Sunday, February 25, 2018

Short, Hot & Free


How's that for a blog post title? Does it get any better? :D

Yes! I have a SHORT, HOT, and FREE m/m story up on Instafreebie for you today!

It's called "Seven-Two, Unsuited." For those of you that may not know, that's a Texas Hold'Em poker hand that has the worst possible odds of winning.

A wee tease of a blurb for a wee toasty short story:

Alone for the night at an Atlantic City casino, Todd is dealt the worst possible starting hand in Texas Hold'Em. But a lucky flop and an ice cold poker face turn it into a winner. He makes his rent and decides to quit while he's ahead, but his opponent isn't ready to call it a night yet. Will lightning strike twice in one night? Spoilers! It does.


If you'd like to download Seven-Two, Unsuited for free
Click HERE!

I hope you have a fantastic week, and that freebie gets it off to a good start. 

Happy Sunday all!

Jodi
Website: jodipayne.net

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Taking A Break by S.C. Wynne


Morning everybody!

As you read this post, I'm on the last day of a six day vacation. It's important to take time off. That seems so obvious, but  it is amazing how often I forget to even take one day off in the week. There's always something to do. Always.

I sent off the sequel to Shadow's Edge before I left, it's called Shadow's Return, and the edits might be waiting for me when I get home. But I should be itching to get back to work by then.

I find it's hard to unwind the first few days of a vacation. It's like my brain just can't accept the fact that I don't have a deadline. I usually work from eight in the morning till eight at night and when you get in that routine, it's hard to stop. The very idea of having nothing to do all day long seems crazy, but it's necessary for your sanity.

So I'm taking that little break this week, drinking and eating my way to relaxation. Hope you all enjoyed your week as well.

S.C.

www.sc-wynne.com

Friday, February 23, 2018

New Release by Felice Stevens


I've had this book in my head for so long, it's almost like giving birth....and since One Call Away released about nine months ago it's rather apropos. All my books carry a piece of me in them and all are special in one way or another but I've made no secret that One Call Away was special. And one of the reasons was Jeremy. I knew as soon as I wrote him he'd need a book because he needed to find Blake. He needed his happily ever after.

Blake is the insecure, broken shy guy. the one who never believes in himself no matter what people tell him. So when Jeremy pursues and catches him, Blake waits for the day when it all comes crashing down. Perhaps there's a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy, but you'll have to wait and read the book to see what comes between them and how they find their own version of Perfect. 

Perfect is available at a special release week price of $3.99 and is in Kindle Unlimited for 3 months. I hope you fall in love with these two and enjoy their story.
Amazon Universal Link: viewBook.at/perfect




Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Better Class of Wall



This week, we're joined by narrator, Andrew McFerrin, who has a different take on the cabin fever we've all been experiencing lately. Sometimes when you feel you've hit a wall, you've only just discovered the secret doorway.

----------------------------------------------------------------

So it comes to pass that lately I've been on a less-than-productive, slightly depressive jag. They happen. It's part of the way my brain's wired, and in fact the general background hum of discontent that has followed me my entire life is a big big part of the reason why I'm able to do this for a living, not to mention all the gonzo side projects I've come up with to keep myself enthused and amused.

I've tried medications, and don't get me wrong that shit is live-saving. As in, literally has saved my life on at least one occasion and most likely will do again. But they come with the unfortunate side effect of making me too easily contented with any given situation. That's simply not healthy for me, long term.

(Super-bitchin' muscles not shown.)

At this point I need to make it abundantly clear than I'm not shaming anyone for needing these things. I needed these things for quite a while, and almost certainly will need them again. It's like the principle behind lifting weights—you take the extra resistance, push that weight until your muscles fail and you can not push any more. Over time, done correctly with intent and proper nutrition, this gives you super bitchin' muscles that might, say, land you on the cover of a Dreamspinner book. But, and this is the kicker, that only works if you're HEALTHY. If you have a hernia or a slipped disc or some other structural thing going on where your body cannot support this strain, the best you can hope to accomplish by weight-lifting is to (maybe) not injure yourself further. It certainly won't get you any closer to bitchin' muscle-dom.

Same thing with emotional stuff: Many people, through no fault of their own, don't have the support system to handle any additional strain right now.  Maybe not ever.  I'm currently feeling properly supported and healthy in my brain-meats to be able to push a little extra weight. That discontent, rather than shutting me down and making me hurt, is currently driving me to DO GOOD WORK. It's a great feeling, I'm feel lucky to be experiencing it, and I for one intend to ride it while it lasts.

But here's the thing: it becomes very easy to mistake effort for progress. Obstructed by a brick wall, it's super tempting to bang my head against that wall until it falls...even when I can see that the wall ain't going anywhere and, more importantly, my head kind of is. Case in point: I've just recently finished working on a very challenging project. It's been really important to me to have it done ASAP, yet I found myself grinding away at it for a couple of weeks without making any headway.


So what do we do in such a situation? We find a better class of wall. Divert that energy and frustration and faint panic of OH MY GOD IM WASHED UP AND WILL STARVE IN THE GUTTER WITH A CARDBOARD SIGN AND A SCRAWNY FLATULENT DOG into a different, perhaps equally difficult project. To go back to the bodybuilding metaphor: arms are feeling wasted? Okay baby, today is now leg day. Get going. Can't seem to make progress on a book today for physical or mental reasons? Time to go make some music. Find this other wall, hang a picture of the first wall's face on it, and get banging. And when you've gouged away at wall #2 for a while, the QG wall will look different—smaller, finer, more delectably crumbly—upon return.

My longstanding other wall of choice has been a gay-centric horror movie podcast called Candy-Coated Razor Blades, which I produce and co-host with a couple of friends. The newest project is the new theme music, which I spent a lot of time learning how to produce while trying not to spin my wheels on that most recent challenging project I was talking about.

And speaking of...that project is now complete and will soon be available to pour into your ears, dear listeners. In the meantime, however, may this wall inspire you to thoughtfully dismantle some of your own.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
See you next week with more audiobook fun!



And get ready for Andrew's newest narration, soon to be released from Dreamspinner Press, "The Griffin King's Consort," by Jenn Burke. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ask Andrew - Blubberbox


Dear Andrew

What was the last book that made you cry like a sprinkler system?

Dawn

Dear Dawn

Wow, I can't really remember a recent book that made me cry like that.  The cool thing about reading romance is that the stories have a happy ending.  However I can remember a book where I cried for nearly 40 pages.  Its called Virginia Bedfellows and its a historical story.  I hesitate to call it a romance even though there is a love story in it because the story doesn't have a happy ending.

That's the part that had me crying all over the place.  The characters are amazing and one had been through hell and back.   I think that's what affected me the most.  These characters deserved a happy ending so badly, but times were very tough and difficult in the early colonial period and the author wrote an ending that simply ripped my heart out.  The story affected me greatly because I wished the ending had been so very different.

Hugs and love
Andrew

Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to andrewgreybooks@comcast.net.  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

Please remember this is meant to be all in fun.  (I was going to say good, clean fun, but who wants that.)    So send me your questions and let's see what mischief we can get into.

Visit Andrew on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks  and you can join Andrew's fan group All The Way With Andrew Grey.

Follow him on Twitter:  @andrewgreybooks

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Event! BA, Julia, Kiernan and Sean will be at Coastal Magic Con


Come see us at Coastal Magic! We'll all be there!

If you can't come see us, grab a beach read from Evil Plot Bunny (yes, the name is clickable) We have 10% off now through Saturday on your total purchase! Use code Coastal2018 at checkout!

XXOO

Julia

Visit our websites:

Sean's is 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

Saturday, February 17, 2018

I'm Going To GRL! by S.C. Wynne


Morning all!

My post is late today because I wanted to see if I could get into GRL as  Featured Author before I posted, and somehow I did. lol

This will be my very first GRL and I'm really looking forward to it and terrified at the same time. Like most authors, I'm rather shy. But I know that networking and meeting other authors, bloggers and readers is all part of the job.

But being shy, it is intimidating. But that's life. Life and being a grownup is intimidating. You don't back away from it. You take it on. Or at least you try to. So that's what I'm doing this year. Trying to challenge myself out of my comfort zone. GRL will definitely do that.

How about you? Are many of you going this year? Will you go as a reader or as an author? They also have slots for Narrators and Bloggers now.

I'm excited to meet in person so many great people I only know online. It's going to be amazing. I need to start thinking about which books to bring and what swag to order.

But the most important part is done; registering and snagging the hotel room.

I hope to see many of you at GRL 2018 !

S.C.

www.sc-wynne.com

Friday, February 16, 2018

New Audiobook by Felice Stevens


Under the Boardwalk, my first Landmarks series book is now available on audiobook. Nick J Russo perfectly captured Alexi's accent and the entire feel of the Coney Island experience. I decided to share the first chapter with you. I hope you enjoy!
Link to Audible
http://adbl.co/2syPV4T

Link to Listen:
https://soundcloud.com/felice-stevens/chapter-01


Thursday, February 15, 2018

99 Problems



Happy Thursday! You've made it!
This week, narrator John Solo talks about the difference between being driven, and being driven insane, as well as the long and winding pot-holes-as-big-as-your-house dirt road to work-life balance. Buckle up!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


I’ve got 99 problems but a job ain’t one… I’m 41 years old, and I just started using the word “career” to describe my work life a few years ago.  I have a career now, not a job.  Kinda’ feels like I’m adulting or something…


You see, there is a huge difference between the two.  The esteemed comedian Chris Rock (he’s esteemed in my mind, and I’m the one writing this, so shove off!) has a great bit about this.  I think it’s called, “Plate of Shrimp”.  He talks about working a job in a restaurant as a kid, and how the time goes so slow…  He worked as a dishwasher, scraping shrimp off the plates and counting the hours, minutes, seconds until he could go home.  Then he talks about his career as a comedian, actor and writer, and how instead of wishing he was done working, he finds himself wishing for MORE time. There's never enough time in the day.  I think he hit the shrimp on the head.


I’ve only talked about this with friends, but we’re all friends here, right?  Good.  Put on your therapist hat for a second, pull another glass of whatever the hell that stuff is (you should be ashamed of yourself!), and let me tell you of a time of high adventure!  


(Editor’s note: The subsequent text has nothing to do with adventure)


I remember a time, less than a decade ago, when I was driving to an office building downtown 5 days a week.  Think shirt and tie every day, half hour lunch breaks with some guy we called Lingering Larry (or was it BO Barry…  I forget his name, but the smell remains...), and a boss that always tried to act 20 years younger than his hairline and viewed Office Space as a management training video.  Don’t get me wrong, they paid well, and I was thankful for the job, but it was a job… I remember counting the hours until I could go home, until I could LIVE.  The suffocation of doing someone else’s bidding for 9-10 hours a day, the monotony of the task itself, combined with my intense need just to BE MYSELF, just for a little while, was soul-stifling.  It felt like a crushing weight upon my chest.  I dreaded going there every day, which meant that, given that the majority of my week was spent there, I pretty much dreaded my life all the time.   I vividly recall thinking several times, on my morning commute, that if I would just swerve a little bit to the left, into traffic, I may at least get a few hours off…


But, hey, didn’t mean to bring ya’ll down!  See, it got better, which life inevitably seems to do if you just keep trying.  Fast-forward to the present.  My lovely wife and I decided several months ago that we needed some time off.  Being small business owners now, we work.  A lot.  We started Falcon Sound Company close to five years ago, and we haven’t taken more than 3 consecutive days off since then (actually, now that I write this, I do remember going to a Pirate Festival in Savannah a couple of years ago, and I think we may have been gone 4 days...Arrrggghhh!!!).  


In perfect me fashion, I decided if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing big.  “Let’s take February off!”, I said casually.  She gave me a look that said she wasn’t buying my tom-foolery, and I’d better remember to take the trash out.  I gave her a suggestive wink.  She shook her head in disgust.  (we’ve been married a long time, kids… that was a whole conversation right there, ‘k?)  Me, being me, assured her that it wouldn’t be a problem!  Pshaw!!! One month off? We should be able to do that, right?  After all, we do own the place.  


See, and this is where having a career differs from having a job.  If, while having a job, I had a month’s vacation time available, you can bet your pretty little mouth I would have taken it.  Ok, who am I fooling in this crowd?  When I was working a job I couldn’t stack up more than a weeks vacation to save my life… so lets say a week.  The point is, hell or high water (what does that even mean, anyways?!?) I would have taken that week’s vacation, I may have called in sick the day after, and if my employer even remotely suggested I leave a day later
than scheduled or come back early I would have laughed heartily in his or her Office Spacing face.  


Having a career… well, needless to say, we didn’t take the month of February off.  In fact, we didn’t even take a week off, although we did come close.  4 days.  That’s what we took.  4 days.  And I kinda’ worked a bit on day one, and maybe a little on the second day as well…


But, you know what?  I don’t mind one little bit.  And I didn’t skip my time off because I had to.  It’s because I have a career.  I absofreakinlutely LOVE what I do.  Love it.  When I go to bed at night I find myself excited about what I get to do the next day.  When I wake up I sometimes get the urge to pinch myself to see if it’s real (not that… get your mind out of the gutter!!!).  I haven’t felt the desire to swerve into traffic to get a sick day in years.  


(Editor’s note : The author works from home.)


My goal in this post was to express how lucky I am that I get to do something that I want to do, that I care about and enjoy, every day, for a living.  I wanted to make you understand the deep sense of gratitude that I feel to our fans, our clients, this wonderful community of truly amazing people that have gifted me with this smile I am wearing right now.  I imagined all of you reading this and feeling closer to me, and me to you, envisioned you and me wrapping our arms around each other in a big cyberworld-energy love hug.  But, after reading back through what I’ve written, I realize that perhaps all I have truly accomplished is talking about rotten shrimp, a flatulent friend, and my inability to do household chores in a punctual manner.  


It’s all right.  I’m a sucky writer.  But at least I don’t have to go to a job tomorrow.

Until next week, happy listening!


Check out John's newest narration,
"The Omega's Secret Baby," by Ann-Katrin Byrde. 



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day from Andrew Grey


Dominic and I celebrate Valentine's Day in a quiet way.  Dominic usually buys me a small gift that he leaves somewhere in the house for me along with a wonderful card.  Its a very sweet ritual.  Over the years I have gotten Dominic chocolates, roses, tulips, and a number of different things.  Dominic tends to go for small and quiet and me... well I go for flashy I guess.

The thing is for him and I, the presents aren't really important.  Its the thought that counts and no matter what's in that gift bag on the counter in the kitchen, I know he loves me no matter what.  And that's really all I need to know.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!

Ask Andrew will return next week, so send in your questions.

Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to andrewgreybooks@comcast.net.  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

Please remember this is meant to be all in fun.  (I was going to say good, clean fun, but who wants that.)    So send me your questions and let's see what mischief we can get into.

Visit Andrew on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks  and you can join Andrew's fan group All The Way With Andrew Grey.

Follow him on Twitter:  @andrewgreybooks

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Valentine's Day Flash Fic with BA, Julia, Kiernan and Sean



Valentine's Day flash fiction for you!

BA
MJ tossed Sonny the heart shaped box without comment, the stupid thing landing on the motel bed.

“What the fuck is this, Precious?”

“I know you know what these are, Sunshine. They sell them at Walmart.” MJ leaned back in the ratty old chair, short legs sprawled, giving him a view of the tiny hole at the crotch of MJ’s jeans.

“You’re the chocolate whore, remember?”

“Uh-huh. You’re going to be on your knees in a few anyway. Right here. Bring me a candy when you get here.”

Oh. Oh, his MJ did love him best. Sonny knew what that meant.

That meant there was a picture of a vintage muscle car in that box, the keys in place of a chocolate that MJ’d already eaten.

Sonny grinned over. “Happy V-Day, Precious. You’re good to me.”

MJ just nodded and curled one finger. “Bring the candy.”


Sonny and MJ are from the Road Trip series. Volume 2 releases Feb. 16 from Dreamspinner Press

Road Trip Collection

The course of love is a rough ride, but for ecoterrorist MJ, ridge runner Sonny, physicist Paddy, psychic Neil, genetically enhanced English professor Duncan, and the assassin known as Cowboy, the road to romance is a heart-stopping trip—one full of kidnappings, explosions, secret programs, and supersoldiers. They’re an awful ragged bunch to be considered heroes.

Under Pressure

Sonny and MJ’s retirement may be in jeopardy, but at least they’re together on a new boat—with no annoying hostages. Then Cowboy, MJ’s old friend, gets in touch, bringing with him a host of complications, including Professor Duncan, who has ties to the Program. A call for help from Paddy sets them all on a collision course with a deadly specter from the past. As MJ makes his plans, Sonny is shaken by the possibility of losing everything.

Walking on the Sun

Sonny is determined to raise hell to hunt for MJ—problem is, will MJ know anyone, or himself, once they catch up to him? Neil and Paddy are healing but reluctantly join the effort, as Cowboy and Duncan help Sonny prepare for a showdown. Sonny might be ragged, but he’s MJ’s hero, and he is not about to give up on the most important thing in his life, even if it kills him. Will everyone survive the last epic battle, or will they go out in a blaze of glory


First Edition of Under Pressure published by TOP SHELF: An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers, March 2009.

First Edition of Walking on the Sun published by TOP SHELF: An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers, September 2010.

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/road-trip-vol-2-by-ba-tortuga-9345-b


Julia
“What the heck are you doing?” Peyton watched Grizz rubbing his back against a huge post just outside the arena.

 “My back itches!” Grizz grunted and rumbled, butt wiggling and wagging.

 “Well, I do have nails like glass, you know.”

 Grizz glanced around. “We’re out in public.” He sounded a little scandalized.

“We are. You’ve ridden already. We can go to bed. I can scratch. Sip.”

Grizz’s pupils dilated, the big bear bouncing a little. “Please?”

“Come on, you weirdo.” Peyton led the way, sedately, to their trailer, where he opened the door to let Grizz through.

As soon as they got inside, his bear stripped off all that riding gear, ready to let Peyton go to town.

Shame, really. Peyton rather liked the chaps…


Book: Vampire Protection
Midnight Rodeo 8

Vampire Peyton gets into trouble. A lot. When he offends an entire East Coast clan of vampires up Boston way, he decides he needs a place to hide out for a bit. So he goes back to his Texas roots and calls upon his best friend, Cody Knight, to help him stay safe. Cody runs the Midnight Rodeo, Darque and Knight, and happily agrees to let Peyton come along, even assigning him a bodyguard.

Grizz is a bear shifter, big, strong, and maybe a little… well, bearlike. Who better to watch over Peyton and keep him out of trouble? If Peyton gets out of line, Cody figures, Grizz can just sit on him. Grizz has no idea how much work Peyton will be, or how Peyton will invade his heart. The problem is, Grizz is pretty sure he doesn’t need a beautiful vamp complicating his life. Can he and Peyton find their happy place before it’s too late, or will Peyton’s past catch up with him?

EPB 
Amazon


Keirnan
Seti and Logan have always been one of my  favorite couples, and the rerelease of Seti’s Heart at Dreamspinner Press has given me the chance to take them out, dust them off, and play with them again. Here’s a peek at how Logan tries to explain Valentine’s Day to the ever-pragmatic Seti. Happy V-Day, y’all!

“I do not understand, Logan. There is a day for love? Only one day?”

Logan chuckled, and rolled to his side. He propped himself up on one elbow and looked into Seti’s dark eyes. “We don’t just love on one day. Valentine’s Day is one we set aside to celebrate it. We exchange cards, and have nice, fancy dinners, and give each other flowers and gifts.”

“Why do you need these things to prove love? This is utter foolishness. I show my love for you every time I take you in my mouth or fill your body with mine. Or more, welcome you to enter me.” Seti huffed, obviously not convinced. “What more do flowers and food prove?”

Logan sighed and rolled to his back. “When you say it that way, I guess we don’t need it.”

Seti reached over and slipped his arm around Logan. With one flex of his powerful bicep, he pulled Logan on top of him. “I may not understand this Valentine’s Day, but I understand you very well, Logan. I can see this means much to you. Therefore, we will go to dinner on Valentine’s Day, and I will dress in one of your people’s suits, so we may eat at this fancy restaurant you favor. But right now, I will give you my present to show you how much I love you.”

Grinning, Seti reached for a deep kiss, and when his hand slipped beneath the band of Logan’s sleep pant, Logan knew exactly what that gift was going to be.

It was just what Logan wanted for Valentine’s Day…and every day thereafter.

Seti's Heart is available at Dreamspinner Press.


Sean
The Jarheads' Three Day Passes was my first published book. They wound up with six novels, a bunch of novellas and a ton of short stories. You can find the listing of them here.

Dick handed Rock and Rig each a box wrapped in paper with hearts on it. 

Rock gasped exaggeratedly. “It’s not Valentine’s Day already.”

“I know what you’re doing,” Rig told him, looking unimpressed.

“What?” Rock went for innocent, although he wasn’t exactly sure how to pull off the look. He’d left innocent behind a whole lot of years ago.

“Aside from being assaulted by commercials and signs everywhere, we’re running a Valentine’s Day promotion at the gym,” Dick noted.

“You do this every year, pretend that you’ve forgotten to get Valentine’s Day gifts, and that it’s also our anniversary, then you pull something wonderful out of your ass.” Rig began to carefully work open the wrapping paper on his gift.

“Am I that predictable?” Rock asked. 

Dick grinned. “That’s okay. It’s your thing.”

“Yeah? What’s your thing?”

“Pretty can always be counted on bringing the romance. And getting everyone naked.” Rig got his gift open and oohed over the heart-friendly cookbook, and the notice of reservations for three at their favorite steakhouse. “It’s perfect, thank you.” 

Rock watched as Rig thanked Dick with a long kiss. Damn, they made him horny. He knew the pinky rings he’d had specially designed were going to go over well and he’d be getting his own kisses soon enough. It was just a matter of did he break out the little jewelry boxes now or during dinner?

“So, I’m pretending to forget and Dick is romance. What’s your thing?” he asked Rig when the kiss finally ended, both Rig and Dick’s lips slightly swollen, Dick’s cheeks full of color.

Rig didn’t hesitate. “Hot and cold running blow jobs.” 

Rock didn’t hesitate either. “You win,” he proclaimed, spreading his legs to give Rig room.

He was a lucky fucking man, as both Rig and Dick pounced to make his Valentine’s Day perfect.


We wish you all a very happy Valentine's Day! May love and happiness follow you all year!



Sunday, February 11, 2018

Five Facts - The Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang



Yeah, this one isn't about writing. I'm excited about writing, but right now I'm more excited about the Winter Olympic Games.

I am not a huge sports fan in general. I watch some ice hockey, I enjoy baseball, I’m starting to appreciate football some after many years of not caring at all. I root for certain teams when I’m in a group of people who care— the Red Sox, the Cowboys, the Devils—but I’m not a “fan”. I don’t have and specific players I follow.

BUT! The Olympics come on, and suddenly, I am glued to my television.

As I write this I am watching the USA v. FIN women’s ice hockey game and I’m loving it (it aired at 2:30am so it’s recorded… don’t tell me how it ends!) Last night I watched ice skating, ski jumping, snowboarding, speed skating, women’s biathlon…

So, for those of you that are Olympics fans, here are some interesting stats:


  1. There are fourteen openly gay “out” athletes at the 2018 Winter games Pyeongchang, which may seem like a crazy low number until you consider that is double the number in Sochi, when there were only seven. According to TIME, Freestyle skier, Gus Kenworthy, and figure skater, Adam Rippon, will become the first openly gay male athletes to compete at a Winter Olympics for the U.S.
  2. The estimated costs of the Pyeongchang games is $10 billion. The Sochi games were five times as expensive.
  3. The mascots are Soohorang, a white tiger, and Bandabi, an Asiatic black bear.
  4. There will be a Nigerian women’s bobsled team and Simidele Adeagbo will be the first Nigerian woman, the first African, *and* the first black woman to compete in the skeleton. Kenya and Madagascar have also sent their first female athletes to the winter games, and the US is sending Maame Biney, the first black woman to make the US speed skating team.
  5. Norway, with a population of only five million people, holds the record for the most medals at the Winter Olympics. Going into these games, they hold 329 (The US is second with 282), the bulk of which (107) are in cross country skiing (the US has 1 medal in cross country, earned by Bill Koch in 1976).


As I’ve been writing this, the US women beat Finland 3-1. YAY!

Have a great Sunday, everyone.

Jodi
jodipayne.net

Vote for Creative Process
in the JABBIC cover contest, HERE!






Saturday, February 10, 2018

Shadow's Edge Audiobook Coming Soon by S.C. Wynne


Hello all,

I've just finished production on my first audiobook, Shadow's Edge. It was a pretty painless process, partly because I chose a narrator who was extremely professional and easy to work with. His name is Kale Williams and I can't wait for you all to hear the finished product.

I'm working on Shadow's Return, the second book in the series, and I'm hoping it will be out at the end of February. As book two begins the two main characters are in a relationship together, but they don't really know each other very well. They're both so nervous about embarking on something serious they're skittish with each other. I wanted it to be kind of funny in the beginning as they work their way through the growing pains of their new relationship. But I also needed people to die and a mystery to unfold. It is quite a balancing act. :)

I'm going to give you a little snippet of what I have so far.

Excerpt:

Got lots of stuff to catch up on. Probably best if I just sleep at my place tonight. T.

I stared at that note from Thompson for a good ten minutes, trying to figure out if there was a hidden meaning to it. He’d stuck the post-it note on the coffee maker in the early dawn, and crept out without waking me when he’d left for work this morning. 

I poured myself a cup of coffee and added some cream. Why hadn’t he woken me? Had he been trying to avoid some sort of confrontation? Did he think I’d throw a fit or something if he didn’t spend the night? I wasn’t like that. I squinted at the note scanning it with my mind, and wishing there was something there for me to pick up. But as usual, where Thompson was concerned, I couldn’t get a reading.

We’d been pretty hot and heavy for a few months now, but nothing was written in stone. We’d both said we loved each other once, ages ago, right after we’d almost died at the hands of that pink feather madman, Steven Pine. But since then, both of us had played it pretty close to the vest with our declarations of undying love. Had he changed his mind about me? Maybe once he’d spent some time with me doing things other than solving murders, he’d discovered I was boring. I felt boring. Maybe I wasn’t inventive enough in bed? I was sort of vanilla between the sheets. I knew that. But if he wanted something more exciting, why didn’t he just ask?

I sipped my coffee feeling anxious. I missed the comfortable intimacy I’d shared with William. He’d been very verbal about his emotions, and touchy feely. I’d had no doubt at all that William had adored me, and he’d known I’d felt the same toward him. But Thompson was more reserved and he kept his feelings to himself. He’d admitted to never having a long term relationship before, and sometimes that worried me. Had he stayed single for so long because he hadn’t met the right person? Or was he just not relationship material?

I jumped when my cell rang on the counter. My stomach fluttered when I saw it was Thompson himself. “Hello?” I answered.

“Liam?”

“Yep.” I wasn’t sure how to act suddenly. I didn’t like not knowing where I stood with people.

“We have a weird one. Feel like working today?”

I always preferred to work. “Sure.”

“I’ll swing by and get you in ten.” He hung up.

I sighed and hurried to go get dressed. Thompson never gave me much time once he’d actually called. I washed up, pulled on jeans and a T-shirt, and ran my fingers through my hair. I didn’t need to look amazing, I just didn’t want to look like a hobo. I went back into the kitchen and gulped down the rest of my coffee. I’d just set the cup in the sink when Thompson knocked.

I opened the door and found Thompson standing there looking uptight. “Hey,” I said breathlessly, closing the door behind me. It was weird working with the person you also slept with. I was never sure if I should kiss him hello, or just shake hands. Today I opted for neither, and I just followed him to the car.

I climbed in, while he moved around to the driver’s side, and slid in behind the wheel. I crossed my hands in my lap, feeling tense. “You said this was a weird one?” I didn’t look at him as I spoke, feeling oddly shy.

“It is. It’s a little unsettling to be honest.”

“Awesome.” 

“A body was discovered at Los Angles City College this morning.” He pulled onto the road, weaving in and out of traffic, and seeming impatient with anyone who was moving slower. His jaw was tight and his brows pulled together. “Pretty gruesome.”

“And it’s a homicide?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Okay.” I stared straight ahead. “I didn’t see anything.”

“That was my next question.” He glanced over quickly. “I thought maybe you would.”

“It’s been kind of quiet to be honest.” I gave a gruff laugh. I liked it when it was quiet. I needed a break from the yammering spirits and gory murders that often paraded through my brain. 

“I’m glad for your peace of mind, but sorry for us. It would be helpful if you’d seen something.” He sighed.

I hated disappointing him, even though it meant life was better for me. “I’m sure I’ll see something when we get to the scene.” My stomach tensed at the thought of what awaited me. I was happy to help the cops try and solve murders, but it wasn’t for the weak of heart.

After about ten minutes, Thompson pulled into a parking lot, and we made our way across the campus.  It wasn’t a huge school, and we quickly crossed the space, passing a large tree in the center of a quad surrounded by buildings. Students sat texting on their phones and eating snacks, apparently oblivious to the fact that a murder had taken place.

“She’s over there in the athletic building.” Thompson spoke quietly, lengthening his stride.

I had to hurry to keep up with him, and I was out of breath by the time we entered the big gymnasium. There were sheriffs at the door and they checked our credentials before letting us in. One of them seemed to know Thompson, and he introduced himself to me as Deputy Smith.

“We’ve never had anything like this happen. At least, not since I’ve been here.” Smith looked unnerved. “I mean, there have been a hand full of sexual assaults at most.” He swallowed. “But nothing like this.” He was definitely rattled. I could sense his frustration at being stuck on door duty, when all he really wanted to do was call his teenage daughter and check on her.

Something buzzed on the edge of my brain as we neared the actual crime scene. Ducking under the yellow tape, I put my hand to my head as the pressure built. There was a lot of energy circulating around the body, and it was hard to process it all at once.

“Anything?” Thompson’s gruff voice cut through the vibrations attacking me. 

“Not sure yet.” I pressed my throbbing forehead. “The information is coming in too fast.”

“You want to back off?” His dark gaze seemed concerned as he stopped to look at me.

I scowled. “How would that be helpful?”

“I just don’t want you keeling over.”

I didn’t appreciate him acting like I was a delicate flower. “Let’s get closer to the body.” Psychic impressions seemed to blow away like cigarette smoke, and I needed to try and intercept the spirit quickly.

We rounded a stack of folding chairs, and there was the victim, lying sprawled on the polished gym floor. Her eyes were wide and her mouth open. A belt was looped around her neck, pulled so tight the skin puckered around the brown leather. My stomach rolled and I felt light headed, but I was damned if I was going to pass out after Thompson’s earlier comment. I took a deep breath and relaxed my mind, inviting the surrounding energy in. Slowly, a replay of the girl’s last moments began to flicker in front of my eyes like an old movie.

She was smiling at someone who was just out of the line of my vision. Her gaze was warm and her cheeks pink. She wasn’t scared at all of her companion, she was completely unaware of what was about to happen. I felt sick observing her innocence, knowing it was about to be destroyed. Then my vision skipped ahead, like a stone across the surface of a lake, to her screaming and trying to run. Some guy, who had his back to me, had her in a choke hold. She fought him valiantly, but he still managed to wrap the belt around her slender neck.

“I can’t see his face,” I said quickly, trying to say out loud everything that flashed in front of my eyes so Thompson could take notes. “He’s wearing gloves. She’s fighting him. God, she really tried to get away.” My stomach lurched at how hard she’d struggled.

I’m so sorry I only see things when it’s too late.

I concentrated on the vision, as she clawed at her assailant. At one point she broke free, and ran shrieking toward the exit. But he was faster, and he slammed her down and punched her until she was dazed and limp. Then he dragged her back to the corner where her body was now, and strangled the life from her as she kicked and gasped for air.

I was so immersed in the vision, I stumbled sideways, losing my bearings. Thompson grabbed my arm. “Can you see the perp at all?”

I shook my head. “Not really. Not his face. He has red hair. From his build I’d say he’s young; her age.”

“Probably a student here.”

The visions of her murder faded and I inched toward the body. Usually the spirit would appear briefly, and approach me with something that could be useful. We didn’t have full on conversations, but they usually dropped helpful details about their murderer. “What was her name?” I asked softly.

“Gloria.” Thompson’s voice was hushed.

“Gloria,” I whispered, moving closer to the body. Her wide eyes and gaping mouth made my skin crawl, but I stayed near her; reminding myself that that was just her shell, and that her spirit was around here somewhere. “Talk to me, Gloria.” There was nothing. “Come on, let us help you find justice.”

“Maybe it’s too late.” Thompson sounded resigned.

“Shhh.”

He grunted.

“Gloria tell me who did this to you.” I pressed my fingers to my temple. “Please help us. Don’t let him get away with this.”

I winced when she appeared in front of me like a sickly hologram, her skin gray and her confusion palpable. “I don’t understand. I just wanted someone to listen.” Her voice was weak and reedy.

“Okay.” I nodded. “Well, I’m listening.”

“I didn’t mean it.” She whimpered. “I didn’t want that. Not really.”

“Didn’t want what?” I nudged.

She frowned and touched her neck. “Not fair. Not fair.”

“Can you give me details, Gloria?”

Her mouth was a grim line. “Tricked me.”

“Give me his name.” Even I could hear the urgency in my voice. She wasn’t going to stay long, and I needed a name if she had one.

“Pine. Pine. Pine. Pine.”

“Pine? Like the tree?” I struggled with understanding her fragmented sentences.

 “He said he was my friend.”

“Who?”

“I didn’t do anything to him. Why?”

“Do you have a name for me, Gloria? Is Pine the name of a person?” 

“The angel made him do it,” she said, and then she disappeared.

“Gloria?” I called her name even though I knew she was gone. Her energy had evaporated completely.

Thompson grabbed my arm. “What? What did she say? Did you get a name?”

“Maybe.” I turned my confused gaze on him. “She… she said Pine.”

“I thought that was what you said.” He grimaced, looking non-plussed. “She actually said the word Pine?”

“Yes. But she was all over the place. It might have just been a tree for all I know.” My stomach clenched with an uneasy feeling.

“You’re sure she said Pine?”

“I just said I was.”

“Well…” He scratched his head. “What else did she say?”

I sighed. “She felt betrayed. That was very obvious.” I squinted. “And she said something about an angel making him do it.”

“An angel?” Thompson scowled.

I couldn’t shake a feeling of apprehension shrouding me. “He… he said something about being an angel. Remember?”

“He? You mean Steven Pine?” Thompson’s face tensed. “Liam, he’s in jail.”

“Yeah. I know. But he’s also the strongest fucking psychic I’ve ever met. Maybe he can reach out somehow.” I shivered and hugged myself. 

“She must have got it wrong.”

I rubbed my stomach, feeling queasy. “Why would she just pull that name out of the blue? Spirits don’t lie and they don’t make stuff up.”

“Well, they can make mistakes, right? Perhaps she likes Pine trees.”

“She didn’t say it in a happy way.”

“Okay. Maybe she read about Steven Pine. His case has been all over the news. Maybe he was on her mind when she died.”

“It felt more personal.”

“But you saw the murderer. He had red hair and he was young. That’s what you said.”

“I know--” I frowned, trying to push away the chill that seemed embedded in my soul.

He raked a hand through his shaggy hair. “No way they let that nut case out. You’re letting your imagination run wild.” He pulled his cell from his pocket, and walked away with it pressed to his ear.

I moved away from the body. Gloria wouldn’t return, and I needed fresh air. I followed Thompson toward the exit, still feeling shaken. Maybe Thompson was right and I was letting my fear of Steven Pine get to me. He’d been a terrifying foe, and his name had been all over he newspapers recently because his lawyers were trying to hold up his trial with bogus legal technicalities. The Steven Pine case had been horrifyingly personal. He’d dragged me into his murderous rampage, and I guess it was possible I’d let the memory of that case seep into my current work.

Thompson hung up and faced me. “He’s still at Men’s Central, just like I thought.”

I squinted back toward the building we’d just left. “Okay.” I still felt uneasy. I’d never dealt with a psychic quite like Steven. I wasn’t really sure what he was capable of.

“I’m going to touch base with a few other people before we leave.” His gaze was emotionless.

“Go for it.”

While Thompson finished talking to anyone who’d been first on the scene, I stood to the side, trying to remember every detail of my interaction with Gloria, and typing it into the note pad app on my phone. There had been no witnesses to the actual murder. The school janitor had found the body when he’d opened up the gym early this morning. He’d said the place was locked and that there was no one around. The cops took his prints just to rule him out as a suspect, but I knew already he wasn’t our guy.

Eventually, Thompson indicated that he was ready to head out. We walked to his car in silence, and got in without a word. I didn’t bring up anything about how I felt like he was acting odd. I didn’t have the nerve to open that can of worms yet. He drove to the station, where he could write up a report and get the names and addresses of Gloria’s friends and family. The sooner we could talk to the people closest to her, the better.

I watched Thompson at his desk as he called people and set up meetings for later in the day. I didn’t like feeling uncertain about what we had. But the way he’d just left that note and not said goodbye this morning wasn’t like him. If there was one thing Thompson was, it was predictable. Whenever he deviated from his usual behavior, there was always a reason.
I had no idea what could have changed between now and last night. Everything had seemed just fine last evening. We’d talked a little bit about William because I’d come across an old photo album, and then we’d had dinner, fucked and gone to bed. Everything had been pretty damn perfect.

He cleared his throat. “I’m going to interview Gloria’s boyfriend. Did you want to tag along?”

I frowned. “Of course.” I always came with him on those sorts of interviews. Why was he suddenly questioning that? 

He stood, pulling on his blazer. “I just wasn’t sure if you’d want to.”

“Since when?”

He shrugged and moved toward the exit. I hurried after him, feeling confused. When we got to the elevator it was crowded, so I couldn’t really ask him anything. By the time we got to his car,  enough time had passed that it felt awkward to bring up how weird he was being, but I decided to do it anyway. Just like Thompson was always predictable, I was usually awkward.

As he pulled out of the parking structure, I shifted to face him. “Is something bugging you?”

He glanced at me, his expression guarded. “What do you mean?”

“You seem different.”

“I do?” He kept his eyes on the road.

“Why did you leave a note on the coffee maker?”

“Did you not want me to leave you a note?”

I sighed. “You didn’t say goodbye. You always say goodbye.”

A muscle in his jaw tensed. “I didn’t want to wake you. You were deeply asleep and you have trouble sleeping.”

“So you were just being considerate?”

“Yep.”

“Promise?”


“If you want me to wake you up next time, I will.”

Hopefully you enjoyed that excerpt! If you're interested in reading book one before the second one comes out, you can buy it at AMAZON and OTHER PLACES.

See you next week! Have a wonderful weekend.

S.C.

www.sc-wynne.com

Friday, February 9, 2018

My publishing journey and fear by Felice Stevens


It's two weeks until I publish Perfect and that means the questions start. Will people read it? Will they like it? Have I done everything possible to showcase these characters whom I've spent countless hours with to make people want to read their story? Will they love them like I do? 

That doesn't even encompass the uncertainty now of publishing—will Amazon hold up the publishing process for some bizarre reason even they don't understand, will it be pirated (the answer is yes) should I do KU or go wide...

That fear is the same from when my first book was published to this, my 24th book. Twenty-four books? That's crazy to me, since I almost gave up.


I'd always wanted to be a writer. I wrote poems in elementary school and short stories throughout high school. My high school English teacher was the Pulitzer-prize winning Frank McCourt and when he told me never to stop writing (and I have that in my high school year book) I tucked it away and would look at it every once in a while for inspiration.

But school and life got in the way and it wasn't until 2013 that I listed to Mr. McCourt. I was laid up from surgery and home from work for a month and reading non-stop. I finally took that plunge. I had always read romance and some of my friends urged me to try. I started writing. I was accepted to a romance critique group with some of the biggest names in historical romance, joined RWA and took classes on craft: synopsis writing, deep POV, story arc, etc and threw out everything I had already written. I had in mind a Regency Historical series of four friends—a Duke, a Marquess and two Earls. I studied the Regency period and I joined the Beau Monde Group. I ran a blog, interviewed all the biggest names in Regency romance and even became an Avon Addict—a super reader/reviewer and got to meet all my favorite authors.

And I kept writing until I was finished with my first book: The Passion of the Duke (I know, I need a new title). I sent it for editing and critique and rewrote and rewrote. Nervous, I joined Query Tracker, researched agents and sent out query letter after query letter. Many came back with "I'm sorry, historical romance isn't really selling." or "This isn't what we're looking for." It wasn't easy to be rejected over and over but I swallowed my pride and my fear and sent out more. 

 I also submitted the book to Pitch Wars on Twitter and to my shock I was chosen. My mentor and I went over the book and it was requested by several agents. Yay! I thought. It's going to happen. But one agent said she didn't think it would sell. Another agent said she was passing on this book but wanted to see what else I had. Both of them said they loved my voice.

Discouraged, I nevertheless continued with my writing and wrote two more Regency books. But by that time I'd discovered gay romance and fell in love with the genre With some regret I set aside my historicals and wrote my book, Rescued. I submitted that to several publishing houses specializing in gay romance and it was rejected. At that point I thought of giving up. I was tired of rejection. I was afraid I would never see my book published. At that time self-publishing was in its infancy and not something I thought about doing. 

Finally, in March of 2014, I received an email from Loose Id that they wanted to publish Rescued. I will never forget that feeling.

Crazy as it was, Rescued was published and went to number one. For the next month or so remained there or at number two. No KU as it wasn't a factor then. By that point I was writing the Hell and Back series and thought to try and submit A Walk Through Fire to other publishers. I did and it was rejected. It was at that point, that the idea of self publishing began to look more appealing. After the last Hell and Back book was published I became fully self published. It didn't get any easier. The life of a self-publisher author is stressful and costly and the fear of rejection, this time by readers, remains.

With each book I release I feel the same fear as when I sent my manuscripts for querying. I don't think the fear has ever left me. Maybe other authors don't feel like this; maybe they are more confident than I. I'm sure it's true. It's not that I'm not confident in my work. When I publish a book it is the best I can give. I often say to my other author friends, "is it weird to fall in love with your characters?" Because to me, each character is real. I agonize over their stories; the plot, the romance, the secondary characters. 

I'm always afraid I'm letting my characters down if the book doesn't sell. And while I'm beyond fortunate to have had some success, I don't ever take it for granted. The publishing industry has undergone seismic changes these past four years since I was published I don't think anyone really knows what will happen.

One thing I know is that this fear will  never prevent me from writing my books. Will people hate my books? Absolutely. Will they get things wrong about my books in reviews that I want to correct but won't? You bet. Will they say awful things about me and my writing ability in reviews. Yes again. Been there done that. I'm not fearful of that. I have never let anyone's opinion prevent me from making my own decisions about books, movies, or restaurants. 

But to those who are fearful about pushing publish and think it gets easier, it hasn't for me. But if you love writing, you can't let that stop you. You have to put your heart in someone else's hands and let the book soar. If you don't no one will ever have that chance to fall in love with your words and ideas. Because for every person who doesn't like your book, there will be someone who loves it. And for every review that tears your confidence down, there will be an email or a message from a reader who says "thank you for writing that book. I could relate. That was me. It made me cry." think of their fear.

So whether Amazon becomes more or less powerful, or Barnes and Noble stays afloat or succumbs, I know we as authors and readers will roll with it and figure it all out.
Is it scary? Sure. But I couldn't image doing anything else.