Posts Tagged With: NineStar Press

Honorary Blogger Sera Trevor: About the Characters + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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About the Characters

by Sera Trevor

What’s in a name?

Well, a lot when you’re writing. When I’m writing a book, picking the right name can bring the whole character together. The wrong name, however, can leave me floundering. Sometimes the names come to me immediately, but other characters are more of a challenge.

In Curses, Foiled Again, I knew what to name my vampires right off the bat: Felix, one of my MCs, and his sister, Cat. I wanted my vampires to have a feline quality to them. I love how cats have dual identities—on the one hand, they can be very sleek and elegant, and are very efficient predators. On the other hand, they can also be ridiculous, as a million cat memes can attest to. Felix is named after the famous cartoon cat, and Cat—well, I think that’s self explanatory.

My other MC, John, was a little tougher. I wanted a sensible name that wasn’t very flashy, since John is a stoic person. I also wanted a very English name, to connect him with the centuries old curse that plagues him, which originated in the British colonies in the American colonial period. I think “John” fits the bill.

For John’s best friend, I wanted a Spanish name to reflect her Latina heritage. I have always loved the name “Dolores,” which derives from La Virgen María de los Dolores, which translates to “Virgin Mary of Sorrows.”  I shortened it to “Lo,” partly because “Dolores” feels a little old-fashioned for a young lady, and partly because “Lo” sounds like “low” and more directly hints at the “sorrow” connection. Lo isn’t a particularly sad person, but she’s someone who has faced sorrows in her life and come out stronger for it. Part of her role in the story is to show an alternative to the way John deals with tragedy—which is by shutting down and checking out of his own life. Lo faces things, which makes her healthier.

And finally, my villain, Richard, who had the wrong name for half the time I was writing the story. I called him “Gene” because it has some Old Hollywood connotations to me because of Gene Kelly, and he’s a character with a huge connection to Old Hollywood. But for the life of me, I could not figure his character out! His motivations were very slippery to me, and I spent a lot of time floundering. Finally, I made a list of some famous villains to see if anything jumped out at me. It worked—I picked Shakespeare’s Richard III as his namesake, and from then on out, I understood him completely. To say more would be spoiling things, but needless to say, he is a very tricky person.

I don’t think it’s necessary for authors to always have complex reasons behind the names they choose, but I do think that it’s a great opportunity to add an extra layer of meaning. It might not be something readers pick up on, but for me, having the right names helps shape the story. Continue reading

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Once Upon a Rainbow by Various Authors: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

Exclusive Excerpt from Morning Star

by Sydney Blackburn

Tariq ducked his head and murmured, “Yes, master.” He understood exactly what his master wanted him to do, even if he did not understand why. Magic had its reasons. Malik was a saahir of great renown and Tariq was fortunate to be his apprentice. One day, he too would know the mysteries of sihr and the healing blessings of barakah.

His unquestioning obedience was rewarded with a careless caress as Malik’s elegantly long fingers brushed through his dark hair, lingering a little too long. Or so Tariq imagined.

His feelings for his master and mentor were wrong. He knew that. Malik, great sorcerer that he was, would be horrified to know the wayward thoughts and unnatural desires of his apprentice.

Tariq was embarrassed when those fingers then moved lightly over his ear, sending a tremor of desire through his slight frame. He resisted the urge to push his head into the touch. His cheeks were burnished with shame when Malik lifted his chin so that they were eye to eye.

“It’s not just about stealing a perfume jar, my boy. It’s about the future. Our future.”

Tariq swallowed as his heart beat a little faster. “Y-yes, master.”

Malik smiled warmly at him and released his chin to take his hand. He slipped a brass ring, still warm, onto Tariq’s finger and then closed both hands over Tariq’s. “This ring holds a spell of finding and returning. It will take you to the treasure room and bring you back safe to me.” He released Tariq’s hands and reached into the folds of his robe again, this time pulling out a small sandglass. “Set this upon your arrival. When the sands run out, the ring shall transport you back here, so waste no time staring at the marvels you may see. You are there for one thing only.”

Tariq reached for it, accidentally brushing Malik’s fingers with his own. Power seemed to spark through him until the ring, loose on his finger, rattled against the sandglass and whatever spell that might have woven vanished.

“The perfume jar that weighs empty. It shall be as you desire, master.”

Tariq collapsed in a heap, coughing and choking and clutching at the thick carpet beneath him as if he might fall off the very floor. The magic of the ring that had transported him had torn him apart and put him together in a rough fashion that left him nauseated and dizzy.

Awareness of the soft wool beneath his cheek helped steady him. Thank goodness it wasn’t dusty. Why had Malik not warned him of the effects of the ring? Perhaps a saahir such as Malik was able to use it without ill effect. Belatedly, he recalled the sandglass and carefully set it on the floor.

The room was cavernous and dimly lit by rays of sun piercing small decorative openings at the top of the thick walls. Tapestries were hung at odd angles. Ornately carved tables and chests filled the room, their surfaces covered with enamelled vases and precious statues. Smaller boxes spilled out jewels that glinted and cast a rainbow of coloured sparks over the smooth sandstone walls. The carpet he’d landed on was but one of several stacked on the floor, golden threads capturing stray beams and winking at him from delicate arabesques.

The sand was falling rapidly. He had no time to admire the many fine riches surrounding him. Where might one store perfume jars in such a room as this…? He turned slowly around, seeking shelves or cabinets. There, to his right, in the corner closest to the great doors most people would use to enter the treasure room, stood a large cabinet with girih-patterned doors.

There were clear, if narrow, paths around the piles of forgotten treasures, and Tariq took care in his haste to find what his master needed. He threw open the doors of the cabinet and saw half a dozen shelves laden with perfume jars of every description: coloured glass, smoothly gleaming metal, glass and silver, glass and gold, bejewelled, or merely intricately filigreed.

Cautiously he picked up one of the vessels. It was a blue globe with a simple silver stopper, and he raised it into the light. It was opaque, and he realized he had no idea what the difference was between a full jar and an empty one. He touched the stopper, hesitating. Malik had told him not to open the one that weighed empty. What if this was the very jar he’d been sent to find? And if it is not, he thought, Malik will be terribly disappointed in me. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honorary Blogger Cheryl Headford: My Writing Process + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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My Writing Process

by Cheryl Headford

To me writing is like breathing. I can’t live without it. I get restless and unhappy if I am unable to write for any lengthy period of time and I am never happier than when lost in my own words. Writing has got me through tough times.

I do most of my writing sitting on the sofa in my tiny living room, surrounded by cats and balancing my laptop on a rickety old Ikea lap table) not the one that sits on your lap but the one that has one leg with a splayed foot at the bottom that you slide under the chair) It’s so old and rickety that I can’t even put my coffee cup on in next to the laptop anymore because it slides right off.

Strangely, when I’m writing on my laptop, I have to have quiet. I can’t listen to music or watch television. I don’t have a television anymore, since my son took to his room (or should I say cockpit as it looks more like the bridge of The Enterprise than a bedroom) I usually have a couple of PC games open, like Fantasy Mosaics or logic puzzles, that I do in between writing if I get stuck or need a moment out of the scene. Otherwise I don’t really have much awareness of the room around me because I’m living the story with my characters. In fact, that continues even after I stop writing. I often channel one or other of the characters for most of the time I’m writing the book, and sometimes for a period afterwards. That’s why I love to write characters like Draven because he is so much fun to be. I had an absolute blast making jam sandwiches the Draven way, but my son was not impressed.

I’m not happy to only write at home, though. When I had to catch a train to work, I would write (in my head) on the way to the station, (in a book) on the station and on the train, and (in my head) from the station to work. These days, my son is at college and I spend a lot of time waiting for him in a coffee shop, and of course I write. I like to write with ink pens. Sometimes, if I’m doing research, I like to keep notes of the research in a book, with plastic pockets, summarized by a visual essay. I can tell at a glance at the visual essay what the notes in that pocket are about. Quite often, I write the essay if not the notes with dip pens and coloured inks.

I am a total pantser and I don’t plan anything before I start writing. I usually have one or two scenes in mind, and maybe a loose storyline, and of course the characters. I then open a word document and just start writing. I see where things take me. If the story is strong enough, it will simply carry me along. Because I am living it, seeing what the characters see, hearing what they hear, feeling what they feel, it’s easy to let the story flow and so what if I don’t know where it ends until I get there because that just makes it more fun writing it.

Sometimes I come to a situation where I know where I want the story to go, but I don’t know how to get there. Then, I have to figure out scenarios and test out hypotheses to find a way that fits the story and the characters. Occasionally I have to re write earlier bits for continuity and to make better sense, but I’d say situations like this only crop up once or twice a book. It’s easier when writing fantasy because you don’t have to logic test everything. Magic is a great means of getting fantastical, even impossible things done. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Author Q&A: Matthew J. Metzger + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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What inspires you to write?

Nothing really. I just need to get the stories out of my head, and as I like to think I’m pretty good at writing, it’s the best way for me to do it. The stories can spring up out of literally anywhere. Sometimes a single line of dialogue in a film has spawned a whole book!

Is it true that anyone can be a writer?

No. I know it’s not fashionable to say it, but no. Writing is a skill like any other, and some people don’t have it. And some people cannot learn certain skills no matter how much you try to teach them. Just ask my mate who’s been trying to teach me how to change my light fittings for the past year! I’m useless! Writing is no different. Some people can, some people can’t, and that’s all there is to it.

Do you pen down revelations and ideas as you get them, right then and there?

Yep! My desk is littered with notes on receipts, and my email account has a lot of three-line emails sent from my phone. The back of my hand has seen some ink abuse in meetings, too.

Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?

The middle of the cafe is my specific place! I can’t write at home at all. I just end up playing with my cat, or doing endless rounds of Candy Crush Saga. But if I sit down in my local Costa, I can do a book in three weeks. My record word count was 14,000 in a single Saturday.

Had any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published writer one day?

Several of my English teachers, yes. Pretty sure they didn’t envisage queer romance being the core of it, though!

Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?

Yep. Hell, a lot longer than a year! A pair of books I’m working on right now, Tea and Coffee, are five years old. They’ve been rewritten to death. I have a five-part series that’s been on the shelf for two years, and a steampunk story that was originally written in around 2015. I have so many ideas (242 in the folder, last I checked!) that I don’t waste time trying to force a book that isn’t working. I put it aside and do something else. And as Tea and Coffee prove, I’ll eventually get back to them! Continue reading

Categories: Author Q&A, Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Author Q&A: S.J. Foxx + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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How important is research to you when writing a book?

I suppose it depends on what it is I’m writing. I make sure to know my stuff before I attempt to write it. For ‘The Valet,’ I already had a base knowledge of the 1920s and the period before. I’m a complete history nerd and love classical civilisations, as well as the periods between 1800s – 1940s. When I wrote ‘The Valet,’ I already knew a lot about servants and the sort of lives they lived because that world fascinates me.

What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?

I always handwrite my first drafts. There’s something so free about writing with a pen, it makes my writing flow so naturally. So, I always do this and then type up later.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?

I have a very haphazard schedule. I always keep one free day on the weekend to dedicate to writing. I also write on two or three evenings after work. I take my laptop to my local coffee shop and smash out as many words as I can. It doesn’t produce the fastest results but it’s an improvement from my once a week schedule I used when writing ‘The Valet.’ I’m getting better at writing more frequently, and a lot faster on the days I do write too. I think it’s important for writers starting out to not worry about how long it’s going to take. As long as you keep going, you will finish!

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I know I shouldn’t, but I actually hate outlining. Instead, I get a basic plot, have a very rough idea of something that might happen in the next two to three chapters and just write. I’ve tried to make outlines or even just bullet points of ideas but it really stumps my flow and produces less interesting writing for me. What’s been working for me lately is just to write and then fix later.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

Finding faith in yourself and believing that this is a story worth writing. After that, I always find the first edit terribly difficult too.

What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?

The initial write! I love getting the first draft down on paper and barfing out all of my ideas. It’s something I do really, really quickly. Continue reading

Categories: Author Q&A, Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2015 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Release Day Blitz: Angels and Man-Beasts by T.L. West + Exclusive Excerpts & Giveaway!

Angels and Man-Beasts

by T.L. West

Zachary is an ordinary young gay man. He works for his father, has a crush on his straight roommate, and likes to procrastinate.

While visiting his aunt’s old cabin, he finds a wounded man, and the door to safety is forever closed. At first, Zachary doesn’t know what to make of the handsome stranger dressed as a knight, but he feels a connection with him.

Zachary’s life is turned upside down as his eyes are opened to the supernatural world. Not only must he survive dangerous man-beasts, but he is also forced to make sense of what it means to fall for an angel, and involve himself in a war between the Gods.

Available at: NineStar Press & Amazon

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Exclusive Excerpt from Angels and Man-Beasts

Monday morning

Zachary tried to finish his assignment on his laptop as he sat on his bed. He was just not in the mood, even though he knew it was an important part of the project his dad was working on.

It had been his mother’s idea for him to work in the family business after his graduation. According to his parents, it would give Zachary much-needed experience before he was ready to start applying for a job in other companies. At first Zachary had declined, but due to his parent’s constant nagging, he’d had no choice but to accept.

He had been working for his dad for a few months now. It wasn’t a bad job. He could check for errors in software from the comfort of his apartment.

Zachary’s mind immediately went to his roommate, Christopher. He’d already been living in the two-bedroom apartment when Zachary had moved in. Christopher was six feet tall, had piercing blue eyes, wavy brown hair, and loved to work out. He was also very smart. He worked at a nearby laboratory as a chemist. He was also perfect boyfriend material as far as Zachary was concerned.

“But he’s straight,” sighed Zachary as he looked at the lines of code on his laptop screen.

He brushed his black hair away from his forehead. Zachary had never been one of those gay men who would try to hit on a straight man. It just wasn’t his style, or perhaps he didn’t have enough confidence to initiate such an interaction. He wasn’t sure. He had a nice friendship with Christopher, and he didn’t want to risk losing that over some weird fantasy. He wouldn’t be able to look at himself if Christopher rejected his advances. Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Book Review, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: The Vampire’s Protoge by Damian Serbu

Reviewed by Susan65

Title: The Vampire’s Protoge
Author: Damian Serbu
Heroes: Charon
Genre: MM Paranormal
Length: 367 Pages
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: August 21, 2017
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: A sinister vampire offers Charon a choice he can’t refuse: play a deadly game of winner takes all, losers die.

Charon relishes the competition and molds himself into a sexy vampire who defies vampire law, savoring his power and embracing the role of villain. He also loves surrounding himself with hot young men. But when an alluring vampire stalks him and threatens to turn him into the Vampire Council unless he helps with a seemingly impossible task, will Charon risk his perfectly narcissistic life on the challenge? Does he have any other choice?
Continue reading

Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Published in 2017, Susan65's Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: See My Words by Melanie Hansen

Reviewed by JustJen

Title: See My Words
Author: Melanie Hansen
Series: Spectrum Nights #2
Heroes: Scott Ashworth/Rylan Mahoney
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 278 Pages
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Release Date: April 24, 2017
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb:  Successful underwear model Scott Ashworth is lucky—his attack at the hands of an unknown assailant will leave no visible scars. His professional goals are still within reach, and best of all, his stepbrother Rylan Mahoney is back in his life, their teenage infatuation at last getting the chance to deepen into something more.

Thrown together by the circumstances of Scott’s injury, Rylan’s long-dormant feelings for him are quickly rekindled, though he’s haunted by the memory of Scott’s disappearance on the night of his eighteenth birthday and the six missing years that followed. Rylan pushes Scott for the truth, a firm believer in the maxim that secrets lose their power once they’re shared—but resurrecting old demons almost always comes with a price.

Before Scott knows it, his life is spiraling out of control, his toxic insecurities welling up to threaten the fragile relationship he’s building with Rylan. Learning to let go of the past and believe in himself will be Scott’s greatest challenge, or else he risks losing Rylan forever this time.

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Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, JustJen's Reviews, LGBT, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Pieces of Me by Melanie Hansen

Reviewed by JustJen

33519010Title: Pieces of Me
Author: Melanie Hansen
Series: Spectrum Nights #1
Heroes: Scott Ashworth/Rylan Mahoney
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 154 Pages
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb:  Scott Ashworth is a beautiful man and the hottest club host on the Phoenix gay scene. He takes what he wants, does what he wants, and does whom he wants. It’s a good life, but the journey to local popularity and fame wasn’t an easy one. For all that Scott’s looks are a blessing, at the same time they’re a curse—the source of his alcoholic mother’s inexplicable hatred.

Rylan Mahoney dreams of photojournalistic glory. He’s in Phoenix looking for the story of a lifetime, but the project isn’t coming to fruition. Needing rent money, he accepts a gig at Phoenix Pride hawking lewd lollipops and edible condoms…all while wearing gold lamé hot pants and a matching bow tie. When Rylan’s house keys and street clothes go missing after his shift, he’s desperate, until a stranger in a convertible stops to help.

The man is absolute sex on legs, and Rylan is jolted when he recognizes him—his stepbrother Scott Ashworth, long missing but suddenly larger than life. Scott is affluent and successful now, light years away from his hardscrabble days living with Rylan in a double-wide trailer deep in the heart of the Florida Panhandle.

Reunited after six years apart, Scott and Rylan are determined to put their past behind them, but fate may have other ideas and leave their future in jeopardy yet again.
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Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, JustJen's Reviews, LGBT, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hearts Alight by Elliot Cooper + Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

Blogger_Exclusive Excerpt

An Exclusive Excerpt from Hearts Alight

by Elliot Cooper

“Amit?” Dave called out as he pushed through the door from the back hallway to the break room.

The table and two of the chairs were upended on the floor next to Amit. Napkins and plastic cups littered the tile around him. He tried to push himself up from where he sat, one leg crooked under the other, but didn’t seem to have the strength. Amit’s chest heaved, as if he were struggling for every breath, and sweat plastered his hair across the side of his forehead.

“What happened? Are you okay?” Dave raced to his side and knelt, unsure what to do with his hands. He didn’t want to make things worse, but he didn’t know what to do to help, either. Did Amit have asthma? Maybe he had an inhaler nearby.

Amit reached out and gripped Dave’s arm, his fingers clammy. The scars across his forehead flashed with yellow-orange light. Dave blinked, disbelieving his own eyes, but then Amit gulped in heavy, less-labored breaths mixed with sighs of relief, and tricks of the light didn’t seem important.

“Thank God,” Amit muttered.

“Do you have asthma?” Dave asked, putting his hand on top of Amit’s. He still felt cooler than he should have, but Dave couldn’t be sure his own body temperature hadn’t elevated with his worry. And the three-quarters of a beer he’d drunk.

“No.” Amit shook his head. His voice still sounded rough, but it was clearer than earlier. “I’ll be okay. I think.”

“I wanted to tell you not to listen to that asshole. Taylor. He’s a real… He’s nothing to worry about.”

“Who?”

“That tall guy sitting with Jake.” Dave studied Amit’s confused expression and realized he must not have heard what Taylor had said after all. It had been his breathing problem that sent him rushing to the back. “Never mind. He said something rude about you when you…shouted over the music.”

“Oh.” Amit’s hand trailed down Dave’s arm, as if he wanted to let go but couldn’t, and rested at his wrist instead. The press of his fingers made Dave aware of his own pulse beating away, picking up speed with every moment they stared into one another’s eyes.

There were so many things Dave wanted to say. So many questions that maybe Amit would be willing to answer now that they were alone and he was interested in chatting. Had privacy, or a lack thereof, been the barrier all along? Or did it have something to do with Amit’s not-asthma?

“Are you sure you’re okay? I mean, health-wise.” Dave gestured with his free hand to the obvious mess Amit had made. He’d fallen down, maybe tried to get back up a few times on his own. It wasn’t a good sign. And it was even worse if he was trying to cover up some medical issue. Although Dave knew he wasn’t owed an explanation.

Amit took in a deep breath and followed Dave’s gaze to the scattered furniture and supplies. “Would you help me clean this up? Before Jake―”

The door swung open. “I’m sure he’s fine. He’s―” Jake assessed the situation with frantic eyes. “Shit. Did you break anything?”

“Oh my God!” Shoshana’s hands went to her mouth as she stepped into the break room beside her husband. “Amit!” Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2016 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment