COVER REVEAL: All in a Day’s Work

We have a gorgeous cover for the upcoming anthology All in a Day’s Work! Just check THIS baby out:

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Yowza!

I’m happy to be sharing space with some amazing authors for this anthology of workplace-themed short stories. My contribution is titled “Ice Cream Dreams,” and here’s the blurb:

Gage Albert is working at his Uncle Gordon’s ice cream shop when well-regarded young chef Loren Rey stops by, interested in using the shop’s unique flavors for his new restaurant. Gage plies Loren with samples and banter and soon finds ice cream isn’t the only thing on the menu. After the men share a hot night together, Gage approaches his uncle about Loren’s ideas, but he fears Gordon’s religious nature may mean rejection not just for Loren but also for Gage, who isn’t out to his uncle. Torn between the business and the personal, Gage has to decide if a future with Loren is worth revealing all.​

Pre-orders coming soon! (And the paperback will be available to pre-order for GayRomLit!)

It’s My Book-iversary, and I’m Giving Away A Copy!

Sand&WaterLGToday is the third anniversary of the publication of my first novel, Sand & Water. Wheee! To celebrate, I’m offering up one ebook copy in the format of your choice. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me you want it! Here’s the blurb to help you decide if you do. :)

Widower John McConnell gets along fine raising his daughter on Georgia’s Tybee Island, though he wouldn’t exactly say he’s happy. Haunted by the memory of his dead wife, John hasn’t considered dating again until he meets Bryan Simmons in the park. It isn’t long before John realizes that what he feels for Bryan could be something real, but how will he know he’s ready to move on?

As John soon discovers, Bryan carries some heavy emotional baggage of his own. With John’s help, Bryan starts to put his demons to rest, and together they lay the foundation for a relationship. It looks like they might finally leave their tragedies behind them—until John takes a misstep that could turn a magical night together into their last.

Guest Post: Brynn Stein on Writing Style

Today I’m happy to welcome Brynn Stein to talk about her new release, Living Again, and her writing style—a subject I love to hear about for any author!

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I’m enjoying my blog tour so far, and have gotten a fair number of responses for my give away. If you haven’t seen any of my other stops on this tour, here’s how the giveaway will work. Comment below, and go to as many sites listed in the blog schedule listed here and comment there as well. Each blog you comment on will earn you one entry for my giveaway. Three prizes will be given. One signed paperback copy, and two electronic copies of Living Again.

Now to talk about other things.

For this stop, let’s talk about my writing style.

I tend to be a person who likes to plan and organize. I have responsibilities and even fun activities planned two months in advance, if at all possible. I actually almost didn’t have a second date with my husband because every time he asked, “what about such and such date”, I’d tell him, “oh, that’s when I’m going here or doing that.” He thought I was blowing him off and just didn’t want another date. But, I actually did have things planned that far ahead.

So, you’d think that my writing style would reflect that. You’d think that I’d have outlines and flow charts and know exactly what was going to happen. I could picture me with timelines and banks of quotes to use throughout the story, probably even in order. Very organized and methodical.

I get the story in fits and starts in my head, usually while driving. The longer the drive the more of the story I get, but not necessarily in order. I also dream it, but again, not in order. By the time I actually sit down at the keyboard I have a good idea of what will happen in the story. A general outline, if you will, in my head. But not quite every detail.

Once I start writing, it just flows. The characters natter away at me, and I just write what they say. Sometimes I end up in entirely unexpected places, but the characters assure me that is exactly what happened, so I just write it down.

Usually they have the common curtesy to tell me the story in order. With Living Again, they told it in order (both in its fan fiction incarnation and the current one). I struggled to keep up. The story just flowed from my head to the page. It was a joy to write. It was like I was watching a movie in my head and was like a courtroom stenographer, writing fast and furiously just to get everything down as it happened.

In an upcoming story, For Mac, due out in March, the details didn’t come in order at all. It was all over the place. I had the basic idea, but from what I had, I figured it was going to be a novella. There wasn’t enough detail for me to think that it was going to be very long. Once the characters got going though, the thing turned out to be over 85000 words. But they came out of order.

I had written the basic story. It had a beginning, middle, and end. It was short, and to the point. Okay, but missing the heart. The characters then led me on a merry chase for that heart. They said, ‘oh yeah, we forgot to tell you about one of the characters.’ It was a minor character, but he really needed to be there, and of course, he popped up throughout the story. When I wrote about him in one place, it affected how the characters would act throughout the rest of the story, so I had to seek out the other scenes that he needed to be in. It was nuts, and my characters just sat back and laughed at me. I swear they did.

That was the only story to date that I did end up with an outline of sorts. I used the headings in word to be able to navigate from one part of the story to another because, for that one, I kept going backwards and forwards. It was definitely not written in my usual style.

What about you, writers? Do you plan and organize? Or does your story just flow? Have you ever had that one story that just delighted in not fitting into your usual style?

Readers, what about you? Do you plan for projects, hobbies, etc? Or do they just pop up. Has there ever been something that went against your usual style? That one vacation that you didn’t plan for, but just found yourself on the beach even though you usually plan everything months in advance? Or that remodeling project that you planned out thoroughly, with charts and diagrams and stages outlined in advance, even though you tend to be a fly by the seat of your pants person?

Leave me your comments. I’d love to know what you think. And here’s a link to my Blog Tour Schedule. Thanks so much for stopping by today. Please pay a visit to these other blog sites as well. Don’t forget, the more you comment, the greater your chance of winning a copy of Living Again.

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Daniel Larson has walled himself off from any possibility of romance since his lover died violently five years ago in Afghanistan. The same bomb that ended his partner’s life took the lower part of Daniel’s left leg. The only support Daniel has, his Uncle Lawrence, is dead-set against anything homosexual, including Daniel.

Now, a popular language teacher at the local university, Daniel’s suffering from a car accident that broke his one good leg. His uncle, who is much better at throwing money at things than offering emotional support, provides a rented power chair and a private in-home nurse. Unbeknownst to his uncle, the nurse comes in the form of a man named Jonah Thacker.

Instantly attracted, Daniel and Jonah fight their mutual feelings in favor of professionalism. They become friends anyway, and Jonah shares his life with Daniel, including his handicapped son, Ethan. As Jonah and Daniel grow closer, Daniel becomes more involved in Jonah and his son’s lives, even being there for Ethan when his medical conditions worsen. But when Daniel’s uncle finds out the nurse he’s hired is male, he uses all of his resources to keep Jonah and Daniel apart.

Buy Link: Dreamspinner

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(links to other sites from the Goodreads page are not yet active)

About the Author

Brynn Stein has always loved to write. Fan fiction, original fiction, whatever. While Brynn wrote in numerous genres—everything from mystery, to contemporary, to supernatural—she had always tended toward strong male characters. And then she discovered “slash,” male/male romance, and all those strong male characters were finally allowed to express their love for one another. It seems that there are always at least two characters clamoring to tell Brynn their story.

Brynn lives in Virginia with one of her two two-legged children, and two four-legged ones. Her supportive family encourages her writing and provides a sounding board for fledgling stories. When she isn’t writing, Brynn teaches children with special needs. In free time, when such a thing exists, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and haunts bookstores. She draws and paints, and enjoys the outdoors—especially if she can get to the beach—and is always thinking about her next story.

Please feel free to contact Brynn at any of the following:

http://brynnstein2.wix.com/books-and-thoughts
https://twitter.com/BrynnStein
http://brynnstein2.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/
brynnstein2@gmail.com

Friday Feedbag: Party Food

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As some of you may recall, we had a fabulous 50th anniversary party for my parents last weekend. And it was fabulous! We kept things as simple as possible, in part by ordering food trays from Publix for the bulk of the food, as well as a cake from a local bakery. My aunt made brownies, Mom made punch, and a cousin made pimiento cheese spread. We ended up with a LOT of leftovers from the food trays (especially cheese and veggies), but since I still came in around the total cost I had in mind, it didn’t matter. (We gave one veggie tray to a friend and a cheese tray and some other leftovers to the local soup kitchen.)

Here are a few pics of the feast! My aunt and I did the table decorations. :)

The couple topper is the original from Mom and Dad's wedding. The 50 topper is from my grandparents' 50th anniversary party!

The couple topper is the original from Mom and Dad’s wedding. The 50 topper is from my grandparents’ 50th anniversary party!

Food table, part 1

Food table, part 1 …

... and food table, part 2!

… and food table, part 2! The silver punch bowl at the far end was originally bought for my grandparents’ 25th anniversary, the year I was born.

Monday Music: Cribbing Off Shira’s Blue Notes

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My busy weekend meant I never had time to queue up a post for today, so I’m going to borrow from Shira Anthony’s musical post about her new story, Dissonance, which comes out on Friday from Dreamspinner. It’s the latest in her fabulous Blue Notes series, and she’s put together a playlist to go with it. Check out her post and the accompanying (heh) links here!

Happy Anniversary to ME!

rainbowheartsparkleIt’s all kinds of appropriate that I’m throwing an anniversary party tomorrow. Four years ago tomorrow—August 2, 2010—I got “the call,” in the form of an email from the fabulous Elizabeth North at Dreamspinner Press, offering me a contract for my first novella, Model Student.

It’s been a hell of a ride since then. I couldn’t begin to thank everyone who’s been involved in this journey I’ve been taking (because I know I’d forget someone!), but a good place to start would be my ever-awesome beta readers Dani and Kat, plus everyone else who’s edited for me; all the staff at Dreamspinner, Wilde City, and my other publishers; and all the friends, readers, and fellow authors who’ve kept me going.

*HUGS EVERYONE*

*dashes off to finish party prep*

Monday Music: We’ll Love Until the End of Time

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On Friday, my parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They are still very much in love and a wonderful example of a couple who’ve weathered every storm together. They’re a large part of the reason I believe in things like romance and true love.

And this is their song. :)

Guest Post: Kristen Slater on Good Guys

My guest today is Kristen Slater, who’s just published her first story, a novella titled Working It Out. Take it away, Kristen!

Hello everybody—and thank you to Shae for letting me wave at you from her blog. My name’s Kristen Slater and just over a week ago my first ever published story was released by Dreamspinner Press. I’m now starting a round of visits to kind people who are letting me tell their readers about my book, and introduce a giveaway that will run for the duration of my blog tour—details of where else you can find me are on the list on my blog. More about that later.

Working It Out is the story of Cas and Joe—and how Cas works out he’s in love. As the story opens, Joe’s already been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas isn’t sure how he feels. Now, I’ve never been in love and don’t really form close relationships with people, so you may wonder how I can write about it.

It’s because I’ve read about relationships—everything you read shows people in relationships of one kind and another. Some are more successful than others, and they’re not necessarily the focus of a story the way they are in a romance, but the ins and outs of how people interact are described. And then I’ve also listened to people talking about the people in their lives and watched them interact with each other.

So I’ve a reasonable idea of the theory, at least. And I’m in love with the idea of romantic love. That people meet a special someone (or someones if they’re polyamorous) with whom they want to spend the rest of their life. The idea of having someone at your side, someone to share in your good times and support you in your bad times, someone with whom you can completely let go of all the pretences and barriers and masks. That’s an amazing idea. The person you can trust that much must be pretty special, huh? One of the good guys.

In Working It Out, Cas describes his boyfriend, Joe, as one of the good guys. Originally, the paragraph below finished with those two words. Then the editor asked me a question. How is he one of the good guys? How do we know this?

Well, she had a good point there. It inspired me to think about what makes Joe special, why Cas would want him to stick around. The result was an outline of some of the things that I think make a good partner. One who’s right for you and who values you. Someone it’s worth making an effort for.

Joe just texted to say he’s on his way. He doesn’t like calling from the bus; it’s too public. Time to do something nice for my guy. Vanilla scented candles in the bedroom, a big towel on top of the quilt and aromatherapy massage oil. He’s going to be all twisted and knotted up, and I give a good massage, if I do say so myself. There’s other things I do well, but this is the one he’s going to need tonight. I’ve turned the heating on to make sure the room’s warm enough. Afterwards we’ll just cuddle and go to sleep. This isn’t about sex—we can do that anytime—but making him feel good. He deserves it; he’s one of the good guys. He’s never once let me down, never walked off in the middle of a conversation, never spent the whole evening talking to other people and left me on my own in the corner. I realize that makes it sound like I’ve got crappy taste in men, but I haven’t, honestly. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t complain about the same things in their boyfriends. Joe’s really different, and that’s why I don’t want to mess this up.

Basically, Joe’s attention and focus is on Cas. He doesn’t take Cas for granted. I think that makes him a good guy.

Below is a taster and a peek at the cover. If you’d like to read more, you can buy the story from the Dreamspinner Press website.

But first, that giveaway I mentioned. I’m running a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $10 gift certificate for the Dreamspinner Press store. You can enter by commenting on any of the posts on the tour and then visiting Rafflecopter to tell me about it. While there you can click to follow me on twitter and follow my blog for more opportunities to win. If you can’t think of anything to say, I have a question for you. What do you think makes someone a good guy, a person you can depend on?


0 WorkingItOutCover-full 300x450CAS——November

What is love, anyway? I mean, you tell me how you know you’re in love.

Joe’s been saying I love you for months. I get the feeling he’s expecting me to say it back. But. I dunno. It just doesn’t feel right, you know? Aren’t you supposed to just know? And I don’t. Maybe I love him. I know I like having him around. Those days when he’s late home and there’s no one in the house when I get back, it feels kind of… empty. But that’s habit, isn’t it? Because most times he’s already there when I walk through the door. So it’s bound to feel odd when he isn’t. Isn’t it?

I remember the day he asked me to move in with him. We’d been seeing each other casually for over a year, meeting up and going to his place or mine for some mutual fun. I’m still not sure how it developed into spending most of our spare time together, but we became really good friends at some point. Then there was the day we went back to his flat in the middle of the afternoon, unable to wait to get our hands on each other’s bare flesh. Afterwards, the late afternoon sun bathing us with warmth, he propped himself up on one elbow and looked down at me with an uncharacteristically serious expression.

“Cas? I like being with you. I like it a lot.” Joe’s hand idly stroked my belly in circles and swirls. “I don’t just mean the sex, although that’s incredible. I like the way we never seem to run out of things to say to each other, the way we like doing the same things, going to the same places.” The hand stopped and rested over my diaphragm, warm and relaxed. “What I’m trying to say is I’d like to spend more time together. All our time. I want to wake up next to you every morning and know I’ll see you again that evening. I’d like to try living together.”

The longer I stayed quiet, the more tense his hand became. His beautiful gray eyes were fixed on my face, as if he was trying to read my thoughts. He’d have had a problem. I didn’t really have any coherent thoughts initially. Then, when I did, I wondered why he was asking. What we had was good. Why change that? Living together was like some sort of heavy-duty commitment. I’d seen enough people who had a good thing going break up after moving in together. And we’re only in our midtwenties, what’s the rush?

I suppose I should have seen it coming. The “I love you” thing. I’d said yes to living together because I couldn’t see a way of continuing to see Joe if I didn’t. And I wanted to keep seeing him. Like he said, the sex was—and still is—incredible. Also, I’ve never been one of those people who have hundreds of friends. I always say it’s because I’m picky and have a different definition of what the word friend means. And Joe was—is—a friend. He isn’t the only one who likes us spending time together. The way I define friend, I’ve only ever had about four or five, and Joe’s the best one I ever had. It’s not that I’m antisocial or anything, but most people are acquaintances. Some closer than others, but still—acquaintances.

Tonight, I’m on my own on the sofa, some program or other on the muted TV providing a bit of light and movement in the corner. And getting all introspective. Tonight’s one of those late nights for Joe. His job at the Council is on flextime, which looks like an excuse to mess people around, if you ask me. Unlike him, I don’t have unexpected delays at work, because the library at the University has set closing times. It’s a specialized library and I help people find the information and references they need, and assess the quality of their sources, as well as the usual library things. You know, making sure everything’s back where it belongs at the end of each day, keeping our journal subscriptions up to date, chasing down students and staff who don’t bring stuff back when it’s due. But mostly I help people with their research.

I came home to a text on the mobile I accidentally left on the kitchen worktop when leaving for work this morning. I could tell he was pissed off about working late. He doesn’t normally swear in texts. Or any other time really. When he gets in, he’ll need to let off steam about his boss, Penny. I keep telling him he needs to get another job. The trouble is, he likes what he does. It’s just her.

I was disappointed. I’d been looking forward to telling him about my day, finding out about his. There’s always some small thing that’s happened in the day and I need to share it with someone—with Joe specifically. He understands what I’m saying, he gets why it was funny, or sad, or annoying. I like to hear what he’s been up to as well. We sit there after dinner swapping anecdotes, snuggled up on the sofa or one on the sofa and the other in a chair, depending on our mood. I feel like I’ve known him all my life, and even when we’re quiet, it’s comfortable sitting together. I don’t have to make this huge effort to be constantly entertaining, and if a thought crosses my mind I know I can say it out loud and he’ll understand.

So. Where was I? Oh yeah. What is love, and how do you know if what you feel is love? Why should I be worrying about this tonight of all nights, you ask? Well, we’re going away this weekend. Joe’s planned this incredibly romantic weekend in Brussels. I know why. Sunday’s six months to the day when we moved his things in to join mine. If we’re going to start celebrating anniversaries and stuff like that, I need to think about what sort of relationship this is. Is this just good fun, or are we in it for the long haul?

Interview with the Playing Ball Authors

PlayingBallORIGI had a great time last night doing an interview with Wt Prater’s “Taste Test” segment on the Writers Online Network along with fellow authors Kerry Freeman, Marguerite Labbe, and Kate McMurray. We talked about how the Playing Ball anthology and our stories came about, as well as what we each have coming up. Check out the interview HERE and comment for a chance to win the anthology! Or if you’d like to go ahead and grab a copy, you can get it for 20% off through tomorrow at Dreamspinner Press. :)

An Interview and a New Audiobook

Two announcements to make!

PlayingBallORIGSunday night, Writers Online Network will play host to the authors of the Playing Ball anthology for the “Taste Test” feature. Kate McMurray, Marguerite Labbe, Kerry Freeman, and I will be there to talk with Wt Prater about the anthology, our stories, and our mutual love affair with baseball. The show starts at 7 p.m. Central time (8 p.m. on the East Coast, 5 p.m. on the West Coast). Here’s the link!

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Also, the audiobook for the Dreamspinner Press Grand Adventures anthology is now available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. As with all the other products related to the anthology, proceeds will go to authors Eric Arvin and TJ Klune to support them during Eric’s recovery process. Here’s the link!