4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Pat Henshaw, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Blame It on the Fruitcake by Pat Henshaw

Small Gems



Title: Blame It On The Fruitcake (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015

Author: Pat Henshaw

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 36 Pages

At a Glance: Blame It on the Fruitcake is a sweet and funny love story. A perfect morsel of yummy goodness for this holiday season!

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Fruitcake is the laughingstock of the holiday season. But can it be an aphrodisiac instead? Motorcycle mechanic Sam McGuire is surprised to find a gaily wrapped box on his doorstep with a piece of fruitcake accompanying an invitation to a holiday party.

Wondering if he’ll fit in, Sam attends the party—mostly to get more of the fruitcake he falls in love with—and meets Jay Merriweather, his new neighbor. The lure of Jay’s big family and its holiday tradition of enjoying Grandma’s fruitcake hook Sam, as does the sexy man himself.

But Sam can’t imagine why handsome, college-educated Jay would want someone like him, who was raised in a children’s home and barely graduated high school. Maybe the magic of the holiday season can help two men who seem so different come together like the ingredients in a well-made fruitcake.


Review: Blame It on the Fruitcake by Pat Henshaw is another delightful story from the Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Package entitled Sleigh Ride, a swiftly moving short story that brings together what seems like polar opposites and solidifies the idea that the heart knows what it wants despite what seems like insurmountable differences.

Sam McGuire has lived most of his life knowing that he is not the kind of guy anyone would choose to love. For years, as an orphan, he watched others be snatched up into middle class happiness by beautiful people who barely gave him a second glance. Now, as a successful mechanic and shop owner, he still believes that he is hardly a catch for some well-educated college boy who cleans up way better than he ever would.

Very much a loner, he is shocked when a small package appears on his doorstep containing an amazing piece of fruitcake and an invite to his neighbor’s party. After suspiciously and grudgingly tasting the cake–after all, everyone knows fruitcake is literally scraping the bottom of the holiday treat barrel–Sam decides to attend the party…in order to get more cake! Little does he know he is about to meet a guy who will challenge all his tightly held low opinions of himself, and of his certainty that he will never be worthy of being loved.

Author Pat Henshaw is a new author for me and I can honestly say, based on this little gem of a story, I will be looking up her backlist ASAP. Sam is such a sweet guy under his gruff exterior. Everything about him, from the way in which he dresses to his rough dialogue, was just so right and realistic. I honestly felt both these main characters were the perfect example of guys I’d be likely to meet in real life. There was such a genuine air about this author’s writing that made this instant attraction between Sam and Jay so understandable and believable.

Sam’s past created such a deep well of loneliness within him that it lent credibility to his automatic decisions that he would never be good enough for Jay. Jay’s admissions of feeling like he was pretending to be something he’s not allowed Sam to understand that appearance really is not all it’s cracked up to be, and it’s what lies beneath the exterior that really counts.

Blame It on the Fruitcake is a sweet and funny love story. A perfect morsel of yummy goodness for this holiday season!






You can buy Blame It on the Fruitcake here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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All Romance eBooks

Giveaways, Pat Henshaw

Interview and Giveaway: The Redesigning Max Blog Tour with Pat Henshaw

Redesigning Max Banner

Today we extend a warm welcome to author Pat Henshaw as she tours the web to promote her newest release Redesigning Max. Will Parkinson threw a few interview question Pat’s way, so enjoy their chat with each other, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win ONE of THREE Starbucks Gift Cards.

Because coffee…

Good luck!


WP: Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Pat Henshaw, author of Redesigning Max.

Hi, Pat, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Pat: Hi! I’m originally from Nebraska and have lived all over the U. S., landing here in Northern California. Now retired, I’ve held a number of jobs including theatrical costuming for the Alley Theatre in Houston, public relations for radio and television at WETA in D. C., and teaching English composition at a junior college in California.

Redesigning Max, the second of the Foothills Pride novellas, revolves around the unlikely pair of interior designer and architect Fredi Zimmer and the CEO of an outdoors equipment store and wildlife guide Max Greene. When he hires Fredi to redesign and update his Sierra Mountain mountain cabin, Max finds his life and heart undergoing a makeover too.

Not everyone in the small Stone Acres, California community is as excited about Max and Fredi getting together as the guys are. Because Max’s been in the closet so long, he not only has to convince his friends that he’s gay but he also has to convince Fredi, who keeps getting mixed signals from him.

WP: What genre is your book and what drew you to this genre?

Pat: I write contemporary gay romance mainly because I want two different groups of readers to know the possibilities of gay men falling in love. The first is gay men themselves, who haven’t traditionally been the protagonists of romances. Many of my former students who were gay wrote in their personal essays about how unlikely they were to fall in love and have marriages like their parents’. The second group of readers I want to touch are traditional romance readers, often housewives who might be uncertain about the recent decision to make gay marriage legal in all states. I think if these women are introduced to the idea of gay love and marriage in a setting they are familiar with—romance fiction—that they will come to understand and accept gay marriage more readily than they will from the rhetoric bandied about these days.

WP: How many days a week do you write?

Pat: I write everyday. Some days I write less than others, but I find I need to write all days of the week.

WP: On average, how long does it take to write a book?

Pat: My Foothills Pride series are all novellas of between 20,000 and 30,000 words. It takes me three to four months of writing, rewriting, and editing to come up with something I like and want to submit for publication.

WP: Do you have a trailer for your book? If yes, give us the link. If not, do you think you’d like to have one done at some point?

Pat: No, I don’t have a trailer, but I’m considering the idea of making one. I just wonder how many readers actually look at them. By YouTube count, m/m trailers get between a few hundred to a few thousand views. Compared to other YouTube offerings, that seems a little low. I’m wondering if it would be more worthwhile coming up with an author vlog instead.

WP: If I could be a character in a book, I would be _______?

Pat: I would be feisty, inquisitive, and lovely in an off-beat way. I’d definitely have auburn hair and tiger eyes. I would be an older, sexy, romance version of the Hardy Boys, someone who would get caught up in adventures and wasn’t afraid to fight his way out of situations that called for fists and martial arts. I’d be a great friend or sidekick.

TNA: You can find Pat Henshaw on the internet at Facebook | Goodreads | Book website | Website | Tumblr | Twitter: @phenshaw | And via E-mail


Redesigning MaxBlurb: Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene’s Hunting and Fishing, hires him to remodel his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Fredi is an out and proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes’ he remodels, and Max is just too hunky gorgeous for words.

When Max starts coming on to Fredi, the designer can’t imagine why. But he’s game to put a little spice into Max’s life, even if it’s just in the colors and fixtures he’ll use to turn Max’s dilapidated rustic cabin into a showplace. Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max’s life visually?

Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally. Coming out, he finds is the most exciting and wonderful time of his life, despite the conservative former friends who want to stop his slide into hell.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks


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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week!

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and many thanks to all of you for stopping by to take a look at what we have coming up for you in the week ahead. I’ll give you a hint: It’s a busy one and I couldn’t be happier to share all the great guests, giveaways, and reviews we have coming up with you.

Here’s what’s on tap…


Monday – Kicking off our week, we’ll have Silvia Violet with us today, and a cover reveal for her new book Unexpected Engagement

We’ll also welcome author Jeff Adams today to celebrate the audiobook release of his book Flipping for Him, narrated by the talented Jason Frazier

Tuesday – Today we’ll have Pat Henshaw stopping by for a visit on her Redesigning Max blog tour

We’ll also welcome author Cardeno C. today, with a teaser or three from the re-release of the Mates series, Wake Me Up Inside, Until Forever Comes, and In Your Eyes

Wednesday – We’ll have another Countdown to GRL 2015 guest with us today, when we welcome author Laura Harner

And, we’ll also be hosting author Heather C. Leigh today on her Resist blog tour

Thursday – The authors of MLR Press’s Storming Love: Earthquake series will be stopping in today to chat about the stories and the series

We’ll also welcome Heidi Cullinan back today with an interview on her Lonely Hearts blog tour

FridayNic Starr is our guest today to chat a bit about her new book Andrew’s Promise, book two in her Heroes series

SaturdayEthan Stone drops by today for a weekend visit on his blog tour for the re-release of Blood and Tears, the next installment in his Flesh series

Sunday – Finally, easy like Sunday morning, we’ll have author Jacob Z. Flores with us today to chat a bit about his new book Blood Tied, the second installment in his Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge series


And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Pat Henshaw, Reviewed by Janet

Review: What’s in a Name? by Pat Henshaw

Title: What’s In a Name?

Author: Pat Henshaw

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 90 Pages

At a Glance: This is an absolutely brilliant book

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it’s a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Bar rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.

Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender’s first name since he’s worn a different name tag every time Jimmy’s seen him. “Guy” Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.

While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he’s distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.


Review: This is an absolutely brilliant book. I loved it. Pat Henshaw has written a very funny novella that gave me a taste of her style and left me wanting more. Unfortunately it is her debut novella with Dreamspinner Press, so there was no backlist for me to devour ( I would have!), but it is the first of a series, and the next novella is Redesigning Max, which contracted so should be out soon.

I was completely involved in this story at the end of the first page. I am not usually a fan of first person narrative, but Jimmy’s voice was simply hilarious. I could clearly see him sitting at the bar, a drunken twink feeling sorry for himself, and I just had to keep turning the pages for more. And it continued to be fresh and funny for the whole story. The running gag throughout the book about Big Guy’s name is a purely fun device for the author to have them date and get to know each other. The different names that Jimmy comes up with each day illustrate how well they are matched emotionally, while being so opposite in appearance. They are both smart, hardworking business men, able to appreciate each other for who they truly are. Their strengths of character are established clearly for the reader to see, and to allow us to remain invested in the story.

There is talent as well as skill needed to give a reader enough information about the location or setting of a novella so we are able to picture it and have a sense of the world that the characters inhabit. Pat Henshaw does this very well indeed. The descriptions of the original coffee shop in a mall compared to that of the second location, in the Old Town area on Main St, conveys a sense of the whole town and its attitudes succinctly.

This is such a fun story; I will re-read it often. The MCs are well developed, and I loved watching them fall in love. It was quick but it felt good, and I know that I will never be bored with the humor and empathy the story is told with. Well done, Pat Henshaw, on writing an original story with lots of room for more. I look forward to the next book in the series.

You can buy What’s in a Name? here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Pat Henshaw

Interview and Giveaway: The What’s in a Name? Blog Tour With Pat Henshaw


The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome Dreamspinner Press author Pat Henshaw today, on the What’s in a Name? blog tour. Pat answered a few questions for us, and, all you coffee addicts out there ::cofffeeee::, be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget for the chance to win one of two Starbucks Gift Cards.

Good Luck! ::coffee::


TNA: Hi, Pat, welcome to The Novel Approach. We’re glad to have you here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a bit about yourself?

Pat:  Hi!  I’m happy to be here.  Career-wise, I’ve worked as a theatrical costumer, a movie reviewer, a book reviewer, a book publicist (but can’t publicize my own book for some reason), and an English composition instructor at a community college.  Travel-wise, I’ve lived on all coasts (Texas, Northern Virginia, and California) and in the middle of the U. S. (Nebraska and Colorado).  I’ve also traveled out of the country to Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Egypt, and Thailand.  Personally, I’m a wife and the mother of two daughters, and the grandmother of twins.

TNA: What has drawn you into the world of gay romance? Did you start as a reader in the genre? If so, what was the first book you read that made an impression on you, and what was it about that book that drew you in?

Pat:  I was reviewing romances for All About Romance when Amazon’s “New for You” listed a gay romance. I don’t remember what the first book was, but my thought was, why not try it?  I enjoyed it because it was fresh and new and not the plotless erotica I expected.  At the time I was burnt out on the rote Regency and contemporary romances I was reviewing, and I wondered why no one else at AAR was reviewing m/m romances.  I talked to my editor about reviewing some of them, and she agreed since AAR already had an m/m category (with very few reviews attached to it), that if I wanted to read and review them to go ahead.  Consequently, I reviewed 75 gay romances for AAR.  In addition, I was also reviewing for The Romance Reviews and Booklist at the time.  I ended up reading and reviewing 50 gay romances for TRR and 4 for Booklist.  I quit reviewing for all three groups when I started writing my own books.  You can see my reviews on the sites or go to my reviewer blog: Pat Booked.

TNA: Is there any one book you finished reading and thought, wow, I wish I’d written that? As an author, what resonated with you about the writing and storytelling?

Pat:  I reread one of two books when I’m bored, depressed, unhappy, or just need a little pick-me-up.  The first is Heidi Cullinan’s Dance with Me which has some incredibly lyric passages and describes dance in terms that makes me want to get up and tango across the room.  Dancer Laurie and former football player Ed are both athletes in their own way and their attraction just lights up the page.  The other book I read is Renae Kaye’s The Blinding Light.  The wonderful sense of humor and the loving attitude of Jake transfer from the page to my soul.  I especially enjoy the commentary of Jake’s boss at the Australian pub who compares a love affair to the Seven Dwarves.  It’s priceless. (Yes, I wish I’d written that!)

TNA: Your new book, What’s in a Name?, would you call it an opposites attract story? What is it that makes a barista and a bartender, specifically your barista and bartender, work? What’s their chemistry?

Pat: In a way it’s an opposites attract, but I prefer to think of it as an opposites find their commonalities.  No two people–men or women–are really the same when they meet, mainly because intrinsically we’re all different people.  Our educations, social status, religions, etc. might be “the same,” but we’re not because we process information uniquely.  So even though Jimmy the barista and Guy the bartender may seem like polar opposites, it’s when they discover similarities and their meshing points that they fall in love.  I think Jimmy puts it best when he describes the two of them out riding Guy’s motorcycle:  “As we took a corner and I leaned with him into the turn, I saw the instinctive move as a reflection of our relationship. We moved together as one without comment or discussion. We knew ourselves and we knew each other.”

TNA: What inspired the idea for the story? Is there a real life barista or bartender you were inspired by?

Pat:  I have no idea where the idea came from.  Since I’m a tea drinker, I relied on baristas Todd and Mark at my favorite cafe to help me out on what Jimmy would like to drink and in the sequel, what drink Jimmy would create for his friend Fredi.  I’ve spent my life observing and thinking about what I observe.  All of that spills out when I sit down to write–and I try to write every day.  I think I once called this story a riff on the Rumplestiltskin fairytale without the killing of any babies.  But I don’t think that’s what I consciously intended to do when I wrote it.

TNA: Would you like to share some information on your current WIPs and what you may having releasing in the near future?

Pat:  Oh, yes.  I’ve finished the sequel to this story, called “Redesigning Max,” in which Jimmy’s architect/designer friend Fredi meets and falls for more or less closeted outdoor outfitter and bird watcher Max.  It’s the “more or less” that’s the crux of the story–and the interaction with the fundamentalist friends of Max’s family.

I’m currently writing the third in the Foothills stories, “The Behr Facts,” about the Behr Brothers Construction Company (seen in both “What’s in a Name?” and “Redesigning Max”).  The Behrs are in deep financial difficulties and call in a handsome, charismatic CPA (is that an oxymoron?) to help find out who’s draining their assets.

Finally, I’m writing the sequel to my self-published paranormal “The Vampire’s Food Chain,” which I’ve entitled “Devil’s Food.”  The protagonist vampire, an eternal 20-year-old named Shawn, has been ordered by the gods to visit hell and make a difference there.  So far Shawn and her companion warlock Derek are finding that hell isn’t just one place.  Where is it, they ask, and what do the gods mean about a “difference”?

TNA: Where can readers find and keep up with you on the internet?

Pat:  You can find me at these places:

Facebook | Goodreads | Book website | Book reviews website


WhatsInANameBlurb – What’s in a Name?Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it’s a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Bar rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.

Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender’s first name since he’s worn a different name tag every time Jimmy’s seen him. “Guy” Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.

While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he’s distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime. 

Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Gay Fiction, Romance, Novella

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks


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Brought to you by Pride Promotions

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Tour Dates/Stops:


Molly Lolly | Inked Rainbow Reads


Hearts on Fire | Andrew Q. Gordon | Amanda C. Stone


Multitasking Mommas | Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words | The Novel Approach


Love Bytes | 3 Chicks After Dark | Bayou Book Junkie


Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews | Kristy’s Brain Food


Dawn’s Reading Nook | MM Good Book Reviews | Velvet Panic | Christy Loves 2 Read


Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings | Prism Book Alliance


Crystal’s Many ReviewersRebecca Cohen Writes

A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Giveaways

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and welcome back for another sneak peek at what we have in store for you in the week ahead–great guests, awesome giveaways, and lots more reviews.

As always, many thanks for stopping by!


MondayLane Hayes kicks off our week on The Wrong Man blog tour

Also joining us today is author Bailey Bradford on the Run With the Moon blog tour

Tuesday – In the first of two awesome cover reveals this week, and the first of two Jordans, we have Jordan L. Hawk here today unveiling the cover for Hoarfrost, book six in the Whyborne & Griffin series

Heidi Cullinan also joins us on The Devil Will Do blog tour

WednesdayIn our second cover reveal this week, we welcome Jordan Castillo Price and the unveiling of Life Is Awesome, the third and final book in the Mnevermind trilogy

We’ll also welcome Alex Beecroft today on the Trowchester blog tour

And to cap off a great day, we’ll also have Carole Cummings and Andrea Speed joining us with a Paranormal installment in DSPP’s “Genre Talk”

Thursday Pat Henshaw  drops by today on the What’s in a Name blog tour

Friday – Today we host Riptide Publishing’s Bluewater Bay Anthology blog tour

Saturday – And to close out our week, we’ll be bringing you an exclusive interview with author Charlie Cochet on the Rise & Fall blog tour


We’re looking so forward to sharing all of this great stuff with you. Until next time, happy reading!