Guest – Laura Lascarso – The Bravest Thing Excerpt

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Berlin

One hundred and eighty days until the end of junior year and I’m already counting down. Not the best thought to be having on the first day of school.

“Berlin, check out the tits on that one.”

Trent knocks my shoulder and points to a girl walking by where we sit on the tailgate of my pickup truck in the high school parking lot. He eyes up the freshmen, or fresh meat as he calls them, while I pretend to do the same.

I grunt in appreciation, even though breasts don’t do it for me. Neither do girls, for that matter. But my reputation at Lowry High depends on me being a normal red-blooded American male. I don’t know for sure if I’m gay or not, but judging from my browser history this summer, it’s seeming more and more likely.

“I’d hit that in a minute,” Trent says, and I grunt again like a bullfrog. Ribbit, ribbit. Trent and I have been friends since fifth grade when we started playing peewee football together. He knows pretty much everything about me. Except this. I’ve been hiding it from everyone—my team, my friends, my dad, my girlfriend Kayla.

Kayla’s breasts, according to Trent, are prime.

I scan the parking lot for Kayla’s blonde head, and the whine of a motorcycle catches my attention. I point in that direction, noticing the bike first, a new Kawasaki Ninja, black with neon green fairings, then the driver. He’s in all black—jeans, T-shirt, high-tops, even his full-face black helmet. Like a dark, sexy comic book villain.

“Check out the crotch rocket,” Trent sneers. He sounds jealous.

The guy docks his bike and takes off his helmet. I’ve never seen him before—that much I know. I’ve never seen anyone like him before.

His hair’s long on one side, black and shiny. The other side’s buzzed close to his scalp, punk rock. The way his hair falls over his face reminds me of our horses and how their forelocks will sometimes hide one eye.

The new kid hitches up his tightfitting jeans and slings his backpack, also black, over one shoulder, then struts across the parking lot like he already knows where he’s going. He’s slim-hipped but on the tall side, an inch or two shorter than me. I’m full-on checking him out when I catch myself doing it and force my eyes away.

I have to be more careful.

Trent sizes him up like he’s surveying the field, about to throw a pass, or more likely, preparing to pounce. “The fuck….” he mutters.

I glance back at the new kid and see what caught Trent’s attention. It isn’t just the haircut, which I’ve never seen on anyone in real life, or the piercings climbing up his ear like rungs on a ladder. It isn’t even the fact that he’s Asian, which is pretty rare around these parts. It’s his eyes. He’s wearing eyeliner, thick and black, like one of those Egyptian pharaohs. And he’s smoking hot. Big, dark eyes, smooth skin, and a naturally pouty mouth. There’s a pucker just above his upper lip that draws me in. My lower half starts to ache in an awful way. I should stop staring, but I can’t tear my eyes away.

The new kid glances over at us: Trent first and then me. He looks bored, but then his eyes lock with mine, and there’s something there. At least, I feel it, under my skin and racing through my veins like an itchy, full-body fever.

“Aw hell no,” Trent growls. He must be reading my mind. I’m about to soil myself, but it’s not me he’s talking about. His eyes are still on the new kid’s back.

To Trent, a boy wearing eyeliner is an unlit firecracker on the Fourth of July.

A surge of fear races through me. What is this kid thinking, cruising into the Lowry Lions’ den wearing eyeliner like it’s New York City? Lowry might only be a stone’s throw from Austin, but it’s full-on Texas when it comes to its small-town prejudices. He must know that.

Trent jumps up like he’s going to follow him and whoop his ass right then. I grab his muscled arm to steady him, same as I’ve been doing on the football field since peewee league.

“Coach wouldn’t want us starting trouble on the first day of school,” I warn him. I say us, but it’s Trent who starts the trouble. I mostly try to stay out of it.

“Fuck if I’m going to let that faggot wear makeup in my house.”

I shake my head at that. Everyone’s a faggot to Trent—the geeks, the band nerds, the arts department… basically any guy who doesn’t play sports, and even some of the ones who do. Not me, though. I’ve somehow managed to dodge his faggot detector all these years, which is a relief. And also terrifying. I live with a constant dread that Trent will one day find out my secret and turn on me.

“You have the whole school year to sort it out.” I keep my voice even-keeled. If he knew how I really felt, he’d get suspicious. “He’ll figure out soon enough what’s what.”

Trent massages his fist like it has a mind of its own. Maybe it does. As our quarterback, his hands are magic on the field. He has so much talent and potential. If only his dad were a little nicer to him, maybe Trent would lighten up and not be such an asshole all the time.

As for me, my college plans depend on a football scholarship, which means I have to keep my sexuality to myself if I want to stay on the team and in the good graces of Trent and his dad, Coach Cross, the head of our high school’s football program.

It’s a tricky situation.

I lose sight of the new kid as Kayla and Madison, Trent’s girlfriend, come along. Kayla throws her bare arms around my neck and pulls me in for a kiss. She’s a little heavy-handed with the perfume. I always smell like a candy store after hugging her. Despite her love of PDAs, we’ve only ever made it to second base. Her parents are pretty conservative, and she’s saving herself for marriage. I respect her for that. It’s also part of the reason we work as a couple. She praises me for my willingness to wait, which takes some of the pressure off me. And we have a lot in common—same friends, same Christian upbringing, same small-town values and love of football….

“I missed you so much, teddy bear,” Kayla says in between wet, smeary kisses. Her lip gloss tastes like fruit punch, and instead of enjoying our reunion, I’m trying to figure out which kind of fruit that is.

“I missed you too.” I hug her tightly. It isn’t a lie. We’re friends, after all.

Next to us, Trent and Madison grope each other like nobody’s watching. They’re on and off again, but from the looks of it, it’s back on. At least Madison keeps Trent occupied and off my back.

“We’re heading in,” I tell them, picking up my backpack and slinging it over my shoulder. I guide Kayla’s back with my free hand.

“See you in third,” Trent calls. His stare follows me across the parking lot. Sometimes when he looks at me like that, it makes me nervous, like he suspects something. But it’s probably just my guilty conscience. I hate the lying and sneaking around, but I don’t see any other option.

Kayla does most of the talking on our way in to school. I say just enough to let her know I’m listening. It’s safer that way. I don’t want to accidentally let the wrong thing slip out. I scan the hallways for the new kid, but I don’t see him anywhere.

Kayla meets up with her girlfriends at her locker, and I make my way over to the administration building, where I’m an office aide during first period. It’s one of the perks of being a football player. Our fall semesters are pretty light, and we’re allowed to miss the first three periods if we have a late practice the night before. I try not to take advantage of it too much. I know it’s unfair, but I didn’t write the rules.

The head secretary gives me the job of sorting and stapling welcome packets for the freshmen. They’ll be handed out in homeroom, which is at the end of the day.

As I sort I keep thinking about the new kid. It’s only a matter of time before Trent catches up with him, and I can’t go around protecting every so-called faggot at Lowry High School. Maybe the new kid will fall in with the drama department. Not that they can offer him much protection, but Trent tends to leave the herds alone. It’s only when one gets left behind like a wounded wildebeest that he pounces.

The new kid doesn’t seem wounded, though, just out of place. Like his tour van up and left town without him. Even without the makeup, I doubt he’d ever fit in.

“Ahem.”

I glance up and there he is. My neck burns like I’ve been out in the sun all day, and my face is probably cherry red too. My blood’s always rushing to the places it shouldn’t. It’s probably racist of me to think it, but up close he looks like an anime character, especially with the makeup and crazy hairdo. The boys in anime and manga are pretty hot, one of the reasons I’m a fan.

“May I have a student code of conduct?” he asks, all proper-like. His voice is smooth as river rocks. He sounds bored.

The rulebooks are part of the freshmen packets, so I hand him one. I finally get up the nerve to look him in the eye, but he seems distracted. He sits in one of the hard plastic chairs, elbows on his knees, thumbing through the book. His dark eyebrows draw together in the center, forming a wingspan across his forehead. The muscles in his arms are well-defined, even though he’s a little on the skinny side. When he finds what he’s looking for, he marks the page with a pink referral slip and snaps it shut. He catches me staring at him. My neck gets hot again, and I try to think up something to say.

“Awful early in the school year to be getting a referral,” I tell him. He must have gotten it in the hallway before class even started.

“Are you a hall monitor?” he asks.

The hall monitors at Lowry are teachers, not students. Then I realize he’s probably making fun of me. His lip curls up on one side, drawing my attention to his mouth, and I forget what we were even talking about.

“Mr. Hayashi?” Mrs. Potts calls from her office. She’s the juniors’ guidance counselor, which means we’re the same year. He strolls over to her office, casual and cool. He wears those skinny jeans well, kind of low on his hips. Broad shoulders, cute round butt. He must play sports—soccer or maybe track. Black suits him, I think, but he’d probably look good in whatever he wore.

He doesn’t close the door behind him, so I move in a little closer. I’m not a gossip, but I do pick up some helpful tidbits from working in the front office. It’s not really eavesdropping. I just want to know more about this kid. Where’d he come from? What’s he doing here? Is he going to stay? I hope so. But maybe he’s not even gay. Maybe he just wears eyeliner as part of his getup. Like a rock star or a pirate. Maybe I’m not even gay.

The ache from down below disagrees.

His voice is too low for me to hear. Mrs. Potts is easier to make out. I mess with the copier just outside her office to hear them better. Whatever he did to get a referral must have been small potatoes. Mrs. Potts is using her nice voice.

“I don’t understand… I suppose you didn’t….”

I edge in closer.

“Lowry can be a fresh start for you, Mr. Hayashi. Your parents and I both want you to succeed here. You wouldn’t want to give other students the wrong impression.”

“What impression is that?” he asks in a deadened tone.

Mrs. Potts is quiet for a moment. “All I’m saying is you might want to try a little harder to blend in, for your own sake.”

Yes, Mrs. Potts, I want to say. Good advice.

“With all due respect,” he says, “I don’t want to blend in. I checked the dress code and there’s no rule against eyeliner. If there’s nothing else, I’d like to go to class.”

He got a referral for breaking the dress code? What teacher would make a big deal about eyeliner? Then I know who it was: Trent’s dad, Coach Cross.

I hear the squeak of Mrs. Potts rising from her chair and know she’s making her way to the front of the desk to sit on the edge and get real with him. This is my third semester as an office aide. I know Mrs. Potts’s go-to play.

“Hiroku,” she says, a little softer this time. “I know you’ve had a difficult summer. Your mother told me a bit about all you’ve been through. Your family moved to Lowry so you could start over. I think you owe it to them to give it a try, don’t you?”

Hiroku Hayashi. I try saying his name under my breath; it makes my mouth feel clumsy. It’s strange, just like everything else about him. And kind of hot too. Mrs. Potts made it seem like he got into trouble at his old school. Maybe he started a fire or brought a weapon to school. He seems like a deviant in that way. Maybe he got expelled and had to move to a new county.

I hear shuffling in the room and jump back to my post at the counter just as Hiroku comes strolling out of the office. He glances over like he knows I’ve been listening. But if he wants to survive Lowry High, he needs to try fitting in. I should know. I’m a pro at it.

“Mrs. Potts is right,” I tell him. “Your look won’t work here.”

He stops and turns a little, slides up to the counter so we’re facing each other. He tilts his head and looks at me from under his hair, smirks like I made a joke. Maybe he knifed someone at his old school. He looks kind of insane.

“How about you, cowboy?” he says in a deep, husky voice that goes straight to my balls. “Is that look working for you?” My own throat goes dry as the desert as his eyes rake over me, from my waist to my chest and shoulders, finally my eyes. No guy has ever looked at me like that before. My junk starts throbbing again and I’m glad the counter’s between us, giving me some cover. Something about this kid puts me in a tailspin.

He purses his lips and raises one eyebrow. “Well, maybe it is working. For me, at least.” The smirk is still on his face when he leaves the office. He has a light step, like a cat. I didn’t hear him come in, and I don’t hear him leave. I take a deep breath and tell my body to calm the hell down.

He’s a dude. I shouldn’t want him like that.

But I do.

Blurb

BravestThing[The]FS_v1High school junior Berlin Webber is about to reap the fruits of his hard work and land a football scholarship—if he can keep his sexuality a secret from his best friend, Trent, and their homophobic coach. Then Hiroku Hayashi swerves into the high school parking lot on his tricked-out motorcycle like some sexy comic book villain, and Berlin knows he doesn’t stand a chance.

Hiroku is fleeing his sophisticated urban scene to recover from drug addiction and an abusive relationship when he arrives in Berlin’s small Texas ranch town. Initially sarcastic and aloof, Hiroku finds in Berlin a steady, supportive friend who soon becomes more. As Hiroku and Berlin’s romance blossoms, they take greater risks to be together. But when a horrific act of violence tears them apart, they both must look bigotry in the face. While Berlin has always turned to his faith for strength, Hiroku dives into increasingly dangerous ways of coping, pushing them in opposite directions just when they need each other most.

Two very different young men search for the bravery to be true to themselves, the courage to heal, and the strength to go on when things seem darkest. But is it enough to bring them back together?
Find it here: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Giveaway

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About the Author

HeadshotWebFinalLaura Lascarso strives to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform a society. She lives in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. Her debut novel, Counting Backwards (Simon & Schuster 2012) won the Florida Book Award gold medal for young adult literature.

For social critiques, writer puns, and Parks and Rec gifs, follow her on Twitter @lauralascarso

Runaway by Nic Starr – Guest Post

A big thank you to Brynn for hosting me today as I celebrate the release of Runaway.

Runaway is my latest release. It’s part of the Dreamspinner Press World of Love collection. The World of Love stories are “contemporary romances spotlighting the unique features, qualities and attributes of a specific country as well as the universality of love wherever it’s found.”

The story of Nate and Damien takes place in the Australian state of New South Wales, starting in a small country town on the north coast, followed by time spent in Sydney. To celebrate the release of the book, I thought I’d share some of the inspiration for the story with you.

Story and Character Inspiration

Inspiration comes from all places. I’ve had story ideas from looking at a photo, listening to a song or reading a news article. Some stories and characters have come from out of the blue, seemingly from nowhere.

This story came from thinking about the publisher’s submission call. The publisher was specifically asking for stories that showcased the uniqueness and special nature of each part of the world. In my case, this was New South Wales in Australia. I knew I had to include Sydney with its many iconic landmarks, but I wanted to give a broader taste of the state. Therefore I had to formulate a plot that started in the country (in this case a largish coastal town) but ended in the city, and thus the concept of Runaway was born: Two men who reconnect in the country town where they were raised, and then travel to Sydney in search of a runaway teenager which gives them a  good excuse to travel around the city.

I like to have visual, and sometimes musical inspirations behind my stories too. This includes visuals for the characters, their homes, and places they visit. For Runaway, the three main characters were visually inspired as follows:

  • Eric Bana, the well-known Australian actor, provided inspiration for Damien Sinclair. Damien runs the Pacific Bait & Tackle shop and is an outdoors kind of guy.
  • Laurence Nicotra, a beautiful older model, is my Nate. Nate Powell is a doctor who had been living in the city but now in his forties, returns the coastal town of his birth to live and work.
  • Lucas Dell, a YouTuber, is my Runaway teen, Jackson.

Here’s the link to my Pinterest board where you can see the images of these guys, as well as the other visual and musical inspiration for Runaway.

I hope you like seeing a little glimpse of Sydney in Runaway. If you’d like to see some more of my beautiful country, you can visit the following blogs who are also hosting me during the Runaway release.

April 5 – MM Good Book Reviews

April 10 – Alpha Book Club

April 11 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

April 12 – The Novel Approach

April 13 – Open Skye Book Reviews

April 13 – Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

April 14 – My Fiction Nook

April 17 – Love Bytes

April 18 – Divine Magazine

April 18 – RJ Jones

April 19 – Long and Short Reviews

Blurb

Runaway - 200 x 300Dr Nathan Powell is ready to settle down near his family, and hopefully find the man of his dreams. He returns to the small coastal town where he grew up, but while life is simpler than it was in the city, there are also complications—like patients’ reactions to an openly gay doctor. And like running into Nate’s first love, Damien, an out-and-proud local business owner who is unwilling to be any man’s dirty secret. The reunion reignites old desire even while it stirs up Nate’s guilt over the way things ended with Damien.

When Nate’s nephew runs away, Damien accompanies Nate on his mission to find the young man. The drive to Sydney, and the search of the city, gives Nate time to reconnect with Damien—and to wonder if he made the right decision years ago—when he determined a future for them was impossible. Is a fresh start realistic for two men in their forties? But before he can ponder the second chance they’ve been given, Nate must locate his nephew.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble

Guest: RJ Jones – Length of a story – what’s preferable?

Length of a story – what’s preferable?

 Seasons KU

If you’ve read some of my work you’ll know that I have everything from short stories (10k words), novella’s (35k) and full-length novels (60+k)

My favourite story that I’ve written so far is 34k long. I would have liked it to be longer but the story ended where it needed to. If I added a scene just to bulk it up more, or added more sex, it would have detracted from the story and looked out of place.

Why am I telling you this? A conversation I had with a fellow author came back to me and it’s been playing in my head. I have no idea why. This person said, “I’ll never write anything less than 60k” like it was something to be ashamed off. And I’m like, what?

The reasoning was sales. Novels sell more than short stories or novellas. This is true for the most part. (there’s a lot I could say here, but I will refrain. *mumbles about reasons for writing in the first place*)

People like a good read with character depth and a well-paced plot. However, I don’t see why you can’t get this in a novella length story. (Short stories are a little different but can be just as satisfying) If you’re adding scenes just to make the ‘magical 60k’, what’s the point if it’s distracting from the storyline? Some of my favourite reads have been novellas but they’ve packed the punch needed to make it complete.

On the opposite end of the scale, how long is too long? Do you like epics? I have a book on my kindle that has been sitting there for a couple of years now. The only reason why I haven’t started reading it yet is because it’s about 400 pages. (about 120k) I just don’t have the mental capacity to get into something that’s so long. Another thing that puts me off the really lengthy books is repetition. I’ve tried some, and some were great, but others kept going around in circles. Same scene played on repeat. (see above about adding scenes that aren’t needed) They can be tiresome and a chore to read.

So as long as it’s a good story, I’m happy to read any length.

What’s your favourite length of story? Do you like the longer ones, or will a well-written novella suffice? Does it depend on the author or your mood? Or how much time you have to spare? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for having me J

Blurb:

 A sea change could be just what the doctor ordered.

As the sun sets 600Doctor Scott Penney used to be a Paediatric Oncologist—until he burned out. Watching children suffer and die took its toll on his mental health. To cope, he used anonymous sex as an emotional crutch, thinking it was better than hitting the bottle. But that inevitably destroyed his relationship with the man he loved.

With his tail between his legs and a year’s worth of celibacy under his belt, Scott accepts a position as an Accident and Emergency consultant, leaving his career in oncology and London behind.

Ben Jenkins is a paediatric nurse who loves his seaside city, his job, and his faithful old Labrador, Happy. When he meets the new doctor, Ben falls for Scott’s kind-yet-reserved personality—not to mention his good looks. Scott is great with the children who come through the hospital, but Ben senses there’s more to Scott than meets the eye.

Scott tries to resist Ben’s sunny charm—Scott’s not boyfriend material, after all—but it’s impossible not to fall in love with the sad looking old dog and his charming owner. As Scott and Ben get closer and the weather heats up, tragedy strikes and Ben is left wondering how much of Scott’s history he actually knows.

For them to move forward, Ben must show Scott that no matter what happened in the past, a beautiful day can always start after the sun sets.

**This can be read as a standalone**

Don’t forget to check out the first two stories, As the Leaves Fall, and As the Ice Melts. All can be read as standalones and are available on KU.

Find it on Goodreads and Amazon!

 

Guest: Home Before Sundown by Tinnean

Home_Before_Sundown_400

Blurb:

George Pettigrew and his papa must leave the California rancho they’d lived on since his birth. They end up in New York City, where Papa marries and George gets a new beloved mama. George also meets Frank and Bart who become fast friends, and in Bart’s case, even more.

The start of the Civil War leaves George the man of the family, but although he’s found a job, it’s difficult to pay the ever-increasing rent. Then Papa dies at Appomattox and Mama falls ill.

After Mama dies, her father takes George’s siblings. When George learns his younger sister is being abused, he rescues the three children. But will dressing his sisters as boys and himself as a woman be enough of a disguise to keep them safe until they can reach the valley he’s dreamed of? Will Bart leave behind his own family and go with the man he loves?

Buyit from JMS Books!

Exclusive Excerpt

George knew a number of boys at the academy he attended, boys he’d say hello to or smile at, but none that he was interested in pursuing a friendship with.

He’d talked to Papa about it.

They’re acquaintances, Georgie, and that’s fine. Don’t let it worry you.”

But—”

Papa ruffled George’s hair. “Your Uncle Guillermo was the first man I liked enough to call friend, and I was…” His gaze became unfocused as he considered it. “I was twenty-five when we first met. It nearly tore out my heart when he died.” He looked almost as sad as when he thought about Mama—George’s first mama.

Are you sorry you became friends with him?”

No. I wouldn’t have missed that for the world. He was the sort of man you wanted at your back when you knew trouble was brewing. The sort of man I want you to grow up to become.” Papa smiled. “So you’ve got plenty of time to find a friend or two.”

Because Papa had said so, George was content to wait.

And Papa was always right, because now George had two friends, Frank Thompson and Bart Hall.

George liked Frank. They worked together grooming the horses, and George helped Frank with his riding lessons. Frank helped him with his schoolwork, because while Papa was a smart man and knew many things, he wasn’t very good at teaching book learning to George.

You’re not stupid, George,” Frank told him. “You can do this.” And he set to work teaching George how to do his sums.

They were close friends.

But George was fascinated by Bart, Mrs. Hall’s oldest son, who worked as a carpenter’s apprentice.

He first met Bart when he came around the side of the cottage while George was in the paddock exercising Nightfall.

Papa and Mr. Thompson had set up a schedule for Frank to come and help with the horses. Today wasn’t one of the days he’d come over… he’d had to go to the lawyer’s office, where he clerked.

They had three horses now, and in another five months, the number would rise to four. The beautiful palomino mare was in foal. Mama couldn’t ride, mostly because she was expecting a baby too, but that was okay. Papa worked with Bella Dama, calming her down, since not only had her last owner taken a whip to her, but so had the one before that, according to the old scars on her flanks.

That day, George had only put her through mild exercises; horses were big animals, but they could abort easily. She’d been out in the paddock earlier with Sunrise, but now she was resting in her box stall.

George had set up a few low jumps, and he rode Nightfall in a circle around the paddock before setting him at the first jump. The gelding took it easily and went on to the second jump and then the third. When they finished the course, George turned Nightfall, and that was when he saw the tall, broad-shouldered boy standing there.

For a second he couldn’t catch his breath. Hair so dark a brown it appeared black was tied back at the nape of his neck. His eyes were also a dark brown. A toolbox hung from his shoulder.

Can…” George swallowed. “Can I help you?”

I’m Bart Hall. I come by to walk my Ma home. I was going to the servants’ door, but then I saw you and I had to watch.” He said the last words almost defiantly.

We don’t have a servants’ door, Bart Hall. Hello, I’m George Pettigrew.”

Bart’s brows met above his nose in a scowl. George figured he was about fourteen, three years older than him, but that expression made him seem older. Bart opened his mouth, and George smiled and wondered what he was going to say.

Bart’s scowl was replaced with a reluctant smile of his own, and George felt his heart give an unexpected thump. “Hello, George. Sorry, it’s been a long day, and I get snappy when I’m hungry.”

Did he think what he’d said was snappy? George wanted to grin at him, but he wasn’t sure how Bart would take it, so he didn’t. But he couldn’t resist a saucy smile

Go on into the kitchen. Your mama’s putting the finishing touches on dinner. You can have some.”

No, I can’t. I’m just a carpenter.”

You’re a carpenter—that’s an honest profession, and there’s no just about it. I have to put Nightfall up. Go in, and I’ll join you in a minute. The side door opens into the kitchen.” George started to lean down to open the gate, but Bart bounded forward and unlatched it for him. “Thanks.” George nodded at Bart and nudged Nightfall through. “Close it, please?” He felt Bart’s gaze on him as he rode into the stable, and a quick glance over his shoulder proved him right. He sent a small salute Bart’s way, and Bart grinned at him and saluted back.

George kicked free of the stirrups, swung his leg over Nightfall’s neck, and slid to the stable floor. “What did you think of him?” he asked the gelding as he removed the saddle. “I’ve never seen anyone like him before.”

He couldn’t understand what was happening. Papa had told him about wet dreams, and he hadn’t panicked the next time his prick had grown hard and he’d climaxed, shooting white liquid over his groin and chest. Not that it happened frequently, since Papa had also told him about masturbating, an act George had taken to with relish.

But this was the first time his prick had hardened just from looking at another person.

He worried his lower lip. He’d heard the boys at the academy making fun of one of the smaller students. They’d called him nellie and even tried to beat him up. George wouldn’t have stood for that—Papa had raised him better. Papa had also taught him some tricks for when you were fighting more than one opponent, but the boy’s papa must have taught him the same tricks, because while the boy had a torn shirt and a knot on his cheekbone, the bigger boys had black eyes and bloody noses, and they’d run away crying.

Nice work,” George had said, and the kid grinned at him and flinched when the knot pulled.

I’m small, but I’m tough.” He fingered the tear in his shirt. “Pa’s not going to be happy about this.”

George wanted to ask the kid why they’d called him Nellie, obviously a girl’s name, but he was afraid he’d come across as ignorant if he did, so he didn’t. He decided to wait until he had a chance to talk to Papa.

And that had been an eye-opening conversation.

I’m glad you were willing to stick up for that boy,” Papa had said.

Why did they call him nellie?”

They were bullies, and they did that to make themselves feel big. Men do that also. When you’re faced with a situation like that, you do whatever it takes to let them know you won’t put up with it.”

Yes, but I still don’t understand…”

Papa sighed. “You know how a man and a woman sleep in the same bed to make a baby? Well, there are some men who like to sleep in the same bed with other men.”

Oh. I understand.” But he really didn’t. A man couldn’t make a baby with another man.

Papa looked relieved, so George let the subject drop.

Only now, George thought he did understand.

About the Author

Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn’t survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.

It was with the advent of the family’s second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that her writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.

 While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters and has been published by Nazca Plains, Dreamspinner, JMS Books, and Wilde City, as well as being self-published. Recent novels have received honorable mention in the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards, and two of the 2014 submissions were finalists.

A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband, two computers, and a Surface 3 named Baby Jane.

Ernest Hemingway’s words reflect Tinnean’s devotion to her craft: Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.

She can be contacted at:

Email: tinneantoo@gmail.com

Live Journal: http://tinnean.livejournal.com/

Twitter: @tinneantoo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tinnean

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tinnean/e/B004QS65KQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1391469662&sr=1-2-ent

Books can be found at:

Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_386

JMS Books: http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=tinnean&x=25&y=10

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=tinnean

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tinnean?Nrpp=20&page=2

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=tinnean

If you’d like to sample her earlier works, they can be found at http://www.angelfire.com/fl5/tinnssinns/Welcome1.html

Guest – Karen Bovenmyer – Swift for the Sun Debut

SwiftForTheSun_headerbanner

SWIFT FOR THE SUN is my first published novel, and I’m grateful to Brynn for sharing her web-space with me today.

When I sat down to write a rousing pirate adventure, I wasn’t quite sure how to begin. My best writing is character-based, so I needed a pair I loved and felt I already partly knew. I made lists of all my favorite movies and books and selected out some of my beloved themes. The smuggler who needs redemption. The man of the jungle as the lonely king of beasts. I asked: What would happen if Han Solo and Tarzan fell in love? And I started writing.

Today, eight years later, I’d like to share that book with you.

I primarily write science fiction, fantasy, and horror, so writing a romantic historical was very different for me. I found myself researching strange things like “How exactly DO you incite a volcanic eruption?” and “How many barrels of gunpowder were on a standard merchant ship in the 1820s Caribbean?” as well as “How did the gauchos of South America knife-fight with the facon?” “What historical evidence is there of LGBT activity in the seven seas?” Researching curses and proverbs from seven different languages (the Caribbean was particularly international at the time) was both educational and amusing. I have degrees in anthropology and history, so it was fun to get to use those with my MFA in creative writing as I crafted SWIFT FOR THE SUN.

I’m excited to share this action/adventure romance with the world.

SWIFT FOR THE SUN by Karen Bovenmyer

Release date March 27, 2017

80k words

Cover artist: Anna Sikorska

m/m historical

Blurb:

Benjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gun runner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost, he is a survivor.

When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave, Sun, instead.

Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.

Buy SWIFT FOR THE SUN at Dreamspinner Press ebook | Dreamspinner Press paperback

Author Bio:

Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine. She is the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writers Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her poems, short stories and novellas appear in more than 40 publications and her first novel, SWIFT FOR THE SUN, an LGBT romantic adventure in 1820s Caribbean, will be available from Dreamspinner Press on March 27, 2017. http://karenbovenmyer.com/

Social Media Links:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenbovenmyer

https://www.facebook.com/karen.bovenmyer

https://twitter.com/karenbovenmyer

Guest – Thianna Durston – Don’t Mess With His Pack

Dontmesswithpack

The felines have their own BDSM club. The wolves need a place to play. Can shifters of different species play together?

Welcome to the world of wolf shifters, feline shifters where kink keeps their inner animal satisfied.

Hiding in plain sight, shifters have been around for as long as humans have, but they’ve learned to blend in and not be noticed. They need a way to get out their wild side. Blaise Wylde started the kink club Wylde KingDom four years ago to allow his pride a space to let out their animal a little. It’s amazing how freeing BDSM can be. Their natural predatory aura scares most humans away and they haven’t had any kind of a challenge. But the Okanogan Pack lost their wild lands and now need a place to howl. Can felines and wolves play together?

Excerpt:

“My family,” he said as he stepped toward the raised center of the area. The chatter that had gone around the circle quickly died and everyone’s attention turned toward him. “Some might say I’m trying to change too many things too fast, but the fact is, I think we’re behind and I’m rushing to keep up. There are well over two thousand adults in the Okanogan Pack. Fifteen hundred of the adults are from five prominent families. The rest are from smaller families or were adopted into the Pack. I am your alpha. All of you. Whether you are unhappy with me or love me, I’m here to serve you.

“However,” he said, knowing he had their attention, “how can one wolf serve so many with everything he is? Even if I spent every day just going out to meet and talk to Pack members, that would mean I’d only see each of you maybe once a month. How can you feel like I’m looking out for you, when you hardly ever see me?”

Confusion filled the large space and he hurried on. “I’m your alpha and I intend to be your alpha for many years to come. Hopefully, decades and decades to come. But in thinking about what an alpha is and what an alpha does, it’s too much for one person to be able to accomplish while doing well by everyone. Which is why I want to create a council.”

Several people gasped, a few stared at him wide-eyed.

“This council will be made up of you,” he went on. “I’ll still be your leader. I’ll be here to help you and guide you. I’ll stand between you and any trouble and I will meet it head on before you. The council will be… a helping arm, if you will. They will hear some of the complaints and work as a jury of your peers to help decide what happens in lower disputes.

“Let me be clear. I’ll always be your alpha. I’m not negating any of my duties. What I’m trying to do is make it so that I can give one hundred percent to those duties. To remove the extraneous stuff from my back so I can truly serve the Pack as your alpha.”

Hunter paused and looked around, taking in the mixed energy of worry and interest coming at him. “These men and women will be chosen by you. They will work with me on some of the issues they don’t know how to solve. I assume it will take several years before we get everything ironed out. But I want someone you can call on today if you have a problem. Not have to wait a few weeks until I have an open slot for you.”

He cleared his throat. “I know that’s a lot to think about. But after I’m done here, I want you to call a meeting with your families tonight and pick one person among you to fill a seat on the council. That person must have reached an age where they can think for themselves. So at least twenty-five summers. They need to be willing to work with the rest of the council. Tomorrow, I’ll meet with the new council so we can start going over what their job is.”

“But, Alpha.” The soft female voice drew his attention and he turned around to see a young female watching him, an earnest expression on her face. Long dark hair flowed around her face, giving her a bit of an elfish look. “That doesn’t give us a lot of time to choose. Can we not have a week?”

He smiled. “I appreciate it’s fast. And after I speak with the council, I want to set a time limit so that each seat is chosen every so often. But there are so many things that need to get done, and the majority of you know who you trust within your family groups. If you need it, I can give you another day or two, but I want to get the council started and serving you as soon as possible.”

“We can choose tonight,” his father said from the other side of the circle.

“So can we,” Ben Ryder called. Each of the other groups, not to be outdone by the Ryders and the Maisons quickly filled in that they could as well. The young female looked abashed and he smiled, hoping to let her know that he was in no way insulted by her question.

“All right,” he continued. “There is one more thing I wish to bring up to you today. The council will have more information later on it. I told you that I was going to talk to the Pride about what it was they did to help them deal with shifting problems. I went.” Hunter took a deep breath. “What they do is a bit unorthodox, but it works. How many of you know what BDSM is?”

Heat Rating: High

Age range: 18+ only

Book1_DontMessWithHisPack_lr_6x9Blurb:

Alpha Hunter Maison’s primary focus is to keep his wolf pack healthy and happy. But with humans encroaching, they need a way to shift without getting noticed. He knows the local feline pride has found a way to temper their inner animal and asks for their help. Finding a desire to submit to the gorgeous lion shifter is unsettling. Knowing he is his mate turns his world upside down.

Blaise Wylde has worked tirelessly for his pride his entire life. As owner and creator of Wylde KingDom, a BDSM club just for feline shifters, he knows the power that BDSM can wield for their inner animal. When Hunter asks him to help the Pack learn BDSM, he agrees, especially when his inner lion is instantly interested and Hunter turns out to be submissive to him.

Someone in the Pack is unhappy about their alpha being involved with ‘a cat’ and anger quickly escalates to attacks. As Blaise fights to protect his mate, Hunter must do the same, because while he’s trying to find his attacker, someone’s after Blaise and he may already be too late to stop him.

Buy Links:

A Thia Thing – http://store.athiathing.com/product/dont-mess-with-his-pack/

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XF7KYRL/

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dont-mess-with-his-pack-thianna-durston/1125397765?ean=2940153929484

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dont-mess-with-his-pack/id1190080243?mt=11

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/692139

Avatar_DurstonAbout the Author:

Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?

She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.

Find her Online:

Website – http://mm.thiannad.com/

Blog – http://blog.thiannad.com/

Newsletter – http://mm.thiannad.com/newsletter-signup

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ThiannaDurstonAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ThiannaDurston

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13536433.Thianna_Durston

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/thiannad/

Tumblr – http://thiannad.tumblr.com/

Guest – Grace Duncan – Three Hearts Blog Tour

3 hearts bookmark

First, thanks so much to Brynn—who has the patience of a saint for putting up with my delays—for hosting me today!

When I set out to write Three Hearts, I had no idea what I was going to call it. That isn’t always the case. Sometimes I know from the get-go. Sometimes it comes to me early but this one took its sweet time.

Three Hearts is my first-ever mpreg. While I have written plenty of shifter, I’d never written a story involving pregnancy before, so as I was building my playlist—boy did that take some research and listening!—I ran across a song that just hit me. By the time I’d finished it the first time, I knew it was the song for this story (I usually have one for each).

This is the closest to an official video I could find:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3eN0biMAHw

For a video of the original song, click here. For the lyrics, click here.

Aside from the chorus:

One heart
Soon became two
Now there’s three hearts beating
Under my roof

…there are even a few lyrics that were even appropriate to a portion of the story (which I had planned before I even heard the story):

Soon we’ll have a home,
With a fridge and a porch and a great big old backyard

Well, that just cinched it for me. Liam and Mason have to move into a full house during the course of the story and when I heard that, I just knew it was perfect.

There’s one more bit that makes Three Hearts appropriate as a title for the book… but I can’t give that away just yet. You’ll have to read it to find that bit out. 😉

Thank you again to Brynn for the space today! Be sure to follow the entire tour for lots of giveaway opportunities and more bits and excerpts from the story!

three-hearts_450X674

Published by Grace R. Duncan
Release date: March 3, 2017
72k Words
Cover artist: Jess Small
M/M Paranormal/shifters

Blurb:

Liam Scott is sick. That’s not supposed to be possible. As a wolf shifter, he’s supposed to be able to heal. The omega gene he was born with means he’s capable of carrying shifter young and Liam is worried that whatever is wrong will mean his one-day hope of having pups will be dashed. But despite the fears keeping him away from the doctor until now, he knows he needs to go.

It turns out the sickness is temporary, but the treatment causes a whole other problem.

Mason’s alpha gene means he’s one of very few wolves who can impregnate an omega male. For two years, he’d been watching Liam, but things kept getting in the way. When Liam shows up in heat, Mason recognizes the opportunity he needs and doesn’t hesitate make to Liam his mate and the father of his pups.

But Liam has old wounds and fears to work through which the pregnancy is only making worse, and Mason isn’t sure how to get past them to show he’s serious about making a life together as loving mates. It’s not until a female wolf decides Mason should be hers that Liam makes his biggest worry known—and Mason can finally put the fears to rest.

Buy Three Hearts at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

three hearts blog tour (1)


Author Bio:noh8

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

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