Honorary Blogger Post

Honorary Blogger Isabelle Rowan: Furborn + Giveaway!

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Furborn

by Isabelle Rowan

First of all I must thank The Blogger Girls for allowing me to visit their blog and introduce my new novel!

Although Furborn is not my first novel, it’s my first YA title so I’m pretty nervous about its release. However, I am proud of it and it has a whole lot of things that I love – horses, dogs, foxes and of course a young goth guy meeting a mysterious redhead in the dark depths of a eucalyptus forest.

Spencer is a gentle teenage boy who wears all the gothic trappings – long black hair, pale skin, lip piercing and Marilyn Manson t-shirt. Connor Coutts couldn’t be more different! His hair is long but dark red, his skin is equally pale and … perhaps they’re not so different after all? 

That’s where the magic happens! Furborn is a tale of first love and discovery with all its missteps and first touches. It is set in sheep country Australia where both boys are outsiders.

Connor lives in a small cottage with his sister and gran. They have minimal interaction with the world outside theirs because the little family has a very big secret that has never been told – not all foxes are just foxes!

Spencer is intrigued with the feral redhead and has been since the moment he saw him disappear into the forest when they were both young boys. There is something magical and Spencer feels it long before he knows anything about the secretive Coutts family.

Someone was watching them. He was perched on the top rail of a fence staring with a look that definitely wasn’t a country welcome. Spencer smiled. The boy didn’t smile back. He slid down from the fence, turned his back on them and walked into the gloom of the eucalypt forest. The last thing Spencer noticed was the swing of his long red plait.

The intrigue is still there when they meet again as teenagers:

Beneath the cool leaf canopy the air was rich with the smell of mulched earth and a hint of summer flowers and forest herbs. Spencer filled his lungs. A Rainbow Lorikeet screeched loudly above and dropped a chewed gum nut that bounced off his shoulder and onto the ground. He jumped. His startled heart thumped a little faster, but he shook his head and bent down to pick up the seed remnants. The hard casing was crushed by the tough beak, and only some of its contents eaten. He threw the nut into the undergrowth and caught sight of movement at the corner of his eye. Spencer stood very still. He didn’t hear anything other than the rustle of leaves above, but there was definitely someone there. A gum nut hit him square on the side of the head. 

That was no parrot!

A young man around his age or maybe a bit older leaned against the rough bark of a tree. He was shorter than Spencer, but not much. His skin was as pale although his long hair was a rich dark red – not ‘ranga’ orange red, but a deep red that, Spencer decided later, matched the glass of wine he’d been given at Christmas.

“Why’d you do that?” he asked, not appreciating the silent scrutiny of the teenager’s glower.

“I’ve seen you before haven’t I?” Spencer tried again. “Years ago down at the fox tree. You were watching me then too.”

“Go back to your sheep,” he said. His voice was quiet but echoed around the trees.

“They’re not my sheep they belong to my grandparents. I’m Spencer, what’s….”

That was as far as he got when the other boy turned and walked away. The figure merged with the forest and all Spencer could see was the hint of red hair until that too faded.

“Seriously?” Spencer called out. 

He picked up another gum nut and threw it in the direction the feral vanished.

There are many questions that Spencer needs answered:

Why are the city horses wary of Connor? Why do the farm dogs growl at him? How did Connor end up naked in the moonlight without the cast on his broken leg?

But for answers to be given there needs to be trust.

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

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Bishop

by A.E. Via

Well hello all!!

I’m really happy to be here to talk about my latest release entitled: Bishop: A True Lover’s Story. Bishop’s story is my twentieth book I’ve written, and I still can’t quite believe it. A lot of people – especially my family – has asked me why I started writing gay romance, and all I can say is that it’s in my heart. 

When I first wrote Blue Moon Too Good To Be True in 2013 I never imagined it’d be received with such love by such an amazing audience. This has been the greatest experience of my life and I’m far from stopping. 

I hope you’ll enjoy this new one.

xxxxxx

Adrienne V.

I am celebrating my writing anniversary in the best way! Which means showering my readers with gratitude gifts and tons of love letters. Without you all, my words would be unheard. For a chance to be adorned with love and appreciation, join my lively Facebook group and party with me. You can drop in anytime for some mature MM fun.  https://bit.ly/2Ku4jAx
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Honorary Blogger Rhys Ford: Ivo, 18 • Part Two + Giveaway!

Welcome to the 415 Ink Hellion Tour! My name’s Rhys Ford and thank you for stopping by! First off, thank you to all the blogs who participated in this tour and also, a huge shout out to all of the readers who wanted to hear Ivo’s story. It was great being able to write something about the baby of the 415 Ink crew and well, he probably turned out to be the biggest surprise while writing him. So sit back, grab a bit of Ivo’s past on this tour and I hope you’re ready for his debut on Sept 17th! 

Ivo, 18 • Part Two

by Rhys Ford

The woman was older, maybe in her early thirties, her Hispanic features nearly too strong to be called conventionally pretty but she wore her beauty with an easy confidence, her long black hair pushed back from her face. Fairly tall with long legs, her powerful stride carried her across the cement floor and she came to a stop in front of Ivo, raking a controlled gaze over him.

“You seem kind of young,” she said in a husky contralto. “Are you even old enough to drink?”

“You seem like a cop,” Ivo responded, keeping a smile to himself when her eyes narrowed. “And yeah, I’m licensed to tattoo and Bear would sooner cut off his own fingers then let someone who didn’t know what they were doing ink someone’s skin in his shop. As far as booze goes, less you know, the better. I can promise you I’m sober while I’m operating a tattoo machine.”

She regarded him with another cool look then nodded curtly. “Okay, fair enough. So long as you can operate that thing legally, I guess I can’t complain.”

“Actually, complain now because complaining after I put something permanent on your skin is sure as shit not going to do you any good,” he replied, this time giving in to his grin. “Come on over, have a seat and tell me what you want.”

She settled into the chair easily, looping her legs over the footrest. After rolling up her long sleeved shirt, she dug an old watch out of the pocket of her jeans, holding it up for Ivo to see. “I want a rainbow heart on my wrist but it’s got to be small enough to covered by the watch. Can you do that?”

The watch was ancient, an analog piece made of aged metal with a black dial.  Its hands were long, striped with that odd luminescent paint watchmakers used to make the hands glow in the dark. It seemed to keep good time and when Ivo took it from her, he saw an inscription etched onto the back plate.

“To my dearest George from your wife, Adelaine.” He did some mental calculations on the date. “Your parents?”

“Grandparents. She gave it to him for one of their anniversaries. My brother inherited it when they died.” Her eyes glistened, then were hidden behind her long lashes. When she opened them again, any shimmer he might have seen was gone. “My parents kicked him out when they found out he told them he was gay. He told me to hold onto it. That he’d come back for it.”

“That’s fucked up.” Ivo frowned, pulling up his rolling stool with a hook of his boot into its base. “How long ago was this? You haven’t heard from him since then?”

“Twenty years ago.” Her full mouth lifted into a sardonic quirk when he looked up from examining the watch. “He was a lot older than me. I was seven. He was fifteen. I just made detective and I want something… I want to carry something of his with me. I want to wear that watch but one day, he’s going to come back for it so I’m going to need something … about him to have on me for when he does.”

The watch was large but as tattoos went, he would be able to fit maybe a quarter-sized heart beneath it. Glancing at the flash she’d chosen, Ivo knew he could do better than the plain, striped bands of primary hues. Putting the watch over her wrist, he pulled out one of his Sharpies and plucked its cap off with his teeth then drew a dotted line over where the beveled face would rest on her arm.

Something Bear said constantly dug itself out of the back of his brain, growing teeth and chewing on Ivo’s thoughts. Doesn’t matter how big a piece of ink is or what it’s about, kid, his brother would mutter at him as he inked yet another small daisy chain on a young woman’s ankle, every piece of ink means something to that person and they deserve your respect for getting it.

He got that now. Staring into the cop’s strong face, the pain of losing her brother to time and grasping at fading memories led her to walking into 415 Ink’s doors to look for something permanent to hold onto, so she would forget the young man who’d been forced out of her life. He knew how that felt, knew how that abandonment gouged down deep into a soul. The piece of flash she picked out wasn’t going to be good enough. Not for him. Certainly not for her wandering brother to find his way back to her.

“Okay, here’s the deal,” he said, handing her back her watch. “What you want is okay and I can do that in about twenty minutes and you’ll be happy with it. It’ll look nice. But I’m asking you to trust me here, because even though this thing is small, it means something to you and I want you to have something that’s… special. Let me make it a little bit bigger. It’ll still be tucked under the watch but if I can do just a little bit more, I can blend the colours so it looks like a real rainbow and maybe even emboss it, so it looks like a piece of jewelry on your skin. How does that sound?”

Her smile was bright, nearly as brilliant as the colours he intended to use on her silken gold skin. Nodding, she leaned back and plopped her arm on the rest, wrist side up for him. “That sounds fantastic. I’m in.”

“Awesome. Let me just get my inks ready and we can get started.” He stood up then stopped, holding his hand out to her. “Sorry. Fuck. I didn’t get your name. I’m Ivo and you are going to be my first official tattoo.”

“I’m Dell,” she said, giving him a firm handshake. “And I can’t wait for you to get started.”

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , | 47 Comments

Honorary Blogger T.A. Moore: Dead Man Stalking – Prequel Short Story + Giveaway!

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First of all, thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled to be here with my new urban fantasy Dead Man Stalking. This is the first book in the Blood and Bone series and I am thrilled to put it out there into the world. I was meant to be writing an entirely different book, but then Took and Madoc took up residence in my head and I had to give in and let them have their say.

I had a blast creating this world and these characters, and I hope you enjoy them too. I’ve included a chapter of a prequel short story that you can follow through the blog tour.

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Chapter Five

For a second Luke felt the lust catch between then, sharp and electric, and he was surprised to find himself torn between the urge to lean in and the need to pull away. It wasn’t the sort of decision it should be hard to make.

Then Madoc let the tie slip from his fingers as he stepped back. His expression flicked to thoughtful so sharply that Luke, his throat tight and his nose full of the musk and salt scent of Madoc, wondered if he’d just imagined the tension. He tugged the tie loose so he could swallow as Madoc picked up the file to flick through the dog-eared papers. “You put this together on the plane? And pulled these other files?”

Not exactly. Luke cleared his throat and, without the temptation right in his space, had the good sense to put some space between him and Madoc. Not enough to look like he was in flight, but enough he didn’t taste the vampire when he breathed.

Anakim, the mental correction kicked in from habit. Luke silently cursed it as he picked up his gun and shrugged the shoulder holster on. The weight of the weapon nudged awkwardly against his ribs as he adjusted it. A glance toward the mirror showed it black and deadly against his light blue shirt.. He picked his jacket up from where he’d hung it to air and pulled it on.

If he wanted to fuck a vampire — he deployed the term mentally with sharp annoyance at himself — then he could scratch that itch. It would probably be a bad idea and the schism with his family would, finally, be set in stone, but what was new there?

His boss?

Madoc was hot as hell and, yeah, Luke wanted to crawl under him to see if it would be as good as his imagination thought it would. He wanted to be a BITER too, to prove he’d made all the right choices even when they were hard. End of the day, he could get fucked anywhere but the BITERs were the only game in town.

It really should have made it an easy choice.

“I had already been tracking the other cases,” Luke admitted. “They were unusual, and that interests me. Then I saw the pattern, and that interested me.”

“And you didn’t warn anyone?” Madoc asked curiously. “Tell them that someone else was going to die?”

“Someone else is always going to die,” Luke pointed out. “That’s not much of a warning without a victim, a time, and a motive. I needed more cases.”

“And more corpses?”

“Yes,” Luke admitted. He felt a twinge of guilt for a second as his conscience caught up with his brain. It wasn’t that he forgot his puzzles were people, just that sometimes it seemed less important than the chase. “Unfortunately. They were going to die anyhow, though, and this way it will be useful.”

Madoc looked exasperated, or amused, for a second.

“Make that argument to Kit sometime,” he said. “OK. Kit will stay on the Hunter angle, that makes sense. You find me a compulsion killer, if he’s real.”

Jamie Needham.

The dead boy on the stainless steel slab in the local morgue had a name, a major, and a shell-shocked roommate who’d identified him. Parents too, somewhere in Savannah. The police had gotten in touch with them, but they still thought it was a mistake. One that they’d uncover when they flew in and, with a mixture of pity and relief, explained it was someone else’s son.

Except it wasn’t.

19 years old. It hadn’t taken long for Luke to put together a Cliff Notes biography for him. Jamie hadn’t really had the time for anything else. So far a bad grade in Computer Science 101 that had almost left him on academic suspension was the worst thing that Luke had turned up.

Whatever had made the killer decide that Jamie was the perfect slaughter stand-in, it probably wasn’t that.

“Most people,” the coroner—Pear he’d introduced himself as, with no explanation for whether it was first or second name—remarked as he fished in the wet cavity of Jamie’s opened stomach, “Get squeamish around this bit.”

Luke shrugged. “I’ve a strong stomach,” he said. “And I’ve seen dead bodies before. Anything I don’t want to wait on the autopsy report for?”

Pear shrugged and pulled his gloved hand out empty. He wiped it on a bleached-thin, still stained towel.

“He was dead when they started cutting. So that’s some mercy” Pear said. He grabbed the corpse by one pallid shoulder and lifted it up off the slab to point at a black mark on the freckled back. Low and to the right. Pear poked the spot with a finger. “Looks like he was shot in the back, small calibre. It would have probably punctured his lungs. Death wouldn’t have been immediate, but relatively quick.”

“Probably?”

Pear let the body drop back down onto the table with a meaty slap. “It’s empty. Liver and lights, all gone. Only thing left was the intestines. And between the bugs and the sun, they aren’t in a state to tell us much. Once the tox screen gets back, maybe I’ll have something definite to tell you. Until then? Probably is what you get..”

Now that was where Pear was wrong. He might not have realised it, but he’d given Luke something useful.

Maybe.

“Let me know if there’s anything else,” he said as he turned to leave.

He got halfway to the door when Pear called after him. “There’s one thing.”

Luke turned around. The soles of his boots squeaked on the tiled, scrubbed floor.

“What?”

Pear pulled the video camera down on its flexible neck to focus on Jamie’s hands. The white, loose-skinned digits appeared on the long monitor hung from the ceiling on two brackets. He had bitten fingernails, chewed down to the quick, and faint purple stains around his knuckles.

“He fought his attacker?” Luke asked.

“I doubt it,” Pear said. He swung the camera up to point it at Jamie’s face. There was a split in his lip and more bruises stained over his mouth. “This bruises had time to develop before he was killed. An hour or two, at least. It might have been whoever who killed him—it might have been why they killed him—but it happened before he died.”

Two useful things.

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Tomorrow’s installment on Love Bytes! All the blog tour posts will also be linked here: http://tamoorewrites.com/deadmanstalking/

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Honorary Blogger Tanya Chris: Marrying for Money + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Marrying for Money

a rich guy round-up by Tanya Chris

Mac, one of the two love interests in my new release, Him Improvement, is a millionaire. Not, as he points out to Hailey, a billionaire. He doesn’t have save-the-world money, but he definitely has make-your-world-a-better-place money. 

By the end of the book, Mac’s money has indeed made Hailey’s world a better place, which I think is why so many of us enjoy the billionaire trope. We like to imagine someone coming along and doing for us everything we can’t afford to do ourselves.

On the other hand, marrying for money isn’t romantic. The money should be an unexpected bonus, not the primary point, and the richer partner needs to gain something from the relationship that’s worth more what he’s giving. Otherwise it’s not love.

Here are a few of my favorite examples of the billionaire trope done right.

Spellbound by Allie Therin

This magical book set in 1920s New York features one ragamuffin, one rich politician’s son, and a great cast of supporting characters as Arthur, Rory, and some psychometrics buddies use their special abilities to save New York from imminent disaster.

Arthur is a Batman/James Bond archetype—not just rich, but urbane, polished, handsome, and socially conscious. It’s hard to see what he could be missing, but what he’s missing is what romance novels are all about: that one special someone. And in the end, of course, it’s Rory, the seemingly small and helpless, who plays the crucial role in their mission. 

Rule Breaker by Lily Morton

Lily Morton knows how to do comedy, and Rule Breaker has both the billionaire trope and the boss trope going for it, with a healthy dose of enemies-to-lovers thrown in on the side. We don’t worry about Dylan loving Gabe for his money because we’re too worried about Dylan killing Gabe altogether. And Gabe might deserve it. 

Gabe needs someone like Dylan to bring him down to size and love him for himself, not his millions. If you want to see a hotshot executive get what’s coming to him and have some giggles in the bargain, this is the book for you.

Full Domain by Kindle Alexander

You’d be forgiven for not counting this as a billionaire book despite the hints dropped along the way, because the full truth isn’t revealed until near the end. U.S. Marshall Kreed and computer hacker Aaron (who’s way more than he seems) form a partnership that has nothing to do with money. It mostly has to do with a hate-crimes investigation and a bunch of hot sex. 

The sex scenes are well done, and the plot will keep your attention, but what I really love about this book is the way Kreed offers everything he has to Aaron, not realizing that Aaron already has more than Kreed can imagine. Aaron is Kreed’s top priority. The money reveal, when it comes, means nothing.

The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee

This My Fair Lady M/M retelling makes its roots obvious when a bet between two members of the nobility leads to one of them taking home a shoe-shine boy with the intention of making him into a gentleman. In the original play on which My Fair Lady is based, Eliza and Dr. Higgins don’t fall in love. Rather, Eliza marries an upper-class slacker named Freddie who she supports with her flower shop earnings. It’s definitely not a romance. 

But Bonnie Dee has given us a romance in The Masterpiece. Arthur and Joe fall in love while Joe is being remade, and in the best billionaire-trope fashion, the aristocratic Arthur gets more out of their arrangement than Joe does. By the end of the book, they’re both living their dreams.

Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

We know Patrick doesn’t marry Will for his money, because they get married as strangers in a blackout drunk. Besides, Patrick is a renowned surgeon. He’s not exactly hurting for money himself. But Will’s fortune does play a big role in the book, because it’s the reason they can’t get divorced.

Okay, that part of the plot is a little contrived, and like all contrived plot points, it disappears in a puff of smoke when it stops being convenient, but the book is a delight. Will and Patrick are stuck with each other while they figure out how to get divorced without losing access to the money Will uses for charitable purposes. Which makes this the longest, greatest forced-proximity book ever. Strangers become friends, then lovers, then soul mates as Will and Patrick both learn they have something to give as well as something to get.

Merge Ahead by Tanya Chris

I had to throw in a little self-love, because Merge Ahead is classic “rich guy doesn’t know what he’s missing.” Poor (rich) Adam’s life as Chief Financial Officer for a major insurance company is empty before he and Will accidentally stumble into each other. It’s clear to Adam that he’s the one getting more out of their relationship, because Will takes care of him far better than he ever took care of himself.

But Will struggles with what it means to be dating someone so much richer than he is. He loves Adam, but he doesn’t know if he can tolerate being the partner who’s “less than.” The differences in their position and wealth throw up both internal and external obstacles until Will sees for himself just how much he brings to the table.

In Him Improvement, Mac is quick to understand that he wants more than a fling with Hailey but slow to figure out how to make that work. It seems that in order to be with the Bohemian who lives in voluntary squalor, he’ll have to give up his own privilege and luxury. Does Mac find something in Hailey worth more than money? I think you know the answer.

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

Honorary Blogger T.L Bradford: Just Like Heaven + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Just Like Heaven

by T.L. Bradford

My love of romance began at a very young age. My much older sister would read tons of trashy paperbacks, then hand them off to me when she was done. Needless to say, I got my sex education early.

I read hetero romance for years. But at some point, they all began to sound like the same story to me. I wanted more diverse characters and storylines that I could not find in those stories. I went through four stages to get where I am now: MF->MFM->MFMM->M/M. Except for a few M/F authors, I primarily am a reader of M/M romance books. Something about the truth and struggle that the characters must endure in LGBTQ stories struck a chord with me. I love the genre and years later find myself still fascinated by their situations and complications. 

The authors that have most influenced my writing are S.E. Harmon and Sarina Bowen. S.E. Harmon’s, The Blueprint and A Deeper Blue, are what encouraged me to write my first novel Just Like Heaven. These two books were the ideal M/M romance model in my mind. I love the way they were written. 

Both were fast-paced reads with a lot of heart and attention to characterization. Her writing gave the characters real depth. I adored the interplay and witty banter between the two main characters Kelly and Blue. I thought to myself if I were to ever write a book, I would want the same type of snappy dialogue.

Sarina Bowen’s, Him, was the first M/M book I ever read. I was hesitant at first, fearing I may not be able to relate to the material. It turned out to be the best choice that introduced me to the genre. Both Him and Us were emotionally driven novels that stood out from the crowd. They were books that captured the subtle nuances of same-sex relationships that went beyond only the sexual aspect. 

It was through randomly watching videos on YouTube that I came up with the idea for my book. It was during Pride month last year and they had a bunch of coming out videos popping up on the homepage. I clicked on a few and was swept away by the heartfelt stories I heard. I became addicted, watching a ton of these videos. In the sidebar was a video with a handsome actor who starred in a very popular European soap opera. An interviewer was asking him how he initially responded when he found out that the show had suddenly changed his straight character to gay. He was very honest in saying that it was a complete shock for him. After all, he had been on the show for almost two years and was set up to be the new heartthrob for all the ladies.

He said he had to do some major soul searching to find the place in him that could authentically portray the character. What sealed the deal was the amazing comradery he had with the actor who would be portraying his partner on the show. It turns out it worked better than anyone expected, and the characters went on to have a long stable relationship. Their success went international. Viewers from all over the world so loved these characters, that they would take only their clips from the show and translate them into multiple languages. 

The actors had succeeded in creating a couple that was not singled out for their sexuality. They were given the same storylines and treated like any other heterosexual couple on the show, with the same problems and challenges. It brought a level of acceptance and understanding to an audience that may have never conceived same-sex couples as being just like them.

Though the actors are not a couple in real life, they have a very close friendship to this day. I ran with that idea and changed the circumstances to what would happen if they ever had actual feelings for each other.

Before I began writing Just Like Heaven, I knew I wanted to make a story that had fully developed characters so when the reader put down the book, they would feel like they were leaving close friends that they had known forever. I want anyone who reads the book to be fully invested in the lives and outcomes of this special group of friends.

A lot of times I feel like tender moments are far and few in the genre, so I gravitate to these types of stories. I wanted Noah and Josh’s relationship to be filled with little intimate moments. I made a point of using unique ways for my main characters to have an unspoken communication. They can perceive each other on a whole other level that goes beyond the physical and mental. I loved coming up with ways for them to connect that went beyond the conventional.

Here is some background on the storyline. Just Like Heaven is about two actors who find themselves in the unlikely situation of having to play a couple in a same sex storyline despite the fact they consider themselves “straight.”  Their unexpected attraction for each other leads to them blurring the lines between their characters and their real-life friendship. They both struggle with determining the boundaries of their relationship. One of the characters has an issue from his past that ends up creating emotional turmoil for the pair. The overall story deals with the issues of first-time coming out, self-acceptance, PTSD, and fidelity.

Be on the lookout for the use of parallels, repeated language and foreshadowing in the writing. It is deliberate and indicative of the culmination of events coming.

Character development is the most important factor in my stories. In fact, I develop characters before a story exists. I find that understanding my characters inside and out aids me in developing the storyline.

I use the personality traits from those I know in real life. Being more of an introvert myself, I am drawn to my opposite. I tend to surround myself with friends and family that are extreme extroverts. So, I have an endless supply of crazy/dramatic/serious characters to pull from.

Another source of characterization is me. I have an abundance of neurosis. I will use these experiences to comic effect. It’s almost therapeutic for me. In Just Like Heaven, I gave both of my main characters a few of these issues. My favorite has to do with one of the characters’ irrational fear of birds. This is straight out of my own life. The reason why is explained in the book. And yes, my friends think I am insane.

Though both characters internalize some aspects of myself, they are essentially my husband and I, but with a lot of other crazy shit thrown in. 

Josh is closer to my husband in that he is idealistic, carefree, insecure and playful. He is also very sensitive and caring. He understands Noah on a level that no one else can understand. Josh leads with his heart and damns the consequences.

Noah is all me. Being aloof at times, neurotic and structured are all qualities I have. Noah has a personal struggle from childhood that develops that we share in common as well. Despite the fact that Noah is flawed and frustrating, I hope readers recognize his humanity as well. I tried to put this character in a variety of situations that shake-up his orderly life, often with hilarious results.

I’ve tried hard to craft a solid, believable story, while still being entertaining. I try to keep my stories moving along with plenty of action and reveals at regular intervals. I will try to cut to the chase whenever possible to eliminate excess chatter. I will save any expanded exposition for pivotal scenes. 

I also try to limit the inner dialogue of my main characters. Nothing is more boring to me than when I read a book and more than half of the story took place in the characters head with no real action happening.

I have two projects currently in the works. The first is a novella that follows up on the Just Like Heaven story. It wraps up some loose ends that I hope everyone will enjoy. Shortly after the release of the novella is another full-length story that will focus on the next couple’s pairing that was introduced in the previous books.

The tone of that book will be slightly different but will still include my established characters. I’m looking forward to the topical issues that will come forth and the differing perspectives we see from these characters’ point of view.

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

Honorary Blogger K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn: Behind The Stick Playlist + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Behind The Stick Playlist

by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn

Hi! We’re K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn and we’re grateful to be here today with the Blogger Girls to share our latest co-written release, Behind the Stick, The Speakeasy #3.

As music lovers, we often create playlists for our characters as we write. Behind the Stick’s main characters are city dwellers, and it’s easy to imagine them making their way around Manhattan and its boroughs, earbuds in place and tunes cranked. Mixologist and speakeasy owner Kyle McKee is at home on a nightclub dancefloor as well as behind the bar, while firefighter Luka Clarke, who is a lieutenant with the FDNY, inherited a love of music from his big, boisterous family. As they grow close, Kyle and Luka even discover a shared appreciation for swing, something that comes in handy while out one evening with Luka’s family.

Below are some songs from a Behind the Stick playlist. We hope you’ll enjoy them through the YouTube links we’ve provided, and that they entice you to get to know Kyle and Luka, and even love them as we do.

Temple, Simple Symmetry Remix — Paresse, Simple Symmetry

Pretty Little Thing —Fink

Khronos —Oceananvs Orientalis

Falling — Cubicolor, Tim Digby-Bell

Deep Musique, Rampa Remix — Pastaboys, Osunlade, Rampa

Jump Jive An’ Wail — The Brian Setzer Orchestra

Pop Your Balloon — Beastie Boys

Drift – Ben Bohmer Remix

Hawaii — Meiko 

Mind Control — Shulze and Shultze

Tender — Blur

The End Is Just The Beginning — Pryda

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

Honorary Blogger Mellanie Rourke: Writing ‘Mason’s Run’ + Excerpt!

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Writing ‘Mason’s Run’

by Mellanie Rourke

Writing “Mason’s Run” was the culmination of a life-long desire to publish a novel.  I just had no idea the novel I would publish would end up being a M/M romance!

I grew up in a religious home.  We attended church every week. My sister and I went to a private Christian school, and I would eventually attend a Christian college.   

My parents had a huge influence on me and my writing, but for very different reasons.  My Dad loved science fiction. Star Trek was his jam, and every Saturday at 7 p.m. the whole family would be found sitting around the television eating cheesy popcorn and trying to get the rabbit ears to work so we could watch that week’s episode. So it makes sense that I got my love of science fiction and fantasy from him.

My Mom, on the other hand, avoided church whenever she could. She smoked cigarettes, wore bright red lipstick, and dared to have male friends in addition (and separate from) my father. I love my Dad, don’t get me wrong, but my Mom and I understood each other in a way Dad and I never did. Mom was a rebel, a bad girl, a woman who ended up raising three pretty cool kids. I think she understood the rebel that lived in her “good little girl” better than I did!

Growing up, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. I visited the library at least weekly, and it wasn’t unusual for me to go home with ten to fifteen books at a time. As I grew older, I read more and more dark fantasy, eventually falling into the paranormal romance sections. (Thank you, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Laurell K. Hamilton!)

Mom’s influence led me to question authority, to think outside the box, to refuse to accept that normal was anything but a setting on the dryer. She would silently support me, even if publicly she would tell me I was wrong. She’d slip me an extra twenty dollars when I’d head back to school so I could take my rebellious friends out to dinner or to buy extra books from Waldens (there was no Kindle Unlimited then!).

The paranormal romances I purchase introduced me to the forbidden idea that men could love each other, and that M/M sex could be damn hot!  My Mom passed before I began writing M/M romance, but I have this feeling she would have been my biggest cheerleader. 

My father and I have reached a détente over the years.  We have agreed to disagree on a lot of things in life, including religion.  Right after I graduated from college, I decided to take the summer off from God, and see how it felt.  I’ve never gone back. 

My mother passed away several years ago from pancreatic cancer. From the time she was diagnosed, it spread quickly to her bladder and brain, and the woman I had loved so fiercely was gone within a matter of weeks.

My Dad has since remarried, to a wonderful woman named Joy who, literally, brought joy and romance back into his life. Dad is proud of me for having published my book, but he had to make a point to me that he didn’t approve of its content.  Joy, on the other hand, doesn’t wear bright red lipstick and she doesn’t smoke, but she will drink the occasional drink and read my steamy stories. I guess that’s good enough for me.  

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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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