Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese on Death and Midsummer

My guests today are Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese, here to talk about their new release, Midsummer.

Death is a thing Erin and I write about a lot. Not in the sense of the tragic tear-jerker love story, but in the sense that death lurks around all of us. It’s in our fears, in our backstories, and hey if you like vampire novels, in our fantasies.

Midsummer is a contemporary HEA about a May/December couple that fall into an obsessive and sexy love affair while working at a summer stock theater together. Each of them have a history with death in their families that color their relationships, their ability to take risks, and the way they roll with surprises. Despite this, both of them do their best to keep their secrets around loss, amplifying the eeriness of the woods that hosts the theater company.

For us, death is fertilizer. If we can’t avoid it, we can at least use it to make our stories — fiction and not — richer. For John and Michael, the loss of their pasts proves to be their own way forward together.

Midsummer Cover

John Lyonel, a long-time theater professional and teacher, heads to Virginia to play Oberon in the Theater in the Woods’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, intending to focus on his work. John is recovering from the tragic loss of his family and needs a break. The last thing he expects is to become captivated by Michael Hilliard, the professional actor playing Puck, especially since John has never been attracted to men, let alone one so much younger.

They rush headlong into an affair which falls apart dramatically over secrets that John and Michael are keeping from each other. A steep learning curve, the gossipy cast of the show, and the sometimes sinister magic of the woods conspire to keep them apart. But stage lights and stars might work their magic and help them define a new future.

About the Authors

Erin McRae is a queer writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. She has a master’s degree in International Affairs from American University, and delights in applying her knowledge of international relations theory to her fiction and screen-based projects, because conflict drives narrative.

Racheline Maltese lives a big life from a small space. She flies planes, sails boats, and rides horses, but as a native New Yorker, has no idea how to drive a car. A long-time entertainment and media industry professional, she lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their two cats.

Together, they are co-authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry—Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (June 10, 2015)—from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella series Love’s Labours, set in the theater world—Midsummer (May 2015), and Twelfth Night (Fall 2015), is from Dreamspinner Press. They also have a story in Best Gay Romance 2015 from Cleis Press and edited by Felice Picano. You can find them on the web at

Connect with Erin & Racheline online:

Blog | Facebook Page | Erin’s Twitter | Racheline’s Twitter | Erin’s Goodreads | Racheline’s Goodreads | Erin’s Amazon Author Page | Racheline’s Amazon Author Page

Midsummer Buy Links:

Amazon | AllRomance | B&N | Dreamspinner


Costume fittings and dress rehearsals means that John finally gets to see Michael costumed as Puck. The human characters are dressed contemporarily, in suits and cocktail dresses that become increasingly disheveled as the show goes on. The fairies, though, are dressed in greens and browns with crowns of strange wildness — thistles, cornsilk, and Queen Ann’s lace. Michael as Puck looks deeply inhuman, covered in leaves as if dragged in from the wooded grounds. For their first dress rehearsal, it takes all of John’s considerable experience and willpower to actually focus on the play and not Michael. As taken as Oberon is meant to be with Puck, he should actually be able to remember and deliver his lines.

“Whose idea was this?” he asks Michael afterward, catching him before he can change. Michael blinks at him with eyes done up in silver and green. John wants to devour him.

“Do you like it?” Michael asks, more distant and coy than usual, sliding his hands up John’s chest which, like his own, is bare.

All John can do is groan when Michael looks up at him from under his lashes. He stands on his tiptoes to kiss John briefly, and then vanishes. When he reappears he’s Michael again, in t-shirt and shorts, but John can’t forget the image of him transformed.

D.K. Dunn on Writing and Hockey

Today my guest is my friend D.K. Dunn, whose first novel, Linemates, was released on Monday from Dreamspinner Press. She brought some pretties, too! :)

Thanks for having me on your blog, Shae!

I’m thrilled about the release of “Linemates,” which is my first novel. “Linemates” is an angsty contemporary romance with a dash of humor about two hockey players with a past who are forced to play together after a trade lands them on the same team.

Having a novel published is a dream come true for me. I’ve enjoyed writing since I was in elementary school and have been writing on and off ever since. The first story I can remember writing was a “Star Wars”/Snoopy mashup for the Young Author’s competition in school. I guess you can say that was my first foray into fan fiction. I wouldn’t write my next fan fic until 1998. I stuck with the “Star Wars” theme writing a Han/Leia tag to “Return of the Jedi.” I remember being nervous before I clicked on the post button. Then the wait for feedback began. Thankfully, the response was positive.

I didn’t start writing or reading m/m fiction until several years later. I accidentally stumbled across some NHL RPS fan fiction when I did a Google search on my favorite NHL player. I was quite surprised to see a story with him paired up with the team’s goaltender. I read it and was hooked. So much so that I end up writing my own series with a different pairing which had a good following in the fandom at the time.

After four years, I moved on to writing “As the World Turns” fanfic. It was in the “As the World Turns” fandom where I met some fellow fans who had original work published. They encouraged me to write an original piece. It took a few years to get my butt in gear, but I did and “Linemates” was the result.

I feel comfortable writing in the world of hockey, being a longtime Red Wings fan, and wanted to set the story in my home state of Michigan. My goal was to bring the exciting world of the NHL to life. One of the challenges I had writing the book was dealing with the hockey terminology. I’m so used to all of the jargon associated with the game, but a reader who isn’t a hockey fan might not be. I had to find a way to describe some of the terms while trying to keep it in the voice of a player.

My two main characters—Derek and Trevor—are far from perfect. They have their flaws and make mistakes, but they try to do the best they can while playing for one of the top teams in the NHL. The story is told in the first person from Derek’s point of view. I tried to get into the mindset of a twenty-three year old man. His thoughts might not always be PC, but I wanted to try to keep it real because nobody is perfect.

I have a few questions for the readers. Do you prefer first person or third? Can you forgive one of the MCs for making a mistake or doing something stupid? What turns you off when reading a story?

I’ll leave you with some hockey hotties!

Kirk Maltby, left, gets interupted from shaving his beard to get a kiss from Kris Draper.  cup final and locker room..Stanley cup winners The Detroit Red Wings.....The Detroit News/DAVID GURALNICK

Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper (retired from the Detroit Red Wings)

Ryan KesslerRyan Kessler is a Center for the Anaheim Ducks. He’s a Michigan native.

Tyler SeguinTyler Seguin is a Canadian born Center for the Dallas Stars.

“Linemates” is on sale at the following places:
Barnes & Noble
All Romance
Google Play

About the Author

D K Dunn has enjoyed writing since childhood. She penned her first story, which was a Snoopy/”Star Wars” mash up at the tender age of 8. Several years later her imagination is still running wild. Her best ideas come to her while she’s either stuck in traffic or in the shower.

She’s a proud fangirl, who loves “Supernatural,” “Star Wars,” and the Detroit Red Wings. Reality TV is one of her guilty pleasures. A day can easily be wasted falling under its siren-like spell. When she’s not writing or watching too much TV, she enjoys traveling, reading, vidding, cheese and ice cream. She’s a firm believer that you can’t go a day without cheese or a good laugh.

You can follow me on Twitter @dk_dunn
My Facebook page is
My blog is at

WAYWARD SON Release Day!

WaywardSon_smallWheee, it’s here! Wayward Son is now available for your reading pleasure from all the usual suspects and then some! (And it’s still 35% off at Dreamspinner too!)

Dreamspinner Press: Ebook Paperback
Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook
All Romance

Also today, I’m starting a week-long blog tour that includes a shiny Rafflecopter giveaway. Be sure to check out all the stops for my thoughts on writing menage, drag performances, religious themes, and cover art, plus excerpts from Wayward Son and a sneak peek at book three, Nobody’s Son.

Blog Tour Schedule

5/11: The Novel Approach

5/12: Sinfully… Addicted to All Male Romance

5/13: Love Bytes

5/14: MM Good Book Reviews

5/15: Prism Book Alliance

5/16: Joyfully Jay

5/17: Because Two Men Are Better Than One

Wayward Son Release on Monday, but It’s On Sale Now!

WaywardSon_smallSo, as you may have heard, my next novel, Wayward Son, releases on Monday from Dreamspinner Press. But wait, there’s more! This month, Dreamspinner marks its eighth anniversary, and as a result, they’re having sales every week. Starting today and running through next Thursday (May 8–14), all of my Dreamspinner titles will be 35% off. Yes, that includes pre-orders of Wayward Son, and it even includes in-stock paperbacks.

Just for the fun of it, though, here are links to all my ebook titles with the lovely discounted prices. Or, just go HERE and work your way down the list. Great time to grab anything you might have missed! :)

Wayward Son ($4.54)
Unfortunate Son ($4.54)
Sand & Water ($4.54)
All in a Day’s Work ($4.54)
Playing Ball ($4.54)
Grand Adventures ($4.54)
Model Student ($2.59)
En Fuego ($2.59)
The Cabin on the Hill” ($1.94)
Chicago” ($1.94)
Sharing Christmas” ($1.94)
Of Holiday Spirits, Wake-Up Calls, and Happily Ever Afters” ($0.97)

Release Day for Butt Riders on the Range!

ButtRiders_smallIt’s here! The fourth of the “butt-thologies,” Butt Riders on the Range, which includes my story “Faux Cowboy,” is now available from Wilde City Press.

The blurb: Do you imagine blazing gun battles, bandits, and saloons with watered-down drinks when you think of cowboys and the West? We don’t. Our minds go right to horse shifters, bull shifters, were-leopards, urban wannabes, an interrupted journey along Route 66, a man of mystery named Dr. Feel-Good, and high noon at the edge of the galaxy! The fourth time’s the charm as the Butt-Thology authors saddle up, ride their men hard, and put ‘em away wet.

Butt Riders on the Range…the bulls aren’t the only ones being grabbed by the horns!

COVER REVEAL and Preorders for Wayward Son (Sons, Book 2)

Another gorgeous job by the fabulous Paul Richmond!

WaywardSon_smallIsn’t Mikey pretty? :)

The blurb for Wayward Son:

After his move to Atlanta and away from the influence of his conservative parents, Mikey O’Malley finally feels free to be himself: art student, aspiring animator, and out gay man. He has friends, a new job, and not one, but two men interested in him. Cory Lassiter and Jimmy Black have been a happy couple for years, occasionally bringing a twink into their bed, but only for a brief roll in the hay. When Mikey meets the pair, the attraction is immediate, and it runs three ways. Mikey just can’t believe they’d have room in their lives for a permanent addition.

When Mikey’s newfound life is shattered by a lawsuit that accuses him of molesting a child years earlier, he’s determined to face his troubles on his own, but Cory and Jimmy are just as determined that he not have to go it alone. To reconcile his need for independence and his desire for love, Mikey has to learn that being a man isn’t just about standing on your own two feet. It’s about letting yourself lean on the ones who love you.

Wayward Son releases May 11 from Dreamspinner Press.

Preorder links: Ebook || Print

Michele Fogal on Men and Misogyny

Today my guest is Michele Fogal, who’s here to talk about her inspiration for the second book in her West Coast Boys series: the effect misogyny has on boys and men.

Hi all! Thanks for having me Shae! I love your questions about inspiration and process so I thought I’d tell you a bit about how my new book, King of Rain, came into being.

A Dark Place to Start

king_of_snowflakes_smallIn book 1 of my West Coast Boys series, Jeremy was the cheating ex, and Logan was a giant competitive, shallow asshole with a surprising capacity for sexual assault. The King of Snowflakes boys were sweet in so many ways, and these two looked pretty rough next to them. But neither Logan nor Jeremy were content to take the blame and play the villain. It was like they were standing just a little behind me, patiently telling me little bits of their stories. Whenever I got curious enough to ask the right question, they would answer. Questions like, Why would you act like that? What are you running from? What does that feel like?

The Unrolling

Of course they both had plenty to hide, and when it all unrolled, it turned out to partly be a story about boys who are suffering from misogyny. When I was younger and a passionate feminist, I thought that men benefited from patriarchy. It certainly looks that way. Men earn more, own more, hold the vast majority of the high status positions of the world.

Then I had a son. Yup, motherhood is an education in all kinds of ways.

A Lesson in Boys

It was such a shock to me to see how boys suffer from the gender role bullshit in so many ways. They get told that any part of them that’s tender, or loving, or vulnerable is weak, shameful and female. I grew up hearing names like sissy, and wuss (‘a feeble or effeminate person’) but I never thought of this as misogyny. Then when I witnessed it as a mother, and realized that calling the softness of a man “feminine” and then humiliating him for being “less than” a man, is plain old hatred-of-women.


It’s pretty simple. Bigotry towards any member of a group, negatively impacts everyone in that group. That was a strong thread in the back-story of both Logan and Jeremy. Jer was brought up in a small town where being gay was really dangerous. To me, discrimination against gay men is clearly rooted in the hatred of women. He learned to give bigots the finger and embrace his sexual nature, but he also got hurt. He closed his heart off and never let anyone get too close to him.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

—Martin Luther King Jr.

Bubbling Vats

Logan was raised by a family that looks pretty progressive from the outside, but on the inside, there’s patriarchy, misogyny, and a fierce lesson in fitting in at all costs. Logan wasn’t just afraid of being gay, he was afraid of the parts of himself that other people would label “feminine.” It’s one thing to battle against the world, and it’s another to battle against the poison you’ve absorbed and made your own. For Logan, internalized homophobia is also internalized misogyny, and hating yourself is not inert. It bubbles. Holding that in for years as it grows becomes a pressurized life for him. At the end of “King of Snowflakes,” he’s a bomb, ready to explode.


King_of_Rain_smallWhen King of Rain starts, we get to see how Logan’s rage marks the end of his life as he knows it, and how Jeremy feels stopped in his tracks by what’s happened to him too. The story is an exploration of how these two young men challenge each other to grow a little, to break free a little, and to risk getting vulnerable enough to love a lot. Luckily, their broken cracks line up in some unexpected ways and witnessing them trying to handle each other became heart squeezing for me. It was terrifying and wonderful, all at once. I hope you enjoy their crazy ride as much as I have.

Give Away Contest

Here’s the Give-Away contest details – remember you can simply comment on THIS post to enter, if that’s easier for you!

Rafflecopter Link

Question for Commenters

What do you think about the idea of misogyny and homophobia going hand in hand? Have you witnessed the men and boys in your life suffering from this prejudice?

Blurb for King of Rain

Being uber-tall and broad made it easy for Logan to hide his sexuality and vulnerability behind armor made of strength, ambition, and emotional detachment. His mask of macho success is shattered when he discovers the friend he’s carried a secret torch for has a boyfriend, and everything he’s always wanted now belongs to someone else. Logan can’t pretend not to care anymore, as his rage erupts in a horrible act of revenge. It’s impossible to hide his demons, now that they’ve broken loose.

Since losing his sweet boyfriend, Jeremy’s loud and proud life of sex parties and clubbing feels empty. When he meets the dark and self-destructive Logan, Jeremy recognizes the demons he sees in Logan’s eyes. After all, he has plenty of his own.

Logan isn’t looking for love, he’s looking for punishment and release, but with Jeremy all three seem momentarily possible… until he learns his victim was Jeremy’s lost love. Logan doesn’t expect forgiveness and knows he doesn’t deserve a real life, but after a taste of intimate closeness, finding salvation alone will mean he has to change, or die trying.

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner Press
Barnes & Noble
All Romance Ebooks
Google Play

Thanks so much for having me Shae! Readers, here’s where to find out more about King of Rain.  I’d love to hear from you if you want to reach out, or follow the rest of the blog tour.

michele-fogalAbout the Author

Michele Fogal is a Love Story Novelist, in both SF & M/M Romance, a mother, a story addict, an endless student and a drooling xenophile. She is the author of the West Coast Boys series, published by Dreamspinner Press.

Author Links

Author Site & Blog
The Books I Love & My Reviews on GoodReads
Facebook Page

COVER REVEAL: Butt Riders on the Range

And here we go! The cover for the next “butt-thology,” coming April 29 from Wilde City Press:

As you can probably tell, this time we’re all about cowboys. Here’s the blurb for my story, “Faux Cowboy”:

For the past year, Jackson James has been playing a gay cowboy for an advertising campaign, but when he meets real-life cowboy Doug Shaw in a Manhattan bar, he falls spurs over Stetson. After a night of drinking, dancing, and hot sex, Doug learns that Jackson isn’t exactly what he seems—but it turns out he’s not the only one hiding secrets.

More info and buy links coming soon!

Brynn Stein on First vs. Third and Ray of Sunlight

Today my guest is Brynn Stein, here to talk about writing in first versus third person and feature her new story, Ray of Sunlight. Don’t miss the giveaway info!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Shae.

Today I thought I’d talk about writing in first person versus third person.

So far I’ve split right down the middle with the stories I’ve written. Haunted and Living Again are written in third person, as is an upcoming story, For Mac. On the other hand, Through the Years, and Ray of Sunlight are written in first person, as is an upcoming story, What No One Else Can Hear.

I don’t really decide what POV to write in. The story just sort of comes in one or the other, usually. I’ve tried to change a story from first to third, or vice versa, but it doesn’t really work. The one exception to that is the story I’m writing now, From the Ashes. It was originally coming to me in alternating first person.  I even wrote two chapters that way. Then apparently the characters decided that they didn’t like that way and the rest of the story is coming in third person. So, I had to go back and rewrite the first two chapters. At least it allowed me to do that this time, and I have to admit that third person is working out better for this particular story.

There are pros and cons to each point of view, as far as I’m concerned.

I like first person because it allows me to write less formally throughout the story, since it’s almost the one character’s dialogue. It gives the reader a better insight into that character and there is a lot of personality in the writing. However, it limits the insight into all the other characters, and limits which situations I can write about. If that character isn’t there, obviously I can’t write about it, unless someone tells the character about it later.

Third person, especially alternating third, gives insight into more characters and frees up which situations I can write about. Of course that opens up a debate between limited third and omniscient third, or alternating limited third. But I’ll get into that on another day.

What about you? Writers, do you have a preference of which POV you write in? Do your stories give you a choice or do they come to you in one or the other? Readers, do you have a preference about what to read? I know some people refuse to read first person. Some people prefer it. What about you?

Comment below for a chance to win.

RayofSunlight_FBbanner_HarmonyHere’s how the giveaway will work. Visit as many blog tour sites as you want (full list here), as often as you want. Each comment will enter you to win one of the following prizes: 1st) An autographed paperback copy of Ray of Sunlight, 2nd) An electronic copy of Ray of Sunlight, 3rd) Your choice of audio or electronic copy of Living Again, 4th) An electronic copy of Through the Years, and 5th) an electronic copy of Haunted. The takeovers for Harmony Ink’s blog and Facebook page will be part of the tour, so comments on there will count. I will draw the winners during the FB takeover (March 21) and will announce them then, but will come back and announce it to all the sites too. So, you don’t have to leave your email address here if you don’t want to, just remember to check back. You’re also welcome to leave your email in the comments if you’d rather or email me at with the subject heading of “just in case”, so I can contact you if you win, if you don’t want to have to stop back by the blog sites. You don’t have to be present at the FB takeover to win.

RayofSunlight_smallRuss Michaels has his whole life ahead of him but no plans beyond dropping out of school as soon as he turns eighteen. He’s been in and out of juvenile detention for the last four years and thoroughly expects to end up in an adult penitentiary at some point. He hates life and everyone in it, especially this latest community service that he earned in lieu of juvie yet again.
CJ Calhoun has big plans. He wants to bring joy and happiness to sick and injured children for as long as he can by performing as a clown. The problem is, he has stage-four cancer and a horrible prognosis.
When circumstances throw these two polar opposites together, they find they have more in common than they imagined. CJ discovers Russ’s talent for art and arranges for Russ to create a mural in the hospital foyer, which leads to a tentative scholarship to the Art Institute. As life changes in ways neither of them could have expected, Russ must work harder than ever to better himself as CJ struggles with his deteriorating health.

About the Author

logo extreme cutBrynn 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 near her two grown daughters who encourage her writing and provide 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:

Amelia Bishop on Character Flaws and Night Vision

My guest today is Amelia Bishop, here to talk about writing flawed characters in romance and her new release, Night Vision.

Hi! I’m Amelia Bishop, thank you, Shae, for having me here today.

I have a recent release to promote (Night Vision) but I think the topic I’d like to blog about here is more general.

I’ve been writing m/m Romance, mostly Paranormal, for several years now. I always had some trouble finding stories I really could relate to. I was so tired of the typical alpha-male heroes and beefcake super-lovers. So I started writing the kinds of stories I wanted to read. I didn’t think much about who’d like them, or what the standard Romance formula is, or what reviewers would think or say. That might have been dumb… but anyway, I just jumped right in and wrote my stories, blissfully ignorant of the expectations I was failing to meet.

Along the way, I have learned that the kinds of things I like are not the kinds of things most people like. I guess the reason I was having so much trouble finding stories and characters I enjoyed reading is that those types of plots and main characters are not very popular. Huh. Oh well, I still love them!

I write characters who have real flaws. Sure, most Romance MCs have flaws, but generally they are not real flaws. They are just decoration. Like the orphaned MC who clings to his partner out of a fear of abandonment. Sweet. Or the slightly OCD character who really needs to have everything nice and neat. Adorkable. Or even more serious flaws that, once they have served their purpose in the plot, kind of fade away and never really interfere with the main Romance or the character’s lives at all.

I also write more ordinary (boring?) situations and circumstances. No hostage rescues, no daring leaps off a burning building, no crazed obsessive ex-lovers holding the MCs at gunpoint. Just fairly believable situations and reactions, even if the characters are sometimes supernatural.

And to make it even worse, I write human-quality sex. I mean, my characters really enjoy it, but it isn’t the mind-blowing, hair-trigger orgasm, sex-god sex of most Romance novels. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes it’s pretty close to reality.

The end result is that while I am usually happy with my stories, some (many?) Romance readers are not. I feel kind of bad about that, honestly. But I’m not sure I’m going to change.

So I’m wondering, is there a place for Romance that does not follow the formula? Is there a difference between a “Romance” and a “love story”? And if so, which do you prefer?

What kinds of things are deal breakers for you, as a Romance reader? Are there any flaws or circumstances which would make you dislike an otherwise engaging MC?

And…If by some chance you are interested in reading a story about a socially awkward emotional-empath and a quiet systems-administrator, check out my paranormal romance (or love story?) Night Vision.

Thanks so much Shae Connor for having me here!

NightVisionFS_smallTheron Antonopolis, a strige, feeds on human emotion. In a tranquil suburban neighborhood, his best meals come from a quiet systems administrator who’s become more than a source of nourishment for Theron—Alex Rowler is an obsession. Theron can no longer remain in the shadows. When they meet, any attraction Alex feels toward the sexy monster is overshadowed by his anxiety and distrust of Theron’s supernatural powers. But sensing the underlying arousal, Theron begins courting his human.

As months pass, Theron falls deeply in love, and the need to complete the strige bonding ceremony with his human lover becomes overwhelming. But a permanent commitment is too much, too soon for Alex, and he delays the joining, despite Theron’s insistence they are running out of time. As an unbonded pair, however, Theron and Alex draw the attention of the Midnight Parliament, and the lovers are brought to trial to determine their fate.

Buy Links: AmazonDreamspinnerAllRomance
Amelia Bishop links: TwitterFacebookBlogAmazonPinterestGoodreads