Friday, April 28, 2017

It's Release Day for One Call Away by Felice Stevens


One Call Away was conceived in Fort Lauderdale Beach, a year ago last January. It was actually my daughter's idea. and I dedicated the book to her, although she doesn't know it yet. I know many of you have heard it before, but this truly is the book of my heart. I grew up not as religious as Oren yet not as non-religious as Noah. There are now gay and lesbian rabbis ordained in the Reform and Conservative sects, and in 2014 the first Orthodox synagogue opened on the Upper West Side of Manhattan: 
There are also help lines available to answer questions from religious (also known as Frum) Jewish people:
The important thing to realize is that you may not be as alone as you think. And that's what Oren needed to learn.

You can purchase One Call Away here:

I'm giving you an exclusive excerpt from One Call Away. I hope you enjoy:

               *                         *                               *                               *                                 *
“I want to apologize for hanging up on you.”
“Don’t apologize. Please.” Strangely, that same warm tone Oren heard in the doctor’s voice earlier settled his thumping heart. Like a stranger on foreign soil, Oren found himself caught in a world he couldn’t figure out. Thoughts and emotions he’d suppressed as a teenager now swirled through his mind; sometimes the freedom given to be who you were could be scarier than living the life. Oren had no idea how to take that first baby step toward independence.
“I know it was wrong for me to hang up, and…”
“But you called back. That’s the first thing. And I’m so glad you did. It shows real strength and courage on your part.”
“I’m not strong or courageous,” said Oren, admitting to himself he enjoyed this conversation with Noah more than any he’d had the entire night with the guys from work. “It’s easier to speak when you’re not face-to-face with a person.”
“That’s true,” said Noah. “Easier, but many times more honest, don’t you think? You find yourself able to admit things to that person without fearing the judgment in their eyes.”
“Maybe.” Oren hesitated. “But what if you said things that later you were sorry for, but don’t know how to take back. Or…” He took a deep breath then let it out and plunged ahead. “What if what you’ve done can never be forgiven and you don’t know how to recover from it?” What was his truth? The life he lived daily or the one he lived inside his head, afraid to put into words?
“Aside from murder, I’ve found there are few things that can’t be forgiven with an honest discussion about why it happened in the first place and what made the person fearful to reveal it.”
Oren digested Noah’s words. He’d had no choice in making that phone call; drunk as he was, Harlan had basically threatened his position at the firm if he didn’t do it. And Oren knew Harlan would have found a way to have him fired simply because he didn’t get his way and had the power to do so. Spoiled, cruel, and selfish, Harlan DeWitt made sure Oren never forgot his place at the firm: under the thumb of the great-grandson who took whoring around at night more seriously than the practice of law during the day.
“Maybe,” conceded Oren. “But I guess only if you’ve proved yourself first as a friend to be trusted.”
“Well, you sound like you need a friend. Do you?”
Did he? Oren wondered. After he made the decision to be less religious, his childhood friends drifted away. It was as much his fault as it was theirs; he let them go without a struggle. Fear could do that to a person. Fear of discovery and fear of judgment.
Many had not only gone on to law school or other professional schools but also followed tradition by marrying and starting families. Oren had nothing in common with them any longer. While they busily talked nursery schools and birthday parties, he met women in bars and had pointless conversations.
From an early age, Oren sensed he might be different from the other boys he went to school with but didn’t understand why. As a teenager, knowing he had no one he could talk to about his confusing thoughts, he read books and, in secret, went to the big library on 42nd St. and found books about men attracted to other men. Instead of helping him, they’d make him feel even guiltier, and he’d slam the books shut. After that, he ignored his body’s reactions and made a point of trying to date as many girls as he could. He didn’t want to be like that. It wasn’t right.
“Maybe. I don’t have many friends left from before college, and with my crazy work schedule…” The words trailed off, and Oren laughed self-consciously. “Yeah. I guess maybe it would be nice.”
“I’ll volunteer. Feel free to call me. I’ll always be there to take your call.”
“Do I sound that pitiful?” Oren wasn’t angry; he felt curious and strangely drained.
“Asking for help makes you strong. Why do men think they’re not supposed to feel or show emotion without being tagged as weak? It’s time to break through those barriers and behave as we want, not as others say we should.”
Oren listened carefully to Noah’s words, thinking the man might be nice but totally naive in his thinking. He couldn’t imagine being so free; he was taught to live by a strict set of rules without any deviation allowed, and even though he hadn’t been religious in years, it still held sway over him in so many aspects of his life.
“How did your parents take it when you told them you were gay? Did they get angry at you or disappointed?” Then, realizing how invasive a question that was to a virtual stranger, he winced. “Oh, shit. I’m sorry. That was way too personal.”
“Nah. It’s fine. My parents were very cool with my sexuality; they’re pretty liberal and support all us kids as long as we don’t do anything illegal or completely embarrassing.” Noah chuckled, and Oren smiled into the phone, liking the sound of Noah’s laugh. Where earlier the icy-cold had seeped into his bones, now warmth suffused him. Oren had never felt so at ease with someone, especially a person he’d never met.
What would it be like to walk through life not worrying about people’s opinions or how your personal choices would affect others? He’d never know. From the moment Oren turned his back on his family’s way of life, his parents and sisters had been subjected to neighborhood gossip and snubs. If he confessed to them what he’d hidden all these years, as he did to Noah, he couldn’t be sure of their reactions. Every day he struggled with mounting fear and shame. His chest constricted.
“You’re lucky. I love my family, but they don’t understand me.”
“That’s rough. But you still see them?” The question hung in the air.
“Yeah, not as much as I’d like, though. Work keeps me so busy, and with them keeping Friday night and Saturday Sabbath, it’s doubly hard.”
“I’m sure they’d bend the rules to make sure to see you.”
But Oren knew they wouldn’t—they couldn’t. Their religion was as much a part of them as their blood, and they wouldn’t, they couldn’t change for him or anyone else. If Oren wanted to see his family, the responsibility rested on him.
“No. It’s not that easy.”
“I’m sure it isn’t, but let me help you ease your burden somewhat,” said Noah, his voice softly urgent. It curled around his spine, sending tingles of awareness through him, and Oren shivered. “Take my number. Anytime you want to talk, or need someone to dump on…or even just to say hi, call me. I’m serious. Anytime.”
Oren stared stupidly at his phone. The night that had started out so much worse than he imagined, with joke-calling the radio show, now ended with what sounded to Oren suspiciously like an offer of friendship. It ignited a long-dormant yearning inside to get close to someone. Someone who understood everything he’d never been able to figure out about himself. Maybe it could be Noah, who seemed to have an uncanny ability to calm him and help him understand who he was, no matter that they’d never met in person.
“Yeah?” Oren licked his lips nervously as the cab continued to bounce along the rutted streets, jostling his already scrambled insides. “I—I don’t know. Why would you do this? I’m a stranger.”
“Maybe this means you shouldn’t be. I’m a great believer in fate, Oren. Maybe you were meant to call me tonight, and we’re supposed to be friends, and this is the way we were destined to meet.”
There went that low, almost musical laughter again. Oren’s breath caught in his throat, and he gripped the phone tighter in his sweaty hand.
“Okay. I guess.” And before Oren had the chance to think too hard, Noah gave him his number, and Oren entered it into his phone. Then, at Noah’s urging, he agreed to text him so Noah would have his as well. They hung up with Noah reiterating his offer to call him anytime, and as requested, Oren texted him, receiving a thumbs-up emoji symbol in return.
The cab passed through an unfamiliar neighborhood, and Oren gazed out the window. He didn’t want to go home to his cramped little studio apartment to stare at blank, unyielding walls that mocked him for his cowardice.
“Excuse me.” He tapped on the divider to get the cabbie’s attention. “Can you drop me off at the light?”
“Whatever.” The cab jerked to a halt, and Oren swiped his credit card and didn’t bother with a receipt. He bolted out of the car and found himself in an area of Brooklyn not far from the river. He stood shivering for a moment then caught sight of a bar’s neon lights blinking from down the block. He hurried toward its anticipated warmth and pushed open the door, inhaling the stale beery smell, but ignored it, savoring the heat.

A typical neighborhood dive. Oren’s shoes clung to a floor sticky with the remnants of various spilled liquids and foods; the dark varnished wood of the bar and tables bore the dullness of a gloss long since vanished, and a multitude of beer signs hung askew on the pitted, paneled walls. All this brought back memories of drunken college nights when he believed the world might be his for the taking.

The darkness enveloped him and for the next hour, Oren sat in the grungy little bar that smelled of disappointment and lost dreams and wondered when he’d decided to hide his life away.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

TIED TO YOU is here by Riley Hart


This is my favorite book I've written in a while and I'm so excited it's finally here!!



Miles Sorenson prides himself on his brutal honesty. Facts and logic are a hell of a lot easier to deal with than emotions. He’s got his career and a small, close-knit group of friends, and he doesn’t need nor want anything else. The total opposite of Quinn Barker, who doesn’t take life too seriously and thinks a good laugh can cure anything.

When Quinn takes Miles home, it’s supposed to be a one-time deal. Except they really click in the sack and end up spending the weekend together, enjoying each other's bodies as much as their company…to Miles’s dismay. Matters get even more muddled when, months later, they run into each other at the popular West Hollywood bar, Wild Side, and pick up right where they left off.

On the surface, Quinn and Miles are like oil and water, but the draw between them is undeniable. As their lives further entwine, they realize there’s more to their connection than the way they singe the sheets together.

But demons from the past have a way of catching up, and no matter how strong the link is tying Miles and Quinn together, the pressure may be enough to make it snap.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iBooks



"I became wholeheartedly involved in the beautiful imperfection that was Miles and Quinn." ~ Sinfully Gay Book Reviews

"All the feels, fun snarky humor, and holy steaming HOTTT!" ~ Jessica Rose

"I was surprised that my Ipad didn't catch fire !!!" ~ Wendy--Dirty Book Obsession

"Tied to You was the 5 star read I didn't see coming but will never forget." ~ Jordan--Alpha Book Club

"Riley builds a world that you want to live in; friends that you want to hang out with." ~ Heather Martin


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Do You Love Shifters? - Dirk Greyson Does!!!


Dirk Greyson, Andrew Grey's alter ego, is releasing the first in a new series, Lost Mate on May 1 and I wanted to share a little about it.  I love shifter stories and this one touched my heart.  How would you feel if you met your mate for 2 weeks when you were twelve, and then didn't see him again?  Always knowing he was out there, but not knowing where he was.  Then once you did find him, what would you give up to keep him?



Wolf shifter Falco Gladstone knew Carter McCloud was his mate when they were in seventh grade, but school and the foster care system tore them apart. Years later, Falco is second in command of his Michigan pack, serving under an uncle who cares more about his own power than the welfare of their people. The alpha orders Falco to marry and produce offspring—but Falco’s already found his mate, and mates are forever.
Carter’s lonely life is turned upside down when he detects a familiar scent on the wind. The mates might have found each other, but their happily ever after is far from guaranteed. Falco’s commitment to Carter puts him at odds with his uncle’s plans, and when one of the alpha’s enforcers starts shadowing the couple, something must be done—something that will either cement their relationship or destroy it once and for all.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Writing Favorites from BA, Julia, Kiernan and Sean


Today we answer some age old writing meta!

Series or standalones?

Long novels or short stories?

What's the best review you ever got?

Music, TV or no noise?

HEA or HFN?

BA says: 1. Series. 2. my sweet spot is 55K. 3. This book reads like a Garth Brooks song EEEEEEE! 4. Music. Playlists are my life. 5. HEA all the way. I don't write HFN.

Kiernan says: Standalone, usually, but there are series I adore. Jean Auel's Earth's Children series is one of them. Short stories are my secret vice. Okay, maybe not so secret. I like to read short and write short. One for Changing Jamie from a woman who ran an AIDS organization in Africa, who thanked me for writing the book. Silence! I can't hear the voices in my head unless it's quiet. Either way. Sometimes an hfn just works better. Sometimes the story calls for it.

Sean says: 1. Both? I love doing series, but some characters just want their story and to be done. 2. If you’d asked me 10 years ago I would have said short stories. Now if it’s not a novel, I’d better start with guys who are already together and they need to be watched very carefully. 3. It wasn’t an official review, but I got an email letting me know that my books got the reader through the roughest year of their life. That meant the world to me. 4. I can do all three depending on my mood. 5. My happy place is HEA.

Julia says: Series are so much damn fun! Short stories, though 20-30K novellas are my lifeblood. I had a lady tell me she didn't approve of gay marriage until she read a short I put out, and then she clicked.

Music or TV. I need stimuli.

HEA though more than once I have been accused of HFN and gone, huh?

http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

Julia’s is http://www.juliatalbot.com

BA’s is http://www.batortuga.com

Kiernan's is www.KiernanKelly.com

Facebook:

Sean -- https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites

Julia -- https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor

BA -- https://www.facebook.com/batortuga

Kiernan -- https://www.facebook.com/kiernan.kelly

Monday, April 24, 2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day by Cardeno C.


I try to live every day being the kind of person they'd be proud of. The kind of person who makes a difference because my grandparents got lucky and they did not. I have the privilege to be here and not a day goes by that I forget who I'm missing. To the family I lost and the family I wasn't fortunate enough to have: I won't forget you.


Cardeno C.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Re-Release! Hard-Ass Is Here by S.C. Wynne


Hello, all!

I have a new re-release that just came out. It was my very first MM romance that was published. Loose
Id was the wonderful publisher that took a chance on me and I'll never forget how exciting that first acceptance was.

It's about two men who work at a financial firm where someone is stealing money.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

EXCERPT:
“So you’ve been spying on us?”

“Yes.” His gaze was inscrutable. “Mostly on you.”

Harry made a choking sound, but I sat still and held Phillip’s gaze.

He was most likely feeling me out. Trying to see if what he was saying made me nervous. What he said didn’t. The way he was watching me and expecting me to be bothered did.

“A big chunk of money is missing. You’d be stupid not to watch me too.” I tried to sound casual. I mean, I wasn’t the thief. I had nothing to be concerned about. Still, I felt like a bug in a petri dish under his intent gaze.

“You’re taking the news quite well.”

“I already assumed we’re all being scrutinized. It’s not a secret that money is missing. I suggested it might be an inside job to my last boss over a month ago,” I answered, as sweat prickled under my collar. I hoped he really wanted to catch the actual thief and wouldn’t just want to use me as a scapegoat so he could wrap things up.

“Yes, you did. It was in his notes.” Watchful silence followed his answer.

“But?”

“You just don’t seem that concerned,” he said. “Money’s disappearing and you seem oddly calm.”

Ha! Calm? I feel like I’m about to have a stroke, boss.

“I’m concerned, of course. Like everyone in the company.” I attempted to stifle my resentment at his accusatory tone. “And for the record I’ve been busting my ass to catch this guy. Guy. Gal. Whoever.”

“Maybe you don’t really want them caught.”

Jesus, he really could be a dick. “Theft retention hasn’t found the leak either.”

“I’m well aware.”

“So why are you busting my balls so hard?”

“It’s connected to the New York account, and I believe that’s your baby?”

He was right. That account was my responsibility. I’d gone over the numbers from the New York account so many times I almost had them memorized. Hell, he’d given me the pleasure of going over them again. But I couldn’t figure out where the money was going, or who was making it disappear.
I sat back on my bar stool. I didn’t say anything right away. I just stared at him, and he stared back. His silence and my inebriated state weren’t a great mix.

“You have nothing to say in your defense? No excuses you think I might buy?” He sounded smug.

Angry heat warmed my face. “No disrespect, but I thought you were trying not to sound like a dick?”

Obvious surprise slid through Phillip’s gaze like a water moccasin, but he hid it quickly.

“Now, Taylor… that’s no way to talk to your new boss.”

I jumped when Harry spoke. I’d forgotten he was still there. He watched me as if I were a car bomb about to explode.

“Appreciate the backup, Harry. But I think I’ve got this.” Phillip’s voice was smooth as cream.

I knew I should apologize for basically calling him a dick, but I couldn’t quite make myself do it. I’d been stressed out about the New York account for months, and he was going to waltz in here, bury me in busywork, and accuse me of being the thief? As far as my drunk ass was concerned, he owed me an apology.

“Why don’t we rewind?” Phillip asked. “Try looking at it from my point of view for just one minute.”

“I don’t happen to have an ivory tower at my disposal.”

His mouth hardened. “A lot of money is missing, Taylor. I’m not just picking on you because you’re a lower pay grade. This is serious.”

“Yeah. I know,” I snapped. “If you think I don’t take this seriously, you’re dead wrong.”

“I’d like to think I am.” He leaned forward, and his leg brushed mine. If he hadn’t been staring at me like I stole the Mona Lisa, I might have acknowledged the jolt of electricity his touch sent through me.

“Trust me, this shit weighs on me day and night,” I muttered.

“You seem like a nice enough fellow.” He touched the rim of his glass.

“But…?”

“But my problem is… it always leads back to you and that damn New York account.”

“So I guess I should just confess, guilty or not, because that would be more convenient for you?”

“That would be easier,” he said.

Smashed as I was, it occurred to me that this was an odd setting to be having this conversation in. If I were the thief, confronting me in a bar would not only be an HR nightmare, but it could be dangerous. He should have pulled me into his office. So he wasn’t sure the thief was me. Maybe he was trying to get a sense of who I was by pushing my buttons when I’d had a few? It seemed risky business to me, but then, I wasn’t a hard-ass like him.

“You know, if I was stealing from the company, this little get-together would be a very bad idea.” I tossed back the rest of my drink.

He laughed, and the sight was a beautiful thing. His entire face lit up, and his greenish-brown eyes sparkled. Even his laugh was amazing, infectious, and husky. Why did he have to be so fucking gorgeous?

“Are they going to find me stuffed in your car trunk?” The idea seemed to amuse him greatly.

Harry’s voice broke in. “Taylor’s not violent. Not… not usually. Just that one time.”

Are you fucking kidding me, Harry? You’re gonna say that in front of my new boss?


My face warmed. “Thanks a lot, Harry.” I gave Harry a look that could have killed, and he jumped up. I’m sure the veins in my neck were bulging from the strain of not lunging across the bar and strangling Harry.

Release date is April 14th!

S.C.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Questions, Questions by Felice Stevens


I'm dusting off the questions and answering some that readers have asked me over the past few months.

1. Pizza or Tacos?
That's a cruel question. It's a toss up.

2. Red wine or white? 
Definitely red. White gives me a headache.

3. Has your family ever read your books? 
Well I know my husband and daughter haven't. My son, probably not, but he likes to check in on my Amazon page he's told me. So who knows. And I know my husband hasn't. He's still trying to figure me out. LOL.

4. Is your mind full of plot bunnies?
Not always. But one book can lead to another, as you know. In my next release, Once Call Away, Noah, the radio show psychologist has a bisexual brother, Jeremy whose boyfriend Blake has inexplicably left him. Why? Where is Blake and why won't he talk to Jeremy?  Perhaps we'll find out.

I am writing a book, with a tentative title I'm not going to reveal just yet, that is Rico and Adam's story. Rico was Gideon's partner from Learning to Love and Adam was the probie firefighter in Beyond the Surface. I never intended to give Adam his story but so many people asked for him, and putting him together with Rico was a no brainer. Be prepared for some major sexy times with those two because they may say they don't want a relationship but they can't keep their hands off each other.

But after One Call Away, my next release is The Shape of You, the story of quiet, overweight Eric and the troubled too-thin artist, Corey. That was a story that just popped up into my head and pushed everything else out of the way until it was written. So I guess the answer is, one never knows where the stories will come from, but they are there waiting to pounce.

Well, that's all I have for this week. Next week's column is release day so I'll have a special excerpt just for you guys!.

Happy Reading and have a great week!