Phil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.
He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.
Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.
First step in his plan… do something about his love life.
Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Phil’s team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.
As is Brandon, the local cop…
And Mark, the homophobic boss…
Perhaps, with a little… luck, the next week will be better.
Thanks for joining us today, Jeff. Congratulations on our new release. We are also happy to have the opportunity to ask you some questions.
I love the cover of Speedy Rewards. How do you go about achieving a cover that captures the spirit of your story? Is it difficult to find the ‘right’ characters to appear on the cover?
Jeff: First of all, thank you for hosting me on your blog and participating in our blog tour. Sharing my work with you is a privilege and an honor. I appreciate the exposure, and even more than that, I’m grateful to the readers who’ve supported me.
When it comes to book covers, my artistic talent is strictly limited to conceptualization. When it comes to execution, however, I fail miserably. If it were up to me to design covers, they’d all feature drawings of stick people.
In spite of my limitations, I’ve been privileged to work with some extremely talented artists. In the case of the Speedy Rewards cover, the publisher allowed me to select my own models for the cover. I had a vision for the cover and they pretty much nailed it. I’m very pleased with the background, the main characters, and all the intricate details.
I think most of us have probably pined over a lost love, and some of us recover better than others. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
Jeff: Prior to publishing my first novel, I had worked in a retail environment my entire life. More specifically, I’d managed a convenience store like the one depicted in Speedy Rewards for nine years. I witnessed so many interesting situations and encountered so many remarkable people, that I always felt that someone could write a very entertaining novel about all I’d experienced. Finally I decided that the “someone” would be me.
On a typical day, how much time would you spend writing? Describe your writing environment.
Jeff: I’m not sure I have a typical day. I write when I feel inspired to do so. In the past I tried using word count goals and failed miserably. I honestly don’t understand how any writer can decide they will devote x amount of time to writing. It’s either there or it’s not. I’ve been so inspired by a story idea I’ve worked around the clock, and contrarily there are times I just can’t seem to write anything.
Are you a night owl or a day person? How many hours sleep do you get?
Jeff: I guess I’m kind of both because I stay up late and wake up early. I’ve never required a lot of sleep, four to five hours per day.
What book is currently on the bedside table?
Jeff: Well, I don’t read in bed. I do read quite a bit, though, using my Kindle e-reader. I’m currently reading a Wayward Ink Publishing story called Love Cubed by Eddy LeFey.
Share with us one secret or snippet from Speedy Rewards, that isn’t from the blurb or excerpt.
Jeff: The blurb doesn’t say too much about one of my favorite characters, Doreen. She’s rather complicated in that she’s portrayed as an extremely flawed sympathetic secondary character. She’s a practicing witch who also lives a BDSM lifestyle as a dominatrix. Only five feet tall, she pretty much thinks she’s bad ass (you know, like how those little Chihuahuas are; they think they’re the biggest, baddest dog on the block). She drinks vodka out of her thermal cold beverage refill mug… while on the clock. And she loves to smoke weed in her free time. Huge gay rights activist and a major supporter of the store manager, Phil, who’s the openly gay main character of the novel. Oh, and one other thing, Doreen’s pet (or submissive) is a pre-op transgender woman who loves pain.
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Prizes: $20 WIP Gift Card, $10 WIP Gift Card, ebook copy of Speedy Rewards
About the author
JEFF ERNO began writing LGBT fiction in the late 1990s. Although an avid reader and amateur writer from a very young age, Jeff pursued a career as a retail store manager in Northern Michigan. When his first gay-themed novel was published, he was shocked that anyone would even want to read it. So far, he’s published over thirty novels. Jeff lives in Southern Michigan, where he works part time at a convenience store.
Jeff’s writing credits include a variety of themes and sub-genres including male romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction, erotica, and BDSM. He is the winner of a 2012 Rainbow Award and an Honorable Mention in 2011. His style is unpretentious and focused upon emotionally-driven, character-based stories that touch the heart. Jeff is especially passionate about young adult literature and combating teen bullying and youth suicide.