Honorary Blogger Post

Honorary Blogger Aldrea Alien: Random Facts about the Udynea Empire & the Kingdom of Tirglas + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Random Facts about the Udynea Empire & the Kingdom of Tirglas

by Aldrea Alien

Hi, I’m Aldrea! I write fantasy romance in a variety of heat levels both within and without the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. My newest release, To Target the Heart, is an m/m romance and part of the spellster series which is largely set in the Known World, consisted of a single giant continent and a few outlying islands.

The story itself involves a pair of princes from two very different realms. Darshan vris Mhanek comes from the great glutton of the Udynea Empire that commands a great deal of the central continent, whereas Prince Hamish of the Mathan Clan is from the rustic, and largely rural, Kingdom of Tirglas. And there are a few differences in their lands that present a bit of a bump for both princes, leading to them learning to comprehend each other and avoid instigating a war between their lands.

Tirglas

  1. The royal family never leaves their clan lands. Not even when married as succession is handed down to the next eldest and then their children.
  2. There is only the Goddess. She is considered responsible for growth, procreation and harvest.
  3. Hunting down known ‘rutters’ (gay men) was abolished only half a century ago.
  4. Elves are rarely seen with the majority of those who stay having roots as refugees from the Udynea Empire.
  5. Marriage is considered legal for all manner of couples, but only binding if a child is born before the end of the second year.
  6. Everything is bigger in Tirglas, from the average height of the population to the size of their animals. Including the local bears.
  7. Those displaying magical talent are confined to cloisters kept far from the general populace. Their limited range of study means that a great deal of these spellsters are highly knowledgeable in the healing arts.

Udynea Empire

  1. As a whole, sexuality is considered a non-issue. With class and anti-elven prejudice being far more typical.
  2. Women are the last to inherit property or titles. Even if it’s an only daughter, all other direct male lines must be eliminated before anything can be passed to her.
  3. Deities are multiple and often overlap in duties. A product of their centuries of colonisation, which typically ended with lopping off the ruling masses and integrating the common people. Those who are worshipped throughout the empire are the High Mother and Araasi, Queen of all deities.
  4. Assassination attempts are commonplace, leading to the majority of the nobility being highly skilled in magical healing. Many choose to display their prowess by imbibing otherwise lethal doses of poison as party tricks.
  5. Slavery has been legal for thousands of years and, since the arrival of elves on the continent, a large percentage of the slave population is comprised of them. There is a hiercharchy with certain slaves of the royal family having the power to execute nobility.
  6. Spellster’s aren’t regulated and not only dominate the nobility, but the Udynea Empire holds the highest percentage of spellsters of all the realms. Magic is used freely and without fear of being prosecuted for being born with it.
  7. Due to completely conquering several ancient civilisations—such as the already crumbling Domian Empire—in the distant past they’ve the largest source of ancient knowledge and technology. But not always the means to replicate their finds.

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Honorary Blogger Geoffrey Knight: The Pathfinders + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Mood Swings

by Geoffrey Knight

Welcome to our strange new world. As of writing this post, most of us are in isolation. Most of us have stopped venturing outside altogether and some of us are even in forced lockdown, unable to leave our homes at all.

This kind of isolation is going to cause mood swings.

We’re going to have our good days and bad days, we’re going to get frustrated and anxious, and at other times we’re going to look for something to help cheer us up.

I know as a writer I write where my mood takes me. Sometimes I’ll be in the mood to write something easy and fun and I’ll throw myself into an adventure story, full of over-the-top action sequences and impossible escapes. Sometimes I’ll be in the mood to write a thriller full of twists and turns and nasty villains. Sometimes I’ll be in the mood for a good old-fashioned mystery that needs solving. Sometimes I’ll be in the mood for a laugh and I’ll write a rom-com and pack it with as much snarky dialogue as I can muster. And sometimes I’m in the mood for something steamy and I’ll write a sexy romance, trying my damnedest to fill it with as much off-the-charts chemistry as I can.

The result is a back catalogue that is full of my mood swings. But the great thing about that is, I pretty much have a book to suit whatever mood you’re in.

So I thought I’d dedicate this guest blog post to five books of mine that suit a different mood, depending on what takes your fancy.

1. IN THE MOOD FOR SOMETHING SEXY?

I’ll start with my new book The Pathfinders which is the whole reason I’m here today. When I want to write something steamy, I’ll often dive into something a little taboo. I find taboo books instantly sexy simply because of the risqué nature of them. Taboo relationships demand characters to take a chance, to step out of their comfort zone to fulfil their desire, and that automatically raises the sexual stakes in the story. Having said that, I strive to write more than just porn-without-plot. While the sexual stakes are higher in a taboo book, so too are the emotional and psychological stakes. There’s a lot to unpack in a taboo book, so I hope you give The Pathfinders a go and take the journey with Jack and Hux, two best friends and cousins who need to find their path together.

2. IN THE MOOD FOR A GOOD LAUGH?

I think I’m going to be writing a lot more comedy in the coming months. Laughter is one of the most important things we need right now to help cheer us up and get us through this. The book I’m writing at the moment is a new rom-com, but if you want to read one of my back-catalogue rom-coms then perhaps give The Billionaire’s Boyfriend a go. It’s the story of Matt, a flower-delivery guy who inadvertently ends up saving the life of Calvin Croft, a lonely billionaire in need of finding someone down to earth to love. Hilarity and romance are sure to ensue!

3. IN THE MOOD FOR ADVENTURE?

My very first foray into gay fiction was my adventure novel The Cross of Sins, the first in my Fathom’s Five series. The Cross of Sins was best described by one reviewer as “Gay Raiders of the Lost DaVinci Code” which sums it up perfectly. My aim was to create an action-packed adventure in the vein of Indiana Jones or James Bond (I’m a big fan of both) except I wanted my heroes to be gay. And so Fathom’s Five was born, a team of five gay adventure-seekers on the hunt for relics and treasure around the globe. It’s fun, it’s unapologetically over-the-top and my heroes always get their man in the end… in more ways than one!

4. IN THE MOOD FOR MYSTERY?

One of my favorite ever character creations is my 1920’s gumshoe Buck Baxter, a private detective who’s tough-guy exterior hides a man who desperately wants to find real love in a world of prohibition, gangsters and nior-ish mysteries. I utterly adore Buck and his first mystery Buck Baxter, Love Detective where—with the help of a zany cast of support characters—Buck learns more about himself than he expects as he unravels a mystery that reaches deep into his own past. With Buck, it was my quest to inject as much humor into his story as I could to hopefully bring you something that’s as funny as it is compelling.

5. IN THE MOOD FOR DARK THRILLS?

Sometimes all I want to do is write a book that’s as dark and gripping as I can create, and Harm’s Way is exactly that. It’s the story of a Zach Taylor, a successful businessman who’s very in-control world falls apart when he learns his biological father was in fact a notorious serial killer. He begins to question whether such darkness flows in his own veins when his biggest client turns up dead. At the same time he begins to fall in love with a mysterious stranger who could be his savior or his downfall. It’s a tale full of twists and turns and the climax is one of my all-time favorites!

So there you have it, five of my books that I hope will entertain you no matter what mood you’re in as we stay locked in our homes in search of something to keep us sane in these insane times.

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Honorary Blogger E.J. Russell: The Real Deal + Excerpt!

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The Real Deal

by E.J. Russell

While Silent Sin is about a purely fictional couple who are surrounded by a mostly fictional secondary cast, there are some references to people who lived and worked in Hollywood at the time (although mostly they’re simply mentioned). Some of these names may be familiar to readers—others might not. But because they deserve to be remembered, I’ll introduce you to some of them here.

J. Warren (Jack) Kerrigan

The fan magazines called him “The Great God Kerrigan,” and he was the fledgling film industry’s first bona fide superstar. He was also gay, living in his “Komfy Kerrigan Kottage” with his mother, his lover tucked away downstairs as his “secretary.” His sexuality, of course, was never overtly stated: when confronted with the infamous Marriage Question, his usual response was that he hadn’t yet found a woman who measured up to Mother. He topped the fan magazines’ popularity polls from 1913 through 1916, but then, in May 1917, when a reporter asked him if he was going to join the war, Kerrigan shot his own career in the foot when he said he said no—“… first they should take the great mass of men who aren’t good for anything else…” He went on, unfortunately for him, and the papers picked it up: The Great God Kerrigan thought he was better than everybody else and too good to fight for his country. His popularity never recovered.

William S. (Bill) Hart

Bill Hart was a former Shakespearean stage actor who transitioned to films at the age of 49 and became a star of early film westerns—he’d actually been a friend of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson and owned Billy the Kid’s six-shooters. His films were grittier and more authentic than the flashier stars like Tom Mix who later supplanted him, and his popularity waned. He retired in 1925 following the lackluster performance of his self-financed film, Tumbleweeds. His damaging public statements about Roscoe Arbuckle’s presumed guilt prompted Buster Keaton (Arbuckle’s best friend) to produce, direct, and star in The Frozen North, a parody of Hart (the premise written by Arbuckle) that presents him as a thief and a bully. Hart didn’t speak to Keaton again for years.

 

Thomas Ince

Thomas Ince, the “Father of the Western,” was associated with over 800 silent westerns in his career—some of them starring Bill Hart. Ince was the first producer to build his own self-contained studio on nearly 19,000 acres in Santa Ynez Canyon between Santa Monica and Malibu. Its official name was the Miller 101 Bison Ranch Studio, but it was generally referred to by its nickname: Inceville. Not only did Inceville contain shooting stages, outdoor sets (and not just for westerns), dressing rooms, production offices, printing labs, and a huge commissary—it was also home to its own stock performing company. Ince leased the entire 101 Ranch and Wild West Show from the Miller brothers and installed the troupe (comprising cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, bison, and an entire Sioux tribe) at the site. Ince’s death is another early Hollywood scandal/mystery: in 1924, when he was just 44, he was taken ill following a party on W.R. Hearst’s private yacht, spawning gossip and rumors that persisted for years. The 2001 movie, The Cat’s Meow, with Cary Elwes as Ince, Edward Herrmann as Hearst, and Kirsten Dunst as Marion Davies, is based on the rumor that Hearst shot Ince, mistaking him for Charlie Chaplin, whom he suspected of having an affair with Davies.

So Hollywood almost didn’t need movies—the lives of film’s early practitioners provided plenty of drama on their own. Continue reading

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Honorary Blogger A.E. Via: Ex Meridian + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Ex Meridian

by A.E. Via

I want to thank the Girls so so much for having me on again to promote another new release. These girls have been my biggest supporters from the early days and I can’t tell them how much I appreciate it. My MM action/romance novel entitled – Nothing Special VII: EX Meridian – that released on February 24th is already firing up the charts. I’m so excited to bring you the seventh installment in the award-winning, best-selling Nothing Special series. 

I wanted to take this time to thank my amazing cover artist – Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art – for making me one kickass cover to the next. Each one she does exceeds my expectations.  As an author and avid reader, I’m asked all the time why I put so much work and time into my cover art. I really believe that the escapism experiences starts at the very beginning, at the time of purchase. On that first click. It all starts with the illustration on the front. What else is gonna make a reader, especially one that’s not already familiar with my name, to click on the title. There’s no synopsis to read beside it when you’re scrolling down the list.  

Minimalist covers have never been my thing. That’s okay for some authors but not me. The cover art on my books takes quite a bit of time and Jay never rushes me. She doesn’t stop producing drafts until I feel it’s perfect. She nailed Ex and Meridian in only a few rounds and I couldn’t be happier with this one. I think she really captured the darkness of this installment.

I told Jay that this book needed to be eye-catching and very different from the other six books. I also don’t conform to make the series all uniform. I like spice and variety. Sure, I could’ve just put a handsome man on the front and slapped the title up there, but that wouldn’t accurately portray my MCs or the book. I try to tell a piece of the story with my covers. I’m hoping Ex and Meridian’s cover show just how dramatic, dangerous, evil and sexy his character can possibly be. 

Be sure to follow me on social media, or sign-up for my newsletter to never miss another release. 

Happy Reading! 

xoxoxox

Adrienne V.

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Honorary Blogger Jacqueline Grey: Tricks and Bids + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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What Do You Write?

by Jacqueline Grey

“How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”

I have always been proud to declare that my dream was to become a published author, but once I became one, I found it difficult to answer the question “What do you write?”  I know there are people out there who look down on the romance genre (usually people who’ve never read it), and if I couldn’t gauge what a person’s reaction would be I became hesitant to admit that that was what I wrote.

As time has gone on, I have worked hard to break this habit.  I love romance. I have found some amazingly talented authors by reading romance, and I am proud of what I have accomplished within the genre so there is no reason why I should be shy about it.  I have also come to realize that there are times when it is my duty to spread the love of romance, gay romance in particular.

Last year I was interviewed about my book Ghost House.  During the interview, the interviewer told me she was surprised when she heard my name.  Jacqueline is very feminine. Having written a gay romance book, she hadn’t expected me to be so open about being a woman.  I suppose she’d been wondering if my being a woman would lessen the appeal of my book to gay men. I told her that many of the authors I knew who wrote in the gay romance genre were women.  So were many of the readers.

In fact, for years I have been reading shounen-ai and yaoi manga from Japan, my friends and I are currently devouring danmei novels from China, and I am exploring BL TV shows from Thailand and their related novels.  These things are all stories about male-male relationships and romance, and they are written by women and geared toward a female audience.

I truly believe we need #ownvoices stories and representation, but I also believe, especially in the current time period, that the world needs more happiness in general.  Romance, gay or not, should be read by everyone. It is the only place in the world where you are guaranteed a happy ending. Isn’t that something we all need in our lives?  I think that happiness is worth more than gold, and as romance authors, we are the suppliers of happiness. If that’s the case, then the next time someone asks me what I write I am going to tell them loud and proud.

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Honorary Blogger Alex Stargazer: Fallen Love + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Fallen Love

by Alex Stargazer

Hello readers at the Blogger Girls! Today I’m going to talk to you about Fallen Love, my brand new LGBT urban fantasy book. More specifically, I want to discuss the question “What are LGBT books really about?” and “Why do we need LGBT representation in young adult urban fantasy books?”

Before I dive into things, check out the blurb so you can familiarise yourself with what the story is about.

From a successful crowdfunder, Fallen Love comes action-packed with flying cars, dark magic, and fallen angels.

Upperclassman Conall is rich, impeccably dressed, and set for a prestigious career in the Party hierarchy. He doesn’t lack for anything—except, maybe, love.

When he finds Mark, alone, abandoned and hurt, he doesn’t expect one act of kindness to alter the course of his life forever. There is more to Mark than Conall can even dream of. The beautiful, vulnerable boy Conall knows is not human. A dark power lies within Mark. It can make him immortal… but love might be the price.

Discover why readers are calling this book “nothing short of amazing” and “superb”. If you’re a fan of Cassandra Clare or Lauren Kate, you don’t want to miss this.

What readers are saying…

★★★★★ “To say this novel took me by surprise is a total understatement. This story surprised, astounded, and made me so happy that it is right up there with the top ten books I have read this year.” —Sharon, Blogger

★★★★★ “The writing is polished, even compelling in spots. If you’re looking for an entertaining read with ambitious world-building, give it a try.” —KD Edwards, author of the Last Sun (Pyr)

★★★★★ “This book was nothing short of amazing. I loved the characters, the action, it’s safe to say I loved everything about this book. I hope to see more in this series because I’m hooked.” —Ashley Tomlinson, author of Becoming Grim

★★★★★ “The world-building in this book is superb.” —Rion, Goodreads Reviewer.

What exactly is LGBT, anyway?

This question seems simple on the surface, yet think about it more carefully, and you realise there are multiple answers. It used to be that LGBT books were “issue stories”: they dealt with themes of alienation, homophobia, love and family, etc. For a long time, these sorts of stories were extremely depressing; the main character usually died from AIDS.

Sometime in the late 2000s, and particularly after the self-publishing boom facilitated by Amazon and Smashwords (2012 or thereabouts), we began to see a new kind of LGBT book. I say LGBT as a useful catch-all, but really I mean M/M.

These kinds of stories were a breath of fresh air, in a lot of ways. They showed that a romance between two men could be successful, beautiful, and even wondrous. The genre evolved away from issue plots and more towards the usual fare of romance: the characters desire each other but something is standing in the way (work/family/travel/whatever). Or, equally often, the characters themselves stand in the way.

I want to say that M/M books became less angst-driven during this transition. But that’s not really true; the angst became different. Gay romance retains one fundamental problem: it does not appeal to a large enough audience, and the reason is angst. To be frank, most men (of all sexualities) don’t want to read M/M romance because it’s boring.

What we need is another literary revolution. Authors like KD Edwards, Alex R Kahler and J Scott Coatsworth (not to mention yours truly!) are part of a movement to write LGBT books about adventure. I use the word deliberately. Fantasy and science fiction are about adventure—they’re about going on a quest to slay dragons (or befriend them) and venturing into deep space. Thrillers also count as adventure, as do many books for young readers.

Gay romance will continue to exist, like issue-based LGBT stories continue to exist today. But more than anything, what we need to see is fiction that just happens to represent gay characters, rather than fiction that is about a gay relationship.

LGBT Characters in YA, Paranormal and Urban Fantasy

I want to arrive at my ultimate question: how do we apply the principle of representing gay characters through adventure to the genre of YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy? This is what I set out to do in Fallen Love.

The thing is, these two sub-genres have very particular traditions. Heterosexual books in this category—such as Fallen by Lauren Kate, Hush Hush, and Halo—follow a set formula: the heroine falls in love with a bad boy. They balance teenage angst with worldbuilding and action. I could have written something very similar and swapped out the heroine for a dude. I certainly played with the bad boy character.

The story I actually wrote can’t quite be described in these terms—it’s something else, something unique. The internal conflict works very differently when you have two boys instead of a girl and a boy. A good example is from Cassandra Clare (who is one of my favourite authors, by the way) in her Dark Artifices series. Mark, Kieran and Cristina’s love triangle is something that’s totally distinct from a straight love triangle. The boys don’t have to fight it out, and the girl doesn’t have to choose one of them; they can all be together.

I still think Cassie Clare’s story suffers from a little too much teenage angst, which is something I avoided throughout Fallen Love. If there has to be internal conflict, I want it to be something grittier; there have to be bigger stakes. Power asymmetry, persecution, life and death struggle—that’s what I want to read about.

Don’t get me wrong: angst has its place, especially in books about teenagers. But I believe I can write a better story, with broader appeal, when angst takes a back seat in favour of good old adventure.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Honorary Blogger TA Moore: Feet of Clay • Chapter One + Giveaway!

 First of all, thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled to be here with my new release Prodigal, the first in the Lost and Found trilogy. Prodigal is set years after the disappearance of a child in Cutter’s Gap left the town, and the people left behind, shattered. In ‘Feet of Clay’ I revisit Cutter’s Gap in the years between Sammy Calloway’s disappearance and the start of Prodigal.

I hope you enjoy it!

Feet of Clay • Chapter One

by TA Moore

Halfway through the nightshift the coffee in the break room tasted like something drained out of a truck’s oil filter. Mac poured himself a cup anyhow. If you added enough sugar, it was fine.

He took a drink and grimaced as the grit scraped the roof of his mouth. Well, it wouldn’t kill him. The writer sat at the table with her equipment laid out fastidiously in front of her. Every now and again she reached to check absently that it was still on.

“I don’t know what you want from me,” Mac said. “Anything I know is public record. If you read Maccabee’s book, then you know as much as me.”

The woman leaned forward and braced her elbows on the table, her hands under her chin.

“I’m not a journalist, Lieutenant MacKenzie” she said. “I’m not a writer, not like Sullivan, either. This is research for an academic paper that I’m working on. It’s about the possible epigenetic impact of this sort of community-experienced trauma on–”

Mac held his hand up. “I get it,” he said. “You’re a professor not a paparazzi. That doesn’t change what I’ve got to say. Everything that happened back then–every decision, every clue, every dead end we slammed face first into–has been dissected a dozen times over. I’m bled out on details, Dr Masterton. Sammy Calloway disappeared. We never found him. What more do you want.”

She rubbed her lip with her knuckle, smudged the toffee brown gloss she’d applied.

“Nothing,” she said. “I’m not a forensic scientist, Lieutenant, or a criminal psychologist. Maybe Cutter’s Gap PD did make a mistake back then, maybe something was missed that you could have used to bring Sammy home. But you didn’t, and that’s what I’m interested in. Not what happened after Sammy was taken, but what’s happened since you gave up on getting him back. That documentary that Netflix made for five year anniversary was called The Boy the Town Forgot, but what I want to know what it’s like to live in that town.”

Mac looked down into his coffee. It was black and vaguely oily, a smear of greasy creamer on top. How many of these cups had he held over the years? When the hunt had been on for Sammy he’d lived on cups of this and not much else. One day his stomach lining was going to have its revenge.

“Yeah,” he said quietly. “Me too.”

There was a pause for a second and then the professor turned the recorder off with a click.

“Your captain told you to talk to me,” she said. Mac’s shoulders tightened and the already sour taste in his mouth thickened. “I need you to want to talk to me, to get other people to talk to me.”

“Can’t the captain do that?”

The professor smiled wryly as she packed her equipment away. “Only to shut me, and because he knew you didn’t want to,” she said. “Think about it. I’m in town for the rest of the week. Let me know if you change your mind. I think you could help me a lot more than you realise. It might help you to.”

She stood up, slung her bag over her shoulder, and offered Mac a neat, unadorned card. He took it and Professor Masterton left, her heels loud on the tiled floor as she headed for the door.

Mac hadn’t been raised with much, but he had manners. He waited until she was gone before he tossed the card in the trash.

He had a job to do and it wasn’t raking over the past.

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Honorary Blogger Kilby Blades: Notes from the Cutting Room Floor – Confessions of What I Cut Out + Excerpt!

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Notes from the Cutting Room Floor – Confessions of What I Cut Out

by Kilby Blades

Q: First things first: how close is Adam Bomb to the original story you envisioned?

A: Actually, the original story was very different. It was a pure coming out story in which two best friends—one gay, one straight—had their friendship tested when the straight one came out as gay. In my early vision, the gay one had always felt overshadowed and outclassed by the straight one, and being part of the gay community was the only thing he really had to himself.  Then, the straight one announces he’s gay and the gay one kind of flips his shit. There was going to be a fair bit of angst around that.

Q: Wow. Why didn’t you write that one? It sounds good LOL!

A: I realized that a story with those bones had two possible directions: one path was really funny and the other path was really dark. Adam Bomb went in the direction of funny. The stakes were so much lower that it gave them space to explore underlying issues in their friendship sooner and in a more lighthearted way. In Adam Bomb, Adam is bi (a fact known for years) so instead of coming out, he comes out “big” the second time—he’s just become a visible public figure and decides to do some press from a desire to be open about his identity. He enlists Levi’s help with the press campaign, but Levi is concurrently scheming to keep Adam away from his new friends, lest Adam overshadow him again. Hilarity ensues. 

Q: Did you cut a lot out as you were writing the book? If so, what did you cut?

A: I tend to like really drawn-out epilogues. I don’t just want a paragraph or three—I want a few good chapters of happily ever after. This book was tough because I had to come in under a certain number of words. I do love the ending (and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from readers about how satisfying the epilogue chapter was) but if I’d had about another 10,000 words to work with, I would have drawn a far more elaborate description of the ending I’d dreamed for them in my mind. 

Q: Now a less comfortable question: were you asked or persuaded by someone else to remove anything from the book? 

A: For some reason, mentioning exes in romance novels, or bringing past hookups onto the page is still considered pretty taboo. I kind of get it—romance readers are so eager to see sparks and feel heat, that you don’t want to give the wrong impression (that the lovable ex is the love interest). But I can’t say that I love pretending my heroes have never been with anyone in the past. For me, it has problematic undertones of normalizing monogamy and it leaves authors (and readers) with characters with a very narrow set of dating backstories. If I had my ‘druthers, I’d give my heroes more complex relationship histories. As it stands now, most mentions of past relationships in romance novels are of vilified or deceased exes. But most people’s exes aren’t villains—they’re regular people who weren’t the right person for the protagonist. 

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Honorary Blogger Rhys Ford: Nothing Else Matters • Part Four + Giveaway!

Hello! And thank you for joining the Back in Black Blog Tour! My name is Rhys Ford and I will be your guide through this serialized short story featuring Cole McGinnis and his trip to the altar. Hit each blog stop for the next bit of the story AND as a special bonus, Greg Tremblay has narrated each “slice of cake” on this wedding tour!

As some of you know, Cole McGinnis is a former LAPD detective who found love again in a romance suspense series called the Cole McGinnis Mysteries or as I call it, the Dirty Series. It is there he meets and falls in love with Kim Jae-Min, a Korean photographer with a few secrets of his own and a tiny black cat with an attitude. I left Cole and Jae in quite a happy place five years ago in Los Angeles with a promise to come back and “reboot” Cole’s life in a mystery series.

(You can find the first series here at Dreamspinner Press, including a special free bonus collection of shorts in both ebook and audiobook format)

If you’ve already met Cole, well then I am happy to announce he’s back and well, while things are a little bit different… and he’s a hair older… his life is still as insanely jam-packed with action and more than few mysteries to figure out. All of the old gang is back along with a few new faces and I hope you all enjoy Back in Black as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And as if Cole wasn’t fun enough to write, Greg Tremblay is back as Cole McGinnis in the upcoming audiobook which is supposed to be out on Feb 13th! If you aren’t a part of my Facebook group or follow me on social media, please be sure to find me to learn about any future stuff. Because 2020 is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

Giveaway!

As always, there is a giveaway! Please comment, rafflecopter or however this blog chooses to run their giveaway, Please Please enter to win a $25 Gift Certificate to the online store of your choice!

Nothing Else Matters • Part Four

by Rhys Ford

Audio Snippet Link

“Tell me they impounded your truck so it’s here in the holding yard.” I rubbed at my face, the stink of jail sticking to the inside of my nostrils. “Then at least we’d have a ride back to Chinatown.”

Considering I was allegedly on the right side of the law, it was astonishing at how much time I’d spent inside that particular institution. There was a particular smell to incarceration. Not prison which came with its own unique blend of aromas but jail itself, that pit stop between freedom and hard time. It was the slosh bucket of the seven sins, awash with puke, fear and bravado. Packed in tight with little room for long movements, men circled like guppies in a fish tank, watching the top of the water for the net to take them out and any larger shadows edging closer, a sure sign of a predator moving into their midst.

It was good to get out of there although from the sounds of things, Ralph made some really poor life choices he was going to have to live with for a long time. I left him with my contact information, promising him if he was able to shake loose the goat-napping charges, I’d work to help him find his uncle. One of the guys in the cell with us snorted loudly and within a second, a full-scale brawl had me backing down the hallway, eager to follow Scarlet out into the sunlight. Once I was reunited with Bobby, Scarlet dismissed us with a wave of her hand and after asking her driver to bring around the town car, she told us in no uncertain terms what she thought about us landing in trouble.

Every bit of the hard-scrabble young Filipino boy who’d clawed his way out of his own prisons emerged and my back snapped in straight. There was a lot of steel in Scarlet, a survivor who’d learned to love and nurture but there was never any questioning the strength it took to get her to where she was.

“Be there, Cole-ah,” she growled with a rare fierceness, peeling back the layers of sophisticated poise she draped herself in. “Disappoint Jae-Min today and you will spend what little time you have for the rest of your life regretting every crack you make in his heart. I love you — very much — but sometimes, love isn’t enough to save someone. And it won’t save you.”

“Nuna, you know me.” I’d protested, holding my hands up in surrender. Not because I was afraid Scarlet would hurt me but her driver and bodyguard both carried very wicked looking guns under their suit jackets and they’d stiffened up like old hunting hounds catching a whiff of duck in the air. “If zombies bite me and I’m sloughing off pieces of my body, I’ll be there. Nothing is going to keep me from marrying him.”

“Nothing but your lack of common sense,” she muttered, giving Bobby a stabbing glare. “And you, don’t make me regret taking you out of there. You are on borrowed time, dongsaeng, both of you.”

She left us in a chatter of heels, the afternoon sun smearing butter and apricot jam light through the clouds. Her car pulled away from the curb before it dawned on me we were without a vehicle, leading me to pray the cops somehow dragged Bobby’s truck on some magical mystery tour and it was waiting for us in the impound yard like some dancing pony on a side quest.

“No, they didn’t impound my truck so though I don’t want to go back down there, we’ve got to.” Bobby rubbed at his flat stomach, still a bit green around the gills. I’d been kicked in the nuts more than a few times in my life, most of them by Mike my older brother during one of our childhood fights so I knew the residual wave of sick lingering in the back of Bobby’s visceral memories. “Let’s make it fast. You heard what Scarlet said. Our necks are wound out for the axe if we don’t show up on time.”

“Just one problem there, Dawson,” I said with an apologetic grin. “I still have to pick up Jae’s present but if we don’t hustle, the shop’s going to be closed and I’m going to be fucked.”

“Pretty sure there’s only one thing Jae really wants from you for your wedding and that’s to be there.” He smirked, slapping me on the shoulder. “But sure, come on, once more unto the breach, Princess, once more.”

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2020 | Tags: , , , , , | 68 Comments

Honorary Blogger Morgan Brice: Tying Up Loose Ends + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Tying Up Loose Ends

by Morgan Brice

Loose Ends is the fourth novel in my ongoing Badlands series, with a sexy psychic medium and a hot homicide detective who hunt down supernatural killers in Myrtle Beach. All the book titles in the series are also titles of songs by Bruce Springsteen, since Vic, the detective, is a huge fan of The Boss. But as the title suggests, unfinished business—both personal and ghostly—plays a big part in the plot.

One of the things I love about writing a couple in an evolving, established relationship is that over the course of a series we get to delve much deeper into the characters and see them struggle and grow. We also can explore their back stories to find out where they’ve been hurt, what lessons they’ve learned the hard way, and which experiences shaped them for better or worse. 

In this book, Simon Kincaide, the psychic medium, is confronted by an ex-boyfriend who turns up without warning four years after their break-up. Simon’s estranged mother also tries to barge into his life and break up his established relationship with Vic D’Amato, the cop. Vic’s past successes as a detective come back to haunt him when someone with a grudge decides to destroy his life. The high-profile upcoming trial of a killer Simon and Vic nabbed puts both men in danger. Meanwhile, Simon’s skills as a medium are put to the test dealing with vengeful and restless ghosts. Cold case murders and unsolved disappearances play a role as well, and nothing is as it seems.

I love being able to dig into the pasts of characters we’ve gotten to know and see glimpses of who they were at other times in their lives, or better understand the events that shaped their choices. Often in the course of having to deal with an ugly element from their past, characters are able to leave behind old baggage and truly grasp how far they’ve come. I also really enjoy weaving that personal growth with their evolution as a couple, learning to work with each other and healing old hurts. 

Ghosts and unsolved mysteries are always favorites for me, and in Loose Ends, they play an important role, leading to insights that are essential to unraveling the secrets at the heart of the plot. Throw in a beautiful beach location, feisty friends and steamy sex, and the book is an adventure you won’t want to miss!

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