Honorary Blogger Charlie Novak: LGBTQ Rep in Men’s Football + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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LGBTQ Rep in Men’s Football

by Charlie Novak

I’m an accidental football fan – I never really intended to become a supporter, but I fell into being one nearly thirteen years ago when I met my husband in high school. It was almost impossible to avoid the sport! But it has always surprised me that there are very few openly LGBTQ+ players in men’s football. Football itself can be a fabulous game, and create great communities, and while a lot of UK clubs have LGBTQ+ fan associations there are currently no openly LGBTQ+ players in the English Premier League. It seems odd, especially when you look at the women’s game and see openly LGBTQ+ players throughout the sport; coaching top teams and winning world cups. 

When I started plotting Breakaway, I knew I wanted to explore that lack of representation a little more, and consider why someone might be afraid to come out. In this novel, Christian is under a lot of pressure to be the best and he’s afraid that his football career will end if he comes out. He’s also worried about how the media and fans will react, and how it would put him under an intense spotlight and that suddenly, every conversation will be related to his sexuality – whether it’s relevant or not! Especially since being the first openly LGBTQ+ player would automatically bring a higher level of intrusion, scrutiny and pressure. Not to mention the fact that there would probably be some backlash from loud, bigoted voices in the media and online. I’d like to think that in 2019, it wouldn’t have to be a big issue, but sadly that’s probably not the case. 

It’s a question that Christian has to struggle with throughout the novel – can he be both a footballing legend and openly gay man? Will he have to hide part of himself away in order to pursue his sporting ambitions? And can he bring himself to come out and risk the scrutiny? 

Christian also has to deal with feelings of isolation, worrying that he can’t talk to anyone from the footballing world, just in case something happens or that person reacts negatively. Despite his family saying one thing, he finds it hard to accept that the people who have control over his career will be as understanding. 

When we combine all these factors, it’s a perfect storm of reasons why a player may be unwilling to come out. Playing at a top level is hard enough, without the added pressure and intense scrutiny that comes from being in the spotlight. But I’d like to think that it will happen soon – I know I’d be cheering them on and supporting them at every turn, regardless of what club they played for. 

I want us to live in a world where your gender and sexuality have no impact on what sport you play – to me, it shouldn’t be an issue whether a player is LGBTQ+ or not, and it saddens me to think that to some people, it’s still a big deal. 

This is a complex issue, and this story is only one way to frame the conversation. But I did want to imagine this story having a happy ending, so I could give Christian the love he truly deserves. Breakaway is ultimately the story of recognising your fears and overcoming them – facing them down for the chance to be loved, and the chance to be happy. 

After all, isn’t that what we all want? And isn’t it something we all deserve?

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Honorary Bloggers Sean Ian O’Meidhir & Connal Braginsky: Personality Disorders in Fiction + Excerpt!

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Personality Disorders in Fiction

by Sean Ian O’Meidhir

“I was dreaming when I wrote this, so forgive me if it goes astray…”  So we were asked to write some blog posts and I’ll admit that I’m incredibly novice at this sort of thing – so as the song lyric goes…  

Personality Disorders!  I’ve opted to write to you good readers about something that I know well.  For those of you who have not heard of a “personality disorder,” it is a diagnosable issue that causes problems in everyday life.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th ed. gives the definition as:

The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits.  

In essence, it’s the way a person sees the world, but it’s skewed, flawed, and consequently causes the individual difficulty at work, socially, and/or with their family.  The personality disorder is really just a means of survival that has gone array. It’s “ego syntonic” meaning that it doesn’t feel wrong to the person because it’s just the way they are in the world.  

I describe the personality disorder to people like this:  everyone has a wall around them that they started building in childhood.  Things that we learn as kids help to add the layers to the wall. This protects us.  Everyone’s wall is different. I often have clients or classes go through the exercise of closing their eyes and imagining their personal wall.  What does it look like? Color? Shape? What does it feel like? Is it flexible or solid? How tall is it or does it surround you entirely? What smell does it have, if any?   Sound?  

I’ve yet to meet anyone who has been unable to picture their own wall.  That’s can be considered our “ego defense” – i.e. what protects us. And some of us learned in childhood that the world is incredibly unpredictable and so we built solid walls made of brick and keep everyone out.  Some of us learned that the world is a friendly place, and so our walls might be waist high with open gates.  

Whatever your wall is, it’s your own.  The only problem is when your wall is so rigid that it keeps you from being able to interact with others in a wholistic and healthy way.  There are ten identified Personality Disorders: Dependent, Avoidant, and Obsessive Compulsive; Borderline, Antisocial Narcissistic, and Histrionic; Schizoid, Schizotypal, and Paranoid.  These are grouped into the “anxious, fearful,” the “dramatic, emotional, erratic,” and the “odd, eccentric” presentations. It is my contention that everyone has some traits of one or more of these.  However, some people whose wall is so rigid that it interferes with their lives have really gravitated to one of these and it’s become their entire outlook that is difficult to challenge. 

Writers (usually unconsciously) often incorporate traits into their writing.  We often have the cold and distant MC who finds love and melts for the person who has won their heart.  This could be someone with avoidant traits. We find MCs that are cruel and hateful, keeping everyone out until that right person comes in and teaches them it’s safe.  This may be someone with antisocial traits. As a psychologist, I have had a lot of fun writing about various personality traits in fiction and consciously including them in writing. 

In our book Escape: Crossing Nuwa (book 1)  you’ll find that MC Theo has a narcissistic personality trait.  We had several readers complain about how pompous and arrogant he came off and this was purposeful!  Though we toned it down a little so we didn’t upset too many readers. Theo was raised in an alcoholic home as an only child.  He’s plus sized and while he always had a lot of friends, he often felt very much alone. To defend against his inner feelings of low self-esteem, he projects an air of confidence and strength which people gravitate to. But sometimes he overdoes it and pushes people away, which is actually something he prefers.  In book 1, we meet him and he’s come to the conclusion (at 22 years old) that he is going to be alone forever and that he prefers it that way. Safe. That is… until Robbie.  

I think that exploring various personality traits and even disorders is a great way to connect with readers who themselves may be experiencing these same traits.  I also think that it adds to a character’s depth because it makes them more relatable, realistic, and interesting. If you’re interested in learning more about personality traits or disorders, I encourage you to look it up online.  If you think you might actually meet criteria for a personality disorder – DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE. This is also known as “medical student syndrome” where people with new knowledge suddenly think they have every illness in the book. I definitely encourage you to seek out a doctor of psychology. There are tests that real doctors can administer that will help you gain insight and answers (please avoid the online free tests for this…)   But be warned, having a personality disorder is often very difficult to treat or work through because it is an outlook on life, a way of coping. That said, I believe that insight goes a long way with helping all of us to take a pause before re-acting to allow us to respond in healthier ways.  

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Release Blitz: How to Run With the Wolves by Eli Easton + Excerpt & Giveaway!

How to Run With the Wolves by Eli Easton

 

Zeus loves his job on the Mad Creek Search & Rescue team, and his inner Saint Bernard is finally being used to his full potential. When he sees a mysterious and wild-looking quickened—a dog shifter—at an earthquake site in Alaska, Zeus is compelled to investigate. Zeus falls hard for the primal beauty of Timo and of Alaska itself. Both call to his deep canine soul. But the Qimmig pack’s laws are as harsh as the Alaskan winters, and Timo is out of his reach. 

Timo’s pack of dog shifters left their Inuit village generations ago and have lived wild ever since. Not trusting the “one-skinned,” and with their numbers dwindling, the Qimmig are on the verge of extinction. Timo is shocked to discover a whole group of “two-skinned” working as a rescue team, and he is particularly fascinated by Zeus, a gentle giant. He senses what Zeus feels for him… but it’s forbidden.

Can Mad Creek save this lost quickened clan? Perhaps—if they can learn how to run with the wolves.

Available at: Amazon

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Book Review: Another Dance by L.A. Ashton

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Another Dance
Author: L.A. Ashton
Heroes: Kaito & Cristian
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 98 pages
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: July 8, 2019
Available at: NineStar Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Kaito Watanabe has finally nabbed an interview with his idol, Cristian Alvarez. Kaito is a journalist who’s spent his entire life looking up to the figure-skating champion. Cristian’s passion on the ice unearthed a love of dance in Kaito and made him believe in the power of artistic expression.

Now Kaito is face-to-face with the man he’s always admired. He believes himself insignificant and ordinary, a moth drawn to the light Alvarez casts. He can’t allow himself to believe Cristian’s flirtations are anything but natural charm—but Cristian has other plans. The tension pitches higher, legs and fingers intertwine, and Kaito begins to wonder if his fantasies have a shot at becoming reality.
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Categories: 3 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Release Blitz: What Lies Beneath by RJ Scott + Giveaway!

What Lies Beneath by RJ Scott

In the hottest summer on record, Iron Lake reservoir is emptying, revealing secrets that were intended to stay hidden beneath the water. The tragic story of a missing man is a media sensation, and abruptly the writer and the cop falling in love is just a postscript to horrors neither could have imagined. 

Best Selling Horror writer Chris Lassiter struggles for inspiration and he’s close to never writing again. His life has become an endless loop of nothing but empty pages, personal appearances, and a marketing machine that is systematically destroying his muse. In a desperate attempt to force Chris to complete unfinished manuscripts his agent buys a remote cabin. All Chris has to do is hide away and write, but he’s lost his muse, and not even he can make stories appear from thin air.

Sawyer Wiseman left town for Chicago, chasing the excitement and potential of being a big city cop, rising the ranks, and making his mark. A case gone horribly wrong draws him back to Lancaster Falls. Working for the tiny police department in the town he’d been running from, digging into cold cases and police corruption, he spends his day’s healing, and his nights hoping the nightmares of his last case leave him alone.

Available at: Amazon

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Book Review: Kneading You by C.S. Poe

Reviewed by Ami

Title: Kneading You
Author: C.S. Poe
Series: N/A
Heroes: Christopher Hughes/Miles Sakasai
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 40 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 19, 2019
Available at:  Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Christopher Hughes is new to the small New England town of Lancaster, New Hampshire. He’s been hired to save an old library from closing, but his obstacles include not only fighting for state funding, but a Selectman who wants to tear the building down in favor of a shopping center.

Christopher meets Miles Sakasai, a charming tattooed repairman hired to help restore the historical interior. Working in close proximity has both men falling hard for each other, and also provides Christopher an opportunity to learn about Miles’s passion for baking. As it turns out, Miles’s skills in the kitchen may end up being the key to saving the library—but only if his bread can rise to the occasion.
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Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Ami's Reviews, Book Review, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Release Blitz: Patron of Mercy by Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes + Giveaway!

Patron of Mercy by Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes

Lach has spent the last few thousand years counting only on himself. What he needed, he took. What he wanted, he won with charm. All except a god he turned his back on an age ago, when he had a different name and didn’t know what he was giving up.

Thanatos, god of merciful death, is one of the gentlest gods in the pantheon—easing the transition between life and death for billions of mortals. But he has faced eternity alone. After breaking his heart on the sharp words of a fisherman’s son, he hasn’t been able to connect with anyone. 

Now, Lach is crashing back into Thanatos’s life, dragging him into an adventure that could save the world . . . or kill them both.

PATRON OF MERCY IS THE THIRD BOOK IN A SERIES, BUT CAN BE READ AS A STAND ALONE NOVEL.

Available at: Amazon

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Honorary Blogger Morgan Brice: Haunted Houses and Summer Spooks + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Haunted Houses and Summer Spooks

by Morgan Brice

Old hotels, Victorian houses, historic mansions and shipwrecks. They’re all part of a trip to the beach, and they’re a reminder that when the sun sets and the tourists go home, some visitors never leave.

What kind of ghosts linger at the beach? Pirates. Star-crossed lovers. Unlucky sailors. Out-of-luck out-of-towners. Add in old scandals, long-kept secrets, murder and revenge, and it’s the perfect mix for sexy thrills and spooky chills!

My new urban fantasy MM paranormal romance series, Treasure Trail, is set in Cape May, New Jersey. Erik Mitchell used to track art fraud and bust up forgery rings, but after a close call, he moves to Cape May to make a fresh start. Ex-cop Ben Nolan is also starting over, and sparks fly when the two men meet. But when old scandals and murders come to light, they’re going to need each other and every bit of luck to get their happy ending!

Cape May is known to be a very haunted town. Plenty of people came to visit and stayed forever. Beautiful Victorian houses, great food, interesting history—and ghosts. When I visited for a wedding last year, I knew I had to set a series there!

Erik and Ben both come to Cape May to outrun their pasts, both personal and professional. They’re wary, having been betrayed before by people they trusted. So when the attraction between them is undeniable, they’ve got to decide whether to take a chance or keep running. I had so much fun with these two!

Treasure Trail is the first in the series, but there will be more books to come! And if you finish Treasure Trail and want more sexy thrills and spooky thrills by the sea, check out my Badlands series is set in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with a psychic medium and a skeptical homicide cop who chase down supernatural killers. 

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Treasure Trail by Morgan Brice

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Treasure Trail
Author: Morgan Brice
Series: Treasure Trail #1
Heroes: Erik & Ben
Genre: M/M Urban Fantasy
Length: 248 pages
Publisher: Darkwind Press
Release Date: June 26, 2019
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Erik Mitchell traveled the world uncovering art fraud and relic theft, which pitted him against spoiled billionaires, unscrupulous collectors, mobsters, and cartels. He worked with law enforcement across the U.S. and Europe, but then a sting goes wrong, Erik ends up injured and returns to find his partner cheating. He decides to stop globetrotting and buy an antique shop in scenic Cape May, NJ, rebuild his life, and nurse his broken heart.

Undercover Newark cop Ben Nolan went down in a hail of bullets when a bust went sideways, after a tip-off from a traitor inside the department. When he recovers, he spends a couple of years as a private investigator, only to tire of seeing the worst of human nature. So when his aunt offers him the chance to take over her rental real estate business in Cape May, it seems too good to be true. Now if he could just believe he could ever be lucky again in love.

Sparks fly when Erik and Ben meet. But when a cursed hotel’s long-ago scandals resurface, the two men are pulled into a web of lies, danger, and deception that will test their bond—and might make them Cape May’s newest ghosts!

Treasure Trail contains sexually explicit material intended for adults 18 and over.
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Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Release Blitz: Cold Pressed by Allison Temple + Giveaway!

Cold Pressed by Allison Temple

No strings attached is all Oliver can offer. He’s hiding a broken heart that holds him back from diving into a new relationship, but he’ll go on a blind date to make his family happy. Just one date, though; he doesn’t have time for love to derail his plans.

Divorced and demoted to the night shift, Nick has his own problems. He’s got an ex-wife who needs him and a kid with one foot in juvie. The last thing Nick needs is to butt heads—or other body parts—with a tempting hipster who wears a sad smile on their blind date. 

Their chemistry can’t be denied, though, in an argument or in bed. No strings sex is uncomplicated and that’s what Nick and Oliver need. But getting into bed together is one thing. Staying out of each other’s hearts soon becomes so much more complicated than either one imagined.

Cold Pressed is an 80k contemporary MM romance. It features a smoldering bisexual single dad, a broken-hearted hipster with a thing for beet juice, and a friends-with-benefits arrangement that blooms into the HEA you’ve been looking for.

Available at: Amazon

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