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BLOG TOUR, EXCERPT AND GIVEAWAY! The One That I Want and Hopelessly Devoted by RJ Jones

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Title: The One That I Want; Hopelessly Devoted
Author: RJ Jones
Genre: Gay Romance, Musical
Length: Short Stories
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Synopsis

Jason escapes into the magic of a Broadway play every weekend. Musicals always have a happy ending and for a few hours he can believe there’s a happy ending waiting for him, too. When the tall drink of water who works on the top floor of Jason’s building, wants to take him on a date, Jason is surprised. After all, Jason is awkward and skinny, and sees himself as a boring accountant, while Paul is tall, dark, and incredibly hot.

Despite Jason’s reservations, Paul and Jason start dating and attending the shows Jason adores. But if Paul likes musicals as much as Jason, why does he always doze off? Is Paul leading a double life? Does he have a wife tucked away somewhere?

Jason knows Paul is hiding something and when the secrets come out, Jason finds his fantasy comes to life, right there on the stage.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26851011-the-one-that-i-want

The One That I Want RJ Jones

Buy Links

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/the-one-that-i-want-by-rj-jones/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B0160LK6CE/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B0160LK6CE/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B0160LK6CE/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B0160LK6CE/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theonethatiwant-1897813-149.html

Hopelessly Devoted

One year on from Paul’s proposal, Jason is living a life he never dreamed of. As he fusses with his tie and readies to walk down the aisle, he reminisces about the previous twelve months. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the happy couple in the lead up to their wedding, with obstacles big and small thrown in their way.

Marrying one of New York’s most eligible bachelors has Jason’s stomach in knots. Expectations of their society wedding are high, but out of love for Paul, Jason goes along with the grand plans because he understands Paul’s family has a reputation to maintain. But Paul has a surprise up his sleeve that just may see Jason getting the wedding of his dreams.

Follow Jason on his journey as he prepares to marry one of the most eligible bachelors in New York and find out just how Dave got his name.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26851055-hopelessly-devoted

Hopelessly Devoted

Excerpt from Hopelessly Devoted

AFTER SOPHIA finished calming my nerves, fixing my hair—I’d given in and gone to Pierre last week—and helping me look respectable enough to walk down the aisle next to her brother, she gave me a kiss on the cheek.

“Remember,” she said, grabbing my hands in her dainty ones, “you have five minutes. Breathe deeply and think of the honeymoon.” Her eyes twinkled. “When you hear the music, open the door, and Paul will be waiting for you. And stop fussing with your tie.” With another kiss on the cheek and a squeeze of my hands, she swept out of the room in a swish of silk to take her place at the front of the crowd.

Thinking of the honeymoon wasn’t the best idea. I didn’t want to face the hundreds of guests out there with a boner, and thinking of the reception was hell on my nerves. I thought of my parents, but that made me depressed. At least it killed my erection.

The next thing I knew, the music playing softly just outside my door grew louder. I peered out the window again and saw the guests, dressed in their stylish finery, stand and look toward the entrance. Their voices quieted as they awaited our arrival.

I squared my shoulders, took a deep, unfulfilling breath, and opened the door.

Paul stood waiting for me, as promised, dressed in a gorgeous tuxedo that hugged his hips and shoulders perfectly. When our eyes met, his smile took my breath away. He held out his hand for me to take.

“Breathe, babe.” He chuckled.

“Easy for you to say, you’ve probably been breathing the whole time.”

We stood facing each other, and Paul took my sweaty hands in his clean, dry ones. His eyes glistened with moisture.

“Do you love me?” I nodded. My ability to form words had left the building with Elvis. “Do you want to marry me?” I nodded more vigorously then. “Good. I promise to hold your hand the entire time. Just try and visualize everyone naked.”

“Even the women?” Yuck.

“Yes, even them.” Damn.

Buy Links

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/hopelessly-devoted-by-r-j-jones/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0161IK2ZW/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0161IK2ZW/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0161IK2ZW/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B0161IK2ZW/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hopelesslydevoted-1897814-149.html

Giveaway

Prizes: Two WIP gift cards of $2.99 each

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About the author

R.J. Jones started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write.

It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower…

R.J.’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of her day. Not so. That shower scene ended up being 3000 words long and three hours of work.  And still, they didn’t shut up.  They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by her bed.

Whilst she was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.

You see the problem? If she ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.

R.J. is a wife and a mother to two boys. She is surrounded by males. Even her dog is a boy.

R.J. Jones can be found at:

Website: http://rjjonesauthor.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robyn.j.jones.1711
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjjonesauthor
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/rjjones-author
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rjjonesauthor/

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BLOG TOUR, EXCERPT AND GIVEAWAY! Reckless by Nicole Edwards

Title: Reckless
Series: Pier 70 #1
Author: Nicole Edwards
Genre: Adult, M/M Romance
Published: October 27, 2015
He’s a walking contradiction…

Cam Strickland, one of the four owners of Pier 70 Marina, has earned the nickname his friends gave him years ago. Reckless. Sure. By definition. When it comes to fun, Cam hasn’t yet met a challenge he wouldn’t accept. In other areas, he’s likely far too cautious for his own good.

He’s his complete opposite…

Gannon Burgess, CEO of Burgess Entertainment, one of the top video game producers in the world, finds himself smack in the middle of the last place he would ever expect to be. But Gannon only thinks he is out of his element standing in the small marina office. Then… he meets Cam.

Rumor is opposites attract.

Sparks fly when this sexy, tattooed bad boy comes face to face with this buttoned-up gamer in glasses.

Can Cam and Gannon push one another out of their comfort zones? Or — thanks to the events that have shaped their lives — will the time they spend together prove to be just another reckless adventure? This one involving their hearts.

Reckless Excerpt © Nicole Edwards 2015

“That guy was totally checking you out,” Milly said when Gannon pulled out onto the road that would lead back to the office. “Holy shit. Did you see his tattoos? And those muscles.”
Yeah, Gannon had seen them, all right.
“And I’m pretty sure his nipples were pierced?”
Gannon didn’t take his eyes off the road, not wanting Milly to see the confusion on his face. “Pierced? Why would…? What makes you think that?”
“I could see the outline through his shirt. Sheesh. Pay more attention, Gannon.”
Oh, he’d paid plenty of attention. Too much attention.
Milly continued. “He was hot, right? You thought he was hot?”
Gannon chuckled, amused by her excitement. It wasn’t new for Milly. She was constantly attempting to set him up with someone, and on the off chance Gannon showed even the slightest hint of interest, she was all over it.
“You should call him,” she said, still rambling incessantly. “Ask him out. Or maybe he’ll call you. If he does, will you go out with him?”
“Take a breath.”
Milly made a dramatic effort to inhale and exhale, giggling as she did. “That was so worth the hour trip,” she told him.
“So does that mean we don’t have to go out on the boat then?”
She leveled him with a glare.
Couldn’t blame him for trying.
“I wonder if he’ll be the one to take us out on the lake next week.”
Gannon did, too. Part of him hoped he did; the other part, now that he’d had a chance to get his bearings, wasn’t sure he could handle being close to Cam for any extended period of time. As it was, every time he blinked, Gannon saw him as vividly as though he were still standing only a few feet away.
That couldn’t be good.
“When we get back to the office,” Milly began, “I’m gonna send out a memo and let the team know this is a mandatory team-building event.”
“Mandatory?” Gannon glanced over at her.
“If I give them an option, they’ll stay right there in the office.”
True, they would. He would, too.
Thankfully, Milly was silent for a few minutes. Long enough for Gannon to gather his thoughts about Cam.
He wondered if Milly was right. Maybe he should ask Cam out.
It’d been a long time since he’d felt this sort of attraction to a man; surely he shouldn’t ignore it. If he did, who knew how long it would be before it happened again.
You’ll see him on Tuesday, remember?
Okay, so the voice in his head had a point, but could he wait until then? What if he didn’t get to see Cam on Tuesday? What if someone else took them out on the boat? Then what would he do?
What if Cam wasn’t interested? What if Gannon made a fool of himself?
Gannon took a deep breath.
The pessimism didn’t suit him. He didn’t like to think negatively. Though he hadn’t always had the easiest life, he had set out years ago to think positive. He attributed his success to that, the fact that he didn’t look for doom and gloom around every corner.
So, yeah, what could it hurt?
“You’re thinking about him, aren’t you?”
Gannon shot a look at Milly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Milly’s husky laugh filled the car. “And now I know you’re lying.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Because you didn’t answer my question with a question.”
Turning back to face the road, Gannon smiled to himself.
This woman knew him too well.

Want more steamy M/M novels from Nicole Edwards?

 


 

 


 

New York Times bestselling author Nicole Edwards launched her professional writing career in July of 2012. Having been an avid reader all of her life and a huge fan of creative writing, it seemed the likely path for her to take. Since then, she has released fifteen books and has no plans to stop. As her full-time career/hobby, Nicole writes steamy contemporary and erotic romances.

Nicole is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who was born and raised in Texas. Married with three kids and four dogs, she has plenty of interaction to keep her imagination brewing. Her books have been featured in USA Today’s Happy Ever After segment as well as Indie Reader’s best seller list. She has forged her way as an independent author.

Although she has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, she prefers to be hiding out in her writing cave, talking to the fictional characters that have built up in her head over the years.

When she isn’t writing or plotting her next book (sometimes translated to “playing on Facebook”), Nicole loves to read and spend time with her family and her dogs.

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GUEST POST and EXCERPT! Climbing the Savage Mountain by T.A. Chase

Thank you for having me here. I’m T.A. Chase and I write gay romance. Obviously…or I probably wouldn’t have been invited to be a guest blogger here. Lol.

TA ChaseI’d like to chat with you about my new release, Climbing the Savage Mountain. It’s part of Pride Publishing’s What His Passion? Line. It’s also the sequel to my short story, Mountains to Climb.

It features Jensen and Toby. They’d been lovers before Jensen took off without telling Toby he was leaving. His return and what happens then is the plot for Mountains to Climb. This new story is a continuation of their relationship and Jensen’s obsession with mountaineering.

You might be wondering why I picked mountain climbing as Jensen’s passion. There aren’t a lot of books out there about mountaineers. While I’m fascinated by those who chose to climb some of the world’s highest peaks, I’ve never felt the urge to do it. Lol I don’t really like heights and the fact that some of those summits get really cold isn’t appealing to me either.

But I thought it could be interesting to write about a guy who is broken in so many ways that he uses climbing as a way to heal himself. Maybe it’s the idea of conquering a summit and knowing that if he could do that, he could take control of his life.

I’m sure there is something about standing at the top of the world (Mt. Everest), looking out and down on the earth below that can make a man feel invincible. Yet the mountain isn’t so easily conquered. You might make it to the top, but in the few seconds you’re there, the mountain will have changed below you.

It’s a symbol of life in a way. One moment, you’re on top of the world and the next, you’re caught in a storm, just praying for a life line to get you out of it alive. Climbing back down to the base of the mountain gives you a belief that you can survive anything.

That’s one of the underlying reasons I chose to write about mountain climbing. A symbol of survival and strength.

I hope you get a chance to check out Climbing the Savage Mountain. Thank you for having me here today.

 

 

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Blurb for Climbing the Savage Mountain:

After conquering the world’s tallest mountain, loving Toby shouldn’t be so scary.

Jensen Brockhoff wins his way back into Toby Schwartzel’s heart, but it won’t be that easy to erase the pain of the past. He has two more mountains to conquer and they’re the most difficult.

Toby understands Jensen’s obsession with the highest peaks in the world. He’s willing to wave goodbye as Jensen leaves on his trips, but he can’t help worrying that Jensen won’t come back. That the lure of the mountains will prove too difficult for his love to fight.

Climbing has always been Jensen’s way of escape, yet loving Toby is proving stronger and Jensen must choose between the man he loves and the passion that saved his life. Will Jensen give up his climbing gear to build a new life with Toby?

General Release Date: 13th October 2015

 

Climbing the Savage Mountain excerpt:

Gripping his knife until his knuckles turned white, Toby stared at Jensen. “Please tell me. You know the waiting makes it worse. How long will you be gone this time?”

Sighing, Jensen set his fork down before meeting Toby’s gaze. “Do you remember me telling you that Cat, Jigger and I had planned on climbing Everest last year?”

Toby nodded even while his heart sank. Everest. One of two mountains still on Jensen’s bucket list. He took a quick swallow of cider, wishing it were beer instead before he motioned for Jensen to continue.

“We couldn’t last year because the climbing season was suspended after all those Sherpas were killed and the rest went on strike. You can’t climb Everest without Sherpas to help you. I don’t care what anyone says. Those men are mountain gods. I wouldn’t go on any expedition to Everest that didn’t use them.” Jensen stabbed at his steak, his expression fierce.

“I remember you telling me about the avalanche and that it was the deadliest single day incident on the mountain ever—even worse than the nineteen-ninety-six storm.” Toby held back the shudder threatening to take over his body at the thought of Jensen being up on that mountain when the storms started rolling in.

“Yeah. So they canceled the season and we couldn’t go. Well, Jigger called this morning and said that we got our permit and we’re going this year.” He was practically bouncing in his chair. “I’m going to fly out to Wyoming at the end of February so we can get in some real climbs and train together. We’re flying into Katmandu around the end of March. We need to get to Base Camp in April.”

“February?”

It was the second week of January. He should be glad he’d had Jensen around for Christmas and New Year’s.

“Yeah. I’m sorry. I would’ve let you know sooner, but we weren’t sure we’d get another permit. The climbing season starts in March, but we decided to try and get there for the optimal time to summit, which is May.” Jensen took a deep breath and Toby could see him visibly reining in his excitement.

He didn’t move when Jensen reached across the table to take his hand with his own. Toby looked into Jensen’s hazel eyes and saw the spark that had always attracted him to Jensen. For the most part nowadays, it was there because of him. Yet Toby knew that the only other thing that could make Jensen shine like that was climbing.

“When will you be back?”

Toby tried to keep his hold on Jensen light, as though he were sheltering baby chicks in his hands. He was exhausted from worrying about clinging to Jensen, afraid that if he became too needy, Jensen wouldn’t come back from one of his climbs. That he’d run away again like he did seven years ago.

“By the end of May or beginning of June—no later. I’ll go back to Wyoming with Jigger and Cat to make sure they’re okay then I’ll come straight back here.” Jensen’s grip on Toby’s hand tightened and Toby gritted his teeth. “I’ve been dreaming about Everest since I first started climbing.”

 

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BLOG TOUR, EXCERPT AND GIVEAWAY! Summer Season by Rebecca Cohen

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Blurb:

A Treading the Boards Novella

A trip down to Cornwall is just what Ryan Penniford needs to recover from the daily grind of London life. Ryan and his amateur dramatics society, the Sarky Players, are traveling to Porthcurno to perform at the stunning Minack Theatre.

Stuart Box has returned to Cornwall after earning his PhD, and is killing time as he looks for a job back in London. Spending time with Ryan from the Sarky Players is a great way to take his mind off things.

During their first meeting, sparks fly, but not in a good way, and they must work to get past their initial hostilities to discover they have great off-stage chemistry. Stuart soon learns Ryan is not the superficial man people assume he is, and Stuart likes what he sees. The feeling is entirely mutual.

Pity Ryan is only visiting for two weeks, but both men want to see where this holiday romance might take them.

 

Excerpt:

Stuart searched the fridge in the hope his mum had bought some beer, but drew a blank, and instead settled on an open bottle of pinot grigio.

“Stop stealing my booze, you little pest.”

Stuart jumped and only managed to catch the wine before it hit the floor due to his excellent reflexes. “For fuck’s sake, woman. You’re meant to be out.”

“I was only going for lunch.”

“Yeah, but your lunches with Terri have been known to continue ’til midnight.”

“Oh, shush, you. That only happened once—no, twice.”

He grabbed two glasses from a cupboard and poured them both a drink, then handed one to his mum.

“Thanks, love.” Fiona kicked off her shoes and rubbed her heels. “I thought you’d still be out. Aren’t any of the new group pretty enough for your tastes?”

“Oh, there’s one that’s pretty enough. But he’s an idiot.”

Fiona picked up a takeout menu from the counter. “Pretty enough?”

“If you like blond and gorgeous.”

“Which, if I remember correctly, you do.”

He knew what his mum was getting at. He’d always had a certain type, and that included a spark of defiance. He couldn’t argue Ryan didn’t have that particular facet to his personality.

“Maybe he’d be all right for a bit of fun—but he’s a fluffy-headed fool.”

Fiona clicked her tongue. “I brought you up better than to say things like that.”

“Oh, Mum! You didn’t see him messing around at the theater—it was dangerous.”

“You told him off, didn’t you? And he told you where to stick it.”

“Not exactly.”

She stared at him and raised an eyebrow. Stuart took a sip of wine, hating how his mum still managed to make him feel like a naughty kid at times. “Stuart Jeremiah Box, what did you say?”

“I might have intimated he was a useless London ponce.”

She shook her head and snatched his wineglass out of his hand. “You get this back when you promise to apologize.”

“What? No!” He reclaimed his glass. Ryan had been a prat. Maybe Stuart had been a little rude, but nothing bad enough to warrant an apology.

“Are you really telling me you’re not going to apologize when you’ve acted badly?”

Stuart gritted his teeth. Too bad she was right. “I suppose I might have been a tad heavy-handed to start with.”

“Meaning you jumped on him with your size elevens. You have to remember the guy’s on holiday.”

“All right. I’ll apologize tomorrow.”

She bopped him playfully on his nose with the takeaway menu. “Good boy. Now, pork balls and sweet and sour sauce?”

“As if there was another option!”

Buylinks:

Dreamspinner | Amazon | All Romance | Barnes & Noble

 

Giveaway:

$20 gift card for Amazon or Are, 2 ebooks from back catalogue (excluding Summer Season). Giveaway closes 21st October 2015.

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ ec3c1e581/?

 

Bio and Links:

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and baby son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

Blog: http://rebeccacohenwrites.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/R_Cohen_writes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cohen.710

DSP author page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_462

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Cohen/e/B007UEFIXS/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Tour Dates: 

October

7th: Dawn’s Reading Nook – unique excerpt

8th: Hearts on Fire – guest post

9th: Love Bytes – guest post | MM good book reviews – unique excerpt

10th: Zipper Rippers – guest post

11th: UK Gay Romance – promo post

12th: Novel Approach – guest post

13th: Because Two Men – unique excerpt

14th: RJ Scott – promo post

15th: Bookwinked – unique excerpt

16th: Prism Alliance – guest post

17th: Creative Ink Romance – review

18th: Sue Brown – promo post

19th: Diverse Reader – unique excerpt

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ! The One That I Want by RJ Jones!

The One That I Want Facebook Cover Art

Synopsis

Jason escapes into the magic of a Broadway play every weekend. Musicals always have a happy ending and for a few hours he can believe thereís a happy ending waiting for him, too. When the tall drink of water who works on the top floor of Jason’s building, wants to take him on a date, Jason is surprised. After all, Jason is awkward and skinny, and sees himself as a boring accountant, while Paul is tall, dark, and incredibly hot.

Despite Jason’s reservations, Paul and Jason start dating and attending the shows Jason adores. But if Paul likes musicals as much as Jason, why does he always doze off? Is Paul leading a double life? Does he have a wife tucked away somewhere?

Jason knows Paul is hiding something and when the secrets come out, Jason finds his fantasy comes to life, right there on the stage.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26851011-the-one-that-i-want

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Buy Links

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/the-one-that-i-want-by-rj-jones/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B0160LK6CE/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B0160LK6CE/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B0160LK6CE/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B0160LK6CE/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theonethatiwant-1897813-149.html

Not ready to part with Jason and Paul? The second part of their story will be released on October 23rd

Hopelessly Devoted Banner

Hopelessly Devoted

One year on from Paul’s proposal, Jason is living a life he never dreamed of. As he fusses with his tie and readies to walk down the aisle, he reminisces about the previous twelve months. It hasnít all been smooth sailing for the happy couple in the lead up to their wedding, with obstacles big and small thrown in their way.

Marrying one of New York’s most eligible bachelors has Jason’s stomach in knots. Expectations of their society wedding are high, but out of love for Paul, Jason goes along with the grand plans because he understands Paulís family has a reputation to maintain. But Paul has a surprise up his sleeve that just may see Jason getting the wedding of his dreams.

Follow Jason on his journey as he prepares to marry one of the most eligible bachelors in New York and find out just how Dave got his name.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26851055-hopelessly-devoted

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Pre-order Links

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/hopelessly-devoted-by-r-j-jones/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0161IK2ZW/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0161IK2ZW/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0161IK2ZW/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B0161IK2ZW/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hopelesslydevoted-1897814-149.html

About the author

RJones-AvatarR.J. Jones started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write.

It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the showerÖ

R.J’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of her day. Not so. That shower scene ended up being 3000 words long and three hours of work.  And still, they didn’t shut up.  They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by her bed.

Whilst she was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.

You see the problem? If she ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.

R.J. is a wife and a mother to two boys. She is surrounded by males. Even her dog is a boy.

R.J. Jones can be found at:

Website: http://rjjonesauthor.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robyn.j.jones.1711
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjjonesauthor
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/rjjones-author
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rjjonesauthor/

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INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY & EXCERPT: Take Your Pick by Missy Welsh

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Release Date: October 9, 2015

Blurb

Peter Kim has been in love with his five best friends since junior high. Now attending college, they share a house, but none of them know how Pete really feels.

Until the five of them come home early to find Pete masturbating while watching a video of them all on vacation near a river last summer.

Devastated and embarrassed, Pete is sure they’ll kick him out come morning. Accepting him as the only gay one among them is one thing, but knowing he lusts after them? All of them? They couldn’t possibly accept that.

But when Pete wakes up the next morning, he’s shocked to discover his housemates have a proposition for him. He’ll choose one of them each day, and they promise to do whatever he wants—including sex—for a full twelve hours.

And, yeah, they’re serious.

Excerpt

I watched them pile into the behemoth Devon’s mom had loaned for tonight’s trip up to Cleveland. They all looked good in their club clothes. Nothing flashy or too tight, but I’d spread some fashion sense around and they’d believed me every time. Not a single girl would be able to resist my boys.

Of course, there would be plenty of boys who’d be unable to resist them either.

Just like me.

I waved as they drove off, equal parts relieved and lonely. I didn’t want to let them go without me, but I had been wound way too tight lately. I had on one other piece of clothing—the tightest pair of briefs I owned—just to help mask the boner I kept springing every time I’d been near them for the past three days.

Something had to give, and it was going to happen in a gush of orgasmic heat all over my fist.

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Interview

Today, I’m very lucky to be interviewing Missy Welsh author of Take Your Pick.

Hi, Missy. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hello! Thanks so much for hosting me today. I’m not too complicated, I am addicted to carbs, and I need an app on my phone to yell at me so I work through my to-do list. Sometimes I’m pink and frilly, but mostly I’m denim and bare feet. I’ve worked in membership management, IT, customer service, and marketing, but it’s writing fiction that I truly love.

Take Your Pick is about Peter Kim and his 5 housemates exploring their sexualities in the name of ultimate friendship. See, Pete’s in love with all of them and it’s become a secret he can’t contain any longer. After he’s found out, he’s both thrilled and wary about his housemates’ decision to spend a day with him doing whatever he wants, including sex. Pete’s going to learn a lot about each of them as well as himself by the end of this story.

Give us ten tips for becoming a better writer.

  1. Show, don’t tell. A lot of authors think they know what that means, but not everyone does, and we all lapse into tell now and then. I’m especially guilty of over-using “felt” instead of showing the feeling in actions. I highly recommend The Emotion Thesaurus for fixing that.
  2. Ignore the lists of words to “never” use. Those lists freak me out. All words work when used appropriately and without overusing them. I think the key there is the last part, so be aware more than strictly avoiding certain words.
  3. Understand your genre. If you’re going to call your story a romance, there are certain expectations that come with romances. Namely, happy endings. Yes, it’s really a thing. And you can’t get mad at readers who get mad at you because your romance didn’t HEA/HFN. That’s what romances do and why there are genres that include “with romantic elements.” Push boundaries and whatever, but make sure you know you’re breaking the rules and do your damnedest to make your readers very aware of what you’re doing too.
  4. Never stop learning craft. Read the how-to books. Get them from the library if you don’t want to commit to them right away. They might talk about the same things, but this one explains it in a way that just blows your mind. Like you were always aware of that thing, but now, holy crap, you get it. You can do it! It’s like getting a gold star on your homework. Never stop learning.
  5. Join a critique group. This goes along with continuing to learn your craft as well as understand your genre. By reading the work of others and offering constructive criticism, you’ll hone your knowledge of writing while also becoming a better reader for others. There’s camaraderie in sharing the ups and downs of both the writing process and publishing, too.
  6. Expand your vocabulary. Did you have vocabulary tests in school? Lord, I did and I never paid as much attention as I now believe I should’ve. If you’ve ever had to look up a word while reading a book—which I often have to, especially in historicals—you’ll want to commit those words to memory. Most of the time for me, those words convey what I could only say in three or four words. Or a whole sentence! Sure, they’re not always appropriate for every character, but they could come in handy down the road. Words like these let you write more diverse characters.
  7. Don’t read reviews. There are two schools of thought on this, but this is mine: Reviews are for readers. For authors, that review is for the book that’s over and there’s nothing you can do to change it now. Too late! Whatever criticism exists—deserved or not—serves only to educate the readership on what they might get from your work. Yes, praise is lovely, but even the thickest skin is pierced by painful reviews.
  8. Read in more than your genre. Yes, you need to understand your genre, but don’t limit yourself to it. Some amazing stories are being told in science fiction, fantasy, suspense, and horror right now. Think of the things you could learn and apply to your own work. The inspiration is out there!
  9. Treat editing as advise. Editors are not infallible. While they should know what they’re doing, they don’t know everything. They also do not own your words and should never change your writing style. Plug plot holes, suggest clearer phrasing, punch up the action, adjust punctuation—that’s all good. It’s also all negotiable, just like anything else they say about your work. Find an editor who wants to work with you to make you better, not someone who wants to make you more like them. It’s your name on the cover.
  10. Write the next book. That’s all. Get to it.

Buy Links

Amazon—http://amzn.to/1Jup0Tg

All Romance eBooks—http://bit.ly/1JupqJv

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Giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: One of three copies of ‘Take Your Pick’ by Missy Welsh

Click here or on the image to enter the Rafflecopter

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About the Author

Missy Welsh stares into space a lot, has conversations with cats, takes notes while people-watching, records conversations (not the ones with cats), named her laptop Norbert and her phone Pushkin, has backups of her backups’ backups, faints at the sight of a misused semi-colon, and will often ask socially unacceptable questions of strangers.

Basically, she’s a writer.

Where to find Missy Welsh:

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/175mi7V

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1EiCGVk

Missy Welsh Book News (email list), http://bit.ly/1coHgOY

All Romance eBooks Author Page, http://bit.ly/1VanTjS

Amazon Author Page, http://amzn.to/P6ilxR

Goodreads Link: http://bit.ly/175mtjK

Tour Dates & Stops

Badge (1)5-Oct Rainbow Gold Reviews, The Jena Wade, Hearts on Fire, BFD Book Blog

6-Oct Tara Lain, Divine Magazine, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

7-Oct Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Ogitchida Book Blog,

Bayou Book Junkie

8-Oct Because Two Men Are Better Than One, MM Good Book Reviews, Prism Book Alliance

9-Oct Kimi-Chan, My Fiction Nook, Love Bytes, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Inked Rainbow Reads, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance

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BLOG TOUR, EXCERPT AND GIVEAWAY! Where Wishes Go by S.A. McAuley

Title: Where Wishes Go
Author: S.A. McAuley
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Published: October 2, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Can you have a second chance at a first love? 

Nick Paine is just starting to return to normal after he told his wife he’s gay and asked for a divorce. Despite a daughter he loves dearly and a job he believes in, part of him is stuck in the past. He’s never forgotten the first love he let fade away fourteen years ago.

Adam “Izz” Azzi has settled into a happy rhythm. His daughter is healthy, he’s found a mosque that accepts him, and his work as a modern artist is gaining international attention. While his past is fraught with mistakes and what-ifs, his life now is good, and he doesn’t want to upset any of the balance he’s worked so hard to achieve.

When Nick and Izz are reunited by luck and fate, their attraction is just as undeniable, but what was left unsaid haunts them. They have hope for a future together, but wishing may not be enough.

“There is so much complexity to this story and I absolutely LOVED it all. Each of the main characters were so well written that you feel like you are truly getting to know them. I enjoyed the depth of their feelings as they were written on the page because it make me feel like I was the one going through those emotions. Great read and can’t wait to see more!” ~ Book Junky Girls

“All in all, this is a sweet second chance love story. It’s not just about romance, though- it’s about family and friendships- and it will leave you with a smile on your face. A solid 4 stars.” ~ Goodreads Reviewer

“Wow. Just… wow. This story was beautiful. Exceptional, heart-wrenching, gorgeous. The Romance genre is full of “love at first sight” stories, but this is a story about two men who fell in love as teenagers– fell in love slowly, painfully, piece by piece– and then were separated for years. It’s about never forgetting your first love, and getting a chance to reconnect and rekindle that relationship.” ~ Just Love Romance

CHAPTER ONE
NICK PAINE tried to duck as a gigantic scarlet bird whipped over his head and he began to lose his balance. The first airborne attack was followed a second later by a screech and another swooping red streak that caused him to crouch and fall to his knees. At least he was wearing jeans today instead of a suit.
Katie snorted, let loose a torrent of giggles, and pointed. “He’s not going to hurt you, Daddy.”
“Isn’t it me who’s supposed to be telling you that?” Nick scrunched his eyebrows together and tried to chastise his daughter while also searching the birdhouse for further threats.
Katie rolled her eyes and flipped her long blonde hair off to the side, appearing much older than her eight years. “Come on, Daddy. I’ll protect you.” She offered her hand, and Nick grinned as he stood, taking her tiny hand in his.
It was a Wednesday morning, one in which Nick should have been sitting in a colorless conference room listening to doctors and administrators fight each other over inane operational details, but despite the threat of being pecked to death by tropical birds, Nick didn’t want to be anywhere else.
It was rare he was able to escape from work during the day, and this field trip to the zoo with Katie’s class had been the perfect excuse. The hospital system was always there. It was a twenty-four-hour seven-day-a-week commitment of utter chaos. Nick still wasn’t quite sure how he’d ended up as a vice president by the age of thirty-three, but had to concede his success had a lot to do with the inordinate number of hours he spent downtown. His generous salary was meant to compensate him for the endless hours on call talking nurses and cardiologists off the ledge while also making sure all their equipment and staffing needs were met. He loved his job and he was good at it, but it took him away from Katie way too much for his liking.
Nick pushed aside thoughts of the hospital. He would be flooded with e-mails, texts, and voice mail as soon as he switched his cell back on. Instead he listened to Katie patter on about the different kinds of birds that filled the zoo aviary.
“How do you know so much about them?” Nick asked as he forced his complete attention back to her.
Katie shrugged in a gesture that was too much like her carefree Uncle Roban. “I watch the National Geographic channel.”
“That much?”
Katie huffed. “Yeah, Daddy. A lot. Loads and loads.”
Nick restrained a laugh. Where had she come up with that phrase? She was growing up so fast. Much too fast for his liking. The years just kept slipping by, and as hard as his path had been as of late, Nick was grateful for the luck he did have. Katie was a beautiful girl. Tall and thin, just like her momma, she had blonde hair shades lighter than his that ran down to her waist and snarled easily with how fine it was. He’d given up attempting to brush the mats out a year ago, leaving the task to Katie’s grandmother or her nanny.
“Look at the baby geese!” Katie exclaimed, letting go of his hand and running full tilt down the pathway toward the birds. Then just as suddenly she was veering off again, a delighted squeal emanating from her. “A waterfall!”
Nick dug into his pockets as he walked to catch up, knowing what she was going to ask even before she said anything.
“I want to make a wish,” she pleaded, looking up at him with wide eyes.
Nick placed a quarter in her outstretched hand, earning a satisfied smile from her.
She scrunched her eyes tightly closed and whispered something Nick couldn’t hear, then tossed the coin into the water.
“What did you wish for, baby girl?” Nick asked, as was part of their routine.
“Daddy, you know I can’t tell you,” she protested with a pout. “Or else it won’t come true.”
Of course he knew that. Katie wanted to flip a coin into every fountain they encountered. And she always went about it as if her whole existence was placed into making that one wish come true. But she never told Nick what it was that she silently hoped for.
Nick had to wonder if she would remember this later on. If she would remember what she wished years from now, or at the very least remember enough to tell him later whether or not they came true.
Nick looked into her brown eyes—so much like his but with a fire that was all her own—and his breath caught. Yeah, he was just about the luckiest man in the world. She stood on her tiptoes, cupped her hands around his cheeks, and planted a kiss on his lips that left Nick with an ear-to-ear grin that he wouldn’t be able to wipe off for hours to come.
A PLOP of wet plaster slid down Adam’s head, over his neck, and dripped under the collar of his shirt as Miriam’s laughter receded into the next room.
Well, then. He supposed he deserved that.
He’d been leaving Miriam to her own devices for far too long as he worked nearly nonstop to meet his deadline. Left on her own, Miriam would fill her time with the mischievous, surreptitious, and wicked dealings that could only be born of an Azzi. She was quiet like him, shy at first meeting, with the same black hair and chiseled features that stood out despite her age. Also like him, she was a goof when in her comfort zone, and Adam’s loft—even though it was a professional workspace—was one of the places she was most comfortable in. She had unlimited access to paints, pens, pencils, paper… and the plaster she’d just chucked at his head.
Adam picked up a stained rag and swiped the plaster off the back of his neck. “Miriam!”
He turned on his stool, rotating to face the kitchen area where Miriam peeked her head around the corner, hazel eyes wide and innocent. But Adam knew better than to be fooled by her appearance. He crooked a finger and pointed to the spot next to him.
She crawled on hands and knees, her eyes going Disney forest creature in size as she got closer to him, and Adam had to bite back a laugh. When she got to his feet, she sat with her legs crisscrossed, hands on her knees, and waited patiently for him to say something.
She was such a good kid. Wild at times, yes. But he’d been the same when he was her age. Unlike his upbringing, though, he was never going to allow Miriam to fear what kind of punishment she would receive. To others it might have made him seem like a soft father, but Adam had rules that were nonnegotiable and rules he expected her to challenge and break. He was always fair. Consistent. And he never touched her in anger. That alone made her childhood vastly different than his. Adam was going to protect her innocence as long as he possibly could.
“Miriam—” he started.
“Yes, Baba?” she interjected, then bit at her bottom lip.
Adam sighed. Whether it was genetics or environment, she was so like him it scared him some days.
“Why did you throw plaster at my head?” He asked the question in all seriousness, then heard how ridiculous it all sounded, looked at the growing smirk on his daughter’s face, and that was enough to send him into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Adam swooped her off the floor and hugged her to his chest, tickling her ribs. Miriam squirmed and protested, her high-pitched giggle filling the studio.
“I love you, Miri,” he said as he squeezed her tight.
Miriam tucked her head into Adam’s neck and pulled her arms in so Adam had her wrapped securely.
“I love you, Baba.”
Adam’s heart was full almost to bursting. The laughter was enough to give him a second wind. He needed to work. He had to get this sculpture done. But he didn’t want to let his little girl go.
“Finish, then play with me, ’kay?” Miriam offered.
Adam started to tear up. She knew him better than any person in the world. This brilliant, vivacious, too smart for her own good little girl was his best friend. And Adam wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“Yeah, yeah. No more plaster, though,” he chastised her, then kissed the tip of her nose.
Miriam rubbed her nose in protest and squirmed out of his arms, already retreating at full speed. On to another adventure.
Adam sank onto his stool and turned back to his sculpture. Less than three weeks until his next show. And this piece, the focal point of the entire fiasco, had to be done by then. But Adam found himself pushing the work off. He sought inspiration and didn’t find it. He would rather not show it at all than display something that was so… incomplete.
He picked up his brush and studied the form, then put the brush back down. His fifteen-year high school reunion had been last weekend and he’d had no desire to go, but the memories had been inescapable regardless. It was those memories that had led to this piece…. Led to this creative fog he couldn’t force himself out of.
He would eat first. Maybe they’d take a walk. He’d do his afternoon prayers with Miriam, grounding himself in the tradition of his faith. He wasn’t as active in his practice as his mom was, but he still found strength in the words and tenets. In Islam, he found calm, and a connection to his family and to something that was greater than him.
Then, maybe then, his head would be clear enough to see this project to its end.
CHAPTER TWO
“NO, ROB,” Nick said definitively into the Bluetooth mic above his driver’s seat.
“Come on, dude!” Roban yelled on the other end of the phone, and Nick had to turn down the volume on the car speakers because of the sheer volume of the accent-tinged wail. It was only when Rob was really excited or drunk that his Indian accent started to slip through.
Nick took a deep breath and rested his elbow on the armrest. “This is my first day off in five months. I want to spend it with Katie.”
“She’ll be asleep—” Roban started at the same time that Katie, from the backseat, said, “I’ll be asleep, Daddy.”
Nick frowned. Well, then. Apparently the wee ones were joining forces on this one.
“Roban—” he tried again.
“Niiiick,” Roban answered.
Nick stole a glance in the rearview mirror where Katie was strapped into her seat. She had her arms crossed and a disapproving scowl on her face that would make her Uncle Daniel proud.
“Fine,” he relented and Roban gave a much too excited whoop in response. “I’ll go out. But not too late. I have to be at work early.”
“You’re always at work early,” Roban reminded him. “Live a little before your cardiologists drive you into a heart attack.”
“Fine,” he repeated. “But I’m going to drive.” He could try to keep some measure of control over the situation.
“Nope. We’re cabbing it. I’m getting you fucking wrecked. Shit, sorry, Katie,” Roban backtracked, as if he was just remembering he was on speakerphone.
“No worries, Uncle Ro,” Katie yelled from the backseat.
“That’s my girl. Now, Nick. I expect to see you in something else besides a button-down shirt and tie. We’re going downtown. Mayhem will ensue and you must be appropriately attired.
“It’s a Wednesday,” Nick reminded him.
“Willful Wednesday at the Screamin’ Shillelagh,” Roban responded with a laugh.
Nick stopped at the red light and hung his head in defeat. “Can’t we stay in the burbs?”
“I’ll pick you up at eight” was all Roban said, then his car notified him the call had ended.
Nick shut off his cell and threw it into the passenger seat, then pulled away when the light turned green. Roban would be the death of him. At the very least, the odds were in their favor to end up in a full-on street brawl after closing time. Either way, it wouldn’t be a boring night. Nick chuckled to himself.
“Who do you want to come stay with you, baby girl?” he asked Katie as they drove toward home. Katie was twirling her hair, deep in thought, when Nick glanced back at her. “What is it?” he asked with an edge of worry.
“Can you call Momma? See if she’ll come stay with me?”
Nick restrained a sigh and tried not to feel defeated at the sadness in Katie’s voice.
“Yeah, baby girl. I’ll call her when we get home.”
All laughter wiped away, Nick gripped the steering wheel and steeled himself for the call he was going to have to make.
“I KNOW you’re in there, Azzi. I can smell the incense. Rather pungent even from out here. Open the door.” Charlie’s voice came from the hallway.
“Nobody’s home,” Miriam called out with a teasing lilt, then giggled.
Adam grinned and dropped his brush next to the paints, getting up to let Charlie in. It was pointless to try and keep the persistent gallery owner out even if Adam wanted to, but right now, he needed the reassurance. He was falling heavily into his brooding artistic stupor, sure in this moment that everything he had ever created was complete and utter shit, and that Charlie was a fool for wanting Adam’s work anywhere near his gallery. Adam needed some heavy petting of his artistic ego. And if anyone could do that, it would be Charlie Wells.
Charlie slipped his suit jacket off his lithe shoulders as he came in the door and then tossed the coat into a chair. “Good afternoon, Ms. Azzi,” he greeted Miriam and planted a kiss on her head.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Wells,” she responded with a smile.
“Miri, could you give Charlie and me a moment?”
Miriam lined up the pencils fanned out around her sketchbook and gathered everything into her arms, walking into the bedroom and pulling the door shut without question. She was used to this scenario by now. As much as she was an inspiration for Adam, he was clear on the boundaries of not letting her into his sullenness when it threatened to drag him under.
“Tea?” Adam offered and led Charlie into the kitchen.
“Please. With a shot of Jack if you have it,” Charlie requested.
Adam filled the kettle and set it on the stove. “You know I don’t drink, Charlie.”
“Not even thinking about it right now?” he prodded.
Adam leaned down on the counter, resting his elbows there and running his fingers through his mess of hair. He couldn’t remember if he’d showered yet today. Or yesterday.
“Yeah, I’m thinking about it,” he answered honestly. There was no point in hiding his darkness—or his continued recovery from it—from Charlie.
“Do I need to check the cabinets?”
Adam shook his head. “You can if you want. But, alhamdulillah, I don’t have anything.”
Charlie perked up immediately, tucking his brunet hair behind his ear. “Excellent. Now tell me, oh tortured soul. Where is the delay in your work coming from?”
The kettle began to whistle and Adam lifted two cups from the cupboard and set them on the counter. He took his time picking out which tea he wanted, using the quiet seconds to try and piece together his answer. He set the teabags into the cups, turned the stove off, and filled them with the hot water, then slid one cup into Charlie’s hands.
“Well?” Charlie pushed.
Adam took a sip of his tea that scalded his tongue, but he barely registered the pain. Yes, he definitely needed Charlie right now.
“It’s the piece.”
“Ah, the piece,” Charlie drew out.
“I don’t know if I can finish it.”
Charlie seemed to consider that. He twisted the mug in his hands, then lifted it to his lips to blow the steam away before taking a sip. “Talk to me.”
Adam nearly slammed his cup down, the liquid sloshing over his fingers. His anger took hold without thought or a valid target. “Talk to you? You know why this piece is difficult for me and yet you continue to push me on it. It’s too personal. Too raw. Maybe it should remain as unfinished as what it represents.”
Charlie cracked his neck and studied Adam, as unaffected as usual by his outburst. “Your other pieces in this show are just as raw, Adam. Just as emotionally challenging. For fuck’s sake, you have a whole set dedicated to Lily. You’re stumbling on this piece because you’re scared. There’s no other reason for it. Yes, it represents an old, unfinished part of your life. But it’s a part of your past that you need to embrace in order to move on. Art is not about being emotionally bereft. It’s about digging into the most painful and vulnerable aspects of our lives and bringing them to the surface for others to witness and understand. You’re scared, Adam. It’s not that this piece is unfinished, it’s that you are unfinished. And I think you’re scared of putting that part of your life to an end. That if you finish that piece, it will mean the relationship it represents is just as definitively over as the one you had with Lily.”
Adam ground his teeth together, trying to grasp on to his anger and use it to viciously protest just how wrong Charlie was. But he couldn’t. It was exactly what he’d been thinking. The more he worked around the edges of the mixed-media sculpture of plaster, paint, and fabric—the more he stubbornly refused to fill in the details of eyes, nose, and lips—the more he understood that this face was one that he was fighting to conjure into existence because it was so much safer tucked away as a memory.
If that sculpture was never finished, then he could continue denying that the person it represented had left a gaping wound in his soul that he didn’t know how to fill.
Charlie leaned forward and took Adam’s hands in his. “Is this the appropriate time for me to remind you that you are a successful artist because you bare your soul in your work? That people are drawn to what you create because it gives them a visceral reaction? Do I need to pull up the most recent reviews from the paper? ’Cause I’m sure I have them bookmarked on my phone.”
Adam gave a small laugh. “Yes, but no.”
Charlie tipped Adam’s chin up to meet his eyes. “You can do this, Adam.”
“I don’t know if I can.”
“You can,” Charlie said with more determination this time. “And you will be better off for it.”
Adam felt the tears welling up in his eyes and forced them back down. If Charlie believed, then Adam would find a way to as well. “Okay.”
“THANKS FOR coming, Shelly,” Nick said as he held the door open.
Katie came barreling around the corner and jumped into her mom’s arms. Katie buried her face in her mom’s neck and wrapped her arms around Shelly in a tight hug.
Nick’s heart ached at the sight.
Katie missed her mother more than she ever let on. She was a smart kid and she’d known when things started to turn south for him and Shelly. But Shelly’s abrupt departure from the house and her distance since then had been selfish—without thought to Katie’s needs—even if it was justified by Nick’s actions.
Shelly couldn’t look at him and she didn’t say a word as she stepped foot in the house she hadn’t been in for over a year. Nick clicked the door shut and followed them into the living room. Katie dropped out of her mom’s arms and looked between the two of them, a sad resignation filling her eyes that seemed to tug Nick’s heart right out of his chest.
He squatted down to Katie’s level and took her hand. “You think you could give your mom and me a chance to talk before Uncle Roban gets here?”
Katie tipped her chin up, giving him a smile that he knew was her brave one—a defensive tactic supplied by Uncle Daniel when the divorce had gotten ugly. “Can I go watch TV?”
“Of course, baby girl. We’ll be back in a minute.”
Nick stood as Katie ran off and gestured for Shelly to follow him.
“Can I get you anything to drink?” Nick asked to cut the tension.
Shelly stood stock-still behind the counter, separating herself from him, her arms crossed. “No. I know where everything is.”
Nick flinched.
It had been over six months since he’d last seen her and he couldn’t deny that she looked good. Much better than she had when they were in the throes of the divorce. Her blonde hair was cut short in a bob that accentuated her high cheekbones and clear blue eyes. She was thinner, but not unhealthy, and was dressed in a white tee and jeans with sandals. It was a casual look that reminded him of their time together in college. But nothing about her appearance had any physical effect on him. It hadn’t for at least two years. Not since he’d finally admitted to himself that he was gay and it was time to stop pretending.
“Thank you for coming.” He was repeating himself, but he needed her to understand his appreciation was genuine. “I know it’s hard being back here, but Katie can’t sleep anywhere else and she really wanted to see you.”
Shelly gave a dark laugh. “You said that on the phone.”
Nick crossed his arms, then uncrossed them. He had to try not to be defensive. “I know. I just want you to know I’m thankful. It has to be hard to be back here.”
“Who are you going out with?” she demanded.
Nick couldn’t find fault in her reaction. He knew what she was really asking: If he was seeing someone. If he was heading out to be with a man. Well, technically he was, but not as she thought. “Just Roban and Daniel.”
She sat down at the barstool and hunched forward, settling her chin in her hands. She looked away from him and Nick let her think. After a minute of quiet she spoke, but she still couldn’t look at him. “I miss you, Nick. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. I miss this house. I miss our life. And I miss Katie. It’s just all too much. It still is.”
Nick leaned against the refrigerator, backing away from the counter and giving her space. “I can’t pretend to really know, but I get it. Just—” His voice started to crack and he had to swallow around the surge of emotion. “Just try to remember Katie. Okay? She misses you too.”
Shelly wiped away a tear and faced Nick. “I’m a shit mom.”
Nick took a step closer to her and when she didn’t cringe back, he stepped up to the counter across from her. “No. You’re not. You need time to heal too. We all do. She knows you love her. And being here is huge. So thank you.”
Shelly nodded and sucked in a deep breath.
The doorbell rang, mercifully sparing them from having to speak any more, and Nick tapped his fingers on the counter. “Call me if anything comes up. I left my cell number on the refrigerator. You know, just in case you don’t have it saved anymore.”
“Okay,” she acknowledged.
Nick hesitated for a moment, unsure of how to leave things, and then decided to say nothing else. He crossed into the living room and trapped Katie in a hug where she sat on the edge of the coffee table watching another nature show. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning, ’kay?”
She planted a quick kiss on his arm, distracted by the images on the screen. “Yes, Daddy.”
He kissed the top of her head, then ruffled her hair, receiving a squawk of protest, then a laugh.
Nick let her go reluctantly and went to the door, swinging it open to find Roban in a football jersey and ripped jeans that contrasted with the aesthetic of his modern pompadour and vintage bowling shoes. Rob hitched his thumb over his shoulder. “Let’s go, Nicky. Mayhem awaits!”
And with that, Nick found himself smiling again.
I sleep little, read a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. My name is Sam, not Sammy, definitely not Samantha. I’m a pretty dark/cynical/jaded person, but I hide that darkness well behind my obsession(s) for shiny objects. I’m the macabre wrapped in irresistible bubble wrap and a glittery pink bow, I suppose.

I have a never-ending-abyss-like secret love for poetry. Especially Rumi, Hafiz, and Neruda. You can predict (as well as change) my moods and my writing schedule by my playlists.

Insomnia is my greatest ally and my nemesis. I like cheese and bourbon, not necessarily in that order, but I’m flexible.

If you’re in any fandom, then I’m probably already in love with you. I’m not joking.

I like my tv shows marathoned and I have to use internet blocking software to be productive. I have software called Producteev that I loaded onto my laptop and proceeded to fill out in detail and now I haven’t touched it in a year.

I enjoy normalized chaos.  Hit me up! I love to hear from readers. xx-Sam

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NIC STARR: More Than a Friend

Tomorrow, 7th October is the release day for More Than A Friend. This is the second book in the More Than series, and follows More Than a Superstar.

More Than series (1)

I loved writing this story. There was something special about these guys that called to me when Tim and Scott appeared in the first book.  There was no question that they’d be the next couple in the series to get their happy ending. 🙂

The story focuses on Scott and Tim, building a relationship together, with the added challenge of the impact on their friend/family dynamic with Paul.

Here’s the blurb…

Tim Walker is a free man. He’s broken up with his girlfriend and is ready to move on to a new relationship. But the relationship he wants to pursue is fraught with challenges. Firstly, Scott Richardson is a man, and only Tim’s closest friends know Tim’s bisexual. Secondly, everyone knows Scott relishes the single life. And then there’s the big one: Scott is the younger brother of Tim’s best friend, Paul.

Scott can’t deny an attraction to his brother’s friend Tim. Lean, dark blond, and blue-eyed, Tim is hot and hard not to notice—especially since Scott and Tim work together. Too bad the man is straight, and too bad Scott worries how Paul will react if Scott hooks up with his best friend.

Tim and Scott want to see if there’s a chance for more than friendship between them, but neither of them wants to lose Paul. Together, they must find the courage to follow their hearts and find a way to have it all.

More Than a Friend touches on a couple of areas. Firstly, Tim is bisexual, but few people know of this because his most recent relationship has been with a women. Secondly, Scott hasn’t been interested in a relationship so his desire to date is a surprise. And finally, Tim is best friends with Scott’s brother, Paul. These guys have a bit to contend with on their road to happiness. Renae Kaye interviewed me for her blog, and asked a lot of questions about the book’s themes. Click here to see the interview if you’re interested.

I do hope you enjoy the story.

Happy reading,

Nic xx

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

All Romance eBooks

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BLOG TOUR, GIVEAWAY AND GUEST POST! King John by Edmond Manning

Cover - King John - Large 600 x 899 JPG

Title: King John

Author: Edmond Manning

Series: The Lost and Founds, #4

Genre: Contemporary

Publisher: Pickwick Ink Publishing

Pages: 245

Release Date: September 10, 2015

 

Blurb:

English attorney Alistair Robertson can’t quite believe an astonishing tale of kingship and transformation he hears at Burning Man, the annual counter-culture art festival in the Black Rock desert. Who are the Found Kings? Is “being kinged” as magical as it sounds?
Determined to find the mysterious garage mechanic named Vin who helps men “remember who they were always meant to be,” Alistair catches his quarry amid the extravagant sculptures, fire worshipers, mutant cars, and lavish costumes. After searching for three years, he’ll finally get to ask the question burning inside him: “Will you king me?”

Wandering together through the desert, Vin Vanbly and Alistair explore Burning Man’s gifting culture and exotic traditions, where they meet the best and worst of their fellow burners. Alistair’s overconfidence in Vin’s manipulative power collides with Vin’s obsessive need to save a sixteen-year-old runaway from a nightmarish fate, and the two men spiral into uncontrollable, explosive directions.

In this fourth adventure of The Lost and Founds, beneath the sweltering summer sun and the six billion midnight stars, one truth emerges, searing itself on their hearts: in the desert, everything burns.

 

Guest Post:

The Masculine Archetypes

In a few different guest posts on my King John blog tour, I’ve casually mentioned the four masculine archetypes: lover, warrior, magician, and king. But as a friend recently pointed out, I haven’t really explained them in any detail and never fully described the power they offer the common man.

Huh.

Why haven’t I done that?

Allow me to rectify.

Before getting too specific, I wish to point out that the feminine archetypes are just as powerful and nuanced as their male counterparts: lover, amazon, crone, and queen. I’m not as familiar with their unique gifts, though I do understand that sometimes the feminine archetypes apply to me more than the masculine archetypes and vice versa. Face it—humanity is a big ol’ mix of sloppy gendery goodness, which means you take whatever meaning applies to you and skip worrying whether that makes you more masculine, more feminine, or whatever. When you explore the archetypes within yourself, and seek deeper understanding, it makes you more human.

These archetypes are nothing I invented. They are not recent constructs of modern psychology.

In fact, these models are present in all our stories, from Melrose Place to A Tale of Two Cities, from Shakespeare to Jesus to Greek myth to stories so ancient they are scratched into cave walls. These are the stories of power—personal power, shared power, community power—these are the stories of how we come to identify as human. As men. As women.

Although I have researched these archetypes for years, and today I pull together my thoughts from any number of diverse sources, one source I must mention (for fear of coming across smarter than I am) is an excellent piece of non-fiction titled King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine. I don’t need to describe the book’s contents, do I? Didn’t think so. The two authors accumulated and articulated much of what we know about the archetypes and their role in history. If this topic interests you, you’ll find this book fascinating.

Let’s jump in, shall we?

The Golden Lover

Everyone wants to believe this is the kissy-face lover, the one who holds hands on beaches and delights in wrapping Christmas presents. Uh, sure. That’s one facet of the lover. But there’s so much more. The lover is how we face ourselves. Do you face yourself with compassion? Can you forgive yourself? Attributes of the Golden Lover are openness, vulnerability, ability to grieve, and welcoming new light. In fact, you might say the lover welcomes the dawn. Knowing the pain each day might bring in the world, the Golden Lover faces the East and says, “Yes.”

In some ways, this is the hardest archetype for men. Men think they’re already displaying lover qualities because they love their favorite football team and they laughed hard at Mall Cop II. After all, how can someone whose heart is shut down laugh that openly and hard?

Sorry, menfolk.

The Golden Lover shows mercy when hard justice is deserved. The lover shows vulnerability when furious, not only when it’s convenient. When faced with the death of a child, the lover weeps hard and admits, “I am destroyed. I am destroyed.” If men close off their Golden Lover, they are likely to embrace the negative counterpoint to this archetype…

The Shadow Lover

Either overly-weepy or stone-faced and unable to cry, the Shadow Lover spends his time mystified by the strong emotions others feel. “Sorry about your dog’s death, but what’s the big deal? It’s just a dog.” The Shadow Lover might smile and be friendly to your face. And that’s genuine. But in his heart of hearts, the Shadow Lover doesn’t get the big deal about all these feelings. He’s fine without them, thank you.

In King Mai, a secondary character named Chris typifies the Shadow Lover. When circumstance demands he tell a “sad story,” he refuses. He says, “I won’t. I can’t.” Truly, he can’t. When shamed by his friends who bully him (Shadow Warriors hard at work!), he finally confesses that at the age of nineteen he was responsible for “putting down” his childhood dog at the end of the dog’s life. Chris immediately walks away to go cry in the men’s room.

Shadow Lovers aren’t without emotion. In fact, denying the Golden Lover has created a dam within them that will explode in potentially unhealthy ways unless someone figures out how to touch the sacredness of their Golden Lover. They are often desperate to be found and freed from this self-created prison—and they would never, ever admit that. Admitting it would be weak.

The Golden Warrior

Men love this archetype because they think it means they get to hold a sword and cut things. And, well, that’s true—metaphorically at least. But the Golden Warrior doesn’t swing wildly, and he takes no pleasure in the slicing and dicing. The Golden Warrior serves a bigger mission. He serves integrity. He serves vision. He will do what it takes to serve the king’s mission (the Golden King) and if that means using his sword, so be it.

You might recognize a Golden Warrior in real life: a man who keeps his word. A boss who—when delivering difficult feedback—is honest and specific, makes eye contact, and does not apologize for what he must say. He must say it.

The Golden Warrior looks out for others. He serves as a protector, and very often the person needing protecting is himself. Golden Warriors can say, “No. This is not healthy for me. I’m out.” He has to say that—he knows it’s the only way to keep his sword clean.

The Shadow Warrior

Prepare to be ripped a new one.

The Shadow Warrior fights blindly, slashing his mighty sword (i.e., words) in every direction. If you give him constructive feedback, he will cut out your eyes—not because what you said was untrue or unkind, but because you hurt him, and every hurt is an attack, so he attacks back. The Shadow Warrior serves himself, because there are no kings worth following. Do you have a Facebook friend who is nothing but critical of everything in the world? The Shadow Warrior thinks he could run the world better than it’s being run now, but will never try because… fuck you, that’s why. The Shadow Warrior doesn’t want to make things better. He wants to attack from the shadows.

A Shadow Warrior often protects a wounded lover. Protects—but more likely, overprotects. Bullies are often Shadow Warriors, terrified of the gushing pain their wounded lover feels, bleeding over everything. To convince themselves this is normal, they try to make others bleed, too.

Honestly, I think of Donald Trump as a Shadow Warrior. He swings his sword wildly in every direction. In his own eyes, every woman wants him, every detractor is wrong and misinformed. Everyone’s vision is clouded but his own. Trump will slash his way to the throne, and will undoubtedly have a stinging, insulting speech ready for “you stupid Americans” when we don’t elect him president. Shadow Warriors with real power in the world can be quite dangerous. Don’t underestimate the damage they can do.

The Golden Magician

In college, I had a Shakespeare professor who regularly corralled two dozen bored English majors and tricked us into debating words, concepts, and intentions in every possible character and setting. When class was over, we bitterly complained that we didn’t have enough time. In the classroom, he was a Golden Magician. He asked questions. He related the plots to our lives, and each character’s sorrow to our own deep sorrows. He tricked us into deeply relating to Iago, Katherina (the shrew), and those crazy teens from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We would leave class scratching our heads saying, “How did he do that to us? Again?”

The Golden Magician uses all kinds of tricks to better love you. He lies when necessary, but he’s more skilled at showing the truth—the beautiful truth of yourself—at the moment when you’re most likely to believe it. He uses stories, a quiet voice, a hand on your shoulder. He screams. He points at some random tree and says, “That tree reminds me of you. Look at it. What do you see?” He’s not above bonking you on the head to wake you up. The Golden Magician is laughter and light, and then you look down and realize you’ve been giggling your way over hot coals. The Golden Magician believes in the greatness of you and is determined for you to see it as he does.

Vin Vanbly. ’Nuff said.

The Shadow Magician

That same Shakespeare professor was one of the meanest people I’ve ever encountered. On one of my research papers he awarded me a B+ and wrote, “Honestly, if I didn’t know you from class, I would assume English was your second language because you’re so poor at written communication. Doesn’t that bother you? Aren’t you ashamed of that?”

Yes, I was ashamed. I’d never been so humiliated. I wasn’t the only one who shed tears over his utterly devastating feedback.

The Shadow Magician understands your weaknesses, and he has no problem exploiting them. Honestly, this archetype terrifies me. It whispers softly in your ear, mixing truth with lies, and cooing, “I’m only saying this for your own good. You know that, right?”

No, it’s not for your own good. The terror of the Shadow Magician is that he’s not acting in your best interests, but it feels like he is. The Shadow Magician loves exerting his power and whether that’s for good or evil, it makes little difference to him. Bullies yell and berate. Shadow Magicians say to a woman who was just raped, “What were you wearing? Did you bring it on yourself?” Fuck you, Shadow Magician. Fuck you.

I remember fighting with a friend—years ago—and I was worked up into a boiling rage over some wrong he had done me. He got very sad in his eyes and said, “I can’t fight with you, Edmond. You always win. You’re better with words than me.” His openness and vulnerability made me realize I was being a complete dick. My Shadow Magician wanted to win the argument. The better side of me stopped fighting immediately, because I wanted his friendship more than I wanted to win. His vulnerable Golden Lover defeated my Shadow Magician. We talked quietly and worked things out.

The Golden King

I’ve written four books about the Golden King, so I’m not sure what to add. The Golden King values his community—whoever they are. He loves them. He wants to protect them. He does so by serving them. He is one of them, yet he is not one of them, and he feels this burden and connection. The greatest assets the Golden King bestows upon others are blessing and inclusion. Come in. You belong here.

In King John, toward the end, the title character is almost ready to cross over into his greatness—he’s ready to become a king. How do we know? He can’t help but bless those Burning Man attendees gathered before him. Consider this short speech of his. (Context: those listening to his speech have been asked to raise their hands if they feel empathy for what he says, or if it also rings true for them.)

“I come here, and I see all the amazing, beautiful people, and it makes me sad. I’m not one of you. I’m not…I don’t belong. I’m not creative enough to make art. I’m not brave enough to wear elaborate costumes. Or go naked. When you’re boring and small, it hurts to know you’ll never be remembered.”

A large number of hands rise for this comment, more than half. More than three-quarters.

This makes John cry.

After a moment, he says, “No…no, it’s not true. You guys are…you guys are amazing. You’re so beautiful. I watch you. I’m envious. So big. So joyful and strong and…”

He puts his hands on the top of his head. Oh good. Classic sign of giving up. John is ready.

The Shadow King

The Shadow King likes to build kingdoms, too. It’s just… those kingdoms are not nice places to live. He “builds” by selectively including and excluding others, sometimes based on personal whim. He’s the guy who cuts down others from his position of power. He doesn’t bless, he curses. He gets Shadow Warriors to do his dirty work, often inspiring them by implying that their way of life is threatened, and they should “protect themselves.”

The Shadow King likes his power. He craves it. He wants more. Anyone else having power—even their own personal power—is a threat to his own. Think of an abusive father. He is king of his miserable household and uses his fists to act as his Shadow Warriors. While beating his own kid, he might say, “You shouldn’t make me do this,” a Shadowy Magician statement if ever there was one, potentially convincing a child he is complicit in deserving this abuse.

Shadow Kings aren’t necessarily that extreme. A Shadow King can write a one-star review on Goodreads and try to convince others how worthless the author is, probably as a human being. These reviews are just flat-out mean-spirited. There’s a difference between a well-constructed one-star review (some books really are just that awful) and someone who needs others to believe—BELIEVE—this author is a wreck. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact, and the Shadow King wants everyone in his kingdom to witness and believe in this “fact.”

The Golden and Shadow in us all

It’s important to remember that these archetypes are not isolated, external qualities. Every man possesses golden and shadow qualities of the warrior, lover, magician, and king. He also possesses golden and shadow qualities of the amazon, lover, crone, and queen. Women are not exempt from this mess of qualities swirling around inside. We are all a giant swirl of all these archetypes, trying to separate our own gold from the shadow.

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a nasty two-sentence, friendship-ending rant against me. I was shocked. I was tagged in this post and saw the exact words in my email Inbox, but by the time I followed the link to Facebook, he had already removed the post.

We chatted via private message, and I asked him why he had written what he did.

He apologized. He was very sorry. His explanation (without using these words) was that his Shadow Warrior had taken over, and he’d swung his sword, hard. Soon after, he regretted what he had done and removed the post. (A Golden Lover—a mutual friend—had said to him, “Hey, what’s going on? Why are you doing this? Edmond is kind.” She’d helped bring him into the light.) He and I had a beautiful conversation, and it wasn’t hard to remember why I liked this friend.

We are all combinations of golden and shadow, trying our best to stay in the light. Some days are harder than others. Personally, I worry about people who deny their shadow archetypes. The people I trust are the ones like my Facebook friend who sometimes lets the shadow out and then says, “Oh, crap. What have I done?” He owned his shit, apologized, and we repaired any damage.

To know your archetypes and confront them—the best and worst in yourself—is to give yourself power, the power of being who you were always meant to be.

* * * * *

Author Photo - Comic StoreEDMOND MANNING has always been fascinated by fiction: how ordinary words could be sculpted into heartfelt emotions, how heartfelt emotions could leave an imprint inside you stronger than the real world. He is the author of King Perry, King Mai, The Butterfly King, Filthy Acquisitions, and contributor to the bear anthology, A Taste of Honey.

In addition to fiction, Edmond enjoys writing nonfiction. You can pick up a copy of his Indie-publishing-finalist-award winning book, I Probably Shouldn’t Have Done That. Feel free to contact him at remembertheking@comcast.net or on Facebook under his name, Edmond Manning.

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Giveaway:

Winner’s Prize: An eBook copy of King John

(Leave a Comment here and then click the link below)

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Where to get your copy of King John:

King John on Amazon

King John at All Romance eBooks

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King John on Goodreads

King John Blog Tour:

Mon, Sept 7                    My Fiction Nook

Mon, Sept 7                    AJ Rose Books             pre-release excerpt #1

Tues, Sept 8                   Thorny, Not Prickly      pre-release excerpt #2

Wed, Sept 9                   Love Out Loud             pre-release excerpt #3

Thurs, Sept 10                Edmond Manning.com

Thurs, Sept 10                Facebook Release Party, 7p-9p Central, hosted by Bike Book Reviews

Fri, Sept 11                     Reviews by Amos Lassen

Sat, Sept 12                    Vanessa North.com

Tues, Sept 15                 MM Good Book Reviews

Wed, Sept 16                 The Novel Approach

Thurs, Sept 17                Purple Rose Tea House

Fri, Sept 18                     Posy Roberts.com

Sat, Sept 19                    Zipper Rippers

Tues, Sept 22                 Joyfully Jay

Wed, Sept 23                 Boys In Our Books

Thurs, Sept 24                It’s About the Book

Fri, Sept 25                     Lou Harper.com

Sat, Sept 26                    Love Bytes Reviews

Sun, Sept 27                   Sinfully Addicted to Male Romance

Mon, Sept 28                  Josephine Myles.com

Tues, Sept 29                 Molly Lolly

Wed, Sept 30                 Coffee and Porn in the Morning

Wed, Sept 30                 Stumbling Over Chaos

Thurs, Oct 1                   The Blogger Girls Reviews

Sat, Oct 3                       Because Two Men Are Better Than One

Sun, Oct 4                       The Hat Party!

Fri, Oct 2                        Jessewave

Mon, Oct 5                     Prism Book Alliance

Tues, Oct 6                     Jaycee Edward.com

Wed, Oct 7                     Hearts on Fire Book Reviews