Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – In Enemy Hands by M.A. Church

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AboutTheBook

inenemyhands4TITLE: In Enemy Hands

AUTHOR: M.A. Church

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain

LENGTH: 73006 words / 214 Pages

RELEASE DATE: December 30, 2016

BLURB: Two very different civilizations—one bathed in bright sunlight and the other veiled in shadow.

Bad decisions, declining resources, and a king on the brink of madness force Prince Varo Kutchif, third son of the royal family and a starship captain, to attempt the impossible: barter for Black Phospolrock, an energy source the mysterious Helkan Kingdom has in abundance. Varo opens a line of communication with Adlar, an intriguing Helkan who seems to reciprocate Varo’s interest. He hopes so, because if negotiations collapse, Varo has orders to attack.

The Helkans preside over a planet shrouded in perpetual darkness. Several species have tried to exploit its natural resources through trade with them, but all have failed. Adlar Mondur is the older brother to the Helkan ruler. An assassin of the highest order, he’ll do anything to protect his king and his people—including tracking down the Yesri prince who crash-lands on their planet, leaving an ugly scar across its untouched beauty.

Thus begins a journey where two men from disparate civilizations grow from enemies to lovers.
Excerpt

Tension griped his shoulders as he hesitated. The safest thing to do was retreat and go in another direction. Otherwise things could get nasty. But what if the prey was Varo? He sincerely hoped that wasn’t his princeling bleeding out.

Adlar upped his pace, following the scent of blood, stunner at the ready. Once he found the source, he’d find the batar. The beast was over seven feet long and almost four feet high, with a three-foot-long tail. They weighed around six hundred pounds. The animal’s fur was either black as night or a deep, dark purple, and thick… and he really didn’t wish to battle it.

It was a majestic creature that didn’t deserve to die so he could get his hands on Varo. That wasn’t to say he wouldn’t give it a small zap with his stunner so it’d move along. He followed the batar’s call, the sense something was wrong hurrying him along.

The heavy, wild scent of the animal hit him first, followed by the metallic odor of blood. Adlar stopped and kneeled. An unusually huge dark purple batar paced under a thick-based tree with a full canopy. Even though the feline had claws, it hadn’t attempted to climb up. Smart animal.

The broad leaves had a jagged edge and the tree’s sap acted as a numbing agent. Adlar shook his head as he examined the scene in front of him. On a lower branch where the leaves parted, he spotted a boot. His people knew what the leaves were capable of, so that left one possibility.

Varo.

The batar crouched under the tree, then roared, the call a deadly promise. Adlar tensed, his body readying itself for battle. Abruptly the batar snapped its head toward Adlar. A long scar meandered down its face. The feline’s large black eyes stared straight in his direction. Adlar stood. With sure steps he strode forward toward the tree the batar guarded. He stopped.

Still maintaining eye contact with the beast, he let loose a chuffing grunt that sounded as though it came from his gut. The primal sound filled the vicinity. The big feline cocked its head, still swishing its tail madly.

The batar stood to its full height and prowled toward Adlar, fangs bared. Adlar too bared his fangs. It stalked straight at him… then reared up on its hind legs, draping its body over Adlar’s, a giddy purr bellowing from the animal.

Laughing, Adlar holstered his stunner and hugged the massive animal. “Dar!”

 

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AuthorBio

M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.

She is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

:: Blog :: Facebook :: Facebook Page :: Twitter ::

You can also email the author at – nomoretears00@hotmail.com

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Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Uprooted by Gillian St. Kevern

Title:  Uprooted

Author: Gillian St. Kevern

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: Dec. 26

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 118000

Genre: Romance, paranormal, vampires, demons, mystery

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Synopsis

Recovering vampire Ben is discovering that life after death is hard work. It will take more than a reflection to impress his boyfriend Nate’s religious mother. And Nate’s twin brother, Ethan, openly resents Ben’s presence at the family farm. Nate is confident they can build a normal life together, but Ben’s not even sure he knows what normal is. He can’t face his reflection, let alone his past, while Nate refuses to divulge his family’s supernatural secret. Can they build a future on such shaky foundations?

When a supernatural hunter is found dead on the family farm, Ethan becomes the main suspect in a murder investigation that puts Ben and Nate at odds. Nate wants to protect his family and stay silent about what he is, but Ben knows no one is safe until the demonic agent responsible for a string of murders is caught. Defying Nate to investigate alone, Ben can’t let the demon claim another victim. But as his investigation continues, he discovers links to a past he thought he’d buried—and a past Nate refuses to acknowledge. With a desperate killer on a deadline, Ben must face the literal demons in his past if he wants to have any chance of saving himself and Nate from a fate worse than death.

Excerpt

Ben’s phone buzzed in his pocket, startling him out of the memory. It buzzed three more times as he found it, and Ben shook his head wryly as he looked at the lock screen. Was giving Nate a phone a bad idea?

Ben

―Ben

―Going to keep doing this until you reply

―Ben

―B

―E

―N

Ben smiled, tapping in his passcode. ―That’s entirely unnecessary, Nate. What’s so important it can’t wait?

―Think you can get to the barn without anyone seeing you?

Ben stared at the message for a moment. Then he stood, making his way through shadow to the window. The night was clear, the moon casting a faint glow, making the shadows darker. The barn was one solid black profile against the night, unfathomably deep.

Something in Ben woke. His heart beat in anticipation. Navigating the garden in the dark was a challenge even without the police officer stationed outside on guard duty to contend with.

Absolutely, he typed. Why?

―Tell you when you get here.

Ben placed his phone in his pocket. Fortunately, his sneakers were close at hand. Nate was confident that Ethan liked Ben, but Ben wasn’t convinced. He’d taken to keeping his sneakers inside the spare bedroom when he wasn’t wearing them to make sure they didn’t get lost a second time. Ben pulled them on in the dark. Eyes already adjusted to the night, Ben opened the spare room window.

The garden felt different in the dark. The sweetly scented flowers had retired with the sun, and the cool night air carried a smell that seemed to come from the earth itself. Unseen trees whispered softly in the breeze. The porch creaked as the officer on guard duty paced.

Easy.

Ben slipped quietly across the grass. The floral hedge masked him from view, and he moved with the wind, letting the sound of rustling leaves disguise any sound he made. The open field before the barn gave him slight difficulty, but Ben used the shadows cast by Nate’s truck and the barn itself to melt into the night. He pulled the door behind him, heart beating fast but his breathing perfectly under control. The night was his.

The only light in the barn came from a dusty skylight, through which the moonlight fell in one pool. Nate stood in its center, looking at his phone. He was perfectly outlined as if he stood on stage beneath a spotlight―or only seconds away from an alien abduction.

Little River is getting to me. Shaking his head, Ben ghosted across the barn floor to place his hand on Nate’s arm. “I’m here.”

Nate jumped, hastily grabbing at his phone. “Jesus Christ, Ben! You scared me!”

“Keep your voice down.” Ben hoped that the shadows hid his amusement. “Not unless you want our police escort rushing in to investigate.”

Nate breathed out, turning to face Ben. “After all the effort of sneaking out here? Pass.” He tucked his phone into the back pocket of his jeans.

Ben looked around the barn. The musty air smelled of hay and animals. The floor was mostly clear, but Ben could see hay bales piled up against the wall, and a ladder leading up to some kind of loft. Pieces of machinery, unidentifiable in the dark, loomed strangely. “What’s up?”

Nate reached for Ben. “I wanted to talk to you. But now you’re here, I don’t know what to say.” His fingers traveled restlessly up and down Ben’s arm.

Ben raised an eyebrow. “Do you really want to talk?”

“Well, yeah. I mean―given everything that’s happened, anything else would be weird.”

And yet, Nate was still touching him. “Heard of terror management theory?” As Nate shook his head, Ben continued. “You were threatened tonight, confronted with your own mortality. Faced with the prospect of death, our biological imperative kicks into overdrive, making us want to reproduce as quickly as possible.”

“Shouldn’t we decide whether we’re dating before talking about kids?”

Ben nudged Nate with his elbow. “It’s only a theory. But if it’s right, basically, we’re hard-wired to want to fuck.”

“This explains so much about why vampires are so popular.” Nate drew Ben towards him.

“It’s a subconscious urge. Completely natural.” Ben lightly placed a hand on Nate’s side. “But vampires take advantage of it.”

“Really.” Nate’s voice lowered confidentially. “Planning on taking advantage of me?”

“You forget.” Ben leaned in, deliberately speaking to Nate’s sensitive neck. “I’m no longer a vampire.” He was so close to Nate that he felt the shiver go through him.

Nate leaned over Ben. His voice dripped with calculated insolence. “You’re saying we’re just some biological urge then?”

Challenging me. Ben felt the spike in adrenaline at the same time as the arousal. He placed his hand on Nate’s chest. Nate’s breathing was rapid, his body tense. Violence, the urge to fight, assert dominance and reclaim territory seemed equally as likely as sex. Supernatural being who has hurt you once, the logical part of Ben’s mind reminded him. You won’t survive a tree being thrown at you―if that’s all he does. The voice coiled at the back of Ben’s mind, sinuously inserting itself in a cold shiver running across his shoulders. You don’t know him. You don’t know what he’s capable of.

I’ve had it up to here with the unknown. Ben tightened his fingers in Nate’s T-shirt, tugging him down to face level. He could feel Nate’s startled exhalation on his cheek. Time to tackle this head on. “Want to find out?”

 

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NineStar Press | All Romance

 Meet the Author

Gillian St. Kevern writes anything from YA to contemporary comedies, but her first love is always the paranormal. Her stories feature quirky characters, twisty plots and often travel in unexpected directions.
Gillian has just returned to New Zealand after eleven years teaching English in rural Japan. From being entirely surrounded by rice paddies, she is now entirely surrounded by sheep. She is attempting to stave off reverse culture shock by finally learning to drive, playing with her adorable niece, and, of course, writing!

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Tour Schedule

12/23    Love Bytes Reviews

12/26    Alpha Book Club

12/27    Purple Rose Teahouse

12/28    Bayou Book Junkie

12/29    Prism Book Alliance

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Audiobook Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Saving Silas by SJ Himes

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Title: Saving Silas
Author: SJ Himes
Audiobook Release Date: November 30th 2016
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance, Novella
Length: 3 hours 38 mins
Narrated by: Derek McClain

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BLURB

*Previously Published as part of Home For The Holidays, A M/M Holiday Anthology, Nov. 29th, 2015.*

Haunted by his years at war, Boston paramedic Gael Dominic spends his time saving other people’s lives. An empty house, a single friend, and living at work, Gael is not content with his existence, but he’s close. Gael was expecting his overnight shift on Thanksgiving to be the same as always—manic crowds, heart attacks…until catastrophe strikes, and Boston’s streets run with blood.

On the run from an abusive and politically powerful father, Silas has been on the cold, mean streets of Boston for days, injured, hungry and alone. When he wakes up in the middle of a nightmare, he expects to die in the same alley he was calling home.

Brought together by tragedy, Silas and Gael can’t resist their attraction. Gael may have saved Silas, but it’s his alleyway angel who brings Gael back to life.

As Christmas approaches, Silas and Gael learn how to love, despite their pasts. And as Silas’ past closes in, Gael learns the greatest gift he could ever give isn’t something bought in a store, but freely given from the heart.

Novella~32k words. MATURE CONTENT. Warning: Violence.

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible US | Audible UK

EXCERPT

There were a lot of things he was doing he never expected. Standing in a cold, damp, smelly excuse of an alley hiding from his father’s henchmen so he wasn’t dragged back

Christmas decorations were already going up, city employees in trucks attaching evergreen boughs and red bows to the wrought iron lamp posts, and a majority of the stores on the street had Christmas lights glowing and winking in the front windows. Holiday music poured out onto the street, and almost every person he saw wearing a scarf had it in shades of reds and greens. It was Black Friday, and it felt like day one of Christmas.

Gael grimaced, thinking he was really close to becoming a stalker, but he took the path through the shops and storefronts, heading back to Boston General. The hospital loomed into view, and Gael dug out his EMS ID and clipped it to his coat collar, and he got inside and out of the public areas without a problem. He knew the way to Recovery, and Silas would be getting his own room sometime this morning, if he hadn’t already. Gael knew most of the staff by name, so finding Silas shouldn’t be too hard.

Audio Excerpt:

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About the Author

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I’m a thirty something bisexual cisgendered woman with way too big an imagination, but that comes in handy when I’m writing. I have been writing since I was a child, when I took a four page assignment on what I was going to do on summer vacation and turned it into a 100 page fantasy epic all written by hand…in crayons. No joke.

I work a day job, but I can’t share for who, since the Old Man isn’t as liberated as the people who read my books. I’m married, I have furbabies, and I live with loved ones. I adore a certain show about a British consulting detective and his grumpy army doctor, and that spawned an addiction to Johnlock fanfiction, which then evolved into me writing it. Gawd, that’s embarrassing. Put this down in the TMI section of my Bio, okay? I enjoy martial arts, movies where things blow up, and I wish I lived in a Marvel movie.

I live in the beautiful and lonely Berkshire County in Massachusetts, and I see way more wildlife than I care to on a daily basis (bears!). My perfect day is reading surrounded by friends and family who don’t think it’s odd I want to hang out but not talk, and my favorite scent of all time is a cool fall evening with leaves burning….less a scent, and more of an experience.

My writing is focused on gay and lesbian people, who are more than interesting side characters that hang out with the heterosexual MCs. My wish for the future is that when people ask me what I do for a living, I can say, “I write gay romance,” and NOT get weird looks.

My alter ego is Revella Hawthorne, and I’m writing the Bred For Love series under that name.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Blog stops and tour dates:

11th December – Boy Meets Boy Reviews

12th December – BFD Book Blog | Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews | Triple A

13th December – Addison Albright | Velvet Panic | A L Boyd

14th December – Loving Without Limits | All in One Place | MM Good Book Reviews

15th December – Fangirl Moments and my Two Cents | Bonkers about Books | Drops of Ink

16th December – Happily Ever Chapter | Bayou Book Junkie | The Purple Rose Tea House | Alpha Book Club

17th December – Love Bytes Reviews

18th December – Open Skye Reviews

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Release Day Blitz, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Tarnished Souls by Dev Bentham

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Title: Tarnished Souls
Author: Dev Bentham
Release Date: December 16th 2016
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

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BLURB

Tarnished Souls is a series of contemporary romance novels centered around Jewish holidays:

Life can be hard. Hard enough to leave two men tarnished and hopeless.They might be too damaged to see the truth in each other, but just maybe finding their bershert, their true love, will finally make them shine.

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

BOOKS IN THE TARNISHED SOULS COMPILATION

Learning from Issac

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It’s hard to break out of a rut. For years, Nathan submerged himself into his job at St. Genevieve’s. He enjoys teaching, hates faculty meetings, loves his science and has committed himself to the cycle of college life. Along the way, he’s become resigned to being a gay man in a straight culture, a Jew among Catholics, and single in a world of couples. Then the brilliant Isaac Wolf appears in his classroom. Isaac’s a few years older than his fellow students, gorgeous, self-composed and Jewish.

Isaac has his own secrets, which Nathan finds out at the racy new club downtown where the boys who dance out front can be bought in the back room. Nathan thinks he’s about to get a lap dance, but behind the beaded curtain the man on his knees turns out to be Isaac. Nathan’s mind isn’t the only thing Isaac blows. Afterward, Nathan can’t stop thinking about that night. The question is whether Nathan can let himself fall in love with a student, much less someone with Isaac’s checkered past. Is it too late for a student to teach his professor the true nature of love and respect?

Publisher’s Note: This book contains graphic imagery of men having sex together. And enjoying it. However, the story is primarily a romance. Don’t be disappointed if you read pages and pages and pages without encountering acts, organs or orgasms.

Fields of Gold

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Life is full of compromises. That’s what Avi Rosen tells himself. He’s a yeshiva boy turned historian, working on his dissertation and stretching his meager stipend by moonlighting as a closeted politician’s houseboy. Their relationship used to feel like a real affair. Lately it seems more like a job.

It isn’t until he meets someone decent that he realizes how corrupt his life has become. Pete is a tall blond farmer who charms Avi with his dazzling smile and his straightforward life. But even if he can believe this refreshingly honest man doesn’t have his own political agenda, will Avi find the strength to emerge from the dark life he’s chosen and find a future in the sun?

Sacred Hearts

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Life’s a gamble–and lately David Schwartz’s partner has been losing so much that David must close their restaurant, the hippest little place in Portland. He sells everything and moves back home, but at thirty-five, he’s not eager to sleep alone in his childhood bedroom or to be supported by his father for the second time in his adult life.

David’s had enough. He needs to start over, maybe with someone like the elusive man he’s been seeing in his dreams. An old friend offers him a job catering a movie set in Puerto Vallarta. It’s been years since David’s alcoholism spun out of control along the highways of Mexico. Determined to experience Mexico sober, he stuffs his few remaining possessions in a backpack and takes the next flight down.

As Mexico prepares for Christmas, David lights Hanukkah candles, celebrating the return of the sun and wishing for true love. On the first night of Hanukkah, David meets a tall, dark stranger who rocks his world in a secluded moonlit cove. Is this the mystery man of his dreams–the answer to David’s prayers? And what must David sacrifice to make his dreams come true?

Bread, Salt and Wine

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Some wounds never heal. George Zajac grew up in a religious family with a father who beat “the swish” out of him. At thirty-eight he’s a troubled man. Escaping his miserable life as a banker in New York, he moves across the country to start again in Los Angeles as the catering chef for a prestigious French Restaurant. Kenny Marks, a writer who’s currently waiting tables, is everything George cannot be—flamboyant, proud and sexually confident. Enthralled by Kenny, and against his own better judgment, George agrees to a date. Sparks fly. The sex is amazing. But even after the two get close, George is crippled by humiliating sexual hang-ups. Still haunted by his childhood, he lingers in the closet and can’t commit to a relationship with Kenny.

Love is the great healer, but is it enough? George’s emotional scars could drive Kenny away, and with him, George’s last chance at happiness.

The books in the Tarnished Souls series can be found on Goodreads

EXCERPT

Tarnished Souls exclusive excerpt #1

(from Learning from Issac) 

Communicating my love of science to students was the best part of my job. I love interacting with all those fresh minds eager to change the world. But I hated the awkwardness of the first day of class. When I first started teaching, I was about five years older than most of my students. I felt connected to them—we were the same generation. But each year the students seemed to get younger. Fifteen years later that feeling of connection didn’t happen on the first day, or even in the first week. With most of the students, I still got there eventually, but every year it took more work.

Isaac sat in the back row, third seat from the window. Sunlight streamed through the glass forming a golden finger that landed like a caress on his chiseled cheek. Most of the other students I recognized, having passed them in the hallway from time to time as they stumbled through their first years here. Many of my colleagues developed close relationships with the students, watching them grow through four, and sometimes five, years of the expensive education their parents were providing. I, on the other hand, only had them in one course, a class sufficiently physically and intellectually grueling that I was sure they were grateful that one course was all they had to take from me. But I did take note of them as they passed my office in small, chatty clusters or single, preoccupied strolls.

And I certainly would have noticed Isaac with his dark curls and elegant stride, so different from the beefy men and outdoorsy women who normally peopled my world. Students at Saint Genevieve’s, a small Catholic college in the suburbs of Chicago, tended to clomp around campus in ragged jeans and thick, plaid wool shirts. Among these dandelions, Isaac, with his tight dark jeans, long-sleeved tees, and strong Jewish profile, stuck out like a lily. My first thought on seeing him was, wouldn’t my mama be proud if I brought home such a nice Jewish boy? My second was, are you out of your frigging mind?

 

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About the Author

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I write contemporary gay romance. My characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know they’re looking for true love, but when they meet their bershert, their true love, their lives are transformed. My stories are set in the real world where gay men have gay friends, families who do or don’t accept them, personal histories they’re not necessarily proud of and a myriad of experiences that have made them who they are.

I live in Northern Wisconsin with my Boston Terrier and Chicago spouse. I’ve published short stories, poetry, newspaper articles and academic papers and have worked in nearly every profession from restaurants to retail to open-water diving and now write m/m romance out of my fascination with love, courage and gender.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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Blog Tour, Guest Post, and Excerpt – This Wish Tonight Anthology

Researching – OCD by J. Scott Coatsworth

I like to challenge myself when I write, tackling different kinds of characters, different storylines, and even different worlds.

So when it came time to write a Christmas story for the “This Wish Tonight” anthology, I decided to set off into the writerly unknown and tackle a character with OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

If you know anything at all about this syndrome, you probably know it from watching the TV series Monk, which featured a lead with OCD. You might think it means someone who keeps things really, really clean – and in fact, OCD has come to be a synonym for “clean freak” or “super organized” in our culture. In fact, when I told my husband and friends that I was writing an OCD character, they immediately jumped to speculation that I might be OCD – because I am super organized.

But this paints far too simple a picture of OCD. Someone with OCD may be a clean freak. Or a germophobe. Or a super organizer. But the difference is, they act out these behaviors because they have to. Something has turned off the switch in their brain that lets the rest of us stop, lets us let go when we reach the point of “reasonable.”

I read lots of stories about people living with OCD. One in particular stuck with me – about a man who was worried that battery acid might contaminate people’s homes so he would listen to the police scanner, and whenever there was a car crash nearby, he would go out and take a scrub brush and soap to clean up the street where the accident had happened.

This is much different than just wanting to keep a clean house.

I also learned that the most effective therapy for OCD, for most people, is CBT plus medication – that’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (not that other meaning – get your minds out of the gutter!).

A therapist challenges the patient’s persisting OCD thoughts. If the patient is worried that if he/she doesn’t do behavior “x”, bad thing “y” will happen, they test that: “Let’s see if “y” really does happen.”

It’s a matter of teaching the brain to move past the repetitive activity or ritual, and medications can also help in this respect.

I learned that different meds work differently for different people.

I learned that certain infections, including strep, can trigger OCD by messing with the circuitry of the brain, a fact I used for Nathan’s character in “Wonderland.”

And I learned that you’re never really ‘cured’ of OCD. You just learn how to manage it.

I was lucky enough to have the help of three good author friends – two who have OCD and one who treats it – in vetting the story.  I am sure I still made some errors, and those errors are all mine.

But it was fascinating learning about how OCD works.

It’s one of the perks and privileges of being an author – exploring people and things outside the sphere of our normal experience. Sometimes you learn something new!

About the Book:

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Authors: Gregory L. Norris, J. Scott Coatsworth & Wendy Rathbone
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay
Length: 40.8k, 228 pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 12/14/16
Pairing: MM
Price: 4.99, 10.99
Genres: mm romance, holiday, Christmas, gay science fiction, gay contemporary

 

Warmth, family, good cheer? Not everyone associates these things with the winter holidays. For some, it’s a time of longing and reflection. Mischief Corner Books invites authors to create stories set during the holiday season and centered on the fulfillment of a wish or desire.

Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris

Glass Artist Lucius Price works desperately to create a holiday symbol intended to help the town of Villatopia heal from a rash of unsolved hate crimes against gay men. When he is targeted next and his studio set ablaze, handsome firefighter Oscar Ramos rescues Lucius from the flames, creating a different kind of fire during an unforgettable Christmas.

Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth

Zeke is a loner his late forties, living in a small cabin in rural Montana. Nathan has been traveling across country on foot since the zombie apocalypse, dealing with his OCD in an empty world.  Zeke just wants someone to love. Nathan just wants to be home again.

Fate brings them together in a winter wonderland, but their own fears and baggage may tear them apart.

Is there still hope for love at Christmas, at the end of the world?

Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone

Remi has prepared for over a year to be the king’s gift at the annual celebration of the Eve of the Great Frost on the planet Niobe. Twelve men, taught under the tutelage of the Pleasure Master, hope to be the one (or one of several) chosen to spend an erotic night with the mysterious alien king who always wears a mask. But when Remi’s turn comes to be presented to His Majesty, everything goes wrong from a costume malfunction to breaking protocol. What happens next is a shock, and a night he will never forget

Excerpt from Wonderland:

December 19

Zeke stared up at the darkening sky from the porch of his log cabin. The clouds were rolling in over the mountains, thick as cotton. A year and four months he’d been here all alone, since he’d last seen another living human being. At forty-eight, he was resigned to the fact that nothing much was likely to change in his life from now on.

A good storm was coming—he felt it in his bones, although the winter had been unusually warm and dry so far. He’d need to haul some firewood inside the cabin and check his food stocks. He scratched at his scraggly beard as he carried in the chopped wood to lay it next to the fireplace.

Zeke lived off a combination of trout from the Clark Fork River and an assortment of canned goods from the local Grocery Surplus store, but even that vast source of food was starting to wear thin. Winter was just starting—and still not an inch of snow, though that looked to be changing quickly.

Sometimes he wished that he wasn’t the last man on Earth. He’d always been a loner. He’d lived up here on the slopes of the Reservation Divide his whole life, first with his father, and then these last ten years by himself. He’d acted on his impulses once or twice, driving down to Missoula for some big-city life in the town’s two gay bars, but he’d never found what he was looking for, and now it was too late.

It turned out that absence really did make the heart grow fonder. He wished that he had someone—anyone—to talk to. He snorted. If wishes were fishes, we’d all live in the sea—one of his father’s favorite sayings.

Maybe I should think about heading south.

The first year after the plague, he’d stayed put as it ravaged Thompson Falls down in the valley below. Even rural Montana hadn’t escaped its reach. Even so, he’d run into one of the besotted, still living a couple weeks after the end, and had blown it away with his rifle. Its blood had splattered all over his face, but he hadn’t gotten sick.

He shrugged. Someone had to be immune. Maybe I was the unlucky sod.

Zeke covered the rest of the wood with a new waterproof tarp to keep out the snow and sleet. That was one advantage of being the last man in the world—there were so many things at his disposal, right there for the taking, and he didn’t have to pay a dime for them.

He snorted. Money—such a strange, strange thing. Sometimes he would crack open a cash register in town to grab a handful of metal coins—quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies—just to run them through his hands.

He cranked up the generator out back and went into his library room to check the shortwave radio, just like he’d done every day since the plague. It was his ritual, though he’d long since given up hope.

He sat down and scanned through the bands, listening intently for anything signifying human contact. There was only static.

Zeke went back outside and sniffed the air. Cold wind whipped at his beard. Snow was coming, for sure, but he should have enough time to make it down to the market for a quick supply run before the storm began.

He checked the fuel gauge on his ATV. It was low—he should probably top off in town. The first month after the plague, when he’d deemed it safe again to go out, he’d found a way to tap the underground tanks at the old Sinclair gas station, so he had all the fuel he needed.

He strapped one of his heavy-duty canvas sacks onto the back of the vehicle and hopped on, firing her up. He took a deep breath of the cool pine-scented air and then started off down the canyon toward the empty town of Thompson Falls.

 

Excerpt from Eve of the Great Frost:

I stood quiet and still as instructed, my hands clasped behind my back, my head slightly bowed. The red jewels on my sleeves caught the light, winking. All twelve of us glimmered in rubies.

We waited.

The pleasure master was a short, portly man with gray-silver hair tied tightly back. His black shirt was trimmed in white fur. He held a traditional leather whip, black as onyx, that he gestured with the way a conductor of an orchestra might use his baton. Since the new ways and laws came into effect, whips were for ornament only, never used for punishment.

Some said the new young king wanted to do away with slavery for good. I did not know. If it were true, why were we here tonight, clad in the Cloaks of Erotic Promise? Was it for the ritual and nothing more?

My stomach lurched at the thought. I wanted more than ritual. I wanted this night to prove to myself I had something to give. I’d trained hard and with great dedication. I longed to belong to another in pleasure, in surrender. Decadence, sensual ardor, red passion’s heat—these were things I craved. To be worthy. To be wanted. I would not have sold myself otherwise. I knew my family would be taken care of by being chosen, but honestly, I was doing this for myself.

I stood on that gold stage worried, nervous, excited. My fingers clenched to fists, something we were told not to do. The sounds of revelry began to diminish, the volume softening across the ocean of dancing, moving bodies until only the voices from the guests outside could be heard wafting on the cool breeze.

Heads turned. The celebrants looked in the direction behind me. I was not allowed to move. I could not see what was happening, but I could feel it: the electricity of his approach; the change in air pressure.

The king had made his entrance.

The air seemed to flutter about me. Light and flame, gilt and tinsel—everything glowed. The great hall seemed too small to contain it all.

I could feel his presence looming closer, a psychic weight, a change in the dimensions of reality both subtle and dramatic. Everything blurred, all heat and distant ringing of stemware and held breaths mixing with raised pulse rates, the inner hum of awe, the rustle of silks as people realized they now occupied the same space as a legend.

Every part of my being wished to break formation, to turn and look upon the origin of this catalyst of change and upheaval, this man who’d brought an end to our suffering ways.

Only my vow of discipline kept me in my place.

The pleasure master said from somewhere behind me in a voice of wavering bass tones, “Welcome, Your Highness, Emperor of Niobe, Greatest of Venerables, King Shin. I have the honor of presenting to you on this glorious evening the revered and most exotic gifts of our land, the finest and most beautiful physical representatives of our male citizens, trained in the esteemed art of exquisite gratification.”

An enthralling voice replied, “The honor is mine.”

 

Buy Links Etc:

Publisher: http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/this-wish-tonight.html (info only) 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAEIP8C (preorder until 12/14)

Apple: Coming Soon

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thiswishtonight-2181667-166.html  (preorder until 12/14)

Barnes & Noble: Coming Soon

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/this-wish-tonight

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/686756

iBooks: Coming Soon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33197468-this-wish-tonight?from_search=true

 

Author Bios:

Gregory L. Norris

I am a full-time professional writer, with numerous publication credits to my resume, mostly in national magazines and fiction anthologies. A former writer at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), I once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager and am the author of the handbook to all-things-Sunnydale, The Q Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Alyson Books, 2008).

In late 2009, two of my paranormal romance novels for Ravenous Romance (www.ravenousromance.com) were reprinted as special editions by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape with Romance” segment – the first time HSN has offered novels to their customers. In late 2011, my collection of brandy-new terrifying short and long fiction, The Fierce and Unforgiving Muse: A Baker’s Dozen From the Terrifying Mind of Gregory L. Norris is being published by Evil Jester Press. I have fiction forthcoming from the fine people at Cleis Press, STARbooks, EJP, The Library of Horror, Simon and Shuster, and Pill Hill Press, to name a few.

Website: http://www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gregory.norris.10

 

Scott Coatsworth

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currenty working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

 

Wendy Rathbone 

Wendy Rathbone has been writing for many years in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance and erotica. Her poetry and short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and won many awards. She is a Writers of the Future alum (second place, vol 8) and has two stories in the classic, still in print, Hot Blood series, as well as a story in the scifi volume of the classic gay anthology Bending the Landscape.

While she has always written GLBTQ characters in her fiction and fan fiction, in 2011 she began to delve deeply into the realm of male/male romance and erotica. She has many indie m/m romance novels, the most recent being “The Moonling Prince” and its sequel “The Coming of the Light”. This year she sold her newest novel “The Android and the Thief” to Dreamspinner Press for publication in April, 2017.

Wendy lives in Yucca Valley, CA with her partner of 36 years, Della Van Hise, and is currently hard at work on a new m/m romance novel.

Website: http://wendyrathbone.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.rathbone.3

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wendyrathbone1

Blog Tour, Guest Post, and Giveaway – Root of the Spark by Michele Fogal

Thanks so much for having me Charlie! It’s a pleasure to be here. I hope your peeps will enter to win a free ebook below!

Diversity – Unsilencing of the Allies

I was at a writers’ conference recently and we were talking about including more diverse characters in our stories. We were already a group who felt the importance of representing a broad range of people, which was a lovely feeling. There was a lot of discussion about doing research on marginalized groups, hunting out the tropes and stereotypes so you don’t fall down those holes, doing interviews, etc, etc, but in the end, there was this overall impression that writing a quirky or diverse character was really hard, and you were probably going to do it wrong, and probably going to get in trouble.

Misrepresentation vs Invisibility

I think it’s really important to crack open what’s happening here. Yes, stereotypical appropriation of voice is hard on diverse peoples. Yes, research and understanding are important. BUT, a more immediate threat to diversity is invisibility, and I see all kinds of allies cowering in the shadows because they want to include, but don’t want to mess up the representation. This is not cool.

The point I made in the discussion was that so many writers feel comfortable creating a character who is a murderer or thief, but don’t feel comfortable creating a character who has a cultural background that isn’t their own or who has a non-standard orientation or gender. See, even here the word “standard” is annoying. Believe me, it annoys me too. I could say “non-binary” which is more accurate, but might also leave some people feeling confused and excluded. We need to bust open our language and stories and, sure, argue about them and grow some more. Silencing our artists, however, is desperately unhealthy and exactly the opposite of what our world needs right now.

Who Counts as Diverse?

In my new book, Root of the Spark, I have my loud and proud diverse character, Dell. Dell is both male and female and lives in the far future on a human colony planet. It was an amazing learning experience to exist inside of this person. Dell taught me a lot.

In the shadows of Dell’s unique story, my perhaps less obviously diverse, yet also marginalized character is Ledder, a violent alcoholic. I grew up with both my parents working in a youth detention center. My father worked nights there for 10 years, in fact. The stories of the young offenders he cared for still impact me, and if anyone has experienced marginalization, it’s them.

We feel confident in writing “bad guy” characters, but the truth is, every person has back story. Every character can be fleshed out and understood in a deeper way.

The Lists of Can’ts and Shouldn’ts

Ok, so writing diverse characters is a tall order and writing villains should be too? It’s easy to let the logical part of the brain make lists of why the story can’t unfold or why we aren’t qualified to tell it. We can pile on so much research that novels just don’t get written. Stories are the most powerful tool I know of for changing hearts and minds, and bottling them up is unacceptable.

My Answer

I think the answer for me is: do the research you can, and then dive inside the story. If you let the creative empathy you have open you up to what a person might be feeling, and let the characters guide you, they always have more to show you than you imagined on your own.

If you accidentally write from a place of subtle bigotry, guess what? You’ll be like every other human writer ever. If you learn from it, you’ll write a better book next time. If people call you out on prejudice and start a lively discussion, well great! More people talking and exploring the essential areas of identity and culture = awesome. Good work.

Plow Ahead

Please, please, please, don’t let the threat of getting it wrong stop you from exploring and sharing your stories. We’ve had enough silencing and invisibility and censorship to last us. It’s time for some brave, imperfect strides forward. It might get messy. I say, bring it on. Life IS messy. Let’s gobble it up instead of carefully dieting.

Any thoughts on any of this? Please comment and open up the conversation!

With love and hope,

Michele

PS I’ve put part of Dell’s story below.

Title: Root of the Spark (Wild Seed #1)
Author: Michele Fogal
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, LGBT
Length: 88,000 words (Novel)
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: Nov 22, 2016

Dell doesn’t want to hide anymore. As the first hermaphrodite on the human colony planet of Ameliaura, Dell has spent the last year trying to blend into the crowd. Snubbing the public eye with flamboyance and scandal worked for a while, but lately the attention just feels like loneliness. After surviving a vicious attack, Dell falls into the arms of Zavvy, a man who has made it his mission to help abandoned hermaphrodite children.

Zavvy has been alone for years. No one can understand why he’s given up everything to take in street children and any hope of romance is out the window. Until Dell. Found naked and bleeding by the kids, Dell fulfills Zavvy’s every youthful fantasy of the City’s unashamed exotic night life.

The needs of an impromptu orphanage leave little room for a relationship, but harder still, Dell’s past comes back with a vengeance. Dell will have to step into the light again to fight for a home before the age old tide of violence rises again.

WARNING: this book contains a child who is actually an ancient dragon made of fungus, a lovely villain imprisoned inside the creature’s body, a hasty clan gathering in the collective subconscious, a hermaphrodite orphanage on the brink, and some very naughty acts on a staircase.

That morning had been like any other: the overbright sun of the parched, whitewashed city, the lingering smell of burning garbage. The solitude. Well, maybe the solitude had gotten a bit heavy lately. Maybe that was why I’d gone out walking. I had dressed as a man, with small measures of guilt and irritation. I hadn’t dressed with any kind of style or pride in what I was for over a year, and it still rankled a little. Announcing one’s sex just to walk down the street shouldn’t be necessary, but people were always put off when they discovered I was one thing dressed up to look like another.

They caught me down by the docks. Circled around and worked up the nerve. The usual names: thing, pervert, freak. These young men recognized me. I just stood there and breathed. I could tell my silence spooked them. But their fear just made them angrier. I looked each of them in the eye, but I knew they couldn’t back down. Not with the others there to see.

They took me into an empty warehouse and smacked me around a bit. They told me I shouldn’t have been walking down there alone. Of course, I had to agree. It was foolish. I had been…looking for something. Maybe it was the ocean. It certainly wasn’t this. No, I wasn’t that desperate.

And not half an hour later, here I was—alive! And blessedly alone, but oh, I was starting to really feel it. With my hands on the floor of the warehouse, heedless of the glass and blood, I got my feet under me. I stood up and flicked my hair back off my face.

There in the doorway stood a man, motionless, staring at me.

He wasn’t one of them. No, those young men wouldn’t be coming back.

There was a flicker of movement beside him, and a small child peeked out from behind his legs. Large dark eyes stared into me. The man put a hand down protectively in front of the child and said, “Best get some of Silvie’s salve as well, Eda. Meet us back at home.”

He watched as she ran away, then turned back to me.

“Eda saw what happened and came to get me. I’m sorry I didn’t get here sooner.” He touched the satchel slung over his shoulder. “We brought our kit. Thought you might need some help.” His gaze slid over my naked body, and he swallowed hard.

My adrenaline ran out right about then, and I staggered. Suddenly he was at my side, holding me up, and the rough pressure on my joints sent a wave of pain through me. I whimpered.

“Sorry. Here, put your arm around me.” He half carried me to a crate, took off his coat, laid it down, and sat me on top of it.

I wanted to protest that I’d get it dirty, but the wet feeling of my bare skin against the worn bugskin coating said it was already too late for that. “That’s going to need washing, I’m afraid.” I smiled at him and gingerly touched my face. The bruises were swelling up.

His eyebrows came down, and he muttered, “The least I could do.”

I started to shiver. I wasn’t sure if it was the cool shade of the warehouse, or the shock, or the relief of it being over…or maybe just the nearness of a fellow member of the human race.

His hand hovered around my shoulder. “We need to get you out of here,” he said. “They could come back.”

“They won’t.”

“But they could.”

“No,” I held his gaze. “They won’t. I’m sure.”

He slightly sucked in his lips. “Because they found out who you were?”

I smiled and shook my head. “I scared them.”

“Okay… So I can look you over here, and you’ll feel safe?”

I laughed. “Safe? I feel victorious!” My voice rose alarmingly, a shade toward hysteria, and I tried to rein myself in a bit, but giggles bubbled up. “I’m sorry.” I rubbed my forehead and covered my eyes. “I guess I’m more giddy than I thought.” He knows who you are, Dell. Try not to be a total mess.

“Please,” he said as he crouched before me. “Don’t apologize to me.”

“Hey.” I rested my hand on his shoulder. “I’m okay, really.”

He looked up at me, and the light hit gold flecks in his eyes. I squeezed the thick muscle of his shoulder. “I’m stronger than I look.”

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/author/michelefogal
Amazon.ca https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=michele+fogal&rh=n%3A2972705011%2Ck%3Amichele+fogal
Loose Id http://www.loose-id.com/root-of-the-spark-a-wild-seed-novel.html
All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-rootofthesparkawildseednovel-2177545-143.html
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/michele+fogal?_requestid=573387
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Michele%20Fogal&hl=en
Indigo / Kobo https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/contributor/author/michele-fogal/
Ibooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/michele-fogal/id1014759812?mt=11

I’ve set up a bunch of ways for you to enter inside Rafflecopter. The more times you enter, the better chance you have of winning 1 of the 5 free ebooks!

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Michele has always felt a sense of kinship with quirky and diverse people. As a bisexual author, writing love stories that explore the rainbow of human experience is both a pleasure and a calling. Her work celebrates the divine nature of diversity, and the sacred, messy work of intimacy.

If you’d like to know when Michele releases new books, bonus content, book club questions, and sneak peeks, you can sign up for her newsletter at  michelefogal.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Goodreads, and nudge her to get off there and write more.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MicheleFogalAuthor/
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Blog Tour, and Giveaway – Operation Better Tomorrow by Brandi Evans

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Title: Operation Better Tomorrow
Author: Brandi Evans
Release Date: November 29th 2016
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: MM Romance

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BLURB

The interview of a lifetime.

When Aaron Strickland’s assigned to write a feature article on Caleb Douglas, the first openly gay soldier to receive the Medal of Honor, he’s over-the-moon. Meet a sexy, real-life hero? Yes, please. And in the weeks leading up to their interview, the former soldier becomes a recurring player in Aaron’s fantasies.

A man Caleb can’t forget.

Years earlier, lost in the throes of depression and PTSD after an ambush left his body and soul scarred, Caleb was on the brink of giving up when a magazine article changed his life forever—an article written by Aaron. Emerging from the depths of his pain, Operation Better Tomorrow—part homestead, part halfway house for those down on their luck—was born.

Tragedy lurking on the horizon.

As the days pass, Caleb and Aaron’s tragic pasts bind them in ways they aren’t prepared for, but it also leaves them vulnerable. Pushing forward means breaking down walls they’ve built to protect themselves, and just as they’re poised on the precipice of happiness, a darkness descends on the homestead, a hatred that will leave one man clinging to life and the other willing to risk everything to save him.

Watch the Operation Better Tomorrow Book Trailer

BUY LINK

Loose-d: http://www.loose-id.com/rock-hard-heroes-2-operation-better-tomorrow.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1MHFEB/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_7UKpybWN1WY55
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/mobile/details.html?pid=2180371
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/operation-better-tomorrow/id1181197629?mt=11
EXCERPT

Aaron didn’t know which was worse. The fact Caleb had left to shower or that he hadn’t been invited to watch.

Or participate.

Missing a viewing like that should be punishable by law. His heart rate kicked up a few beats per minute. The thought of Caleb’s hard body all wet and soapy, water beading on tanned, muscled skin, set Aaron’s desire on a low boil. Okay, that was a lie. There was nothing low about the things Caleb did to him.

Aaron chased the last bite of his overstuffed turkey sandwich with a big-ass swig of homemade lemonade, but neither the refreshing drink nor the air-conditioned room touched the burning inside. For a moment at the barn, he’d thought Caleb was about to take their digital flirting to the next level and kiss him. And fucking A, Aaron had wanted that damn kiss more than he’d ever wanted a kiss in his life— and he’d wanted a lot of kisses a lot of times.

But never like that.

The intensity had shocked the hell out of him. The emotion in the other man’s eyes, the way desire had darkened the green into a tempest of longing so palpable Aaron had felt it in his chest.

*****GIVEAWAY: Win an Amazon Kindle!!!!*****

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

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Brandi Evans was raised by a caravan of traveling Gypsies. She spent her days learning the ways of her people and her nights lost in legends as old as time. Okay, not really, but that’s way more interesting than the truth!

In reality, Brandi grew up the oldest child of an ordinary family. Grade school, middle school, high school. Nothing extraordinary happened until she left the nest. She joined the military, went to college, got married, and became a mom. And somewhere along the way, she discovered she liked to read—and write!—stories hot enough to melt eReaders.

These days, she calls The Natural State home where she lives with her hubby, two beautiful daughters, two dogs and a cat who has yet to realize she doesn’t own the place. Soldier. Wife. Mom. Multi-published smut writer. Brandi’s life might not be “traveling Gypsy” interesting, but she’s had fun. And in the end, isn’t that all that really matters?

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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New Release Spotlight and Excerpt – More Than Christmas by Lane Swift

Title: More Than Christmas
Author: Lane Swift
Series: Michigan Seasons #1
Release Date: December 10th 2016
Genre: MM Romance, Holiday

Keeping life simple can be a complicated business.

High-flying young British executive, Nick Harris, knows exactly what he wants out of his two-year American assignment—a bigger salary, a promotion and some no-strings fun. How convenient then, that his gorgeous hunk of a next door neighbour, Dale Hepburn, is friendly, single and bisexual?

But Dale has had his fill of casual and he’s holding out for love that will last. Knowing that Nick’s stay in America is temporary, he welcomes him into his life as a friend; they train together in his garage gym, hang out and watch television, and dress up for the neighbourhood kids at Halloween.

Then the first snow falls, and with Christmas approaching and temperatures plummeting, Nick finds he increasingly yearns for the warmth of Dale’s arms—only he’s worried that pushing Dale for more heat in their relationship will land him outside in the cold.

Nick’s long-term future in America may not be certain, but if he wants a future with Dale, he must find a way to persuade him they can be more than Christmas.

A heartwarming romance with a satisfying HFN
~32,000 words

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

The weather was still warm. I stretched, scratched, and ambled downstairs in my boxers. Sleepy-eyed, and stiff-necked from too many hours in the car, I shuffled into the kitchen, heading straight for the kettle. I hadn’t shut the blinds across the patio doors the night before, and through them I had a crystal-clear view. The lawnmower I’d heard was in my garden, and Dale was pushing it.

He hadn’t seen me. He was almost at the back fence, about to turn. I could have gone upstairs and put on some clothes before I introduced myself, but I’m not shy, and this was my turf, so to speak. After scrubbing my face with my hands, I slid open the patio door, walked onto the deck and, hands on hips, waited for Dale to notice me.

The second he did, the buzz of the lawnmower withered and died, along with his fierce expression of concentration. His jaw dropped. He looked away, and lifted his hand, like he was trying to shield his eyes from the sight of me in my undies. He seemed so shocked, that I looked down to see if my dick was hanging out. (It has been known to happen, once or twice; though that’s another story.)

‘I didn’t think you were home,’ he said to the back of his hand. ‘I knocked but there was no answer.’

‘I got back late last night. I was knackered—must have slept through it.’

The temperature was cooler than it looked from inside the house. My nipples tightened. But that was the chill air, and had nothing to do with Dale in a white T-shirt tight enough that I could see the outline of his nipples and the shape of his pecs through the fabric.

‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘Did I wake you?’

‘Nah.’ He already looked guilty and embarrassed enough; to add to it would have been cruel. ‘Can I get you a drink?’

‘Ah, yeah. Sure.’ Dale clutched at the back of his neck and his ample bicep bulged. He had quite a grip. ‘I’ll have whatever you’re having.’

‘That would be tea. With milk.’

For a moment, it looked like the beginnings of a smile played at the corners of his mouth. I wasn’t sure. His face was still partially turned away from me.

‘If you have ice,’ he said, ‘I’ll take mine cold, no milk. Two sugars.’

He must have known I had ice. The refrigerator he’d installed in the kitchen had a water and ice dispenser. I must have really flustered him. Who’d have guessed my five-foot-nine of fairly average could be that disarming?

 

Lane Swift is a fiction writer, mainly of contemporary romance, sometimes featuring a mild dash of paranormal.

She lives in Hampshire, England, between the sea and the South Downs, with her husband, two children, and two guinea pigs. She can often be found running the roads and trails in her local area, or at her beach hut, imbibing coffee and dreaming up happy-ever-afters for her heroes and heroines.

Over the years, she’s worked as a waitress, a lab technician, a science teacher, and a telecommunications consultant. She’s also played rugby, climbed one mountain, and run one marathon, but has never managed to learn how to whistle.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Kiss and Ride by Teodora Kostova

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Title: Kiss & Ride
Author: Teodora Kostova
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, Christmas/Holiday Romance

Synopsis

What happens when you meet the right guy at the wrong time?

When Vincent Alesi’s estranged father dies, he gets on the first plane from New York city to Rome to be at the memorial service. Even if he has to max out his credit card. Even if he hates the man for leaving him. Even if it’s a day before Christmas.

Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and Vin ends up trusting a complete stranger with all his secrets, even the ones he didn’t know he had.

Luca Romano’s job as a flight attendant takes him all over the world. But a jet-setting lifestyle is not what he wants. His dream of opening his own restaurant is being placed on hold over circumstances beyond his control.

Timing is everything…

When Vin bursts into Luca’s life, both men fall fast and hard. But their lives, their dreams, even the cities they live in couldn’t be more different.

Their few days together in Rome are romantic, emotionally intense, and leave them both wanting more.

Can a fleeting love affair change their lives forever?

Kiss & Ride Teodora Kostova 3D

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N054R33/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N054R33/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01N054R33/

Exclusive Excerpt

Traffic crept agonizingly slow. Vin sulked in the passenger seat while Luca drove, neither of them too keen to speak. It had been an emotional night, and considering they hadn’t slept at all, talking required a lot of effort.

Luckily they’d left Luca’s apartment with time to spare so Vin wasn’t worried they’d be late, even in this traffic. His body couldn’t handle the added stress. He’d never been this tired, this emotionally drained.

The car kept crawling at five miles per hour when Vin noticed the signs for the airport starting to appear. That meant they were getting closer. The urge to tell Luca to turn around and fuck everything, he was staying, was strong. But he knew all he’d said last night was true. It wasn’t their time, not yet.

“’Kiss and Ride’? What’s that?” Vin asked when his gaze landed on a road sign right under the ‘Short Stay Car Park’ for the airport.

“It’s a drop off point,” Luca said, glancing at Vin uncertainly. “You’ve never seen one before?”

Vin laughed, not entirely sure Luca wasn’t kidding. “For real? Its actual name is Kiss and Ride? It’s not some lost in translation thing?”

“Yes, it’s the actual name.”

“I’m already imaging an Italian stallion opening the door for me, lips puckered for a kiss. I won’t be allowed out of the car if I don’t give him a nice, long smooch.”

Luca laughed, but there was an edge to his voice when he spoke. “I’m the only Italian stallion you’ll be kissing today, tesoro.”

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About the author

Author Teodora KostovaHi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband and my son. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job a few years ago when I decided that everything else I’ve tried bores me to death and I have to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts to fully embrace. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It’s the only time that I’m truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time – my son has a bigger attention span than me.

When I’m procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Nintendo Wii game by a very inventive kid.

Don’t be shy and get in touch – I love connecting with my readers.

Blog: www.teodorakostova.blogspot.com
Twitter: @Teodora_Kostova
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teodorakostovaauthor
E-mail: t.t.kostova@gmail.com
Instagram: teodorika1

Kiss & Ride Teodora Kostova

Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Lost and Found by Rick R. Reed

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AboutTheBook

lostandfound400x600TITLE: Lost And Found

AUTHOR: Rick R. Reed

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante

LENGTH: 200 Pages

RELEASE DATE: December 5, 2016

BLURB: On a bright autumn day, Flynn Marlowe lost his best friend, a beagle named Barley, while out on a hike in Seattle’s Discovery Park.

On a cold winter day, Mac Bowersox found his best friend, a lost, scared, and emaciated beagle, on the streets of Seattle.

Two men. One dog. When Flynn and Mac meet by chance in a park later that summer, there’s a problem: who does Barley really belong to? Flynn wants him back, but he can see that Mac rescued him and loves him just as much as he does. Mac wants to keep the dog, and he can imagine how heartbreaking losing him would be—but that’s just what Flynn experienced.

A “shared custody” compromise might be just the way to work things out. But will the arrangement be successful? Mac and Flynn are willing to try it—and along the way, they just might fall in love.
Excerpt

WHEN IT’S HARD: AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM LOST AND FOUND

A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed

What would a romance be without a little complication? Here’s a scene from Lost and Found that could just make a reader give up hope—if he or she didn’t know better (smile). You need to read the book to see how I turn the complication around…. 

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

They walked in silence for a while. Flynn noticed they were walking in the general direction of Mac’s house. He hoped he’d be asked in for iced tea again. Maybe more….

Down, boy. You just met the guy. Flynn’s thoughts were rational, but thinking them didn’t minimize them. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so powerfully attracted to another guy. Flynn’s thoughts went to a dark place as he considered the last relationship he’d had—the only real long-term one he’d experienced at the ripe old age of twenty-six—and how that had gone. He and Clive had seemed to have a lot in common, but there had never been a spark, no matter how hard Flynn tried to kindle one.

With Mac he felt there was already something combustible.

But he didn’t know if Mac felt the same. Slow down. Don’t rush things. It’s early. Let’s see where things go, Flynn told himself. But he wondered if he could listen to his own good advice. Patience had never been one of his virtues.

They chatted some more as they walked to what Flynn was now sure was their destination—Mac’s house. They didn’t bring up their mutual gayness again. Why would they? Most of their conversation revolved around Mac’s current read—Mr. Mercedes—and how many miles Flynn ran in a typical week—twenty-five to thirty.

At last they ended up in front of the lovely old gray, white, and black Craftsman Mac shared with the old lady, as Flynn thought of her. What was her name again? Dee?

It hurt Flynn a little when he saw Barley about pull Mac’s arm off to run up the steps to the porch and the front door. Mac looked a little abashed at Flynn.

“Sorry. He thinks he’s home.”

Mac pulled him back down toward the sidewalk, but the dog continued to stare at the front door, panting and—Flynn thought—longing. Mac squatted.

“You need to go home with your other daddy,” Mac explained. He rubbed the dog’s muzzle with the back of his hand and smiled sadly. He looked up. “We probably shouldn’t draw this out, for his sake.” Mac stood and handed the leash to Flynn. “And mine.”

Flynn was stunned to see there were tears standing in Mac’s eyes.

So much for coming in for iced tea, maybe more. Flynn tried to plaster on a nice accommodating smile that hid his disappointment. “Yeah, you’re probably right. Get this boy home and he’ll probably sack out the rest of the afternoon.” Flynn knew he should maybe make some words of farewell and head off, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. There lingered in him the hope Mac would change his mind and ask him in. He suggested they exchange numbers, and they brought out their phones for inputting.

Mac put a close to their afternoon. “I should get inside. I promised Dee I’d spray-paint the retro aluminum chairs she has out on the back patio. When it was raining earlier, I didn’t think the day was right for it.” He looked up at the sky, then at Flynn, and smiled. “Now it is.”

“Yes,” Flynn was forced to agree. Flynn started back down toward the sidewalk but paused when he got to the bottom and called up, “So when should we do our next visitation with our little guy?” He gave what he hoped was a cheerful and seductive grin.

But Mac didn’t return his smile. Pain was naked on his face, as plain as the constellation of freckles across the bridge of his nose and upper cheeks. “I don’t know,” Mac said softly. He glanced down at Barley, who was straining on the end of his leash to, very obviously, get back to Mac. “It’s hard.”

Flynn felt the smile vanish from his face by degrees. Although he knew exactly what Mac was referring to, he asked, “What do you mean?”

Mac forced his gaze away from the dog and back to Flynn. “I thought it would be wonderful to see him, to have some contact with him, and it was and is. But—” Mac stopped himself.

“But what?” Flynn asked, feeling a kind of guilty sickness in the pit of his gut, as though he’d stolen something.

“But it’s hard,” Mac repeated.

If it weren’t for the tension in the air, Flynn’s mind might have gone other places when Mac kept insisting that it was “hard.” Instead he just felt defeated and sad. “I get it,” Flynn said, barely above a whisper. He tried to inject some brightness into things when he said, “I could make it so you see him more often. Maybe, like, I don’t know, every other day? How do you think that would be?” Already Flynn was wondering how something like that would work, what with his busy schedule at his job. But if it meant seeing Mac again…. Oh, why do things have to be so complicated? Why couldn’t he have just met Mac on a run around Green Lake, and the two of them simply locked eyes and fell in lust? That’s the way gay relationships were supposed to work for guys their age, wasn’t it?

Mac shook his head. “I don’t know, Flynn. I never thought I’d say this, and it truly breaks my heart, but I’m wondering if things might not be easier if I just let Barley go to be with his rightful owner. In time I’ll get over it.” He sighed. “Ah! I don’t know what to think! As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I was accusing myself of being a self-harming idiot.” Mac turned toward the front door and said over his shoulder, “Listen. I need to think about this arrangement. Think about what’s best for the dog. For you. For my own heart, if that doesn’t sound too corny.”

“Well, whatever you decide,” Flynn blurted, “maybe you and I can go out? For beers or dinner or something?”

Mac made no comment. He simply gave Flynn a small hard-to-read smile and went inside.

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AuthorBio

authorpic

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.

He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

:: Website :: Blog :: Facebook Page :: Twitter :: Google+ :: Bookbub ::

You can also email Rick at – rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

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TourSchedule

December 5: Bike Book Reviews

December 6: The Novel Approach

December 7: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

December 8: The Blogger Girls

December 9: Love Bytes Reviews :: Diverse Reader :: Prism Book Alliance

December 12: The Purple Rose Tea House

December 13: MM Good Book Reviews

December 14: Bayou Book Junkie