Dreamspun Desires, M.J. O'Shea, Poppy Dennison, Shira Anthony

Interviews, Excerpts, and Giveaway: Poppy Dennison, MJ O’Shea, Shira Anthony, and Dreamspun Desires

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I’m so pleased to welcome Poppy Dennison, MJ O’Shea, and Shira Anthony today to chat about Dreamspun Desires, the newest line of genre romance from Dreamspinner Press. These three ladies were kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions about the line and, for MJ and Shira, their books.

After the interviews, there’s also a giveaway with a couple of chances to win some great prizes:

Grand Prize: A 6 month e-book subscription to Dreamspun Desires
Runner Up: MJ O’Shea’s entire ebook backlist

Just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!

And now, here are Poppy, MJ, and Shira.

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PoppyDennisonLisa: We’re so pleased to welcome Poppy Dennison to The Novel Approach today, not as an author but to chat with us about Dreamspinner Press’s new line, Dreamspun Desires.

Poppy, why don’t we start off by having you share with us what exactly it is you’re in charge of at Dreamspinner Press?

Poppy: Thanks so much, Lisa! I’m so excited to be here. I’m Dreamspinner Press’s Marketing Director. Basically, it’s my job to do lots of math. No really. There are spreadsheets of my spreadsheets! But it’s basically my job to create new ideas for Dreamspinner’s authors and turn them into reality.

Lisa: Let’s chat a little bit about this new line of genre romances coming in 2016 from Dreamspinner. First of all, how did the idea come about?

Poppy: It all started at lunch, as these things often do. In May of 2015, I attended the Romantic Times Convention and had an opportunity to have lunch with several Dreamspinner authors. We started reminiscing on the first romances we’d ever read and discovered a trend: we’d all started by reading category romances! I realized how much I missed that type of story so I basically sweet-talked the authors at the table into writing a category style romance for me. By the end of the day, word had spread and I had eighteen authors signed up to write one for me. Talk about a good day. *g*

Lisa: Would you like to tell readers what they can expect from the new line, what makes these romances different from the usual Dreamspinner publications?

Poppy: Readers can expect stories that take them back to the Harlequins they devoured in days gone by. These stories are sweet and angst free and happy endings are guaranteed! We want these books to leave a smile on your face! The difference between these titles and the regular romances Dreamspinner publishes is in their focus on the romance. These stories are a little shorter than our typical novel, and as a result, they don’t have room for any of the normal soul searching and man pain we normally see in romances. They’re sweet and focus entirely on the developing relationship.

Lisa: What advantages are there to purchasing a monthly subscription to the Dreamspun Desires line versus purchasing each book individually?

Poppy:  First, I have to say that the fact that we were able to offer these titles as part of a subscription makes me so darn happy! I remember getting those boxes of books when I was younger. Well, okay, my mom technically got them, but when she was done, I’d get to read them too! There was something about that box arriving that got me so excited! I hope our readers feel the same way about receiving their Dreamspun Desires subscription.

There are two subscription services available. I’ll start with the paperback service, as it’s the one most like the way category romances used to arrive. Each month, we’re releasing two Dreamspun Desires novels. Readers who purchase the paperback subscription will receive both paperbacks in one delivery! Basically, they’ll receive one of the titles two weeks before it’s available in ebook format! That’s not all though. Because Dreamspinner always provides our customers with a free ebook whenever they purchase a paperback, Dreamspun Desires paperback subscribers will also receive ebook copies of the titles on their release date. Talk about a great deal!

The second subscription service is ebook only. Subscribers will pay one discounted price and receive both ebooks on their release dates! Super simple!

Lisa: Will you give us a quick rundown of your contributing authors so far—at least those you’re allowed to announce publicly, and when we can expect their publications to hit the shelves?

Poppy:  Absolutely! Here is the lineup of authors through April of 2016:

January 1: The Millionaire Upstairs by M.J. O’Shea

January 15: First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony

February 1: The Stolen Suitor by Eli Easton

February 15: The Lone Rancher by Andrew Grey

March 1: Taylor Maid by Tara Lain

March 15: Trial by Fire by B.A. Tortuga

April 1:  Forgive and Forget by Charlie Cochet

April 15: Unstable Stud by Ariel Tachna

We also have upcoming releases from Nikki Bennett, Jacob Z. Flores, Ava Drake, Kate McMurray, and many, many more!

Lisa: What sort of feedback have you received from both authors and readers about the launch of the new line?

Poppy:  Honestly, this experience has been a dream come true for me. When I first approached Dreamspinner’s Executive Director Elizabeth North with the idea, I was worried she’d think I’d lost my noodle. But along with Elizabeth, everyone has been so enthusiastic about the idea! From our authors, who jumped on board to write books to our readers who have reminisced with us about how they started by reading category… everyone has been so excited! I’m giddy and can’t wait for everyone to be able to hold these books in their hands!

Lisa: What’s been the most exciting part of this process for you so far?

Poppy: Oh gosh. I’ve been so excited at every step of the process… but I think the most exciting so far has been the day the subscription service launched on our website and we were able to share all the details with our readers. Everyone was so enthusiastic and I just couldn’t stop smiling! I’m still grinning, actually.

Lisa: Let’s chat a bit about the cover art for the line. I know you and I both remember sneaking a peek at our mothers’ Harlequin Romances back in the day. How important has the cover art been in the process of maintaining a distinct look and feel for the Dreamspun Desires line? Who’s been in charge of creating most of the covers thus far?

Poppy: The cover art design was such a fun and challenging process! I knew I wanted the covers for the Dreamspun Desires books to have the same look and feel as other category romance lines, but they needed to have the Dreamspinner twist! We enlisted Paul Richmond to design the covers and he’s done a fantastic job of capturing the essence of category romance.

Lisa: One of the other things we’ve chatted about is how the Gay Romance genre’s time has really come—time for it to become a part of the mainstream lexicon of romantic fiction. How do you foresee, or at least hope, the Dreamspun Desires line might further pave the way toward that goal?

Poppy: I think, in a way, category romances are a really safe place to start for romance readers who haven’t tried gay romance before. The vast majority of romance readers have read category romances from other publishers so they know what to expect. These titles capture those classic elements but add a modern take with a gay romance twist. No matter the genre, category romances are familiar and comforting. I want for readers who have never given gay romance a try to feel inspired to give these titles a try. After all, Love Always Finds A Way! :)

Lisa: On a final note, if you were to come up with a few selling points to convince us readers that the Dreamspun Desires line are the new Must Read books of 2016, what would those be?

Poppy: I think the biggest selling point to Dreamspun Desires is that these are true romances by authors who know how to tell a great story! If you’re a fan of category romance, these titles will be perfect for you. And if you’re new to the gay romance genre, you won’t be disappointed!

Lisa: Thanks so much for taking the time to be here with us today, Poppy!

Readers, for more information on the Dreamspun Desires line, including how to order your subscription, check out the Dreamspinner Press Page today (**Deadline for January subscription is December 15, 2015**)!

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MJ O'SheaLisa: Hi, MJ, and welcome. We’re so pleased to have you here for a visit today to chat about your new book in the Dreamspun Desires line, The Millionaire Upstairs.

MJ: HI!!

Let’s start with what feels like a good first question: why did you want to be involved in this new line of genre romance? Was there a nostalgia factor there for you at all?

MJ: Honestly, they just looked like they’d be so much fun to write. I loved the idea of writing characters in a world I’d never come close to living in (my book takes place in the Hamptons among the mega-wealthy and at a New York fashion label) and focusing on the pure romance element of it – the setting, the characters, and everything else. I think everyone needs a bit of escape.

Lisa: Tell us a bit about how writing this book differed from writing your other books. Did you approach it with a different mindset than you would, say, a book that required more conflict and angst in the storyline before your couple gets their happy ending?

MJ: Yes and no! haha. There were a few things I did differently. Since these books are, by nature, shorter than the typical novel, I got to focus almost completely on the relationship between the two main characters, rather than spending a lot of time on an extended cast. That’s not to say there isn’t a cast to back them up, I couldn’t resist, but they won’t have as big of a role as they usually would in one of my books.

I also got to play a bit with the r. I’ve written rock stars and vampires before, but most of my characters have been regular guys. Somehow plunking my MC in this castle in the Hamptons with a multi-millionaire, and then on Lake Como, and at celeb filled events, it was just that one extra bit of fantasy.

Lisa: What has been the most enjoyable part of participating in the Dreamspun Desire launch for you? Do you plan on contributing more books to the line?

MJ: The whole thing so far, honestly! It’s been really cool to be a part of something both old but new to our genre, talking about it with bloggers, readers, and other authors. I love seeing how excited (and yes, nostalgic) people get when they find out about the subscription service. It’s a huge honor to be the first one out of the gate, and while I’m a little nervous (okay, a lot lol) I still can’t wait to see what people think of the first few books!

And yes, I definitely will (and have!) – I’ve already written another called Duke in Hiding which I believe will be out in the late spring/early summer with Dreamspun Desires.

Lisa: What sort of feedback are you getting from your readers in particular about the collection? Have you noticed a lot of buzz and excitement in the community about it?

MJ: People have in general seemed really excited about it!  I’ve seen a lot of people reminiscing about reading their mom and grandmother’s category romances when they were kids (I remember my grandmother keeping hers in a cloth cover that had her initials stitched on it :) ) so it’s kind of like marrying the old with the new and from what I’ve seen the readers like that.

Lisa: Let’s talk a bit more specifically about The Millionaire Upstairs. Tell us a little something about your characters and what you feel their chemistry is.

MJ: I really wanted to play with a few elements, the forbidden aspect of getting involved with the boss, the fantasy of a “normal” guy getting swept up in the world of the rich and famous, and of course one of my favorite things which is a sassy, mouthy character and the “straight” man so to speak.

Sasha is sarcastic and quippy, both in awe of the people he works with and around every day, and still not ready to take any attitude from them. Harrison is cold at first and a bit standoffish, but somehow can’t manage not to let Sasha behind his huge walls.

Lisa: Would you care to share a short excerpt with us?

MJ: Sure! I’ll put part of the first scene in here, which takes place two years before the rest of the book. Sasha is about to interview for the job he’s always wanted – working for Joanne Kingsley co-owner and Harrison Kingsley’s older sister :

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Excerpt: You’re definitely not in Kansas anymore, Sasha Sobieski.

He most assuredly wasn’t. Sasha had been in New York for a couple of years, and some days he still wasn’t used to it, but nothing hammered in the fact that he was far, far away from home like standing in the place he’d been dreaming of since he was twenty-two. The place he’d decided was his destiny.

Harrison Kingsley—only ten years old and already a force to be reckoned with in global fashion. The label was fashion forward, timeless, and unique. Gorgeous. Notoriously exclusive. Even more notorious for being hard to land a position at. There had been whispers back at school about how impossible it was to impress the hiring personnel at Harrison Kingsley, how you might as well just pack it in if that was your goal. He’d decided years ago not to listen.

Sasha hadn’t wanted anything so badly in his entire life.

Harrison Kingsley Headquarters was jaw-drop gorgeous. The 34th Street offices were everything an exclusive fashion label’s offices should be—chic, classic not trendy, and intimidating but somehow welcoming at the same time. It was light and airy but somehow colorful. Like he’d entered the mind of a fashion genius, which in a way he had.

Sasha knew he’d found his home.

He sank down onto a pale apple-green upholstered chair in the waiting area in front of a large copper reception desk. He wasn’t nervous about the interview, although by all rights he should’ve been. If Sasha thought about it for more than a few moments, about who he was there to see, then he’d probably start palpitating.

Joanne Kingsley was a big deal in the fashion industry. Big. The biggest of big. Working for her was exactly the opportunity he needed. If he got the job—no, when he got it. No negative thoughts. Working for Joanne Kingsley somehow seemed inevitable. Sasha Sobieski of Hawk’s Prairie, Kansas, and brand-new Parsons graduate, belonged with her. He felt it in his bones.

Inner pep talk aside, Sasha’s nerves kicked in when he was called into Joanne Kingsley’s office. His stomach bubbled a bit as he followed the receptionist down a hallway lined with photographs of runway shows all over the world. He clutched his ancient leather satchel and prayed to the fashion gods that he was exactly what the lovely and powerful Ms. Kingsley was looking for.

I got past all of the preliminary interviews, Sasha reminded himself. Not just anyone got to interview with Joanne Kingsley herself. He was one of probably five at most. Just that was an honor. Sasha crossed his fingers and sent the best vibes he knew how to send out into the atmosphere. I’m the right fit for the job. Joanne Kingsley will adore me. Sasha had always been a believer in good vibes. He hoped they did him proud this time.

He didn’t know exactly what to expect from the esteemed Ms. Kingsley. Sasha had seen the society pages just like everyone else, the shots of her in the front row at other designers’ shows all over the world—McQueen, Saint Laurent, Lhuillier, Elie Saab. She always looked fabulous and powerful, fashionable and just a bit unapproachable. They reached her office door. Sasha took a deep breath and made one more fervent wish before the door swished open silently.

Joanne Kingsley was perched on the corner of a large white antique desk. Her office was, for lack of another word, perfect—champagne-colored woodwork, dark teak floors, luxurious rugs, expensive antique furniture, prints of their own designers’ drawings displayed in thick gold-leafed frames on the walls. She stood and walked across the room to greet him by the door. Which was already not at all what Sasha had expected from someone like her. He nearly swallowed his tongue.

Is this actually happening?

Joanne was a good four inches taller than his own five feet six inches, her body all sexy curves and long limbs. Her face was beyond gorgeous, with high cheekbones, pale skin, and long-lashed gray eyes that tilted up on the outside. Her signature mane of fiery red hair was down for once, instead of in a chic but intimidating updo. Held from her forehead with only a gold headband, it cascaded in coppery waves across her shoulders and back. She wore one of their label’s dresses, current season, of course. It was sleeveless and rich, vibrant emerald green, nipped under her full breasts, and it flowed to the ground in casual silky rivulets. The green made her pale skin glow, and the red of her hair shimmered jewellike against it.

Joanne Kingsley looked like she belonged lounging on top of Mt. Olympus with a goblet of wine instead of among mere mortals on earth. Sasha couldn’t believe he was in the same room with her.

“Welcome. Sasha, correct?” And then she smiled, friendly and disarming.

How am I supposed to react to that?

“Yes. Sasha.” He reached out and shook her hand. He was rather shocked that his vocal chords even worked.

“You came very highly recommended from one of my favorite old professors. I’m excited to get to know you.”

Joanne walked around to her desk seat and sank gracefully into it. “Sit, please.” She gestured at the plush seat across from her. It was the same exact model as her own. None of those games of making the guest feel smaller with a shorter, less throne-like seat. Sasha liked her already.

“Thank you for having me here today. I just wanted to say I’ve been following Harrison Kingsley for years. It’s an honor to even meet you.”

Joanne Kingsley giggled. Giggled. “You know, it’s still surprising to hear people say things like that, Sasha. Thank you.”

Sasha grinned in return.

The interview went smoothly after that. Perfectly, even. “Call me Jo, please” was charming and talkative, wanted to know everything about Sasha, and was exactly the person Sasha wanted to be in ten years. Harrison Kingsley’s name might be on the clothing’s labels, he might be the one in his Hamptons castle with drawing boards, swathes of fabric, and a bunch of designer minions, but it was Joanne Kingsley who made the real decisions. Sasha wanted to do anything he could to help her with that process.

Creative director of a major fashion label. Just thinking the title made chills run up and down Sasha’s spine. It was what he wanted more than anything… someday. A boy could dream. For the time being, he’d be honored if he could merely assist one.

Joanne skimmed over his resume one more time and then let it fall shut. “One quick question. Just curious. This says you recently finished Parsons, but you’re twenty-eight. Career change?”

Sasha shook his head. “I’ve wanted to do this since I was a little kid. It took me a lot of hours waiting tables back home in Kansas to save enough to move to New York and enroll in school. It’s not a cheap city. I’m sure you know that.” Not that it had ever been a problem for the Kingsleys. According to their bio, they grew up in Harrison Kingsley’s insane castle of a house in the Hamptons, and Joanne had bought her nearly as palatial apartment on Park Avenue not long after their label took off.

“It’s not.” Joanne took a deep breath. “Listen. I probably shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to anyway. When can you start?”

“Start?” Sasha was confused for a second. And then he got it. He choked on his own breath. “Start. Hol—I mean, I can start whenever you want me to. I don’t have any prior commitments.”

Ohgodohgodohgod. She just hired me. Joanne Kingsley had just hired him. Sasha thought he might faint.

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MJ: And that’s the beginning of Sasha’s new life working for Joanne Kingsley…and eventually her brother;)

Lisa: What can we expect coming up from you next? Would you like to share some info on your current WIPs and upcoming releases?

MJ: After this book, I have one called Pawsitively in Love which features a pet salon owner and a host of furry friends (and takes place in my neighborhood, which I’ve never done before!) And then after that, my second Dreamspun book Duke in Hiding will be out…I think you can guess what that one will be about by the title.

Right now I’m working on a buddy road trip story. I can’t seem to stay away from the best friends to lovers theme…I just love it so much <3.  This one doesn’t have a definite schedule yet, but I’d assume summer/early autumn.

Lisa: Thanks so much for being here with us today, MJ. It’s been great to chat with you.

MJ: Thanks for having me stop by! I hope you enjoy the books J

Xoxo

MJ

Lisa: Find MJ O’Shea on Facebook, her Website, and sign up for her Monthly Newsletter

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MillionaireUpstairs[The]BlurbHe might be hard to work for, but he’s impossible to resist.

Sasha Sobieski has the perfect job working at legendary American fashion house Harrison Kingsley—or at least he used to. He just never thought he’d have to work for Harrison Kingsley himself. Harrison is exacting, difficult, cold, and hands-down the sexiest man Sasha has ever seen.

After years at the top, Harrison Kingsley knows what he wants, when he wants it, and exactly how he’d like it to be delivered to him. What he wants most right now? His new assistant. Sasha is mouthy, opinionated, and he drives Harrison mad. Problem is, Harrison can never tell if it’s with anger… or desire.

Buy Link: Dreamspinner Press

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Shira AnthonyLisa: Hi, Shira, and welcome. We’re so pleased to have you here for a visit today to chat about your new book in the Dreamspun Desires line, First Comes Marriage.

Let’s start with what feels like a good first question: why did you want to be involved in this new line of genre romance? Was there a nostalgia factor there for you at all?

Shira:  OMG, yes! I used to gobble up Harlequins and Silhouette romances when I was in college. And although I hated the pat endings (even worse when the heroine gave up her career to “get married”), I love the warm and fuzzy way they made me feel. So when Poppy and I were chatting at RT (Romantic Times conference) in Dallas this past spring and I mentioned that there were times I wished I could write a sweet romance instead of an angsty one, she asked me why I didn’t write one. And then she proceeded to tell me about an idea she had for a new line of category romances. I guess you could say that was the birth of Dreamspun Desires.

Lisa: Tell us a bit about how writing this book differed from writing your other books. Did you approach it with a different mindset than you would, say, a book that required more conflict and angst in the storyline before your couple gets their happy ending?

Shira:  It did take a bit of a re-set for me. I tend to write angsty romances or complex romantic fantasy stories, so the idea of a simple, sweet story was a little frightening! Before I started writing, I read an old Harlequin to remind myself of the feel of those tropey romances. There’s a real rhythm to those classic romance novels, a completely different pace than for the books I was used to writing. I tried to distill the essence of the category romance and then when I was imagining the story I wanted to write, I kept that framework in mind.

So for example, the story starts off with the two MCs “meeting cute” in the first chapter. From there, the story and the sexual tension builds and builds until finally neither MC can resist the other. Of course there are challenges in the relationship and misunderstandings. There is also character growth from both characters. But there’s no knock-down, drag-out angst of the kind readers might find in some of my other books.

Lisa: What has been the most enjoyable part of participating in the Dreamspun Desire launch for you? Do you plan on contributing more books to the line?

Shira: It’s been exciting seeing it all come together, from the early conversations to seeing the art concept for the covers (I think I squeaked when I saw it!). Then seeing how it all came together, with the subscriptions, the taglines on the books, the cute blurbs that end with a question—all of these things were so much fun!

Yes, I’m planning on submitting at least another book to the line. I’m working on a very sweet, second chance at love story that will probably be released as a Dreamspun Desires title. Writing First Comes Marriage was just so fun, I had to write another.

Lisa: What sort of feedback are you getting from your readers in particular about the collection? Have you noticed a lot of buzz and excitement in the community about it?

Shira: The feedback has been AMAZING. Truly. So many of our readers came to gay romance from heterosexual category romance that I think they’re as excited as we, the authors, are. I think many feel, as I do, that category romance has a special place in the general romance genre and that gay romance can embrace those sweet, romance-forward stories in a way that’s authentic and Twenty-First Century.

It’s funny, but for me, these books represent the kind of romance I wanted to read way back when, but couldn’t find. I really believe that while romance readers are looking for fantasy components in romance, they still want stories still grounded in some semblance of reality. But they don’t always want that reality to hit them over the head either. Sometimes we just need the warmth and hope that we take from a classic romance story.

Lisa: Let’s talk a bit more specifically about First Comes Marriage. Tell us a little something about your characters and what you feel their chemistry is.

Shira:  Jesse Donovan is a billionaire businessman who has to get married or he’ll lose control of his family’s company under the terms of his grandfather’s will. Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist who works as a barista in New York City. Theirs is a marriage of convenience, and it’s supposed to be just business. Both men genuinely enjoy each other’s company, but Jesse is New York’s most eligible “straight” bachelor and Chris is perfectly happy being single after his parent’s disastrous marriage.

For me, the friendship was first and foremost in my mind as the two men get to know each other. I wanted their sexual chemistry to grow out of that friendship and take them by surprise. Each has his own motivations for getting married, and neither expects the marriage will be anything but business. There’s lots of push and pull for the first half of the book, as each fights his attraction to the other. And when they finally do give in to their desires, it’s a revelation for both.

Lisa: Would you care to share a short excerpt with us?

Shira: Sure! This is an excerpt from Chapter Six:

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Excerpt: Now, standing in the conference room of Windview Enterprises’ corporate headquarters near South Ferry in Manhattan, one of the matching platinum bands Jesse had bought for them in his pants pocket, Chris wondered if he’d wake up from the dream. The floor-to-ceiling windows looked out over Wall Street and the East River through the forest of high-rise buildings.

“Do you, Jesse Chase Donovan, take Christopher James Valentine to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?” the judge asked.

“I do.” As Jesse slipped the ring on Chris’s finger, he met Chris’s gaze with such intensity that for an instant, Chris could almost forget the entire ceremony was a ruse to ensure the future of Windview remained firmly in Jesse’s control. Damn the man for being so attractive. Damn him for being a nice guy, because that was the worst part of it. And the part that had you agreeing.

“And do you, Christopher James Valentine, take Jesse Chase Donovan to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?”

Chris swallowed hard and prayed he didn’t look as incredibly nervous as he felt. “I do.” His hand shook as he took Jesse’s hand and put the ring on his finger.

“Congratulations, Chris and Jesse,” the judge said.

Chris caught Val’s eye for a split second, and he half expected her to urge him to kiss Jesse. But it was Jesse who took charge and blindsided Chris with a kiss.

It started sweetly enough, just Jesse’s lips against his, but instead of releasing Chris, Jesse pulled him tighter against him and pressed his tongue into his mouth. Jesse tasted fucking amazing. Chris didn’t hesitate—their tongues tangled and danced. This close, Jesse smelled good and felt even better. Chris was barely aware of slipping his hands around Jesse’s back before resting them on lean hips. He didn’t think twice as his body and Jesse’s responded in kind.

Someone giggled—Chris recognized Val’s voice—and Jesse pulled abruptly away. Their eyes met for a split second, and Chris thought he saw a mixture of desire and surprise in Jesse’s deep blue eyes. The next thing Chris knew, Val had thrown her arms around him and only his racing heart and tingling lips told him he hadn’t imagined the entire thing.

“Oh, Chris,” Val cooed. “You really did it!”

“Yeah” was the only response Chris could manage. He was still thinking about Jesse’s mouth.

“I guess I was wrong about him being straight,” she whispered mischievously.

Chris was thrilled when Terry grabbed him in a bear hug, because he had no idea how to respond to Val’s comment. He also wasn’t sure if he should be pissed off with Jesse for the show. He supposed if this was going to work, Jesse needed to make the marriage look real. Still, how difficult would it have been to warn Chris that he had that up his sleeve?

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Lisa: What can we expect coming up from you next? Would you like to share some info on your current WIPs and upcoming releases?

Shira:  I’m working on another tropey romance, this one about second chances at love. The working title is A Class Act, and it’s the story of a history professor and a Hollywood action star whose ten year marriage is about to end in divorce. I’m also working on the final installment in the Blood Trilogy, my time-traveling French vampires, entitled Blood and Eternity. I’ve also got a possible spinoff story or series based on secondary characters from my Mermen of Ea Trilogy that’s in the works.

Lisa: Thanks so much for being here with us today, Shira. It’s been great to chat with you.

Shira: Thanks so much for having me! It was a pleasure.

Lisa: Connect with Shira on Facebook, her Facebook Author Page, Twitter, and her Website

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DreamspunDesires_FirstComesMarriageFS4Blurb: When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!

Jesse’s in a pinch. To keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal: in exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million-dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?

Watch for Buy Links Coming Soon to Dreamspinner Press

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The Fine Print:

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Poppy Dennison, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Dogwood Days by Poppy Dennison

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Dogwood Days

Author: Poppy Dennison

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 129 Pages

At a Glance: With snappy dialogue, cleverly written characters, a small town warmth and a blossoming love story, Dogwood Days is a delightful journey down America’s main streets.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Jefferson Lee Davis is happy with his life in the city until his favorite uncle has a bad fall and he rushes to Holly Creek to make sure Uncle Sherman is okay. Jefferson Lee knows how to navigate small Southern town’s politics and the residents greet him with open arms. Everyone but the town’s sheriff, Zane Yarbrough, that is.

Dogwood Days, the town’s biggest festival is looming, so Jefferson has to step up and take over his uncle’s job as the town blogger, even if that puts him right in the sheriff’s path. Quirky neighbors, meddling family, and a sassy best friend all come together to make Jefferson Lee’s life in Holly Creek a full-time adventure. When he loses his job back in the city, Jefferson Lee has to start a new job search that will take him away from the town he’s learning to think of as home. Will this big city boy find sweet romance in the arms of a small town sheriff or will the allure of the city call him back?

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Review: Jefferson Lee returns to his roots in order to help his beloved uncle after an accident left him with a broken leg and concussion. While his hometown has a definite place in his heart, the small town gossip and lack of privacy tends to drag a bit on Jefferson’s nerves. However, he agrees to help his Uncle with the town blog and the upcoming dogwood festival, and begins to settle in for the short term. Little does he account for a determined Sheriff who is clearly smitten, and a town who wants nothing more than to hold onto one of its own—especially since that one is Jefferson Lee, himself.

Author Poppy Dennison is a wizard at creating a sweet little town and inhabiting it with all manner of colorful people. We are not just given Jefferson Lee to discover, but his Uncle, his best friend Clover, the local diner owner, the town Sheriff, and the list goes on and on. Each one of these characters is so delightfully written, from nosy busybodies to fiercely loyal friends, and in the midst of them all is Jefferson Lee, who takes up the mantle of his hometown with grace and ease.

At its heart, Dogwood Days is a slice of Americana, with Holly Creek being the quintessential small town that turns out to be a sweet, close-knit community waiting to lure the reader in. Inhabited by delightful people who want nothing more than one of their favored sons to settle in and make his home there once more, Holly Creek becomes a clever little side character in this tender love story. It was so easy to understand why Zane would fall for Jefferson Lee. He was part crazed, part overfed, and part romantic all rolled into one. In essence, completely lovable and just down right nice to boot.

With snappy dialogue, cleverly written characters, a small town warmth and a blossoming love story, Dogwood Days is a delightful journey down America’s main streets. Don’t be surprised if you want to stay.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

You can buy Dogwood Days here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Mary Calmes, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Poppy Dennison, Reviewed by Pia

Audio Review: Creature Feature by Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes – Narrated by Jeff Gelder

Audio Gem

Title: Creature Feature

Authors: Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Jeff Gelder

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours and 29 Minutes

At a Glance: Both Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes give us well rounded, sexy paranormal stories, and I think Jeff Gelder did a great job with the narration.

Reviewed By: Pia

Blurb: Diagnosis: Wolf by Poppy Dennison

Thanks to his good-for-nothing brother, Andrew Hughes is up to his eyeballs in debt and needs a job fast. When a nursing position opens up in Myerson, Arizona, Andrew has no choice but to take it, despite a warning about how difficult a patient Caleb DiMartino can be. Andrew can deal with a little trouble—but Caleb’s strange family, the armed guards, and the unknown cause of Caleb’s mysterious illness may be beyond his skill set.

Landslide by Mary Calmes

For three years, paranormal courier Frank Corrigan has been working for incubus demon Cael Berith. Cael knows Frank is his mate, but Frank is pretty sure Cael doesn’t even like him, never mind want to spend the rest of his life with him, so their personal relationship is at an impasse. When Frank’s sister, Lindsey, gets bitten by a werewolf she’s sleeping with—and possibly witnesses a murder—Frank rides to her rescue. If he’s lucky, he might just save his love life too.

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Review: Diagnosis: Wolf

In Poppy Dennison’s Diagnosis Wolf we meet Andrew, a nurse who is drowning in debt and bad credit thanks to his good for nothing twin Danny, who is constantly getting himself into trouble. Unable to turn down any work that comes his way, Andrew takes a temp job with a client who has run off all other nurses sent his way.

His patient, Caleb, is a man struck down with a mystery illness, and neither Caleb’s bodyguards nor his powerful father seem willing to share any information that might help Andrew care for Caleb. Andrew, unable to turn down good money, or deny the strange pull he feels to the sick man, stays and looks after him anyway. When Andrew learns Caleb’s true nature, and his brother comes back in to his life (in trouble yet again), both men must help each other defeat the new and unexpected threat to their lives.

Poppy Dennison does a great shifter book, and I love that she has managed to give our couple a nice slow build up and didn’t jump straight into the ‘mate claiming’ like a lot of other paranormal shifter books do. It was a pleasure listening to this book.

Landslide

In Mary Calmes’s Landslide we meet Frank, a human courier for the paranormal who works for sexy incubus demon Cael. Cael believes Frank is his mate but Frank, who is a husky guy with no self confidence, doesn’t believe a word Cael says, and is determined not to give in to his feeling for fear of once again being rejected or deemed not good enough.

When Frank’s younger sister gets herself into trouble by sleeping with a werewolf and witnessing a body being dumped, Frank asks Cael to go home with him to help him figure things out. While in Frank’s small hometown, trying to deal with the situation, Cael starts chipping away at Frank’s resistance and starts proving the he wants his mate for the long haul.

Once again Mary Calmes gives us a great story with different paranormals peppered throughout, hot sex, and keeps us wanting to come back for more.

I don’t usually enjoy anthologies because more often than not I’m left wanting more, but this one was really good. Both Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes give us well rounded, sexy paranormal stories, and I think Jeff Gelder did a great job with the narration. If you’re looking for a shortish audiobook with get characters, then you should check out Creature Feature!

TNA_Signature_Pia







 

You can buy Creature Feature here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Dinner and a Book With Piper and Poppy, Piper Vaughn, Poppy Dennison

Dinner and a Book With Piper and Poppy: The Christmas Edition

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It’s that time of year again, when you want to curl up with some holiday reads to cheer you up and when you’re running to holiday parties left and right. Piper and I both know what it’s like to have busy holiday seasons, so we thought we’d share some of our favorite reads and quick dishes for you to make this holiday season. Continue reading

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Andrea Speed, Dinner and a Book With Piper and Poppy, Jordan Castillo Price, Piper Vaughn, Poppy Dennison, RJ Scott

Dinner and a Book With Piper and Poppy: The Halloween Edition

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Hello, lovely readers. Happy Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, or Happy Samhain, if you celebrate! Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. I (Piper) love watching horror movies, seeing all the decorations, visiting haunted houses, taking my son trick-or-treating. Maybe this is in part because Fall is also my favorite season. Changing leaves, hoodie weather, an abundance of honeycrisp apples in stores. This is my happy time. :D

In addition to watching horror flicks to get in the mood, I also like to indulge in rereading my favorite horror or paranormal books this time of year, so Poppy and I thought it would be cool to share some of our favorite books in m/m featuring things that go bump in the night (aside from the heroes ;) ). Continue reading

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Dreamspinner Press, Poppy Dennison, Rhys Ford

Guest Post and Giveaway: Creature Feature 2 – Vampyres In Detroit by Poppy Dennison

Lisa_avatar_twitterThe Novel Approach is thrilled to welcome Poppy Dennison to the blog today, one half of the dynamic writing duo of Poppy and Rhys Ford, and their newest release Creature Feature 2.

Poppy’s sizzling and sexy Rise of Revenants and Rhys’s creatively inspired Legacy of Blood and Death are stories chock full of everything great Urban Fantasy should be—magical, fantastical, humorous, a touch horrifying, and, of course, there’s a little bit of romance to let your imagination go wild.

Between vampyres, werewolves, a sticky-fingered dark fairy with a temper and a sweet tooth, a couple of mages, a stray troll, and the hunters working to keep the city of Detroit safe, these two stories have been crafted to flow seamlessly together to bring the paranormal to a dark and depressing contemporary city. Continue reading

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Dinner and a Book With Piper and Poppy, Dreamspinner Press, J.H. Knight, Piper Vaughn, Poppy Dennison

Dinner and A Book With Piper and Poppy

Piper and Poppy Banner


Welcome to the first edition of Dinner and a Book with Piper and Poppy! We have some treats in store for you including some comfort foods to go along with a comfort read. And as an added bonus, we convinced J.H. Knight to stop by and answer a few questions about her book The Last Thing He Needs while we’re cooking!

Take a look at the blurb for this thing and tell me you won’t need some great comfort food while reading it:
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Poppy Dennison, Wilde City Press

Take A Little Trip To Coconut Cove And Enter Poppy Dennison’s Giveaway

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One of the funnest things about being an author is being able to research new locations to set your books. I love to travel and there are so many places I’ve never been. When M.J. and I first talked about our new series Coconut Cove, it didn’t take us long to choose Key West as our setting. Neither of us had ever been, and it’s a place we both can’t wait to visit!

So here are my top 5 things I want to do on my first Key West vacation (which I hope happens very soon!) Continue reading

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A.E. Via, B. Snow, Brita Addams, CJane Elliott, Garrett Leigh, Hayden Thorne, Heidi Belleau, Heidi Cullinan, J.P. Barnaby, Lisa Henry, Perie Wolford, Poppy Dennison, Shira Anthony, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, thanks so much to all of you for stopping by to see what we have in store for you in the week ahead. It’s going to be a full one, so be sure to check back frequently to catch all the guest posts, giveaways, and reviews.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up…


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MondayHayden Thorne kicks off the week with a guest post and giveaway of her Young Adult Historical Fantasy, The Glass Minstrel

A.E. Via also stops in on the Embracing His Syn Blog Tour

TuesdayShira Anthony is here with a giveaway on the Dissonance Blog Tour

B. Snow also drops by with a guest post on the Bedtime Stories Anthology Blog Tour

Brita Addams will also be here today in her monthly guest spot

WednesdayHeidi Cullinan makes TNA a tour stop on the Hero Blog Tour, with a guest post and giveaway

CJane Elliott is here today, as well, with a giveaway on the Stepping Through Blog Tour

ThursdayLisa Henry and Heidi Belleau are here with a giveaway on the Bliss Blog Tour

FridayPoppy Dennison stops in today on the Coconut Grove Blog Tour

Saturday – Today we have Perie Wolford here with a giveaway on the Turning 17 Blog Tour

J.P. Barnaby is also here today with an exclusive (and naughty!) little ficlet featuring Brian and Jamie of the Little Boy Lost series

Sunday – Finally, to close out the week, we have Garrett Leigh here today on the Bold (Blue Boy: Book Three) Blog Tour, with a giveaway

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And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Cover Reveal, Dreamspinner Press, M.J. O'Shea, Mary Calmes, Poppy Dennison, Rhys Ford

Poppy Dennison Is Here Today With A Little Co-Author Chit Chat, A Cover Reveal, And A Giveaway


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I’m a really lucky author! I’ve had the opportunity to co-write with three of my absolute favorite authors. I thought it might be fun to let them turn the tables on me as I reveal the cover of Creature Feature 2, my newest co-writing adventure with Rhys Ford which is coming in October from Dreamspinner Press! I let them all have the opportunity to ask me three random questions. Let’s see what they came up with!
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A.F. Henley, Brita Addams, Daniel A. Kaine, Grace R. Duncan, Kenzie Cade, L. Dean Pace-Frech, Lane Hayes, Poppy Dennison, Rebecca Cohen, Rick R. Reed, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hello, folks, I hope you’ve all had an outstanding week. I had the great privilege of spending Saturday working a booth at Indy Pride with authors Jambrea Jo Jones and Lynley Wayne, where we spent the day sharing our love of the M/M Romance genre with the good people of Indianapolis. It was great day!

Now, here’s what’s on tap for the week ahead.

MondayLane Hayes kicks off the week with a giveaway on the Better Than Friends Blog Tour

TuesdayGrace R. Duncan drops by today with a giveaway on the No Sacrifice Blog Tour, with an article on bisexuality

Brita Addams is also here with a guest article on disembodied body parts in writing

WednesdayDaniel A. Kaine is our guest today, with an interview and giveaway on the Slasherazzi Blog Tour

A.F. Henley is also here today, with a giveaway and guest post on the Forty-two Stairs Blog Tour

ThursdayPoppy Dennison wants to share some memories and photos from the UK Meet with us today

Rick R. Reed is also with us today, as he kicks off what will be the first of his monthly visits as a new guest contributor to The Novel Approach—Rick R. Reed – True Confessions

FridayRebecca Cohen will be sharing a giveaway with you today on the Crofton Chronicles Blog Tour

SaturdayKenzie Cade stops in today with an interview and giveaway on the Son of a Fish Blog Tour

SundayDean Pace-Frech is making the rounds, and we’re happy to have him back as our guest today to close out the week

Until next week, happy reading!

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Poppy Dennison, Wilde City Press

Poppy Dennison Is Here Today On the “Belligerent Beta” Blog Tour, And There’s A Giveaway!



THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Continue reading

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A.J. Corza, Amelia C. Gormley, Dan Skinner, EM Lynley, GayRomLit, GotYouCovrd, Josephine Myles, Kate McMurray, Lou Sylvre, Poppy Dennison, Rafe Haze, Rain Carrington, RJ Scott, Skylar M. Cates, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week!


Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had an outstanding week!

We’ve got another busy and fun filled week coming up, with more great guests, giveaways, GRL Celebration fun, and, of course, more reviews.

Here’s what’s on tap for the week ahead.

MondaySkylar M. Cates kicks off the week on her The Only Guy Blog Tour, the follow up to The Guy From Glamour

Amelia C. Gormley drops in as well, on her Saugatuck Summer Blog Tour

TuesdayRain Carrington is our guest today on the Honky Tonk Series: Book Three Blog Tour.

EM Lynley is also with us to do a Cover Reveal of her new novel Bound for Trouble

WednesdayPoppy Dennison stops in on her Belligerent Beta Blog Tour

A.J. Corza is back today with Got You Covered, and another great cover art review

ThursdayKate McMurray is dropping by to talk about her new novel The Silence of the Stars

Rafe Haze is also back today on his The Next Blog Tour as part of our GRL Celebration Countdown

FridayRJ Scott is our guest with the second GRL Celebration visit of the week, to promote her book A Reason to Stay

Dan Skinner also drops in to kick off a blog tour for his newest novel The Price of Dick

SaturdayJosephine Myles is our guest on the Stuff Blog Tour, the follow up to Junk

Sunday – And finally, to wrap up the week, Lou Sylvre is here for a visit, and she’s bring along a little Luki Vasquez and Sonny Bly James

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Brita Addams, Christa Tomlinson, F.E. Feeley Jr., J.K. Hogan, Jacob Z. Flores, Kade Boehme, L.A. Witt, LE Franks, Libby Drew, M.J. O'Shea, Marie Sexton, Piper Vaughn, Poppy Dennison, Rafe Haze, Riley Hart, Saloni Quinby

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week. It was a busy and fun-filled weekend at RainbowCon, having the opportunity to meet some new-to-me authors and participating on some great panels, where the conversation was always interesting and informative. Next stop: GayRomLit in Chicago!

Here’s what’s on tap for the week ahead.

MondaySaloni Quinby kicks off the week on her Weapons of Redemption Blog Tour with a giveaway

Jacob Flores drops in as well, with a GRL Countdown Celebration for his newest release, When Love Comes to Town, and there’s a giveaway

TuesdayRiley Hart is our guest today on the Stay (Blackcreek: Book Two) Blog Tour. She sat down to answer a few questions for us, so make sure to stay tuned

Libby Drew is also with us to do a Cover Reveal of her new novella The Lost Year, included in the anthology Secrets of Neverwood

Brita Addams visits today with a guest article about misused idioms/clichés

WednesdayPiper Vaughn and Kade Boehme stop in on their Wood, Screws & Nails Blog Tour, and they’ve also got a giveaway for you

Rafe Haze is also with us to talk a little bit about his new book The Next, and he’ll be giving an e-copy away to one lucky reader

ThursdayPoppy Dennison is dropping by to do a little Mind Magic for us, and there’s a giveaway

L.A. Witt and Marie Sexton are also here on their Roped In Blog Tour, with a giveaway

FridayLE Franks is our guest on the Can This Be Real Blog Tour, and there’s a giveaway

M.J. O’Shea also drops in on the Rising Sun Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway

SaturdayChrista Tomlinson is our guest on The Sergeant Blog Tour and giveaway

F.E. Feeley Jr. will also be here on the Objects in the Rearview Mirror Blog Tour, and there’s a giveaway

SundayJ.K. Hogan is here with a Countdown To GRL Celebration Guest Post and Giveaway

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Amy Lane, Dreamspinner Press, Ellis Carrington, Jaime Samms, Mary Calmes, Poppy Dennison, Rhys Ford

Mary Calmes Is Owning Up To A Not So Secret Secret, And There’s A Giveaway


I used to protest and say, oh no, I don’t write that many policemen. It didn’t seem like a lot, not really. But as I was counting the other day, I realized how ridiculous that I’m sounding lately. Sam Kage, Duncan Stiel, Pete Lomax, Dante Cerreto, Jerrit Troy and Frost Ramsey, Raza Bashandi, Frank Corrigan, Kevin Chaney, and the two marshals I just finished writing. It has moved past a one-off and become a thing. I feel like I should go to a support group or something.

“Hello, my name is Mary Calmes, I write law enforcement type guys.”

And why is that?

I’ve tried to sit and think, what is it about lawmen that does it for me? First, I decided to ask my friends:


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Amy Lane: I love lawmen in books because they are an opposable force. Their world view locks down the possibilities of the world around them. They’re order imposed on chaos. But since their lovers are often chaos, they are forced to change as characters and so are their mates. Also, since much of the chaos is bad, they’re forced to keep their mates safe. They’re like a walking bank safe strolling through a tornado. If they don’t learn some flexibility, they will hurt their mates against their adamantium walls. If they don’t maintain their strength, the forces of evil will hurt them and their beloveds. And at the center of the safe is a very delicate eggshell, holding a live beating heart.


Jaime Samms: Well, I’ll tell you what does it for me about cops, marshals, private investigators and bodyguards: it’s that they are very “me Tarzan, you mine.” They truly believe themselves to be invincible, and that makes them heroic.

Poppy Dennison: For me, law enforcement romance heroes represent the American dream. I love a good Good Guy, one who will keep you safe and make sure no one messes with what’s his. They’re really swoon worthy!

Rhys Ford: Because there’s nothing sexier than a bad boy on the right side of the law.

Ellis Carrington: Law enforcement professionals are taught to carry themselves with a commanding presence, and that added air of authority and confidence is sexy as well as magnetic. Plus, the uniforms are damn hot.


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I think about the all the amazing lawmen I’ve read; Tere Michaels’ Evan Cerelli and Matt Haight, as well as Jim Shea; Rhys Ford’s Kane Morgan and his brother Conner, the SWAT commander; Dani Alexander’s Austin Glass; or Brooke McKinley’s Miller Sutton. I definitely have a thing for policemen, and I think more than anything it’s about the weight of the job. Day after day, they have to make life and death decisions. Sometimes big, sometime small, but all of those have to try and be made taking into consideration what’s best for everyone. Since a true alpha takes care of the whole and the many and not the one and the few, it’s a heavy responsibility to bear. So perhaps the similarity to an alpha is where the lure lies.

My new book Floodgates was released March 3rd, and of course, there’s a lawman.

Here’s the blurb:



Tracy Brandt considers himself a lucky man. He has a wonderful family, good friends, and a dependable job. His love life, however, features a cheating ex who, though out of the house, is not yet out of the picture—with a past that just might get Tracy killed.

Homicide inspector Cord Nolan wants nothing more than to show his best friend’s little brother that he’s a reliable man, but to do that he’ll have to get Tracy to look past the player he used to be. It’ll be a tough sell; reputation is everything, and Cord’s is tarnished by his past indiscretions.

Tracy and Cord have spent five years trying to suffocate their fiery attraction under a blanket of grudging antagonism. When Tracy finds himself with a target on his back, Cord finally has the chance to ride to the rescue and break through the dam of Tracy’s reserve. But he’d better be careful: if Cord is breaking the floodgates to wash away the past, he’s going to have to hold tight to Tracy to make sure they’re still standing when the tumult recedes.

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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GayRomLit, Guest Contributor

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



Poppy’s Post-GRL Wrap Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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

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Visit her on her website
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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, A.J. Corza, Amber Kell, GotYouCovrd, Jennifer Wright, John Goode, Kol Anderson, Paul Alan Fahey, Poppy Dennison, S.E. Culpepper

And Now, A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week




Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve had a great week and are looking forward to more fun in the coming days. We’ve got another busy week scheduled, filled with guests and giveaways and, of course, reviews galore! Here’s what’s coming up in the week ahead:




>>Monday – Kol Anderson will be our guest, with an interview and giveaway of his upcoming release, Soulmate.
>>Tuesday – Poppy Dennison is going to poppy in to share some of her most favorite GRL memories.
>>Wednesday – Paul Alan Fahey will be here on his “Lovers and Liars Wartime” Blog Tour, with the chance to win one of the first two books in the series.

A.J. Corza from Got You Covered will also be here, as always, with her Top Cover Pick of the Week.

>>Thursday – Jennifer Wright will join us on her “Finding Home” Blog Tour, with an interview and a giveaway – a lucky reader’s choice of a book in the Finding Home series.
>>Friday – John Goode is our guest, as he begins his writing series today with “Once upon a time…”
>>Saturday – Amber Kell will be here on her Birthday Blog Hop, with a great way to win a book from her bookshelf.
>>Sunday – S.E. Culpepper will be dropping by on her “Falling Apart” Blog Tour, with a chance to win any one of the four books in the Liaison series.

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And that wraps up our week here at The Novel Approach. Until next time, happy reading!

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Dreamspinner Press, Poppy Dennison

Lions And Mages And Wolves, Oh My! That’s “Wild Magic”



“You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.” –Henry Drummond


While Wild Magic is the fourth book in Poppy Dennison’s popular Triad series, it is great as a standalone. I didn’t read the previous three books, and this one made perfect sense to me. There were several vague references to prior events which I assumed happened in books one through three, but it didn’t detract from the story being told in Wild Magic.
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Poppy Dennison, Wilde City Press

Go Grab This “Accidental Alpha” On Purpose



“Wolves are not ruled by law. They are ruled by the alpha-wolf’s policy.” – Richard Kelly Hoskins



First of all, to get the formalities out of the way……Lex is a policeman taking a break from his strenuous life. He wants to be left alone and is looking for as few complications in his life as possible. A wondering toddler strays onto his property and as he is trying to figure out where the little guy belongs, is bitten by the toddler. Little does he know that this bite not only makes him a werewolf but transfers the position of alpha onto him. Lex’s new pack is very dysfunctional and is in sore need of a strong leader which is a position that given Lex’s stand alone attitude he is reluctant to assume. Throw in the antagonist in the form of the affable, charming, and handsome Spencer and you have the beginnings of a great story.
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Poppy Dennison, The Joyful Approach

Oh, Poppy Dennison, She Is A Special Flower And She’s Brought Goodies!


GRL Memories
Flashback: October, 2011

My first GayRomLit…the first GRL ever! And it was in New Orleans, a city I’d never visited before! I might have been bouncing off the walls in excitement. Just a little. Okay, maybe a lot, but don’t tell anyone. I had no idea what to expect! Would I be sitting like a lump in the corner with no one to talk to? Would I have as much in common with this big group of strangers as I seemed to have online?

The answer to the first question was a resounding no. I was way too busy to sit like a lump anywhere because the answer to the second question was YES YES YES. Finally, a group of people I connected with in such an amazing and special way.

True confession time. There were two authors in particular who I was both excited and terrified to meet. I had this moment where I thought I’d come off like a bumbling idiot. *whistles innocently* Who me? The first was the lovely Carol Lynne.

Poppy_Carol Lynne

Now come on: it’s Carol Lynne! She’s like…FAMOUS! I was twelve shades of green meeting this woman. Not going to lie. But you know what? Carol was so lovely and sweet that she didn’t even seem to mind me bumbling all over her and asking for her autograph! I also have another special memory of Carol from GRL 2011, one she probably doesn’t even remember, but something that will be with me forever.

See, I had something extra special happen in New Orleans. In August, I’d submitted my first novel, Mind Magic, to Dreamspinner press. Right after the Riverboat Autograph signing, I returned to the hotel and checked my email…only to find my very first contract! Yeah. I cried like a big old baby! (Just ask Xara Xanakas…I called her to my hotel room so I could cry all over her! )

Later that evening, I was heading to an event and passed Carol. She said “Congratulations, Poppy!” One, Carol Lynne remembered my name. Two, Carol Lynne knew I had a book coming out. I have no idea why that memory holds such a special place in my heart, but I think it shows the love and support of the GRL community. We’re definitely one big family, and Carol proved that to me.

The second author I was a nervous wreck to meet was none other than Geoffrey Knight.

Poppy_Geoff_Ethan

Gotta tell you, I was too nervous to ask him for his autograph. Yes, I’m that big of a goober. I own it. I even brought a paperback copy of Riddle of the Sands for him to sign for me…and was too nervous to ask him to sign it. Funny thing about that? Geoff and I are friends now. And take a look at this picture…foreshadowing of things to come? Geoff and Ethan, who are now owners of Wilde City Press, and me, one of their authors!

There were so many other people who made an impression on me that trip. I became good friends with the gals from Mantastic Fiction (waves to Amy, Lynn, and Dolorianne!) and those friendships continue today. I met the peeps from my writing group and I can’t tell you how special that was! Special shout outs to M.J. O’Shea, L.C. Chase, Piper Vaughn, Taylor Donovan, and of course, Xara Xanakas!

Fast forward to October of 2012: GRL in Albuquerque, New Mexico! Another city I’d never visited. (GRL is certainly broadening my traveling horizons!) After New Orleans, I found that I wasn’t as nervous about Albuquerque. There were still a lot of folks I was excited to meet though. It’s funny how friendships form over the internet and then solidify at these events. Case in point, hanging out with Lara Brukz, Ethan Stone, Daniel Kaine, and Monika! We all had a blast and tried not to get into too much trouble.

Albuquerque crew

Oh and then there was the delightful Jacob Flores who I’ve gotten to be such good friends with! It was so fun getting to hug the stuffing out of him and seeing that amazing smile in person!

Poppy_Jacob Flores

Now, in case you think there weren’t fangirl squees in Albuquerque, I’ll share my picture with Eric Arvin and T.J. Klune. So, I might possibly be a rabid Eric Arvin fangirl. I might have made a slight ass out of myself when I met him. Yeah. I do that. What can I say? He’s awesome sauce.

Poppy_TJ_Eric Arvin

Next up is GRL 2013. A month away…

So what am I looking forward to this year? Meeting new friends, of course. I’ve placed a target on Rhys Ford, as I didn’t get to meet her last year and she needs a hug. Okay, well, she might not need a hug but I need to hug her. Whatever. Semantics. Don’t mess with my fangirl logic, okay?

Then there’s the lovely and delightful Lisa, from this very blog. How did I not get to meet Lisa last year? How, I ask you? HOW??? But Lisa, sweets, you’re getting a big old hug too! (To this I answer, “I dunno!” ::wibbles:: But, oh, you will be properly smished, ma’am!) Oh and Marilyn Blimes, look out because you’re getting tacklehugged too. Oh yeah you are!

I’m also looking forward to drooling on *ahem* I mean meeting Charlie Harding, my new cover model for Accidental Alpha, who will be hosting an event at GRL and yeah… I’m going to drool. I can’t help it.

Now you may be wondering why I’ve rambled on about GRL’s past. Really it’s because there may be one or two of you who are newbies this year and as nervous as I was prior to New Orleans. Don’t be. Well, okay, that might be easier said than done, but I promise you’re going to have a blast! And if you’re nervous, well, to slightly butcher a line from Steel Magnolias: Come sit by me! I promise I won’t bite (don’t believe anything Daniel Kaine says about that…)

Bio:

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

Visit her on her website
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♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

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Dreamspinner Press, Poppy Dennison

The Liger Is Pretty Much My New Favorite Animal In Poppy Dennison’s Born This Way

Need is choice come to fruition. ― S. Kelley Harrell

Dayton Whitmore lives a simple life. Or at least he tries to, but simple is just a bit relative when you’re a human whose only family is a pride of lion shifters.

Dayton is a high school history teacher, and his life really is fairly quiet aside from the fact that his best friend just so happens to be the daughter of the pride alpha, and her brother… well, Hart is a lion/tiger hybrid who’s been rejected by his mother and banished from the pride by his father, and hasn’t seen or spoken to Dayton in years, which was a condition of Hart’s banishment—no contact whatsoever with any member of the pride—even the adopted human one.

But really, why would Hart have any desire to contact Dayton anyway? He loathes the man, or that’s what Dayton has believed all the years he’s known Hart and Tawny—that’s Dayton’s BFF and Hart’s sister, by the way—well, Tawny’s a bit of a pushy matchmaker, that’s what she is, but thank goodness she is because if it weren’t for her running interference, Dayton would maybe never have seen Hart again in this lifetime. Hart might never have reconnected with the man he’s known for so long as his mate, and now Hart’s ready to claim what’s his. The only problem is getting Dayton to agree to hop on the Fate train to Matetown and enjoy the ride.

Paranormal Poppy Dennison delivers some growly fun and alpha-romantical sexy bits, along with a little danger to crank things up a notch in Born This Way, the story of two men figuring out how to turn primal needs and physical wants into a bond that will mean a lifetime.

There’s a battle for control of the pride brewing, and the one who wants it spells nothing but trouble with a capital Yipes! for Dayton, who’s already at a huge disadvantage just being human, not to mention being Hart’s intended mate. Well, it all turns out to be a bit of a bloody mess, really, but Poppy Dennison knows how to write her way into and out of a conflict and then on to a happy ending, which is a good thing for both Hart and Dayton, and her readers.

You can buy Born This Way here:

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Dreamspinner Press, Poppy Dennison

Poppy Dennison Delivers A Little Magic For The Reader’s Soul In Soul Magic (Triad #3)

Love and magic have a great deal in common. – Nora Roberts

So after reading and reviewing Creature Feature, I was a little intrigued about the paranormal business in the m/m romance genre. I had heard quite a bit about the “Magic” series by Dennison and when Soul Magic came across the review list, I thought it was time to delve into this genre. I started with the first book in the series, Mind Magic, and progressed to Body Magic before diving into Soul Magic.

Now I realize that many of you are scratching your heads and probably questioning my credibility since I confessed that paranormal just wasn’t my cup of tea, and are wondering for someone who doesn’t like it he sure did read three books in two weeks time. While I may not be a full convert just yet, let me just say that this series is just that good.

The series follows a mage, Simon, who from all accounts is a very beloved and rightfully so character in the series. Simon falls in love and becomes the alpha mate of Gray the alpha of a local werewolf pack. There are many supporting characters in this delectable series, but all three books find themselves centered in one way or another around Simon and Gray. Dennison takes three kinds of magic—mind, body and soul—and weaves them into her tale of her two main characters. Their struggle to find love and how the other characters find love and all of them deal and relate to the magical gifts bestowed upon them is well told and makes for a wonderful, hopeful, and incredible story.

The fact that each story can stand on it’s own is a tour de force by Dennison, but even more so is how intricate and seamless the three books work together. It is a remarkable series that if one is a fan of paranormal romance or not is well worth reading.

Soul Magic, the culmination of this series does a remarkable job of finishing the story that Dennison industriously set out to tell. The climax of how the three different magic’s work together is a scene in the book that I could not stop reading. The culmination scene for me ranks up there with the best of the best of any series including “the little sorcerer who could and shall not be named.”

I love a good romance story, but to be honest I like my romance to have substance. I like my books to have a story to tell. Yes romance for the sake of romance is a well-known pattern of storytelling in the vein of soap operas and Harlequin romances, but I like knowing that the romance and the love have a purpose. I like seeing how it interacts in people’s lives and how the world is affected by such love. When that is interposed with a truly great story, it makes for a delicious read. That is what Soul Magic and the other two books in the series accomplish. It is worth anyone’s time to give this wonderful book and series a try.

Reviewed by: Bruce

You can buy Soul Magic (Triad #3) here:

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Allen Mack, Allison Cassatta, Anyta Sunday, Brandon Shire, Poppy Dennison, Storm Moon Press

What’s Coming Up This Week?


Here’s what Bruce and I have on tap for the week ahead!

Monday – Brandon Shire will be our guest, answering a few questions about his new book Cold, a book that definitely left me wanting more!
Tuesday – Bruce reviews Poppy Dennison’s Soul Magic, book 3 in the Triad series
Wednesday – Allison Cassatta’s Dear Diary will be the featured review of the day
Thursday – Brings a little Lenny For Your Thoughts by Anyta Sunday
FridayDorian’s World, Allen Mack’s foray into futuristic Alt U, is on tap
Saturday – Storm Moon Press will be our guest with a post for the upcoming Dracones anthology

Happy reading and have a fantastic week!

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Dreamspinner Press, Mary Calmes, Poppy Dennison

Werewolves and Demons and Murder, Oh My! – Creature Feature by Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. – Dr. Seuss

So I have a secret, and that secret would be that I really don’t like paranormal romance stories. Please don’t tell my husband, who just recently published a paranormal romance, The Gifted One (shameless plug, I know, because his book is awesome and you should check it out), but werewolves, vampires, and demons coupled with gay romance is just not my idea of a good romance story. Yes, I love Harry Potter, and I even love watching reruns of Charmed, but these stories are founded more on the premise of the magic and the paranormal, not the romance that serves as an undercurrent in the story. I suppose that other little paranormal series that shall go unnamed with the Vampires vs. Wolves and the angst ridden boring, teenage girl has left a rather bad taste in my mouth. So when I think of paranormal, with romance being the main plotline in a story, I would rather spend my time taking my daughter prom dress shopping, which in and of itself, is a rather paranormal experience.

I had noticed Creature Feature at the top of the Dreamspinner Press bestseller list for several weeks, and because it was of the paranormal genre I kept passing it by. However, week after week there it sat at the top of the bestseller list. So I thought, “What the heck, I’m done with prom dress shopping. What do I have to lose?” Boy was I surprised! This incredible double-feature by two talented authors is a perfect afternoon double matinee to whet one’s appetite for paranormal romance. Move over angst ridden, boring teenage girl and enter hunky werewolves and demons. These two well written, character driven, paranormal romances are the perfect way to reintroduce yourself into the paranormal romance genre, or if you like the genre – a perfect Sunday afternoon, curl up on the couch, eat a bowl of popcorn, double matinee.

Diagnosis Wolf by Dennison stays strictly in the werewolf genre, and throws in some incredible romance scenes coupled with a good amount of drama and suspense.

Landslide by Mary Calmes deals with werewolves and demons and the tension between the human main character, and the demon love interest had me more than once raising my blood pressure.

Needless to say, Creature Feature is a great read and a great double-feature in the paranormal romance genre. It has certainly convinced me to read other titles in the genre and it is way more entertaining than prom dress shopping.

Reviewed by Bruce

You can buy Creature Feature here:

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