Category Archives: guest blog

Antonia Aquilante on Inspiration and Creating a World

My guest today is Antonia Aquilante, here to talk about her Chronicles of Tournai series and its latest addition, The Artist’s Masquerade.

Thanks for having me on your blog today! I’m Antonia Aquilante, and my new book, The Artist’s Masquerade, is out today from Dreamspinner Press. The Artist’s Masquerade is the second book in the Chronicles of Tournai series, but it can be read as a standalone if you haven’t read the previous book, The Prince’s Consort, yet. It’s the story of Cathal, cousin to the prince and son of a duke, and Flavian, an artist on the run from his restrictive and dangerous homeland.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, often the strangest places, which happened to me when I was creating the world of Tournai. I sometimes dream things—characters, scenes, places—that become stories or elements of stories I write. Years ago I had a very vivid dream. It included a rather emotional scene between two people and a lot of details of the setting in which the scene took place. One element of the setting, which I knew, in the way you know stuff in dreams, was a room in a royal palace, was glass art. Intricate, delicate sculptures of fanciful subjects in vivid colors. I had no idea where the glass fit in to the story, or where it came from, when I woke, but I wrote down every detail of the dream I remembered in the notebook by my bed. Fast forward several years and I traveled to Italy. I saw beautiful glass pieces of all kinds made in Murano. I was struck by the beauty and the color and the craftsmanship of the pieces, some of which were incredibly old. A couple years after that, when I was crafting the world of Tournai, the dream and the memory of the Murano glass came back to me, and I knew where it fit. Tournai became famous for its glass, which was the most beautiful and highest quality in the world due to secrets of the process used in Tournai and perhaps to magic. Amory, one of the main characters of The Prince’s Consort, became the son of the foremost glassmaker in Tournai, and Flavian, a painter from far from Tournai, comes to appreciate the art of glassmaking. So inspiration can come from the oddest places, and I’m always happy when it does.

ArtistsMasquerade[The]LGAs the first-born son of the Duke of Tournai and cousin to the prince, Cathal has always tried to fulfill his duty to family and country, including following through with an arranged marriage to Velia, cousin to the emperor of Ardunn. But it’s Velia’s companion, Flavia, who fascinates Cathal. Cathal doesn’t know that Flavia is really Flavian, a man masquerading as a woman to escape Ardunn, a restrictive place in which Flavian’s preference for men is forbidden.

Even when Cathal discovers Flavian’s true gender, he cannot fight his attraction to him. Flavian is intrigued by Cathal, but Cathal is still betrothed to Velia, and Flavian worries Cathal is more taken with his feminine illusion than the man beneath it. While both men battle their longings for each other, spies from Ardunn infiltrate the capital, attempting to uncover Tournai’s weaknesses. They are also searching for Flavian, who possesses a magical Talent that allows him to see the truth of a person just by painting their portrait—a skill invaluable to Ardunn’s emperor.

M/M Fantasy Romance
Series: Chronicles of Tournai
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Release Date: December 21, 2015
Length: Novel (300 pages)

Links:
Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback
Amazon
AllRomance
Kobo

About the Author:

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

 

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Why Fantasy Romance, with Antonia Aquilante

Today my guest is Antonia Aquilante, here to talk about her first novel, The Prince’s Consort, and her choice to write a fantasy story.

Thank you for having me here today, Shae! I’m Antonia Aquilante, and I’m happy to be here to talk with you about The Prince’s Consort, my debut novel releasing October 16th from Dreamspinner Press. The Prince’s Consort is a fantasy romance, which is one of my favorite subgenres of romance, both to read and to write. I’ve been reading fantasy and enjoying fantasy stories since I was a child—I loved fairy tales and stories of other worlds and magic. Journeying to Narnia or Prydain or Oz or any number of other places set my imagination flying. When I was around eleven, I discovered Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet, and then dove into the works of authors like Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey, and basically lived in the fantasy section at my local bookstore and library. I loved immersing myself in the worlds they created and getting to know the characters who populate those worlds, and returning again and again. Fantasy stories swept me away in magic and adventure.

Around the same time, I read my first romance novel—a Nora Roberts that I still have the same worn copy of on my bookshelf. I was twelve, and I proceeded to devour romance novels the way I devoured fantasy novels. I didn’t have to haunt the bookstore for these for a while—I just borrowed them from my mom’s bookshelves. I loved immersing myself in romance too, in the way the characters met and how relationships progressed and happily ever after was reached. Stories of romance swept me away too, and I fell in love with the romance genre as well.

But as much as I loved fantasy novels, something started to bother me. I loved the fantasy worlds and the fantasy plots, but I wanted more of the characters and their relationships. I wanted more than just the romantic subplots that might or might not end happily. I wanted more romance in my fantasy. And I wanted happily ever after. (Because some fantasy is very romantic but not very happy.) I still read books that are more fantasy than romance and romances that have nothing to do with fantasy stories, but I do love finding that perfect combination of both.

I often gravitate toward this idea in my writing – fantasy worlds but stories that focus on romance and the building of relationships in love, friendship, and family. The Prince’s Consort came from there. It’s a fantasy story, taking place in a fantasy world. Tournai is a place filled with magic, both large and small. Tournai’s royal family, for instance, possesses a secret magical Talent that is steeped in legend. But at its heart, the story one of two people coming together, falling in love, and fighting to stay together. I hope you enjoy visiting Tournai and seeing Amory and Philip fall in love as much as I did.

ThePrincesConsort_coverThe Prince’s Consort
M/M Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Release Date: October 16, 2015
Length: Novel (290 pages)

Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time.

Or have they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

Links:
Ebook
Paperback

About the Author:

AntoniaAntonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers.

Website: www.antoniaaquilante.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/antoniaquilante

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AntoniaAquilanteAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/44514257-antonia-aquilante

Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/antonia-aquilante

Meeting the Parents with Erin and Racheline

My guest today is Erin McCrae, here to talk about her latest release with co-author Racheline Maltese, Twelfth Night, the second in the Love’s Labours series. Take it away, Erin!

If you’ve ever dated anyone, chances are you’ve had some version of the awkward, unpleasant, or just downright embarrassing version of the meet-the-parents experience. For me, it was the first time I met the woman who would become my mother-in-law: I had just slept over at her house, with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Ben.

As far as I knew, his mother was fine with him having girl- and/or boyfriends sleep over. But I’d never slept with someone and then had to look their parents in the eye before. As far as my emotional state was concerned, embarrassment was an understatement. Like, what smalltalk was I supposed to make while standing in the kitchen of a woman I’d never met before, whose son I had just slept with. Also, I was in my pajamas. It is hard to feel like an adult in pajamas.

Like in Twelfth Night, when Michael has to admit to his parents that he’s dating someone seventeen years older than him, and John has to admit to his parents that his boyfriend is seventeen years younger than him…and a boy.

We love writing about people navigating romantic relationships and having awesome sexytimes (and Twelfth Night has plenty of both). But we also really like the fun, and farce, and yes, embarrassment, of people meeting their S.O.’s parents for the first time. Because no matter how embarrassing or awkward things get as our heroes try to introduce their boyfriends to their families, it makes a great story.

Blurb:

Twelfth Night CoverMichael and John, a May/December couple, navigated the repercussions of their gay-for-you love affair in the hothouse of a summerstock theater production.

Back in New York City at the conclusion of their show’s run, John is overwhelmed by his obsession with Michael and the difficulties of learning to date again after the death of his young son and his recent divorce. John gradually comes out to his colleagues, his football rec league friends, and even his ex-wife.

But when he invites his parents over for Christmas to meet the person he’s been seeing, the holiday—featuring Michael’s family’s amateur production of Twelfth Night—quickly turns into a French farce of potentially catastrophic proportions, forcing John finally to take the lead in claiming his evolving identity as he takes the next step in his relationship with Michael.

Bio:

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 http://www.Avian30.com.

Social media links:

Joint Blog: http://Avian30.com
Joint Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Erin.and.Racheline
Erin’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/erincmcrae
Racheline’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/racheline_m
Erin’s Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8323893.Erin_McRae
Racheline’s Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1015335.Racheline_Maltese
Erin’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Erin-McRae/e/B00M7A0SVC
Racheline’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Racheline-Maltese/e/B001JRVS2C

Buy Links:

Amazon
AllRomance
B&N
Dreamspinner
Google Play
Kobo
Goodreads

Excerpt:

John doesn’t expect Michael to be as weirdly taken with the ocean as he is with the wild woods. It doesn’t seem like his element the way the trees are. But he is mesmerized by the beach almost instantly upon their arrival, insisting they walk along the hard wet sand of the tide line. It doesn’t matter how many times John says their muscles will ache unhappily tomorrow from miles walked at the edge of the frigid fall water; Michael either doesn’t hear him or doesn’t care enough to respond.

John is fascinated as Michael keeps a close eye on shells and rocks. One is shaped like a small egg, and he’s disappointed when it’s not. Still he makes John hold it for him, running ahead to a rock jetty to comb through the midden of mussel shells left by persistent and angry seagulls.

John tries not to be horrified, but the sight of Michael’s fingers picking through the dead bivalves and seaweed stinking in the sun is a bit much.

“What’s this?” Michael asks, eventually, holding out a shell, colored and swirled, to him.

It’s in perfect condition, and John is about to be impressed with the find until he realizes there’s still a creature using the shell as its home.

“That’s an animal in there.” He doesn’t actually know what kind. But it’s gelatinous and of the sea and not really a thing they should be messing with. They’ve seen dozens of jellyfish washed up on the beach already today.

“Does it go in the ocean or not in the ocean?”

“Ocean,” John says. He’s not 100 percent sure, but he suspects, like the jellyfish, the sun and the birds will eventually cook and peck it to nothing if it’s not saved by the sea.

Michael throws the shell back and returns to the tide line as they walk, gaze carefully on the ground and picking at every shell he sees that looks like whatever creature he just rescued. Most of them have their animals in them, and John suspects the coming hurricane that’s going to ruin their trip is churning them up.

As Michael throws each one back into the water, John is charmed that he’s trying to save creatures that have no spine, names he doesn’t know, and forms he’s never seen before.

Eventually Michael decides they can leave and reaches for John’s hand. John flinches away. It’s not the strangeness of the town this beach is attached to, half religious meeting town, half gay beach paradise. There’s even a club down the block from their inn that advertises “Less Lights, More Fun!” It’s that he can only think about whatever bacteria Michael is now coated in from all the dead mussels.

God, but he’s going to look like an idiot explaining that.

When he tries, stumbling through a mini monologue about seaweed and sea creatures and sand, Michael just listens with his head tipped to the side.

Finally John’s speech drags to a halt under Michael’s incredibly unimpressed gaze. He sighs and starts again.

“Okay. I swear the handholding thing has nothing to do with anything except your gross dead bivalve hands. But I think I may be freaking out.”

Michael blinks at him. “Did this start when we checked in and you had to deal with people who know we’re here to fuck?”

It’s sharp, but John knows he probably deserves it.

“You know I don’t mind being out in public with you,” he says cautiously. He wants to be honest with Michael, but he also doesn’t want to provoke anger by being less willing to be out than Michael deems sufficient.

Thankfully Michael considers John for a moment and then grins. “Somewhere in the romantic beach getaway, I got that.”

John lets out a relieved sigh and wraps an arm around Michael’s waist. He wants to prove his willingness to be fully in this relationship without shame, but life is also just better when they’re touching. Michael leans into his side, and they start walking down the sand again.

“But it’s something I can’t help being aware of,” John says quietly as they walk. “What we are and what people see when they look at me. Which apparently means I’ve found my internalized homophobia, and I am completely aware of how gross that is. I’m going to work on that, but there it is.”

“You still want to, like, go out to dinner tonight and make out on the boardwalk, though, right?”

“Oh my God, you have no idea. I want to tell everybody about you.”

Michael smirks. “So why don’t you?”

“Coming out at my age is kind of more complicated than it is at twelve. Or however old you were when you did.”

“I was fourteen, thank you.”

“So how did you come out to your parents?” John asks after they walk for a few minutes in silence.

Michael cracks up.

“I’m serious!”

Michael buries his face in John’s arm and apparently can’t stop laughing. “You do understand how ridiculous this is, right?”

“I understand that I’m forty-two and have to come out to everyone in my entire life that I give a remote shit about, because you are addictive and fascinating and wonderful and also are sadly holding me to some pretty legitimate ethical standards. So help a guy out, okay?”

“I was making out with my first high school boyfriend in the living room, and my mom walked in.”

John is entirely not surprised. “So hey, when you meet my family, let’s not go with that plan, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Michael says, drawing the word out in a way that makes it clear it’s his turn to be defensive and weird.

John smirks, pleased to be off the hook for the moment. “You haven’t told them about us either,” he says smugly.

Michael mumbles something against John’s arm.

“What was that?”

“You’re really old,” Michael says. “And they’re going to freak.”

Joe Cosentino’s Drama Queen In Audio

My guest today is Joe Cosentino, here to talk about his recent release Drama Queen, the first in his Nicky and Noah mystery series, which is now out in audiobook format!

My novel Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, came out in June and has frequently been in the top twenty in its category on Amazon Kindle’s bestseller list since its release. The paperback is taking off now too, and everyone’s been telling me it should be made into an audiobook. So I was thrilled when Steve Berman told me Lethe Press was producing an audio version of the book.

With twenty-four characters of all ages/races/genders/sexualities/personalities (one bipolar), as well as Nicky and Noah using their theatre skills to impersonate other people during their investigation, it was important to find the right narrator. The audiobook is now available narrated by Michael Gilboe, a gifted actor, character voice artist, and college theatre professor/director—like Nicky Abbondanza, the leading character. Michael has a dry wit in his reading, which fits the wacky humor of the series. He also does an incredible job bringing to life all twenty-four characters!

The audiobook is on Audible and Amazon, available for download on any audio device or computer. I think you will laugh hysterically at Michael’s performance, and be captivated by the clues, red herrings, reversals, and surprise ending of the story. Don’t miss it!

Audiobook purchase links:

Amazon
Audible

DramaQueencoverIt could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

Paperback: 194 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press
Language: English
Cover Design: Ben Baldwin
ISBN-10: 1590214676
ISBN-13: 978-1590214671
Release date: June 6, 2015

Paperback: Lethe Press || Amazon
Ebook: Smashwords || Amazon (Kindle)

About the Author

Joe Cosentino is the author of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll, the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays “Infatuation” and “Neighbor” were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press fairytale novella), and Porcelain Doll, the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press).

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KRPXJP6

J. Scott Coatsworth on Finding Inspiration and Following Where It Goes

My guest today is J. Scott Coatsworth, telling the stories behind the stories for his two new releases, “Between the Lines” and “The Homecoming.”

People often ask me how I get inspired – where I get the ideas for the stories that I write.

They come from all sorts of places, depending on the story.

Case in point – I have two different novellas coming out in July, my first stand-alone stories, and they have very different themes and backgrounds.

The first, “Between the Lines”, out from Dreamspinner on 7/15, is the story of a chief of staff for a state lawmaker, and the curious things that happen when he discovers a medallion that lets him see the words behind the words people say.

I’ve been writing for a long time, but with some big gaps, and Between the Lines started out as a story fragment called “The Box”. I wrote it in a sitting or two, one of those “let’s open up a blank page and see where it goes” sort of things, and then it sat on the shelf for a decade or two.

Flash forward to 2014, and I needed something to submit to Dreamspinner’s “Random Acts of Kindness” anthology. I pulled this one down and dusted it off, and thought it would make a perfect entry. I plotted out a direction for the rest of the story and set about writing it, using my current hometown of Sacramento as the backdrop, and voila, a full fledged story.

It was rejected for the anthology, but DSP encouraged me to extend it and resubmit it as a stand-alone, and once I did, they bought it.

The second novella, “The Homecoming”, also started out as a story fragment, albeit with a much longer history. In elementary school and junor high, I used to draw maps of this world, Antana, that experienced regular worldwide floods. I built a whole history for the world, and then one day I started out a story with the idea of an expedition back from Antana to old Earth – what if Earth was taken over by intelligent wolves?

Less Than Three called for submissions for an anthology “Lovely, Dark and Deep”, about things that happen in the forest. Once again, something off my dusty shelves seemed perfect. I pounded out the story, where the wolves were now werewolves, and submitted it.

And here, too, I was rejected, but with a request to resubmit the story as a stand-alone. I did, and three days later, they said yes.

The takeaway here is that inspiration can come from a myriad of sources.

And you never know when an idea you discarded a few years back will finally come into its own.

BTLcoversmallPublisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63476-235-9
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Length: 15k
Format: eBook
Release Date: 7/15
Price: 3.99

Brad Weston’s life seems perfect. He’s GQ handsome, the Chief of Staff for a Republican California State Senator, and enjoys the power and the promise of a bright future. And he’s in a comfortable relationship with his boyfriend of six years, Alex.

Sam Fuller is Brad’s young, blond, blue-eyed intern, fresh out of college, running from a bad break-up, and questioning his choices and his new life in politics. To make things worse, Sam also has a thing for the boss, but Brad is already taken.

While looking for a gift for his boyfriend, Brad wanders into a curiosity shop and becomes fascinated by an old wooden medallion. Brad’s not a superstitious man, but when he takes out the medallion in his office, he sees the world in a new light. And nothing will ever be the same.

Buy Links

Dreamspinner
Amazon
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
All Romance Ebooks

THcoversmallPublisher: Less Than Three Press
ISBN: 978-1-62004-583-1
Cover Artist: London Burden
Length: 20k
Format: eBook
Release Date: 7/29
Price: 3.99

When his own world is destroyed, Aldiss and his crew barely manage to escape, leaving friends and lovers behind. What was meant to be an exploratory trip back to the home world turns into a mad dash for survival.

When they awaken from stasis on Earth, which was abandoned by humanity five centuries before, they must quickly learn about their new home. While exploring the region around the ship, Aldiss meets Hari, a shape-changer, whose people harbor secrets that might cost the crew their lives.

Buy Link: Less Than Three

About the Author

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

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

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

K. Lynn on NaNoWriMo Success and Crossing Gender Lines

My guest today is K. Lynn, another author who’s won the National Novel Writing Month challenge of finishing a novel in a month. She’s here to talk about the finished product, His Womanly Ways.

I’ve written a number of manuscripts over the past few years, full-length novels that are in different levels of editing. And I’ve written quite a few short stories and novellas, all of which have been published to date. However, I’ve only done NaNoWriMo once. The push to write at such a fast pace, in such a short time, is both freeing and terrifying. But, I figured I’d give it a try once. And as a result, I completed the first draft of His Womanly Ways.

This novel is unlike my usual fare of works, and perhaps that’s why it came so fast to me. I let myself go and just saw where the plot would take me. And it turns out that it took me to quite an interesting place. The only thing I knew going in was that I wanted to do a genderswap book, but one that was unlike those I had read prior. I have always been interested in the genre, but I find most of it jumps straight to objectification rather than exploration. You’re turned into another gender, so the first thing you do is feel yourself up and try to have sex with the nearest willing person? I don’t buy that.

Essentially your body doesn’t match your inner self anymore. That should cause some kind of journey to either accept or reject the situation. That’s what I tried to do with His Womanly Ways. Alex didn’t ask for this to happen to him, and the process is gradual, as is his acceptance of the changes. His mind doesn’t match the image he sees in the mirror, and that’s important to realize.

hiswomanlyways_smallAlex is a womanizer. He makes no excuses for it. Yes, he picks up women at the local bar, leaving them with just a memory of a good night and a good lay, but he hasn’t had any complaints yet. That is, until he picks up the wrong woman. Not satisfied to be tossed aside as just another notch in Alex’s bedpost, she curses him, wishing he “knew what it was like for a woman.” And he’s about to find out what she means, embarking on a genderswap journey that he can’t stop.

Alex starts slowly gaining secondary female characteristics. Waking up with his cock gone, replaced by a vagina, was bad enough. Then it gets worse, as his body becomes more like a woman than the man he used to be. Alex tries to hide the changes he’s going through, for fear that someone will discover his secret, but keeping this quite literally “under wraps” might be impossible before the curse runs its course.

With the help of his female best friend, Eve, Alex tries to deal with who he is becoming.  He feels like he’s lost his identity, his mind not matching the body he now has. But Eve sticks by him, and they become closer as Alex’s changes progress. What started out as friendship may become something more before Alex’s journey is over. Perhaps this curse was actually a blessing in disguise.

Did I strike the right balance between humor and drama? Create an interesting storyline with realistic characters, despite the extraordinary circumstances they are in? That’s up to the reader to decide, but I do hope I provide a new way to look at the concept. Because a change in gender is not something to take lightly.

Buy Links:
Torquere
Amazon

About The Author:

writerklynnK. Lynn has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. While in college, K. Lynn increased her involvement in LGBT issues and writing within the LGBT fiction genre. She has become a long-time fan of the authors that seek to explore the commonality that exists within all sexualities and genders. Most of K. Lynn’s work features LGBT characters, many of whom are in established relationships and show how love perseveres through every trial and tribulation that life holds. She also has a particular interest in seeing transgender characters gain a larger foothold within the LGBT fiction genre, hoping that the market for these works expand in the future. Contact K. Lynn at writerklynn@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @WriterKLynn

Hope Ryan on Location, Location, Location

My guest today is YA author Hope Ryan, here to talk about her first release, The Geek and His Artist. Don’t miss the giveaway!

Hello and thanks so much to Shae for giving me some space today! I really appreciate it.


One of the things I like to do for my stories is to have firm pictures in my head of the locations things take place in. Whether it’s a school, a home, or some other place that’s important to the characters or plot, I like to collect pictures of them. I unashamedly scavenge from Google Maps, as well as a number of other places.

The Geek and His Artist takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a town I am very familiar with. I lived there for several years (and hope to again!), so I like to set stories there. Without further ado, let me show you some of the places important in Geek.

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The guys in Geek attend Carrick High School. I used to live not too far from this one and my amazing editor still lives just up the street!
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Early in the story, Jimmy, Ronnie, and Sean go to the AMC theater in an area called The Waterfront to see The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies. I’ve always had a particular fondness for the theater, if for no other reason than just how pretty it is on the outside.
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But the inside isn’t anything to sneeze at, either. The theater Jimmy sees Simon in doesn’t have that middle section, but otherwise, is the same as the picture below. I have seen more than a few movies here.
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After the movie, the guys head down to the Barnes & Noble in the same shopping area. It’s cold—just before Christmas, but not too far to walk in the cold. There aren’t a lot of brick-and-mortar bookstores anymore, sadly, but this one was still open as of June 1st.
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Jimmy and Simon go to the same theater for their first date, but skip the bookstore afterward, heading to the Starbucks, instead.

Simon, Tony, Deck, and Kip are all skaters, living on their boards. Turns out, Sean does a bit of skateboarding, as well and one day after school lets out early, they head over to the skate park at McKinley Park.20150601_11253220150601_112427

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Really? They call these benches? I don’t know any >6 foot tall guy who could be comfortable on this and Jimmy at 6’6″, well, let’s just say he was happy to move when Simon suggested it.
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The half-pipe they moved to when the benches got to them. They were sitting up on the platform to the left.

* * *

Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for chances to win a paperback copy of Geek and $25 to spend at Harmony Ink! Each comment below also qualifies you for an entry to the giveaway. One reader today will win a Geek character trading card of your choice!

tumblr_inline_np30cq2jKj1slfj1n_500http://hoperyan.com/geek-tour

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Simon Williams spends his lunch periods drawing his geek and trying not to think about the terrors waiting for him at home. He needs to get away from his abusive father before he suffers the same grisly fate as his mother. Because he’s learned the hard way running away doesn’t work, he’s counting the days until his eighteenth birthday.

Jimmy Bennet should be spending his lunch studying so his senior GPA is good enough to get him into college, but he can’t seem to focus thanks to his distracting artist. When he’s given the opportunity to tutor Simon in Trig and discovers Simon’s home-life nightmare, he wants nothing more than to get Simon out of danger. This need becomes more urgent when Simon comes to school the Monday after their first date with bruises, but it takes a broken leg before Jimmy can convince his boyfriend the Bennets really want him.

But the danger Simon thought was past shows up at the most unexpected time, and he must stand up to the fears he’s held so long to protect not only himself, but the man he wants to spend his life with.

You can get Geek here:

Harmony Ink Press Dreamspinner Press Amazon AllRomanceebooks Kobo Barnes & Noble

About Hope:hope (1)

Hope Ryan is an out and proud bisexual, wife of a loving guy and mother to three, including an amazingly brave gender fluid son. She loves to write about the tough stuff, but also wants to see her characters happy in the end. She feels strongly about showing there is hope for everyone, no matter where you come from, how you identify your gender or who you love.

Hope likes to play board and card games and can often be found playing God with her Sims or running around, fighting monsters in a virtual version of Middle Earth. Her TV and movie preferences lean towards anime, sci fi and fantasy, though she’ll never turn down a good happily ever after love story, either. As long as there are explosions or action, she’s happy. She loves to read books of all kinds, though prefers stories about love in its many forms.

Find Hope at her website, email her (hoperyanauthor@gmail.com), or on Facebook.

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 http://www.Avian30.com.

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

Excerpt:

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:
Dreamspinner
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
All Romance
Google Play
Beamebooks.de

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 http://www.facebook.com/dkdunnwriter
My blog is at dkdunnwriter.wordpress.com

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.

Bigotry

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.

Cracks

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
Amazon
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
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The Books I Love & My Reviews on GoodReads
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