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Behind The Scenes – STORY INSPIRATION

This month we’re talking story inspiration! I love finding out where the inspiration for my fav books and characters came from. Sometimes inspiration comes from the most amazing places 🙂

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

I find inspiration everywhere! It could be from a photo, listening to a song, or watching a clip on YouTube. I’ve been inspired by real-life newspaper articles: tales of love, and heroes, and heartbreak. One of my stories was inspired by a cover – I saw a pre-made cover for Rustic Melody and just knew I had to have it. That smiling face on the cover inspired the character of Adam and the story came from there. You can check out my Pinterest if you want to see some boards showcasing the inspiration behind my books ~ Nic

Like Nic, I find inspiration everywhere. I’ll be watching a movie and find myself wondering how the plot could be changed with the addition of a certain character, or if the whole story was moved to a different setting. Same with books. I often piece together ideas from different books to create my own version of a story. I’ve also been inspired by news articles and magazine articles. I have a folder full of clippings. I also really like to write from prompts–either a line of dialogue or a picture. I’ve probably written close to a hundred flash fiction pieces based on a single evocative image. ~ Kelly

I also find inspiration everywhere. Hearing about someone with an interesting career path and imagining what drew them in that direction. Reading about someone doing something heroic and creating a backstory for them. Seeing a movie and thinking about who some minor secondary character might meet that would rock their world and how they’d be changed by putting obstacles in their way. I keep clippings and snippets of dialogue and scenes in OneNote, and pull them up when I’m deciding what to write next. ~ Jenna

Everywhere. The world is a fascinating, colorful place. The key is paying attention. It might be from a snippet of conversation (many writers are good at eavesdropping).  A person with an interesting face might speak to me as a possible character too. If I pay attention and am aware of ideas, they will often find me.  I have endless lists and limited time to write, so the issue for me is often what to choose to focus on. ~ Skylar

What’s the most unusual thing to have inspired a book?

Perhaps the most unusual thing to inspire a book was heartbreak. You know that feeling when you hear or see something so sad and just want the person to have their happy ending? I’ve had stories that have come about because I’ve wanted, no needed, to write that happy ever after. ~ Nic

Cheez-Its. I was standing in my kitchen one day, shoving handfuls at my face, and I imagined someone walking through the door while I had a mouthful of cheesy goodness and cracker crumbs all over my chin and shirt. It’d be an awkward way to meet someone, right? After washing my hands, I ran upstairs and wrote exactly that, and the scene became the first chapter of Building Forever (Oct 2018), which was known as the ‘Cheez-It’ book for the whole time I was writing it. ~ Kelly

Handcuffs. I read a blog about a dating couple who agreed to hold hands for an entire day. They posted about how it helped them get to know each other even better but also created a level of intimacy that was uncomfortable at times. It made me wonder what would happen if two strangers had to do the same thing. That turned into Stuck with You, a story about two college students who are handcuffed together for a sociology experiment. ~ Jenna

Two stories had unusual inspirations. One was a silly thing and one was a real-life tragedy. The Holiday Hoax was inspired by a ridiculous conversation on the radio. A girl, gripping about her supercritical mother, joked about creating a fake boyfriend to keep the questions about her single status away. It was cute and I began to think about how much fun a romance for MM would be with a fake holiday boyfriend. A more tragic inspiration was when a friend was training for the Aids Bike-a-thon and was the victim of a hit and run. He survived but had a severe stroke, and this one bad moment changed the course of his life.  Although my story did not follow the plot of a hit and run or use my real friend’s actual details, I did explore the shock and pain of watching a friend unexpectedly suffer a tragedy…  Life can change so rapidly. And sometimes those changes are unfair and cruel.  How to find happiness and love after a horrible event occurs is something that I related to and hoped others would relate to as well. The book that this inspired was Here for You. ~ Skylar

What was the inspiration from your most recent story?

My most recent story – my upcoming release Lies & Deception (release 26th June) – is about an undercover police officer infiltrating a bikie gang. It was inspired by a sign I saw on a pub in Sydney. The sign was a notification that bikie gang colours were not permitted to be worn into the premises. This law is one of the anti-bikie laws introduced in New South Wales, aimed at reducing illegal bikie activity. It got me thinking about motorcycle clubs and the rest is history. Click here if you want to find out more about the book. ~ Nic

My upcoming release To See the Sun (Aug 13, 2018) was inspired by a book I read as a judge for the RITA Awards in 2016. The book I read couldn’t be more different–it was an inspirational historical romance about a woman who arrived in Montana as a mail-order bride, only to discover her intended had passed away. I really enjoyed the premise and immediately started thinking of mail-order groom plots. I decided to set my story in the future, in a galaxy that might or might not be our own, and to have my mail-order groom be a fugitive from justice. The rest just rolled on from there. I’m super excited about this book because it’s one of the sweetest love stories I’ve ever written, and it also gave me a chance to write science fiction–something I always enjoy. ~ Kelly

My new release Heartbeats was inspired by an article about the options for LGBTQ couples looking to start a family. Between adoption, foster care, surrogacy, raising biological children from prior relationships, and so on, family comes in many forms. Heartbeats is about two men who hope to build their families via surrogacy, only to find that “their” premature twins were promised to both of them. The rest of the Connections series is about other definitions of family. ~ Jenna

My last release, Rim Shot, is NA friends-to-lovers story about two college roommates. One is a star athlete and the other is a poor academic. After talking with so many friends who got into debt over student loans, I wanted to have a character struggling with paying for college. The idea was it have a realistic feel for this student. At the same time, I read an article about athletes and doping. The article discussed the pros and cons of trusting these tests to determine guilt or innocence—Rim Shot was born! ~ Skylar

We’re going to be doing a lot more Behind The Scenes posts so if you have any questions you’d like answered, let us know in the comments and we’ll hopefully get to them in the near future.

Happy reading xx

 

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CIRCLE OF FRIENDS ~ May 2018 #gayromancenovels #mmromance

Gay romance novel recommendations

I feel like I’ve hardly read anything over the last month or two. I’ve had surgery on my neck and it’s amazing how difficult holding a book is when you’re wearing a hard collar neck brace! I also didn’t get to listen to much in the way of audio books, instead spending most of my time sleeping or staring mindlessly at the TV.

Finders Keepers by N.R. Walker

N.R. Walker writes some wonderful books. Finders Keepers was sweet and fun. It’s the perfect book if you’re looking for an easy to read, low angst story. I also have a soft spot because it’s set in Australia. It’s also on Kindle Unlimited if you subscribe. Click here to find out more.

The Sinner and the Saint by RJ Scott

This is the 8th book in the Ellery Mountain series. There’s something nice and comforting about reading series like this – when each book comes out it’s like visiting a familiar town and spending time with old friends. There’s something reassuring about knowing what to expect while spending time with new characters falling in love. Click here for more.

Love in Spades by Charlie Cochet

This book starts a new series, Four Kings Security. This was an action romance with the main characters finding love while fighting the bad guys – a bit of mystery, a touch of action and a lot of love. This is another KU book. Click here for more.

Alpha Heat by Leta Blake

Continuing my commitment to branch out from purely contemporary romance, I read this paranormal romance. This is the second book in the series (Heat of Love) so I recommend reading book 1 first. I like the world building and the fact this is a relationship that is forbidden. Click here.

If you’ve got an recommendations for books for me to check out, comment below. I’m always after new recommendations.

Happy reading,

Nic x

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GUEST POST: Whispers of Love by Remmy Duchene #gayromance @remmyduchene

 

Inspirations

Hi Everyone,

My name is Remmy Duchene. I am the writer of mostly interracial/multicultural erotic romance. I say mostly, because I am the slave to my muse and it’s whatever that jerk tells me lol. Anyway, today I am here to talk about inspiration.

I’ve done quite a few author interviews. And almost every time, I’m asked about what my inspirations are. Mostly, inspiration for writing things. Some people talk about art and sunsets. For me, I get ideas from everywhere. A random man walking down the street, a motorcycle parked on the side of the road, a particular lyric in a song—I pick things up everywhere. For Whispers of Love, a friend of mine saw the premade cover and tagged me. She stated emphatically that I needed to write a story for this beautiful piece of art. When I saw it, the story came the second I looked at the cover. I scraped up money outside my budget and paid for the print and ebook pieces and set to writing.

I fell in love with the man on the cover. He was the muse I’d been searching for. I had been blocked—writer’s block is a horrible thing. I had a print out of the cover, on the wall in my apartment and stared at it at great lengths before I write every session.

Most often than not, we search for inspiration—I’m talking something akin to the search for the holy grail. We put so much stress on ourselves to find the perfect idea, the perfect words, the perfect model to give us what we need to get words on the screen. That is when things, for me, often times go wrong and the block persists. My best stories appear in my head when I don’t try too hard—when I am doing the things I love like listening to music, going for walks along Lake Ontario, or around downtown Toronto.

The best ideas come when my mind is open—when I don’t expect anything at all from just living. Those inspirations, when hit, are the best things ever!

Author Bio:

Remmy Duchene, born on the small island of Jamaica, now loving in Toronto Canada. When not writing, you can find Remmy working for lawyers by day, then wandering the city with a camera in her spare time.

Blurb

Hilo Adachi learned one very important lesson from his father—unconditional love is a sham that always with strings attached.

Broken and alone, he works as a bike messenger while moonlighting as a graphic designer. When he meets Matthew Ellington, the last thing Hilo is looking for his love, but how can he deny the fact that one look from Matthew’s beautiful, brown eyes leaves him yearning for things he has no right to? How could he possibly imagine he deserves a man like Matthew?

​Matthew Ellington has it all – a successful clothing line, a loving family and money. But he’s missing love and while he isn’t actively looking, he isn’t going to ignore it should love come along. The moment he lays eyes on Hilo, he knows he wants him.

But Hilo’s demons keep getting in the way.

​Matthew is a fighter, and Hilo’s demons have met their match.

Buy Link

Please look for me/follow me on the interwebs.

You can find me at my website at https://remmyduchene.wix.com/remmymantasy

Twitter: @remmyduchene

Instagram: @manluvlikeaboss

 

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Behind The Scenes – WRITING MY FIRST STORY

Writing My First Story
Writing My First Story – Clare London

It was – still is –  a beast of an epic, family saga, bodice-ripper! I call it Poldark meets Eastenders, and it still languishes on my hard drive, awaiting some 21st century editing :). And even in those days, before I’d read any m/m at all, it had gay relationships included. But if we’re talking m/m books, I started in fanfiction (a shout-out for Gundam Wing!), first reading, then loving, then writing it myself. It was truly empowering! and a great way to practice my craft and get online feedback. After a while, I got restless with writing the same characters (though I’ll always love them) and branched out into original fiction, posting online and entering contests galore. My first published novel was Branded, which I wrote during Nanowrimo, and plucked up the immense courage (!) needed to submit it to Dreamspinner Press. It’s been through a couple more edits, and cracking new cover(s), and remains one of my own favourites!

Writing My First Story – Jenna Kendrick

My writing career took an odd path with some unexpected twists and turns. I wrote my first romance novel on a legal pad while stuck in bed recovering from a medical issue. It got shoved into a drawer and gathered dust. After a couple other attempts, discovering my voice and learning more with each one, I got sidetracked by an opportunity to write tech books. My first published works were those huge tomes you find in the Computers section of the bookstore about things like Microsoft Office, the iPhone/iPad, and web design. After writing a baker’s dozen of those books and contributing to more than fifty others, I returned to my first love, fiction. My first published romance novel was an m/m novella entitled Make Me Believe. Writing about people and relationships is much more exciting than listing the steps required to print envelopes in Word, and I especially love writing about LGBTQIA+ characters finding their happily ever after.

Writing My First Story – Nic Starr

Sometimes I think that my writing career began on a dare. I attended an m/m conference, back in the days when I reviewed gay romance and read a ton of books. A couple of authors asked why I didn’t write, especially given my love of the genre. I hadn’t even entertained the thought of writing before – I was a process driven person, not a creative person. Or so I thought. But they encouraged me to give writing a go and the idea bubbled away. Finally I figured I had nothing to lose. I started with two novellas. One was a freebie story – Waiting, Hoping, Wishing. The second –  It’s Not Easy – I submitted to a publisher and was thrilled when Dreamspinner Press offered me a contract. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between me and writing, and goes to show that it’s never too late to follow your passions. ❤

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CIRCLE OF FRIENDS ~ March 2018 #gayromancenovels #mmromance

Gay Romance Novel mm romance reading recommendations

Here’s what’s on our Kindles (and what we’re listening to) this month. So many great books!

Nic

I write on the sweeter side so every now and then I like to delve into something a little darker. And that’s exactly what I  found with Avril Ashton‘s latest, Kiss Your Scars (#3 in her Loose Ends series). It’s all about the underworld with twists and turns, violence and lots of sex. Click here to check it out.

Re-reading is not something I often do but this month I re-read of Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan. I love the voice of the characters and the emotional journey plus that wonderful kinky sex. Find out more here. Are there any books that are your favourite re-reads?

I couldn’t resist getting into some of that Winter Olympic spirit with The Winning Edge by Keira Andrews, a fabulous story about competing figure skaters. Click here to check it out.

RJ Scott also made my list with two of the books from her Sanctuary series. I think I’ve read most of RJ’s books and really enjoy all her series. Find out more about the series here.

I’ve queued up my next audio book. Splintered by SJD Peterson is the story of an FBI agent on a case to chase down someone murdering gay men so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a good mystery/thriller. It is performed by Rusty Topsfield. You can find it on Audible.

Kelly

Allison Temple and I signed contracts for sweeter, small-town contemporary series on about the same day, so when her first novel, The Pick Up, was released, you can bet I wanted to check it out. It’s one of the cutest books I’ve read in a while and I’m really looking forward to continuing the series. Find out more here.

I’ve also just finished reading Mason Thomas‘ second novel, The Shadow Mark, and I liked it even better than his first book (which was pretty excellent). If you like fantasy with strong gay protagonists, you should check out his Lords of Davenia series. Click here to find out more.

Jenna

The hero of Color of You, Bowen Merlin, sees sound as color, known as sound-to-color synesthesia. Author CS Poe paints a picture with her words in this story about how Bowen finds love in a small town with amber-voiced Felix Hansen. This book was both sexy and tender, and it’s one of my favorites of recent memory. Click here to find out more.

Felice Stevens writes about New York City as if the city itself is a character. She makes you feel as if you’re walking down a cracked sidewalk in the rain, sitting in a small mom and pop restaurant, or schlepping out to Long Island on the train. In Perfect, Blake Myers thinks he has to be perfect to keep the attention of Jeremy Strauss, and when his life becomes anything but, he gets caught piling up one lie after another. Click here to find out more.

Nicky James is a new-to-me author. In Love Me Whole, she writes about a hero with dissociative identity disorder. Oryn Patterson shares his body with five alter personalities, each very distinct and not all of them happy to share. This was a slow build, very tender story of how Oryn opens his heart not only to Vaughn Sinclair but also to the alters. Click here to find out more.

Happy reading.

xx

Ben White

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Can You See My Heart Beating?

Hi, everyone! This is my first official post here on 2 Men, and I’m so happy to be here. I’m looking forward to joining Nic, Kelly, Clare, and the rest of the gang for future Behind the Scenes and other group posts as well as adding my own rants and babbles here and there.

This week is a nail-biter for me. Heartbeats comes out tomorrow on Amazon, and I’m both excited and anxious to hear what everyone thinks about Andrew, Bradley, and the twins. The title comes from the fact that when you have preemies in the hospital, you tend to find yourself getting engrossed by the cardiopulmonary monitor. Your own emotions rise and fall as you watch their heartrate and respiration for any sign of distress, and every alarm causes panic, even the ones caused by the baby moving or an electrode becoming detached.

When my own twins were born prematurely, my husband sat in a rocking chair next to their incubators and read “Goodnight, Moon” to them every evening (something he’d actually started while I was still pregnant because he’s awesome that way). After a day of being poked and prodded, shuddering at every loud noise or unexpected touch, they’d calm down as soon as Daddy started reading. You could see the effect his voice had on them by watching their heartrate on the monitors.

In Andrew and Bradley’s case, their worry is exacerbated by not knowing the paternity of the twins. They used the same surrogate, and she fraudulently contracted with both men for the pregnancy. As they get lulled into the rhythm of the beeping monitors, Andrew and Bradley can’t help but open their hearts to the struggling preemies, but only one of them is the father. The other will walk away brokenhearted. Or will he?

Below is an excerpt from Heartbeats. I love to hear from readers! You can find me on:

Heartbeats Coming

EXCERPT FROM HEARTBEATS

Copyright 2018 Jenna Kendrick

COMING MARCH 13, 2018

“Surely you can tell me something. How are my babies?” Bradley raked his fingers through his hair, barely resisting pulling it out by the handful. No telling what it looked like, but he left it firmly attached to his scalp.

“Mr. Stern, as I’ve already said, someone will be out for you shortly.” The NICU nurse’s voice straddled a fine line between professional courtesy and annoyance. “Now, are you going to wait patiently, or do I have to ask security to escort you out of the hospital?” As he turned away, the glass divider between the info desk and the waiting area rattled with more force than the last time he’d demanded answers. Too bad, because he wasn’t budging until he knew what was happening to his twins and their surrogate.

For all that the hospital had tried to create a welcoming environment, the empty waiting room stank of lost hopes, stale coffee, and the astringent smell that lingered in all hospitals. If he sat, he’d be swallowed up by the despondency that clung to the chairs. Instead, he walked. Fourteen steps up the hall, fourteen steps back, just far enough for it to be considered pacing and not hovering. He’d practically worn a trench into the hardwood floor. It’d been hours already—he glanced at his watch—no, more like twenty minutes. No wonder the staff was losing patience. Time was standing still.

His mouth opened in an overly loud yawn that had him looking right and left with embarrassment, but it was too early for anyone other than hospital staff to be milling about. The inscrutable nurse didn’t even look up from her computer screen.

The adrenaline rush from racing to get here battled with the exhaustion of having been awake for over twenty-four hours. After a long week in New York City filled with frustrating meetings and high-profile events with Uncle Richard and his merry band of blowhards, he’d been unable to stand one more night there. Every car horn and squeal of brakes from the street below set him on edge, and come morning, Richard would have one more piece of business, one more person he needed to meet. Any excuse to keep him nearby and try to wear him down. He’d just wanted to get home to his mountain, treacherous roads in the middle of the night be damned, and he’d called down for his Tesla Roadster before he so much as loosened his tie. Halfway to Egremont, he’d received the call that had him veering east to Springfield.

The same refrain haunted him as it had the rest of the drive. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. Never mind that this was the culmination of a long-held dream. Making lists of baby supplies and everything he needed to decorate the nursery was a far cry from having checked so much as a single item off said lists. But none of that was important right now. He’d deal with the nursery and all the rest once he knew his babies were well.

They’re not ready, either. He’d been reading about fetal development week-by-week throughout the pregnancy, not that he could recall a single useful fact right now. Fingernails and blinking—the parts he’d been so excited about a couple days ago—suddenly took a back seat to lung development. He swallowed the knot in his throat and reached into his pocket. No. Already a hair’s breadth from losing his shit, Googling worst-case scenarios wouldn’t help him avoid being kicked out of the hospital for causing a disturbance.

Stomping feet and labored breaths caught his attention as two men ran down the hall. One pointed at the chairs, then approached the nurse’s station, quietly giving his name. His companion, jacket wide open and sweatshirt clearly inside-out, looked around the area wide-eyed before lurching across the hall to the restroom.

“Did you see where my brother went? A little bit taller, a lot less handsome?”

There was no reply from the nurse. Bradley glanced over to see the man staring back at him quizzically. He pointed at the bathroom just as the door opened.

The brother was indeed taller, by at least a few inches. But his dark blond hair, bright blue eyes, and muscles for days rendered him a hundred times sexier than the first guy.

Judging from the greenish cast to his skin, he was also either hungover or sick. Bradley stepped away in distaste, leaving the other men to melt into the chairs of despair while he resumed pacing. Fourteen steps up the hall. Turn. Five, six, seven—

The door to the unit opened. “Who’s here for the Penn twins?”

—Eight, nine. Wait. Penn.

Bradley hurried over to the man in bright blue scrubs. The surgical mask tucked under his chin pulled his ears forward, giving him a slightly elfin appearance. Or maybe lack of sleep and stress were making Bradley as fanciful as the giraffes and elephants painted on the walls.

The nurse gave Bradley a welcoming smile. “You the new dads?”

Bradley looked to his right, only then noticing the tall guy had also approached.

“Oh, we’re not together,” he said. Being together with someone wasn’t in the cards for him. His heart was taking a big enough risk letting children in, much less a partner.

“We ask that only parents come into the unit for the first visit. Which one of you is the father?” He looked expectantly between the two men.

“I am,” they both replied at the same time.

 

Bio

Jenna Kendrick writes contemporary, new adult, and paranormal romance about smart guys with a propensity for snark. Jenna went to a small college in the woods of Western Massachusetts, where she alternated between bare feet and hiking boots and used dining hall trays as a mode of transportation in the winter. She fell in love with creative writing after writing a satirical essay to get out of yet another literary analysis assignment. Unable to choose a coast or climate zone, she bounced around the country before settling in Upstate New York. She lives with her husband and several furry creatives, some of whom think of her desk as their own.

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Behind The Scenes – CHARACTER NAMES

This week, in honour of Celebrate Your Name Week, we are talking about names. No, not baby names, but character names. So read along to find out how the leading characters in some of your favourite gay romance novels got their names and some of the struggles we authors face when choosing the perfect moniker for our heroes.

How do you go about choosing the name of your characters?

I’m totally process oriented so I keep a list of names I like and mark them off when I’ve used them. I gather the names from various sources – names of friends and colleagues, names I hear in the media or stumble across in other books. I also google when necessary, particularly if I’m trying to find a name of a specific nationality. In terms of selecting the name, I choose a name I think most reflects my character. That’s probably influenced by my own experiences – I’m not going to name my sweet MC after the bully I knew at school. 🙂 ~ Nic

Like Nic, I keep a list of names. They’re favourite names, names that I collect here and there because I’d like to use them, names of people I like. My favourite cousins. It’s not particularly long, but the names on my list are precious. I use them sparingly because they’ll only get one life, then they’re retired. ~ Kelly

I’ll often look for inspiration in a poem or a popular saying. Or search lists of baby names of all ethnicities and sources, looking for the right sound and meaning. Much like the other authors here! For example, Maen in my fantasy novel Branded came from the Welsh word for “rock”, Niall in my suspense thriller 72 hours means “champion”, Red in my romance Flying Colors is a nickname for Richard, meaning “powerful leader”. I like to play with the names! ~ Clare

What are the most difficult things about choosing a name?

Coming up with a name I haven’t used before! Seriously, my brain seems to present me with the same list of names for every book I write.  Or I can only think of names starting with the same letter. I seem to lean towards using A names and J names. No idea why but that’s why I need to keep a list. 🙂 My most important priority is a name that matches my character’s personality and ethnicity. I also try to give my two main characters ‘opposite’ names. For example, if one name is sort, the other is long. Or if one starts with a consonant, I might give the other one a name beginning with a vowel. ~ Nic

Having a name that suits my character is really important to me. I’ve written a complete story with two names I really liked, only to have to switch them on my first revision round because although they were good names, they didn’t quite fit. They just didn’t sound right. It’s hard to describe, but they didn’t feel like a Fin and a Jared. I tried swapping their names. Fin became Jared, and Jared became Fin, and suddenly they fit. In my current WIP, I had a hard time finding a good name for my second hero. He eventually named himself, which happens often enough that I tend to go with it when it happens. ~ Kelly

I seem to land on A & J most often, too. So, apparently it’s not just me?! Someone pointed out recently I’d used Aiden in 4 books so far, albeit different spellings. A problem is that a lot of my books now are set in Britain and, to be honest, we don’t have quite the same whimsy in creating names as other nations do! I often revert to tried and true biblical names, like the apostles (not Nebuchadnezzar or Methuselah!). I also find I get bogged down with certain initials for certain characters e.g. the alpha character will be B / M / N / R, but that can be very restricting. And bizarre, really 🙂 ~ Clare

What is the most unusual name you’ve used in a book?

My next release (Lies & Deception, Dreamspinner Press, June/July) features outlaw motorcycle gangs. Naming the motorcycle clubs was difficult enough in itself but then I had to name the characters and give them all bikie nicknames. Thank goodness for MC blogs where members talk about the background to their names! Characters in my story includes Rabbit, Stack, Blue and Ginger. ~ Nic

In my upcoming release (To See the Sun, Riptide Publishing, August), one of the heroes is named Gael. It’s not a wholly unusual name, but it’s different and I think quite beautiful. When I’m writing sci-fi, I like to use names that are unusual but still easy to spell and say. As an avid reader of speculative fiction, I’ve puzzled out enough names full of consonants and apostrophes to never want to inflict them on my own readers. Another favourite is Steilang Skovgaard from Uncommon Ground. He’s an alien (of the Skov clan) and chose the closest human equivalent to his real name (unpronounceable, of course) upon his arrival. When I’m not writing sci-fi, I tend to pick simple, ordinary names. I kinda love them. ~ Kelly

Yes, I agree that you can use more imagination in SF or fantasy. Maybe the most exotic I ever used was Mori in my speculative story Threadbare. He was named after a silkworm!  ~ Clare

What are the names of the main characters in your next book?

My most recent release (Patrick’s Savior) stars Patrick – surprise! LOL – and Simon. My upcoming release, Lies & Deception, is the story of Mitch and Finn. ~ Nic

Coming in August, I have To See the Sun with Gael Sonnen and Abraham Bauer. I spent a lot of time picking these names and I love them. I love their story, too! Dillon and Lang (Steilang) return this summer as well in Purple Haze~ Kelly

My current book Freeman is a fab example of the working-name-that-stuck-for-good, for both the main narrator and the book title. The younger man he befriends is called Kit – and there’s a mystery to that name, too, but you’ll have to read the book to find out :). I’m working on my next Dreamspun Desire books at Dreamspinner Press called The Undercover Millionaire, where my billionaire Alexandre happily uses a shortened name Alex for his undercover role, until he meets Tate, a young man he really want to be honest with! ~ Clare

 

We’re going to be doing a lot more Behind The Scenes posts so if you have any questions you’d like answered, let us know in the comments and we’ll hopefully get to them in the near future.

Happy reading xx

 

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GUEST POST: And God Belched by Rob Rosen

Hello Because Two Men Are Better Than One readers! If you’re looking for a laugh, for some romance with a bit of heat, for a truly unique book, then I invite you to check out my twelfth (and, dare I say, best) novel, And God Belched, published by MLR Press.

Here’s a little bit about the book:

In this riotously funny romantic adventure, Randy and his younger brother, Craig, find themselves in a different universe, on a strange planet, desperately searching for Milo, a handsome stranger in imminent danger, all while being chased by the heavily armed local authorities. And that’s just the start of this epic journey. But what else does fate have in store for our brave heroes? And can one human save two worlds, the handsome alien he’s fallen in love with, his entire family, and a self-aware watch? Read on, dear Earthlings, to find out!

Feel free to pick up a copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/God-Belched-Rob-Rosen-ebook/dp/B078GG9L4P/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1513737466&sr=8-1

And an excerpt can be read below.

All the best and enjoy!

Rob Rosen

www.therobrosen.com

Author of the award-winning novels Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort, Fate, Midlife Crisis, and Fierce, and editor of the anthologies Lust in Time, Men of the Manor, Best Gay Erotica 2015, and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1 and 2 and 3.

Excerpt:

It was two days later, two days of utter hell and frustration. It was late, close to midnight. I no longer slept. I was either awake or momentarily passed out. I was twenty-two and looking forty—a pretty forty, sure, but forty nonetheless. I was lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling. “Hang in there, Milo,” I whispered. “We’re coming for you.”

The bed shook a second later. I hopped up and flicked on a light. Craig came barreling in a moment later, a large garbage bag flung over his shoulder. He closed the door behind him and tossed the bag to the pink carpet.

“What is all that?” I asked as he dumped the contents out.

He put his index finger to his lips. “Shh. Working.”

I began to argue, which is how Craig and I did things, argumentatively, but then thought the better of it. Instead, I sat on the bed and watched him assemble the strange apparatus he’d invented. It took shape quickly enough. There was a basin on the floor, a structure of metal beams in the shape of a cube above that, a pan resting above that. There were some tubes running from top to bottom and back again. On the floor sat some sort of small motor. It looked like a…well, I hadn’t a clue what it looked like. It looked like a mess of metal and tubes, like an erector set gone wrong.

“I have no idea what all this is,” I freely admitted when it was at last complete.

He rose to hand me two emptied gallon jugs, now deplete of their milk. “Fill these.”

“The cow went home for the evening.”

He grimaced, eyes, as usual, rolling. “With water, jackass.”

I nodded. “Water. Right. Be right back.”

I raced to the bathroom. I raced as my mind raced. What was Craig up to? What was that apparatus he’d set up? And how would it help Milo? In any case, the jugs filled up quickly, and so back I rushed. I handed them to Craig. He filled the basin with the water, and then passed them back my way.

“Two more,” he commanded.

I sighed. “Really?”

He mock-sighed me in return. “Did Einstein’s assistants question his genius?”

“I doubt Einstein had assistants when he was eighteen, little bro.”

He glared my way. “Don’t doubt; fill.”

Thus again commanded, I tore to the bathroom and filled up jugs three and four. By the time I’d done five and six, I was duly exhausted and even more frustrated. We didn’t have that much time, after all. The portal never stayed open for more than ten minutes, and we were close to that already.

“Please tell me that was the last one,” I said, now breathing hard.

“That was last one.”

“Thank God,” I exhaled as I watched him crouch down to the small motor.

“I’d say pray to him,” he said, flicking the thing on. “Thank him after this is all over with.”

The motor purred. Fortunately, it wasn’t all that loud. Also fortunately, my parents slept on the first floor of our house, while Craig and I slept on the second. I mean, how would I have explained any of this, especially the waterfall Craig had suddenly flicked on in the middle of my bedroom.

“Pretty,” I said. “But, uh, why does it suddenly look like the tropics in here?”

He rose and walked to the mirror. “Like I said a couple of days ago…” He touched the mirror. “Solid.” He pointed to me. “Idiot.” He pointed to the waterfall. “Leaving.”

It took me a few seconds to put all the pieces together. “Wait,” I said. “Water isn’t a solid; it’s a liquid.”

“Eureka,” he said with an exaggerated sigh.

“Now what?” I asked, instantly coming down off my high.

He slid my mirror out of the way and got down on the floor next to the waterfall. He’d put the basin on wheels, and so all the thing needed was a push before it was sitting where the mirror once had been.

“Now this,” he said as he again stood next to me. “Go ahead.”

I gulped. “Go ahead and, uh, what?”

He looked my way, his eyes burning like two tiny stars. I guessed that this is what Justin Bieber looked like just before he went on stage. “Try it out, dude,” he said, then grabbed my hand and placed it in front of the downward flowing water.

“What if it works?” I asked. “What if it works and we’re sucked into space? What if his world doesn’t breathe oxygen? What if it works and we’re trapped over there?”

He nodded thoughtfully. “All surprisingly good questions, dude. But there’s one more: if we don’t do this, what happens to Milo?”

I paused, but not all that long. In truth, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t know what happened to Milo. And no, that wasn’t me being a drama queen, for a change; that was me knowing that I had a connection that had been severed, leaving me very much short-circuited, so to speak. Milo, I’d come to believe, was my destiny. Whether or not rightly so, it didn’t matter; this is what I felt, and so that was all that mattered.

In other words, with just the slightest bit of trepidation, I stuck my hand through the water and promptly winced.

“What, what?” Craig asked, concern washing over his face. “Did it hurt? Is your hand disintegrating?”

I shook my head. “The water is cold.”

He socked me one in the arm as he sharply exhaled. “Fucker.” He then looked behind the waterfall. “Um, dude, just so you know, your hand isn’t back there.” He then locked eyes with me, those stars going all supernova-like. “Your hand, Randy, your hand is in another universe, boldly going where no hand has gone before.”

My gulp repeated. I wiggled my fingers. They, in fact, still wiggled. Meaning, my hand hadn’t, in fact, disintegrated. My hand was also not too cold or too hot, but, like the baby bear’s porridge, just right. And so, I moved my arm further into the water, and further it did go. Which is why, since the body goes where the hand leads, I found myself walking through the waterfall a split-second later, saying through the spray, “Well, here goes nothing.”

Though, of course, here went everything.

 

 

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EXCERPT: His Personal Assistant by LJ Harris




TITLE – HIS PERSONAL ASSISTANT
Editor – R. E. Hargrave
Cover Designer – The Graphics Shed
Genre – Contemporary Gay Romance
Series – Book 1 – Men of New York
Length – 76k
Release Date – January 26, 2018
 
At the tender age of twenty-one, Kade Hutchins is at a crossroads, having endured enough hardship to last a thousand lifetimes. With money tight and career at a standstill, he’s running out of time and options. The day he applies for a job that isn’t exactly in his field of expertise and meets his new boss, Mr. Preston, is the day his fate is changed irrecoverably.
Luke Preston is the kind of man others envy. Rich, successful and unattached, his no-nonsense, ‘take no prisoners attitude’ has made him one of the highest profile litigators in Manhattan. He’s also a man with secrets. Secrets he wants kept under wraps since tragedy rocked his privileged existence to the core. When Kade, a man some fifteen years his junior steps foot inside his office, Luke wonders if his heart will survive.


 

 

Brushing an errant piece of fluff off my shoulder, I straightened the hem of my shirt and took a deep breath. Not that it did much good. By the time the elevator doors opened on the tenth floor, my nerves were beyond frazzled. With less than a minute to spare, I stepped inside the plush, modern offices.
A striking woman sitting behind a large reception desk greeted me, looking most business-like. What didn’t make sense was the way she seemed ready to pounce the second she saw me. I was surprised she didn’t fall flat on her face, considering she wore a pencil-thin black skirt and high-heeled shoes and was on her feet and running toward me like a crazy person.
“Thank God you’re here!”
“Um, what?” I took a wary step backward. She was kinda scary.
“Please tell me you’re Kade Hutchins.”
“Oh. Yes, I am.”
She held out her hand and when I took it in mine, I was impressed by her firm, assured grip. “You have no idea how relieved I am to see you.”
“Uh, thanks?” The warm smile she gave in response made her round, hazel eyes sparkle. Her hospitable attitude made me feel at ease in an instant, and I couldn’t help but grin back.
“The name’s Kimberly O’Connell. I’m the paralegal around here.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Ms. O’Connell.”
“Oh, please, I insist you call me Kimberly.”
“Okay.”
Releasing her hold on me, she pointed a manicured finger at the closed office door located behind the desk. “Come on, Kade. Let’s get you in to see His Highness.” Covering her mouth, she giggled.
“Who?” I stopped myself from joining in, but it wasn’t easy. She had an infectious laugh.
“Luke Preston. The ass you spoke to on the phone.”
“Oh.” I didn’t know whether it was appropriate to agree with her or not, but decided it would be best to err on the side of caution.
“Sorry about him, by the way.” Kimberly knocked, before lowering her voice to a faint whisper, and adding, “I had no idea he was going to answer the phone when I went to make his coffee. He usually lets the machine pick up, but I didn’t think to switch it on since I was only going to be gone a few minutes.”
The moment I let out a nervous chuckle, the door to Luke Preston’s office flew open.
Tall and broad-shouldered, the strong jaw, high cheekbones, and dark brown hair slicked back so not a lock was out of place, coupled with the way his body filled out that navy suit, made Luke Preston look more like a model than a lawyer. My guess was that he was in his mid-thirties, but holy shit, did he wear it well. Startling emerald eyes fringed by long, dark lashes stared at me with such intensity that, for a split second, I forgot to breathe. His sharp features were softened by flawless, pale skin and full lips so plush, I wondered what they would feel like pressed against my own. In that briefest of moments, I knew I was in trouble as my head began waging a war with my heart so fierce, I didn’t know whether to pull him in for a kiss or run for my life.
All I could do was wait for him to say something… anything to break the tension.
 
 

L. J. HARRIS is a mother, wife, an introvert and author. Her family is her life, her soul, and the very reason she gets out of bed every day. Coming a close second is her writing.

She discovered a passion for putting pen to paper in her later years, jotting down poems in birthday cards for family members.

It was then a spark was lit, and ever since, she’s been unable to switch off the urge to share her stories.

L.J. Harris discovered that as much as experiencing pain, loss and betrayal can be devastating, capturing the feelings of anguish and loss that some of her characters have had to endure without firsthand knowledge would have proved difficult.

L.J. has been previously published and has shared several online stories and looks forward to continuing to share her work.  She can be found at:

CONTACT LINKS:

All books can be found on her Amazon profile HERE