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: 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.

Website FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

Guest: Heloise West – Ardent

COVER IDEAS 3

Ardent from Manifold Press

Historical M/M Romantic Suspense

Renaissance Florence

In the village of Torrenta, master painter Morello has created a color that mimics the most expensive pigment of all, the crimson red. Master Zeno, from strife-ridden Medici Florence, tells him the color gives him a competitive advantage – but Morello must be careful. Fraud is ever-present in the dye and pigment markets.

As they work together in Torrenta, Morello falls hard for Zeno’s assistant, Benedetto Tagliaferro, a young man of uncommon beauty and intelligence. Benedetto is still fixed on his old lover, the master painter Leo Guisculo, and cannot return Morello’s affections.

But when Leo dies in a terrible accident, it’s to Morello that Zeno and Benedetto turn for help. And Morello soon finds that in Florence, every surface hides layers of intrigue.

75,600 words

Publication February 1, 2017

Preorder links: Barnes and Noble | Manifold Press | Kobo

 

Excerpt:

The village of Torrenta, Tuscany, June 1475

Morello

The sun thrust warm fingers into the ancient Tuscan earth. The gray-green leaves of the olive trees shimmered, and the woods beyond beckoned Morello to abandon the painters’ workshop for their cool refuge.

In the growing heat the apprentices inside settled into an afternoon nap, curled on benches in dark corners behind him. The harsh fumes of linseed oil and varnish had irritated Morello all morning, and he was unable to sleep in the miasma. Perhaps before their visitors from Florence arrived, he might escape the heat. A long tramp in the woods pulled at his bones.

He reached for the walking stick behind the door, but a horse’s whinny stopped him, and a man’s voice called out. When no one stirred within to answer, he cursed the sleepers and stomped back through the shop, thwarted. In the lane in front of the workshop, two men removed packs from their horses.

“Good day, Master Zeno!” From the doorway, Morello called to the older of the two. “You made good time!”

At the sound of Morello’s voice, the apprentices roused themselves from sleep and peered around him.

The gray-haired master raised his hand and smiled. “Good day, Master Morello.”

Master Zeno’s companion, a tall young man with flowing golden hair, took the older man’s pack for him and shouldered the straps of both.

“Take their horses to the stable and fetch Master Franco,” Morello ordered the apprentices, and they hurried to obey.

Master Zeno’s journeyman brushed dust from the sleeve of his sweat-stained linen shirt, slapped more dust from his long thighs, and ran a forearm across his brow. His smile was uncertain as his glance met Morello’s.

Donato stood at the window yawning and scratching his stomach. He shaded his eyes for a better look into the misty glare of the afternoon. “Who’s the beauty with the master?”

Donato’s fellow journeyman Primo jumped to his feet and crowded against Morello in the doorway. “Can it be? He’s brought Tagliaferro?”

Donato groaned. “The man you’ve been mooning about since you last went to Florence, Primo? You’ve only just finally shut up about him.”

Morello ignored them. His irritation over his interrupted walk had vanished. Primo’s garlic- and onion-laden breath on his neck registered only remotely. He gazed out at the man from Florence, who, in Morello’s memory, had once been a long-legged boy with a head of yellow fluff too big for his skinny body. Morello stepped out into the sunlight that appeared to pour itself over the grown man, and stretched out his hand in greeting. Maintaining frank eye contact, Benedetto Tagliaferro adjusted the packs and took his hand.

When flesh met flesh, Morello stumbled – at least, his heart did. As if the wind from the beating wings of the love-inspiring putti he had painted just that morning pushed them toward each other.

“Do you remember me?” Benedetto asked with the shadow of that boy’s grin.

 

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 thirteen years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.

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Wish You Were Here by Asta Idonea – Blog Tour

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Summer passed England by that year, as if it shared his family’s grief and refused to intrude upon such solemn days with unwanted sunshine. A cool, wet July turned into a blustery August, and now a dismal September loomed. From the window of their rented cottage, there was nothing but gray skies as far as the eye could see. The fields spread out in a patchwork of shortbread and moss. Plentiful rain meant the grass stood tall, but the lack of light filtering through thick, heavy clouds dulled its various shades of green. And this bleak scene was supposed to make everything better?

Oakley sighed and turned to the sink. He poured himself a glass of water from a spluttering, corroded tap and took a sip. Despite the dubious appearance of the fittings, the water was clean, tasteless, and refreshing. He supposed he should at least be thankful for that. It was likely to be the only pleasant thing this vacation would provide.


wishyouwereherefsWish You Were Here

Asta Idonea

Dreamspinner Press

8 February 2017

Novella/Contemporary/Paranormal

Heat Rating: 1

The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.

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Author Bio & Links

author-pic-2015Asta 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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