On Sale! Graphite & Glitter Just 99 Cents, Plus Dreamspinner 30% Off!

graphiteglitter_400pxTwo sales to share today! First up, I’ve put my F/F novella, Graphite & Glitter, on sale for just 99 cents at all outlets through the end of the month. Links for your buying convenience:

Amazon
B&N
Kobo
PayHip

Also, to cap off its 10th anniversary celebration, Dreamspinner Press is offering 30% off everything through the end of the month. And—just in case you didn’t know—if you buy the paperback from Dreamspinner, you get the ebook for free! Links to my Dreamspinner titles:

Unfortunate Son (Sons: Book 1): Ebook || Paperback
Wayward Son (Sons: Book 2): Ebook || Paperback
Nobody’s Son (Sons: Book 3): Ebook || Paperback
“Sons and Brothers” (Sons: Epilogue)
Sand & Water: Ebook || Paperback
Accidental Fall
En Fuego
Model Student
“Ice Cream Dreams” (All in a Day’s Work anthology): Ebook || Paperback
Home Field Advantage (Playing Ball anthology): Ebook || Paperback
“Chicago”
“The Cabin on the Hill”
“Of Holiday Spirits, Wake-Up Calls, and Happily Ever Afters”
“Sharing Christmas”

Happy shopping!

Release Day for Hands On!

It’s here! My new bundle Hands On contains the M/M novellas Rhythm & Blues, Tongue & Groove, and Heart & Soul and the F/F novella Graphite & Glitter.

HandsOn-900

Four novellas, four couples, four romances.

Rhythm & Blues
When life tears apart your dream, build a new one.

Former Broadway dancer Pate Hawkins meets model-gorgeous contractor Ace Samson when he answers as request for an estimate on renovating his studio space. The two men develop a fledgling relationship, but then the siren song of the stage calls Pate back…

Tongue & Groove
Sometimes home is what two hearts make of it.

While healing from a vocal cord injury, rock singer Saul Wilder decides to restore home his grandmother left him. When home renovation specialist Perry Abrams arrives to assess the job, Saul’s on board with mixing business with a little pleasure…

Heart & Soul
Love can sneak up on you in the last place you’d expect.

Pianist Kellen Grady meets former pro football player Terrence Harvey when he and his brother buy the bar where Kellen plays at night. A quick friendship develops, but their relationship takes an unexpected turn when Terrence surprises Kellen with a kiss…

Graphite & Glitter
All that glitters might just be gold.

On the night of her best friend’s bachelorette party, architect Adrienne Michaels has a scorching one-night stand with Tessa Smith, bass player for an all-female glam rock tribute band. Then Tessa surprises her by asking her on a real date…

You can get Hands On for just $3.99 through Monday, May 15!

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks
PayHip

#RT2017: Tips Roundup & My Schedule

Previously…

The Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Eating On Site
Nearby Restaurants
Playing Tourist
Travel Tips

And a few specific answers to questions I’ve been asked:

The road closure on Interstate 85 should not affect you UNLESS you’re driving in from that direction. (We’ll try to hold the rest of the highways together!) See the Travel Tips post for more info.

According to the Hyatt, all rooms in the two main towers (Atrium and International) have refrigerators. No microwaves, though.

There is no grocery store nearby. The CVS next to the hotel (see the Eating On Site post) carries snacks, sodas, and the like, including beer and wine. There’s a package store across from the hotel, but I haven’t been there, so I can’t vouch for it. (A note on Georgia law: beer and wine are sold in grocery/convenience stores, but liquor is sold only at package stores. Also, alcohol is not sold/served before 12:30 p.m. on Sundays, so plan your mimosa brunches late.)

UPDATE: The weather! Looks like it’ll be on the cooler side for early May:

RTweather

As for my RT schedule, I have just one definite event: I’ll be at the FAN-tastic Day Party Saturday night. I’ll be going to some of the social events, and I’ll also probably be helping out at the Wheel of Romance again, but everything else is up in the air right now. Feel free to tweet me if you’d like to meet up. I’m also on the RT app now, so you can message me there as well! 🙂

Cover Reveal and Preorder: Hands On

As part of gearing up for the RT Convention, I’ve decided to release a bundle of my four self-published novellas. Hands On contains the M/M novellas Rhythm & Blues, Tongue & Groove, and Heart & Soul and the F/F novella Graphite & Glitter. AngstyG made me pretty new cover art, too!

HandsOn-900

Four novellas, four couples, four romances.

Rhythm & Blues

When life tears apart your dream, build a new one.

Former Broadway dancer Pate Hawkins meets model-gorgeous contractor Ace Samson when he answers as request for an estimate on renovating his studio space. The two men develop a fledgling relationship, but then the siren song of the stage calls Pate back…

Tongue & Groove

Sometimes home is what two hearts make of it.

While healing from a vocal cord injury, rock singer Saul Wilder decides to restore home his grandmother left him. When home renovation specialist Perry Abrams arrives to assess the job, Saul’s on board with mixing business with a little pleasure…

Heart & Soul

Love can sneak up on you in the last place you’d expect.

Pianist Kellen Grady meets former pro football player Terrence Harvey when he and his brother buy the bar where Kellen plays at night. A quick friendship develops, but their relationship takes an unexpected turn when Terrence surprises Kellen with a kiss…

Graphite & Glitter

All that glitters might just be gold.

On the night of her best friend’s bachelorette party, architect Adrienne Michaels has a scorching one-night stand with Tessa Smith, bass player for an all-female glam rock tribute band. Then Tessa surprises her by asking her on a real date…

Hands On will release on Tuesday, May 2, with a special RT release price of just $3.99. That’s right: four full-length novellas for a buck apiece. The sale price will be good for two weeks, through Monday, May 15.

Preorder links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Nook

iBooks

PayHip

Enjoy! And hope to see some of you at RT. 🙂

#RT2017 Part 5: Travel Tips

Previously:
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Eating On Site
Nearby Restaurants
Playing Tourist

Hi again! One last post to cover tips on getting to the hotel. I’ve been trying to think of things that I’ve found helpful when traveling, so I hope these are helpful to you too.


ROAD ALERT: Interstate 85 Closure

As you’ve probably heard, a section of I-85 is closed indefinitely both northbound and southbound inside the city (see purple circle on map). The good news is that the problem is about 6 miles north of the downtown area (where the hotel is), and the airport is south of the city. So, for those who are only planning to travel from the airport to the hotel and back, by whatever means, you’re unlikely to run into any problems.

If you’re coming in from out of town by any route except I-85 from the north, then you should also be fine. If you’re coming down I-85 from the north, you’ll need to reroute around the closed section. To get to downtown, the easiest plan is to take the bypass, I-285 West, to I-75 South. It’s a slightly longer drive, but it’ll get you where you’re going. If you don’t need to drive downtown, you can also park at at MARTA station on the north side and take the train into downtown. (I recommend that plan anyway; MARTA info is in its own section below.)

If you have plans to visit any locations toward the northeast side of the city, check Google Maps or GPS for the best alternate routes to get you around the closure.

Hotel Information
The hotel is the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, and the address is 265 Peachtree Street NE. Phone: 404-577-1234.

MARTA
If you’re flying in and traveling light, taking MARTA from the airport might be your best bet. The airport station is on the west end of the domestic terminal: from South baggage claim, turn left, and from North baggage claim, turn right. Regular fare is $2.50 one way (regardless of distance), plus a one-time $2 fee for a reusable Breeze card.

HEADS UP: If you have a BLUE Breeze card from a previous visit, it is no longer valid. You’ll need to buy a new SILVER card.

From the airport, take any train north to Peachtree Center station (eight stops). Follow the signs in the station into Peachtree Center and to the Hyatt Regency.

Airport Shuttles
The hotel does not have airport shuttle service. The airport website links to several private services. I haven’t used any of them personally, but from checking websites, I’d lean toward ATL Airport Shuttle ($16.50 one way).

Rideshare Services
Both Uber and Lyft offer service to and from the airport. Fares vary, but start at around $20.

Taxis
Flat-rate fare of $30 airport to downtown ($2 each additional person) plus meter fee.

Rental Cars
Most national rental services have locations at the airport’s Rental Car Center, which is reached via SkyTrain. Be aware that downtown parking is both limited and expensive.

Parking at/near the Hotel
The Hyatt’s on-site valet parking is $35 a night. Self-parking in garages nearby runs $15–$20 (generally with no in/out privileges).

If you’re driving in, MARTA may also be a good option. Many of the stations farther out from downtown have inexpensive overnight parking, much cheaper than parking at the hotel or in most other downtown locations. On the north side, Lindbergh ($8 parking) is a particularly good option because it’s the transfer point on the north side, so you’ll never have to pay attention to which train you’re taking. MARTA’s parking information page shows which stations have overnight parking (Red line is north, Gold line is northeast).

Toll Roads
Atlanta has express toll lanes on Interstate 75 on the south side and Interstate 85 on the north side, but those are outside the airport-to-hotel route. You shouldn’t pay any toll charges on an airport trip.

#RT2017 Part 4: Playing Tourist

Previously:
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Eating On Site
Nearby Restaurants

Like a lot of larger cities, Atlanta has plenty of tourist attractions and sites to visit. Now, Atlanta’s also more spread out than a lot of big cities, so some of those places are a bit of jaunt to get to. However, you can still get your tourist on without having to go very far afield.

To start with, Centennial Olympic Park is just a few blocks down from the Hyatt. Built for the 1996 Games, the park features lots of green space, a rings-shaped fountain that plays musical shows, and a number of attractions on its edges:

The SkyView Atlanta ferris wheel gives awesome views of the Atlanta skyline day or night. Tickets: $15

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere and features dolphin and sea lion shows, a 4D theater, and a daily “Waddle Walk” featuring some of the resident penguins. Tickets: vary a lot, from under $30 after 4PM to around $48 for full-price admission (with extra charges for special programs like behind-the-scenes tours)

The World of Coca-Cola is an interactive museum dedicated to Atlanta’s most famous product. Watch films about the company’s history, check out all kind of memorabilia, and taste Coke products from all over the world. (Don’t miss the Beverly!) Tickets: $17

The Center for Civil and Human Rights is a museum and monument to the Civil Rights Movement and today’s global human rights movements. Tickets: $19

For the football fans, the College Football Hall of Fame is on the far side of Centennial Park. Tickets: $22

Also on that side of the park is CNN, which offers a behind-the-scenes studio tour. Tickets: $16

Other places of interest not far from the hotel:

The King Center and MLK Jr. National Historic Site are about a mile away, and admission is free for both.

The Margaret Mitchell House is about a mile and a half away, and just a block down from the Midtown MARTA station. Tickets: $13

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum is just 3 miles away and includes a replica of the Oval Office and plenty of historic memorabilia. Tickets: $8

Zoo Atlanta is in Grant Park, about 5 miles from the hotel, and has baby pandas! Tickets: $26

Fernbank Museum of Natural History, also about 5 miles away, has lots of cool exhibits and two giant-screen film theaters. Tickets: start at $18 for museum only, $33 for museum + films

In addition to individual tickets, Atlanta does have CityPass, and some organizations have combo tickets (like an aquarium/zoo pass for $54).

Also, RT is offering three different combinations tours on Monday and Tuesday of convention week (I have not checked status, so they could be full/cancelled):

Explore Atlanta! ($160) includes the World of Coca-Cola, the Krispy Kreme “mothership” location on Ponce de Leon, historic Inman Park and Little Five Points, Eagle Eye and Book Nook bookshops, lunch at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, and a trip to the Varsity.

History & Historic Homes Tour ($190) includes the King Center, historic homes including those of Joel Chandler Harris and Margaret Mitchell, a visit to the Atlanta History Center, and lunch at Swan Coach House.

Hunger Games/Walking Dead Tour ($200) includes visits to locations featured in the film and television series, including Swan House (President Snow’s home), the Marriott Marquis (the Capitol), Terminus, the CDC (TV version, not real-life version!), and lunch at Pittypat’s Porch.

Next time: more information about getting to and from the hotel!

#RT2017 Part 3: Nearby Restaurants

Previously:
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Eating On Site

So you’ve exhausted the on-site restaurants at RT and want to head outside for some fresh air. Or just escape the craziness for a while. No problem! There are plenty of places nearby.

Some of the restaurants I listed in the last post as being the food court also open onto the street along Peachtree Center Avenue, the street that runs behind the hotel. From the lobby, take the escalators down one level and exit through the doors, taking the stairway down to street level. Turn right and cross the first street, and you’ll find Benihana, Gibney’s, Metro Café, and across the street, Truva (Turkish) and Cuts (a steakhouse). In the opposite direction from the Hyatt you’ll find Pacific Rim Bistro (great sushi), Big Kahuna (surf-themed burger and tacos joint), and Morton’s Steakhouse.

Now, going back to the front of the hotel, directly across the street are White Oak Kitchen (modern Southern fare) and Corner Bakery (sandwiches and pastries, similar to Panera). Down the street to the left you’ll find a Starbucks, Ray’s in the City (great local seafood chain), and Jalapeno Charlie’s (Latin American). At the next corner, International Boulevard, turn right and go halfway down the block to Pittypat’s Porch, an Atlanta tradition for Southern food. Across the street from there is the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel (the tall, cylindrical, glass hotel), which has a rotating restaurant called Sundial on the roof. [EDIT: Sundial is currently closed after a tragic accident there in mid-April. I don’t know when it will reopen.]

If you keep going down Peachtree Street, you’ll pass Hard Rock Café and Alma Cocina (great modern Mexican) on the left, Meehan’s Public House (Irish pub), the Braves All-Star Grill, and Sweet Georgia Juke Joint (soul food) on the right. On that next corner is the Ritz-Carlton, which has a couple of higher-end options as well.

Now let’s back up to the corner of Peachtree and International, where the Hard Rock is. If you head down the hill and turn left at the front of the Westin, a couple of blocks down is Ted’s Montana Grill, Ted Turner’s restaurant chain. And if you keep going straight at the Westin, you’ll find a Waffle House across from Centennial Park.

One more nearby restaurant: from the front of the Hyatt, turn right and go down a couple of blocks to Max Lager’s, a brewhouse.

There are many, many other restaurants within a short driving distance/ride from the hotel. A few I’d recommend:

  • Mary Mac’s Tea Room, 224 Ponce de Leon. THE classic full-service Southern restaurant. Everything is delicious!
  • The Varsity, 61 North Avenue. Classic Atlanta hot dog and burgers joint. Just don’t forget the antacid chaser.
  • Six Feet Under, 685 11th Street. Seafood and pub fare with lots of craft beers.
  • Bartaco, 969 Marietta Street. Lots of great tacos and drinks, super casual.

All right! We’ve got you all fed. Next time, I’ll talk about a few of the touristy things to do near the conference area, including some of the tours being offered through the convention.

#RT2017 Part 2: Eating On Site

Previously:
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta

All right! We all need to know where to eat more than almost anything else, right? Thanks to skywalks that connect several downtown buildings, the Hyatt has a heck of a lot of choices without even having to go outside. Early May in Atlanta shouldn’t be too sweltering, but it’s likely to be pretty warm and humid. Staying in the air conditioning is a good thing.

We’ll start with the hotel’s four restaurants. Twenty-Two Stories, the lobby bar, is also a gastropub, with “elevated” bar food in addition to the full bar and specialty cocktails. Sway, just inside the front doors, is a full-service restaurant featuring Southern-focused cuisine. Market is a 24-hour, quick-service spot tucked into the corner of the lobby, offering premade sandwiches and other light meals and serving Starbucks coffee. And up top, on the 22nd floor, is Polaris, a high-end, revolving classic Atlanta restaurant.

The hotel also has room service, though only for breakfast and dinner.


One of the best things about the Hyatt, though, is that it connects directly to the Peachtree Plaza Food Court. Just take the hallway marked Radius Tower, between Twenty-Two Stories and the reservations desk (see image), and at the end you’ll find a number of fast-food and quick-service restaurants, as well as several nicer sit-down restaurants. Be aware, however, that a lot of these places are only open during the day, since they’re designed to serve the businesses in the area.

A few of the restaurants in the food court (current as of January):

Caribou Coffee
Au Bon Pain
Farmer’s Market (meat-and-veggies plates)
Gibney’s Pub
Dairy Queen
Chik-fil-A
Café Momo (salad and hot bar by the pound)
Metro Café (diner)
Firehouse Subs
Subway
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Willy’s Mexicana Grill
Great Wraps
Yami Yami Sushi
Turmeric Indian Bistro
Benihana
Hsu’s Gourmet Chinese

There’s a CVS Pharmacy over there, too, so you can even pick up snacks and drinks to keep in your room. (All rooms in the Atrium and International towers have refrigerators.)

The Hyatt also has a skywalk that leads to the Marriott Marquis across the street. The entrance is between the bar and the café in the lobby. The skywalk takes you into the Atrium level of the Marriott, which has a bar in the center and two full-service restaurants: High Velocity, a bar and grill; and Sear, a high-end steak restaurant. From there, go down one level to the lobby, and there’s a Starbucks and an M Store that sells prepared sandwiches and snacks.

And there’s yet another skywalk from the Marriott to the Hilton! Go down one more level from the lobby, to the Marquis level, at the back side of the hotel to find the skywalk. That will take you into the second floor of the Hilton. Go down one level for the lobby restaurant, called Southern Elements, and a Marketplace with prepared sandwiches and the like. Down one more level is Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian restaurant and bar, and up on the roof is Nikolai’s Roof, a fine dining restaurant.

Next up: I’ll cover some of the other restaurants in the area near the hotel—many of them within walking distance.

#RT2017 Part 1: The Hyatt Regency Atlanta

Hi all! This is the first of several blog posts leading up to the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Atlanta that I hope you’ll find helpful. The convention is being held at the Hyatt Regency downtown, a hotel with which I am intimately familiar, particularly after 10 years volunteering there during Dragon Con.

The hotel is on Peachtree Street Northeast—not to be confused with any of the other streets with Peachtree in the name. (That includes Peachtree Center Avenue, which runs directly behind the Hyatt!) Be warned that several streets near the hotel are one-way, so if you’ll be driving, watch out for that. If you’re taking MARTA, you want the Peachtree Center station, which is the first stop on the North/Northeast (Red/Gold) line. Any northbound train from the airport will get you there.

Let’s start with some quick-and-dirty directions inside the hotel.

First: no, there will not be long distances to walk to get to the conference space. The hotel has two main towers, Atrium and International, and they’re basically right next to each other. (A third tower, Radius, has only guest rooms, not meeting space.) International Tower will be used only for Teen Day activities, so I won’t cover that section here.

When you come in the hotel’s main entrance, you’re in the Atrium Tower, lobby level. Most of the primary conference space is on the two floors directly below the lobby and the Atlanta Conference Center—basically an underground habitrail lined with smaller meeting rooms.

Here’s the lobby, standing just inside the front door.

On the right is the Atrium Tower elevator bank, and on the far side of the floor is Twenty-Two Stories, the lobby bar-slash-gastropub (and likely central meeting point). Turn right and…

You can see the bell stand and concierge desk. Straight ahead is the gift shop, and right from there is hallway to the International Tower. To the left is the registration desk. (Note that there may be specific line or luggage management set up for the convention, so it might not look exactly like this.)

Registration desk.

Closer shot of the bar area.

Here are the escalators from the lobby down to the conference levels. The elevators also go to the bottom levels, but elevator access can be dicey, so best to reserve those for people who need them whenever possible.

The first level down (LL1) has three main conference spaces: the Centennial Ballroom, the Regency Ballroom, and the Learning Center (an auditorium-style space). The pool is also on this level. The second level (LL2) has Grand Hall East and West, Hanover Hall, and the Chicago Room.

When you come off the escalators on LL2, there’s another set of escalators to the right. Those take you down to the Atlanta Conference Center (LL3); the motor lobby is also on that level. Again, the atrium elevators will take you all the way down.

The Atlanta Conference Center has lots of smaller meeting rooms down here, so I won’t try list them all. There are hallways in both directions, with signs overhead:

Most of these rooms will be in use throughout the conference, so you’ll likely spend a lot of time down here. Also, if you turn right here and follow the hallway all the way to the end, you’ll find the elevators and escalators for the International Tower.

I hope that’s not too confusing! I think that’s a good place to stop for this post. Feel free to ask questions in comments if you like, and I’ll try to answer them in a future post. Next up will be the other most important information: where to eat!

On Sale! Heart & Soul Is Just 99 Cents

My novella Heart & Soul is on sale this week for just 99 cents. It’s up at PayHip now, and the price change is working its way through to the other retailers. Grab your copy now! 🙂

heartsoul_webHeart & Soul

Self-published
Publication date: November 14, 2016

Love can sneak up on you in the last place you’d expect.

Kellen Grady has known he’s gay since he was a teenager, but he’s never been that interested in dating. A professional pianist, he’s happy spending his days teaching students of all ages and his nights working and playing at an Atlanta bar and concert venue. When former pro football player Terrence Harvey and his brother buy the bar, Kellen’s thrown by the change to his routine, but he develops a quick friendship with Terrence, drawn to his sunny nature and sharp mind. Then their relationship takes a turn when Terrence surprises Kellen with a kiss. The unexpected action, though not unwelcome, leaves Kellen faced with reevaluating everything he thought he knew—about Terrence, and about himself.

Amazon
B&N
Kobo
PayHip