Release Blitz & Giveaway: A Way With Words by Lane Hayes

Title:  A Way with Words

Series: A Way With Stories Series

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Self Pub

Release Date: June 22

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 24k approximately

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Humor, New York City

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Synopsis

 

Tony De Luca is a simple guy. He works for his uncle’s Brooklyn-based construction firm. And he knows from experience that keeping his head down and doing his job is the best way to deal with the meddlesome family members he sees daily. They think he’s quiet and maybe a little awkward but the truth is more complicated. Tony has a secret he isn’t ready or willing to share. He’s an expert at avoiding familial scrutiny. At least he was until the sexy guitar player showed up.
Remy Nelson is a small-town, free-spirited guy looking for a new life in the big city. He stays busy playing his instrument on a busy Manhattan street corner during the day and bartending at night. Remy is more interested in finding steady employment than a mate, but he can’t deny his attraction to the dreamy construction worker with soulful eyes, a kind heart, and a unique way with words. Falling for Remy wasn’t what Tony expected, but keeping him will require courage. And an end to keeping secrets.

 

Excerpt

“Yeah, that’s no fun. But it’s good to make new friends.” He gave me a sideways grin. “Like us.”

“Yeah, except you make me sweat,” I admitted with a half chuckle. Then I added, “In a good way. I like you.”

Remy hummed softly and sidled closer to me, resting his thigh against mine. “I like you too, Tony. You make me smile.”

We stared at each other for a long moment. All those funny details came rushing at me. Things I never noticed about other people. The gorgeous halo of curls, the shape of his eyes, the freckle on his cheek and those luscious lips. The lone bulb above the back door illuminated him in a yellowish light that shouldn’t have been flattering but I had a feeling Remy would look good with a paper bag on his head. Wait. That didn’t make sense. I furrowed my brow and cocked my head just as Remy set his arm over my shoulder and pulled me forward.

My heart raced when the tips of our noses brushed and our breath commingled visibly in the cool air. With a courage I didn’t know I possessed, I angled my head and slowly touched my lips to his. Just a touch. He had room to pull away. Hell, he even had room to punch me if I got this totally wrong. But when he purred softly and licked the corner of my mouth, I knew we were on the same page.

I cradled the back of his head and gently threaded my fingers through his hair. I held him like he was a fragile flower or something. Then in my typical bull-in-a-china-store style, I plunged my tongue between his lips. Remy gasped at the onslaught but he didn’t miss a beat. He wrapped both of his arms around my neck, drawing me close as he glided his tongue over mine, twirling and sucking feverishly.

I didn’t know how long we made out on that stoop but I could have done it all damn night. He tasted incredible and he felt even better. I loved the way he pressed his chest against mine and those sexy noises he made drove me wild. I wanted more than we were able to do on a cigarette break. Much more.

We broke for air and eyed each other, looking for clues. Or maybe that was just me. I couldn’t be the one in charge of directing traffic here. I was out of my depth. He had to tell me what came next. I’d never figure it out on my own. Remy caressed my cheek and smiled before leaning in to nibble on my bottom lip.

“I have to go,” he whispered.

“Okay. I’ll see ya ’round.” My huskier than usual voice didn’t mesh with the casual vibe I was going for.

Remy pulled back with a smirk. “That’s all you’re going to say? “See ya”? Don’t you want my number or something?”

“Um yeah. Yeah, I do.” I pulled out my cell and handed it to him. “Put it in. My hands are shaking.”

This time when he smiled, I felt it deep inside me. The butterflies in my stomach fluttered like crazy but in a good way.

Available for Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

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Guest Post & Giveaway with Nash Summers

 

Title: Arrows Through Archer

Author: Nash Summers

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: June 14, 2017

Length: 70,000 words

Genre: M/M, romance, contemporary

Tags: loss, grief, hurt/comfort, age difference, depression

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33394243-arrows-through-archer

 

Blurb

After the loss of his parents, Archer Hart is consumed by grief. Each day, he struggles his way through classes, parties, and trying to put on a good front for the sake of his best friend. But at night, he falls asleep to the sound of gunshots ringing in his ears.

Mallory is a man fighting a war of emotions all his own. When his son invites his best friend back home to Banff over a college break, he’s happy for the company.

Some time during the late-night talks, subtle smiles, and long, long silences, the two men begin to find solace in one another.

But love isn’t always easy, especially when it strikes you straight through the heart.

Excerpt:

What does she like?”

Mallory’s sigh was heavier than the collapse of a nation. “White wine. Reading biographies. Jazz music. Pasta primavera. Laughing. Swimming in the summer, skiing in the winter. My shirt.”

All good things to like.”

They are.”

So?”

He stopped speaking. It wasn’t one of those comfortable silences full of hope and contemplation. The silence felt toxic.

So,” Mallory said eventually. “So, I don’t know. You like puzzles and whiskey. And you listen to classic rock with me, although I’m painfully aware you don’t like it. And you love those chocolate cupcakes I brought home from the bakery last week, but you hate the bran muffins I make. And you like running and guns and silence, and Sarah doesn’t like any of those things.”

It was obvious now to see and hear how much he’d drunk.

Mallory—”

She doesn’t like puzzles.” Finally, Mallory turned to me, his eyes alight. “I want to be with a woman who likes puzzles.”

I don’t understand.”

You look so damn happy sitting at the kitchen table, puzzle pieces scattered around.”

I closed my eyes. “You should go to bed.”

I know,” he said quietly.

I stood. “Are you coming in?”

He ignored my question as he stared down at his now-empty glass. “Puzzles make you happy, don’t they?”

Sharpshooter by nature, my instincts told me to go in for the kill. “It’s not the puzzles that make me happy, Mallory.”

Immediately, his eyes locked with mine. “Don’t do this to me, Archer.”

Okay.”

Alone, I left the workshop, while Mallory remained behind.

Purchase Link

Amazon

 

Meet the Author:

 

Nash Summers rarely has any idea what she’s doing. But when she likes to pretend, she pretends by writing stories at the pace of drying paint. As if that wasn’t exhilarating enough, Nash also enjoys absolute silence, general politeness, and waiting her turn in line. Needless to say, she’s a bona fide hell raiser.

 

 

Website: www.nashsummers.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nash.summers.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nashvsummers

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8157232.Nash_Summers

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nash.summers/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nashsummers/

Sign up for Nash’s Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/boD5TP

 

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 61,000 words
 
 
Blurb
 
Confronting the past is never easy.


Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.


He never expected her father.


Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.


This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.
 

Excerpt


Time had done nothing to dull Cole’s memories of Zander Brooks, though he wished it had. His stomach rolled, and he had to lock his knees to keep upright. Breathe, Cole, you’re being dramatic. Of all the places for them to see each other after nearly two decades…. It was some consolation, a very small amount, that Zander appeared equally as shocked to see Cole. He stood in the doorway, unmoving and silent, his lips parted. Cole could feel Zander,s gaze on him like a physical touch. It made his skin prickle, his heart skip a beat. He was supposed to be over this.


Cole needed to find his words. He was a professional, and whatever personal history they’d had, it was just that. History. It was irrelevant in this room. He played pretend with his class sometimes. He could do that now. He cleared his throat, feeling a bit like a cat with a hairball. “Hello, Mr… Emerson?” It was less confident than he’d been going for, but it would have to do. Zander took a minute to noticeably reorient himself. He walked into the classroom slowly. His pace could even be considered hesitant. Cole tried to ignore the observation, the nagging surge of satisfaction that he wasn’t alone in being off kilter.


From behind him, Savanah snorted. Cole glommed onto the excuse to look away from Zander and turned to her. Savanah’s pert nose was scrunched. “Can I play outside?” she asked, gaze darting between Cole and her father.


Jesus. Zander was a father. Zander was the father who Cole had been wanting to meet. If Cole didn’t regulate his breathing, he was going to have a full blown panic attack. He’d been in love with one of his student’s fathers. He’d had his heart broken for the first time by him. Seventeen years later and it somehow still stung. “No, but you can use one of the stations,” he said, hoping he didn’t sound too strangled. He ran a hand over the back of his neck, damp from sweat. He thought it was possible he’d had a nightmare like this before.


Savanah pouted but went in silence to the reading corner. She made sure to scuff her shoes over the carpet on the way.


“It’s Mr. Brooks,” said Zander, sounding much closer. His voice was the same, deep and smooth like velvet. It sent parts of Cole’s insides fluttering in a way he hadn’t experienced in years.


Cole retreated under the guise of picking the workbook and pencil off the floor. Savanah had Goldfish crumbs littered around the legs of her desk. “Ah, I see. My apologies.” He aligned the book and pencil symmetrically on the scarred desktop. A few of the workbook’s pages were crinkled now, folding in on themselves. He tried to smooth them down and noticed in the process that Savanah had been working ahead. He made a mental note of it.


He was going to have to stop delaying and face Zander eventually. Could he play this off like he hadn’t recognized Zander or was that cat long out of the bag? “Why don’t you take a seat? I’ll be right with you.” He cupped his hand at the edge of Savanah’s desk and used his other to sweep eraser crumbs into his palm.


“Uh.” Zander coughed, shuffling his feet and rustling his jeans in the process. “Here?”


Cole managed to look at Zander at last. His lips even twitched into a half-smirk of their own accord at the picture of Zander squeezed into a child-sized seat. The smirk didn’t last long. Zander was too close. Cole could make out the nearly golden striations in his irises, could see the slow progression of his pupil taking over the brown. He had a scar at his temple now, a jagged slash from hairline to the arch of his eyebrow. Stress lines looked to be permanently etched in the dark brown skin at the corners of his eyes and mouth. If Cole didn’t know better, he’d have said he was staring at someone in their forties. The years they’d been apart had not been overly kind to Zander.


Strangely the realization left Cole with a hollow feeling, a tinge of… disappointment, maybe. He’d been angry with Zander with every fiber of his teenage being, but buried underneath had always been a quiet hope that Zander would figure out how to be happy.


Clearly he’d not.

 

Author Bio


Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and recently completed a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.


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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Sight Unseen Anthology hosted by Open Ink Press

Book title: Sight Unseen: A Collection of Five Anonymous Novellas, Volume I

Authors: Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran, Erin Satie, Emma Barry, J.A. Rock

ISBN (e-book): 978-0-9972311-3-7

ISBN (print): 978-0-9972311-4-4

Genre: Romance

Release date: 6/6/17

Author reveal date: first week of September 2017

Publisher: Open Ink Press

Cost: $4.99

Wordcount: 119,000 | 388 pages

Available on: All Major Retailers

Buy Links: https://books2read.com/u/3yPjLV

 

Praise for Sight Unseen:

“A fascinating guessing game that invites us to explore the range and creativity of which some of our most beloved authors are capable.” –Laura Florand, author of La Vie en Roses, Paris Nights, and The Chocolate Series

“Your favorite authors like you’ve never read them before! These novellas are varied and vivid, with dashes of magic or danger and an irresistible touch of romance.” –Theresa Romain, author of Fortune Favors the Wicked

“Trying to puzzle out who wrote which novella was so much fun. It was such a treat to see some of my favorite authors work their magic on a story that’s outside their usual writing.” –Cat Sebastian, author of The Soldier’s Scoundrel and The Lawrence Browne Affair

 

Sight Unseen

What stories would you tell if you could? Where would your mind take you, if you let it? Five of the top voices in romance dare you to explore the most distant corners of their imaginations as they test the limits of storytelling and break the boundaries of what even they thought possible, teasing and tormenting you shamelessly as they go.

But there’s a twist—the author of each story is a secret at the time of release. They’re each plumbing the depths of the human heart and mind in ways they’ve never attempted before. Taking you high, bringing you low, until you will be hardpressed to guess who wrote what. Can you tell? Want us to?

Too bad our lips are sealed . . . for now.

Lost That Feeling
Alma knew who she was, once—that is, before she erased her memory with a spell. Some, like the guards at the prison in which she’s held, say that she was a thief, a murderer.

Others say she was a hero. Like Driss, the man who rescues her. He claims to be a friend. He’s certainly handsome. And charming. And brave. In a word: perfect.

That’s the problem. If he’s perfect and she’s a hero, how did she end up in prison with a seven-year hole in her memory to begin with?

A Clear View of You
As a child, Kate had one dream: to escape her mother’s deluded hippie commune and live in the real world, where mature adults know that magic isn’t real. But the real world also has its downsides—like rent, student loans, and a cutthroat job market.

Happily, Kate is uniquely qualified for one in-demand position: psychic. Of course, she’s as fake as the rest of them, but nobody plays a fortune-teller as convincingly as a girl raised by a would-be witch. If only Kate’s newest client weren’t so perceptive . . . and attractive. If only crystal balls didn’t have the habit of lighting up in his presence.

Magic isn’t real, right? Kate is about to find out otherwise . . .

Free
Brad White would be an ordinary accountant with an unrequited crush except for two things: he works for a criminal motorcycle club, and he’s in love with the club president’s daughter. When she discovers the truth about the family business, Brad has to move beyond ordinary and put his life on the line to keep her safe.

Wren Masters, unlike everyone else in her graduating class, chose to stay in Fallow, Montana because, also unlike everyone else, she loves it. But when she finds out her father’s club is running drugs, her family and world crumble. She and Brad risk everything to uncover the truth . . . and begin a scorching affair.

As the conspiracy—and their feelings—deepen, Brad and Wren must choose between family and justice. And neither seems to include a future for them.

Chariot of Desire
CJ Crespo, drummer for the once wildly popular rock band Donjon, has always had a thing for frontman Donny Times. They spent the seventies getting high together, making music together, self-destructing together. But her qualms about ruining a creative partnership with sex kept them from ever hooking up. Now, Donny’s conversion to a bizarre fringe religion that won’t allow him to engage in—or even sing about—sex, drugs, or other “sins” threatens to tear Donjon apart.

As the band struggles to embrace a new decade and a new Donny, CJ must decide where she belongs: by Donny’s side, even if he can’t ever love her? Or out there making her own music, away from a man who gives and takes in equal measures?

The Heart is a Universe
On the remote planet of Pax Cara lies the greatest secret of the universe. Once every generation, the inhabitants must offer up an exceptional young person—the Chosen One—who sacrifices his or her own life for the sake of that secret, and the planet itself.

However, Vitalis, the current Chosen One, is desperate to free herself from the yoke of destiny. An unexpected invitation to an aristocratic summit seems to be the perfect opportunity for escape. But almost as soon as she arrives, the most eligible prince in existence proposes marriage.

Sparks fly, but Vitalis is wary. Eleian of Terra Illustrata can have any woman he wants. Why has he set his sight on Vitalis, who, unless she manages to flee, will die in sixteen days? Is he hiding an ulterior motive, one that could put everything in jeopardy—her plans, her life, and her heart?

About the Authors:

Emma Barry
Emma Barry is a novelist, full-time mama, and recovering academic. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves hugs from her twins, her husband’s cooking, her cat’s whiskers, her dog’s tail, and Earl Grey tea. You can find her on the web at www.authoremmabarry.com.

Meredith Duran
Meredith Duran is the author of eleven novels, all published by Pocket Books. Her debut, The Duke of Shadows, has been translated into thirteen languages and together with her sophomore book, Bound by Your Touch, was ranked among the top 100 romances of all time in the 2010 All About Romance poll. Her other books include RITA award winner Fool Me Twice; Wicked Becomes You, which was included on Woman’s World list of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010; and her February 2017 release, A Lady’s Code of Misconduct, which both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly called “flawlessly executed” in their starred reviews.

Meredith blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. When not writing, Meredith enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women.

Connect with Meredith at MeredithDuran.com.

J.A. Rock
J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A. has received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for Minotaur, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

Website: www.jarockauthor.com

Blog: http://jarockauthor.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jarockauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ja.rock.39

Erin Satie

Erin Satie is the author of the dark and elegant No Better Angels series, historical romances set in the early Victorian period. She’s currently hard at work on her upcoming series, Sweetness & Light, which should be just as elegant but not quite so dark.

Erin is a California native who’s lived on the coasts and in the heartland, in tiny city apartments and on a working farm. She studied art history in both college and graduate school—research is always her favorite part of starting a new book.

Her favorite part of finishing a book, whether reading or writing, is the happily ever after.

Website: www.erinsatie.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/erinsatie/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/erinsatie

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/2DiAf

Sherry Thomas

USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas loves intricate plots, explosive action, and combustible love stories. She has written romance, fantasy, mystery, and a wuxia-inspired duology. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

And by the way, English is her second language.

You can find out more about Sherry’s books at SherryThomas.com.

 

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Misdemeanor by CF White

 

Buy Links:  Pride Publishing (Early Download) Amazon US | Amazon UK (Out July 4)


Length: 77,579 words


Publisher: Pride Publishing


Blurb

After his mother tragically dies and his
deadbeat father goes off the rails, nineteen-year-old Micky is left to care for
his disabled little brother, Flynn.
   
Juggling college, a dead end job and
Flynn’s special needs means Micky has to put his bad boy past behind him and be
the responsible adult to keep his brother out of care. He doesn’t have time for
anything else in his life.
Until he meets Dan.

“Amazingly gritty and raw. This slice of life is so realistic it flays you.” – Pride Publishing

Excerpt
 

The Sun Keeps Rising


“Shit!”


Micky cursed loudly and squinted through the morning glare to read the alarm clock that was obviously having trouble performing its one and only basic function. He threw off his duvet and jumped out of bed, his foot landing on a plastic wind-up toy penguin discarded on the floor. The penguin openly mocked him by tossing itself into a noisy backflip.


“Fuck!”


Micky cursed again, bending down to pick up the toy and throw it savagely against the wall. It shattered into a million pieces and Micky felt instantly guilty.


“Flynn!” he yelled, hopping over to his bedroom door and yanking it open. Treading more carefully to the bathroom opposite, he rubbed his eyes before coming face-to-face with himself in the mirror above the sink.


He looked like shit. No change there. The three hours of almost sleep he’d gotten obviously hadn’t done anything to improve on his disheveled appearance. He ran a hand over the stubble on his chin. He needed to shave but now didn’t have the time. Micky turned on the tap, dunked his head under the cold stream and squeezed paste onto his toothbrush.


“Flynn!” he shouted again, louder this time, before shoving the toothbrush into his gob and brushing vigorously. The minty taste did nothing for his dry mouth.


“Yes, Micky,” came a quiet little voice from the bathroom doorway.


Still holding the toothbrush between his lips, foam dripping out from the side of his mouth, Micky turned.


“We’re late,” he said, trying to suck the minty drool back up and stop it escaping from the corners.


“I’m dressed,” Flynn replied with a huge proud smile.


Flynn stood in the doorway, clutching another wind-up plastic toy. He kept spinning the thing around, setting off an ear-piercing buzz as it unwound at double speed. He appeared so small and fragile. More like a five-year-old than his actual eight years. He’d gotten dressed. Sort of. He’d managed to pull on his gray school trousers over his pajama bottoms and his army-green jumper clung inside out. No socks, and his mousy-brown curls stuck out from his head in all directions.


Micky’s heart melted a little at the sight.


“Well done, Flynn.” Micky finished brushing his teeth, spat down the plughole and cupped a handful of water into his mouth to rinse. Turning back to his brother, Micky then crouched in front of him. “But how about we try taking the pajamas off?”


Flynn looked down, waggling his toes, and back up at his big brother. “Why?” he asked, confused. “I put them back on later.”


Micky laughed. The kid had a point.


“Come on.” Micky took hold of Flynn’s hand to walk him back into the small box room. It had twin beds, pushed up against opposite sides. One had used to belong to Micky before he’d moved into the master bedroom.


“What time did you get up today?” Micky asked, dragging Flynn’s jumper over his head.


“Five five two,” Flynn replied.


He wound up the blasted plastic toy again and Micky breathed in deeply, preventing his immediate instinctive reaction to take the thing and smash it against the wall in comradeship with its penguin mate.


“That’s early,” Micky said, pulling off Flynn’s pajama top then rooting around in the drawer for his brother’s school polo shirt. He found it scrunched at the bottom and helped Flynn squirm into it while trying to smooth out the creases.


“For what?” Flynn asked, holding on to Micky’s shoulder as he knelt and stepped out of his trousers.


“Everything,” Micky replied with a yawn.


“Daddy didn’t say it was.”


Micky looked into Flynn’s blue eyes. The white starburst pattern within them gave him the feeling of being hypnotized. Micky blinked.


“Dad’s not here, Flynn,” Micky said slowly, standing to inspect his now school-uniform-clad little brother.


“Yes, he is.” Flynn smiled widely, his plastic toy buzzing in his hands.


Micky stared down at for a brief moment, then spun around and ran full pelt down the stairs and into the living room. The place was dark and dank, stinking of booze and fags with beer cans littering the floor.


Micky yanked open the curtains to witness the disgusting figure sprawled on the sofa. Tatty stonewashed denim jeans bagged around his knees and the T-shirt he wore, once white in color, was stained yellow with patches of Micky didn’t want to know what. His greasy, graying hair hung around his face like rats’ tails. He was snoring and every breath out from his wide-open mouth filled the room with a putrid stench.


Micky kicked at the arm dangling off the sofa. The man grumbled but didn’t move. Micky kicked him again, more fiercely. Opening one eye, the brute belched as he squinted through the glaring sunlight.


“Get the fuck out,” Micky demanded.


The laughter that followed made Micky’s skin crawl, along with the irritating scratching of fingernails across the man’s chest. The shirt rubbed against the curly dark hairs scattering his fat body and made the unbearable scraping of nails down a chalk board.


“Now,” Micky growled.


The grunted response wasn’t something Micky could decipher, nor did he care to. Micky watched with contempt as he rolled off the sofa and landed on the floor with a thump. Several beer cans crunched under his heavy frame and he rolled again to push up on to all fours. Grunting once more, he heaved himself to stand. He tripped on his own feet and clutched at the wall. Micky clenched his fists at the ready as the second loud belch blasted out and Micky had to turn away from the oncoming stink.


“Money,” he demanded, holding out a hand.


“Get fucked,” Micky spat back.


“Then I take his.”


He staggered over to the fireplace mantelpiece and made a grab for the handmade clay moneybox shaped like a car. Micky wrapped firm fingers around his wrist and squeezed tightly.


“Over my dead body.” Micky gritted his teeth. Clutching the wrist harder, he used his other hand to root around in the dirty jeans pocket and yanked out a key. Shaking his head, Micky shoved him away. “Now leave, before I fucking kill you.”


“Micky?” Flynn’s delicate little voice squeaked from the living room door. He clung to the plastic toy still in his hand, his eyes tightly shut.


Micky ran over, picked him up and settled him on his hip. For an eight-year-old, Flynn weighed no more than a couple of stone, his body skin and bones. It wasn’t his fault. It was the condition. Flynn rested his head on Micky’s shoulder, wrapping his arms around his big brother’s neck, still clamping his eyes shut.


“It’s okay, Flynn. Dad’s leaving now.”

 
Author Bio
 

Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.


Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.


She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.


Having worked in Higher Education for most of her career, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Having embarked on this writing malarkey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…


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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Boy’s Don’t Cry by J.K. Hogan

Title:  Boys Don’t Cry

Author: J.K. Hogan

Publisher:  J.K. Hogan

Release Date: May 25th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 70,000 words

Genre: Romance

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Synopsis

Mackenzie Pratt is having the worst luck of his life. His apartment building is being torn down, and since he’s jobless and just weeks away from graduating college, he can’t find anywhere else he can afford to live that isn’t a critter-infested dump. As he’s lamenting the very real possibility of job hunting while couch-surfing, he gets an offer from the coworker of his best friend.
An in-demand mobile app developer and heir to his parents’ fortune, Laurent Beaudry is literally an eccentric billionaire. Even though Mackenzie realizes he’s basically living the plot of a cheesy romance novel, he takes the proffered room in Laurent’s Baltimore mansion. He finds his new housemate to be grumpy, brooding, and, at times, incredibly kind and endearing.
Raised by his brother after their father’s death, Mackenzie spent his formative years plowing headlong through school, focusing on little else beyond earning his teaching certification. He’s never taken the time to explore love and relationships, much less sexuality, so when he finds himself being courted by another man, he has no idea what to do. And when he realizes he might actually return those feelings, his life takes a whole new direction.

Excerpt

The house was dark so I couldn’t see much, but what I could see was immaculate, contrary to what Taylor had said. The hardwood floors gleamed in the moonlight, the furniture looked expensive and perfect, and there wasn’t a dirty dish or dust bunny in sight. “I thought you said it was a sty,” I whispered.

“Oh, this? Not this. He only uses a fraction of the house, the suite with his bedroom, living room, library, and office. All of this is just for show,” he said with a sweeping gesture toward the big empty parlor we were facing. “And why are you whispering? He knows I’m coming.”

“I don’t know. It seems so quiet and…undisturbed.”

Taylor’s chuckle had an evil ring to it. “You want disturbed? Follow me.” He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled. “Mr. Beaudry! It’s me, Taylor. Morrison. From Mindstream. The place you work.”

He made his way down a dark corridor with me dogging his heels. “He doesn’t remember who you are? Where he works?”

“Oh, he knows. But when he’s been staring at code for hours on end and not sleeping, sometimes basic stuff slips his mind. Details like that can be hard for geniuses like him.”

Genius? I didn’t think I’d ever heard that term used to sincerely describe someone. “What does he do again?”

“He’s a mobile app developer. Highly sought after, but right now he works exclusively for us. That was a huge coup for the company.” He stopped in front of a heavy, ornately carved door made of some kind of dark hardwood. He rapped his knuckles on it three times before barging on in, while I hovered in the doorway.

So this was the suite. Taylor had been right. What a mess. We stood in what I assumed was the living room, but it was hard to tell because every available surface was covered in wrinkled clothing, pizza boxes, and empty dishes. A huge fireplace was installed in the far wall, surrounded by shelves and shelves of books. More books than I’d ever seen in one place outside a library. The fire blazed in the hearth, and I was honestly surprised there wasn’t any garbage close enough to it to catch fire. As beautiful as the house was, the mess made my skin crawl. I usually lived in shitty apartments, so I was a bit of a neat freak to balance the universe.

“Beaudry? You in here?” Taylor called. There was no answer. “He must be in the bedroom suite.” He headed to a door on the left, like it was no big deal.

Wait! You’re just going to barge into the guy’s bedroom?”

Pausing in his tracks, Taylor looked over his shoulder. “This is no ordinary bedroom. Just because there’s a bed in the corner doesn’t mean it’s some intimate setting. It’s just a giant workspace.” With that parting shot, he burst through the door, once again calling the man’s name.

Trembling from too much alcohol and not enough nerve, I stepped inside the room. I was stunned speechless by the scene before me. Taylor had one thing right—it was no ordinary bedroom. It was the size of three average rooms lined up in a row and probably had double the square footage of the apartment I was getting booted out of. There was indeed a bed, a California king canopy bed off in one corner of the room. A fire was blazing in this suite as well, only I realized that it was the same fire in the same fireplace, which apparently connected the two rooms.

Taylor stood next to what had to be the man’s workspace. There was a giant U-shaped desk adorned with four widescreen computer monitors and various other gadgets typical of an office. However, on one leg of the U, there was a collection of what looked to be every tablet, PDA, smartphone, and any other mobile device known to man. I supposed he had to test his software on each gizmo that was likely to employ it.

Behind the office area was a ginormous TV screen—at least seventy inches—that looked like it would be more at home in a movie theater. Several fluffy couches were set up in a semicircle facing it. It would be amazing to have a movie marathon in this place. And of course, there was every gaming console imaginable to go along with the screen yardage. But…despite all the cool stuff, there was some very weird stuff about the place as well. Besides the office setup and the movie area, all the furniture in the suite looked like it had been bought from a garage sale at Versailles. It was expensive-looking, obviously, but very gilded and frilly. There were also several racks flanking the giant TV that displayed the man’s sword collection.

And then, the murals. The murals were creepy. On at least a couple of the walls above the wainscoting, there were huge, garish wall paintings of nudes in various scenes. Men and women, sometimes in sexual situations, sometimes just hanging out or whatever. But they weren’t like Renaissance or fine art nudes or anything; they seemed to be done by just some random modern artist. I had no idea how the guy could manage to look at them all day every day. Though if it weren’t for those, I’d never leave a place like this either. Speaking of the guy, though, there was no sign of him.

“Where is he?” I was whispering again. It just seemed like the thing to do when you snuck into someone’s bedroom at night. Not that we were really sneaking, but still.

As if in answer to my question, we heard a toilet flush, and a door to my right that I hadn’t even noticed swung open, startling me. The person who came through was pretty much just as unbelievable as the house he lived in. He was tall—very tall—and lanky, but with wide shoulders and well-defined musculature. His hair was just a little too long, like maybe he’d forgotten his last couple of haircuts, and very dark, shot through with a tiny bit of gray. It had to be premature because I doubted he was much more than ten years older than me. His facial features—though thrown in deep shadow because of the low light in the room—were chiseled and angular, too handsome to be fair to the rest of the world. Wire-rimmed glasses perched on the tip of his straight nose, slightly askew. Despite the handsomeness, he had dark circles under his eyes and frown lines around his mouth, as if he hadn’t slept in weeks. And he was wearing Angry Birds pajamas.

When he saw me, his deep-set blue eyes widened and he flinched like I’d snuck up on him. “Who the hell are you?”

I let out a squeaky gasp and backed away toward Taylor because the guy looked fucking scary when he turned on the full force of that scowl.

“Jesus Christ, Beaudry, relax,” Taylor said. He picked up his briefcase and pulled out a legal-size envelope. “This is my friend Mackenzie. I was driving him home, and I just popped in to drop off these contracts from Harrelson.”

Beaudry grunted and crossed the room to sit at his desk. He waved a hand in the vague direction of a stack of shelves. “Just put them in the inbox. I’ll deal with them later.”

“If you look them over now, I can take back any questions or return them…”

He glared at Taylor over his shoulder, and Taylor wisely shut his mouth. Then the man’s gaze settled on me. It wasn’t the scowl he’d given me earlier, but it wasn’t exactly a…nice expression either. It was more of an assessing glare than anything. “Welcome to Chatham House, Mackenzie. What do you think?” he asked.

I had no idea what he meant. What did I think of the house? The room? Him? “It’s…impressive. The artwork is…unusual.”

He let out a belting laugh that I hadn’t been expecting, so I jumped, but then the rich baritone of it made my toes curl. It was an odd reaction, as I wasn’t usually affected by such things.

“Unusual is a kind way of putting it. The artwork came with the house, along with much of the furniture. I just haven’t gotten around to redecorating.”

“Oh, that’s…” . “How long have you lived here, then?”

Beaudry turned back to his computer and began typing furiously. “About five years,” he answered without turning back around.

I choked on air, and Taylor snorted. “I think by ‘haven’t gotten around to it,’ you mean ‘just don’t give a shit,’” he muttered.

“Touché, Mr. Morrison. Is there anything else you need?”

Taylor sighed, probably realizing that the man was not going to look at whatever was in the envelope while we were still there to relay any messages back to Mindstream. He clamped a hand around my wrist and started dragging me toward the door. “All right, we’re going. Remember, drinks at the King’s Shield next Friday.”

“I don’t think I’m going to be—”

Taylor spoke right over Beaudry’s muttering. “You already said you would. No backsies. I can pick you up.”

“I think I’d enjoy driving my shiny Lotus instead, but thank you very much for the offer,” Beaudry growled. “Nice meeting you, Mack,” I heard him call through the open door.

“Nickname basis already?” I laughed to Taylor.

“That has nothing to do with nicknames and everything to do with your name being too long for him to remember.”

“I heard that, Morrison!”

Purchase

J.K. Hogan | Amazon

Meet the Author

J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Road to the Sun by Keira Andrews

 



Buy Links: 


Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 70,000 words


Blurb


A desperate father. A lonely ranger. Unexpected love that can’t be denied.


Jason Kellerman’s life revolves around his eight-year-old daughter. Teenage curiosity with his best friend led to Maggie’s birth, her mother tragically dying soon after. Insistent on raising his daughter himself, he was disowned by his wealthy family and has worked tirelessly to support Maggie—even bringing her west on a dream vacation. Only twenty-five, Jason hasn’t had time to even think about romance. So the last thing he expects is to question his sexuality after meeting an undeniably attractive park ranger.



Ben Hettler’s stuck. He loves working in the wild under Montana’s big sky, but at forty-one, his love life is non-existent, his ex-boyfriend just married and adopted, and Ben’s own dream of fatherhood feels impossibly out of reach. He’s attracted to Jason, but what’s the point? Besides the age difference and skittish Jason’s lack of experience, they live thousands of miles apart. Ben wants more than a meaningless fling.


Then a hunted criminal takes Maggie hostage, throwing Jason and Ben together in a desperate and dangerous search through endless miles of mountain forest. If they rescue Maggie against all odds, can they build a new family together and find a place to call home?


Road to the Sun is a May-December gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring adventure, angst, coming out, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.
 
Author Bio

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:
“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

 

Giveaway

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter


Title:  Every Breath You Take
Author: Robert Winter
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 221 pages
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

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Synopsis
When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.
Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.
But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

Excerpt
Across the street the man with the silver-framed glasses stood back in the shadows and stared at the front window of the garden apartment. He could see the back of his quarry’s head as he watched a small flat-screen TV.
Time passed.

Eventually the head nodded forward and then jerked up. When it happened a second time, the creature turned off the TV and then the lamp and headed to bed.

The man waited for another half hour with his back pressed against an alcove formed where two brownstones met. The street was quiet. Almost no one walked by, and the lone person who came down the street failed to notice him in the shadows.
The man felt his breath grow hoarse, and blood rushed in his ears as his heart began to pound. He cultivated that sensation as he reached into his coat pocket for the screwdriver that rested there and made himself imagine the creature’s hands touching the Beloved’s face. Stroking his body. He curled his fingers around the screwdriver and then clenched and unclenched rhythmically. Its thick handle felt rough against his palm because of the grooves and sharp edges he had chiseled into it. He had ideas for other implements that would serve his purpose, but for now, this would do just fine. This would make his point.
His throat was dry, and his eyes burned from focusing on the darkened window, but he felt invincible. The tension in his body climbed exquisitely, and when he could take no more, he slipped across the street and stepped down to the locked gate. It opened easily with his small set of picks. The gate made no noise when the creature went through it earlier, so he was confident and quick and didn’t bother to lock it behind him. Child’s play, he thought as he worked the lock on the apartment door.
The tumblers clicked into place.

He stored his lockpicks, slipped inside the darkened apartment, and then closed the door behind him as silently as he could. Streetlight came through the slatted blinds the boy had failed to close completely. He waited quietly until he heard a faint snore from the back and then removed his glasses and tucked them in an inside pocket of his jacket. The scarf his quarry had been wearing caught his eye, and the man bared his teeth as he lifted it off the coat tree and tugged it tightly between his hands. It was well made. It would hold. He smiled.
He slid through the gloom toward the room where the creature lay sleeping. He was hard, and the blood in his erection pulsed in time to the pounding of his heart. That boy had dared to touch his Beloved. He had probably even been fucked by him. But that wasn’t enough—oh no. He came back for more.
It had taken the man so long to find his Beloved and interpret his subtle clues. He finally understood what was required of him. The undeserving gnat must be chastised, and he would be the Beloved’s angel of retribution. He was conscious of the weight of the screwdriver in his pocket, the scratch of the wool scarf in his hands, and the power in his arms.
He reached for the boy on the bed.

My Top 10 Scariest Movies

There’s something delicious in being scared, isn’t there? In Every Breath You Take, a young gay man is murdered, and the reader gets glimpse into the mind of the killer as he turns his sights to his next victim. My goal in writing scenes from the killer’s perspective was to build a sense of dread, because that’s the feeling I crave when I read or watch something suspenseful. I also love it when the reader or viewer knows more than the main characters and therefore has a better sense of their peril than the hero.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite movies that accomplish the kind of dread that I love to experience. These are in no particular order, because what scares me one dark night may not work the next. Still, if you’ve missed any of these, I’d recommend you give them a try.

  • Silence of the Lambs – this one is a winner on so many levels. The story of a serial killer who skins his victims pits Jodie Foster against Anthony Hopkins in some of the most compelling filmmaking I’ve ever encountered. Hopkins is beyond chilling as he seems to help the FBI, but always at a price. The final confrontation with the killer in a darkened basement still gives me chills.
  • Alien – The first time I watched this, I had to leave the theatre when Dallas and the rest of the crew were searching through the ship for the monster. Ripley sees the danger coming on her scanner, but is helpless when the blips representing her friends begin to disappear.
  • Aliens – In some ways the sequel to Alien is even better because Ripley knows what the team of gung-ho jarheads faces, but they don’t believe her until it’s too late. The showdown with the queen remains tremendously exciting and satisfying.
  • The Babadook – Another one I had to turn off and come back to, with judicious peeks. This one plays on childhood fears and manipulates shadow to produce something really terrifying.
  • The Blair Witch Project – Nightmares for days after I saw this in the theaters. The found-footage motif shouldn’t really work, but the last shot in the basement kept me awake and still makes me tremble.
  • Don’t Look Now – it isn’t a traditional scary movie, but the slow build and misdirection culminate in a horrifying but perfect climax that has you replaying the movie to see how it got there. The shots of a chase through crumbling Venice, not to mention an allegedly real sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, make this a worthy Fright Night feature,
  • Rosemary’s Baby – Again, it’s the slow build that makes this such a great movie. The audience sees more than Rosemary does, and realizes that what she thinks is a bad dream is something far worse. It’s a really smart movie that almost demands repeat viewings.
  • Seven – so, so creepy. There’s something about Kevin Spacey’s monotone deliveries that scares the bejebus out of me. The build of dread is so masterfully handled that when it all comes together, you think there was no other way for the story to end. “What’s in the box?”
  • Cape Fear (the 1962 version with Robert Mitchum) – Gregory Peck is great in anything. When he squares off with Robert Mitchum as the rapist who went to jail from Peck’s testimony, the two strike so many sparks you’d think the screen would catch fire.
  • Let the Right One In – This is a slow, quiet movie, except when it isn’t. The types of horror are many and varied. We get some traditional movie scares, but the quieter macabre moments are even worse. The plight of the mysterious little girl’s companion and what that portends stayed with me for a long time.

Did I leave off your favorite scary movie? Tell us about it in the comments.

I hope this look into my tastes has you intrigued and that you take a chance on Every Breath You Take to see whether I accomplished what I set out to do. You can also find out more about me and my books at my website.

Purchase

Dreamspinner ¦ Amazon

Meet the Author

Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.

Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

Website ¦ Facebook ¦ Twitter ¦ Goodreads ¦ Email

 

Blog Tour Schedule

May 8 – Stories That Make You Smile | Books, Dreams, Life
May 9 – two chicks obsessed Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews
May 10 – Oh My Shelves | Butterfly-o-Meter Books
May 11 – Bayou Book Junkie | Boy Meets Boy Reviews
May 12 – Urban Smoothie Read | Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Addict by Matt Doyle

Title:  Addict

Series: The Cassie Tam Files, book 1

Author: Matt Doyle

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: May 8, 2017

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 56000

Genre: science fiction, Sci-fi, futuristic, addiction, friends to lovers, private detective, lesbian

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Synopsis

New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options …

For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money. All she has to do is prove to the deceased’s sister Lori that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. But that’s just the start of her problems.

When the case forces Cassie to make contact with her drug dealing ex-girlfriend, Charlie Goldman, she’s left with a whole lot of long buried personal issues to deal with. Then there’s her client. Lori Redwood is a Tech Shifter, someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with Charlie. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the police wanting her to back off the case.

Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.

Excerpt

Addict
Matt Doyle © 2017
All Rights Reserved

I always did like Venetian blinds. There’s something quaint about them in a retro-tacky kinda way. Plus, they’re pretty useful for sneaking a peek out the front of the building if I feel the need. That’s something that you just can’t do with the solid, immovable metal slats that come as a standard in buildings these days. That said, a thick sheet of steel is gonna offer you a damn sight more security than thin, bendable vinyl, so I keep mine installed. Just in case.

Another round of knocking rattles the front door, louder this time than the one that woke me.

The clock says 23:47, and the unfamiliar low-end car out front screams “Don’t notice me, I’m not worth your time,” which makes for the perfect combo to stir up the paranoia that the evening’s beer and horror-film session left behind. This is my own fault. My adverts are pretty descriptive in terms of telling what I do: lost pets, cheating partners, theft, protection, retrieval of people and items, other odds and sods that the city’s finest won’t touch…I’ve got ways to deal with it all. That’s right, I’m a real odd-job gal. The one thing that I don’t put in there are business hours. The way I see it, even the missing pet cases usually leave me wandering the streets at half-past reasonable, so what’s the point in asking people to call between certain hours?

More knocking, followed this time by the squeak of my letter box and a voice. “Hello? Cassandra Tam?”

It’s funny, really. For all the tech advances that the world has made, no one has been able to improve upon the simple open-and-shut letter box. I stumble my way through the dark and wave dismissively at the frosted glass. The light switch and the keypad for the door lock are conveniently placed right next to each other on the wall to the right of the door, so welcoming my apparent guest is a nice, easy affair. The lock clicks a moment after the lights flood the room, and I pull the door open.

“Cassie,” I say, turning and skulking my way back into the room. “Or Caz. Drop the Tam.”

I hear a sniff behind me, and the lady from the letter box asks, “Are you drunk?”

“If I pass out in the next five minutes, then yes,” I reply, turning the kettle on. I’d left it full, ready for the morning, but I guess this is close enough. “Take a seat at the table. Would you prefer tea or coffee? I’d offer beer, but since I reek of it, I guess I must’ve finished it.”

Footsteps creep unapologetically across the room, and a chair squeaks on the floor. Good. If you can’t deal with a snarky response to something, don’t say it all, and if you can deal with it, then as far as I’m concerned you don’t need to apologise.

“Coffee,” the lady says. “So, do you always see potential clients in your underwear, or is it just my lucky day?” Her voice has a slightly playful edge to it, but with a sarcastic kick to round it off.

The business portion of my apartment comprises entirely of a small open-plan room separating my kitchen from my living room. And by open plan, I mean an allotted space that encroaches on both territories but is conveniently large enough to house what I need. Or, in other words, a table, four chairs, and nothing else. Since filing went near entirely digital, filing cabinets have pretty much become obsolete, so the two that I found dumped outside the building when I bought the place currently live in my bedroom, and contain a mix of quick access work stuff and personal files I’d rather not have floating on the net. Most things, though, I store electronically, the same as everything else.

I rarely use the business table to eat, read, or any of that junk, so until this evening it’s been entirely empty for a good few weeks. The lady sitting there now is studying me, I can see, and probably wondering if this was a mistake. Whatever she may have expected, a Chinese-Canadian gal of average height in a cami top and a loose pair of sleep shorts most likely wasn’t it. For what it’s worth, though, I’m studying her just the same. She’s a lithe-looking thing, dressed in a casual pair of jeans and a plain black fitted top under a leather jacket. If the metal plugs running down her shaven head like a shiny, rubber-tipped Mohawk weren’t a giveaway for what she is, the light scarring punctuating the outer edges of her pale blue eyes certainly would be. She’s a Tech Shifter, and like most of her ilk, she looks like a punk rocker gone cyborg.

Interview with author

 

When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?

The first one that I remember writing was a story called ‘Malfunction’, and that was way back when I was about ten or eleven. It was actually a school piece. My teacher had given us creative writing as homework and basically told us all to write a short story. There weren’t really any boundaries as to what we could or couldn’t do, as she said that we could write about whatever we wanted. The story was about a circus comprised entirely of robot clowns, and the title came about because the robots malfunctioned and started wreaking havoc in a small town. I’m not really sure what the inspiration for it was exactly. I was already reading Point Horror novels and I always loved shows like Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, Goosebumps, and the Tales From The Crypt Keeper cartoon, so at a push I’d say that my early love of horror was probably to blame. Given that the rest of the class wrote stories about superheroes and princesses, I’m surprised that my parents didn’t get a call.

Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?

I’m kinda mixed when it comes to schedules. For the most part, it’s when I can find the time. A lot of the time though, that equates to early evening, as that’s the time that I’m most likely to be free. If I get the chance during the day, or if inspiration hits, then I can usually find some time, but not always.

Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?

I should really outline more than I do, but I can get a little impatient with myself at times, and have the habit of just throwing myself into the story. The problem then becomes that I realise part way through that I’m going to struggle without an outline and end up having to pull one together. That inevitably results in me having to go back and make some early changes to the manuscript too, as I know full well that I’ll forget to do it later and probably lose my notes somewhere down the line. It does depend on the project though. I had a full outline in place before I began Addict because I knew that I was going to need it to keep things on track in terms of revealing different snippets of information. On the other hand, when I started The Spark Form Chronicles, I stubbornly refused to outline for most of the first book. Not outlining worked for me there because that whole world is a little chaotic at times, so writing on the fly kinda fit with the feel of it. I do find that music helps though, and have a number of albums and live performances ready to load up.

Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?

It would be so easy to say that, being openly bi/pan (depending on your definition), it was natural for me to just slip into writing stories about LGBTQIA+ characters, but that simply isn’t true. I do think that having non-heterosexual characters out there is important. I know myself that having more positive role models in the world of fiction would have assisted me when I was still unsure of myself, and it’s always good to see characters that are relatable to people and their lives. It’s not necessarily something that I set out to do in most cases though. My main goal has always been to write stories that people will enjoy, and it’s just happened organically that most of my work features at least one LGBTQIA+ character. Addict was actually the first novel that I’ve written where I planned to have a non-heterosexual lead from the onset.

How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?

It really depends on the subject matter, especially for world building. As an example, The Spark Form Chronicles is set during a futuristic card tournament. The card battles themselves form an important part of the story, so I had to do a lot of research into different CCGs, not only to get my head around common gaming mechanics outside those that I already played, but to ensure that I wouldn’t be doing anything too similar to something else when I set out the rules of the game in the books. The game itself went through about five different incarnations before I had one that I was happy with. When I wrote my Teller Tales MG horror series, far less research was required because, outside some Egyptian mythology, I was better acquainted with the subject matter. With Addict, my research covered a few more subjects, so that was more varied. Reading up on the Chinese-Canadian population in Vancouver, whether Cantonese or Mandarin was more widely used at different times, Cantonese slang, the common traits of hardboiled detectives, how crime noir fit with the cyberpunk genre … there was a lot to cover there. It did give me a good excuse to chill-out with The Maltese Falcon, Blade Runner and L.A. Confidential on the TV though.

As to ensuring that characters have authentic voices, other than trying to ensure that any cultural points are adhered to, I try not to think about things too deeply in my first drafts. I have an awful habit of second guessing myself and getting far too self-critical, so I find that my best option is usually to just write and write and write, then pick myself up if something feels off during editing. Honestly though, just having an understanding of how your characters are likely to think can be enough to get you on track like that.

What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?

Oh, I’m awful at all of the above. The amount of times that I’ve gone through manuscripts and realised that most of my characters have got similar names or initials is ridiculous. And book titles? I have this odd obsession with having single word titles, so I don’t really make it easy for myself to find something suitable that sums up the book. Cover designs have been fine when I have professionals to help me, but when I’ve had to venture into doing the legwork myself, I just end up either over-simplifying or over-complicating things.

How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”

“Words. And sometimes numbers. Mostly though, just … weird things.” It’s a simple answer, but it sums it up nicely. Whether it’s a novel or a story, I tend to avoid sticking to one genre and end up in the ‘hybrid genre’ category instead, so quantifying a general feel is difficult. I don’t think that anyone has ever accused me of writing something ‘normal’ either, so to claim otherwise would be very disingenuous of me.

What does your family think of your writing?

They’re very supportive. I’ve spent most of my life telling stories, whether that be through writing, in the wrestling ring, or in some other way, so they all see it as part of me. Everyone has been really proud of me getting stuff out there, and they usually enjoy my work too, so I’m pretty lucky in that respect.

Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.

There are so many! I take on far too many projects at once, so I’m never short of stuff to work on. Currently though, and excluding my blog stuff … I’ve just finished the first draft of the untitled sequel to Addict. That’ll see Cassie Tam take on a new case that spirals out of control pretty quickly, and adds a fair bit of world building to New Hopeland. I’m editing the second, third and fourth books in my MG horror series, Teller Tales. Books two and three are titled Ouela and Stoth respectively and almost ready to go, while the final book, Anubis, needs some work. I’m outlining a number of books too: The fourth Spark Form Chronicles book is a novella that focusses on Fahrn Starchaser, an ex-mercenary and out lesbian who is about to find herself in a whole lot of trouble. There’s a YA horror novella that I’m planning to write in an ergodic style, and a children’s sci-fi novel about a dystopian world full of anthropomorphic animals in the works, as well as a children’s book that features some education about wolves. I also recently found a load of old short stories that I wrote years ago, so I want to start tidying them up and moving them away from being HP Lovecraft pastiches.

Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?

Keep going! If you really want to write, then do it. Don’t be afraid to get criticism, and don’t expect everyone to like everything that you do, but know that if you like your own stories then someone else is going to too. Just keep learning, keep improving, and be proud of what you accomplish.

 

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Meet the Author

Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England and shares his home with a wide variety of people and animals, as well as a fine selection of teas. He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.

These days, Matt can be found working on far too many novels at once, blogging about anime, comics, and games, and plotting and planning what other things he’ll be doing to take up what little free time he has.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: What Matters by Gracie Leigh

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 50,000 words


Cover Design: Black Jazz Design


Blurb

“It’s a good fear, Sam. I’d miss it if it wasn’t there…”

Musical prodigy Eddie Dean gets everything she wants. The best violin, the best boyfriend, and a place at the best music school in London are hers until her father goes bankrupt. Once the financial facade comes tumbling down, Eddie’s broke and her boyfriend couldn’t care less.

The doorstep of Jimmy’s Café is the last place she expects to wash up.

Scrubbing dishes and serving fried breakfasts to pay her rent is as hellish as she imagined, and her new life is made worse by the distain of her boss’s sneering grandson. Sam Novak is arrogant, rude, and gorgeous, and if Eddie never sees him again, it will be too soon. Shame she can’t stop thinking about him. Dreaming about him. Craving him.

And then there’s his best friend Dylan.

Dylan is as light as Sam is dark, and Eddie wants him too. She can have him too—according to Sam—but when Sam reveals a vulnerability that could cost him his life, it’s time for Eddie to face the music. Does she still need to get everything she wants, or should she choose what matters?


Author Bio


Gracie Leigh is a pseudonym of Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.

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