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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.

Jenna Kendrick Author Image

Meet Jenna Kendrick

Meet contributing author Jenna Kendrick…

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.

Website & Bloghttp://www.jennakendrick.com

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