Available Now: Reservations by Kindle Alexander

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Wildly successful entrepreneur, Thane Walker is stubbornly set in his ways and adamantly resists the shackles of commitment. He’s seen enough unhappy endings to learn the best way to play is by keeping his men on the payroll.

Levi Silva’s dream of graduating from one of the country’s top medical schools is in his grasp, until news from home changes everything. Now, he’s raising his two teenage brothers and trying to keep everyone’s head above water, emotionally and financially.

When Levi’s new job puts him in Thane’s path, their chemistry explodes, but their fear of being involved in relationships keeps them apart. Unfortunately, despite the intense desire drawing them together, neither man can move forward until they get past their own…Reservations.

 

Blog Tour: Swift for the Sun by Karen Bovenmyer

Interview with Karen

1.What does your writing process look like?

To make sure writing happens, I need to schedule it, sometimes with friends who are writers and willing to meet me at coffee shops for thirty-minute writing sprints evenings or weekends. I’m a discovery writer, so everything springs from character for me. When I’m trying to find a story, the first thing I do is write from all three different points of view, first, second, third, until I stumble across the voice and appropriate psychic distance for a story. Sometimes I think I’ve found it, but then discover I haven’t, and I have to go back and try again. After I have a pretty good idea of the voice, I complete a seven-point loose outline (see Dan Wells’ Story Structure)—sometimes I don’t figure out the final point, but I get a decent idea of where I’m going. Then I return to my voice and write toward the vague seven points. When the ending suggests itself, I try it on for size and make adjustments. Sometimes it can really help to have in mind the editor I want to send my story to and what they like—it’s not that I’m writing a story to satisfy them, I write to satisfy me, but thinking about entertaining my audience will often suggest a better ending to my creative process. Then I bounce my story off three to five writer friends for critique, and send it in. If it’s rejected, I’ll often revise before submitting again.

2. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name-choosing resources you recommend?

Names are very important to me. I often change the characters’ names as I discover their voices and stories (this annoys my critique groups to no end, so I try to only give them versions with the names finalized). Most of the time my names have a deeper symbolic meaning. I believe what we are named affects us in life, so I try to select names that may have guided my character down the path they are on. One resource I love to use is Gary Gygax’s Book of Names. It’s out of print now, but it’s full of names from different cultures and time periods. I often use it to make sure fantasy characters from the same region/culture-group all have similar-sounding names.

3. What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Making the expansion deadline on SWIFT FOR THE SUN and writing over 40,000 words in just three months was a pretty big accomplishment. But I think my best was writing a 17,500 word epic dark scifi novella in just six weeks to meet a deadline after the editor didn’t like my in-progress submission of a different idea. I’m still quite proud of “Failsafe”–Ellen Datlow gave it an honorable mention for 2013’s Year’s Best Horror. I’ve sold it in reprint a couple of times.

4. Were you already a great writer? Have you always like to write?

I always wanted to write—I loved making up stories—but I struggled with dyslexia as a child. I had trouble reading until I was about ten years old, and my sister used to tease me terribly about my awful spelling so I tore up the stories I made in elementary school. The desire to write was always lurking though, and it expressed itself through vivid play with Star Wars figures and the other little kids in my neighborhood. In fifth grade, I bought a copy of Dungeons and Dragons from a garage sale for ten cents, and it was so enthralling I managed to push myself through reading it. After that, I got hooked on Tolkien and Choose Your Own Adventure books and then my reading improved by leaps and bounds. After that, writing came more naturally and I started writing stories again in high school and have never stopped.

5. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

First, keep writing. Without developing your skill, nothing else will follow. You don’t have to write as well as everything you’ve read though—don’t let your lack of perfection keep you from sending out your work. Make sure it’s something you’re proud of, the story has real heart and you’ve crafted the best you’re capable of in the moment, then send it out. Something else that was immensely helpful for me was slush reading. I worked for a few magazines and one book company doing volunteer slush pile reading and final copy edit reading. These helped me understand the quality level I was shooting for to submit.

6. If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

I have a passion for teaching. Currently, I work full time at a university and write in the evenings and on weekends. I love helping new writers discover a love of creative writing and giving them both craft and career advice. We also have a family Christmas tree farm, and I love nature, but I think I will always seek other writers to help.

7. Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I’m mostly a pantser. I spent many years trying to teach both myself and others how to plot novels chiefly because I think the best way to learn is to teach something to someone else. The novels I have completed outlines for, I haven’t finished, while the ones I wrote just playing around, I have. So I think it’s really important to study your own process and what helps you write and what stops you from writing. I think I’ll continue trying to teach myself to outline, because it saves a lot of revision time, but I haven’t quite learned how to meld my discovery writing style with a sufficiently complex outline.

8. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I was told not to read reviews. However, I haven’t been able to follow through on that advice. I’ve read the Goodreads and Amazon reiews for SWIFT FOR THE SUN and enjoyed them very much. Purely by chance, the first review I read wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t glowing either, and I spent one evening depressed that I’d failed to impress the reviewer. I decided I wasn’t going to read any more reviews because I lost an entire evening’s writing time fretting over it. But then I read more, and they were mostly favorable. After a few, I realized that the reviewers were like my students. A class session one student adored and wanted more of, another student thought was a waste of time. Reviewers were commenting on the same book, but one person’s favorite part was another’s least favorite. After I understood “different strokes for different folks” I was able to calmly read reviews. The only ones I responded to were the ones written by people I’ve met personally, and I sent them my thanks over email. If I get a very bad review, I don’t plan to respond. I’m not sure what the use of me responding would be. The reviews aren’t for me—they’re to help readers understand what kind of a book they’re getting. My advice would be to take bad reviews with a grain of salt and read the good reviews a few more times to cheer up. I do admit to feeling a sense of validation when I read a good review, and I did read some aloud to my mom.

9. What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

Getting started and getting stuck are my least favorite parts. Sometimes it’ll take me a really long time to find a character’s voice and then I feel unsure about the story until I fall in love with the character and what they’re doing. After I’m in love, the rest of the story seems to flow pretty well—until I don’t know how to resolve a plot problem and get stuck. If too much time passes while I’m stuck, I lose the thread of the story and returning to it is really hard. Before SWIFT FOR THE SUN, I would have reported novel editing was my least favorite part, but honestly I had blast editing this book with Desi Chapman at Dreamspinner. I guess I love editing if I have a great editor giving me excellent feedback to follow.

10. Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?

I absolutely adore the GenCon Writers’ Symposium in Indianapolis. It’s very friendly to new authors and helped me start my career. I highly recommend it to anyone who writes science fiction or fantasy and is new. Being a guest there is really fun too and I look forward to moderating panels and hanging out with other authors each year.

11. What secret talents do you have?

I can sing. I’m that lone voice in the congregation that’s really loud and on tune (most of the time). I sing in the shower and in my car. I guess you might say I polished my “noisy little sister” skills to amazing levels. I can whistle breathing in and out, so I can whistle songs without stopping for breath. Strangers stop me when I’ve visited another church and thank me for sitting behind them. I love to sing! I had a cat that hated it though, and he’d meow at me until I stopped.

12. If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

I’d love to have a British accent. Patrick Stewart’s to be specific.

13. What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?

I was probably pretty weird for a little girl. I loved snakes and Star Wars and Star Trek. I watched Battlestar Galactica with my dad and begged my mom to read me scary poems about goblins. I loved creepy things—my birthday is Halloween—and yet I was easily scared by movies most people don’t think are scary. Something like Gremlins would affect me for weeks and weeks. I was constantly digging mud pits in the yard and losing my ewoks. The boys across the street and I got into all kinds of trouble with our BB guns and slingshots and ill-conceived “zip lines” we’d try to string from second story bedrooms to promising-looking trees. I loved Indiana Jones and every kind of bug. I had a strong dislike for Barbie, but I loved my Cabbage Patch dolls and My Little Ponies. I refused to read The Bridge to Terabithia because my friends said it was sad. I lived off of Kraft macaroni and cheese and loved my Gilligan’s Island playset. On second thought, maybe I was pretty normal for an 80s kid.

14. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

SWIFT FOR THE SUN is a historical romance. The seed story was: Han Solo and Tarzan fall in love and fight pirates.

15. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Anyone who likes historical romance, pirates, two people falling in love reasonably quickly and then learning how to help each other, and volcanos. Fans of action and adventure will find a lot to enjoy in my book. Also, there’s cursing in five languages, so who can resist that?

16. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

SWIFT FOR THE SUN is a play on the principal characters’ names. The main character, Benjamin, is impersonating an infamous smuggler named Captain Swift. When he meets Soli, my Tarzan character, he anglicizes his name to “Sun.” The title is about Benjamin’s journey from interested lover to total devotion and is a play on words for adventure on the high seas.

17. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Anna Sikorska did an amazing job on the cover. I picked the initial layout from five she created, and then we refined Benjamin’s look. I’m extremely happy. My book has sex in it but it’s not overly erotic, so I didn’t want a lot of rippling abs. I wanted a quick glance to “read” HISTORICAL and PIRATES and HANDSOME SCOUNDREL. I picked a man in historical costume with a palm tree and pirate ship behind him, looking straight out at the reader, inviting them to go on this adventure with him.

18. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

This is a really hard question! It’s like picking between my children! I love both Benjamin and Sun, though Benjamin is a bit of an oaf sometimes. Reviewers really love Sun, though he’s the secondary character, and I tried to present a very real, multi-dimensional person when I created him. He’s a quiet man and does not boast about his skills, though he’s a deadly fighter and survivalist—he’s tough and he’s been through hell, but managed to keep his humanity. Even with this toughness, he manages to be innocent about some things and has a childlike sense of play. Showcasing the different sides of his personality was really fun, and Desi really helped me bring them out.

19. How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Martio, the main villain, is my least favorite character on purpose. I needed someone who was terrifying and who expressed the worst parts of twisted love and possession. He’s the ex-boyfriend from hell, and meant to be. My readers hate him too, as they are meant to.

Swift for the Sun

Author: Karen Bovenmyer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska
Word Count: 80,000 Words
Page Count: 230

Buy Links
Dreamspinner Press

Blurb:

Benjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gun runner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost, he is a survivor.

When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave, Sun, instead.

Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.

Author Bio

Karen Bovenmyer was born and raised in Iowa, where she teaches and mentors new writers at Iowa State University. She triple-majored in anthropology, English, and history so she could take college courses about cave people, zombie astronauts, and medieval warfare to prepare for her writing career. After earning her BS, she completed a master’s degree with a double specialization in literature and creative writing with a focus in speculative fiction, also from Iowa State University. Although trained to offer “Paper? Or plastic?” in a variety of pleasant tones, she landed an administrative job at the college shortly after graduation. Working full-time, getting married, setting up a household, and learning how to be an adult with responsibilities (i.e. bills to pay) absorbed her full attentions for nearly a decade during which time she primarily wrote extremely detailed roleplaying character histories and participated in National Novel Writing Month.

However, in 2010, Karen lost a parent.

With that loss, she realized becoming a published author had a nonnegotiable mortal time limit. She was accepted to the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program with a specialization in Popular Fiction and immediately started publishing, selling her first story just before starting the program and three more while in the extremely nurturing environment provided by the Stonecoast community, from which she graduated in 2013. Her science fiction, fantasy, and horror novellas, short stories, and poems now appear in more than forty publications including Abyss & Apex, Crossed Genres, Pseudopod, and Strange Horizons. She is the Horror Writers Association 2016 recipient of the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. She serves as the nonfiction editor for Escape Artist’s Mothership Zeta Magazine and narrates stories for Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Far Fetched Fables, Star Ship Sofa, and the Gallery of Curiosities Podcasts. Her first novel, SWIFT FOR THE SUN, an LGBT pirate romantic adventure set in the 1820s Caribbean, will be published on March 27, 2017.

Social Media Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenbovenmyer
https://www.facebook.com/karen.bovenmyer
https://twitter.com/karenbovenmyer

Blog Tour: Separation by Louise Lyons

Release date: March 31, 2017
Length: 45,000 words
Cover design: Simon Searle

Buy Links
Amazon US  * Amazon UK  * Smashwords  * Payhip

Blurb

Matthew Langford is told on his twenty-first birthday that he has a twin. After the initial shock, he quickly realizes this is why he always felt part of him was missing. His search takes him 200 miles to Devon, UK, where he meets fraternal twin, Tremaine Wheal.

The pair discover many things in common, and quickly become as close as if they’d never been separated. But when they share a moment in a nightclub, each realizes there is more between them than having shared a womb. Panic sets in and they part. Once again their separation brings loneliness and pain.

Eventually, unable to stay away from each other, they tentatively move forward together as lovers. But secrets don’t stay secret for long, and discovery and questions threaten their happiness.

This is a taboo story featuring twins.

Excerpt

Mum reached for my free hand and slid hers into it.

“We wanted to tell you before, but it was a condition of the adoption that we wait until now.” Dad rested his elbows on the counter and steepled his fingers together—what he always did when he had something serious to say. “I appreciate this won’t be easy for you.”

“Just tell me.” I leaned away from the bar and folded my arms. What the hell were they going to say? I had some unusual disease and was going to drop dead before my next birthday?

“You have a brother. A twin, actually.” Dad paused and waited for my reaction. My jaw dropped and the rushing sound in my ears drowned whatever Mum said. My heart hammered, each beat vibrating through my chest and stomach like a drum. My upper arms stung where I’d dug my nails into them, and I struggled to breathe. A twin? Twenty-one years and now they told me I had a twin? I couldn’t find the words to express what I felt at that moment. All my life something had been missing; a strange ache inside had told me part of me had been taken away, and I’d never been able to understand it. Now I did. The other part of me was living somewhere, maybe feeling the same sense of disconnect that I did. Perhaps at this precise moment he was being told he had a twin, too.

“Where is he?” I whispered.

“We don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know? How can you tell me I have a twin, but you don’t know where he is? Do you know anything? Why isn’t he with me?” Temper flared and I leaped off my stool. “What happened? Why aren’t we together?”

“All we know is that your birth mother died shortly after you were both born. Your father didn’t want to give you up, but he couldn’t cope with two babies. He tried for a while and it got too much. So, he gave you up for adoption.” Mum explained in a quiet, sad voice, and I reeled from the information.

“How could he do that? How could he separate us?” I backed away and gripped the edge of the sink, my legs shaking and threatening to pitch me onto the floor. “Who is he? Do you know? Are there records? Why are you only telling me this now?”

“Oh, sweetheart…” Mum rushed to my side and wrapped her arms around me, and it was only then I realized I was crying. Tears dripped from my face onto her blouse.

“How can I find him?” The words came out rough and strangled, and I cleared my throat.

“The adoption agency has records. They won’t tell us where he is, but they’ll register your interest in searching for him and if he contacts them, then—”

“If? If he contacts them?” I wrenched free of her arms and paced the room, wringing my hands. “What if he doesn’t even know I exist? He might never contact them!” The thought that I may go through the rest of my life never getting the chance to meet the brother I’d only just learned about, sucked the breath out of me. I stopped my pacing, my chest heaving with emotion.

Nothing much had affected my life before—nothing that made me really feel. Even when my boyfriend ditched me for someone else, I’d moved on in two days. I supposed I hadn’t really loved him. He’d been high maintenance and we had hardly anything in common. But what my parents had just told me was huge. What kind of father would separate twins, however difficult it was for him to cope?

“Mattie…” Mum moved toward me again. I stepped around her and grabbed the key to my new car.

“Do you even know his name?” I asked.

“No. I’m sorry. We don’t know any more than what we’ve told you.”

“How could this happen?” I left my protesting parents and strode out of the room. Shoving my feet into the first pair of shoes I found in the porch, I burst out of the house. I barely heard Dad shouting after me to be careful, and Mum adding that I probably shouldn’t drive while I was upset. Moments later the Volvo tore out of the drive, leaving deep tracks in the gravel.

Author Bio

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

Social Media

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/louiselyons013
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/louiselyons013
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/louiselyons013
Blog: http://www.louiselyonsauthor.com
Email: louiselyons013@gmail.com

Available Now: Barbed Wire Cowboy

To celebrate the release of Barbed Wire Cowboy, you can get my Challenging Fate novella free at Amazon through April 7th!

Get your free copy of Challenging Fate HERE!

Barbed Wire Cowboy
Length: 85,000 Words
Cover Artist: Mann Ramblings

Barbed-Wire-epub.jpgAvailable Now
Amazon
Smashwords

Blurb:

After having been kicked off the family ranch by his father, Marc Poulson has made a new home for himself as the foreman of the Double R Ranch. His fellow ranch hands are his family, but he’s still not complete without Casey Morgan, his counterpart at the neighboring Del Rio Ranch. In the middle of a feud with his one-time best friend, Marc struggles to understand why Casey would rather take a swing at him than talk to him. He wants to put the past behind them and rebuild what they once had and make their relationship stronger than ever, but Casey is having none of it.

Casey has his own demons to deal with, and Marc serves as a reminder to things he’d rather forget. Casey can’t see beyond the past and continues to make mistakes that put both him and Marc in harms way. After one close call too many, Casey must decide whether his past is more important than his future, or if he can live with Marc walking out of his life—possibly forever.

Excerpt:

“EARTH TO Marc, come in, Marc.” Rick made a show of waving his hand in front of Marc’s face. He waited until he had Marc’s attention. “Did you hear anything I said?”

“Sorry.” Marc glanced at him, but the lure of Casey Morgan was too strong to ignore. He returned his gaze to linger on the blond who had walked through the doors of the bar a moment earlier. “I was distracted.” Half of the bar separated them, but he knew from experience that the chances of avoiding a confrontation were slim to nil.

“Obviously.” Their companion, and coworker, Jason snickered.

“What is it with you and him?” Rick’s gaze danced between the two men. “You two can’t be in the same room together without going for the jugular.”

“It has nothing to do with you.” Marc didn’t want to get into it and was desperate to stop the barrage of questions before they could start. “You concentrate on yourself and let me handle my own problems.”

Marc tracked Casey’s progress through the bar until he sat at a table with two of the hired hands from the Del Rio Ranch. As the foreman for the Del Rio, Casey was the direct counterpart of Marc’s position at the Double R. The owners of the two ranches were close friends, and up until a few months earlier, so were Casey and Marc. It was amazing how one thing could cause friends to become bitter enemies, and it was nothing more than a misunderstanding.

“We lost him again.” Jason needed to wipe the smirk off his face.

“Knock it off.” Marc forced his attention away from Casey and back to Rick and Jason. “What were you asking?”

“Never mind.” Rick shook his head. “Since we have tomorrow off it can wait until Monday. No sense in talking ranch work if we don’t have to.”

“Sounds good to me.” Jason finished off the beer in front of him.

Marc swallowed the last of his own drink and headed toward the bar for the next round. Despite being the sole bar in town, it wasn’t busy, and within a couple of minutes he was turning to head back to his table with three fresh beers. As he turned, his shoulder brushed against a newcomer, and Marc turned to apologize, but the words stuck in his throat when he found himself face-to-face with Casey. If he’d realized Casey had the same idea, he would have stayed in his seat and let one of the other two go.

“Poulson.” Casey’s greeting dripped with hostility.

“Morgan.” Fuck the apology. Marc pushed past him but stopped when Casey mumbled something under his breath. His entire body went stiff, and he struggled to breathe through the anger. He should have ignored it and walked away, but it built inside him until he was seething with every breath he took. “What the hell did you say to me?”

“You heard me.” Casey leaned against the bar and tried to stare him down.

“That’s bullshit and you know it.” Marc took a determined step forward. He had a couple of inches on his former friend and wasn’t above trying to intimidate him. Not anymore.

“It’s not bullshit if it’s the truth.” Instead of backing down, Casey straightened up, anger flashing in his eyes.

“I’ve had it with this crap.” Marc clenched his jaw. He’d tried to keep his cool, but if Casey was itching for a fight that bad, Marc was ready and willing to oblige. He ignored the little voice in his head telling him it was a bad idea. Marc plunked the bottles he was holding onto the bar, flexed his hands at his side, and waited. He wouldn’t throw the first punch, but if Casey did, he wouldn’t walk away. “I wasn’t the only one there, and you damn well know it.”

“You may as well have been.” Casey sneered and grabbed the beer the bartender set down. He tried to shoulder his way past, but Marc refused to move.

Marc reached out and grabbed ahold of Casey’s arm to keep him there. “Oh, I don’t know about that. When are you going to admit you liked it?”

With a wrench of his arm he whirled Casey back around. The bottle clutched in Casey’s grasp slipped free, shattering on the floor, and beer splashed up onto their boots. Their gazes collided, and Marc could see the fury simmering in Casey’s eyes. Determined to use his height advantage, he took a step forward until there were a mere couple of inches separating them, forcing Casey to look up to meet his eyes. When Marc didn’t release his hold on him, Casey knocked his hand away.

“Don’t.” As cliched as it sounded, if looks could kill, Marc would drop dead on the spot. “You have no fucking right to touch me.”

“Like this?” Marc reached out with one hand and shoved Casey’s shoulder.

“Bastard,” Casey replied.

“Point being?” Marc repeated his earlier action, this time putting enough force behind it to cause the infuriating man to stagger into the table behind him.

“Go to hell.” Casey growled and turned toward his table.

“I’ll meet you there.” Marc laughed and moved to grab the beers from the bar. He heard one of the Del Rio hands yell and turned a second too late. Casey’s fist connected with his jaw and sent him stumbling back into the bar.

“Fucker!” Marc launched himself toward Casey and placed a couple of well-aimed blows to Casey’s stomach and ribs. It didn’t bring near the satisfaction he’d expected. Instead, regret trickled through him and was enough to throw off his concentration. Casey didn’t hesitate to take advantage, but Marc managed to deflect the blow with his shoulder. He grunted in pain as the next one connected with his ribs. Thank god Casey hadn’t managed to land a shot to his liver. That would have had him writhing in agony.

Shelving his feelings of remorse to study later, Marc shoved Casey hard enough to send him careening into a nearby chair. Taking advantage of gaining the upper hand, he pressed on and within moments Marc was rolling on the floor with Casey as they each tried to gain domination over the other. Marc managed to land a few more punches, but then someone grabbed his arms and pulled him away. His entire body hurt, but he ignored the pain and struggled to get free.

“Fuckers. Let me go.” The more he fought, the tighter he was held. Despite his attempts, Marc was no match for the men intent on dragging him away. Through the haze of anger he saw two men pull Casey to his feet and resumed his struggles, but there was no freeing himself.

The adrenaline drained out of him, and, as his vision cleared, he recognized the two men holding Casey back as the two hired hands from the Del Rio Ranch. He turned his head to see who had him and met Rick’s gaze. A groan slithered from his throat as he looked on his other side and found Jason regarding him as if he was a snake about to strike.

“You can let me go now.” Marc tried to jerk his arms free.

“Sorry, boss man, can’t do that.” Rick’s grip tightened to the point Marc was sure he’d have bruises. On top of the ones he’d have from Casey.

“You’ll fucking pay for this.” Casey struggled against the two men holding him, blood flowing unimpeded from his nose.

Marc glanced at his hands and winced at the blood coating his split knuckles. With his quarry now out of his reach, he allowed Rick and Jason to lead him toward the exit. He couldn’t believe he’d been goaded into yet another fight. Though, if he was honest, he’d egged Casey on as well. Now he had to figure out how he was going to explain the night’s events to his boss, once word got around, and it would. That should be fun. Rick and Jason almost had him to the door when it opened and revealed the lean body of the sheriff blocking their escape.

Author Bio:

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.

When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Google+

Blog Tour: Dating in Retrospect by Lila Leigh Hunter

Title: Dating in Retrospect (States of Love)
Author: Lila Leigh Hunter
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Category: Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Sex Content: Explicit
Pairing: MM
Orientation: Bisexual
Identity: Cisgender
Length: Novella
Words: 38,800
Pages: 101

Buy Links
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Blurb

Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.

Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.

A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.

Excerpt
©2017 Lila Leigh Hunter
All Rights Reserved

Clay—May ’15

Back to the future and all of that were Clay’s first thoughts as he stepped out of the car. The campus looked the same—Midwest Americana at its best. Redbrick buildings and perfectly pruned trees surrounded him, but as if the last fifteen years hadn’t happened, Clay’s world narrowed to the man waiting at the top of the portico stairs. The only thing time had changed? Them.

“Here’s your receipt, Mr. Keller,” the valet said, interrupting Clay’s musings. He didn’t remember being as young as the valet. Mr. Keller was his father, but Clay didn’t feel like correcting the man’s error.

“Thank you.”

“Not a problem. The man in the light gray suit is Professor Grant. He will be your escort today.”

“Perfect,” Clay responded, smiling at the mention of having an escort at his service, especially one whose body he knew well. With a nod and a tip, Clay left the valet behind, turning his attention back to Professor Grant. Professor. Aaron had done it after all. Clay had never doubted it, even after Aaron decided to stay and work at his family’s farm instead of moving with him to LA. Now he needed to find out if he had a chance with Aaron. At least having him there, waiting for him, had to be a good sign. Today was his lucky day indeed. True, he hadn’t expected to see Aaron so soon. He had planned to stop by the farm after the commencement, but he was ready either way. Life had been rough lately, but having the opportunity to see Aaron again was worth coming back to the middle of Nowhere, Iowa.

He walked casually toward the man he’d left behind many summers ago—a man standing like a prizefighter, waiting for Clay to reach him. With only a couple of feet between them, Clay’s step faltered. Aaron didn’t seem happy to see him, more like he was ready to bolt before Clay got to him. Shaking his head and keeping his eyes on his prey, he closed the distance and extended his hand in greeting.

“Professor Grant, I believe you’re expecting me?” He hoped his smile would ease Aaron’s frown.

“That I am, Mr. Keller. As the university liaison, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to your alma mater and to convey the president’s and the board of trustees’ deepest regards.”

“How long did it take you to memorize that spiel? As far as I remember, you weren’t fond of formalities.” Neither of them let go of the other’s hand. Aaron’s touch, familiar and foreign, branded him in seconds.

“Ass.”

Aaron didn’t expect the hug that followed. As soon as their bodies touched, Aaron tensed, but Clay held him tighter.

“Relax, sunshine. It’s been a while.” Clay let Aaron go, but not before he rubbed his trimmed beard against Aaron’s clean-shaven face as he moved back.

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Meet the Author

Lila Leigh Hunter is the pen name of a Puerto Rican author with a hyphenated surname. Born and raised on the island, Lila grew up making up stories her siblings pretended to like. But no matter what they say, as the youngest of six, she’s still their mom’s favorite. According to the dusty diplomas on her wall, she’s an architectural designer living in Southern Texas with her husband and four military brats.

She spends most of her free time writing homoerotic romances about middle-aged men finding happiness and the rest hiding from pesky house chores. When outside of her cave, she likes to observe people and try to guess their stories. Sometimes she wishes the voices in her head were real; going out with the boys in her books sounds like a plan made in heaven.

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Email: llhunter.romance@gmail.com

Blog Tour: Jaeger by Evelise Archer

Order of the Black Knights

Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done, what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.

Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.

If the Knight pardons an enemy, he will no longer be cursed. If not, he will continue to live the same life again and again, and each life will make him harder and more unyielding. And each life will make it is less likely that he can be saved.

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Jaeger Blurb

US Marshal Jaeger Tripp is assigned to the Federal Witness Protection Program. The hurt and destruction he’s seen—along with protecting criminals who are only cooperating with the authorities to keep themselves out of jail—have left him with a bleak and jaded view of both life and people. His current assignment is Wren O’Riley, a computer wizard who witnessed a high-profile cartel hit.

To Jaeger, Wren is the same as any other job. He must protect him long enough to get him to testify at trial, and his personal feelings have no place in his work and must be set aside. But that’s easier said than done. On the run and fighting for their lives, Jaeger and Wren can’t help but grow closer. And Jaeger can’t help seeing beyond Wren’s nerdy exterior to a man who might be just what Jaeger needs to settle his soul and capture his heart—if they survive long enough to get that chance.

Excerpt

Wren looked out the dusty front window and admired the view from what would be his home for a while. He wasn’t just thinking about the studly marshal. The log cabin appeared to be modern-rustic—if that was a style. The sturdy log structure had a wide wraparound porch and sported three rockers made of rough wood.

Wren loved the to-and-fro motion of a rocking chair—something he learned from his mother on the countless days they spent together on the family property in New Mexico, whiling the hours away. He had fond memories of his mother, and even some of his family members during those days—before he started to work for his uncle and realized exactly what the family business was. He longed for those languid days again, and if Jaeger permitted him some respite, he’d take it on the front porch, rocking.

“Home for the next month.” Wren’s daydreaming was interrupted by the deep soulful voice of his watcher.

“There’s no place for you to go, so I’ll have those handcuffs now. You’re up shit creek if you have the balls to wander in the High Peaks on your own.” Wren lifted his cuffed hands from his lap and allowed Jaeger to remove the restraints.

“I’ll get our bags.” Wren rubbed his wrists as he extricated himself from the front passenger seat. The lock mechanism on the hatch of the SUV released, and Wren opened the door and pulled out the two suitcases. He also noticed the cooler and a few other bags. Provisions.

Dragging their luggage across the gravel and dirt clearing proved more difficult than expected. His arms were a little numb from being in cuffs for so long. Wren made it to the bottom of the steps and maneuvered each bag up onto the porch and then waited for Jaeger to unlock the door.

Jaeger grabbed his small bag from the backseat of the driver’s side and strode to the door as Wren carefully scrutinized him. The marshal definitely had a chip on his shoulder.

“Is there a problem with the accommodations, Mr. O’Riley?” Wren couldn’t miss the disdain in Jaeger’s voice.

“No, there isn’t. Actually I was thinking how beautiful it is here and how this would make a nice vacation home,” Wren replied.

“Well, don’t get too comfortable. We’re not here for a fucking vacation.”

Wren nodded and accepted Jaeger’s attitude and waited patiently as he punched a code into the panel and unlocked the door. Jaeger brusquely entered before him and offered no help with the bags.

Wren plopped them on the ceramic-tiled floor at the entrance and then did a three-sixty of the large, open room. The cabin truly was beautiful. Under other circumstances Wren could picture himself being fucked by the marshal in front of the large stone fireplace. Jaeger Tripp was just his type—bad-boy attitude, soulful voice, and a strong chiseled jaw. His legs went on forever, and Wren imagined himself wrapped around Jaeger’s tapered waist. They might be the same height, but Marshal Jaeger Tripp had a good fifty pounds on Wren’s slenderer body. He looked as if he could lift a small car.

“Marshal, should I put the bags someplace specific or leave them here on the floor?” Wren moved farther into the room where the ceramic tile turned to dark, notched-wood floors. Besides the large fireplace, the living space had two striped sofas in reds, blues, and tans, with accenting pillows and a large braided rug. The kitchen, although it appeared slightly older, was clean and contained a small table and two wooden chairs. The one thing Wren noticed right away was the coffee pot on the counter. What he wouldn’t do for a cup of coffee, but he dared not ask.

“There’s two bedrooms down the hall, last two doors. Toss my bag in the last room and yours in the second.” Jaeger motioned with his head as he made for the front door. “I need to get the cooler and rest of the bags. I’ll be right back.”

With that, Jaeger walked out the front door into the dusk. Wren strode down the hall, passed a bathroom on the left and a closed door on the right, and then came to what would be his room. He left his bag in front of the door and proceeded to move to the last door, open it, and enter with the marshal’s bag. The room was decorated in a country motif, and the focal point was a large, heavy wooden bed. Wren wondered if the marshal slept in the buff. A man could dream. The door to a separate bathroom was open, and Wren could see a large claw-foot tub. Nice.

Wren wondered if the government bought the cabin already made or if they had it built to suit their needs—secluded enough to attract no attention, yet within some distance of civilization.

Wren opened the door to what would be his new sleeping quarters and placed his bag on the quilt-covered bed. The room looked very much like the other bedroom, just a tad smaller and minus its own bathroom. He’d have to use the one in the hall.

He made quick work of unpacking his meager belongings, placed them in the chest of drawers, and stowed the bag in the closet. He heard movement outside his door but tried to keep his mind off the marshal. He grabbed his toiletries, stored them in the extra bathroom, and stopped in front of the third door in the hall, which was open—the door closest to the living space.

Wren’s pants tightened when he saw Jaeger’s taut, jean-clad ass. Jaeger was leaning over a chair, banging away on a keyboard. The temporary distraction gave Wren pause. He shouldn’t be lusting after the man who was assigned to protect him, especially when he held Wren in such disdain.

About the Author

Evelise Archer is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is a new-found lover of tea, and don’t look in her office because what you find may astound you. She currently has twenty tins of tea leaves just waiting to be brewed for her drinking pleasure. She is bilingual, lives in one of the original thirteen colonies, and is a lover of the cold weather and snow. It’s a safe bet that you may find her on the beach in the autumn and winter, but rarely in the summer. She’s been married for over thirty years to a loving man who puts up with her obsession to clean—she currently owns three vacuum cleaners—, read, and spin a tale when the voices speak to her. When she’s not in front of the computer, search her out in the local gym.

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Blog Tour: Wish You Were Here by Asta Idonea

Interview with Asta Idonea

What does your writing process look like?

I’m not a big planner; however, at the start of each short story, I have a notebook where I jot down character notes and a basic plot arc. With novellas and novels, I write longer character profiles and any key plot points, including “rules” if I’m using ghosts, vampires etc.

The first draft, I just write. As an editor, it’s hard to switch off that part of my brain, but I do my best. Once I have a full first draft, I go through various rounds of edits (usually about two for a short story and three or four for a novel/novella). Since I am essentially plotting as I go with the first draft, the initial round of edits tends to be pretty solid, fixing any plot holes or character discrepancies that have emerged during the organic writing process (not usually too many, luckily), with subsequent edits being more about prose style. Then it’s a final proofread prior to submission.

What book do you wish you could have written?

The Harry Potter series if we’re talking of monetary success, but in terms of literary merit, probably something by Milan Kundera or Haruki Murakami.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

The two guys I just mentioned. Also writers like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Jane Austen.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Very important. I always aim to give my characters names that reflect either an aspect of their personality or their role in the story. My favourite resource for that is Behind the Name. They have sites for both first names and surnames with decent search functions.

Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?

I’ve wanted to write since I was a child! In my late teens/early twenties I started posting fan fiction, and by my late twenties I was writing and publishing original works.

If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

My other dream was always to be in musical theatre. But in reality I’d probably be working a desk job somewhere or doing something with my foreign languages.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

In general, yes, and I still can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not! I rarely respond, regardless of the rating, unless it’s to thank someone for taking part in a blog tour, because I think it’s better for readers not to feel that the author is interfering with reviews, even in a positive light. If I wanted to reach out to someone who’d written something particularly nice, I’d do so privately. As to bad reviews, it’s best never to get into a debate. Of course a bad review is upsetting, but you just have to dust yourself off and get back to work. After all, not everyone can like the same things, and if you got a bad review today, you may well get a good one tomorrow. You have to be philosophical about it.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I am currently working on the third draft of what will, I hope, be my first novel-length MM work if I can find a publisher for it later in the year. I am also commencing a new mainstream urban fantasy story. Not sure yet if that will be a novella or a full-length novel as I’m only one Chapter One.

What literary character is most like you?

Ha, I’d like to say Jane Eyre, but I think that might be more aspiration than reality. I am very like my own character, Cassandra, in The Ragnarök Chronicles. A little of myself slips into all my works, but in that one it was really apparent. My mother commented on it when she was only four chapters in!

What secret talents do you have?

Languages. I love learning foreign languages and speak several to varying degrees of proficiency.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

There are loads, but if I had to pick one from near the top of the list, it would be Vienna, to see all the stuff about Sissi.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

An owl. That’s my symbol in the Native American zodiac.

If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

Iceland. It’s awesome! I started learning Icelandic recently.

Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Wish You Were Here – Contemporary/Paranormal

Oakley and his family are grieving his sister’s death, but he finds new hope when he meets local boy Bobby while on vacation.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

This one isn’t explicit, so it’s suitable for YA and adult readers who are looking for a contemporary tale with a paranormal twist that looks at the psychology of grief but ends on a hopeful note. I would like to think that readers will turn the final page feeling uplifted, but with plenty of food for thought.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

This title came to me as soon as I started writing. It combines the sense of grief over the loss of Oakley’s sister with the idea of holidays and those old-style postcards with the words “wish you were here”.

Dreamspinner Press : Amazon US : Amazon UK

Wish You Were Here
Asta Idonea
Dreamspinner Press
8 February 2017
Novella/Contemporary/Paranormal
Heat Rating: 1

The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.

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Author Bio & Links

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Blog: http://www.nickijmarkus.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nickijmarkus/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+NickiJMarkusAstaIdonea
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4567057.Nicki_J_Markus
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolamarkus
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO

Blog Tour: Disastertastic by Alicia Nordwell

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Blurb:

Sawyer is too busy to worry about something as frivolous as Christmas. College is hard, but he’s focused on getting into law school. Kable is studying to make the family business, Del Buon Gusto, into a successful chain restaurant. When a party debacle at the restaurant gives Kable a chance to get close to Sawyer, he’s shocked to learn Sawyer’s a Christmas Grinch. He’s determined to change Sawyer’s mind, but their dates are one debacle after another. It might not be possible to make this into Sawyer’s first Merry Christmas after all.

Night in Alps - european skiing resort Canazei

Night in Alps – european skiing resort Canazei

Excerpt:

What a waste of time. He could’ve been home starting his paper or even watching a movie if he wanted to slack off.

Fed up avoiding questions of family traditions and travel plans, Sawyer strolled away from the crowd in the dining room and headed toward the tree. He nodded and smiled at a few people but didn’t stop. Everyone else was enjoying the appetizers that had just come out, but he’d already had dinner before he left home, since he’d expected to work. He could pass more time pretending to examine the ornaments or watching the snow drift down now that the storm finally hit. He’d just have to wait a little longer until he could politely make his escape.

“You don’t like eggnog?”

“What?” Sawyer blinked and shrugged the hand off his shoulder. He took a step to the side. He’d been focused on the snow, watching the puffy flakes float down to coat the sidewalks and road. The grassy verge along the road was already completely white. He hadn’t even heard Kable approaching, which was odd because he was normally impossible to miss. He was just as loud and energetic as his dad.

“Your cup is still full.” Kable gestured toward the red cup in Sawyer’s hand. “Usually when you don’t drink something that means you don’t like it.”

“It smells gross, and I definitely don’t think a dairy product should be this thick and still be drinkable.” Sawyer’s filter was gone, just like it usually was around Kable. He got so nervous, he always ended up saying whatever came to him. It wasn’t like he was trying to hide that he was gay—everyone already knew that—but he hoped his crush wasn’t as obvious. He’d had enough embarrassment for the evening.

Kable laughed. “Then why’d you take it?”

“It seemed like the thing to do.” Sawyer rotated the cup between his palms, disgusted by the way the glop reacted. Surely it couldn’t be safe to drink the stuff.

“So, is it just dairy-based holiday drinks you don’t like? Or is it something more? You haven’t had a single thing to eat, and you’re not exactly dressed for the party. There’s so much fun to be had from dressing up for Christmas parties.” Kable waved a hand in front his chest. “Like this.” He was wearing an awful sweater with reindeer prancing around a Christmas tree that had bedazzled ornaments decorating every puffy bough. Not even something that hideous could detract from his dark-haired, blue-eyed handsomeness… but really, Sawyer shouldn’t be noticing that at all.

Sawyer scoffed. “I’d rather be here in my underwear than wear something like that.”

“Or your uniform?” Kable gestured toward Sawyer’s black slacks and plain white shirt. “Is it just that you don’t have another outfit?”

“Of course I have other outfits! Why would you think that?” Sawyer snapped. His face was hot and prickly; no one else had mentioned his clothes, even if they noticed he was wearing his work uniform. It’s not like he was wearing something inappropriate, like shorts and a t-shirt.

Kable cocked his head to one side. “If you had something else, why didn’t you wear that?”

“You’re nosy, you know?” He was always asking questions and getting into everyone’s business. The others didn’t seem to mind. Kable was Mr. McArthur’s son, and he worked the occasional shift at the restaurant when they were short a waiter even though he was in school full-time to get a business degree. He was friendly, sometimes too friendly, and made Sawyer uncomfortable with his casual intimacy. Kable was always patting him on the back or arm when they spoke, and Sawyer liked it a little too much.

“Yep.” Kable grinned. “But wait, don’t tell me! You never come out for a drink with the rest of us, not even for coffee, and you’re always studying those books on your breaks. I’ve never heard you even talk about doing something like going to a party. You thought you were here to work tonight, didn’t you?”

Sawyer grit his teeth. “So what? Your dad just said he wanted us all here.”

“And you didn’t put two and two together?” Kable gestured toward the room.

“I did once I got here. He said he was throwing a party for friends and family. What else was I going to think?” Sawyer was getting tired of Kable’s questions. He lifted his before Kable could notice his scowl and figure out he was getting to him and made the stupid mistake of taking a drink.

“Oh, ew.” Sawyer desperately wanted to spit out the eggnog, but there was no polite way to do so. He forced the mouthful down, swallowing repeatedly in an attempt to get rid of the liquid still coating his tongue. It was as horrible as he thought it would be. He stared at the cup in disgust. “People actually drink this… on purpose?”

Author Bio:

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

Blog Tour: On Fire by Alicia Nordwell

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Blurb:

Nothing beats getting out of the concrete jungle and into the quiet of the forest. Website designer Scottie Ness is taking a well-deserved vacation from the grindstone, and he plans to spend it in the solitude of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest around Mt. Adams. He’s prepared for everything—except the lightning storm that traps him in a wildfire.

The firefighter who rescues him sustains serious injuries and ends up in the hospital. Jax Quintero might be abrasive, but the guy saved his life, and Scottie wants to thank him. As they spend time together during Jax’s recovery and exploring the state’s landmarks when he’s released from the hospital, Scottie discovers there’s more to Jax than a smart-ass adrenaline junkie. Jax reassesses his opinion of Scottie as an arrogant city boy who has no business in the mountains. Though Jax’s wounds prevent them from taking things as far as they’d like for a while, they can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is one fire they don’t want to put out.

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Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/on-fire-by-alicia-nordwell-7675-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fire-States-Love-Alicia-Nordwell-ebook/dp/B01M119A79/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-onfire-2142835-149.html

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/on-fire-alicia-nordwell/1124772923?ean=2940157073725

Excerpt:

Chapter One

“WHAT EXOTIC tropical locale are you going to spend your vacation drunk in?” Carter leaned back in his chair so he could see into Scottie’s cubicle. He smirked. “Or are you hitting the casinos in Vegas to make your fortune and leave all of us to toil away in the trenches alone?”

“Neither. Hiking and camping in the Gifford Pinchot around Mt. Adams.” Scottie adjusted a line of code, and the website header widened. “I’m all set to go in the morning.”

“Seriously? You have a week off in August, and you’re going to waste it trudging through the dirt and pine trees when you could be lounging on the beach somewhere?” Carter shook his head. “Wouldn’t catch me doing that. Aren’t there bears and cougars up there?”

Scottie shrugged one shoulder. “I might see a bear, if I’m lucky. Cougars are actually pretty shy.”

“You want to see a bear?”

“It’d make a great picture.” The website he was working on needed to be visually appealing on both computers and mobile devices, and he was having a hard time focusing. “It’s Friday. Don’t you have some reason to duck out and start the weekend early?”

“Nope. Miranda, Tark, and I are all going out for happy hour at Corrigan’s, but not until six. Don’t try to change the subject. You know you can take pictures at the beach, right? White sand, crystal blue water, and palm trees swaying in front of the setting sun.”

“Dime a dozen. I like living in Washington because we have so many places where I can take beautiful nature photos. Coastline, rivers, lakes, mountains, even the desert, all within a few hours’ drive. Besides, I’m still paying off my student loans. I don’t have money for expensive vacations.”

“Two words. Credit cards.”

Of course. Carter wore name-brand shoes with his fancy suits and never brought a lunch, preferring to order takeout. He’d graduated a year before Scottie, so it wasn’t like he made that much more money. “One word. Stupid.”

Carter rolled his eyes. “Whatever, man. When I take my week off next month, I’m going to Hawaii. Hotel on the beach, coconut drinks, and chicks in bikinis. Any women you come across in the campground will probably be covered in pitch and pine needles.”

“I’m not going to stay in the campgrounds. I’m hiking and camping off the trails, and for the most part, I won’t see any people at all.”

A look of horror crossed Carter’s face. “Seriously?”

He nodded. “I used to go camping with my family all the time growing up. We’d hike, fish, roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire. It’s peaceful.”

“Whatever, man. When you get munched on by a bear, can I get your chair?”

It was Scottie’s turn to roll his eyes. “I’m not going to get eaten by a bear, and your chair is the same as mine. Why would you want it?”

“I spilled fish sauce on mine earlier this week, and now it smells funny.”

“Well you can’t have my chair, and I’ll notice if there’s a fish funk on mine when I get back, so don’t even try to switch them. Don’t you have a project to finish? I have to get this done before I leave.”

“Fine, fine.” Carter rolled back to his desk. “Have fun communing with wildlife.”

 

SCOTTIE ROLLED up his backpacking tent with an extra tarp and fastened it to the bottom of his pack. His sleeping bag, a change of clothes, survival kit, portable stove, water filter, and food fit inside. The rest of his camping gear was piled along the wall, taking up most of the living room floor in his postage stamp of an apartment. He plopped down on the couch with a beer and opened his laptop.

Using a red highlighter, he outlined the trails he planned to take and marked his base camp as well as his possible overnight camping sites before printing out two copies. Picking up a pen, Scottie scribbled his full name, the dates of his trip, and what kind of vehicle he was driving on the back of one map. He’d drop it off at the ranger station before he stopped in Trout Lake for some sandwiches. No idea what they did to make them taste so great, but they were way better than anything he could make. He’d have to stop by the ATM on the way out of Vancouver to pick up some cash.

Now that he had all the nitty-gritty survival stuff out of the way, he had to get his photography equipment in order. Scottie didn’t spend much money on himself, but he had a nice Canon camera, lenses, a flexible tripod for his hiking pack, and a bigger telescoping tripod in its own bag. Using a polishing cloth from his cleaning kit, Scottie went over every piece of glass in his camera bag, making sure all the lenses and filters were spotless. Photography might be just a hobby, but he took pride in getting that one shot that made all the hard work worth it.

He’d finished his beer by the time he had the last memory card and battery stowed, and he waffled on what he wanted to do. He’d been up since six, worked a full day, and finished getting all his camping gear ready to load in the morning, but he wasn’t tired enough to go to bed. The weather report he checked promised sunny days and clear nights—though it wouldn’t be nearly as warm around Mt. Adams as it would be in Portland.

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Be advised you’re looking for a male in his early twenties, brown hair, approximately five-ten. His name is Scottie Ness.”

“Thanks, Dispatch. We’re headed in to the coordinates you sent.”

“Copy that. Be safe, Twelve.”

Jax’s crew was small, but they’d been working together for the last two years and he’d partnered with Simon for even longer than that. He knew he could trust each and every one of them, and they knew what they were doing. “Ready?”

“Sure thing.” Simon took the lead, followed by Dave, Carlos, Franklin, with Jax in the rear. The acrid stench of burned wood was lighter here than the area they’d been working last, but it was still a strong stench and the gray clouds of smoke made the sky look angry and overcast. They stuck to the trail at first, calling out Scottie’s name. Scanning the huckleberry bushes and small pine trees on the gentler slopes, Jax didn’t see any sign of a hiker.

Jax called a halt when the forest thickened about halfway to the camp coordinates. “If he was coming back and went off trail for some reason, he’d be easy to miss from here on out. Let’s fan out. Dave, keep to the trail, we’ll do a line on either side. Make sure you stay in shouting distance.” The wind felt like it was shifting, but it was hard to tell in the trees as they swayed this way and that.

The going was harder after that. They were still gaining elevation but ravines slowed them down—full of bushes and small trees that caught at their feet. Jax struggled up a hill, glad of his thick gloves protecting his palms as he used bear grass to help pull himself up the slope. “Scottie!” The closer they got to the camp, the angrier he got. They were headed right into one side of the fire, and the back burn was coming for them even faster.

Where the hell was the idiot they were risking their lives for?

“Scottie,” Jax bellowed. He listened, but all he heard was his own crew moving through the woods, calling out Scottie’s name.

“Scottie Ness,” Dave shouted.

“Like there’s another Scottie out here?” Jax muttered. He checked his GPS. They were nearly on top of the campsite on the map. Maybe they’d be able to see it from the top of the ravine. He dropped his handheld and kept moving.

The top of the steep slope did level off. The trees petered out into a meadow full of grass. Dave was on the path, so Jax stepped out of the tree line and waited for the others to catch up. They all grouped together near the path. Simon bent over, his hands on his knees, puffing for air. “Damn hill at the end was nearly vertical, I swear.”

“Anyone see any sign of this guy? Footprints? Garbage?”

They all shook their heads. Jax took a drink, draining most of the water he had with him. “All right, everyone hydrate really fast. Then we fan out in a search line. His camp had to be here in this meadow.”

Stretching out into a staggered line again, they began to walk through the grass. Jax used his ax to sweep the grass for any indication the idiot had gone his direction.

“Over here!” Carlos called.

Jax hightailed it over to the far end of their search line. He caught sight of the tarp on the ground, and then he saw a leg sticking out. Carlos and Simon were carefully lifting a thick branch laying across the tarp.

Dave grabbed a corner of the small tarp and pulled it off. The wind whipped it up, and he let the tarp go. It blew against a tree across the clearing. “Shit, it’s really coming from the east now. We’ve got a problem, Jax.”

“I know. Keep an eye on the skyline for flames. Scottie?”

No reply.

 

Author Bio:

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

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Blog Tour: Black Snow by EAB

General Author Questions

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
Authors that have inspired me…wow. probably number one would J.K Rowling. She was a mother. She was unemployed, but she had an epic story in her head she just needed to get out. I can’t imagine having the plot for Harry Potter in my head for as long as she probably did. I know how hard it is when you have nothing but your art left. She inspires me because despite it all, she persevered.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
I’ve been accused of recycling names of ex-boyfriends and girlfriends from time to time. It’s not true. I’m innocent………

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My best accomplishment has and always will be my children

Have you always like to write?
Yes, actually. I wrote my first short story at 9. I veered off into poetry and more non-fiction writing in middle school. Then more poetry, with some erotic fiction in high school. As I began to experience my sexuality, my writing became more and more graphic. I remember in high school my mom read a paper of mine for creative writing class entitled “A how to guide for sucking dick.” She was mortified.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Read. Write. Live.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I read every review I get. And I always review books I read. I love reviews because it’s a chance for you to see how readers feel about your work. How they related to your characters. How they connected/ didn’t connect with your novel. It’s okay if they hated everything. The fact that you conjured an emotional response is something to note. To me, a bad book isn’t a book where someone hates an aspect of the book, a bad book is when someone feels apathetic.

Reviews can be helpful for writers as well. Maybe there’s something technically you can improve on. Maybe your characters lacked depth. Maybe your plot fell flat half way through. A good review will tell you all that and more.

My advice would be not to shy away, but to embrace them and to always remember, there’s someone out there who rated your FAVORITE book one star.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?
Right now I’m working on two graphic novels. One is called Silent Bird. It’s part of a WWII anthology. And the other is called Hybrid. A science fiction fantasy. Both of the artist I’m working with are phenomenal. I’m also working on a new novel called A Wolf’s Howl.

Rapid Fire Questions

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Japan
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? Australian
What were you like as a child? A spoiled little shit.
Book Specific

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
It’s a play on the title Snow White, but Black Snow is impure. Black snow is usually dirty and often times forgotten. It’s that snow you pile up and let slowly melt. But once it turns into water, it becomes pure and fresh again. Even though a lot of the characters in this book start as forgotten, they melt and transform into something more.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I wanted the cover to evoke the feeling of a fairytale. I wanted the characters hopes and dreams to be reflected in their eyes, as well as their intimacy physically. I’d like to give thanks to J-Witless who is my cover artist. I put her through so much to get this cover done perfectly. I love the finished product.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
This is always a hard question, but I’ve decided Brier is my favorite character from Black Snow. His personal development throughout this story is just so overwhelming to me. I love how much he grows, and yet, he still keeps the essence of what makes him, him. He’s a wonderful character and I’m honored I had the opportunity to tell his story.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?
Hmm….I guess that would probably be Lord Tamil. He’s one of those self righteous pricks who probably should have been fired 20 years ago, but is good at his job, and has way too many connections. He’s not an antagonist, per se, he’s just annoying and not a very nice person.

 

Title:  Black Snow
Author: EAB
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher:
Dreamspinner
Publication Date:  11/7/16
Word Count:
 162,045

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Buy link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/black-snow-by-eab-7730-b

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Snow-EAB-ebook/dp/B01M6ZXNPQ/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1477283256&sr=8-13&keywords=black+snow+book

Blurb:

Prince Brier Snow has lived in the shadow of King Snow’s exalted memory. However, his fate changes when he nears his majority and Lirend’s steward queen attempts to dethrone him by exploiting an obscure requirement in the late king’s will: a yearlong sabbatical.

Brier travels to the desolate land of Aire to train under the Ceve guild, scorned refugees of war, including their guarded leader, Roland. Brier’s skillful master unlocks hidden potential, and what begins as a dutiful bond turns into ill-fated affection. When Brier returns to the capital, he’s carrying proof of his indiscretions with Roland—and his condition grows more apparent with each passing day. An affair with the huntsman is a scandal Brier’s enemies can use against him, but the birth of an heir is a burden even Brier is not sure he can bear.

Roland Archer, a man with a murky past, is skeptical of the contract to train the prince but willing to do anything for the guild’s freedom. Despite his best intentions, he is smitten by Lirend’s future king. Roland has resigned himself to solitude, but fate has other plans—for him, for Brier, and for Lirend’s oppressed subjects. Can Roland help Brier face a power-hungry queen and a country torn asunder? Either they will bring equality to a land that desperately needs it, or they’ll be thwarted by cunning enemies and an illusory curse.

Excerpt:

Prologue

“LONG AGO, there was a maiden with hair black as ebony and skin as white as the snow, so that they called her Snow White. Her lips were red as the rose,” Brier’s portly nurse told him, smiling.

“And she sang and danced. And she was very beautiful,” Brier added perfunctorily.

“Indeed she was,” replied Marietta. “She was kind and comely, and all the kingdom loved her, but the queen of the kingdom was jealous and wanted to get rid of her for good.”

“How?”

“She decided to have her killed.”

“Oh no!” Brier answered, tone darkening.

“Oh yes!” cried his nurse. “She hired a huntsman to kill her in the wood and bring back her heart, so that she could keep it forever.”

Brier slid his legs up and placed his chin on his knees, enraptured in the story about the fair princess whose name was like his own.

“The huntsman did as he was told and took Snow White to the forest. As they entered the forest, they came across a field of flowers. Snow bent down to pick a bouquet of wildflowers, and the huntsman crept behind her and lifted his dagger!”

Brier gasped, horrified. “But he should not kill her!”

“He could not,” corrected the nurse, excitement alive in her eyes. “For he had fallen in love with the princess and told her of the evil queen’s plan.”

“Good gods,” Brier exhaled, relieved.

“Snow White ran,” Marietta whispered, and Brier hugged his knees more firmly. “She had to run away deeper into the woods to escape the queen’s wrath. She found herself alone in the deep, dark wood. ‘Get out… out…’ the trees whispered all around her, and she was terribly afraid. And rightly so,” the nurse added, whipping her head toward Brier almost in warning. “The dark wood is a dangerous place. She tripped and fell into a great crack in the earth. As she fell, a nearby willow’s roots seized her and pulled her under.”

“Then what happened?” Brier whispered, breath hastening.

“Then she lost hope that anyone would ever find her. She thought that she was doomed to live out her days locked in the roots of the old willow tree. Starving, thirsty, and withering away like an old winter branch. However, this could not be further from her fate. Yes, she was stuck, but a passerby heard her cries in the tree roots. He stopped in his tracks and called his brothers to come investigate. Men that wore beards and were half the size of normal men. Some might call them dwarves. Six more dwarves stopped and listened to the cries coming from the old willow. ‘Chop it down!’ the eldest brother answered. And so they did, all seven of them. They cut the tree down, and Snow White was saved.”

“Hooray!” Brier shouted as he jumped on the pillow top mattress.

“When they took her from the tree, she was dirty and exhausted. The willow had cursed her in its last effort of revenge for cutting it down. She had a scar on her neck in the pattern of a tree leaf, but she was alive, and so they brought her back to their cabin, and they mended her to good health.”

“Did she dance and sing again then, Marietta?”

“She did. And how fair she was, thought the dwarves. They spoke of her beauty to other folk who came through the wood. But then, word traveled back to the evil queen. And she was furious! She called for the huntsman, and he confessed that he could not kill Snow White. Enraged, she ordered the guardsmen to kill the huntsman, and, with his dying breath, he confessed his love for the princess.”

Brier reached over to grab a pillow off his oversized bed and squeezed. He suddenly had the feeling that the story would take a turn for the worse.

“The queen decided to finish the job the huntsman did not with a poisoned apple. She disguised herself as an ugly elderly woman, and she came to the cabin that Snow White lived in with the dwarves. She showed Snow White the apple she poisoned, bloodred and perilous, but still Snow had the urge to taste it. The princess took a bite of the apple, and when she did, she died.”

“How dreadful.” Brier shook his head. “Why should the queen hate Snow White so?” he asked, incredulous. “I do not understand.”

The nurse chuckled and smiled at him. “Shall I continue?”

“Please do, Marietta. I should like to know the ending,” Brier replied with a sad smile.

“Well,” the nurse said in a warm voice. “The queen did think that she had finally rid herself of the fair maiden, but alas, there was a crack in her black magic, one that she could not foresee. The magic of the willow was stronger than her own, and it purged the strength of her poison so that Snow White did not die but slept for many years. The prince of the neighboring land did hear of a maiden sleeping soundly in the wood on a bed of wildflowers, in the cabin of seven dwarves.”

“And, I suppose, he too was handsome!”

“He was a handsome prince, I should say, though not as handsome as you, Prince Snow.” Brier blushed through his wide smile. “He came on his white steed, and he found Snow White sleeping soundly just as the rumors had told. Indeed, she was fair, and the prince decided that he had to have her in death or in life, and so he leaned down and placed a chaste kiss to her rose lips.”

“What did happen then I wonder?”

“Then she did wake up, Prince Snow! Her eyelids fluttered open, and she rose from her bed made of daisies and baby’s breath! Oh, how happy were the dwarves and the prince. The dark magic that the queen put on Snow White fell upon herself! And she turned into the old and ugly woman she disguised herself as. The queen was so furious that she drove herself mad with rage. And so, Snow White married the prince, and the dwarves sang and danced and were happy. Princess Snow White had many children, and lived ever after.” When the story finished, the nurse stood up and helped Brier into the comforter. His eyes were heavy with sleep, but he pursed his lips and sighed.

“Did you not like the story, little prince?”

Brier bit the inside of his lip, struggling. “It is not that, Mar’, only that I feel sad for the princess.”

“And why should you? Did she not meet a happy end?” the nurse asked as she sat down on the corner of the bed.

“Mayhap,” Brier answered, considering. “But how did she come to love the prince who had only loved her for her beauty when the huntsman had loved her for her heart?”

The nurse blinked at the prince’s reply. “How indeed.”

“And the poor huntsman, who had died, rather than to disgrace himself with the blood of his beloved. ’Tis a sad story indeed, Marietta.” Brier pouted. “Although you said it was a happy end.”

“Well….” Marietta sighed, bemused. “I did not think of it in that way, little prince.” She tucked him in tighter as if swaddling a babe.

“I think that I should marry a huntsman over a prince,” Brier decided as he flopped his head into the mountain of pillows, smiling softly.

“And why not a princess?” the nurse questioned, crossing her arms.

“That is because I should like to be kissed by a huntsman,” Brier answered matter-of-factly.

Contact information:

E-mail:  Eabemie@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EAB-Author-Page-549015555136236/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12644899.EAB

EAB’s BIO:

EAB is an airline steward/stewardess—depending on the day—who loves writing erotic fiction. This translates to serving Wild Turkey bourbon at 38,000 feet and writing smut at 3:00 a.m. EAB spends free-time role-playing and reading. While EAB’s true passion is writing, EAB also enjoys reaching high scores in nerdism, spending time with family (cats included), and watching anime. An East Coaster at heart, EAB loves New York’s Broadway and greasy, heartburn-inducing pizza. Feel free to drop a line or recommend some good reads! Always looking for a new book to devour!