Wish You Were Here – Asta Idonea

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It’s a great pleasure to welcome Asta back to the blog to talk about her latest release, Wish You Were Here, published by Dreamspinner Press on 08 February. It’s a bit of a first here on the blog, because we have the exciting prospect of a multi-media excerpt!

 

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The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.

Dreamspinner Press
8 February 2017
Novella/Contemporary/Paranormal
Heat Rating: 1

 

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Dreamspinner Press   |   Amazon US  |    Amazon UK

 

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wishyouwereherefsSummer passed England by that year, as if it shared his family’s grief and refused to intrude upon such solemn days with unwanted sunshine. A cool, wet July turned into a blustery August, and now a dismal September loomed. From the window of their rented cottage, there was nothing but gray skies as far as the eye could see. The fields spread out in a patchwork of shortbread and moss. Plentiful rain meant the grass stood tall, but the lack of light filtering through thick, heavy clouds dulled its various shades of green. And this bleak scene was supposed to make everything better?

Oakley sighed and turned to the sink. He poured himself a glass of water from a spluttering, corroded tap and took a sip. Despite the dubious appearance of the fittings, the water was clean, tasteless, and refreshing. He supposed he should at least be thankful for that. It was likely to be the only pleasant thing this vacation would provide.

 

Plus a longer excerpt at TABLO

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Win an ecopy of Asta’s MM Sci-Fi novella
Fire Up My Heart at Rafflecopter

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Author Pic 2015Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Blog  |  Facebook  |   Twitter  |   Instagram  |   Google+  |   Goodreads |  LinkedIn   | Amazon Author US   |  Amazon Author UK 

Flaunt, with E Davies

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I am very pleased to host E. Davies here today to tell us about his new release, Flaunt, which was published on 31 January.

 

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“He’s waiting for me to ask, and I’m afraid.”

“I’m just one more gay guy here.”

Moving to the suburbs of L.A. was supposed to give Nic Montero a fresh start. After escaping his family, coming out as a gay trans man, and excelling in computer programming out of desperation to get financially stable or die, everything should be easy. But joining gay culture now, post-transition, feels impossible… until he runs into the force of nature that is Kyle. Everything Nic isn’t, Kyle embodies. Green hair, garters and cut-off shorts, sports jerseys, and all, brash Kyle is the most gorgeous man he’s ever laid eyes on, and he pulls Nic headlong into the center of his world. If only Nic felt like enough for a man like Kyle.

“One-night stands are my only option.”

Loud, loving, and too much for most men to handle, Kyle Everett catches eyes and occasionally scorn… even at his job at the local HIV charity, Plus. His days and nights are spent at work, his precious spare moments spent with his son, Kevin, when it’s his turn to co-parent, or his best friend, drag queen River. He only has money or time for cheap flings, but the lanky otter who walks into his life makes Kyle want to hold him for longer than a night. He knows what it’s like for Nic to be without a family, but he isn’t brave enough to let this man into his life… until his charity is targeted by bigots, and Nic’s there for him.

“I’ll stay with you if you’re brave enough to be you.”

Nic spent his twenties avoiding family and even his own femininity, but his yearning is impossible to ignore. Kyle’s used to flying solo, but Nic offers him safety and fills gaps in his life he never realized existed and now can’t stand. Living in close proximity, they can’t run from their attraction, but they’re each used to being rejected, with the emotional scars to prove it. Can two men who feel like they’re not enough and too much find something just right?

 

Flaunt is a steamy, stand-alone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance.
Goodreads

 

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Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

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While he waited for the microwave, Nic headed for the television and turned it on. It was time to distract himself with something or another and stop talking to himself like a total loser all night.

And it was time to take his mind off Jake. He didn’t think of him much these days, and when he did, he didn’t care much. That was probably a good sign. But in his weak moments, once in a long while, he thought about answering him.

Nic never did. He wasn’t that lonely.

But he missed being half of a whole, and he missed having a family. It hadn’t been his fault they’d broken up— Jake had been utterly unready for a relationship— but his family had been sweet, and had welcomed Nic in with open arms.

More than anything, leaving that had broken his heart.

But again… one-way trip. He’d rather be alone here than with a cheater out of desperation. He checked on Jake much less frequently these days. It felt like Jake was naturally fading out of his life, which was as it should be.

Nic just wished there were someone to replace him.

 

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Win a $25 Amazon giftcard in this Rafflecopter giveaway

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e-davies-profile-picE. Davies was proficient in real estate ad shorthand (the old-fashioned newspaper kind) by the age of nine. Growing up moving constantly taught him what people have in common, the ways relationships are formed, and the dangers of “miscellaneous” boxes.

As a teen, he tore through a stack of found romance novels, wishing someone had written similar for M/M, though he could never find anything at Chapters or the library. Just after graduating university in 2013, semi-out and clutching his English B.A. for dear life, he stumbled on an Amazon M/M short story. It was a whole new… phrase he dares not repeat for fear of lawyers. It shone and shimmered splendidly, though.

After failing forty times to avoid crafting happily-ever-after endings for steamy short stories, he plunged into romance novels and hasn’t looked back. As a young gay author whose formative gay fictional role models were characters punished for their sexuality, Ed prefers his stories lightly dramatic, full of optimism and hope.

Now out and proud, he writes full-time, goes on long nature walks, tries to fill his passport, drinks piña coladas on the beach, flees from cute guys, coos over fuzzy animals (especially bees), and is liable to tilt his head and click his tongue if you don’t use your turn signal.

To find out when E. Davies has a new release, you can subscribe to his newsletter.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon  

 

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“Regeneration” Guest Post with Louise Lyons

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I’m so pleased to welcome Louise Lyons back to the blog today, to talk about where she gets her ideas for her books, and to celebrate the release of her new book, Regeneration. Over to Louise:

Regeneration – Louise Lyons

Where I get my inspiration

This varies a lot. Starting with Regeneration, the idea sprang from a kind of Lara Croft image. Not Lara herself, but an action character like that. I imagined the character stranded on an inhospitable planet, fighting off the indigenous species, and eventually, after the arrival of another ship, fighting off the attentions of one character (Neil Ross), and welcoming that of another (Christian Novak). Gradually the idea grew in my mind like a movie rolling out, until I had a number of scenes that I realised would make for a great story. Eighty percent of the story developed during NaNoWriMo 2014, and I finished it over the next month. It’s taken this long to get it published, thanks to some major rewrites to improve my world-building in particular.

Some of my books have been inspired by things I’ve already experienced. I absolutely loved the 1990s. It was “my era” when I was in my 20s. I’d just escaped an unpleasant relationship, and I wanted to have FUN. I love rock music and I spent a lot of time visiting a night club called Rock City in Nottingham, UK. If you live in the UK and like rock/glam/metal music, you’re sure to have heard of it. It’s been open since the 80s and is a pretty large double-level club. All the upcoming bands of that time used to aim to play there. So I set the story of Beautiful Thunder in Nottingham with my characters frequent visitors of the club. Alex and Lindsey, the MCs, are based on the images of people I saw there in the 90s—beautiful, long-haired, leather and spandex-wearing, makeup-covered androgynous sexy men.

Beyond the Scars (a novel) and Lost and Found (a short story in the anthology Age is Just a Number), were both inspired by personal experience of escaping an abusive relationship and the events afterwards, and losing a much-loved pet respectively.

Cervena, my summer 2016 novel with Dreamspinner Press, was a little different. The idea came to me randomly, with the idea for a nightclub owner falling for a dancer. Then I decided I would set it in Prague, a city I’ve visited and explored. It started out with the idea of a love story with a bit of an age gap between the two characters, and the scenario of employer and employee. But when I started writing, the characters got the bit between their teeth and it became more of a thriller, including gambling, murder, kidnap, and the help of a dubious “mob” character. I have no idea where that came from, because it didn’t start out that way!

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In the 23rd Century in the galaxy of Sigma Kappa, Kim Fortune was the first surviving experimental enhanced human—a regenerate. Aged 15, he escaped the lab and years later, his failings as a regenerate and the suspicion of regular humans, leave him lonely and lacking in self-worth. Stranded on an abandoned planet, the arrival of a stricken ship and its crew give him hope that he may finally find what he always longed for—love.

Christian Novak is a successful regenerate with all the intended attributes—including lack of human emotion. Despite their immediate attraction to each other, Kim’s failing confidence, and Christian’s inability to empathize are a recipe for disaster. But war, imprisonment, and danger throw them together, and after each saves the other’s life, their feelings begin to change.

Can a seemingly unsuitable pair ever find love, or is a future together destined to fail?

 

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | KOBO | Smashwords

 

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Click here to win a copy of any book on Louise’s backlist.

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12-30louiseLouise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

Social Media

Facebook: www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/louiselyons013
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/louiselyons013
Instagram: www.instagram.com/louiselyons013
Blog: www.louiselyonsauthor.com
Email: louiselyons013@gmail.com

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Release Blitz: Jacob Cheyenne’s “Distant Swimmer”

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Shy and scholarly, long-distance swimmer Ryan Zwick thinks he’s the only gay member of the college swim team. He keeps his head down in the showers, and his head in the books the rest of the time.

But when a sporty new transfer student joins the team, Ryan feels a surge of hope. Sexually inexperienced and looking for love, fellow swimmer Blake Gossens is everything Ryan wants in a boyfriend. But what is Blake’s game, exactly? And just how straight is he?

Blake seems to be more interested in Ryan’s best friend, Marissa, leaving Ryan to go back to secretly checking out his teammates in the pool. But Ryan keeps getting mysterious messages in his dating app from a stranger who seems to know a lot about him. Could this messenger be Blake? Or someone else?

When bad weather hits unexpectedly, Ryan is forced to confront his real feelings toward Blake, while opening up to the stranger by his side, eventually giving in to his wildest fantasies — and his heart.

 

Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 40,450 words

 

Rocket1-6  Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

 

 

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Jacob Cheyenne is an author of M/M Romantic Fiction. His characters and stories are often inspired by real historical events, figures and scenes from classical art, or from old black and white portraits he collects in antique stores. His debut novella “Hanukkah Gifts” focuses on the turmoil between two young Jewish men with very different ideas about how to reconcile their faith and sexuality.

When not writing, the author loves swimming, hearing live music, reading fat books on empty beaches, and drinking anything coconut-flavored. When not traveling, he lives and works in the bustling heart of New York City.

Website: https://www.jacobcheyenne.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JacobCheyenneXX
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JacobCheyenneBooks/

 

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Release Blitz: Jay Northcote’s “Watching and Wanting” (NSFW Excerpt)

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I’m really pleased to welcome Jay here on his release blitz tour, giving us info and a great, delicious, NSFW (!) teasing excerpt from Watching and Wanting, part of the Housemates series. Read on!

 

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Watching Jude’s cam show stirs desires Shawn’s always denied…

Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth—going nowhere.

Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction.

Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated—and kinky—fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh
Length: 52,000 words
Housemates Series – though a series, each book can be read as a standalone.
Helping Hand (Book #1)  Amazon US | Amazon UK
Like A Lover (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Practice Makes Perfect (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK 

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!!NSFW!!

A couple of days later, Shawn was still doing his best to be a better housemate and friend. So after he’d finished his dinner—late because he hadn’t left work till six and had then been running again—he washed up lots of pots in the kitchen that other people had used and tidied up some things left lying around in the living room.

“Is this either of yours?” He held up a hoodie that was slung over the back of a chair.

Jez and Mac, who were on the sofa watching TV, both glanced his way.

“Nope,” Mac said.

“I think it’s Jude’s.”

Being helpful, Shawn decided to take it up for him.

He passed his own bedroom on the middle floor and went up the second flight of stairs to where Dev’s and Jude’s rooms were. Jude’s door was shut, so Shawn tapped lightly on it. There was no reply, so assuming Jude was out, he turned the handle and pushed. The door opened quietly.

It took a moment for his brain to register the information from his eyes.

Jude wasn’t out.

Jude was definitely in.

He was sitting in a chair with his back to the door, shirtless, dick out and jerking off in front of… fuck, was that Skype? Maybe he had a long-distance boyfriend Shawn didn’t know about.

But the screen didn’t look like Skype; there was a distinctive logo that even from the door, Shawn could see read “Boyz on Cam.” And—Oh fuck. The guy on the screen looked remarkably like Jude himself. Surely he couldn’t be…?

“Shit, sorry, sorry!” Shawn blurted out.

“What the fuck?” Jude wheeled around, simultaneously managing to whip his sweatpants up and slam the laptop shut. “Oh my God, haven’t you heard of knocking?”

“I did knock,” Shawn said helplessly, trying not to stare at the bulge in Jude’s trousers. Eyes up. Jesus Christ, don’t make this any worse than it already is. “You didn’t answer.”

“I didn’t fucking hear you. But you just barged in anyway.” Jude covered the tent in his sweatpants with his hand.

His face was flushed. It was hard for Shawn to tell how much was embarrassment and how much was anger. “You should have locked it,” he said unhelpfully, then mentally kicked himself for his lack of filter. Bit late to point that out now.

“I thought I had!”

“I’m sorry,” Shawn said again. “I didn’t… I mean….” Sensible words eluded him. There was no script for this. “I found this. It’s yours. I’ll go now.” He threw the hoodie at Jude, turned, and fled, shutting the door firmly behind him.

Back in his own room, Shawn paced back and forth.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” He scrubbed his hands through his hair, stopped pacing, and glared at his laptop where it lay on his desk, a threatening presence.

No. I can’t.

He threw himself down on the bed and stared at the ceiling.

But what if he was wrong? Maybe he’d misinterpreted what he saw? Maybe Jude was just watching another guy on camera who happened to look a bit like him? Shawn tried to tell himself that it was none of his business anyway, but he needed to know.

He got up and locked his door—learning from Jude’s mistake there—then sat at his desk and opened his laptop carefully, as if it was an unexploded bomb he had to defuse. He pulled up his web browser and typed in the words burned onto his brain: Boyz on Cam.

After an 18+ warning, the site loaded quickly and Shawn half covered his face with a hand, as though peeking through his fingers could make this better. He scrolled past a few photos of half-naked guys with nice abs and inviting smiles, but none of them was Jude.

Then he noticed a link at the top reading “Live Shows.”

Mouth dry and heart racing, he clicked on it. He didn’t think it was possible for his heart to beat any faster, but when he saw Jude’s face grinning suggestively at him from a thumbnail image, he seriously wondered if it was possible to have a heart attack at the age of twenty-one.

He knew he shouldn’t look, didn’t even know why he wanted to go any further. He’d confirmed his suspicions, and that was all he needed to know. Yet, with a shaking hand, he clicked on the link anyway.

 

 

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Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

www.jaynorthcote.com
Twitter
Facebook profile
Facebook Author Page
Newsletter
Jay’s books

 

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COVER REVEAL – Louise Lyons’ “Regeneration”

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I write scifi, as you possibly know. I love scifi and one of the things that turned me onto the genre was the wonderful, evocative covers. Like this one!  Isn’t it just lovely? All that golden haze, harsh mountains, huge moon and the spaceship powering overhead… just gorgeous!

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Release date: January 15, 2017

In the 23rd Century in the galaxy of Sigma Kappa, Kim Fortune was the first surviving experimental enhanced human—a regenerate. Aged fifteen, he escaped the lab and years later, his failings as a regenerate and the suspicion of regular humans, leave him lonely and lacking in self-worth. Stranded on an abandoned planet, the arrival of a stricken ship and its crew give him hope that he may finally find what he always longed for—love

Christian Novak is a successful regenerate with all the intended attributes—including lack of human emotion. Despite their immediate attraction to each other, Kim’s failing confidence, and Christian’s inability to empathize are a recipe for disaster. But war, imprisonment, and danger throw them together, and after each saves the other’s life, their feelings begin to change.

Can a seemingly unsuitable pair ever find love, or is a future together destined to fail?

Genre: Gay fiction, science fiction, MM romance
Length: 75,000 words
Cover design: Simon Searle

 

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Pre-Order Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAL4NJ8

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01NAL4NJ8

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/688822

 

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12-30louiseLouise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

Social Media

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/louiselyons013

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/louiselyons013

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/louiselyons013

Blog: http://www.louiselyonsauthor.com

Email: louiselyons013@gmail.com

Anne Barwell’s Musical “Winter Duet”

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A special musical post today to celebrate the publication of Anne Barwell’s new book, Winter Duet. Anne’s compiled a playlist for us to enjoy, which I think is a first here on the blog. I’m handing over now to Anne to explain the significance of her playlist, and then I’m off to listen. Enjoy!!

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Thanks for hosting me today, Anna.

I always have music playing when I write. Sometimes it’s just background music and whatever is on the radio while at other times it’s my writing soundtrack—music that puts in the mood for whatever I’m working on. The playlist/soundtrack for Winter Duet, book 2 of my WII Echoes Rising series, has two different parts to it.  There is the music that is mentioned in the story itself, and the music I had playing when I wrote it. The latter is more character based, and most of the music is from a later time than 1944 when the book is set.  Sometimes the lyrics work really well, for others it’s just the feel of the music.

I figured I’d mix up the order a bit—some of these are story specific, others are part of the soundtrack for the series. There are also a couple of New Zealand artists in the mix although they’re not just for Leo, the downed RAF pilot they meet in the Black Forest.

I had fun looking for the Youtube links, and hearing all this music again brought back memories of when I was writing the book.  I’m going to miss these guys once the final book—Comes of Horseman—is published in August.

Frühlingstraum from Winterreise – Schubert

When You Say Nothing At All – Ronan Keating

The Magic Flute (Overture) – Mozart

The Sounds of Silence – Simon and Garfunkle

Touch of Your Hand – Glass Tiger

Lean on Me – Bill Withers

Sway – Bic Runga

All It Takes – Stellar

There You’ll Be – Faith Hill

String of Pearls – Glenn Miller

 

 

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Winter Duet
Echoes Rising book 2 – Sequel to Shadowboxing

Germany 1944

Hunted for treason and the information Kristopher carries, he and Michel leave the security of their safe house to journey across Germany toward Switzerland. Caught in a series of Allied bombings, they stop to help civilians and narrowly escape capture by German forces.

While investigating a downed aircraft in the Black Forest, the two men discover an injured RAF pilot.  After they are separated, Kristopher and the pilot are discovered by a German officer who claims he is not who he appears to be. Determined to find Michel again, Kristopher has to trust the stranger and hope he is not connected to those searching for him and the information he carries. Meanwhile Michel is intercepted by one of the Allied soldiers he met in Berlin. His help is needed to save one of their own.

Time quickly runs out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo closes in. Michel can only hope they can reach safety before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s lives, but those of the remaining members of their team—if it is not already too late.

 

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winterduetfsKristopher jerked awake with a start. Michel was leaning over him. His expression was grim. “What’s wrong? What’s happened?” Kristopher asked. They’d been in Feuerbach less than twenty-four hours. Surely Reiniger hadn’t found them already?

Before Michel could answer, a loud explosion sounded nearby. Kristopher was on his feet immediately, reaching for his gun, his eyes adjusting to the dim light of the flashlight Michel held. The wooden beams groaned. The building shook. Dust fell from the ceiling. He grabbed his satchel, not wanting to leave it behind.

“Bombing raid,” Michel said, already on the stairs of the apartment building, heading outside. Kristopher was only a couple of steps behind him. The wailing of sirens echoed around them. “We need to get out of here.”

Outside, people were running. A woman screamed. A baby’s wail filled the air. The top story of the building next door was gone, rubble lying in the street in big chunks.

Engines roared. Something swooped low above them. Kristopher ducked. Michel grabbed him and dived, both of them hitting the ground and landing in the snow.

Kristopher coughed. He wiped wet snow from his face and shivered. Luckily he’d slept in his coat and boots. Smoke filled the air. “The river,” he gasped. “We need to get to the river.” There was a tower shelter by the Feuerbach River. He was sure he remembered someone talking about it the previous evening.

The ground moved, or seemed to, as another explosion lit up the sky, this time in the distance, from the center of Stuttgart itself. “Can you walk?” Michel helped Kristopher as he struggled to his feet.

“I’m fine,” Kristopher reassured him. “You?”

“Yes.” Michel retrieved the flashlight from the ground. It lit up for a moment, and then they were plunged into blackness. “Damn it!” Michel shook it and switched it off, then on, but nothing happened. He shoved it into the pocket of his coat and glanced around. The streetlights were off—they would have been extinguished at the first sign of attack. All they had for light was the waning crescent moon above them and the fires burning as the aircraft dropped their bombs.

“What about the ambulance?” Kristopher suggested. They’d left it parked out of sight but nearby.

“I’m more worried about us surviving this than the ambulance,” Michel said. He gazed up at the sky. “I think the river is this way. We can’t stay here.”

“I don’t remember where on the river the shelter is,” Kristopher said.

A boy pushed past them. He couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old. “The shelter’s this way,” he yelled. “Follow me.”

Kristopher hesitated. What if the boy was wrong? And even if he wasn’t, there was no way of knowing if he might lead them into more of this.

“We don’t have a choice,” Michel said. “Keep close to me. I don’t want to lose you in this.” He began to run, Kristopher close behind, his eyes adjusting to the little light there was.

The boy tripped and went sprawling. Michel stopped just in time before he too lost his footing.

“Oomph,” Kristopher grunted when he ran into Michel. “What happened?”

The boy groaned loudly. Michel pulled out his flashlight and tried it again. A dim light shone from it, barely enough to see by, but it would have to do. Remains of a shattered chimney from a nearby house were spread across the ground just ahead of them. The boy lay next to one of the larger pieces, half on top of it. In his haste and with the lack of light he wouldn’t have seen it until it was too late.

 

 

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Buy Link: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/winter-duet-by-anne-barwell-339-b

 

 

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Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Blog:  http://anne-barwell.livejournal.com/

Website: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115084832208481414034/posts

Instagram: https://instagram.com/anne.barwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/annebarwell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4862410.Anne_Barwell

Our Story: https://ourstoryglbtqhistoricalfiction.com/

Dreamspinner Press Author Page:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/anne-barwell

DSP Publications Author Page:

https://www.dsppublications.com/authors/anne-barwell-49

This Wish Tonight – a seasonal guest post with J. Scott Coatsworth

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On 14 December, Mischief Corner books published This Wish Tonight, an anthology of seasonal stories.

Warmth, family, good cheer? Not everyone associates these things with the winter holidays. For some, it’s a time of longing and reflection. Mischief Corner Books invited authors to create stories set during the holiday season and centered on the fulfillment of a wish or desire. This is the result.

Today, J. Scott Coatsworth, one of the three authors featured in the anthology, talks about a sense of place. Welcome, Scott!

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Scott on “Finding the Right Place”

They always say “write what you know.”

But half the fun of writing is writing what you don’t know. After all, none of us know what it’s truly like to be on a starship, to change into a werewolf, or to sink your feet into the bright red sand of an alien world.

When I write a new story, I spend a fair amount of time deciding where it should take place. For “Wonderland”, my entry in the new anthology “This Wish Tonight”, I wanted somewhere rural, somewhere far enough north to still get snow in a warming world.

Somewhere that might be on the way from Vermont if you were to walk across what used to be the United States, on your way to Vancouver.

I scoured Google Maps, looking for the perfect place, Something by a river, in a mountain valley, near a highway.

I ended up in Thompson Falls, Montana.

To be clear, I’ve never actually been to Thompson Falls. Heck, I’ve never been to Montana. So I scoured the town website. I haunted Google’s image search. I looked for the names of mountains. I scanned satellite images in Google and Apple Maps. All in the service of learning as much as I could about this little Montana town.

One thing Earth-based fiction offers that off-world sci fi doesn’t – lots and lots of resources to explore your chosen destination.

In the end, I created my own version of Thompson Falls. I’m sure it bears little resemblance to the real one, but it does have its own unique sense of place, and delivers a whole little world for my readers to explore.

I hope readers will enjoy the attention to detail as much as I enjoyed gathering all those details together!

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Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris
Glass Artist Lucius Price works desperately to create a holiday symbol intended to help the town of Villatopia heal from a rash of unsolved hate crimes against gay men. When he is targeted next and his studio set ablaze, handsome firefighter Oscar Ramos rescues Lucius from the flames, creating a different kind of fire during an unforgettable Christmas.

Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth
Zeke is a loner his late forties, living in a small cabin in rural Montana. Nathan has been traveling across country on foot since the zombie apocalypse, dealing with his OCD in an empty world.  Zeke just wants someone to love. Nathan just wants to be home again.

Fate brings them together in a winter wonderland, but their own fears and baggage may tear them apart.

Is there still hope for love at Christmas, at the end of the world?

Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone
Remi has prepared for over a year to be the king’s gift at the annual celebration of the Eve of the Great Frost on the planet Niobe. Twelve men, taught under the tutelage of the Pleasure Master, hope to be the one (or one of several) chosen to spend an erotic night with the mysterious alien king who always wears a mask. But when Remi’s turn comes to be presented to His Majesty, everything goes wrong from a costume malfunction to breaking protocol. What happens next is a shock, and a night he will never forget.

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Authors: Gregory L. Norris, J. Scott Coatsworth & Wendy Rathbone
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay
Length: 40.8k, 228 pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 12/14/16
Pairing: MM
Price: 4.99, 10.99

Goodreads 

 

 

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Excerpt from Wonderland:

December 19

Zeke stared up at the darkening sky from the porch of his log cabin. The clouds were rolling in over the mountains, thick as cotton. A year and four months he’d been here all alone, since he’d last seen another living human being. At forty-eight, he was resigned to the fact that nothing much was likely to change in his life from now on.

A good storm was coming—he felt it in his bones, although the winter had been unusually warm and dry so far. He’d need to haul some firewood inside the cabin and check his food stocks. He scratched at his scraggly beard as he carried in the chopped wood to lay it next to the fireplace.

Zeke lived off a combination of trout from the Clark Fork River and an assortment of canned goods from the local Grocery Surplus store, but even that vast source of food was starting to wear thin. Winter was just starting—and still not an inch of snow, though that looked to be changing quickly.

Sometimes he wished that he wasn’t the last man on Earth. He’d always been a loner. He’d lived up here on the slopes of the Reservation Divide his whole life, first with his father, and then these last ten years by himself. He’d acted on his impulses once or twice, driving down to Missoula for some big-city life in the town’s two gay bars, but he’d never found what he was looking for, and now it was too late.

It turned out that absence really did make the heart grow fonder. He wished that he had someone—anyone—to talk to. He snorted. If wishes were fishes, we’d all live in the sea—one of his father’s favorite sayings.

Maybe I should think about heading south.

The first year after the plague, he’d stayed put as it ravaged Thompson Falls down in the valley below. Even rural Montana hadn’t escaped its reach. Even so, he’d run into one of the besotted, still living a couple weeks after the end, and had blown it away with his rifle. Its blood had splattered all over his face, but he hadn’t gotten sick.

He shrugged. Someone had to be immune. Maybe I was the unlucky sod.

Zeke covered the rest of the wood with a new waterproof tarp to keep out the snow and sleet. That was one advantage of being the last man in the world—there were so many things at his disposal, right there for the taking, and he didn’t have to pay a dime for them.

He snorted. Money—such a strange, strange thing. Sometimes he would crack open a cash register in town to grab a handful of metal coins—quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies—just to run them through his hands.

He cranked up the generator out back and went into his library room to check the shortwave radio, just like he’d done every day since the plague. It was his ritual, though he’d long since given up hope.

He sat down and scanned through the bands, listening intently for anything signifying human contact. There was only static.

Zeke went back outside and sniffed the air. Cold wind whipped at his beard. Snow was coming, for sure, but he should have enough time to make it down to the market for a quick supply run before the storm began.

He checked the fuel gauge on his ATV. It was low—he should probably top off in town. The first month after the plague, when he’d deemed it safe again to go out, he’d found a way to tap the underground tanks at the old Sinclair gas station, so he had all the fuel he needed.

He strapped one of his heavy-duty canvas sacks onto the back of the vehicle and hopped on, firing her up. He took a deep breath of the cool pine-scented air and then started off down the canyon toward the empty town of Thompson Falls.

 

 

Excerpt from Eve of the Great Frost:

I stood quiet and still as instructed, my hands clasped behind my back, my head slightly bowed. The red jewels on my sleeves caught the light, winking. All twelve of us glimmered in rubies.

We waited.

The pleasure master was a short, portly man with gray-silver hair tied tightly back. His black shirt was trimmed in white fur. He held a traditional leather whip, black as onyx, that he gestured with the way a conductor of an orchestra might use his baton. Since the new ways and laws came into effect, whips were for ornament only, never used for punishment.

Some said the new young king wanted to do away with slavery for good. I did not know. If it were true, why were we here tonight, clad in the Cloaks of Erotic Promise? Was it for the ritual and nothing more?

My stomach lurched at the thought. I wanted more than ritual. I wanted this night to prove to myself I had something to give. I’d trained hard and with great dedication. I longed to belong to another in pleasure, in surrender. Decadence, sensual ardor, red passion’s heat—these were things I craved. To be worthy. To be wanted. I would not have sold myself otherwise. I knew my family would be taken care of by being chosen, but honestly, I was doing this for myself.

I stood on that gold stage worried, nervous, excited. My fingers clenched to fists, something we were told not to do. The sounds of revelry began to diminish, the volume softening across the ocean of dancing, moving bodies until only the voices from the guests outside could be heard wafting on the cool breeze.

Heads turned. The celebrants looked in the direction behind me. I was not allowed to move. I could not see what was happening, but I could feel it: the electricity of his approach; the change in air pressure.

The king had made his entrance.

The air seemed to flutter about me. Light and flame, gilt and tinsel—everything glowed. The great hall seemed too small to contain it all.

I could feel his presence looming closer, a psychic weight, a change in the dimensions of reality both subtle and dramatic. Everything blurred, all heat and distant ringing of stemware and held breaths mixing with raised pulse rates, the inner hum of awe, the rustle of silks as people realized they now occupied the same space as a legend.

Every part of my being wished to break formation, to turn and look upon the origin of this catalyst of change and upheaval, this man who’d brought an end to our suffering ways.

Only my vow of discipline kept me in my place.

The pleasure master said from somewhere behind me in a voice of wavering bass tones, “Welcome, Your Highness, Emperor of Niobe, Greatest of Venerables, King Shin. I have the honor of presenting to you on this glorious evening the revered and most exotic gifts of our land, the finest and most beautiful physical representatives of our male citizens, trained in the esteemed art of exquisite gratification.”

An enthralling voice replied, “The honor is mine.”

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAEIP8C
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thiswishtonight-2181667-166.html
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thiswishtonight-2181667-166.html  (preorder until 12/14)
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/this-wish-tonight
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/686756

 

Rocket1-11Gregory L. Norris
author-gregory-norrisI am a full-time professional writer, with numerous publication credits to my resume, mostly in national magazines and fiction anthologies. A former writer at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), I once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager and am the author of the handbook to all-things-Sunnydale, The Q Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Alyson Books, 2008).

In late 2009, two of my paranormal romance novels for Ravenous Romance (www.ravenousromance.com) were reprinted as special editions by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape with Romance” segment – the first time HSN has offered novels to their customers. In late 2011, my collection of brandy-new terrifying short and long fiction, The Fierce and Unforgiving Muse: A Baker’s Dozen From the Terrifying Mind of Gregory L. Norris is being published by Evil Jester Press. I have fiction forthcoming from the fine people at Cleis Press, STARbooks, EJP, The Library of Horror, Simon and Shuster, and Pill Hill Press, to name a few.

Website: http://www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gregory.norris.10


J.Scott Coatsworth
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Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

 

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currenty working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

 

Wendy Rathbone
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Wendy Rathbone has been writing for many years in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance and erotica. Her poetry and short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and won many awards. She is a Writers of the Future alum (second place, vol 8) and has two stories in the classic, still in print Hot Blood series, as well as a story in the scifi volume of the classic gay anthology Bending the Landscape.

While she has always written GLBTQ characters in her fiction and fan fiction, in 2011 she began to delve deeply into the realm of male/male romance and erotica. She has many indie m/m romance novels, the most recent being “The Moonling Prince” and its sequel “The Coming of the Light”. This year she sold her newest novel “The Android and the Thief” to Dreamspinner Press for publication in April, 2017.

Wendy lives in Yucca Valley, CA with her partner of 36 years, Della Van Hise, and is currently hard at work on a new m/m romance novel.

Website: http://wendyrathbone.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.rathbone.3
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wendyrathbone1

Sarah Madison’s Holiday House Swap – Pre-order, Giveaway and Review

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I’m delighted to host Sarah Madison here today as her latest book, the Christmassy Holiday House Swap is made available on pre-order. It’s a cracking book and I’m pleased to wave it at you and exhort you to buy it, and to (drum roll!!) do a review

 

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Reclusive writer Noah Kinley is facing a dilemma: how to confess to the world he’s really the author of a best-selling romance series. For years, his friend Julie has been the face of his brand, but she wants her life back now. Fast running out of ideas for his popular series, Noah wants to break out into other genres. Not that he’s writing much of anything at the moment anyway, thanks to paralyzing writer’s block. With his publisher breathing down his neck for the next installment, he hopes a change of scene will get his writer’s juices flowing again. Desperate enough to try anything, during the holidays Noah swaps his isolated cabin in the woods for a gentrified horse farm.

USAF Major Connor Harrison has chosen forced retirement over facing charges for an unauthorized mission to rescue a buddy from behind enemy lines. No one expects him home for the holidays, and he certainly didn’t anticipate finding a stranger in his house, much less Noah Kinley with his acid tongue and a wry sense of humor that pierces all of Connor’s defenses.

Both men need to figure out what the next chapter in their lives will be—and whether it will include each other.

Genre: M/M Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Release: December 21, 2016
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33117466-holiday-house-swap

 

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To his delight, a wall switch within arm’s length turned out to be for a sound system. He fiddled with the dial until he found a radio station playing Christmas music. He sank down into the bubbling water until just his toes and head were sticking out. Bing Crosby sang a rousing rendition of “Mele Kalikimaka.” Obviously another indication the station was getting desperate for different Christmas songs already. Then the playlist segued into one of many versions of “Santa Baby,” all of which Noah hated. Still, the sheer bliss of soaking in a steaming tub without having to cross a snow-covered porch to get there had him humming along when “The Twelve Days of Christmas” came on.

Noah had just belted out “five go-old rings” when he opened his eyes to see the bathroom door slowly swinging toward him. His jaw dropped in horror when he saw a soldier dressed in desert camo standing in the entranceway. The man had a 9mm in his hand and had used the barrel to open the door.

Noah couldn’t help it. He shrieked and flung the Kindle aside, ducking down into the Jacuzzi. It didn’t take him long to realize this wasn’t a workable escape plan, and he burst up out of the water, gasping for air. Blinking soapy water out of his eyes, he grasped the wine bottle by the neck and swung it overhead with the intent of throwing it.

To his surprise, while he’d been underwater, the soldier had holstered his gun. The man had also taken off his cap to reveal a shock of short brown hair practically sticking up on end. He was leaning against the sink with his arms folded across his chest. The overhead light made his eyes gleam like a cat’s, almost amber in color. His two-day stubble made him look like an extra from Miami Vice. Although he no longer acted as though he planned to shoot Noah, he gave off a dangerous vibe just the same.

“Calm down.” He was unimpressed by Noah’s defensive posture. “I’m guessing you’re not a burglar after all. Unless you’re the kind of thief who enjoys breaking into other people’s houses to take bubble baths.”

“I’m not a thief!” Fear sharpened into anger. “Your first clue should have been the Ford Fiesta sitting in the driveway. A real thief would drive something more impressive, like a black Hummer or something. The second tip-off should have been the fact there’s no evidence of a break-in, and the third should’ve been, I don’t know, perhaps my luggage sitting in the guest room?” Rage made his blood pressure go up like a rocket. “Whereas you came busting in here with a gun in your hand, so tell me, Lieutenant Soldier Man, why the hell I shouldn’t call the police right now?”

Noah noted his hand holding the wine was trembling, and he hastily set the bottle down. Awareness of his naked state, damp and only thinly covered by soap, made him ooze back down into the bubbles. He swept some toward him to cover strategic areas, all while glaring at the soldier.

“Well, I don’t know,” the military man drawled in a lazy manner that sent a little chill down Noah’s spine, even though he was hunkered down in the steaming water. “Maybe because I’m between you and the phone. Maybe because I still have a gun and you don’t. Or maybe—” The man pushed himself off the sink and took a step closer to the tub, pressing his fists into his hips as he leaned over to speak with emphasis. “Maybe because I live here.”

Noah gasped. “You do not!”

 

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5*****

I’m lucky, in that I’m a member of the same crit group as Sarah Madison, so I get to read these long before everyone else. I don’t think there’s a book of hers I haven’t loved as she wrote it, polished it, published it. Holiday House Swap is no exception.

What I’ve noticed most about Sarah’s work is the characters she creates. Sarah doesn’t do easy characters. She depicts people who have been challenged and who are challenging, who can be prickly and difficult, who have been tested and hurt in the testing. She writes people who are, at some level, damaged by life and whose defences, consequently, can often be dense and almost impenetrable. And then she pulls them out from behind their walls and makes them find someone who can keep them there, someone who will see beyond the hurt, the irascible temper, the snark and sarcasm and who will then love what they see.

On horse in winter forestHoliday House Swap delivers two of those difficult-to-like, easier-to-love characters in spades. It’s a topical premise in these days of AirBnB alternative type holidays (vacations, to my transAtlantic readers!). Noah Kinley, a writer who hides behind a pseudonym to write romantic thrillers and behind snippy sarcasm to hide from life, takes a house swap for Christmas. Only the house he’s moved to isn’t quite as devoid of inhabitants as he expects, when its real owner turns up. Connor Harrison is reeling from what’s happened on his last deployment and considering his future, making him as prickly and ill-at-ease with life as Noah is.

I think you’ll love the way Sarah’s story unfolds, as Noah and Connor learn to trust each other and learn, too, that if they’re ever to have any contentment and happiness in life, it’s with each other. As an extra plus, Sarah weaves into the story her boundless love for and knowledge of horses, to add the ring of authenticity and perfect world-building that infuse the narrative.

It’s a feel good story. It’s a lovely, warm Christmassy story. It’s a horses and snow and eggnog and party time story. It’s a “why are you reading this and not at an ebook store near you buying this?” story. You’ll love it, I guarantee.

 

Rocket1-6.PreOrder:

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2gT2a1o

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2gOUf6c

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2gOVv9w

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2gGsV9P

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2gfbQDo

Dreamspinner Press: http://bit.ly/2gIcJ8B

All Romance: http://bit.ly/2fS1JDy

 

 

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Win a $10 Amazon card and an ebook copy of any backlist novel

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER

 

 

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SM logo 1-resizedSarah Madison is a writer with a little dog, a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she’s not out hiking with the dogs or down at the stables, she’s at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.

Sarah enjoys placing hot men in hot water to see how strong they are—like teabags, only sexier. This motto allows her to play in a wide variety of genres, from FBI guys to shifters, with some WW2 fighter pilots and space adventurers tossed in for good measure.

Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 and 2015 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series.

If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: www.SarahMadisonFiction.com

E-mail: akasarahmadison@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SarahMadisonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahMadisonFic

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4057853.Sarah_Madison

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Madison/e/B004K9QY5C

 

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Operation Better Tomorrow – Brandi Evans

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The interview of a lifetime.

When Aaron Strickland’s assigned to write a feature article on Caleb Douglas, the first openly gay soldier to receive the Medal of Honor, he’s over-the-moon. Meet a sexy, real-life hero? Yes, please. And in the weeks leading up to their interview, the former soldier becomes a recurring player in Aaron’s fantasies.

A man Caleb can’t forget.

Years earlier, lost in the throes of depression and PTSD after an ambush left his body and soul scarred, Caleb was on the brink of giving up when a magazine article changed his life forever—an article written by Aaron. Emerging from the depths of his pain, Operation Better Tomorrow—part homestead, part halfway house for those down on their luck—was born.

Tragedy lurking on the horizon.

As the days pass, Caleb and Aaron’s tragic pasts bind them in ways they aren’t prepared for, but it also leaves them vulnerable. Pushing forward means breaking down walls they’ve built to protect themselves, and just as they’re poised on the precipice of happiness, a darkness descends on the homestead, a hatred that will leave one man clinging to life and the other willing to risk everything to save him.

Watch the Operation Better Tomorrow Book Trailer

 

 

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Caleb’s lower lip trembled ever so slightly. “You didn’t know me back then. I could barely walk or—”

“I don’t give a flying fuck. You don’t walk away from the person you profess to love just because they’re a little wounded.”

“You didn’t see me back then. The braces, the crutches. The fresh scars.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Aaron grazed his thumb over the largest scar along Caleb’s cheek. “And please, for the love of God, stop defending that asshole. He doesn’t deserve it.”

“The scars’re bad. Really bad.”

“Is that the reason you’re wearing this shirt?” Aaron tugged on the collar. “Do you think I’ll find you less attractive if I see your…” Aaron tried to devise the best word to describe Caleb, but words failed him. For a writer, that was pretty damn telling. “Imperfections?”

“He did.”

“But I’m not an asshole. Besides, news flash, handsome. I saw you shirtless when I first arrived, and as you might remember, I found you pretty damn hawt.”

“I was careful to keep you on my right side.”

Frustration forced Aaron to his feet. He could think of one surefire way to get it through Caleb’s stubborn skull that the scars didn’t matter. Besides, they couldn’t be that bad, could they?

Aaron held his hand toward the former soldier. “Come here and show me.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me. Get up here and show me your scars.”

Caleb didn’t move.

Aaron took the other man by the hands and tugged until Caleb relented and they stood face to face. Caleb stood an inch or so taller, but in the soft overhead light, he seemed to loom.

Without a word, but careful to maintain eye contact, Aaron released Caleb’s hands, took hold of the edges of the T-shirt, and stepped closer.

Caleb shook his head, his arms remaining at his side, his body still and unmoving. It was like holding a tree trunk, only warmer.

Aaron held tighter. “I want to see you. All of you.”

“I can’t, Aaron. I don’t… I… They’re… Fuck. I hate this.”

“Shh.” Aaron pressed a palm to the other man’s cheek. “I want to see all of you, Caleb. You’re not gonna scare me away.”

“I scared him. I showed him everything, and he thought I was disgusting.”

Fuck. Caleb might as well just stab Aaron in the heart. No wonder Caleb wanted to hide himself. Those we loved the most had the ability to cut us the deepest.

“I’m not him.” Aaron pushed a hand down the hard lines of Caleb’s torso, to the elastic of his trunks, and slipped an index finger inside. Just the index finger. “I wanted you before I got here, and I still do. Let me prove to you just how undisgusting I find you.”

 Download a sample of the book HERE

 

 

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Buy Operation Better Tomorrow LooseID  and Amazon, All Romance and iBooks

 

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brandi-evans-giveaway-prizeRafflecopter Giveaway – Win a Kindle!!

 

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Brandi Evans was raised by a caravan of traveling Gypsies. She spent her days learning the ways of her people and her nights lost in legends as old as time. Okay, not really, but that’s way more interesting than the truth!

In reality, Brandi grew up the oldest child of an ordinary family. Grade school, middle school, high school. Nothing extraordinary happened until she left the nest. She joined the military, went to college, got married, and became a mom. And somewhere along the way, she discovered she liked to read—and write!—stories hot enough to melt eReaders.

These days, she calls The Natural State home where she lives with her hubby, two beautiful daughters, two dogs and a cat who has yet to realize she doesn’t own the place. Soldier. Wife. Mom. Multi-published smut writer. Brandi’s life might not be “traveling Gypsy” interesting, but she’s had fun. And in the end, isn’t that all that really matters?

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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