3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Skylar M. Cates

Review: A Guy’s Thanksgiving by Skylar M. Cates

Amazon

Amazon

Title: A Guy’s Thanksgiving (The Guy Series)

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count: 126 Pages

At a Glance: I have mixed feeling about A Guy’s Thanksgiving, but I did enjoy the story for what it was.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb:  Two proposals. One giant dog. Reunited lovers.

Welcome to Glamour, Arizona, where the holidays are never dull. Glamour may be a small town, but the surprises keep coming.

Everybody’s looking forward to Thanksgiving. Only Mac Sharma is a reluctant guest. Even as Anthony and Dean make him feel welcome at the Carrino table, Mac feels awkward among the close-knit group of friends. Life gets even more complicated when Conor Harvey shows up in town.

Mac has been in love with Conor since his university days. Too bad Conor broke his heart—right before he fled to his hometown in Ireland without explanation. Conor’s still a wild artist and as sexy as Mac remembers. But they’re no longer kids. This Thanksgiving, Mac must decide if he can give Conor a second chance.

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Review: When I read the blurb for A Guy’s Thanksgiving, my first reaction was, “Awesome! We’re getting Mac’s story!” I really have enjoyed this series and was thrilled for whatever was next.  So, as soon as I received the book I jumped right in…and then my mixed feelings about the book started.

While we get Mac and Conor’s story, we also get follow ups and continuations of the relationships from the previous couples in the series. Now, I as did say that I really do enjoy this series, what is my issue, you may ask? The problem is I felt that the split focus took something away from Mac and Conor’s story and that they got cut short, so we missed out. I enjoyed what we did get with this book, but I just felt we could have gotten so much more if the storyline hadn’t been divided up among the other couples.

I was happy to get to see the proposal and the previous couples living their happily ever afters, though, and am not wishing we didn’t get those updates, because I do love a good follow up, but I wish it would have been separate from Mac and Conor’s book, as I felt the story bounce around a bit, and I couldn’t really focus on what was going on with the new relationship, not with so much else going on.

So, as much as I like this series and Skylar M. Cates’ writing, and I did enjoy the story for what it was, I was also left feeling a little disappointed in the end.

TNA_Signature_Jules

 

 

 

 

You can buy A Guy’s Thanksgiving here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Cover Reveal, Giveaways, Skylar M. Cates

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: A Guy’s Thanksgiving by Skylar M. Cates

GuysThanksgiving[A]FS

Title: A Guy’s Thanksgiving
Series: The Guy Series
Author: Skylar M. Cates
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Novella
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Publish Date: November 5, 2015
Pre-Order Link: Dreamspinner Press

Blurb: Two proposals. One giant dog. Reunited lovers.

Welcome to Glamour, Arizona, where the holidays are never dull. Glamour may be a small town, but the surprises keep coming.

Everybody’s looking forward to Thanksgiving. Only Mac Sharma is a reluctant guest. Even as Anthony and Dean make him feel welcome at the Carrino table, Mac feels awkward among the close-knit group of friends. Life gets even more complicated when Conor Harvey shows up in town.

Mac has been in love with Conor since his university days. Too bad Conor broke his heart—right before he fled to his hometown in Ireland without explanation. Conor is still a wild artist and as sexy as Mac remembers. But they’re no longer kids. This Thanksgiving, Mac must decide if he can once more open his heart to Conor.

In Glamour, life is full of heartwarming moments. As the guys from Glamour learn, holiday magic happens when love is all around.

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Dogs and Dedications

So here is my cover reveal— and yep, there’s a dog.

I love animals, and I’ve written books with dogs and cats before, but this Thanksgiving novella was special.

Here’s the story: right before I started this book, my beloved dog died. She had been with me for 14 years. I was blessed to have her in my life that long.

Wasabi was a fantastic dog.  A tall, black dog, with an always-wagging tail, Wasabi came to us from the humane society and simply stole our hearts. See it was a difficult period in my life fourteen years ago. My husband and I faced years of infertility. At that point, we had nearly given up hope of having children. We adopted Wasabi, and she was our first baby.

We sobbed and sobbed the day she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Note: No dogs die in this novella. It is pretty much a happy holiday thing. Promise. The dog on the cover here gets a happy story! All the guys do. If you are in the mood for a heartwarming, Thanksgiving tale, full of vignettes, this book will please you.

I did write the dog scenes with love in my heart. It was cathartic for me, and some of my favorite scenes in this book involve the dog.

When the time came, I dedicated this book to Wasabi.  A little silly? I guess. But it made sense to me. I’m still glad I dedicated the book to my dog, my loyal friend. I miss her. I plan to donate some of the royalties in her name to the humane society where we adopted her.

Even though my family and I went on to adopt a new dog from a different rescue center this summer, my heart always holds her memory close. That’s the story of the dedication in this book.

As for the cover, I hope you all like it.  I do. It makes me smile.  

I’d love to hear about the special pet in your life. 

THANKS FOR HOSTING ME!

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THE GIVEAWAY

One commenter will receive:

Reader’s choice of either an audiobook of The Holiday Hoax, or e-book of Lovers, Losers, and You.

The Particulars:

*All comments must be received by 11:59pm on Monday, October 5, 2015

*Comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify

*No residency restrictions apply

*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified

Good luck!

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Author BioAbout the Author: Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.

Author Links: Facebook || Twitter || Blog

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Hi, friends and fellow reading addicts, welcome back to another peek into the future at The Novel Approach, and a teaser of who we have visiting with us in the coming week.

We’ve got a great lineup of guest authors to share with you, along with giveaways, and, of course, many more reviews too.

Here’s what’s on tap!

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Monday – Author BA Tortuga kicks off our week this week on the tour for The Articles of Release, book two in the Release Series

Tuesday – Today we’ll be welcoming author Lexi Ander to TNA on the tour for her latest novel Dragon’s Eye

We’ll also have author Ingela Bohm joining us today to chat a bit about her new novel Last Communion

Wednesday – We’ll have author KC Burn dropping by today as a featured author on the Countdown to GayRomLit 2015 Celebration

We also have Carole Cummings and Andrew Q. Gordon stopping in for a new edition of Genre Talk

Thursday – We’ll be starting October (!!!) off with author Skylar M. Cates and an exclusive cover reveal for her upcoming Dreamspinner holiday story A Guy’s Thanksgiving

We’ll also have author AF Henley with us to chat about their new novel Wolf WY

Friday – Rounding out the second of our GayRomLit Blog Tour visits this week will be author Jaime Reese, filling us in on what she likes most about GRL

Mia Kerick will also join us today on the tour for her new book A Hard Day’s Night

And, we’ll have yet another edition of Flashback Friday for you today too

Saturday – Finally, to close out the week, we’ll have author Lex Chase here with us to chat about her new novel Bayou Fairy Tale

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And that, as they say, is that! Until next week, happy reading!

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Skylar M. Cates

Review: Lovers, Losers, and You by Skylar M. Cates

Title:  Lovers, Losers, and You (Sunshine and Happiness: Book Two) 

Author:  Skylar M. Cates

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  220 Pages

At a Glance:  I loved the first book in the series, and the second absolutely didn’t disappoint.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: How can you lose one dream and still find another?

Owen King is a lonely history teacher who wants to be braver. So when Owen learns about the deceased brother he never met, he breaks free of his safety net and risks answers. Despite his loving, adopted family, Owen wonders if there are missing pieces inside of him. Visiting the seaside town of Ocean Vista, where his brother lived and died, will be no vacation.

Andrew Teagan wants to be a winner. After being dumped by his last boyfriend, Andrew is through letting others dictate his life. To prove that dreams are possible, he’s going after his ambitions full force. Having signed on for a cooking reality show, Andrew’s ready to make his small café into a sizzling success.

When Andrew aids Owen on the beach, what starts off as an act of kindness turns into a hot temptation. But can a sweet budding romance survive when the time comes for Owen to leave town? Both men must learn to trust each other if their love will conquer the miles between them.

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Review:  In the first book in this series, Here for You, I got my heart broken, and watched as this group grieved and suffered and started again. Lovers, Losers, and You, I think, builds on what started in the first book, and brings more hope and healing to the group. Or, at least a start.

I loved the first book in the series, and the second absolutely didn’t disappoint. After the emotional ride we experienced in the first book, and after reading the second book, I think it was pretty brilliant to have this second story be about Andrew and Owen. They really were a little more detached from the trauma that occurred in the first book, and I think gives our other guys a little more time to find their way (hopefully not too long, because I really want their stories, soon! :-))

There is definitely some angst, and not everything works out how they want. Things aren’t all happy and perfect, but right from the beginning, you see that these two men are together through it all, standing side by side.  Although Andrew and Owen grew up differently, they share a strong loyalty to family that I think bonds them together even more, and shows even more how right they are together.  Oh…and OMG, the Skype sessions between these two are steamy…and when they are actually together, it’s pretty hot too.

My heart still broke a little for the others in the group, as some of this group of “brothers” fall in love, while others still seem to be falling apart, and I am looking forward to reading what will come next.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

You can buy Lovers, Losers, and You here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Giveaways, Skylar M. Cates

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Lovers, Losers, and You Blog Tour with Skylar M. Cates

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Please joining us in welcoming author Skylar M. Cates to The Novel Approach today. Skylar is on tour to promote her new book Lovers, Losers, and You. Enjoy her guest post, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win a $15 Dreamspinner Press Gift Card and the choice of an e-book from Skylar’s backlist.

Good luck!

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Reality Shows

Last year my children got hooked on Master Chef Junior.  We watched these amazing kids chop, sauté, and bake their way to a huge prize, and they gained the admiration of three world-class chefs. From that point on, my kids watched all the cooking reality shows on Netflix. All of them. We watched Cake Boss and Chopped and Cupcake Wars and others. We talked excitedly of cooking our own delightful, homemade meals, all the while stuffing our faces with delivery pizza and popcorn.

My children have moved on to other television shows. My son loves anime. My daughters love to go to You Tube and watch Shopkins videos (if you don’t know what those are— be grateful!). It made me miss the cooking shows. It made me miss the times where we gathered as a family and rooted for our favorite contestants.

So like all good writers who are missing something, I decided to create my own version of it.

In my new release, Lovers, Losers, and You, Andrew decides to enter a reality cooking contest. I had a lot of fun taking bits and pieces from all the shows I’d watched with my kids, and best of all, I asked my kids to describe their dream judges for my fictitious show. Even though they are too young to read my book, I hope someday they read it and smile, knowing I based the judges on their descriptions.

The other fun part of creating a reality show is that I barely cook. Oh,  I grill. I microwave with the best of them, and I’m an expert at takeout from Japanese to Mexican food. But cooking from scratch? Yeah, not so much.

Again I turned to family and friends who do cook for ideas. I was fortunate enough to know somebody who owns a café, like my main character in the novel.  When I think of this book, I will think of how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life sharing their ideas with me.

I still enjoy reality television, especially when the show revolves around a talented person.

What about you? Do you love or hate reality television? Is it a guilty pleasure? Or something that you shun? Or maybe you are somewhere in-between the two extremes?

Thanks for hosting me!

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LoversLosersAndYouLGTitle: Lovers, Losers and You

Series: Sunshine and Happiness

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Angsty G

Length: 220 Pages

Release Date: September 11, 2015

Blurb: How can you lose one dream and still find another?

Owen King is a lonely history teacher who wants to be braver. So when Owen learns about the deceased brother he never met, he breaks free of his safety net and risks answers. Despite his loving, adopted family, Owen wonders if there are missing pieces inside of him. Visiting the seaside town of Ocean Vista, where his brother lived and died, will be no vacation.

Andrew Teagan wants to be a winner. After being dumped by his last boyfriend, Andrew is through letting others dictate his life. To prove that dreams are possible, he’s going after his ambitions full force. Having signed on for a cooking reality show, Andrew’s ready to make his small café into a sizzling success.

When Andrew aids Owen on the beach, what starts off as an act of kindness turns into a hot temptation. But can a sweet budding romance survive when the time comes for Owen to leave town? Both men must learn to trust each other if their love will conquer the miles between them.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press (eBook) || Dreamspinner Press (Paperback) || Amazon US || Amazon UK || All Romance eBooks || Barnes & Noble

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AboutTheAuthor

Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.

Website & Blog  ||  Facebook  ||  Twitter  ||  Goodreads

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Schedule:

September 8 – Diverse Reader

September 9 – Reviews by Jessewave

September 10 – The Novel Approach

September 11 – MM Good Book Reviews

September 14 – Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

September 15 – Love Bytes Reviews

September 16 – The Land of Make Believe

September 17 – Prism Book Alliance

September 18 – Divine Magazine

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*No residency restrictions apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified

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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 you for popping in to see who and what we have coming up for you in the next six days. We have a great lineup of authors set to visit with us this week, so I hope you’ll come back to spend some time with us.

Here’s what’s on tap!

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Monday – Kicking off the week, we welcome author Z. Allora, with a chat about the re-release of book one in her Club Zombies series, Zombies Ahead

We’ll also have author Chris McHart joining us today, on the Alex’s Surprise/Saving Alex blog Tour

Tuesday – Today we’ll be bringing author Katey Hawthorne your way, on the tour for her new book Back to the Sky

Wednesday – We kick off the day today with author Silvia Violet, our next guest on the Countdown to GayRomLit blog tour

Author Lloyd A. Meeker will also be stopping in to talk to you a bit about his new novel from Wilde City Press, Blood & Dirt

ThursdaySkylar M. Cates joins us today on the tour for her new book Lovers, Losers, and You

FridayCJane Elliott drops in today to tell us a bit about her new novel Sex, Love, and Videogames

We’ll also have K.A. Mitchell popping in with an interview for her new novel Put a Ring on It

Saturday – Finally, to close out our week, we’ll have Max Vos with us on the tour for his new audiobook My Hero

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

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 3.5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann, Skylar M. Cates

Audio Review: The Last Guy Breathing by Skylar M. Cates – Narrated by Matt Baca

Title: The Last Guy Breathing

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Narrator:: Matt Baca

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 53 Minutes

At a Glance: Matt Baca has a really nice voice, but there needed to be more to Locke’s characterization.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Henry Clueley doesn’t want to be in Glamour, not after moving far away to overcome a difficult, if privileged, childhood. He’s no longer that pudgy kid desperate to escape his hometown, but it still holds painful memories. When his recently widowed mother needs him, however, “dependable Henry” does the right thing—even if it means leaving the IRS to take a boring corporate position. Things don’t stay boring for long. Soon Henry helps the local sheriff’s department unravel a crime. Posing as half of a fake couple seems like a fun idea… until Henry learns he already knows the deputy playing his other half.

Deputy Locke may be new to the Glamour Sheriff’s Department, but he’s fought his way up in the world and is determined to make a good impression. He keeps his private life quiet, even from his beloved younger brother. Locke knows better than most the need to protect what’s his.

Henry resents the arrogant, gorgeous cop, and Locke thinks Henry is sheltered and spoiled. Their secret and steamy encounter only adds to the animosity. As they join forces, Henry thinks a relationship with Locke would be catastrophic, but the white-hot passion between them makes it hard to resist.

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Review: Henry Cluely has left a job with the IRS in Washington, DC, and has returned to Glamour, Arizona, to take care of his mother. Henry’s mother isn’t handling her finances at all, so he has come home to help. She ignores Henry every time he brings up her finances, and Henry is frustrated. Henry is a very loving and caring son, but sometimes he just wants to be bad. As a youngster he had weight problems, which got him bullied, even by his own father. Henry still hasn’t seen how great he looks, he still thinks of himself as being overweight and not attractive to other guys. And with all that, he also has to contend with Deputy Locke, who is just one big arrogant thorn in his side.

Henry has been hired as an accountant at Decker and Thomas, a very lucrative financial planning company. Lately, Henry has been noticing discrepancies in the numbers, and he brings it to retired Sheriff Tony Carrino. There was an old Financial Crimes Unit case that Tony was involved in, but the case had gone cold. Now, with the suicide of Cynthia Murphy, this case has come alive again, and Henry is there to provide information. Sheriff Lisa Hawkins has a meeting with Tony, Henry, and Locke, and now Henry and Locke will need to go undercover as a couple. Locke is already resentful, thinking he would have to babysit Henry and never get credit for the case. Henry is just tired of Locke, what with his being an all-around smug jerk. Will Henry and Locke be able to put their differences aside and solve this case? And once this case is over, will Henry leave and go back to DC?

Deputy Locke is fairly new to the police force in Glamour. Locke is rude and inconsiderate toward Henry, and makes it his goal to make Henry miserable. But even though he comes across as a tough guy, Locke is very insecure. Growing up, life had been hard for Locke. His mother was selfish and deserted their family, and his father not caring anymore, left Locke responsible for his younger brother James. Locke did things in his life that he is not happy about, but they kept him and his brother alive. Because of Locke’s own issues of trust, he makes some serious mistakes with both James and Henry.

This is the third book in The Guy series, and there’s not only a good mystery, but it was nice getting to visit with the Carrino’s again. Matt Baca did really well with the narration of The Last Guy Breathing. He has a very nice voice, but I wish there had been more to Deputy Locke’s characterization, as he comes across as flat and unemotional. I realize the character is somewhat mean and controlling, but even when he talked with his brother, James, who he supposedly cared for so much, his voice just sounded stern, and they didn’t joke or tease the way brothers would.

TNA_Signature_Maryann







 

You can buy The Last Guy Breathing here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Dreamspinner Press, Skylar M. Cates

Guest Post and Giveaway: Countdown to Rainbow Con With Skylar M. Cates

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The Novel Approach welcomes Skylar M. Cates back today to talk a little bit about crafting a scene, and she’s also offering the chance for one reader to win an e-copy of any book from HER BACKLIST. This is a Rafflecopter giveaway, so click on the widget below to enter.

Good luck!

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Crafting Scenes: From Sex to Sadness

I’m often asked where I get my overall ideas for a book (short answer = everywhere), but I thought it might be fun to explain how I work at different types of scenes.  Crafting a scene is important. I like to write it once and then rewrite it, layering it more and more. That’s also why conferences like Rainbow Con are so important. It’s a chance for all of us — writers and readers alike— to spend a few days sharing our love of a good book and of craft.

In my real life conversations, the focus is kids or money or house chores. Yawn. How fabulous it is to escape for a few precious days and be able to squeal with joy over words, ideas, and books?  That’s just one reason I’m so grateful to be able to go to Rainbow Con. I know that everybody there is as excited as I am to discuss the LGBT genre!

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OnlyGuy[The]

Happy Scenes

The description might be longer, a little lush, reflecting the character’s mood. Or I might have a stormy day, but the character is whistling. Juxtaposition often works well. For instance, the character might be having a lousy day full of petty annoyances like traffic jams and no coffee (although personally, no coffee is major to me). He’s grumpy and irritated….  But when he sees the love interest, the opposite reaction blooms inside of him. Suddenly, he doesn’t mind being caffeine deprived. He might show this happiness in an action or in his dialogue.

Then I consider how happy is he? Word choice makes a huge difference. Is he amused? Does he grin? Chuckle? Belly laugh? Does he snort helplessly and hold his sides?

The crafting comes in here. You do not want the character to belly laugh if the scene is not that amusing. Or if the character is not one to laugh. Unless this is a pivotal moment of change for the character.

If they are old friends, like Jesse and Aaron in The Only Guy, the shared amusement may stir up memories. If they formerly distrusted each other, like Rafe and Daniel in Exposed, the happy scene might be an opportunity to learn to open up and play, like in their miniature golf scene.

Happy scenes are often overlooked. But they are critical. Falling in love should make you happy. Hell, if it is the right person it should make you ecstatic.

But guess what the ultimate happy scene is? It’s not when the MC realizes he’s in love. He might be freaked out or tormented with doubts about it. No, for me anyhow, the ultimate happy scene is when the MC realizes he is loved back.

LastGuyBreathing[The]

Sex Scenes

Some authors love writing these. Some dread it.

I’m in the first group.

Sex scenes need strong verbs and sensory images. How do things feel? What do they see? How does it taste? What sounds are heard? And, of course, the writer must decide the heat level and reflect that in the language, too.

Should there be dirty talk? Is the sex sweet or angry? Most importantly, how will the MCs feel before and after sex? This might change. Or each character might experience a wildly different reaction.  In any case, I always strive to make it go beyond insert tab A into slot B.  I’m not going to lie. There are moments when the sex scene frustrates me more than my characters. After all, how many times can I use the word dick or cock or rim? Hmmm…actually, I love those words, lol.  But if I focus on my goal for the scene more than the semantics, I find crafting the sex scene to be enjoyable.

Are sex scenes always totally realistic? Maybe not. Romance is in part our fantasies, right? If I wrote Het romance, you can bet my hero would LOVE going down, even if not every man does.  I don’t want my MC finishing in one second and then grabbing the television remote. No thanks.

So for me the sex scene must be realistic, but I’m not obsessed with every detail being true. I want the reader to be excited and flushed and happy reading that sex scene. I want them to go: “Whew.” Maybe fan themselves. Or if the scene is a tender one, maybe melt a little inside.

Most importantly, I want my MC to connect to the sex emotionally. Even if I write the scene in one character’s POV, I am always asking myself how both men are feeling, and what I want to convey from this scene? In The Last Guy Breathing, Henry and Locke have rough, hot, slightly public sex.  This fits their emotions at first, which have the enemy-to-lover vibe, but as they fall in love, there is more tenderness and dialogue.

In contrast, in my novella The Holiday Hoax, they were both pretty inexperienced and sweet, and the sex scene was gentle and faded out more than any of my other novels.

HereForYou

Sad Scenes

The key to crafting a good scene for me, whatever the emotion, is having the character act and react. He makes choices. He might fuck up. But he is going through a period of transformation that the scene highlights.

In Here for You, I attempted to write more sad scenes than I ever did before. I wanted scenes of absolute shock.

How did I craft this? Careful choices. I deliberately let the images and the dialogue get fragmented. When a person is in shock, I don’t believe they think in complete thoughts. I wanted colors, sounds—I wanted the reader to sob along with Cole, to be there with him. His shock needs to be felt by the reader or it is no good to me.

No two characters should react to grief identically. I deliberately considered how would this person react? How would another? And I tried to keep that realistic. Some people cry at weddings and laugh at funerals, for example. Others do the reverse.

If my character is not acting and reacting to the event, then it might be this scene has failed. What do I do then? Honestly, in that case I scrap it. And it hurts, it hurts! This is the point I usually go and drink too much wine or eat too much chocolate.  But then, I take a deep inhale and reimagine it. I will fight to do the scene right.

Perhaps that is the part I want to end with? Whenever you craft a scene—–happy, sad, or sexual—– be willing to fight for it!

There is no greater joy than having a reader take the time to say the book made them have the “ feels”.  Whether they tell me it made them laugh or cry, I will do a happy dance that I did my job.  Seriously, hearing that a scene you crafted touched another person makes all the hard work worth it.

Thanks for hosting me!

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THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Skylar’s upcoming projects:

The second book in my Sunshine and Happiness series, Lovers, Losers, and You is due out from Dreamspinner in late September. I’m working on book three and four too. For those who have asked me about it: yes, Owen, Marc, Tomas, and River are all getting stories.  I’m also working on a holiday novella for my Guys series.

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

A Welcome To New Reviewers And A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and thanks for dropping by to see what we have coming up for you in the week ahead!

First, though, I’m so thrilled to introduce two new reviewers to the TNA team: one comes to us brand new to the reviewing biz, the other is a long time veteran reviewer in the M/M genre.

Welcome to Karen and Sadonna! Now, here’s a bit about them:

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TNA_Signature_KarenAbout Karen:

Well, Hi, I’m Karen! I am a 36 year old from Michigan. I have a great husband who’s only complaint is that I am addicted to reading (still trying to figure out why this is a problem…I don’t get it) but, he’s right, I know I’m addicted (hey! at least I admit it, well to you, not to him!). For about the last 2 years or so I have read pretty much exclusively MM. Reading is an escape for me, it is what i use to get out of my head and just relax, which is why you can usually find me on my breaks at work sitting with my Kindle, who am I kidding any free moment I have is usually spent with my Kindle. I am looking forward to trying out doing reviews and I am really happy to be here! Alright…enough about me…back to my book :o)

TNA_Signature_SadonnaAbout Sadonna:

Hi I’m Sadonna. Just like Madonna, but with an S ;) Yes, that’s my actual legal name. I used to hate it when I was a kid, but then I learned to embrace it! I’m 52 (when the heck did that happen??) and I work in downtown Chicago as a corporate type in HRIT – but I have a 60 mile commute each way, so I have a LOT of time to read and watch the world go by from my express Coach that has wifi. :)

I’m a long time voracious reader who read nearly every book in my grammar school library and left the public library with stacks of books each week. My sister was always mad that I wouldn’t play with her because I was reading. As an adult, for years I read pretty much historical and literary fiction (history major in college) and nonfiction. I was introduced to m/m in 2010 when I saw one of my friends had Special Forces on her Goodreads feed. Now 2300+ books and counting later, I still blame her and Aleks Voinov (and I have told him so :D). I currently have over 9000 books in my Calibre library as well as over 1000 physical books in my house. So I guess you could say I have a problem. ;)

Besides reading, I love to travel all over the US and the world – 15 countries and counting. I’m a big art lover and I spend a lot of time in art museums whenever I travel. I used to say I could live in bookstores and art museums, but it seems bookstores are practically becoming museums now! I also love the opera both live and at the movie theaters and have seen some gorgeous productions in Chicago, the Met and Covent Garden. I dream of Vienna and La Scala someday! I also like to go to the theater and see live music whenever possible. I also have my own art in the form of tattoos – two so far, with plans for lots more. :P

Now, here’s what we have on tap this week! 

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MondayMA Church kicks off our week on the To Touch the Sky blog tour

Tuesday – The Cut & Run farewell tour stops by with Crash & Burn by Abigail Roux

WednesdayFaith Ashlin is our guest today on the To Stand Close blog tour

ThursdayLilah Suzanne drops in on the Spice blog tour

FridaySkylar M. Cates joins us today with a guest post to celebrate the countdown to Rainbow Con

Saturday – To close out the week, we’ll have Bey Deckard with us today—or, I should say Captain Baltsaros, Tom, and Jon join us with a character interview that just might shiver yer timbers and make you anxious for Fated: Blood and Redemption, book three in the Baal’s Heart series

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

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jackie, Skylar M. Cates

Review: Here For You by Skylar M. Cates

Title: Here For You

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 234 Pages

At a Glance: I truly can’t recommend this book enough.

Reviewed By: Jackie

Blurb: Life is a thread connecting us. One pull and it all unravels.

Cole Gannon arrives in the seaside town of Ocean Vista to work as a bartender and finally find a place to belong. Determined to make a home for himself, Cole lives happily with his four colorful roommates, whom he considers brothers. The only problem is Cole’s attraction to Ian Stark—a guy all wrong for him. He wishes he didn’t keep running into the sexy lawyer.

Ian knows Cole is attracted to him, but the younger man keeps him at arm’s length. It only makes Ian more determined to be with Cole and learn all his secrets. But while Ian has built a successful law practice, he hasn’t done too well with relationships.

When a sudden and devastating tragedy occurs, it shatters Cole’s world and throws Cole and Ian together in unexpected ways. In an instant, everything between them changes forever.

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Review: I have read every book Skylar M. Cates has written, and I have always been a big fan of her work. This book, however, struck a chord with me. I have a soft spot for damaged men, and this book is just chock full of them. Cole has no real family to call his own so he has built himself one. With his roommates he has found the one thing that was denied him in his childhood.

Cole is definitely attracted to Ian, and Ian is well aware of that fact. Ian just can’t figure out why Cole turns him down each and every time they run into each other. What Ian doesn’t know is that one of Cole’s roommates is totally hung up on Ian, and Cole won’t go there because he doesn’t want to hurt his friend and roommate. However, when Cole is going through a terrible tragedy, he ends up turning to Ian, and Ian is there for him wholeheartedly.

Now, that doesn’t mean that these two just fell in love and drove off into the sunset together. Ms. Cates wouldn’t make it that easy for us.

Ian realizes that he is going to have to work hard to keep Cole. Not because Cole doesn’t care for him but because Cole doesn’t feel like he deserves someone like Ian. Cole is a bartender, Ian a lawyer. Cole shares his place with four other people to make ends meet, while Ian has a beautiful home all to himself. Those are just two of the differences between them, and Cole feels the differences are insurmountable.

Once these two begin to get their act together, everything else starts falling apart. The family Cole has created for himself begins to show cracks, and it seems like he could end up having to choose between Ian and his family.

I have always loved Skylar M. Cates’ books, and this one could be her very best yet. Ian, Cole, and Cole’s family of choice just draw you in from the very beginning. Each of these men have a tough past, and this has brought them all together. Just like blood relations, there are good times and bad times.

Cole and Ian are very interesting, almost in an opposites attract kind of way. Even though they both had a not so happy childhood, they have led completely different lives, but I feel this just makes them a couple that is easier to root for.

I won’t tell you how it all ends, but I will say I am DYING for the next book. I truly can’t recommend this book enough.






You can buy Here For You here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Skylar M. Cates

Guest Post and Giveaway: Here For You by Skylar M. Cates

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The Novel Approach is pleased to have Skylar M. Cates join us today on the Here For You blog tour. 

Enjoy Skylar’s guest post, then be sure to leave a comment below for the chance to win an e-book of the winner’s choice from her backlist OR an e-copy of Here For You.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

And now, here’s Skylar.

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TRUTH OR DARE?

Remember the game truth or dare? If you selected truth, you had to reveal an often embarrassing secret. If you selected dare, you had to do something you fear. Why do we all play these games of chicken at certain times in our lives? I used to always pick the dare.

If I played the game today, though, I would do it differently. As I get older and I don’t give a crap as much about what anybody thinks, truth becomes easier for me to select.  In contrast once I had kids, daring suddenly was harder for me.  I didn’t want to put my little ones at risk in the world.

In Here for You, the main characters, a group of housemates in South Florida, do not play the actual truth or dare game. But in some ways, I set it up in the novel. You see, the main character Cole leans secret after secret about the roommates he thought he knew. The plot twists and turns on these secrets.

Cole also must face a few dares. The biggest dare, of course, is whether or not to go for his love for Ian and risk hurt or betrayal. He also has to go on several “dare” dates with Ian. Here they push each other out of their comfort zones. They challenge each other to try new things. While some of these “firsts”  are pure fun, others are painful and bring up memories and fears long buried.

I never thought about this as I wrote the novel, but it truly could have been titled Truth or Dare.

Thanks for hosting me!

Have you ever played Truth or Dare? 

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HereForYouBlurb: Life is a thread connecting us. One pull and it all unravels.

Cole Gannon arrives in the seaside town of Ocean Vista to work as a bartender and finally find a place to belong. Determined to make a home for himself, Cole lives happily with his four colorful roommates, whom he considers brothers. The only problem is Cole’s attraction to Ian Stark—a guy all wrong for him. He wishes he didn’t keep running into the sexy lawyer.

Ian knows Cole is attracted to him, but the younger man keeps him at arm’s length. It only makes Ian more determined to be with Cole and learn all his secrets. But while Ian has built a successful law practice, he hasn’t done too well with relationships.

When a sudden and devastating tragedy occurs, it shatters Cole’s world and throws Cole and Ian together in unexpected ways. In an instant, everything between them changes forever. 

Sunshine and Happiness Series = Book One 

Buy Link: Dreamspinner Press

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374381_158037151027793_2125675509_nAbout the Author: Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has been lucky enough to have traveled all over the country, and she still loves to chat with people from all around the globe. Skylar can be reached at skylarmcates@yahoo.com, on Facebook and Twitter

 

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Giveaways

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak PeekCheers, everyone, and welcome back for a wee peek at all the fun and fantastic guests we have in store for you in the coming week. Articles, interviews, release day celebrations and giveaways galore will accompany another week of reviews here at The Novel Approach, and we can’t wait to share it all with you.

Here’s what’s on tap!

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MondaySkylar M. Cates kicks off the week on the Here for You blog tour

Cardeno C. joins us today as well, on the Home Series blog tour

TuesdayJordan Castillo Price is here today to celebrate the release of the third and final book in the Mnevermind trilogy, Life is Awesome, with an interview

Wednesday – Today, Silvia Violet stops by on the Burning Up blog tour

ThursdaySusan Mac Nicol joins us on the Sight and Sinner blog tour

FridayMia Kerick drops by today on the Inclination blog tour

We’ll also have author JT Cheyenne with us on the Ansleigh’s Grotto blog tour

SaturdayRJ Scott is our guest today with an interview on the Max and the Prince blog tour

Sunday – And finally, to close out a busy week, we have author Eli Easton with us on the Howl at the Moon blog tour

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And that brings another week to a close. Until next time, happy reading!

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3 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Janet, Skylar M. Cates

Review: The Last Guy Breathing by Skylar M. Cates

Title: The Last Guy Breathing

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 254 Pages

At a Glance: Great couple, good mystery, unconvincing procedural

Blurb: Henry Clueley doesn’t want to be in Glamour, not after moving far away to overcome a difficult, if privileged, childhood. He’s no longer that pudgy kid desperate to escape his hometown, but it still holds painful memories. When his recently widowed mother needs him, however, “dependable Henry” does the right thing—even if it means leaving the IRS to take a boring corporate position. Things don’t stay boring for long. Soon Henry helps the local sheriff’s department unravel a crime. Posing as half of a fake couple seems like a fun idea… until Henry learns he already knows the deputy playing his other half.

Deputy Locke may be new to the Glamour Sheriff’s Department, but he’s fought his way up in the world and is determined to make a good impression. He keeps his private life quiet, even from his beloved younger brother. Locke knows better than most the need to protect what’s his.

Henry resents the arrogant, gorgeous cop, and Locke thinks Henry is sheltered and spoiled. Their secret and steamy encounter only adds to the animosity. As they join forces, Henry thinks a relationship with Locke would be catastrophic, but the white-hot passion between them makes it hard to resist.

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Review: This is the third book in a series from Skylar M. Cates ,and I have to admit I was looking forward to it greatly. She writes books with a great deal of humor and very good dialogue between her characters. She is also talented in fleshing out her characters, they are solid and real, and she develops the secondary characters well also. In a series you revisit previous couples, and that is fun in this book too, and one of the features of a series that I enjoy the most.

In Last Man Standing, Henry and Locke are no exception. Henry is a man in transition. He is changing his habits to be healthy and fit; he has returned home to assist his mother upon the death of his father, and so has a new job that he is doing very well in, well enough to have already been promoted. He has good friends and is out and proud; however, he does not have a positive image of himself. He thinks he is boring and not very attractive, he is tired of being the good boy his mother sees him as, and he really wants a boyfriend and a loving relationship.

Deputy Locke ended up behind a badge through a conscientious decision. He has a rough family background and has tried to be a good man as an example for his younger brother. He is strong and assertive and very attractive. Locke is a master of the hook up, avoiding relationships. He is mostly still in the closet and his outing to his brother is one of the funniest scenes in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these two men rub up against one another and develop a relationship. It’s not insta-love and the conflict between them is fun to be a part of.

A fraud investigation at Henry’s workplace is the backdrop to this story, and why Henry and Locke are pushed together. The mystery is good and there are lots of twists and red herrings, but the police procedures are weak and there was a disconnect for me. From the initial collision when Henry hit deputy Locke’s police cruiser and only got a ticket, to when Henry went to the initial meeting at the police station to set up the undercover operation, there did not seem to be a convincing feel to it. I simply didn’t feel like I was observing legitimate police activity. Perhaps it was the construct of the story or the lack of technical police details, either way Locke’s character never firmly gelled for me as a police officer. Due to this disconnect, the middle of the book felt like it didn’t flow very smoothly, and I had to concentrate to get past this to finish the book.

I will read it again. Henry and Locke are a great couple to be a fly on the wall for, I will just choose to ignore the police stuff and concentrate on the romance. Skylar does write a great romance and I truly love the dialogue she comes up with.








You can buy The Last Guy Breathing here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Dreamspinner Press, Skylar M. Cates

Interview and Giveaway: The Last Guy Breathing and The Holiday Hoax by Skylar M. Cates

 

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TNA: Hi, Skylar, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start off having you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Skylar: Thank you for hosting me, TNA.

I’m listening to Mary Lambert’s song Secrets right now, and like Mary—“ my shit’s not in order,” and yep, I’m okay with it.

Otherwise? Hmmm… Continue reading

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Jackie, Skylar M. Cates

A Secret Love Isn’t So Secret Anymore In Skylar M. Cates’ “The Only Guy”


Title: The Only Guy

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Aaron Weiss knows how to escape. Years ago, he ran from a romantic disappointment and impulsively joined the Army. Now, he’s forced to take a medical discharge and readjusting to life at home proves a challenge.
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Dreamspinner Press, Skylar M. Cates

When Attraction Isn’t Instant – A Guest Post And Giveaway By Skylar M. Cates



We all know that attraction is an odd thing. In real life, I can remember being “just friends” with somebody for many years, not finding them particularly attractive at all, and then KAPOW—sudden chemistry. Why? He was making me laugh really hard, and the attraction took me over.
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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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Cate Ashwood, Dreamspinner Press, Skylar M. Cates

The Past Doesn’t Stay In The Past In “Five Ways a Boy Can Break Your Heart”


“Where words leave off, music begins.” ― Heinrich Heine


Title: Five Ways a Boy Can Break Your Heart

Author: Cate Ashwood & Skylar M. Cates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 116 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: When Trey and Liam meet in boarding school, they couldn’t be more different. Liam is a classical violinist with a scholarship, and Trey is a punk rocker with famous parents. Despite their conflicting backgrounds, they hit it off and bond over their love of music. But after spending every waking hour together, Liam is devastated when Trey leaves school without an explanation. Worse yet, Trey capitalizes on a song they wrote together.
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Cate Ashwood, Dreamspinner Press, Skylar M. Cates

“Five Ways a Boy Can Break Your Heart” – Number One: Unrequited Love – But A Giveaway Could Make It Better



Hello! And thank you so much for having us here today. We are so excited to be making this stop on our blog tour for Five Ways a Boy Can Break Your Heart. I’m Cate Ashwood and I am half of the team that wrote it.

When Skylar and I were brainstorming ideas for this story, one of the first thoughts that came to mind was unrequited love. We knew we wanted the boys in love with one another right from the get-go, but neither one would know about the other’s feelings.

The reason we wanted to go in that direction is because it is so universal for people. I think everyone has, at some point, experienced it. Who doesn’t have a story of falling madly in love with someone who never returned their feelings? It’s a horrible and wonderful thing all at the same time.

My first case was in the first grade. His name was Jeffrey, he had red hair, and liked airplanes. I was head over heels for this boy. I would try to sit near him at circle time and I would be close by through recess and lunch breaks. And as starry-eyed as I was over him, he never noticed me. I was heartbroken.

Although he will always hold a special place in my heart, I did eventually get over Jeffrey . It took many candy necklaces and multiple bowls of bubblegum ice cream, but I was able to move on. For Trey and Liam in Five Ways a Boy Can Break Your Heart, it wasn’t so simple. When they are kids, studying music together at boarding school, Trey and Liam are in love with one another, but those feelings are never spoken. Seven years later, the feelings Liam and Trey have for one another have intensified, but there is a gauze-thin line between love and hate.


Here’s the official blurb:

When Trey and Liam meet in boarding school, they couldn’t be more different. Liam is a classical violinist with a scholarship, and Trey is a punk rocker with famous parents. Despite their conflicting backgrounds, they hit it off and bond over their love of music. But after spending every waking hour together, Liam is devastated when Trey leaves school without an explanation. Worse yet, Trey capitalizes on a song they wrote together.

Seven years later, they bump into each other at a charity benefit in New York. Old sparks fly, but Liam hasn’t quite recovered from the pain Trey caused. Liam doesn’t know if any explanation Trey can offer will be enough, or if he can find it in his heart to forgive the only man he’s ever really loved.

And here’s a quick little snippet from the first chapter:

LIAM LET his heavy backpack slide off his shoulder and to the ground with a dull thump. He kicked it to the side before flopping himself down on Trey’s bed. Loosening the knot in his tie, he leaned back against the wall, careful not to catch the corner of a NoFX poster tacked haphazardly to it.

“The next two months are going to be epic,” Trey said, sitting down at his desk and rifling through a stack of CDs on the shelf. “The summer concert, the end of the year dance, and then… sweet freedom. I’m getting out of this place, and I’m going to spend my summer watching half-naked girls tanning on the beaches of Morocco. My mother just called today with the news.”

“Yeah, that’s great,” Liam agreed, not really meaning it. He hated summer. It was too hot, and he actually liked school. He was lucky enough to be enrolled at Kingston Academy, one of the top boarding schools in the country. Without classes, there wasn’t much chance for him to play violin. Summer was for working, usually at some lousy fast food place, and worse than all of that, Trey always left.

Trey held up a handful of CDs, fanning them out so Liam could see the covers. “Which one?” he asked.

“That one,” Liam said, pointing to the Strokes CD in the middle, knowing it was Trey’s favorite.

“Great choice,” Trey said, almost proudly. He stacked the rest of the CDs back on the shelf, then opened the case and carefully removed the disc. He placed it in the CD player and pressed the lid closed. Before Trey had a chance to hit the play button, David Thomlinson and Jason Wallace came toward Trey’s room, their donkey-like laughter rolling through the open door.

Liam tried not to cringe as they neared, hoping they wouldn’t notice him there. The last thing he needed was to remind them that he and Trey were friends. His heart still stung with what he’d overheard the day before.

David and Jason had been walking toward McLeod Hall and hadn’t noticed Liam walking behind them. Liam’s ears had perked up hearing his name.

“I don’t understand why Trey bothers to hang out with Liam Montgomery,” Jason had said. “Liam’s such a tool and everyone knows he’s a complete charity case. His dad’s a fucking mechanic.”

“Yeah, I know. I heard the only reason he got in here was because his aunt works on the board and she pulled strings to get him funding. If I were Trey, I’d be embarrassed to be seen hanging around with him.”

Liam had hung back, ducking sideways and taking a different route to his next class. He knew he was a charity case, but still, it hurt to hear the other guys in his class talking about it. Once or twice, he’d even wondered the same thing about Trey. Trey was so perfect. Perfect skin, perfect blue eyes, and a smooth voice that could make any girl melt. Even his spiky Mohawk, which Liam knew would look silly on his own head, gave Trey a fierce sort of beauty. If there was anyone who could be said to have it all, it was Trey.

It went beyond his good looks. As the son of the president and CEO of a major tech company, he and his mom flew all over the world. He was incredibly talented, too. It had been so much simpler when they were younger. An easy friendship had begun and had continued, until recently when doubts began to creep in.

What did Liam bring to the table? Not a whole lot.

Liam’s head snapped to the side when Jason knocked on the open door.

“Hey, man,” Jason said, leaning against the frame.

Trey turned toward Jason, but his gaze was still fixed on the CD player as he answered him.

“Hey,” he replied, sounding disinterested.

“Whatcha doin’?”

“Nothing. Just hanging out.”

Jason noticed Liam sitting on Trey’s bed. He glared at him, the corner of his mouth lifting in an unattractive sneer. “With him?” he scoffed. “We’re heading to the caf if you wanted to come.”

“No thanks,” Trey said, finally looking up from the CD player. “We’re kinda busy.”

“But… I thought you said you weren’t doing anything,” Jason argued.

Liam watched as Trey’s eyes flashed with something he couldn’t quite place. Trey crossed the room and gripped the edge of his door.

“I’d rather do nothing with him, than anything with you,” Trey said. Jason scrambled to move out of the way of the closing door as Trey slammed it. Happiness blossomed in Liam’s belly at Trey’s words. He still had no idea why Trey would want to spend time with him over anyone else, but he wasn’t going to argue.

Without saying a word, Trey walked back across the room to his CD player and set the disc spinning. Liam didn’t say anything either. The understanding that they were best friends and no one else would come between them sunk into Liam’s bones. The music soon filled the tiny dorm room, cocooning them in sound.

Skylar’s Bio:

Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.

Skylar can be found on Facebook, Goodreads, or her website.

Cate’s Bio:

Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot-pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

Cate loves to hear from readers. You can find her at:
Website
E-mail
Facebook
Twitter

The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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A.F. Henley, Algenon Lusch, Brita Addams, Cate Ashwood, Indra Vaughn, Jaime Reese, Jess Faraday, Johnny Williams, Rhys Ford, Skylar M. Cates, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week, and are looking forward to good things in the week to come.

Speaking of great weeks, we’ve got one coming up here at TNA: guest authors, blog tours, giveaways, and, of course, lots of reviews. Here’s a look at who and what’s on tap for the week ahead:


MondayCate Ashwood and Skylar M. Cates make The Novel Approach a stop on their Five Ways a Boy Can Break Your Heart Blog Tour, with an article about and exclusive excerpt from the book, and there’ll be a giveway.

TuesdayAlgenon Lusch stops by on his Seeing DOUBLE Blog Tour, and he’ll be offering a giveaway of the book.

Brita Addams is also here for her monthly visit, with an article that’s near and dear to my heart.

WednesdayRhys Ford pops back in on the Clockwork Tangerine Blog Tour, and ::bad pun warning:: gears up for a great and totally unique giveaway.

ThursdayIndra Vaughn stops in today on The House on Hancock Hill Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway of the book.

FridayJaime Reese drops by on the A Better Man Blog Tour and will be offering a giveaway of the book.

Jess Faraday will also be our guest today on her Turnbull House Blog Tour, and she’ll be giving away the two book set of the series, The Affair of the Porcelain Dog and Turnbull House, either Print or E-book (reader’s choice), to one winner.

Saturday – Author Johnny Williams dances his way to TNA to introduce his new book, Klub Kids, and give away an e-copy.

Sunday – To round out the week, A.F. Henley flies by on the Second Star to the Right Blog Tour, with an interview and a chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of the book.

Have a great week, and happy reading!

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Dreamspinner Press, Skylar M. Cates

“The Guy From Glamour” Proves You Really Can Go Home Again


“We can change so many times in our lives. We’re born into a family, an it’s the only life we can imagine, but it changes. Buildings collapse. Fires burn. And the next second we’re someplace else entirely, going through different motions and trying to keep up with this new person we’ve become.”– Lauren DeStefano


Title: The Guy From Glamour

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 246 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Work in The Guy Series
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Dreamspinner Press

Skylar M. Cates Is Here Today With “The Guy From Glamour” And A Giveaway!


TNA: Hi, Skylar, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself? Hobbies, interests, odds and ends things that make you, you.

Skylar: Hi! Thanks so much for hosting me!

I’ve pretty simple interests: good books, good food, and good company.

I love anything to do with water too. It doesn’t matter to me if it is a bathtub, a pool, or the ocean. Being around the water makes me happy. If you want to meet me for martinis and a book discussion poolside, I’m all in!

Additionally, I’m the proud mom of three great kids, and I’m an animal lover too. A good chunk of my time revolves around that part of my life.

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

Skylar: My first published title was Exposed. I don’t recall the day that I came up with the original idea, but I do recall the day I figured out the puzzle piece of the story. For me, every story has one important element that holds the rest together—the puzzle piece. With Exposed, I originally created Rafe as a young kid hiding out on Daniel’s yacht. I’d written a few chapters, but it didn’t feel right to me. While I was swimming in my mom’s pool, I suddenly realized the story was about a betrayal. Rafe wasn’t a kid—he was a reporter pretending to be a troubled college kid—and that was my needed piece. Dripping wet, I climbed out the pool to write it down, and the rest of the story fell into place.

TNA: If you could go back in time, to the moment you sat down and began writing that first book, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Skylar: I’d tell myself to believe in the book, forgive its flaws, and trust the process. Oh, and to write the next book, instead of checking my mailbox obsessively for word about the submission, lol.

TNA: Let’s chat about your new book, The Guy From Glamour. Will you tell us a little bit about it and how you came up with the idea for the story?

Skylar: It would be my pleasure. I’m really excited for the release of this book because it is the start of The Guy Series.

The Guy from Glamour focuses on a taciturn military man who returns to America with reluctance to settle a family crisis, but he’s unable to resist what he finds in the tiny town of Glamour. Dean thinks he does not want or need relationships, until he falls hard for Anthony, who is all about love.

I wanted to write a novel in this genre where the MC is very close to his family. That’s Anthony. As a romance reader, I often enjoy books with parents and siblings in them. It occurred to me that many romances in our genre often have hostile families or no families (although there are some wonderful exceptions to this). It made me a little sad, and I wanted to create my new MC as a man who deeply values his slightly dysfunctional, but ultimately loving clan. I wanted the family dynamic to be affectionate too. They are a family of huggers, including the father.

In my real life, I have a friend who lives down the street from his parents (and his two siblings also live down the street from the parents). Whenever I have gone to a party at his house, whether it is a football bash or his kid’s birthday, his entire family shows up, and I mean all of them -—cousins, siblings, uncles — they are at every occasion. I’m always fascinated by their closeness, both in proximity as well as emotionally. I thought it might be a blast to write about a family similar to his and it really was.

TNA: Tell us a little bit about your MCs (please feel free to fill in their names here). If you were to try and describe each of them in just three words, what are the words you’d use to give us an idea of who they are?

Skylar: Anthony: selfless, grounded, and compassionate
Dean: stoic, protective, and loyal

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

Skylar: I’d love to share one. This is a little scene where Anthony’s sisters first meet Dean.

Blurb: A Work in The Guy Series

Anthony Carrino loves his big, gregarious Italian-American family, even if his sisters are interfering, and his dad, the local sheriff, knows everything going on in town. He’s happy as a middle school guidance counselor. Despite helping kids and their parents fix their problems, Anthony can’t manage to get his own love life right. If only everyone would stop calling him the “nice” guy.

Dean Pierce doesn’t do relationships. A tough-minded military man, he is dedicated to his job as a Night Stalker, flying Chinook helicopters and not speaking much to anybody. He certainly doesn’t want to deal with a mess of emotions. But when tragedy strikes, Dean finds his hands full with his troubled niece, her irresistible guidance counselor, and a meddlesome family, which includes a rather large puppy.

Excerpt:

“Hey, how about giving me a hand before I drop this greasy bag?” Mia broke off at the sight of Dean, and her jaw nearly hit the floor. Anthony knew the feeling. The first sight of Dean could make anybody salivate, but Mia recovered quickly. “You must be Nicki’s uncle, right? I’m so sorry about your sister.”

Dean nodded. “Thank you, ma’am.”

“Aw, ma’am.” Mia put a hand to her chest. “How nice is that? Please, make yourself at home and have some food.”

When Dean didn’t say more, Mia looked at Anthony. He shrugged. He was from a family of talkers and touchers, and clearly Dean was uneasy with both.

“Hey, Mia,” Gina called loudly, coming into the room. “Where’s my plate? Wolf Blitzer is about to start.” She skidded to a halt as soon as she saw Dean. “Anthony.” Gina slugged him in the arm. “You didn’t say we got company.”

“Yes, he did tell us. Remember?” Mia put her hands on her hips and scowled at her sister.

“No, I don’t remember. If I had, my face would have been all fixed.” Gina had her normal red lipstick on, but the rest of her face was without makeup. Personally, Anthony thought Gina wore way too much and looked better without it.

Anthony saw Dean look from Gina to Mia and back again. They were identical, although Mia weighed about five pounds more and Gina had longer hair, but Anthony knew to a casual onlooker those differences were hard to spot.

“Shut up, Gina. You put mascara on driving down the highway; I’m sure you got a little on now. Besides, he’s Nicki’s uncle,” Mia said firmly, scooping out some Chinese food.

“Oh shit. I’m sorry.” Gina immediately dropped her slightly flirtatious stance. She picked up the plate that Mia had just loaded with food and offered it to Dean. “Hungry?”

“Not really, I—”

Gina shoved the plate into Dean’s big hands and then handed him a fork.

“We’re Italian.” Anthony smiled at Dean. “Being hungry is kind of a rhetorical question.”

“So where’s Nicki?” Mia asked.

“Upstairs in her room.”

“We should get her,” Gina said, shaking her head. “She’s skin and bones,” she said to Dean.

“Are you taking Nicki with you tonight?” Mia asked.

Dean looked at Anthony frantically.

“Nicki will stay here for a bit longer,” Anthony said. “So Dean can get to know her first.”

Dean’s dark eyes filled with gratitude, and Anthony looked away. What was wrong with him? It was just a look of thanks, nothing more. He was really an idiot these days.

“She’s a sweetie,” Gina told Dean. “Pretty too. But not a big talker.”

“Not like the Carrino family.” Mia laughed. “We never shut up.”

“And on that note of honesty,” Anthony said, “can I ask the two of you to give us some time alone to discuss Nicki? Please?”

Mia held up her hands in surrender. “Sure, kick out your big-mouthed sisters.”

“We already discussed the kid,” Dean said.

“Not enough.” Anthony stared into Dean’s eyes.

“He’s sweet, but bossy, isn’t he?” Mia asked Dean. “We’re all used to
Anthony trying to take charge, especially when he’s fixing things. No big deal. You guys talk. I’ll go set up some television trays for us. My soap’s on anyhow.” She headed out of the kitchen with Gina hot at her heels.

“Wait a minute! The Situation Room is coming on!”

“Gina, you watch him every day!”

“So what?”

They could still hear Gina and Mia bickering in the next room. “Some things never change,” Anthony said.

“They both live here?”

“No, they have a small apartment a few blocks away, but since my mom’s out of town, they have kind of invaded the place. Gina decided Dad needed her help, and Mia followed her over. They are both single now, and after they both got divorced, they moved in together. Actually, they were married to brothers.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Nope. And yeah, I know, it’s weird. What can I tell you? They always did go for the same type of guys. They were stepbrothers, but still…. Mia hung in there with her husband Cody for about six months longer than Gina and Tom lasted, but then they both ended up divorced. They spent most of their time here anyhow, visiting mom and dad. The girls seem to think they need to be here night and day while Mom’s gone. To tell you the truth, I think they’re afraid Mom will kick some ass if they don’t. Anyhow, since the divorces, Gina and Mia started a business together, a salon.” Anthony grimaced. “I can’t tell you how many times they experimented on me as a kid. I was their favorite guinea pig. One time, they dyed my hair red and I looked like Bozo the Clown for a month.”

Dean smiled for the first time—a surprisingly lopsided grin that struck Anthony like a blow. Anthony couldn’t help it—it made him think of hot, raw, all-out sex with Dean. God help him.

Anthony sucked in some air to recover, but he was unable to pull his gaze away.

“What’s the salon called?” Dean asked.

“Guys and Dolls. Like the musical? My mom suggested it to them and they liked it. I thought Best Head was a better name,” Anthony added with a grin, “but the girls didn’t find that name as funny. Anyhow, despite the economy, it seems to be doing fairly well. My other sister, Stacey, the pregnant one, she’s an accountant and lives in New Jersey with her husband Mark and their two kids. No signs of divorce.”

“And you?”

Anthony hesitated for a second, and then, knowing he’d already told Dean he was gay, he decided he had nothing to hide. “I recently left the apartment that I shared with my ex-boyfriend. It felt right just to come home. I do plan to get my own place, but guidance counselors don’t exactly rake in big bucks. And Rick, my ex, the place was in his name and he’s kind of… um… Rick is—”

“He’s a prick,” Gina said, waltzing back into the kitchen. “I forgot our drinks.”

“Gina—”

“What? He was, Anthony. You were way too good for him.”

“You never like anybody I date,” Anthony muttered.

“When you finally date somebody of quality, little brother, I’ll love him. Rick was not it. He was a whiny prick and….” She looked at Dean for support. “He had a unibrow.”

“Oh he did not!”

“Please. I’m in the business.” Gina put her hands on her hips. “Mia,” she yelled out.

“What?” Mia shouted back.

“Didn’t Rick have a unibrow?”

“Yeah, he did.” Mia’s laugh could be heard in the next room.

“Right.” Gina nodded. “And I mean, I get it. It’s not his fault he had a unibrow, but it is his fault he didn’t care to wax it off. I offered plenty of times.” She peered at Dean’s face. “You got nice eyebrows.”

Dean raised them. “Thanks.”

TNA: I know this is sort of like asking you to name your favorite child, but of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite? If so, which and why?

Skylar: I favor different ones on different days. I always fall in love with my characters as I write them. Right now, since I went back and edited The Guy from Glamour, I’m back in love with Anthony and Dean. Anthony because he is so full of love, and Dean because he is so awkward and blunt. However, since I recently finished and submitted another book in The Guy series, The Only Guy, due out in May, I’m also infatuated with Jesse, who is a real underdog in his fight for love and just pulls at my heartstrings.

But…If you ask me the same questions tomorrow, I might say Rafe for his penchant for trouble or Liam for his yearning.

Gah! I really can’t pick!

TNA: If you could bring one of your characters off the page and into the real world, who would you choose and why? What makes him (or her) someone you think would make an impression upon the world?

Skylar: I’d bring Daniel, from Exposed, to real world. He has a deep code of honor, and I think we need more honorable people in the world. He also has the capacity to forgive. The world absolutely needs some more of that too. And, as Rafe would freely add, “he’s freaking loaded.” Daniel would do good deeds with all his money.

TNA: What would you say are the best and worst parts of the writing process for you?

Skylar: The best part, without a doubt, is the writing itself. It is such a high to put all my creative energies into a project. I love it! When I’m writing something new, my husband jokes that I’m in my “zone,” and he says this because I see and hear nothing else. It’s true. My house can be a disaster, the phone can be ringing, the kids can be bickering, and I’m in my place of bliss, lol. I am a geek too. I even enjoy the editing part of writing. I really do!

The worst part is the waiting: waiting on the submission, waiting for your turn in the editing queue, waiting for the book to be released, and waiting for the reviews. All of that makes my stomach flip-flop.

TNA: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Whichever you are, why do you feel that method works best for you?

Skylar: Plotter. Although I don’t work from formal outlines, I’m always thinking about the characters. I let them percolate inside of me for some time. It’s funny, actually, that you asked this. I recently finished a novella with Cate Ashwood. Five Ways a Boy Can Break Your Heart is due out in late February from Dreamspinner. When we wrote it together, Cate and I realized we had very different approaches. We constantly joked about it. She’s the hare and I’m the tortoise. Ultimately, though, I think we really brought out the best in each other. In any case, I’m the type of writer who will meticulously tweak each draft, even down to my galley. I also like to print my work out (on a very cheap printer) and read it over several times. I think this helps me “see” the work organically.

TNA: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Skylar: I’d love to have the ability to heal myself and others. Besides the fact that I hate seeing any person or animal hurting, I think we’d all be braver without the fear of pain looming over us.

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

Skylar: Sure! The Only Guy is due out from Dreamspinner in May, and I’m writing the third novel in The Guy Series. This will be Henry’s story. It’s going to be an enemies-to-lovers trope (or I think it will be…I’ll see where Henry wants to go with it). Cate and I are also planning another book together and have started on that one.

TNA: And finally, would you kindly share with us all the places we can find you on the internet?

Skylar: I’m on Facebook and Goodreads
My author page at Dreamspinner
My blog

TNA: Thanks again so much for being here with is today, Skylar!

Skylar: Thanks so much for hosting me!

The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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