Category Archives: author

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. 🙂

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Guest Blog: Aidee Ladnier and Traveling Time

Aren’t You That Guy I Met Next Week?

Today my guest is the fabulous Aidee Ladnier, here to talk about her new story, The Break-In. Take it away, Aidee!

Thank you so much, Shae, for letting me guest post on your blog during my tour to promote THE BREAK-IN, published by Dreamspinner Press. I even have a rafflecopter giveaway with lots of cool prizes, so make sure you enter.

Today I’m going to talk about a problem I recently struggled with that other writers might also face—yes, I’m talking about the dreaded curse of character confusion in time-travel fiction.

Most writers penning a series have tiny details they need to keep straight in order to remain consistent. A hero’s eyes can’t be blue in one book and then green in the next (unless they have some weird eyecolor-changing magic going on…or maybe contacts). A main character’s hair can’t be blue-black in one book and then flaming red in the next (unless they have a really good hairdresser).

But throw in time-travel and you have a whole other set of headaches. With time-travel fiction you’ve got characters popping in and out of each other’s lives at different points in their timeline. This not only requires keeping track of when it happens but also MATH. Because if Character A is 23 when they first meet, but Character B is 38, how does that affect their second meeting when Character A is 33 and Character B is 18?

So how to get around this–I keep lots of notes. You may have heard of something called a “series bible.” This is the book (or electronic file folder) with all the important information that helps keep your story coherent. Here’s what J.K. Rowling’s timeline looked like in her notes:

Most series bibles contain things like physical descriptions of all the major and minor characters as well as their biographies and histories—anything that you will need to know about them every time you write about them.

Notes on the settings are also a must. You can’t have a stream running on one side of the house in one book and on another in the next unless you want the house surrounded by water—might as well put it on an island. Is it on an island? Okay, put that in your bible.

Does your book contains some kind of new and innovative magic that works on a wonky system of rituals or maybe your book has several different species of vampires, or have castes of elven royalty? All these things should go in your series bible.

The main function of the series bible is not just to keep your facts straight but to keep from confusing your readers. If you’re unsure of a fact about a character, your reader will be lost as well. Of course, you can always reread your own novels to find out if a character takes their tea sweet or unsweet, but wouldn’t it be easier just to look it up in one easy-to-find place?

I hope you’ll join me as I journey back to visit my characters Forbes and Oliver in my new ebook, THE BREAK-IN.

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

About Aidee Ladnier

Aidee Ladnier began writing fiction at 12 years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.

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The Break-in

Author: Aidee Ladnier

ISBN-13: 978-1-62798-736-3
Pages: 56
Cover Artist: Christy Caughie

Buy: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble  | ARe

Blurb: Ten years ago, roboticist Forbes Pohle received a visit from time-traveler Oliver Lennox. “Wait for me,” Oliver said. Now a decade has come and gone, and Oliver has returned. However, Forbes never dreamed Oliver would reappear as the point man for a gang of technology thieves breaking into his lab. He finds the younger Oliver just as sexy and even more annoying; still, he must convince him their happily-ever-after is meant to be—but he only has the time it takes his robotic cat Jeepers to thwart the thieves to do it.

After waiting so long, he could lose everything in the span of seconds.

Random Squeefulness

A few things that have made me happy the past few days…

On Friday, USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog featured the Grand Adventures anthology and its authors.

Also on Friday, I finished the first rough draft of my novel Unfortunate Son. Hoping to have it in shape to submit in late May or early June.

I finally got to read Heidi Cullinan’s new release Tough Love, and it was worth every minute of the wait.

Only three more days until Butt Ninjas from Hell releases!

Guest Post: Remembering Internment Camps

For those who aren’t aware, last week marked the 72nd anniversary of the order that authorized the relocation of Japanese Americans along the US West Coast into internment camps. More than 110,000 people of Japanese heritage were sent to these camps; most were US citizens. Actor George Takei is among the best-known former internees.

The internment figured into the backstory of one of the characters in Charley Descoteaux’s book Curious Sustenance. I’ve invited her here to talk more about that.

Thanks so much for having me, Shae! I appreciate the chance to talk about something serious every once in a while.


photo credit: absurd_hero via photopin cc

I grew up in California in the 1970s so a lot of things were commonplace that maybe weren’t in other areas of the country: we learned about conserving water and recycling, I had neighbors who were openly gay, and I knew people who had lived in internment camps.

The family of one of my best childhood friends had been “relocated” to one of those camps. She hadn’t been born yet but it still affected her life. By the time we were in the first grade together her family had just started to recover from losing everything because their ancestors were Japanese. At the time I didn’t think much of it—I loved Linda and hanging out with her and her family (and they were better off than my family), and that’s all I knew.

It wasn’t until I started college in my 30s that I fully realized what Linda’s parents and grandparents had gone through. Back then, it was a dirty little secret—when the adults talked about it they hid behind their hands and when I had questions they told me to go outside and play. Not anymore. At the same time Linda’s mom was teaching us to conjugate Japanese verbs my future history professor was driving all over rural Oregon to interview people who had been imprisoned in the camps. He did his master’s thesis on the subject, and after a few beers would talk about some of the horrific things he learned about our “free country” during that time. But not all of his experiences were painful. Many of the people he interviewed had found a way to be happy, to create the life they wanted despite the challenges of starting from scratch.


photo credit: absurd_hero via photopin cc

Some of what I learned about those conversations becamse touchstones in Miles’ backstory for Curious Sustenance. He’s dealing with the pressure to keep his family’s home—which the Shigiharas lost along with everything else in the World War II era. I didn’t want to delve too deeply into this difficult topic—both because CS is mainly Ross’s story, and because Miles himself only focused on it when forced. I wanted CS to be a hopeful story, one of readjusting boundaries to fit the life we want for ourselves.

If you’re interested in learning about this period of US history—maybe get a different view than the one you learned in school—I suggest starting with this site: the PBS Children of the Camps Project, initiated by Dr. Satsuki Ina.

I’ve read that some people write LGBT Romances to give people they’ve known the happy endings they didn’t get, and I understand how they feel. I didn’t set out to write a story about the Japanese Internment, but when it came up as a tangent I didn’t turn away. Writing Curious Sustenance made me happy, and I hope reading it will make you happy. If it makes you think a little, that’s cool too.

This is the first excerpt I’m sharing from Miles’ point of view. It takes place after his deposition and the other man in the scene is the one who filed the suit. It’s not sexy, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Before Miles could start the truck, the rap of knuckles on his window whipped his head around. For a split second, he wished he knew how to use tai chi as a martial art and not just a way to wake up in the morning, but then he saw it was Frank. Frank backhanded the window once more, and Miles slowly cranked it open. Maybe it would be a good idea to invest in some mace, or a Taser. Miles had a few inches on Frank, along with about thirty pounds, but the thought of touching him made Miles’s skin crawl.

 Frank glared down at Miles for a long moment, and again Miles wondered what he’d ever seen in those blue eyes to make him believe a word out of that ugly mouth. Frank Williams had walked someone else’s dog past Miles’s home once a day for a month to try to catch him outside and start a conversation—he’d admitted that much the first time Miles smiled up from the floor between his feet. Miles shuddered at the memory, and pushed it away.

“What do you want?”

“Give me the house, and you can keep your business. I don’t want it anyway.”

Miles opened his mouth to ask why he should care what Frank wanted, but then remembered he’d asked and closed it without speaking.

“It’s my house—my family’s house. Do the right thing, and we both win.”

Frank turned and stalked away, leaving Miles trying not to literally spit and sputter. Instead, he threw the truck’s door open and in three long strides closed half the distance between it and Frank. He managed to keep from grabbing him and throwing him to the ground, but that took most of his last shreds of control.

“Fuck you, it’s your family’s house!”

Frank turned so the side of his body faced Miles. He realized it was bad that Frank seemed happy but couldn’t stop himself.

“My grandparents lived in that house in the thirties, and my father would’ve grown up there if they hadn’t been tossed into a concentration camp for being Japanese, asshole.”

“What happened to your Zen tranquility, Miles?”

Miles forced his voice out past his clenched jaw. “It’s keeping me from strangling you. You’ll get my home over my dead body.”

The way Frank grinned gave Miles a withering feeling that said he’d regret answering that particular question. A few moments later, Frank ambled away, hands in his pockets and a swing in his step. Whistling.

Ross Jenson is looking forward to a little midmorning delight to celebrate making Lifetime in Weight Watchers, but after he spent eight months losing ninety-eight pounds, what his lover gets him is a triple-layer chocolate cake. When Ross refuses to eat it, the newly minted ex leaves the country and dumps him via e-mail, with three sentences and a link to a chubby chasers web site. A few days later, Ross’s best friend and workout buddy takes him to her favorite club for drinks. Ross is shocked when he realizes it’s a sex club but warms to the idea in record time when a mysterious Japanese man and his silken ropes sweep him off his feet. Ross has never thought of himself as adventurous, but he can’t stop thinking about the man who makes his bones feel like gummy worms.

Buy Curious Sustenance: Dreamspinner Press Amazon All Romance eBooks

Warnings: This book features a corporate sensitivity trainer with an agenda, an awesome gal-pal, an unconventional sex club, a mysterious Japanese rope artist, and another taste of Portland, Oregon as seen through my twisted mind.

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they let her sleep once in a while. Every guy deserves a beautiful love story even, or maybe especially, the ones who would usually be in the supporting cast. Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear. As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.

Rattle my cages—I’d love to hear from you!
Blog: http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/CharleyDescoteauxAuthor
Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote
Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/aqe7g7r
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/
e-mail: c.descoteauxwrites@gmail.com

Blog Tour: In the Absence of Monsters by J.P. Barnaby

In the Absence of Monsters Behind the Scenes
An Interview with Jake Driver

A year ago, this past October, I met saw Jake Driver at Atlanta Pride. He hung out with the other guys, but I really didn’t have much interaction with him. I knew he’d been there because I had a picture of him, but we didn’t talk. A few months later, we struck up a conversation on Twitter, and I really looked at his Twitter avi. I remember actually reaching out to touch the screen, because after years of wondering, I’d finally seen Master Ethan. We became friends over the intervening year, and when I flew down for the RWA National Convention in July of 2013, we had dinner together. Spending a few hours in his company made me realize that I wanted nothing more than to not only continue writing Master Ethan, but I wanted this man on the cover. I had no idea how I’d accomplish either of those tasks, but eventually, it happened. Wilde City approached me about reissuing the series with them, and my good friend Gio Caruso would happen to be in Atlanta for pride. It seemed destined that I’d be able to continue the series with my Master Ethan at the helm.

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Blog Tour: Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan

Heidi Cullinan is one of my favorite authors (and a pretty awesome person, too), so needless to say, I read Love Lessons as soon as it came out and loved it. College boys are one of my weaknesses, and that goes double when one of them sets out to teach the other… but ends up learning a few things of his own. Check out the blurb and excerpt below, and be sure to toss your hat in the ring for a giveaway!

Love Lessons - book coverLove doesn’t come with a syllabus.

Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus.

Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.

Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view.

As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.

Warning: This story contains lingering glances, milder than usual sexual content for this author, and a steamy dance-floor kiss. Story has no dairy or egg content, but may contain almonds.

Available to purchase at

Click here to enter to win a copy of Love Lessons!

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Playing Ball Blog Tour Schedule

PlayingBall_tourbanner

Tomorrow begins the blog tour for the Playing Ball anthology. Here’s the full schedule for your reading pleasure! 🙂

9/21: Marguerite Labbe
9/22: Shae Connor
9/23: Kerry Freeman
9/24: Kate McMurray
9/25: The Armchair Reader
9/26: Literary Nook
9/27: Joyfully Jay
9/28: Elisa’s Reviews and Ramblings
9/29: Andrew Gordon
9/30: Paisley Smith
10/1: Southern Magic RWA
10/2: P.D. Singer
10/3: J.P. Barnaby
10/4: Naima Simone
10/5: Aidee Ladnier
10/7: The Blog of Sid Love
10/7: The Novel Approach
10/8: Zahra Owens
10/9: Tempeste O’Riley
10/10: Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

~~~~

PlayingBallORIG“The one constant through all the years… has been baseball.”—Field of Dreams

Baseball, America’s Pastime, carries with it a mythology like no other sport, entwined with the ups and downs of the nation. In Playing Ball, authors Shae Connor, Kerry Freeman, Marguerite Labbe, and Kate McMurray explore the love for baseball and among the men who play it, from the 1920s through modern times. These four stories tell the tales of baseball men who find love off the field, whether with the heir to a baseball empire, a sports reporter, a fan, or even each other, after their playing careers come to an end.

Pre-order from Dreamspinner Press: Ebook || Print

Guest Blog: Helen Pattskyn Hangs by a Moment

Today’s guest is Helen Pattskyn, here to talk about her latest release, Hanging by the Moment. Be sure to read to the end, because she’s got a giveaway, too!

First and foremost, I want say a huge thank you to my lovely host, Shae Connor. It’s been a lot of fun getting to visit the blogs of some of my favorite authors, most of whom are people I actually know to one extent or another in real life (or at least through Facebook, Twitter, and email!) One of the best things about getting involved in writing m/m romance has been getting to meet so many awesome people.

On September 6, my third novel, Hanging by the Moment, came out from Dreamspinner Press. There are a lot of things about this book that I love. I love that Pasha Batalov is Russian, just like me. I love that he’s not a stud with six pack abs and that he’s more than a little body conscious of his flab. Just like me. I love that a really handsome man falls in love with him, because like a lot of the amazing people I’ve dated, Daniel doesn’t give a rat’s behind what’s on the outside. What matters to him is the kind of person Pasha is on the inside.

I love it when the good guys win, especially in romance. Of course that doesn’t mean Daniel and Pasha will have an easy road to travel—and I love that too, but because I love a little (okay, maybe a lot) or angst in my romance.

But one of the things I had the most fun with in Hanging by the Moment was the food, because like me, Pasha loves to cook. He several traditional Russian and Greek dishes throughout the novel—he and father are co-owners of a little Greek style diner. Pasha also does some “creative cooking,” experimenting with new combinations, and of course with some healthier food options because after he meets Daniel, he’s more determined than ever to shed a few pounds. He’s also trying to revamp the struggling restaurant by offering his customers something different.

One of the different things he makes is almond-encrusted pork chops, served with sliced Fiji apples—it’s kind of a higher end take on the old fashioned idea of pork chops and applesauce.

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Guest Blog: Posy Roberts Finds the Spark

Today’s guest blogger is Posy Roberts, telling us about how she approached the development of her characters for her latest release, Spark.

Last year, as I prepared for a summer of writing, I decided to create what amounted to be a character board. It was like a storyboard but about characters instead of plot. I already knew what I was starting in June was going be my North Star trilogy, because the story couldn’t be told in just one book. That meant a lot of words. It also meant I’d probably need something to help me quickly remember that Hugo Thorson was internally motivated, while Kevin Magnus was externally motivated. That impacted how they interacted throughout the entire trilogy, and if I forgot those details, I could have had a huge mess to clean up.

Spark is the first book in the North Star trilogy. In it, I follow Hugo and Kevin during their junior year of high school and then again when they meet years later. As they aged, their external appearance changed, and I found it really helpful to have photos of both young and older versions of Kevin and Hugo looking back at me from this character board. Some mornings I’d just stare at one guy so I could get inside his head.

On the photos, I printed their first and last names. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Dur! How could you forget their names?” First names, not so much, but OMG, did I ever mess up their last names. Just ask my pre-readers. Okay, I occasionally messed up their first names too. As I went to edit, I’d only have to glance up and there was Hugo’s name in bold letters on the photos to help me keep things straight.

Personality traits are very hard to change. You can’t make an introverted kid into a social butterfly. They can learn how to be more outgoing in social situations, but at their core, they are still introverts who find energy from being alone. Those traits, or temperament characteristics, are some of the words I included on my character board. I wrote traits that would help me along, so I could make sure Hugo remained that outgoing, fun loving guy and so Kevin would still be reserved even when he took charge.

characterboard

There were days when I’d be at a loss about what to write, but then I’d peek over the top of my computer screen and look into Hugo’s gorgeous blue eyes or into Kevin’s smoldering grey, and I’d find my inspiration. I’d look at that list of characteristics and ask myself, “How would Hugo handle this moment?” Sometimes it was just what I had planned in my head, but other times, my initial thoughts were shot to hell and I realized Hugo would go and do something so much different than what I’d laid out.

I think what I liked most about my character board being up and on an actual wall, rather than stuck in a computer somewhere, was that it was ever present. I never had to hunt in a journal to be reminded of their core make-up, and that made it easier to write these men. For when I was away from my desk, I always had my Pinterest or Tumblr (NSFW), where nearly all my pictures of Hugo and Kevin were being shared with the world.

The list of words was far from exhaustive and they weren’t all about personality. I wrote what kind of coffee Hugo liked, for example. I also included that Kevin was an only child and Hugo was the baby of the family. I know this helped me keep my guys more consistent over three books than if I hadn’t had that visual. Having the character board accessible all time truly helped me write, and I’m sure I’ll do this again, even for smaller works.

Spark is about second chances at love. Who wouldn’t want that with the right man?

Spark2In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.

By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.

When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.

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Playing Ball Cover Reveal and Pre-orders!

I am thrilled to be able to show off the gorgeous cover for the Playing Ball anthology, which comes out from Dreamspinner Press on September 25. It’s simple and elegant and perfect.

PlayingBallORIG

So pretty! Big thanks to cover artist Aaron Anderson.

Even better, you can pre-order the book now! GO RIGHT HERE!

My story in the anthology is a novella called Home Field Advantage. The blurb:

Toby MacMillan, grandson of Atlanta Braves owner Ray MacMillan, lives for baseball and loves his team. When he meets new team member Caleb Browning, an innocent welcome-to-the-big-leagues dinner leads to a not-so-innocent night together. Toby quickly calls things off, afraid of the ramifications of their tryst, but the two men develop a friendship that soon becomes more. After Caleb takes a fastball to the head, their budding romance hits the news—and Toby’s grandfather hits the roof. When Ray MacMillan demands Toby deny the relationship, Toby must choose between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it.

To read about the other stories in the anthology, visit my co-authors’ websites:

Kate McMurray
Kerry Freeman
Marguerite Labbe