said that there is a biographical quality to Tarnished Gold, and when I think about it, there is, though I didn’t intend it that way. I have read biographies all my life, and still do. As a reader, I am very grounded in reality.

Yes, people have difficulties and problems to overcome, but not every day and usually in varying degrees. Sometimes problems (conflicts) strengthen a relationship, if handled properly. Conflicts don’t have to be bad, they don’t have to have a horrendous outcome, they don’t have to tear asunder all people have worked for.

In my own life, when the world comes knocking, we circle the wagons, pull out the bows and arrows, and take it on from within, together. We’ve had prior divorces, deaths, loss of jobs, money problems, meddling in-laws, even the birth of a daughter with a severe physical disability, and none of it even scratched the fabric of our relationship. Quite the contrary, they made us stronger, all of it, because we had each other and the faith that together, we could conquer anything.

This is what I tried to portray in Tarnished Gold, with Jack and Wyatt. While the world gave them its best shot, Jack and Wyatt battened down the hatches and fought back, quietly, without fanfare, without revealing their pain to the world. The triumph came in the fact that they won, because no one changed them or what they meant to each other.

I don’t think a story, romance or otherwise, has to follow the formula. Often during the writing, a story takes on a life of its own, and to force elements into it for the sake of convention serves no one.

I vehemently disagree that Tarnished Gold has no conflict, and perhaps it doesn’t in the usual sense. It’s there, burbling under the surface, giving Jack and Wyatt reason to do the things they do. No big explosions, no inane misunderstandings. Just an honest relationship, built on love, set in a time when their love was considered a dirty little secret.

What do you think? Does every story have to have conflict? What about angst? Can romances survive without these two elements? What is too much? Just enough?

I’m interested in your opinions.

I’ll select someone to receive a copy of either Tarnished Gold or For Men Like Us, the winner’s choice.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by 11:59pm (Pacific Time) on Monday, June 10, 2013, and you’ll automatically be entered to win! One winner will be selected by Random.org and notified on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment. :)

To help you decide, here are the blurbs:

Here’s the blurb for Tarnished Gold:

In 1917, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a secret that his country hometown would never understand.

After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.

Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.

As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood’s decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.

Read an excerpt and purchase the Tarnished Gold ebook or print, signed by the author (if one of the first twenty sold.)

I also have For Men Like Us, which takes place during the Regency in England. You can find it at Dreamspinner Press. Just click the title to be magically transported.

Blurb for For Men Like Us:

After Preston Meacham’s lover dies trying to lend him aid at Salamanca, hopelessness becomes his only way of life. Despite his best efforts at starting again, he has no pride left, which leads him to sell himself for a pittance at a molly house. The mindless sex affords him his only respite from the horrors he witnessed.

The Napoleonic War left Benedict Wilmot haunted by the acts he was forced to commit and the torture he endured at the hands of a superior, a man who used the threat of a gruesome death to force Ben to do his bidding. Even sleep gives Ben no reprieve, for he can’t escape the destruction he caused.

When their paths cross, Ben feels an overwhelming need to protect Preston from his dangerous profession. As he explains, “The streets are dangerous for men like us.”

About Brita Addams:

Born in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. Brita’s home is a happy place, where she lives with her real-life hero, her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee.

She writes, for the most part, erotic historical romance, both het and m/m, which is an ideal fit, given her love of British and American history. Setting the tone for each historical is important. Research plays an indispensible part in the writing of any historical work, romance or otherwise. A great deal of reading and study goes into each work, to give the story the authenticity it deserves.

As a reader, Brita prefers historical works, romances and otherwise. She believes herself born in the wrong century, though she says she would find it difficult to live without air conditioning.

Brita and her husband love to travel, particularly cruises and long road trips. They completed a Civil War battlefield tour a couple of years ago, and have visited many places involved in the American Revolutionary War.

A bit of trivia – Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, like the woman’s name, and oddly, not like the famous water filter.

Please visit me at any of these online locations:

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Fan Page
Goodreads
Bookshelf
Amazon Author Page
Pinterest

Standard
Storm Moon Press

On Daydreams and Dragonriders – Please Welcome E.R. Karr & “Dracones”

We at The Novel Approach are happy to be able to play host today to author E.R. Karr, one of the contributing authors in Storm Moon Press’s newest anthology Dracones, a compilation of stories that “brings together seven stories detailing the power and majesty of a dragon’s love.” So, without further ado, take it away, E.R.!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi, all! E. R. Karr here. My story “Two in the Bush” in Dracones is my first Storm Moon Press publication – which really is only fitting, since a short story about dragons is how I became an SFF fan and writer to begin with.

I’d always loved science fiction and fantasy, long before I knew what it was – A Wrinkle in Time and The Chronicles of Narnia were some of my favorite books as a child; but I didn’t realize that these belonged to a greater genre. One of my other favorite books was an anthology of sci-fi stories that for some unknown reason had been shelved in the children’s section of my local small-town library. The first story in the collection was Anne McCaffrey’s “The Smallest Dragonboy”. I had never heard of Pern or read about dragons like these, but I loved the story; I checked out the anthology a dozen times to reread it.

Imagine my thrill the day I wandered into the library’s sci-fi section and came across an old paperback copy of Dragonflight. “Book 1 of The Dragonriders of Pern”, the cover proclaimed—not just an entire novel, but an entire series of novels, about the dragons I loved!

I must have read the original Dragonriders trilogy half a dozen times in the first year I discovered it; to this day, there are passages I can quote from memory. It was my gateway into scifi and fantasy. Lured to that most fascinating section of the library, I devoured Tolkien, Asimov, Le Guin, Adams, Card, and dozens of others. But of all the new worlds opened to me, Pern was my favorite. I was twelve, a shy, awkward, unpopular kid (and oblivious like we all are then to how everyone else was as shy, awkward, and unpopular as myself) and Pern, with its friendly dragons and their special chosen riders, was my first, best escapism. I doodled fire lizards in the margins of my school notebooks, had nightmares about Threadfall, and, of course, daydreamed about Impressing a queen dragon of my own. I didn’t have a clue how to be a cool kid, but I was sure appearing on the playground astride a fifty-foot gold dragon wouldn’t hurt my reputation any!

While I’m still a SFF fan, it’s been years since I’ve read any Pern books; my tastes have grown and changed over the years, as have the worlds I choose to escape to. (And, to be honest, I’m a little nervous about trying to go back and finding I don’t fit there anymore.) But dragons are still my favorites of the entire mythological menagerie, and for all their ferocious nature in so many stories, I can’t help but prefer more hopeful fantasies: dragons not as man’s enemy but allies and friends—or even more than that! So I was excited to hear about Dracones, and the opportunity it offered for exploring more, hmm, advanced dragon-human relations.

It was inevitable that Pern would inform my own story, though the dragons in “Two in the Bush” are worlds away from McCaffrey’s genetically engineered Thread-fighters. These dragons are on our Earth, though hidden and secret, and they are of magic, not science: immortal, immensely powerful beings almost as old as life on this planet, more easily mistaken for gods than monsters. Though Ferdie (he picked his name himself!) is the exception that proves the rule: he’s young, curious, and as fascinated by people as so many of us are with dragons, risking his power and his life in order to live in vulnerable human form. And it’s the human, not the dragon, who’s the telepath in their partnership—David happens to be psychic, which is very handy in the private eye business, but can make things complicated when it comes to personal relationships. Especially when your lover is a young dragon with limited magic and even more limited common sense.

But while Ferdie may not breathe much fire and David prefers to get around in fuel-efficient hatchbacks rather than on dragonback, in their way, they’re as closely bonded as any dragon and rider. This bond will be put to the test in “Two in the Bush”, wherein Ferdie and David discover that going camping in the woods with a dragon means you have a lot more to worry about than mosquitos, moose, or burnt marshmallows…

I hope you enjoy the story, and the rest of the anthology! (And if you ever happen to get hold of an extra fire lizard egg, or are invited to a weyr Hatching… drop me a line?)

E.R. Karr was born in Boston and raised in small-town Massachusetts, and she read The Dragonriders of Pern at an impressionable age. She has two cats, three housemates, and a computer named Rupert, upon which she is currently working on more stories doing terrible and annoying things to characters who probably don’t deserve it. She rather enjoys living in the future (though she still secretly is waiting for her gold queen to hatch). Her latest short story, “Two in the Bush”, can be found in Storm Moon Press’ Dracones anthology. Get your copy today!

Standard
Agnes Merikan, Storm Moon Press

Matthew Powers Lives To Tell His Story – A Guest Post From Agnes Merikan (Half The Writing Duo K.A. Merikan)

The moment my co-author and I decided to submit a manuscript for Storm Moon Press’s Queer Fear anthology, we knew it would touch upon the topic of conversion therapy. “Matthew Powers Lives!” may be a ghost story, but at its core is the fear of being denied the right to express the fundamental part of one’s personality that is sexuality.

Western societies have a shameful tradition of condemning atypical sexual behavior. Throughout the Middle Ages, all the way ’til the French Revolution, homosexuality was universally considered a sin and a criminal act, which in some countries was punishable by death. The first person referring to it as an illness was Auguste Ambroise Tardieu, who claimed exclusively homosexual men suffered from a form of insanity. This view was then popularized by German activists such as Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, who contributed to an explosion of scientific and pseudo-scientific theories of what caused homosexuality. The views on the topic polarized and ranged from acceptance of homosexuality as a variation of human behavior, to viewing it as a defect virtually impossible to cure, to continuous attempts to produce an effective form of therapy.

Regardless of the numerous negative outcomes of the medicalization of homosexuality we still see today, this new viewpoint left room for compassion. The 1919 German silent movie “Different from the others” told the story of a homosexual man whose life is being ruined by blackmail. The film was co-written by sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld and included educational scenes where the doctor himself explains homosexuality, dismissing the need to condemn or “cure” it. The movie ended with a meaningful sequence of a hand crossing out the paragraph that criminalized homosexual behavior from an open law book, but the plot also included a committed gay relationship, coming out, and parental reactions to their son’s sexuality. Pretty modern, if you ask me.

Unfortunately, the majority of professionals saw these matters in a completely different light. This period is most known for psychoanalytic interpretations of homosexuality, but many physicians believed that it might be caused by hormonal imbalance, or other physical defects. Those theories produced bizarre treatments such as rectal massage, or bladder washing, but some physicians went as far as castrating their patients or transplanting the testicles of heterosexual men into the homosexual men. Both castration and testosterone therapy are still being used as elements of conversion therapy, though in the less invasive form of pills.

Despite the popularity of Alfred Kinsey‘s publications and cross-cultural research that made it clear homosexuality is relatively widespread and natural, in 1952, the American Psychiatric Association included it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, contributing to the development of various forms of conversion therapy. At this time, behaviorism was all the rage, and within this movement, homosexuality was seen as an undesirable behavior that could be reconditioned, most often by aversive means.

It is reflected in the story we have written for the Queer Fear anthology. Trapped between reality and the spirit world, Matt relives the experiences of a deceased patient, going through some of the treatments he had to endure against his will. The therapy was aimed to make an association between undesirable arousal and pain, so electric shocks or nausea-inducing drugs would be used during screenings of homoerotic pictures. Later, mental health professionals also started using masturbatory reconditioning, which is exactly what it sounds like: the patient would masturbate while watching heterosexual content. Other behavioral methods of reconditioning homosexuality included visualizations and social skills training (because, apparently, gay people developed them in a wrong way). As effective as the use of behavioral principles can be in certain situations, it is a stretch to try to meddle with one of the basic human drives. Trying to interfere with someone’s sexuality isn’t much different from attempting to condition them to take dietary advice from Bear Grylls. Wouldn’t kill you, but… why would you do that to yourself?

Taunting is another thing our main character has to endure. Most of the time, it is the byproduct of power, but that isn’t always the case. An extreme example of therapy gone off the rails was the collection of methods of Edmund Bergler, who used punishments, bullying, and broke patient confidentiality. Unfortunately, humiliation and guilting are very often used by modern “homosexuality therapists”, particularly those whose views are based in religion. Patients have been reported to be forced to clean toilets with toothbrushes, bathe in icy water, or even be exorcised.

Some forms of therapy claim to be more humane. The basic idea behind reparative therapy (a program developed by Elisabeth Moberly and Joseph Nicolosi) is the need to condition a person to perform the “correct” gender role. For a male, this involves playing sports, while avoiding “effeminate” activities, such as attending the opera, and favoring male company over female (unless it’s for dating). Patients are expected to attend church and group therapy and subsequently become (hetero)sexually active and start a family. This kind of therapy was pointedly mocked in the 1999 movie “But I’m a Cheerleader”. Megan is sent into a gay rehab facility that looks as fake as its methods are ineffective. The patients wear gender-coded uniforms (blue for men, pink for women) and participate in activities associated with gender stereotypes. The whole process is finalized with a simulated sexual act performed in Adam/Eve tricots, complete with fig leaves (and an extra flower for the girls).

The main character of “Matthew Powers Lives!” is proud of his sexuality, but confronted with the hate and fear still lingering in the walls of the abandoned asylum, he experiences them in a very visceral way, up to the point where he can’t differentiate them from his own feelings. It isn’t just about mental and physical torture, there is something very personal being ripped away from him. For me, the motif of moral values determining what constitutes goodness and personal happiness is a major fear factor, because this kind of approach ends up with training or guilt-tripping people into repressing their instincts. And there isn’t anything good or natural about that.

K.A. Merikan is a joint project of Kat and Agnes Merikan, who jokingly claim to share one mind. They finish each other’s sentences and simultaneously come up with the same ideas. Their latest short story, “Matthew Powers Lives!”, can be found in Storm Moon Press’ Queer Fear anthology. Follow them on Twitter @KA_Merikan and @AgnesMerikan.

Standard
Stella Harris, Storm Moon Press

Law School, Equality & Legal Briefs by Stella Harris

The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome Stella Harris today, who’s here to talk a little bit about the new anthology from Storm Moon Press, Legal Briefs. Please read on to see what Stella has to say about her contribution to the collection, as well as seeing where the proceeds of the sales of this compilation will be donated.

Welcome, Stella!

*****************************************

LegalBriefs_500As a law school dropout I speak with, well, absolutely no authority whatsoever. That said, I’ve felt an affinity with the legal profession since my law school experience. I even worked a summer in the law library. (Sexy librarian anyone? But that’s another story…) Of course, for the most part I’m just glad I dodged the bullet of a profession that really wasn’t a good fit for me.

In my latest short story in the Legal Briefs anthology, my protagonist, Melanie, is so focused on her career that her personal life becomes non-existent. While her degree of cluelessness may seem extreme, it’s close to the all-consuming reality of law I experienced. And a big part of why I ran the other way.

The other issue is that, even today, same-sex relationships don’t always seem like an option – the possibility doesn’t even hit the radar – so if you don’t want to do what you’re friends are doing, you think maybe dating just isn’t for you at all.

Melanie tackles her problem rather adorably. And, like a lot of my story, it may seem a bit farfetched, but it also stems from reality. I’ve been the female chaperone to a strip club on more than one occasion when a gal friend wanted to check one to see how she’d feel when faced with a naked woman – up close and personal.

This, of course, is not an approach I’d recommend. Nudity alone does very little for me – and I imagine this is true for many people. I’ve got to have a spark of interest in someone before I’m particularly interested in what they’ve got under their clothes. And before you point to crushes on celebrities or models as proof against my claim, consider this: people often think they ‘know’ their favorite actor or actress from the roles they’ve played or the interviews they’ve given. I maintain it comes down to personality a great deal of the time, even if it’s just the idea of a person we hold in our head.

But, back to Melanie’s situation. She’s lucky that upon realizing she’s interested in other women, there are no significant barriers to exploring that option. She never faces homophobia in any form; she isn’t disowned by her family, no one threatens violence, and she doesn’t lose her job. Isn’t that the kind of world we’d all like to live in?

That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to be included in an anthology in support of LAMBDA Legal. I want everyone to have the freedom to love whomever they choose and to follow their heart, wherever it might lead.

I was lucky that my own coming out process was relatively painless. Sure people shouted ‘dyke’ at me when I held hands with another girl, but that’s about the worst I went through from outsiders. The hardest part, really, was being accepted by the queer community. Coming out as bisexual is tricky because you seem to make everybody unhappy! ‘Too queer for the straights and too straight for the queers’. Not to mention all the lovely folks who inform you the way you feel doesn’t exist.

Not only do I want same-sex couples to have the right to follow their hearts and their passions, I want all people to have the freedom to do what feels right. If that means same-sex or different sex, if it means multiple partners, or any other alternative relationship style – as long as it’s between consenting adults and everyone is happy, I think more love is always a good thing. To quote Wendy-O Matik, “To give love is a personal and revolutionary act.”

So, do you want to find out if Melanie finds someone she feels a spark for? Even better, want to read in steamy detail what happens if and when she does? Then I suggest you pick up a copy of Storm Moon Press’ Legal Briefs to read my story, “Study Buddy”, and all the other fantastic stories in the collection. Not only are they great reads, but you’ll be supporting LAMBDA Legal, too!

Stella Harris has loved books for as long as she can remember. Her mother was a librarian, and so Stella spent countless hours hiding and exploring among the stacks. She believes to this day that books hold all the secrets worth knowing. Her latest short story, “Study Buddy”, can be found in Storm Moon Press’ Legal Briefs anthology. Stella can also be found on her website at www.stellaharris.net or on Twitter @stellaerotica.

Standard
Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press

It’s Time For Random Acts Of Promotional Kindness

It’s that time again, the time for a visit from our friend Brita Addams, who has created a webpage on Facebook dedicated to the act of promoting the books and authors we love.

As a site dedicate to doing that very thing, we very much approve! Thanks, Brita, now take it a way.

I am often struck by how strangers comment on my Facebook page or retweet something on Twitter, and being who I am, I wonder what makes them do that. The fact that they do has given me an idea.

I’ve live next door to people for five years and have only a nodding relationship with them. Most times, I don’t speak to friends on the phone for months on end. It isn’t that I’m antisocial, but I am busy and so are they. My neighbors don’t know Brita Addams, they don’t know I write, and likely, they don’t care. When we share the same space, we smile, comment on the weather, then we go about our business as before.

I’d love to start a campaign for Random Acts of Promotional Kindness. With that, I challenge everyone who reads this to do something to remedy that solitary feeling so many of us have.

With the advent of Facebook and Twitter, the opportunities for random acts of kindness are immense. In my corner of those outlets, authors and readers interact, enabling us to get to know our readers and other authors.

In being in epublishing, the onus for promotion is on the author, for the most part, unless you have an exceptional publisher that gets out there and helps you out. There are those, Dreamspinner and Riptide to name two of the best, that go the extra mile for their authors. Nonetheless, the author shoulders a tremendous weight in getting the word out about their latest releases.

Here is what you do. When you see an author’s post about an interview or guest post, a review, or perhaps a sale, please share or retweet that post and ask your friends to do the same. It takes a moment to do but the rewards are tremendous.

I did that for an author friend recently and he sent me a message, thanking me. I smiled at the thought that he appreciated the effort and took the time to thank me. I didn’t do it for his thanks, but it was nice to get it.

Blog tours take many hours to set up and even more preparing the posts. You always want your posts fresh and new, which takes research into new topics. You don’t want the same pat answers in every interview, so you have to take time to answer questions in a new and refreshing way.

Internet chats are an iffy proposition, which is why I haven’t done them. I still have that feeling that no one would show up and I’d be talking to myself. Believe me, there is enough of that going on as it is!

Share or retweet for your favorite authors and those who might be new to you. If you see they are on a blog tour, promo their stops. You might want to stop by and leave a comment, see what they have to offer.

If your favorite publisher has a sale, spread the news. If an author has posted a great review, help them out by sharing.

Do you have a blog and would welcome guest bloggers or interviews? Reach out to authors, leave a message on the Random Acts of Promotional Kindness Facebook page. You can like our page too.

If you love books, help those who write them to spread the word. Believe me, you will incur the appreciation of authors and publishers alike.

Ready to go

Don’t forget to follow my Brita’s British Travelogue, which chronicles my trip to England, Scotland, and Wales.

As you read this post, we are away, but I’m sending back photos and stories. Share our trip of a lifetime. I’ll be chronicling our adventures, which will include many locations I’ve written about in my historicals.

Toward the end of our trip, we will visit the estate that inspired the setting for my Sapphire Club series. Not the activities, just the floor plan. :) Little did I know that I would ever have the opportunity, but it is upon us!

The first book in that series is Serenity’s Dream, and details the inner working of the infamous (if fictional) Sapphire Club.

Blurb for Serenity’s Dream – Lucien and Serenity

Serenity Damrill has returned to her husband, Lucien after a ten-year absence. She carries with her a secret that could destroy her life and possibly all that Lucien has built.

Lucien was quite happy in his life running the Sapphire Club and has no need for the frigid wife who deserted him the day after they were married.

Can Lucien teach Serenity that her fear of the marriage bed is unfounded? Will Serenity’s secret be the death knell for their marriage?

You can purchase Serenity’s Dream – Lucien and Serenity at Amazon

You can also snap up my latest releases at Dreamspinner Press.

In 1917, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a secret that his country hometown would never understand.

After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.

Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.

As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood’s decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.

Read an excerpt and purchase the Tarnished Gold ebook or print, signed by me (if one of the first twenty sold.)

I also have For Men Like Us, which takes place during the Regency in England. You can find it at Dreamspinner Press. Just click the title to be magically transported.

Blurb for For Men Like Us:

After Preston Meacham’s lover dies trying to lend him aid at Salamanca, hopelessness becomes his only way of life. Despite his best efforts at starting again, he has no pride left, which leads him to sell himself for a pittance at a molly house. The mindless sex affords him his only respite from the horrors he witnessed.

The Napoleonic War left Benedict Wilmot haunted by the acts he was forced to commit and the torture he endured at the hands of a superior, a man who used the threat of a gruesome death to force Ben to do his bidding. Even sleep gives Ben no reprieve, for he can’t escape the destruction he caused.

When their paths cross, Ben feels an overwhelming need to protect Preston from his dangerous profession. As he explains, “The streets are dangerous for men like us.”

About Brita Addams:

Born in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. Brita’s home is a happy place, where she lives with her real-life hero, her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee.

She writes, for the most part, erotic historical romance, both het and m/m, which is an ideal fit, given her love of British and American history. Setting the tone for each historical is important. Research plays an indispensible part in the writing of any historical work, romance or otherwise. A great deal of reading and study goes into each work, to give the story the authenticity it deserves.

As a reader, Brita prefers historical works, romances and otherwise. She believes herself born in the wrong century, though she says she would find it difficult to live without air conditioning.

Brita and her husband love to travel, particularly cruises and long road trips. They completed a Civil War battlefield tour a couple of years ago, and have visited many places involved in the American Revolutionary War.

A bit of trivia – Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, like the woman’s name, and oddly, not like the famous water filter.

Please visit me at any of these online locations:

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Fan Page
Goodreads
Bookshelf
Amazon Author Page
Pinterest

Standard
Alina Ray, Storm Moon Press

“Hell Bound” and Devil’s Night Anthology with Alina Ray – Welcome Alina!

Hi, everyone! Alina Ray here. Thanks to Lisa and The Novel Approach for allowing me to take over your blog to talk about my story “Hell Bound” in Devil’s Night.

I was scrolling through the anthology calls on Storm Moon Press’ website when one caught my eye. They wanted stories all about demons and devils. At first, I scrolled right past it, because I’m usually not a very dark person, and I didn’t think I would be able to write dark. But my mind never let it go; it circled around and around until it came up with an idea.

Now, I know that there are tons of different ways to write about demons. I could have gone literal; I could have gone subtle, more human. I mean, the ways to write about devils and demons are about as endless as the meaning of the word demon itself. What truly makes something a demon? I decided to take the literal approach. I decided to make my main demon a demon in Hell. One who actually works for the devil himself. I went with the interpretation of a demon that I feel most people picture when they think of a demon; red skin, dark hair, horns.

Once I decided that I wanted my story to take place in Hell, I had to decide what, exactly, would happen there. Do demons just sit around all day worshiping a devil? I wanted my demons to have a purpose. And what better purpose could they serve than punishing those souls who are sent to Hell for their misdeeds on Earth?

Enter Craig, my other main character. He was sent to Hell to atone for all of his wrongdoings, but he doesn’t know what he did. As an aside, I originally had him stand in a seemingly endless line to get into Hell, but the editor pointed out that the television show Supernatural had already done that. I haven’t seen Supernatural, so I was a bit bummed that my oh-so-clever idea had already been done. Although, looking back, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. :)

Upon his arrival into Hell, Craig is assigned to a young demon named Karawan, and then the fun begins. Karawan is determined to punish Craig and make him feel genuine remorse for what he did. The problem with this, aside from the lack of Craig’s memory, is the fact that Craig actually likes his punishments. They turn him on. This is something that Karawan hasn’t encountered before, and it flusters him. So, along with the help of his mentor, Moloch, he comes up with creative ways to deal with Craig.

On the one hand, this story was a lot of fun to write. I got to experiment with things that would really push the envelope with “real” people. Craig is already dead, so it’s not like anything I could come up to do with him would kill him again. I liked being able to let that side out of me a little bit. On the other hand, I was really surprised where my mind took me.

Some of the scenes in this short story are pretty dark; at least, I think so. But it’s Hell, so I don’t think it would have been complete without at least a little darkness. Especially with creatures whose entire existence is to punish people. Over the years, they would have had to come up with extreme ways to punish some of the more extreme cases.

One thing I did was I didn’t make Hell permanent. People are only there for the period of time it takes them to feel truly sorry for what they did. Not to get too philosophical, or religious, but it never made a lot of sense to me that people were sent to Hell for all eternity for their misdeeds during their relatively short life. It seemed to me that Hell should just be a stop on their way to whatever afterlife is next. Yes, these people have to account for what they did, but should they really feel guilty for all eternity? It’s a theme I kept in mind as I wrote my story, and I hope readers don’t mind it!

Again, I want to thank Lisa and The Novel Approach for allowing me to take over this blog! I hope you enjoy reading “Hell Bound” as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Alina Ray is the proud author of two Storm Moon Press short stories. Her 1980’s tattoo-centric story “Powder” is included in the Written in Flesh, and her devilish short “Hell Bound” will release in the Devil’s Night anthology.

Standard