Monday Meets: Heloise West

Heloise is back, reminding us of her book, If I Were Fire.

Monday Meets Guest: Heloise West

If I Were Fire by Heloise West


Historical M/M Romance from Dreamspinner Press…


In 18th century Siena , Count Salvesto Masello has returned home to find the family villa and his father’s estate steeped deeply in debt. In order to save it, he has been selling off valuable family heirlooms, but he is running out of silverware. Somewhere in the villa his deceased father had hidden the art treasures that will pay the debt, but Salvesto can’t find them anywhere.

Amadeo Neruccio has been on the run from the vicious pimp, thief, and pawnbroker Guelfetto, but his toughs finally catch him and bring him to the cellar where Count Masello is selling off his silver. When the count learns what fate Guelfetto has in store for Amadeo, he intervenes and trades the last of his mother’s dowry for the young man’s freedom.

Salvesto had left home over ten years ago to live the life of adventure he craved. He had also hoped to leave his broken heart behind. When he rescues young Amadeo, he did not expect to find love again, or that his adventures had yet to end.

Release Date is September 16, 2015


Seated in the shade of the loggia attached to the surgeon’s house, Amadeo waited for the conte, barely able to think for the pain in his body. Bone-deep pain, like a bad tooth. He sighed, but his breath hitched like an uneven stitch.


He jumped at the sound of his former lover’s voice. Glancing around, he espied Barone Malavolti standing in the narrow street beneath a chestnut tree a few arm lengths away; his expression was a mask of boredom, though he stood there without his hat, a little breathless and pink-cheeked. Leaning on a silver-tipped cane he did not need, he had dressed today in a beautiful dark gray velvet jacket and the long pale blue waistcoat beneath it embroidered with bright flowers, all held together with small ebony buttons. His creamy white linen shirt and cravat were spotless. All that fine cloth hid a mercurial character and a whippet-lean body that contained a fierce strength. Glossy black hair, brown eyes, and a slightly round, handsome face, the dark circles under his tired eyes spoke of a long night of debauchery. Amadeo turned quickly away, angry and embarrassed all at once.

“Don’t ignore me.”

“No, Barone.” Amadeo stood.

“I wanted to make sure you were—not dead, as someone said, murdered in Guelfetto’s cellar or sent off to Florence to pay your debt.” His clipped tone made Amadeo wince.

“It was never my debt!” He lowered his voice. “I came to you for help, but you did not believe me. He told everyone that I agreed to lose the race for payment. You believed that bandit over me.” Amadeo swallowed back his disappointment. “Me. Your bad habit.” It was terribly rude, but he had to sit in the shade and close his eyes, as the hot, bright sun pierced his skull and made his head pound even harder. To his surprise, Malavolti followed to stand beneath the loggia with him. Encouraged by that, Amadeo whispered, “You said you loved me, but you lied. How is what you think I have done worse than that?”

Malavolti said, “I am not a liar. And only a poet would see that as a crime.”

Amadeo truly wanted to shake the barone until his teeth rattled, but restrained himself. “Guelfetto had sold me to a bathhouse in Florence to whore for those stinking pig-dogs until I die. Conte Masello has rescued me. I do not need you anymore.”

Malavolti flinched. “What has Conte Masello to do with all this, Neruccio?”

“He was there….” Amadeo stopped and considered his words. Malavolti need not know the conte was there selling his mother’s silver plates. “He took pity on me when I said I would give myself to the Arno and paid my debt to Guelfetto.”

“Paid your price, you mean.”

Stubborn, prideful man! To think he wept at the lines I wrote for him and him alone. He believed me then, at least. Perhaps the new one in his bed has left him, and left him bitter.

“We have a bond agreement,” Amadeo said wearily. “I’m to be the new groom for the stables. At least I’ll be with the horses.”

“Ah, my poor poet,” Malavolti mocked. “Poor Cecco. ‘But to show wisdom’s what I never could. So where I itch, I scratch now.’”

A pet name for the famed Sienese poet of a long dead age, Cecco Angiolieri, and the old lines fell upon Amadeo’s ears like a slap. Malavolti had encouraged and supported his own poetic lines at one time, but no more. “If you do not believe me still, be gone, Gianni. No one torments me as much as I do myself, so you waste your time.” His grieving heart forced him to continue the lines: “‘I’m down, and cannot rise in any way; For not a creature of my nearest kin/Would hold out a hand that I could reach….’”

Except for one man.

The door to the house creaked open, and Malavolti turned away, continuing on his path up the street as if they had never spoken.

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About Heloise West:

Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of 10 years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.

Where to find Heloise:









Monday Meets: Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell, a favorite at my blog, is back today, speaking of what she does when she’s between books. She also has left us with a wonderful excerpt from her book Winter Duet.

Monday Meets Guest: Anne Barwell

Between Books

Thanks for the invitation, Brynn, to come back and blog at yours. It’s a pleasure to visit your site again.

A question I have been asked—more than once—when I mention I’m almost ready to submit a book, is: what are you going to do between books? Take some time off?

Part of me thinks: I wish! And the other can’t imagine going for more than a few days without writing. It’s a scary thought.

Usually when I finish writing one story, I’m either already part way through another one, or thinking about approaching deadlines for the next book I want to write, or both.  I do, however, tidy my desk/dining room table so that all my notes connected with the finished book are put away in its box. I have boxes for all my series, and one for standalones, so that if I ever want to revisit the story or its characters I can find the information. It’s handy for edits too, as I often print out my character specs and the outline of the story and scribble all over them.

And of course, there are notebooks for each series, although they tend to stick around a bit, as the characters attempt to throw plot bunnies for future stories my way.

I also find physically tidying away notes from one story helps me mentally move onto the next one. Or as is the case this time around, back to a story that I’ve already half way written and need to finish by the end of October.  Often I’m not only writing a different story, but switching genres too.

For example, the story completed this week is a contemporary romance which I co-wrote with Lou Sylvre.  It’s called Sunset at Pencarrow and is set locally in Wellington and the Hutt Valley.   The one I’m half way through is Comes a Horseman which is the third book in my WWII Echoes Rising series, so I’m not only switching genres, but also location and time period as it’s set in France in 1944.

I must admit there are not so many notes to tidy away after writing a contemporary story, although that doesn’t mean we escaped doing any research.  No matter what the genre or setting, there’s always research if the story is to sound as realistic as possible.

I’m looking forward to tidying up the stack of reference books that has grown to scary proportions while I’ve been writing Comes a Horseman. Between my own non-fiction collection, and everything I’ve borrowed from the library, it will be nice to see the wooden surface of my desk again rather than it being buried in an assortment of books, papers, and notebooks.

At least for a couple of hours before I move onto the next story.

I’m finishing with an excerpt from Winter Duet, book 2 of Echoes Rising, as I sent back edits for the 2nd edition of that last week too.  It’s coming out from DSP Publications in December. No rest for the wicked.



Echoes book 2 – Sequel to Shadowboxing

Germany 1944

Hunted for treason and the information Kristopher carries, he and Michel leave the security of their safe house to journey across Germany toward Switzerland. Caught in a series of Allied bombings, they stop to help civilians and narrowly escape capture by German forces.

While investigating a downed aircraft in the Black Forest, the two men discover an injured RAF pilot.  After they are separated, Kristopher and the pilot are discovered by a German officer who claims he is not who he appears to be. Determined to find Michel again, Kristopher has to trust the stranger and hope he is not connected to those searching for him and the information he carries. Meanwhile Michel is intercepted by one of the Allied soldiers he met in Berlin. His help is needed to save one of their own.

Time quickly runs out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo closes in. Michel can only hope they can reach safety before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s lives, but those of the remaining members of their team—if it is not already too late.



Kristopher jerked awake with a start. Michel was leaning over him. His expression was grim. “What’s wrong? What’s happened?” Kristopher asked. They’d been in Feuerbach less than twenty-four hours. Surely Reiniger hadn’t found them already?

Before Michel could answer, a loud explosion sounded nearby. Kristopher was on his feet immediately, reaching for his gun, his eyes adjusting to the dim light of the flashlight Michel held. The wooden beams groaned. The building shook. Dust fell from the ceiling. He grabbed his satchel, not wanting to leave it behind.

“Bombing raid,” Michel said, already on the stairs of the apartment building, heading outside. Kristopher was only a couple of steps behind him. The wailing of sirens echoed around them. “We need to get out of here.”

Outside, people were running. A woman screamed. A baby’s wail filled the air. The top story of the building next door was gone, rubble lying in the street in big chunks.

Engines roared. Something swooped low above them. Kristopher ducked. Michel grabbed him and dived, both of them hitting the ground and landing in the snow.

Kristopher coughed. He wiped wet snow from his face and shivered. Luckily he’d slept in his coat and boots. Smoke filled the air. “The river,” he gasped. “We need to get to the river.” There was a tower shelter by the Feuerbach River. He was sure he remembered someone talking about it the previous evening.

The ground moved, or seemed to, as another explosion lit up the sky, this time in the distance, from the center of Stuttgart itself. “Can you walk?” Michel helped Kristopher as he struggled to his feet.

“I’m fine,” Kristopher reassured him. “You?”

“Yes.” Michel retrieved the flashlight from the ground. It lit up for a moment, and then they were plunged into blackness. “Damn it!” Michel shook it and switched it off, then on, but nothing happened. He shoved it into the pocket of his coat and glanced around. The streetlights were off—they would have been extinguished at the first sign of attack. All they had for light was the waning crescent moon above them and the fires burning as the aircraft dropped their bombs.

“What about the ambulance?” Kristopher suggested. They’d left it parked out of sight but nearby.

“I’m more worried about us surviving this than the ambulance,” Michel said. He gazed up at the sky. “I think the river is this way. We can’t stay here.”

“I don’t remember where on the river the shelter is,” Kristopher said.

A boy pushed past them. He couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old. “The shelter’s this way,” he yelled. “Follow me.”

Kristopher hesitated. What if the boy was wrong? And even if he wasn’t, there was no way of knowing if he might lead them into more of this.

“We don’t have a choice,” Michel said. “Keep close to me. I don’t want to lose you in this.” He began to run, Kristopher close behind, his eyes adjusting to the little light there was.

The boy tripped and went sprawling. Michel stopped just in time before he too lost his footing.

“Oomph,” Kristopher grunted when he ran into Michel. “What happened?”

The boy groaned loudly. Michel pulled out his flashlight and tried it again. A dim light shone from it, barely enough to see by, but it would have to do. Remains of a shattered chimney from a nearby house were spread across the ground just ahead of them. The boy lay next to one of the larger pieces, half on top of it. In his haste and with the lack of light he wouldn’t have seen it until it was too late.



Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.


Author’s links






Dreamspinner Press Author Page:

DSP Publications Author Page:


Monday Meets: Special Edition: Sandra Bard

Hey there. Since I messed up and scheduled Sandra to visit during my vacation, I’m putting her Monday Meets blog up now.

Monday Meets Guest: Sandra Bard

Hi, I’m Sandra Bard and I’m really grateful for being allowed on this blog. Or should I say back on this blog since it seems I always do a book post here when I have a new release. Really grateful to Brynn for having me on here.

I’m going to be talking about my new book from Dreamspinner, Finding His Feet and I have so much to talk about it. After much thought, I decided to narrow it down to talk a little about what inspired me to create my characters.

I made a list of things that inspired me or I included in the book since they were a part of my life—trains, travelling, war, hiding and secrets and family. But having written about those in different blog posts, I realised I’d left out a key component that helped me create this book. My point of view on war.

I had to base my book on a lot of things. One of my other blog pieces was about growing up in a war zone. I had always thought that I hate war, that it was evil and it was a waste of good people’s lives, it was a waste of resources and human effort.


In Finding his Feet, Kaden, my main character, is a soldier in a country that has seen over a hundred years of war. He is mentally and physically scarred, exhausted and running out of excuses to keep himself busy. He is a trained soldier with no other skills, with no idea of what life could be outside of the military.

Over all, he is a product of the environment he lives in and it seems very bleak.

But that isn’t all there is to it. Because my opinion about war is conflicted.

Once, one of my students stood in front of the class made an impassioned speech about why we don’t need war. She was the earnest type, a little round faced, wide gray eyes that remained me of the startled look of a cat on one of those funny videos and arms that were in constant motion as she spoke.  I listened to her explaining why it was cruel and destructive and why we didn’t need war any more. Her eyes filled with tears and her lower lip trembled as she spoke about how we could live peacefully and be happily, why the world needed arts and music more than fighting… and realised, I didn’t believe that.

War was destructive and needless, but at the same time it helped human advancements. If humans were not threatened by other humans, all the inventions we have today would not be there.  The internet, the long range communication and even space travel .

The armor my main character Kaden wear is in a way, a pinnacle of technological advance. It is also something that is used for war, for fighting and it defines who he is to a lot. It is an example of something good that came out of a very destructive situation.

Then, there is also Shun. A product of the war as well, but unlike Kaden, he is a less dependent on anything around him but his skills… his wits. He is also positive and upbeat about life, trying to see the best in everything.

Shun is also a person who wishes for a life without violence but understands the need to step up when needed.  He’s not naïve enough to believe that good will alone can change everyone into better people.

My characters are like my divided view of war, with ideals and beliefs of their own working towards very different goals. But they are also people who, when thrown together, strive to work together for a common goals. Their survival.

Their interactions with each other isn’t just romance, or dependency, it is about realising that their view is not the only view in the world and accepting that they are not alone. To be able to see things from another person’s point of view and at least, be able to understand that they might not be wrong.


Shun nodded as if he’d understood something profound. “Ah.” He turned to Kaden. “I suppose you’re going with them as their supervisor.”

“Something like that,” Kaden admitted. He could see that Shun was curious about their mission, but it was not his place to tell him to stop asking questions.

“Well.” Shun settled back and returned his food box to his bag. “I think I’ll catch some sleep now. I was up most of last night working the tables.”

He closed his eyes, and a couple of minutes later, his head listed onto Kaden’s shoulder. When he threatened to fall over because of the swaying of the train, Kaden quickly held him in place. He hadn’t re-covered his fingers with armor, and he could feel the warmth of Shun’s body clearly—he smelled clean, with a hint of warm bread and soap, and Kaden felt a stirring in his lower body from something so simple.

Kaden closed his eyes and slowly drew back the armor from his shoulder and left side so that Shun would not feel the hardness of the metal against his head.

He was surprised by how quickly Shun had integrated himself into their group. He didn’t seem to be in awe of them but had tried hard to talk to them and fit into their midst. Most people fell into three groups: those who worshiped the armored warriors from afar, those who were afraid of them, and the third group, who regarded them as celebrities, real-life superheroes who saved the day and had extra abilities, whom they stalked as much as possible given the military restrictions. They were said to have fan bases, where people fantasized about having sex with armored warriors, not very selective of who it was. Kaden didn’t think most people even realized there were two types of armor in operation.

He toyed with the idea of asking Shun if he was willing to have a quick grope in the bathroom—then remembered his last experience in a train washroom, which hadn’t gone too well. Still, if Shun was amenable to a hookup, there were ways and places. If Shun was even interested in him, or men in general, of course—

Wayland asked, “What do you think—?”

The entire carriage jerked. The brakes screeched loudly, and Kaden balanced himself, flinging out his free arm so Shun wouldn’t go flying off to the other side.

“What was that?” Wayland asked, jumping to her feet.

Kaden continued to sit as Shun stirred on his shoulder. He didn’t remove his arm as Shun sat up groggily and looked around. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sleep on you.”

“It’s fine,” Kaden said shortly as the train gave another lurch and came to a complete stop.

“Which station are we at?” Shun sat up straighter and reached for his bag. “How long was I sleeping?”

“Not long, and we haven’t reached a station yet. Must be something in the middle of the track—” Kaden tried to remember if they were near anything that required the train to stop. “Construction, repairs, or perhaps some military convoy.”

There were always impromptu railway repairs, and the military was prone to secret maneuvers that people on unimportant missions—people such as them—never heard of. He sometimes wondered if the Harians were equally disorganized when it came to their war effort.

Shun didn’t seem convinced. “I hope so,” he said, looking around with a worried expression. “There’s been stories.”

“Of what?” Wayland demanded hurriedly. Her eyes were wide with excitement, and Kaden could see her impatience for something to happen.

“Of train raiders,” Shun told them. “You must have seen it on the news.”

Kaden, who had removed himself from everything since the accident, shook his head. “What about these raiders?”

Bradley nodded knowingly. “They have someone on board who’ll pull the emergency brakes when the train is near an empty area. I guess it’s preplanned and then they board the train, steal everything, and ride out before the authorities come.”

Kaden blinked in surprised. “I really didn’t think such a thing could happen in this—”

Wayland perked up as if she’d thought of something. “Maybe this is just a mechanical fault of some sort.”

“There’s a war going on,” Bradley said, sounding so much like a government announcement that Kaden wondered if she’d done a stint in broadcasting. “They need to realize this isn’t helping anyone, especially not the war effort.”

“Not everyone who robs a train is against the war effort,” Shun said softly. “People need jobs, and there’s restrictions on food and other things.”

Kaden agreed with him silently. There were power cuts and trade restrictions and food shortages, but their country was at war; it was expected. He remembered his mother stealing tomatoes from the neighbor’s garden when there’d been food restrictions—and that had been back when he was a child. They hadn’t been rich enough to buy food on the black market. All those years of war hadn’t helped the country’s economy much.

“I fail to see how being a criminal helps anyone,” Bradley commented dryly. “They’re just a bunch of people who don’t want to find a job or join the Army.”

Shun huffed. “Not really. There are people who are too old or too sick or just not cut out for fighting.” He looked ready to say more.

Kaden’s father hadn’t joined the Army either, an old back injury and his own reluctance kept him from being drafted. While Kaden agreed with Bradley about the train robbers, he could also see Shun had an argument ready, and it wasn’t the time for them to get into a philosophical discussion. “Let’s deal with one problem at a time and figure out why our train stopped.”

Wayland hesitated at that. “What if there really are train raiders?”

Bradley got to her feet. “I’ll go look. You stay here and look after our things.”

“Why don’t you ask Instructor Pace to look after it,” said Wayland, moving the box from her lap to the seat. “I’m coming too.”

Bradley turned to Kaden with a raised eyebrow, as if expecting him to make a comment.

“It’s probably not train raiders,” Kaden said firmly.

Just then, the public announcement system in the train coughed to life and rumbled a barely coherent message, asking everyone to stay seated and informing them the train was surrounded.

All three looked at Kaden, and he shrugged. “I was wrong.”


Cover artist: Stef Masciandaro.

Release date : July 18th





Kaden Pace, a soldier injured while on a mission, hides the extent of his damage by wearing his high-tech armor, desperate to prove his worth to his administrators and make himself useful in order to hold on to his independence. But during a simple assignment to escort two cadets across the country to retrieve the armor of a dead warrior, things start to fall apart.

They meet Shun, a young man with a secret, who steals the armor they were supposed to recover. Chasing Shun brings them to an abandoned beach town, where they encounter even more trouble. Stranded in the deserted city, Kaden finds himself relying more and more on Shun, the person he’d come to capture, while fighting off an invasion from the neighboring country.

But even when he returns to his camp, Kaden’s problems are not over. Now he has to find a way to save Shun, whom he’s growing to care for, and keep his team alive as they make one last-ditch attempt to get back the armor Shun stole. Armor that is now in enemy hands, on an island in the middle of the sea, at ground zero where it all began.


Author Bio:

Sandra Bard started writing when she was quite young because there was always a story inside her head, but never thought of writing for an audience until recently. She only decided to try her hand at writing for the sake of being published after a series of events left her with some free time and in between jobs.  Now she has three jobs but writing is still her most favorite thing to do. Sandra grew up travelling the world from Africa to Asia and, though she now lectures full time at a university, dreams of having a job that wouldn’t tie her down to one place. She enjoys reading books, watching anime and, occasionally, visiting a fan-fiction site. She also dabbles in tai chi and yoga in the hope they would keep her flexible and help lose weight. She lives with her pets (fish, cats, and dogs) and has been a volunteer for an organization that takes care of stray dogs (there are many, where she lives) for over ten years.





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Monday Meets: Heloise West

Ok, I guess this is really Monday 2.0. I should have posted this yesterday and completely missed it. My computer and I have been cross with each other lately.

But, without further ado, Heloise West is here with blurbs from not one, but two books!

Monday Tuesday Meets Guest: Heloise West


HeloiseWest_HittingBlackIce_coverlgHitting Black Ice #1

ER physician’s assistant Hunter guards his heart carefully, but that doesn’t stop him from falling for Shawn, the front desk clerk.  He keeps his distance from relationships for a reason, but just can’t help himself when it comes to Shawn.

Shawn is on the run from the law and love to protect himself and anyone else involved. One man is dead because of him, and his life now is simple and easily thrown into a bag at any hint of danger. Until he meets Hunter, and he no longer wants to run.

Forced into a hostage situation, buried passion explodes in the aftermath, and sex in the supply closet brings their hearts back to life. Tentatively, step by step, they begin to explore a relationship together until the past catches up with Shawn.

FBI agent Nick Truman has finally found his man, but when Shawn escapes, he focuses his attention on Hunter. Shawn returns, even though it means sacrificing himself to save Hunter from the man who framed him for murder.


send lawyers

Send Lawyers, Guns, and Roses #2

The second novel in the Heart and Haven series released April 19, 2016. This is the sequel to Hitting Black Ice (Loose Id, 12/2014)


All Alex and Hunter want now is a little peace and quiet…




When Hunter and Alex (formally Shawn) are given the vacation of a lifetime, it’s a chance for them to pay attention to romance and get out of the path of danger. The tiny Caribbean island of Saba is gorgeous, the first to have marriage equality, and the Sabans are the nicest people on earth.


There’s lots of rum poolside for relaxing and a room with a mirror on the ceiling for passion. Hot karaoke nights, cold beer, and new friends.


Their new friends Orfeo and Max, and Max’s sister Talisha, share a troubling secret. Alex and Hunter want to help. As a hurricane bears down on them, a dead body surfaces, and a purple backpack loaded with stolen jewels leads a pair of dangerous men to the island.


Alex would rather poke his own eyes out with a pointy stick than call on his old enemy Nick Truman for help; he’d also do anything to keep Hunter out of danger. But even his nemesis can’t reach them now.


Once again, they only have each other to depend on as their paradise is about to become hell on earth.


Buy Links:

Hitting Black Ice







Send Lawyers, Guns, and Roses







About Heloise West:

Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of 10 years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.

Where to find Heloise:












Monday Meets: Brita Addams

Brita Addams joins me on my blog today, speaking about historical fiction and offers a giveaway.


Do you like historical fiction?

If so, you’re not alone. If not, I invite you to give it another try.

Hi everyone. I’m Brita Addams and I write historical fiction. From a young age, I preferred spending my time in the past and now I enjoy helping readers find a connection to another era. Historical fiction doesn’t have to be a history lesson, but it should immerse the reader in another time, another place. A true getaway.

Personally, I love to learn and history is a passion for me. My books reflect those interests. I’ve written several tales set in Regency England, because I love the unique feel of that era. I’m an amateur genealogist and wrote a book, Her Timeless Obsession, based on my genealogical adventures.

A lifelong passion of mine is old Hollywood. As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved old movies and the enigmatic stars that played out the melodramas of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. They don’t make ’em like that anymore! The glamor and innocence of those times draws me in, no matter how many times I’ve seen the movies.

Among the many books I’ve written are those in my Tarnished world. The characters aren’t perfect, nor are they completely imperfect. All strive to find a life that satisfies them, while navigating the pitfalls that the world presents. All are men who face the unsure world of secrets and lies.

The three books are:

Tarnished Gold, which takes place in the early days of Hollywood and relates the story of Jack Abadie, a young man from Louisiana who has dreams of matinee idol fame.

Tarnished Souls – Frankie and Gent, a look at a1930s-era mobster’s hold on Hollywood and the man contracted to loosen his grip.

Beloved Unmasked, a story about Picayune, the unwanted son of a New Orleans Storyville prostitute. Pic recreates himself as David Reid, but discovers life isn’t much different beyond the streets of the infamous Red Light district.

I’m working on the fourth installment, the story of Emile Dauterive, who plays a significant role in Pic’s life. I expect to finish before the end of 2016.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on historical fiction. What do you especially like? What don’t you like?

Thank you, Brynn, for having me today, and I hope you’ll invite me back.


I’d like to offer a random commenter a copy of any book in my backlist, found on my website (link below.) The comment must be substantive and relative to historical fiction to qualify, not just “I’m in.”

Here’s a closer look at the books from my Tarnished world:

Tarnished Gold


In 1915, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a secret that his country hometown would never understand.

After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.

Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.

As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood’s decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.

Buy Links:




Tarnished Souls – Frankie and Gent

BritaAddamsTarnished Souls 200x300

Hollywood’s Golden Age is not all glitz and glamor. Mob boss Frankie Monetti controls the unions and the studios, which makes him and the syndicate very rich. But after five years, Frankie runs afoul of the law and those who put him in power.

Primo hit man, and Frankie’s lifelong friend, Arvin “Gent” Vitali, goes west with orders to clean up the mess and then bring Frankie back to New York to answer for his double cross. But as the noose closes tighter around Frankie’s neck, Gent questions where his loyalty truly lies. Is business just business, or is freedom worth the risk?

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Beloved Unmasked



Born in 1898 to a heartless prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district of New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, a name meaning “of little value” or as his mother reminds him, “nothing.”

In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a fortuitous meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. A telegram from the War Department deals a staggering blow and interrupts David’s pursuit of a law degree. He must gather his wits and move forward. While his future looks bright, specters from Storyville return.

The past holds both pain and love, and facing it head-on might destroy David or give him the freedom to live the life he has dreamed.

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Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

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Monday Meets: Ki Brightly

Hey everyone. Welcome Ki Brightly to my blog today, author of a new book, The Paranaturalist.


Thanks, Brynn, for having me on your blog!

The Paranaturalist was one of those stories that started out as one thing in my mind and ended up another somehow. I don’t want to give away too much, but my original idea for The Paranaturalist was “friends to lovers”. Friends to lovers isn’t a bad story idea and I like how organic it can be when two good friends who have known each other for years and work together eventually realize that their feelings run deeper…but, of course, that would be too simple.

My characters fought me. Scott, basically, gave me the finger, but that’s typical Scott. He’s kind of a jerk. A lovable jerk (maybe), but not exactly ready for a relationship.

Owen popped up out of the blue. Sweet, dear, sarcastic Owen didn’t see things my way either. I wasn’t even sure what he was doing in my story for a while and then I realized…to my horror…he had designs on Joe.

Needless to say, this wasn’t an easy friends to lovers story. I struggled to finish this one because it was so different from what I thought it would be, but I was utterly delighted when I realized there would be a happy ending.

I can’t pinpoint the inspiration for The Paranaturalist to any one thing. I like to read/write paranormal so my brain is always sort of flowing that direction. I haven’t had the time to watch them in years, but I used to enjoy the plethora of ghost shows on television. In my younger years I also did some amateur local ghost hunting…so, the idea for the story sort of congealed from all that.


Here’s an excerpt of Joe and Scott from Joe’s perspective.


Joe Appleyard

“Close your gob or flies will get in there,” Scott says to me while he smirks and

scratches at his short stubble.

I do snap my mouth shut. My embarrassment and the strange urge to say

yes war with each other. He’s sprawled out on his back on my bed, ankles crossed,

blue Mohawk struggling to fall out of the carefully hair-glued perfection he keeps

it confined in. He has a tattooed arm stretched over his head pulling his ragged Def

Leppard shirt tight across his chest. I want to touch it. Squeeze the rounded muscles.

He’s mouthwatering, and if he weren’t my best friend as well as a player with a

capital P, I might be more interested in having his hard body right where it is for

something more satisfying than his attempt at witty banter. He tugs on the steel ring

pierced through his lip with his teeth, and I frown at the twitch of interest from my

cock. His chipped front tooth dug into that plump bottom lip does unholy things to

God, I could destroy my whole life if I went over there and kissed him.

It would be perfect.

I bet he wouldn’t say no….

“But why my underwear?” I sound meaner than I want to, but these types of

conversations gouge their way under my skin. He snickers.

“’Cause, okay, because the smell is—” He fiddles with his lip ring with his

teeth while he contemplates. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he does it on purpose.

Fuck. Maybe he’s started to realize I’m not as immune to him as I’d like to be?

“Ball sweat and ass crack,” I finish the thought for him with a hard frown.

“Exactly.” He spreads his arms like I’ve just had a eureka moment, and I

slam my jeans into my suitcase. He raises his eyebrows.

“I don’t get it,” I mutter. Heat creeps up the back of my neck and to the tips

of my ears. My skin is dark enough that it isn’t always noticeable unless you know

what to look for, but he’s been my best friend for almost seven years. His laughter is

obnoxious and long-winded. I don’t flip him off because it would only egg him on.

“If I can get something with some fuck smell on it and wax my wood through

this season, maybe Rob won’t dump me.”

I give him a hard look. He sounds as concerned as he ever does, but the

way he chases ass every place we land would say otherwise to any normal human

being. Guys. Girls. Other. If it smiles pretty enough at him, off he goes, practically

ready to hump their leg. It hurts. A lot. But whose fault is it? I could probably suck

him off right now if I asked, but that’s not what I want. I don’t want a wham, bam,

see ya later, man. If I had him, if I got to pull on that ring through his lip with my

teeth, then I would die, just fucking die, if I had to watch his hotel room door close

on my best friend and a stranger. The boyfriend I can tolerate. I’ve learned to do

the mental gymnastics to ignore his existence. It’s the strangers who get to me.

There are damned good reasons we’ve never been more than friends. Now

if only I can get that message to flow south and kill my erection. I clear my throat

and stare into the mess my suitcase has become while we’ve been arguing. What

am I forgetting?

“Filming is only four months, and he can visit. Hell, if he would let you pay his

bills, he could come with us. Maybe schlep around sound equipment or something.

You can’t keep your fly zipped around the locals for four months?” I’m nearly yelling

by the end of my rant. He snickers through a hand slapped over his mouth.

“You know,” he interrupts himself with another chuckle, “…know me.” He

shrugs. My body flashes hot with rage for a moment before I tamp down on it. He’s

never been any different. When we first met, I didn’t have the balls to ask him out.

As much as I love him as a friend, hell, just love him, keep his secrets, even, I’m

pretty sure my innate shyness has never helped me dodge a bigger bullet.

“I do,” I whisper to myself, a habit from my childhood I’ve never grown out Scott’s good enough to ignore it.

“So can I? Just one pair.” Scott wiggles his eyebrows at me, flicking his tongue

out to roll the shiny blue ball on its silver hoop. I shake my head no while my groin

tightens and my other best friend starts to get uncomfortable in my pants. Dear God,

I need some time to myself today. An hour. My hand. Porn. It’s a must. Please.

And totally not going to happen.

“No. That’s too weird. Live with me forever, but keep your nose out of my…

um….” I break off. My discomfort forces my tongue still. I poke through the mess

my usually tidy packing has become with a tight jaw. Of all the days. The day we

leave to start filming. Sometimes I fucking hate Scott.



The Paranaturalist

Release date June 27th, 2016



As a kid, Joseph Appleyard saw things hidden from others. Now he is The Paranaturalist, an investigator and cohost of a television show that seeks to prove the existence of the paranormal. Some think Joe is crazy, but they don’t realize he knows firsthand there’s more to the world than what most perceive. The trouble is, somewhere along the way, Joe lost his vision and it left his world flat and dull. One night an investigation goes horribly wrong, and a powerful ghostly manifestation sends Joe tumbling into a river. Spirit worker Owen Watson saves Joe’s life, and once they are back on dry land, whatever has been blocking Joe’s vision has been washed away.

When a haunting goes from annoying to dangerous, people turn to Owen Watson. He hates those infuriating hacks from TV, but when he pulls Joe from the river, his mind begins to change. Joe is scared and confused, and Owen realizes he might just be the real thing. Together, they work to understand the part of Joe that has been shut away for so long. But just as Joe is reacclimating to his abilities, his career as a paranormal investigator is in danger of being ripped away. Owen would gladly battle a bloodthirsty spirit for Joe, but he’s out of his element in the world of reality television.

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Ki grew up in small town nowhere pretending that meteor showers were aliens invading, turning wildflowers into magic potions, and reading more than was probably healthy. Ki had one amazing best friend, one endlessly out of grasp “true love”, and a personal vendetta against normalcy.

Now, as an adult, living in Erie, Pennsylvania, Ki enjoys the sandy beaches, frigid winters, and a wonderful fancy water addiction. Seriously, fancy waters…who knew there were so many different kinds? It’s just water…and yet…

Ki shares this life with a Muse, a Sugar Plum, and two wonderful children.


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Monday Meets: Asta Idonea

Asta Idonea is on my blog today, talking about her new shifter short story, Quite as a Mouse.


Writing about Mice, Men, and Machines

The idea for my MM paranormal short story, Quiet as a Mouse, came to me immediately when I heard the theme for the anthology call. I wanted to choose a shifter that would be a change from the usual fare, and the idea of a mouse was one that struck me as both sweet and different.

I tried to make Paul’s character reflect his animal counterpart. I wanted to show him as someone retiring and shy, who knew what he desired but feared to seek it out. In many ways, Cale is his counterpart. He, too, has difficulty going after the things he wants, but meeting Paul gives him the incentive he needs.

I drew on some of my own experiences when writing this tale. I, too, used to sing in a choir. After rehearsals, several of us would go to the pub for a drink, and after that, our MD sometimes returned to the venue to practice or make repairs on the organ. I remember once staying with him until the early hours to fix a troublesome F.

Fixing things, and dealing with other people’s perceptions, is also a theme in my recent sci-fi novella, Fire Up My Heart. In this story, Fane must find the courage to pursue his desires, regardless of the social stigma attached to them. He experiences a fear similar to Paul’s, except his relates not to his relationship with another human but to his love for a robot.

In many ways, Fire Up My Heart is a story that looks at social prejudice against minority groups. It is about finding love in unlikely places and having the courage to follow through on your convictions.

The inspiration for this story came to me in a dream. I had recently watched several sci-fi films featuring robots, and in my dreams, Fane and Jo-E quickly took shape. At that point, I didn’t think about the story as being one with a message; however, when I began writing, I realised there was a serious point hiding within the otherwise sweet tale.
Fear, in any form, is something that affects us all. How we deal with that fear is what forms our characters. If we meet it head on, with courage and strength, I believe we can always achieve our goals. That is certainly what Paul and Fane do in these two stories.

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Quiet as a Mouse

Asta Idonea

1 June 2016

Dreamspinner Press

Short Story/MM

Heat Level: 1


Upon moving to a new town, shy shifter Paul is instantly smitten by local choirmaster Cale. Wanting to spend as much time with Cale as possible, he becomes the proverbial church mouse so he can enjoy Cale’s music without revealing his feelings.  But when Cale sees him and traps are set, Paul faces a difficult choice. What does he want out of life, and does he have the courage to go after it? Will he be a man… or a mouse?


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Fire Up My Heart

Asta Idonea

25 May 2016

Dreamspinner Press

Novella – MM Sci-Fi Romance

Heat Level: 2


London bartender Fane thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds a rare and expensive service Bot discarded in a dumpster, and he takes it home to get it working again. The Jo-E brings some much-needed companionship to Fane’s lonely life, but there’s something different about this Bot, as indicated by its odd behavior. Fane’s developing feelings toward Jo-E trouble him, and things go from bad to worse when a robotics engineer arrives on Fane’s doorstep, demanding the return of his property. Fane is forced to choose between a hefty reward and following his heart. Giving in to his forbidden desires might get him killed—or change his life forever.

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 Author Pic 2015

Author Bio & Links

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.







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