Honorary Blogger Post

Honorary Blogger Nicholas Bella: A Note From Théoden + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Honorary_Blogger_Post

A Note From Théoden

by Nicholas Bella

I told Nicholas to take a break because I wanted to do this blog post. It’s my book after all, I should be the center of attention. It was only a matter of time before the fans would want to know more about me. I started getting the fan mail, asking for my history. So many questions, they had. How did I become a vampire? What kind of person was I before it happened? How did I choose my sons? How did I learn about my powers?

Humans are such nosey beings, and normally, I wouldn’t have paid these letters and emails any attention. But, I couldn’t help but be a little bit flattered that I was on their minds. So, I sat down with Nicholas and we decided to give the fans what they’ve been desiring for years. My story.

Within the pages of this book, you will learn everything you need to know about me. All of your questions are answered and then some. Just make sure when you read my book, to give me your undivided attention, because I don’t like to share.

Now, as you know you want to do… give yourself to me. – Théoden. Continue reading

Advertisements
Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Honorary Blogger Lynn Kelling: Writing a Deaf Main Character + Giveaway!

Honorary_Blogger_Post

Writing a Deaf Main Character

by Lynn Kelling

My new release, Hush, isn’t the first book in which I’ve written a deaf character, but it is the first time I’ve done so with the main character—Rune, the main character of Hush, first appeared as a secondary character in my novel Bare. I was so thrilled and energized to tell Rune’s point of view as someone with a different means of communicating, that the story flowed quickly onto the page. He doesn’t speak and is recently, completely deaf. Because of this, he is quite focused on the before and after of when he lost his hearing. He’s learning how to let go of the life he had before the motorcycle accident that caused several injuries, and actively figuring out how to adapt to brand new circumstances. The people in his life are not experts at American Sign Language, to say the least, but technology (and patience) help fill in most of the gaps.

As the writer of this story, having a point of view from a main character who rarely engages in traditional dialogue with quote marks posed some technical challenges. I needed to decide how I was going to convey exchanges in sign language, or in written form via mobile apps or old school notepads. It was crucial to me that dialogue still be recognizable as just that, even without the visual cue of quote marks, so that the narration of the story is distinguishable from the conversations. For the most part, italics are used for this purpose in Hush. In my research, I saw this approach in other novels with deaf characters who sign and don’t speak (such as Joe Hill’s The Fireman), and it seemed to work well. I also describe the way the signs look wherever it adds to the scene or story, though I didn’t want to be too heavy-handed with descriptive passages either.

Aside from the practical hurdles, I really enjoyed getting to tell a good portion of Hush from the point of view of someone who struggles to fit into a world that doesn’t make it easy to do so for people who are differently-abled. Rune doesn’t ask for much of others—just to be recognized as an equally-valid presence and given some respect. He’s seen people let their gaze slide over him, avoiding interactions that might challenge them. He’s well familiar with how things might be awkward in some cases, such as using apps like Grindr to hook up with guys, when there’s a chasm of silence standing in the way once it’s time to meet face-to-face.

But this story isn’t about his hearing loss. It’s about the choice to not live life as a victim, but as someone capable of making positive change in the world. Rune’s not interested in becoming the guy he was before the crash. He wants to be better, stronger, braver, and he wants it all to mean something in the end.

I found there’s a lot of beauty and humanity in the ways Rune communicates. He’s always mentally engaged, putting more effort than most of us do into everything he tells people, just in trying to make himself understood. So, it could be seen that the things he tells others carry more weight. He uses body language more than my characters usually do. He’s an expert at reading a room, and because he’s become used to watching people’s movements closely for signs of them trying to speak or sign to him, not much gets passed him. There’s an added intimacy to his ASL conversations, to the letters he writes, the texts he sends, because most of the time they’re intended only for the eyes of the recipient. He does feel isolated because of his deafness, so any small gesture of simple human kindness that’s extended his way is absolutely treasured.

I learned a lot by living in his world, and found it’s a really beautiful place to be. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Honorary Blogger Robert Winter: Defeating the “White Savior” Narrative + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Honorary_Blogger_Post

Defeating the “White Savior” Narrative

by Robert Winter

It’s a truism that we don’t know what we don’t know. In my case, I didn’t know I was blind to my own privilege until the editing process for Asylum exposed it.

When I wrote September, I expected that Colin Felton would be the main character in its sequel. I also had a story I wanted to tell, of an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador dealing with the realities of life in the United States. I planted the seeds of their pairing in September by making Colin a lobbyist who works with a nonprofit organization focused on the issues facing immigrants.

I originally wrote Colin as a Prince Charming type, bestowing gifts and safety with no expectation—or need—for Hernán to do anything for him. It’s certainly a common trope in romance, as evidenced by all the books out there with “billionaire” in the title, or that are derived from fairy tales like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast.

My developmental editor, however, quickly pointed out that I was leaving myself open to a charge of the “white savior” narrative. I had to look that up, and what I read shook me badly. Simplistically, the term refers to a story where a white character rescues people of color from their plight. The common examples are movies like The Help, wherein the African-American maids “need” the activism of the wealthy white girl to find the strength to expose their employers’ racism, or The Blind Side, where the white woman “teaches” the young black man how to become a football star.

As soon as my editor pointed out what I’d done, I knew she was right. In the early drafts of Asylum, I focused much more on what the white Colin accomplishes for the Latino Hernán. I had produced a soft, feel-good story about a white man using his wealth to woo. For example, originally I wrote a scene where Colin takes Hernán to New York for a weekend, dazzling him with an expensive hotel and dinner. I liked the scene for its wish-fulfillment aspects, but I’d focused on the least interesting aspects of my own characters.

My first major rewrite, then, reconceived the book to focus on Hernán’s journey, experiences and growth. While Colin provides him with support and love (as do Rudy and eventually several other characters like Juan and Sofia who appear in later chapters), Hernán is the one who does the major work to repair his life. He makes all the leaps of faith, and ultimately deals with his troubled past.

The shift allowed me to see I had written about what Colin could do for Hernán, rather than what he might need from Hernán. I knew Colin was shy and regretted never having made a move on Brandon in September, but I began to wonder why. That gave me the opportunity to understand his weaknesses and the reason behind them, which in turn let me explore how Hernán could help. The book always began with Colin’s rescue after falling into a harbor. Now I could explore the other ways in which Hernán rescues him over and over.

The lesson I take away from this rewriting experience is that following old tropes like Cinderella without re-examination means that I have been lazy and have probably missed richer storytelling potential with my own characters. I hope you’ll give Asylum a try to see if I was successful in finding the deeper romance between Hernán and Colin.

You can find out more about Asylum on my website by clicking here. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Honorary Blogger J.M. Dabney: Why I Write the Characters I Do + Excerpt

Honorary_Blogger_Post

Why I Write the Characters I Do

by J.M. Dabney

Let me begin by thanking The Blogger Girls for allowing me to have a guest post today.

I agonized over what to write in my post. Guest posts aren’t my forte. I can write thousands of words as if it’s nothing, but posts like this leave my mind blank. So, I thought I’d talk about why I write the characters I do.

My single motivation is to give readers under represented characters who they can read about—experience—and feel as if they are the star of their own romance. No matter shade, size, or shape, sexual identity or lack thereof.

BBW (big beautiful woman) and BHM (big handsome men) are the characters I love writing the most. The books are out there, but not in the numbers they should be.

We live in a society very much overrun with media that makes individuals young and old insecure. They’re assaulted with expectations of what is considered acceptable. I worship those characters with rolls, bellies, wrinkles, dimples, and I make sure my characters are comfortable with and appreciated for those imperfections. Imperfections isn’t the right word, our stories are told in those little details. The crinkle at the corners of a person’s eyes that tells of happier times. Years of smiles and laughter.

Scars, remembrances of times past. C-section scars that tell the story of children’s births. The pale scars on wrists, forearms, or thighs that remind us of pain. Marks that retell our folly of youthful beliefs of our invincibility.  

Livingston is one of those characters. Traumatized by abuse. Wearing constant reminders of an unconscionable hate. He wears the twisted and marred skin as a knight of old would wear armor. Never letting anyone close. Those superficial scars are nothing like the emotional/mental damage done. But his lack of prettiness or physical conventionality makes him no less worthy of finding his peace and the love he deserves.

I won’t claim that love conquers all, but it helps. We’re humans created by experiences, some good, bad, and in cases horrific. When we’re open to the possibilities we embrace our freedom to attain what we need without expectations or the what-ifs that mire us down in what we’re supposed to be or who we love.

We’re all imperfectly perfect.

We’re all valuable.

We’re all just…us. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honorary Blogger Annabella Michaels: Where I Find Inspiration

Honorary_Blogger_Post

Where I Find Inspiration

by Annabella Michaels

People often ask authors where they find the inspiration for their books. For me, the answer is many, many places. Sometimes it can be as simple as a commercial I see on TV or a person I see on the street. Other times, it’s something more personal which brings about the first inklings of a storyline.

My first book, Feeding the Soul, was inspired by my nephew who as a young, gay man believes in true love and wants nothing more than to find his HEA. Caleb Greene’s sweet nature, his loyalty to his family and his courage to be exactly who he was meant to be were all inspired by this incredible young man.

The inspiration for Zane’s location in FOUND is based on one of my favorite places in the world, a place where I spent nearly every summer growing up. I won’t give it away in case there are people who haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but everything about his location was inspired by the memories I have of that very special place.

Recently, I woke up with a full story in my mind. I’m not sure if I’d been dreaming it or not, but I could see everything clearly, as if I were watching a movie. I grabbed my phone off the nightstand and jotted everything down in my notes before I could forget. That was the first time that has ever happened to me and while I may never know what inspired it, I thought it was a really cool experience.

Music is also a great inspiration for me. Most of my ideas come when I’m driving alone in my car with the radio turned up. Occasionally, it’s whole book ideas, but most of the time it inspires the mood for certain scenes or feelings for the theme of the book or a particular character.

My advice for anyone wanting to write would be to open your ears, your eyes and your mind to all the possibilities around you. Inspiration is lurking in every corner and can come from the smallest of things. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Honorary Blogger Beth Bolden: The Best & Worst + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Honorary_Blogger_Post

The Best & Worst

by Beth Bolden

People who create things get their influences from so many different sources. I watch a lot of TV—well, not a lot, working a full time job and then trying to write and release a book every three months cuts down on a lot of my binge-watching—but it’s something my husband and I like to do together and he needs attention too, every once in awhile.

If a show messes up on their essential plotline or even worse, the romantic plotline, I get really annoyed. Because of how much I’ve learned about plotting and character development and arcs and beats, etcetera, failure on this drives me insane. But nothing makes me more frustrated and more likely to quit watching a show than when they mess up a romantic subplot.

In fact, even though sometimes the book I’m in the middle of writing has nothing to do with the shows we’re watching, I find that tiny little things will slip in and influence the book, even when I have zero intention of them actually happening.

Let’s talk about the best (and worst) developed romantic subplots on TV. (Warning for spoilers ahead!)

THE WORST

  1. The Blacklist. While this show has a fantastic plots, their main romantic plotline has been total garbage slop. Liz’s stupid husband Tom, who isn’t actually Tom but is actually (unfortunately) her husband, has made me want to pull my hair out from the beginning. It’s risky for a show to make an argument that love exists after so many lies, and one partner holding the other HOSTAGE on an abandoned ship accompanied by TORTURE. I mean, I could go on and on. But I don’t find it star-crossed or romantic. I just find Tom incredibly annoying, and Liz only annoying when she intersects with him. I was hoping (AM STILL HOPING, showrunners), that she would end up with Ressler, but I have a feeling that will never happen. What is the book lesson from this garbage dump of a love story? If one of your love interests is going to lie to the other one, and you want the other love interest to forgive him, fine. Don’t make the lie too extreme, and then don’t have them doomed to rinse and repeat this action over and over again. It’ll eventually make one character look like a douchenozzle and the other one look stupid and overly trusting. Love isn’t a blanket that forgives everything. What is the only thing that saves this show, from a romantic subplot angle? The wonderful, seasons-long, pining between Aram and Sarar. Samar is a little bitter and been there, done that, and Aram is a little naïve. And they are so god damn soft with each other. It almost, almost, salvages the ugliness that is Tom and Liz.
  2. Grey’s Anatomy. I have one problem here. Do not establish epic love stories and then kill one or both of the characters off, and then expect that the audience will be able to move on. Downtown Abbey had this problem for me. When they killed off Matthew, I was so angry, I wished I hadn’t wasted three seasons of time, begging for them to get together, and then stay together. If you put your characters and the audience through the wringer, do not expect them to be happy if it ends unhappily. Basically, do not kill McSteamy, McDreamy, etc etc. That’s bad. Don’t do it. And the other relationships you attempt to establish afterwards will always feel weak and like poor replacements for the original. You’ll never be able to get your audience re-invested again, because they don’t trust you anymore. AND THEY SHOULDN’T. I will never forgive Shonda Rhimes for breaking up Meredith and McDreamy, or killing Lexie and McSteamy, or especially, FOREVER, for breaking up Cristina and Burke, and then somehow, miraculously investing me again in Cristina and Owen, and then ruining that one too. Just don’t do it. Not being able to write people who are in relatively happy, functional relationships for the long-term is just lazy. There’s lots of places to go after two characters fall in love and agree to try that relationship thing (see Aimee Nicole Walker’s Curl up and Dye series, which is a fantastic example of writing a relationship that extends long past the initial HEA).
  3. Bones/The X-Files/Castle. This is somewhat a reiteration of my problem with Grey’s but these shows don’t kill off one of the characters to prevent writing a long-term relationship, they just taken FOREVER to get there. Lots of push and pull. Too much push and pull. Too many excuses. Too many interruptions. Too many lame love interests that you know will not last because they are a pale imitation of the couple you really want to happen. We are in the middle of binge-watching Castle currently, and yes, that particular couple did eventually get together, but for the love of god, it took way too long. Same with Bones. I actually got bored with all the shit they threw at Bones and Booth to keep them apart, and by the time they actually got together, I was done and had actually stopped watching. Do not get me started on The X-Files. I’m still too raw from this season’s revelations to think or talk about it. Some enemies to lovers books can feel like this—just because that’s the main gist of the trope: they don’t like each other. As soon as they do like each other, all the tension is out of your story, unless you can miraculously find a second well of tension to draw from. NOT EASY. No, I could not possibly be speaking from personal experience or what it was like to write Bite Me).

THE BEST

  1. The Vampire Diaries/The Originals. Is this great television? Hell no. It’s not even good television, for long stretches. And I’m not including these two inter-connected shows because of the whole Elena/Damon/Stefan love triangle because as far as I’m concerned, if I’m writing about that, it should be in the upper section, because you cannot expect anyone to best Ian Somerhalder when it comes to pure, raw charisma. Especially that guy who plays Stefan. No way. Never gonna happen. So that was a serious miscalculation on the writers—don’t make that mistake, authors. Love triangles are usually death, and should be avoided. HOWEVER, these two shows were totally, unexpectedly saved. Yes. I am talking about Klaus. (Sort of Elijah too, but mostly Klaus). Klaus is a big bad, but is he really a big bad? That, not who Elena is going to chose, because we all know who she is going to chose, it’s not even remotely a mystery, is the real question of the series. It was such a good question, that it prompted a whole other show. Klaus is so bad, he’s good. He’s so old, he’s seen it all, he’s done it all, he’s bored as fuck, while also being the most stubborn creature on the whole planet (not even an exaggeration). So who better to pair him with than Caroline, who not only is a brand new vampire, but is basically a high school teenager who prior to this, had not been shown to have much substance? Except she does, and her interactions with Klaus give them both a dimension they did not have before. Opposites attract, but are they opposites? This is a relationship and a connection that asks more questions than it ever answers, and it’s shockingly deftly done. And that is the sort of occasional brilliance that makes these shows addictive. NOW, I was going to actually stick this in the “bad” column, because you do not tempt with a relationship like this, and then never see it to fruition, because. . .that is a crime, worse than any that Klaus has committed over his very long lifetime. But the rumor (and the trailer for the final season of The Originals) heavily hint that they will be revisiting this relationship. The jury is still out, but I’m intrigued. The best romance novels take two characters who should not be together, and you would NEVER expect them to be together without possibly killing each other, and make it work. There’s a historical romance called Lord of Scoundrels, where the female MC literally shoots the male MC near the beginning of the story. AND THEY FALL IN LOVE AFTER. There’s a lot of other fantastic PNR books where one or both of the MCs could be bad, in fact, they are almost definitely bad, but they are “saved” or “redeemed,” etc etc. The key to this is not making them a different person. Klaus is still a petulant, stubborn hybrid who likes to kill things. He doesn’t magically become better. He just becomes more nuanced.
  2. New Girl. This is a hard show to watch a lot of. It can be really irredeemably silly. Sometimes I get severe secondhand embarrassment and I have to turn it off. But, at the heart of it, is two fantastic romance arcs that are sort of brilliantly done. While I love Schmidt and Cece, I’m going to focus on Nick and Jess, because that is best hookup/breakup/reunion cycle that I have seen recently. First, the showrunners were not afraid to go for it and go for it pretty early on (mid-second season, I believe, is when they kiss for the first time, and what a kiss it is). Second, they were smart enough to know that one character was not really ready for a serious, steady relationship. They had done a good job establishing that. So the breakup felt very organic. As did the subsequent moving on/growing up parts and then the beautiful reunion at the end of last season. As someone who has written a reunited lovers romance, this whole arc is not easy to pull off, and a lot of others in movies, television, and books, fail. The breakup feels forced. The reunion feels even more forced. The problems that forced them to breakup the first time are never fixed, just magically sort of disappear. A beautiful trope, if well done, but it needs to be executed well.

I have a sort of annoyingly analytical brain and I can’t turn it off, even to enjoy something as mindless as a TV show. But I’ve also learned a lot about what to do (and what not to do) from watching shows I’ve enjoyed and watching shows make epic mistakes in their romantic subplots.

What sort of TV do you like watching? Is the romantic subplot usually a dealbreaker? Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Honorary Blogger Aimee Nicole Walker: About Second Wind + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Honorary_Blogger_Post

About Second Wind

by Aimee Nicole Walker

Hello everyone. I want to thank The Blogger Girls for having me here to chat about my brand-new book, Second Wind. I’m going to talk about the inspiration for the story, give you a fun fact about the book, and share a teaser or excerpt.

About Second Wind:

The idea for Second Wind came to me while I was on vacation with my husband in eastern Tennessee. We hadn’t updated our GPS since the previous year, and the directions to the restaurant we chose for dinner took us to the back of a new high school where their outdoor athletic fields were located. So, my husband was angry as hell, but I was enthralled by the football field and the majestic mountain view for a backdrop. My creative brain fired up immediately, and I clearly saw a football game playing out. I heard the crowd cheering as the king of the gridiron scores a touchdown, the marching band playing their fight song, but what stood out in my imagination the most was the silhouette of another boy on the sideline taking pictures for the school paper and yearbook. I immediately knew three things: the king of the gridiron and the photographer were in love, nobody knew it, and their love story would take me on a journey I’d never forget.

In Second Wind, I try to honor the men and women all around the world who didn’t have an easy coming out experience or one at an early age. I tell the story of a man who tried to repress his true self to play by society’s rules and the journey he takes once he decided that living half of a life is not really living at all. I also try to show that members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t just come out one time; they have to come out each time they meet someone new. And most importantly, it’s never too late to find your happily ever after.

Fun fact about Second Wind:

I decided early on that I wanted to illustrate the interior of Second Wind. Now, I have zero artistic ability, and I was confident that no one wanted to see my stick figure drawings leading off each chapter. I turned to my amazing formatter, Stacey Blake of Champagne Book Designs, and she knocked it out of the park. She amazes me with each project that we work on together, but this one was so near and dear to my heart.

Rush received a Polaroid camera as a kid and his passion for photography was born. Cameras became his constant companion and his chosen profession. I wanted the illustrations to be a Polaroid photo of an object or situation that symbolized each chapter. For example, chapter one is a picture of two boys riding bikes. It represents a memory Rush has from when he and Lincoln were seven years old. Linc played lookout while Rush stole his older sister’s bike. He was fascinated by the banana seat, the handlebars with streamers, and the basket on the front. He wanted to ride it, but didn’t know how. Lincoln helped him steal the bike and taught him how to ride it. Working with Stacey to create beautiful images that really brought the story to life was so much fun.

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scene look at the making of Second Wind. That sounds a touch stuffy, doesn’t it. I hope you liked this peek into my brain. Better? Thank you so much for hanging out with me, and thanks again to The Blogger Girls for allowing me to talk about a project that I’m so passionate about.

Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Honorary Blogger Shira Anthony: Writing the Perfect(ly Flawed) Romantic Hero + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Honorary_Blogger_Post

Writing the Perfect(ly Flawed) Romantic Hero

by Shira Anthony

Thank you, Blogger Girls, for hosting the first stop on the Swann’s Revenge Book Tour! I’m so happy to share my latest entry in the Dreamspun Desires line of romance-forward, tropey love stories from Dreamspinner Press. Be sure to read to the bottom of the post about how to enter to win a cool unisex leather heart bracelet to celebrate the book tour and read an excerpt from the story.

No matter how you look at it, there’s no denying that romances are all about the characters. It’s about falling in love as you read. Dreamspun Desires, like any great category romances along the lines of a Harlequin, are full of wonderful tropes: the arranged marriage, the secret baby, mistaken identify, or, as in the case of Swann’s Revenge, the ugly-duckling.

But characters, too, have their tropes. The damaged hero with the heart of gold. The once-burned, now closed-off man who doesn’t think he’s ready to love again. The playboy who hide his loneliness. You get the picture. Each of these characters, and the million variations on them, are what live and breathe at the heart of every romance.

So what’s the common denominator here? They all have flaws, just like real human beings. A story about a perfect relationship with no challenges is boring. The same is true for our MCs. Perfect isn’t fun, and it isn’t realistic, so we don’t buy in to the characters or root for them when life, and love, present them with challenges.

Swann’s Revenge is the love story of two very different men, Graham (our ugly-duckling-turned-hotter-than-hell-swan) and Dan, the former high school star quarterback. Both have flaws, although the story is mostly about how Graham comes to terms with his past. Dan is easy to love. He’s sweet, he’s figured out who he is, and he’s confident without being overbearing. Graham, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to love. But Dan sees the heart hiding behind Graham’s carefully built walls, and he doesn’t give up easily.

Who’s my favorite of the two? Graham. In a heartbeat. And not because he’s drop-dead gorgeous. It’s because I absolutely love a flawed hero who hides his heart. I’ve written more than a few of them over the years, my favorite of which is David Somers, the conductor from the Blue Notes Series, who’s heart begins to thaw when he hears the beautiful music coming from Alex Bishop’s violin. Sure, Alex is easier to love, just as Dan is in Swann’s Revenge, but I personally adore seeing love do its healing work.

Not to say that Dan doesn’t have his own issues (spoilery, so I won’t talk about them here), but watching Graham Swann blossom into a truly happy man is what Swann’s Revenge is all about.

Happy reading, and don’t forget to comment on this post to be entered to win the cool unisex “Follow your heart” bracelet I’m giving away at the end of the tour! -Shira Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Honorary Blogger M.D. Neu: Inspiration + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Honorary_Blogger_Post

Inspiration

by M.D. Neu

 

I want to thank the folks here at The Blogger Girls for having me here to start my Blog Tour for The Calling. With the story being out now for a couple of weeks I’ve been asked how I came up with the idea for this story. I thought I would answer that question here.

I started with my main character, Duncan.  Duncan is an everyman.  He could be your brother, your cousin, your best friend, or he could be that guy you pass every day on your way to the office. He is meant to represent all of us.  It doesn’t matter who you are, or who you love, you should be able to see something of yourself in Duncan. At least that is my hope.

As for the story idea, when I was a kid and even now I love vampires and vampire stories.  I watched and read everything I could about these amazing creatures.  However, the issue I have with these stories was that we were expected to believe that vampires could exist in our modern world.  Given we have cameras in everything and that we are watched 24/7 I wondered how vampires could really be.  How could you have a pack of vampires kill people without anyone ever finding out.  How would social media play into this?  What if someone live streamed a vampire attack and the video went viral?  How would vampires keep their secret?

Now that I had my main character and an idea of my story I needed to come up with a location.  I picked my hometown of San Jose, California, which is the heart of the technology. I thought it would be fun to set the book in a technology hot spot and poke a little fun at other better-known cities. And I really wanted to highlight San Jose and other local towns. I wanted to show people just what an amazing place this area of the country is and why we are so blessed to live here.

With my main character, my setting and my story idea (vampires and witches, which I always felt complimented each other), I started to populate my story and began writing.  I outlined the story and planned my world’s lore. The final product, which I’m hoping people will enjoy is, The Calling. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Honorary Blogger Rhys Ford: Kane & Miki + Giveaway!

Honorary_Blogger_Post

415 Ink: Rebel

by Rhys Ford

Hello and welcome to the 415 Ink: Rebel Blog Tour. I’d like to say I’m Rhys Ford, your host but the truth is, I am merely a stealer of space and time. Their space, your time. BUT I hope I can make it worth your while.

Because dudes, I’ve got a book I want to tell you about.

If you know me at all, you know I have a few tattoos and well, have a hardcore love for art. Skin art to be exact. It’s a difficult medium and well, there’s a culture surrounding it as well. Being a tattoo artist is more than a profession, it truly is a calling, or it is for the great artists, the ones who push at the boundaries of skin and ink and do fantastical things on a living canvas.

The 415 Ink series hopefully will capture a part of that culture and also showcase five foster brothers who have made their own family. Set in San Francisco, I will introduce you to each of the five in a series of books where they find love and in some cases, their true path in life. The first, Rebel, is about Gus, the true middle kid in the bunch, and the man whose love he’d won, lost and hopefully will love again.

As all of my blog tours, I want to present you with something unique at each stop as well as a giveaway. So, for each blog, I will give you a story (or part of a story as I’ve split most into two pieces) about a tattoo… involving a character from one of my series. Check out the blog stop list to get a sneak peek at the characters!

The giveaway? You’ll be entering to win a $20 USD gift certificate to the online retailer of your choice!

Now, onto the tales of tattoos and where you can find Rebel, on sale December 29th through Dreamspinner, Amazon and other fine bookstores.

*****

San Francisco — Kane Morgan and Miki St. John

There were very few times in his life when Miki was by his side as he strolled past the Fisherman’s Wharf sign. That path was usually reserved for Rafe, Sionn and Connor, especially when they were on a run or hitting up the old crab shack for lunch. It seemed odd to have his rangy, too-pretty rock star of a lover walking next to him in bright daylight and not be headed to Finnegan’s.

Even stranger were the stares Miki pulled in as he walked by small crowds of people. He knew Miki was famous. He couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing Miki’s voice rotating through a song list, and there’d been more than a few times when they were out and someone approached cautiously, eager to get Miki’s attention but reluctant to interrupt.

That was when Kane remembered he shared Miki with the world. It wasn’t a bad thing, especially when he watched his prickly lover turn bashful and shy. He could talk music for hours — and had, blowing their reservations at a dinner once — but just like the star Kane wore, Miki had a calling and enthusiastic fans were simply part of it.

Even if Miki hated the attention, he always stopped and listened, smiling when Kane knew he wanted to die a little bit inside when all eyes were on him, and he could see their faces. It’d taken a long time for Kane to understand the difference. Up close and personal was hard but on stage, Miki saw nothing but heard their voices, a chorus chanting back the band’s words, filling in the silence Miki often nursed inside of himself. Performing was a way for Miki to bathe in the music and touch the stars.

“You always stop. You have to stop.” Miki snorted with disgust when Connor innocently suggested the band excused themselves from fan encounters. “They’re the reason we’re up there. Somebody worked at a shitty job so they could see us up on stage. They might have eaten ramen for month for those tickets or even that album. Yeah, they don’t own us but they’ve invested in us. And all I’ve got to invest in them is time so I’m always gonna stop.”

While Kane agreed with the sentiment, today he hoped no one reached out to touch his rock star. Today was a long day coming, a gift he’d promised himself years before. Today was the day he would finally become a Morgan cop.

“It’s shitty the parking structure so far away.” Miki shivered a bit, ducking his head down when the light turned green, and they had to dash across the street through the chilly rain. “’Course I guess I should just be fucking glad there’s a parking structure. Remember when you had to circle around a lot? And we used to have this beat-up old van that was bigger than a Cadillac so we’d have gigs down here at eight but came down to park in the afternoon and feed the meter just so we had a spot.”

“You know, that’s one of my biggest regrets… not seeing you guys play before.” Kane snuck a look at Miki’s pale face, worried that he was setting too hard of a pace for Miki’s blown out knee. “You must have had some really kick ass shows.”

Miki wrinkled his nose as if he’d just been served a large helping of bitter melon stew. “Not back then. I mean there are a lot of places down here that have good music but the ones that hired us were just looking for some background noise while everybody drank. We played covers mostly and there were some nights we drank more than what we were paid but it was fun. Mostly. Sometimes, not so much but that’s what happens when you’re in a band. This is the same place that we went to for Ichi, right? They’ve got a dog named… Earl.” Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , , , | 66 Comments