Linchpin by Jodi Payne: Exclusive Author Interview and Release Day Review

He’s sent in to clean up and is left with one very hot mess.

Randall Quinn has been a cleaner for the mob for over ten years, but a particularly violent scene sets him to drinking alone and contemplating his options.

At thirty-nine, it’s possible this is just a mid-life crisis so he tries buying himself a flashy car to satisfy the itch, and agrees to take another job to test his conviction.

He’s expecting easy money when he arrives at a seedy motel to clean up after what the Boss told him was supposed to have been a simple execution.

But what he discovers in that motel room is anything but simple, and from that moment on, every decision he makes for himself makes his life more and more complicated.

General Release Date: 2nd May 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78651-569-8 Date: 4th April 2017
Pairing: MM Book Length: Novella
Genre: Gay, Erotic Romance, Contemporary

Amazon

Why Romantic Suspense?

Largely because I hadn’t done one before. I do love my alpha men, the ones that always take charge in the bedroom. I really like the idea of the alpha that has all the right qualities in bed, but sometimes – outside the bedroom – he’s got the swagger but doesn’t always have the cred to back it up. I got a chuckle out of the idea of a really confident, experienced mobster going in to dispose of a body and finding the “body” wasn’t dead and gets completely flustered by it. I couldn’t resist the humor in that, and I brought a lot of it to the story.

Why short form?

I love short stories and novellas. I love how we get dropped into the middle of something, have to get up to speed quickly and the story moves along with a purpose. There isn’t room for much that isn’t directly related to the drama and romance at hand, so a novella length romantic suspense means that the story starts in the middle of a situation and it never has the luxury of slowing down. The ball starts rolling and it just gains speed, gathering up all the issues as it barrels toward the HEA.

What kind of research did you have to do?

For this one I did all kinds of crazy research. I needed to learn about the newest model BMWs, how a Beretta works, whether it was possible to put a 1990s era pick up truck into four-wheel drive on the fly. I needed to understand the difference between a mob cleaner and a fixer, and they are not the same thing. I needed to learn about really old farm houses and how their storm windows used to work. I researched crazy, random things that leant the book authenticity. It’s one of my favorite things about writing – everything you can learn along the way when you challenge yourself to try something new or different.

How do you set yourself up to make sure you capture all the issues?

This was the hardest part of writing the story for me. For starters, I usually have a rough point-a-to-point-b sort of plan in my head when I write but I don’t usually plot everything out in advance. That was rookie mistake #1. Rookie mistake #2 was knowing I wanted a particular twist toward the end and merrily writing away, not realizing that I had actually lied to the reader, though innocently and by accident, not once, but twice early on in the story. It wasn’t too difficult a fix once I hit on how, but it nearly scuttled the project for me because as a reader I cannot abide being lied to in order to be set up for a later shocker. The tells can be subtle and few, but there need to be tells. I need to be able to go back in the book thinking, “but he said…” and discover than no, he didn’t say that, he said something else that was similar and easily misconstrued. That kind of thing. It’s much harder than I expected it to be and I am glad I chose to try a “romance with suspense” style novella first, before diving into a full-length novel. This rookie has much respect for the “suspense with some romance” style authors out there. It’s requires being able to hold a lot of balls in the air at once and it’s not easy.

Who designed your fabulous website?

I’m so glad you asked. It is fabulous! Visit jodipayne.net and find out!

Jennifer
So, Quinn is a bad guy… Used to be a legal, forensic, clean up guy but made a lot more money doing it for the mob. Being in it for ten years, he was ready to get out, retire. Unfortunately, you don’t just retire from the mob and Quinn knew that… Still, another day on the job, he’s there to clean up a room with a body, except…. The body is very much alive… Having no choice but to kidnap him, per mob boss orders… he takes him to his house and hides out…

Now, Tony doesn’t know who would be after him or who would want him dead, but he doesn’t put up much of a fight to get away from Quinn.. I guess we know why after a night together has them hookin up…. And it’s hot, y’all… it’s really hot. I mean, it’s not your typical romance, that’s for sure… but still… it is….

But then, all you think you know… you don’t know and it flips ya on your head. I was like… whaaaaaat?
I mean, it’s a short read with lots of action and a lot more “action”… but by the end, you’re really rooting for the bad guys… Who knew?

4 pieces of eye candy

Jodi spent many years in the theater in New York and San Francisco presenting classical playwrights such as Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Shaw for large audiences, and more edgy Fringe work in tiny black-box theaters. From these masters, she learned to appreciate and explore the humanity in her characters, and writes believable men with real flaws and strengths, living relatable lives. Her men are imperfect but genuine, strong-willed but likeable; they are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the way to happy ever after.

When writing, Jodi is frequently found wearing a scarf and sock monkey fingerless gloves in the winter, and near the sand with a view of the ocean in the summer. When she’s not writing, Jodi mentors LGBTQ youth, enjoys movies, cop-dramas, attending Broadway shows and will drop everything for live music. She has an eclectic taste in everything from music and books, to movies, to people. Jodi lives and writes near New York City with her wife and family, which includes an enormous polydactyl cat.

Email: jodipaynewrites@gmail.com

Website: https://jodipayne.net

Blog: https://jodipayne.net/blog-2/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/payne.jodi

FB Author Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jodisgents/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JodiPayne

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jodipayne1800/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/267617.Jodi_Payne

Queeromance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jodi-payne/

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review and Giveaway

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force. Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

Title: Vodka & Handcuffs
Author: Brandon Witt
Release Date: April 26, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 112

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

 

There are moments in life that change your trajectory.   That is most definitely true in the case of love.  For me, it was my friend insisting I get a beer with him in the middle of the day.  For my boyfriend, it was going to lunch with his friend and then grabbing a drink in the middle of the day.  Our paths collided, and we’ve been together ever since. I am not a bar person at all.  Nor am I a beer person.  It still seems strange to me that had I not broken my normal patter than day, I’d be living a very different life six years later.

I wanted to share an excerpt that highlights that very quality for my two lovers in Vodka & Handcuffs.

The same is true for how Marlon and Vahin meet.  Marlon had a shit day of traffic patrol.  His partner, Andrew, is a racists jerk, and annoying too boot.  Marlon just needs some time away from him.  That’s all he needs, really.  Well, he needed it more than he knew…

He needed to cool down before meeting the guys at Brother’s Bar. It would be nothing but talking shop, and at the moment, he wouldn’t be able to keep his tongue in check when it came to Andrew. Not that the others wouldn’t understand. They all pretty much hated Andrew, which was one of the main reasons Marlon had the privilege of being his partner. Marlon was about as difficult to rile up as a bushel of frozen cucumbers, at least that was how Chief Schmidt worded it. Still, if Marlon said too much, it was sure to get back to Andrew somehow, and he would make Marlon’s life even more miserable.

Part of him almost wished he’d let Andrew do something. Something that would be big enough to negate Andrew’s ties to his senator uncle and former police chief grandfather. Although, that big enough something would’ve come at the cost to an innocent family who’d had the misfortune of a bike accident.”

The possibilities that flooded his mind the past few months rushed through him like a hurricane. Thirty-eight wasn’t too old to start a new career. He’d been on the force for fifteen years. That was a good amount of time, for anyone. A life change could be what he needed.

Except it hadn’t even been a thought until Andrew started occupying the passenger seat. Andrew had been a pain in the ass since day one, but he was steadily getting worse. It was only a matter of time. And Marlon didn’t want to be anywhere near when that time came. But he didn’t want to stop being a cop either. He loved being a cop.

At least he used to.

He could move. California had always been alluring. But he was too much of a family guy to want to leave Denver.

Marlon pulled his car into Brother’s Bar parking lot, slammed it into park, and smacked his open palm onto the steering wheel, imagining it was Andrew’s face. He’d have to talk to the chief, again. One of these times, he’d listen. And screw cooling down. He needed a drink, and if he happened to spout off too much about Andrew, then so be it. He turned off the engine, got out of the car, and halted.

“Oh. No fucking way.”

He narrowed his eyes and glared at the red sports car glowing directly under the street lamp illuminating the parking lot. He didn’t need to inspect. Didn’t even need to see the vanity license plate to know it was Andrew’s. Just his damned luck. Andrew hated the guys as much as they hated him. It only made sense Andrew would choose this night—the night when Marlon was more fed up than he’d ever been—to try to be one of the boys.

Marlon slipped right back into his car and peeled out of the lot, cursing under his breath. He drove for a bit longer, then realized he was cruising up 17th Street—the old gay section of 17th Street.

He’d spent many an hour at JR’s when he was younger and at the Wrangler after that. Both were now gone, making way for upper-class, straight, yuppieville.

The new Hamburger Mary’s caught his eye; at least a bit of the old gayborhood was left, refurbished or not. He drove past it without a second thought. Drag queens weren’t his thing. Although… he’d heard the new location had more of a sports bar feel to it. It didn’t sound as relaxing as unwinding with the guys, but if he couldn’t be with other cops, at least he’d be around gays. And most importantly, Andrew wasn’t there.

He made it about another half mile before he turned around.

 

On the 8th of May, please pop on over to Boy Meets Boy for the final Vodka & Handcuffs blog tour, where I’ll give you a sneak peak at what’s to come.

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 19 – MM Good Book Reviews

April 24 – Joyfully Jay

April 25 – Open Skye Book Reviews

April 26- The Novel Approach

April 26 – Alpha Book Reviews

April 27 – Love Bytes

April 28 – Divine Magazine

April 28 – My Fiction Nook

May 1 – Two Chicks Obsessed

May 8 – Boy Meets Boy

One of the things that I enjoy most about Brandon Witt’s books is that there are always aspects of the books that you just don’t find in many other m/m romance books. Vodka and Handcuffs is a perfect example of that type of book.

Vahin, a man who when disowned by his Muslim family for being gay found a family at Hamburger Mary’s, accepted his life as it was. In his 30s he decided to stop the hookups, enjoying his job at Mary’s. A drunken hookup up with a partially closeted Marlon wasn’t in his plans, but after Marlon’s bad day with an openly racist partner, they ended up in bed. Once they were sober, working their way towards a potential relationship was a challenge.

This novella hit on so many issues that are relevant in today’s society. First, open racism and bigotry (sadly) has become more rampant in recent months, and Brandon hits on this from both Marlon and Vahin’s POVs. Even with the characters being gay, the more challenging  piece was working their way through Marlon’s partners disgusting comments and actions. These are not easy issues to tackle. In the m/m romance genre, often any sort of bigotry is portrayed due to the characters sexuality (which does come into play as well), but the characters’ skin color was just as much a conflict to be addressed. I really appreciated that Brandon used this as conflict in the book. It happens, its realistic. Being gay can be and often is what causes characters to engage in hate crimes. However, the primary conflict here was not merely the characters sexuality, but their race as well.

The love and appreciation between all the side characters in their self-made family was evident. I can’t wait to see where this series continues to move forward. Brandon has done a stellar job with this series so far.

Side note: I think I am going to be hitting Hamburger Mary’s during my time in Denver for GRL. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

Brandon is offering up one of his backlist titles (and there are some amazing 5 star reads in that backlist, just saying…) to one of our readers. So give him a big congrats, and let him know what you are looking forward to most about reading Vodka & Handcuffs.

 

Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….

Website:  http://www.brandonwitt.com

Author Facebook Page:  http://bit.ly/2jxsfVu

Dreamspinner Press:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/brandon-witt

Brandon’s Patreon Support page:  http://bit.ly/2j58PdQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wittauthor

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2p7a2lc

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4896623.Brandon_Witt

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO5cFqYKyNyDCxExAonFPRA

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Monthly Author Column: Victoria Sue Talks MPreg includes Excerpt and Giveaway

Another fun monthly author column with Victoria Sue!

TCO side note: Victoria Sue made me read my first mpreg, so I read The Alpha King, expecting a baby to pop out of the omega around every corner. (I’ve been in the “NOPE” category for years). Surprisingly, I enjoyed the entire book, including the mpreg. I don’t think they will become my go-to books ever, but I definitely had a good time reading, and am now waiting for the next book in the series…but don’t tell Victoria or she will gloat. 😀

“Call the Midwife” 😉

 

I unashamedly admit I wrote Alpha King for me. I’ve heard the term “book crack,” and that pretty much sums up my love for this book. Bossy, handsome Alpha with wall to wall muscles and a protective streak a mile wide. Smaller, but fierce omega who saves his Alpha’s life only to put his own in mortal peril.

And then to complete the package with a big red bow – it had to be MPreg.

Men having babies or MPreg as its often called in books is one of those love it or hate it subjects – but whichever side of the fence you fall on, and there are definitely more and more people climbing over it, it’s here to stay.

There is a discussion forum called Mpreg Central which has over eleven and a half thousand members! It’s associated face book page has a thousand, and the small group on facebook I belong to “MPreg Book Rec” started in 2015, is over 600 members strong and new people are joining all the time. I’m not going to even start on the thousands of fanfics dedicated to the phenomenon.

Makes you think?

Well, how about this – last year surgeons in the US performed the first uterine transplant surgery on a 26-year-old woman. The process is nine hours long, and then approximately one year later doctors will implant embryos that were created using in vitro fertilization. The lady will have to take anti-rejection drugs throughout the pregnancy and then either the uterus will be removed, or it will be allowed to disintegrate.

The same fertility clinic that has done this procedure states they are less than five years away from being able to perform this surgery on a man. And before you wonder why they should – think about trans women. Many women are desperate to have their own child and having chatted to some transgender ladies in this position; they understandably feel the same way.

The science is there. Unfortunately the money is not. To give you an idea; a heart transplant—something successfully undertaken for years—currently costs over a million dollars.

Can you imagine how much a pioneering operation would be?

Luca swore succinctly.

“Sire, Kit also saved your life in the arena,” Sam said flatly.

“What? No, that was you,” Luca insisted.

“Kit warned me. I don’t know how, but he shouted to me. He saw something before I did and I was already running and had my knife out before I saw Malik’s blade. If he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been fast enough, and you, Sire, would be dead.”

Luca drew in a harsh breath.

“Sire, I’m worried because I think he’s unwell,” Molly put in.

“W-what do you mean?” Luca’s heart pounded so hard it threatened to escape his chest.

“He’s eating hardly anything. A lot of foods are upsetting him…”

Luca nearly closed his eyes in despair. Surya take my heart. How could he have been so blind? It was him. He was the one Kit had spoken of. Kit didn’t have any confidence in Luca’s love because he had been so busy lording it around being Alpha King he had forgotten about the one person who was responsible for making him the King in the first place. Kit had been left alone for days and this was all Luca’s fault. Kit had done nothing wrong, and Luca had treated him appallingly. He didn’t deserve him, and Luca should be whipped for how he had treated him. Surya didn’t need to take his heart, he had lost it a long time ago to a much bigger one.

“Sam, we shift and search. I want Asher to follow with weapons and blankets.” He looked at Asher. “Choose two men and follow the best you can with supplies. Get water, also.” Asher nodded and stepped away. Luca followed Sam towards the woods, Sam stripping as he walked.

“Sire.” Luca paused as Gabriel shouted urgently. “Sire I have been trying to speak to you for days. There is something you need to know.”

“Not now, Gabriel. I promise as soon as I have Kit safe we will talk.”

“No, Sire,” Gabriel took a close step in determination, “this is important and has to do with Kit.”

Luca stopped, the urgency in Gabriel’s voice finally making him pause, and at the same time he remembered putting Gabriel off before. “What is it?”

“You know I have been going through the old texts on pure omega matings. You asked me.” Luca nodded. Worry settled like stone in his gut.

“The thing is, Sire, I don’t think Kit is ill.”

Luca shook his head in exasperation. He had thought Gabriel had urgent news, not just something comforting. “We can argue that when I get him home.”

“Sire, I don’t think Kit is ill. I think he is pregnant.”

No one spoke. No one moved. Luca swallowed. “What did you say?” He had misheard. Gabriel didn’t—

“According to the old scrolls, Alpha Kings never used breeders, ever, and it didn’t matter which sex their omega was. Look.” Gabriel got a sheet of old paper from his pocket. “I found this tucked in one of the old books. It’s a likeness of Aristaad and Oliver, the first Alpha King and his pure omega. Oliver was definitely male.”

Luca nodded. He knew the history.

Gabriel unfolded the piece of paper. It was a drawing of a couple. The likeness of the Alpha King and his omega was clear. They were both turned sideways and their tattoos were visible. It was the appearance of Oliver, the omega, that was so shocking. He leaned back into his King as if Aristaad were supporting him. Aristaad’s hands were both circled around his omega’s body. What was completely stunning was the huge round belly on Oliver, and Aristaad’s hands laid on it protectively.

“Oliver was pregnant, Sire.”

Luca closed his eyes in desperation. What the hell had he done?

Amazon

 

 

What do you think? Could it happen? Leave a comment and you could win an ebook of any of Victoria Sue’s backlist.

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Rough Edges by Cardeno C : Audiobook Review

Kyle has an unwelcome crush on his nemesis Brent. Brent has a welcome crush on his friend Kyle. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks to the wrong family, Kyle Potter has spent his life clawing his way toward a better future. When he gets the perfect job at the perfect firm in perfect Los Angeles, Kyle is sure there are only blue skies ahead. And then he meets perfect Brent Haralson.

Born with a silver spoon to a well-established family, Brent Haralson has never been interested in leveraging his connections. Friends, success, and dates come easily to Brent and rejection isn’t something he has to deal with in life. And then he meets perfect Kyle Potter.

Kyle despises his unwelcome crush on his lazy, arrogant nemesis. Brent welcomes his feelings for his stubborn, brilliant friend. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.

Amazon

Audible

Kyle has had to fight tooth and nail for everything he has in life. Nothing has come easy for him and because of that he carries a pretty big chip on his shoulder. He can’t stand people born to money that don’t have to earn it and meeting his buddies friend Brent proves his point.

Brent was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. He was born to money, raised to enjoy the finer things in life, and spends his days lazing about. At least these are the things Kyle thinks he knows about Brent, and takes an instant dislike to him.

When Kyle’s hard work and dedication at work finally turn into a promotion that allows him to put a down payment on a condo he finally feels like he’s made it. He’s accomplished his goal, then in one second it’s all taken away. When the chips are down Kyle has no one to turn to until Brent offers a helping hand.

Kyle borrows Brent’s spare bedroom until he can find a new job and get back on his feet. Over the first few weeks he’s there Kyle starts to realize that there is more to Brent than he first thought. He might not be the spoil rich kid he thought he was. When Kyle realizes what Brent is doing with his free time each day he finds out that old prejudices can blind you from seeing some great right in front of you.

I love a great enemies to lovers story, even if they were only enemies in Kyle’s head. This is a great story about a man finding that through his narrow and intolerant views of people he could be missing out on something great. The characters were well developed and interesting. The story, as always was perfection.

The narrator was good. This was my first time listening to Kevin Chandler. He infused just enough snark in his voice to bring Kyle to life for me. It was great.

Overall an enjoyable listening experience.

Pieces of Candy: 4

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

If you steal books, you are an a**hole…

Recently an author who regularly hits the top of the Gay Romance/Gay Fiction charts found her book had been pirated, prior to release date. To say she was upset would be an understatement, and who could blame her? She worked hard on writing a sequel to a book that people loved (myself included) only to have someone, a blogger, or someone who received it from a blogger, think it was okay to steal it, and put it up for free for the taking.

This angered me as a blogger. Angered might be a little bit on the nice side. I was pissed! I was furious for the author, and I was pissed at the blogger, but even more, I was pissed at the reader(s) who think its okay to steal!

First, it makes bloggers look bad, like we all steal or pirate authors’ books, when that is far from the case. However, when they say “One bad apple ruins the entire barrel”, it’s true. Authors may hesitate to then give bloggers access to ARCs of their books, which makes it that much harder for us to promote their books, a huge part of what we are trying to do.

Second, WHY? This book was $2.99, or on Kindle Unlimited. How much do these assholes (and I will call thieves what they are-assholes) pay for their beloved Starbucks in the morning, or to buy their kids a Happy Meal at McDonald’s instead of making a meal for them at home? When they go to a restaurant, do they say “well, I’m going to go ahead and take the silverware home, because I want it”? (And I have seen a friend of mine do this, and it pissed me off just as much). It’s THREE FRICKING DOLLARS!!!! And it isn’t yours, so you are STEALING. Plain and simple. If you are a reader who has done this, you can call yourself a great person, and even in this genre an ally, but you are still a thief, which means you are not a great person, you are an asshole. Even if the book is $5.99, does that give you the right? Where is the point where you feel it is okay to steal from people? Where the amount doesn’t matter in your mind, even if there are mouths to feed at the other end of that $6 you just ripped out of someone’s hand?

Third, the snowball effect is HUGE! An author works hard to write and publish their book–>Said book is pirated–>Author may or may not spend time and money on filing Cease and Desist or Takedown orders–>They are not able to support their family–>They may or may not have to find another source of income, so they cannot write any longer. Meanwhile, Thieving Blogger receives an ARC–>Hands over to someone that they know will put it on a pirate site–>Author finds out and files Cease and Desist or Takedown orders–>Author is less likely to give ARCs to bloggers to review for the honest readers.

How about instead of stealing, you spend some time finding ways to earn that book that you want so much? Maybe become a reviewer for a blogger? Maybe forgo that Starbucks you have every single day, and make it only twice a week? Maybe take on a part time job? Perhaps enter some of the TONS of giveaways that authors and bloggers put on so people can get something for free legally? But don’t steal, because no matter how you might justify it to yourself by saying things like “I can’t afford it right now” or “Well, they won’t notice, it’s just one copy” or “I want it before its released, because I want IT” (like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), it hurts everyone. It hurts the author’s income, it hurts bloggers who also are creating some income, as well as trying to promote those authors, and it makes you an asshole. Stop being an asshole. Buy the book.

I interviewed the above author, N.R. Walker to get her take on the situation. Her book, Imagines (if you want to buy it, go here), was pirated prior to it actually going on sale, so we know it was an ARC that was stolen.

  1. How is it you find out about a truly pirated book? (Often, they are viruses used to lure people in).

A quick Google search. It’s actually really easy. Yes, there are a lot phishing sites and virus sites, but there a LOT of legit pirate sites. Typing in a book title, author name and something like ‘free download’ or ‘read online’ is all it takes.

Unfortunately, more often than not, you’ll find it at a legit pirate site.

I also use a ‘takedown service’ which scans the internet for my titles. But recently, in the case of the ARC being out before release day, a friend told me about it. She will sometimes do internet searches for me (her Google-fu is strong) and she emailed me with links etc.

  1. How much time do you think you spend on a weekly or monthly basis on tracking down pirated copies of your books, and sending takedown notices?

I use a site called Muso, which is a monthly subscription per title. It costs me about $16AUD per book per month, so it’s a bloody expensive investment. I have seven titles listed at the moment and do swap them around (because I have so many titles, it’s not feasible to have them all listed at the one time). And thankfully, when I Google my titles for pirated copies, there aren’t too many. If/when I do find one, I send the URL to Muso and they issue the DMCA to have it removed.

I know a lot of authors write pirating off as a lost cause, and I get it, I really do. It’s expensive, it’s exhausting, and it’s never ending. But part of me, the stubborn part, hates to let them get away with it. I don’t care if they don’t want to pay for books, but I’ll do what I can to make sure they can’t get their grubby paws on mine. I like to think of it as a digital middle finger salute 🙂

  1. In the case of your most recent release, it was pirated prior to you actually uploading it to Amazon (correct me if I am wrong NR). So, how does that affect your new release? Sales, promo, etc

Yes, an ARC of my book Imagines was on a pirate site before release day. I know it was an ARC because there was a certain typo in the book that went out in the ARCs for my blog tour. I didn’t fix the typo until after I’d sent them.

There’s no way of knowing just how much it affects sales. A lot of authors do believe that people who download from pirate sites would never buy a copy anyway, I, while I do agree with that, I’m sure there are some people who will pay when/if they can’t get it for free.

How it affected me personally, was a whole other matter. I found out the day before release day and the hurt part of me wanted to not upload the book and shut the internet down for a week or two. But that wouldn’t have been fair (on anyone) so I hit ‘publish’ with every intention of taking a few hours break from the world while it uploaded (it can take up to 48-72 hours). Amazon had other ideas however, because it only took 30 minutes to go live. LOL

And I must say, my readers are so lovely and so loyal, they helped spread the news and made my release day such a positive experience. I’d felt betrayed by this person who had received an ARC of the book and shared it, but my readers reminded me why I do what I do.

  1. There are many methods that authors employ to try to combat piracy. Will you talk about how you’ve tried to do that? (And I understand if this is a question you DO NOT want to answer)

LOL Yeah, I’m not gonna answer this. In case anyone knows what to look for haha

  1. When the piracy is from a book that you sent to a blogger it makes us all look bad. Will this change how you distribute ARC’s in the future?

Well, unfortunately, I’m considering no longer doing ARCs.

Does this suck? Yes. Is this fair on those who do the right thing? No. But if you could imagine how betrayed and hurt I felt knowing someone violated my trust, then times that by a hundred, and you can begin to understand why I’m reluctant to put myself in that position again.

I’m still undecided, and my feelings might change, but right this minute, my answer is no.

  1. It’s frustrating that you are going through all this. What is it you hope to be the outcome of your follow up on this particular issue?

My “hope” is that the person who shared the ARC is named and shamed, and the site is removed from the internet. LOL But that’s not too likely to happen (the last part anyway). It’s still a process at the moment so I can’t say too much, but the support I’ve had from other authors helping where they can is awesome! I really do love this community  <3

Thank you to N.R. Walker for her candor regarding the piracy of her book.
This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Gasping For Air by TS McKinney: Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

How far will Trystan go to win the heart of the man he loves? All the way.

Trystan Matherly is conceited, arrogant, and rich. He has plenty of money, athletic ability, and gorgeous looks to keep the men forming a long line just to be with him. Choosing his next lover has been as simple as down-selecting to the hottest candidate.

Until Dakota.

With his sad eyes, full lips, and perfectly sculpted swimmer’s body, Dakota is justthe kind of lover Trystan wants. After only one look, he knows he has to have him. Too bad Dakota seems to be totally oblivious to all his charms.

Dakota Jacobson is lonely, tired, and depressed. He’s at Alabama Temple to complete his degree, not to put up with idiots. He works diligently to be as invisible as possible. He doesn’t need friends and he sure doesn’t need lovers…especially not football titans that think they rule the world. Nope; been there, done that.

Until Trystan.

With his sexy eyes, arrogant smirk, and muscled physique, Trystan is just the kind of lover Dakota never intends to have…again. Too bad Trystan refuses to allow him to be invisible.

In the Series:

Touchdown (Game Series #1)

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Okay… So, where to start….

First, let me start by saying that I was not aware when I came into this that it was a 2nd book. I didn’t read the first one, but fear not… it didn’t take anything away from the story for me. I did okay, keeping up even though we see the friends who were in book one… I could still follow along.
So, okay, now, we have Trystan, a.k.a. Tank, football extraordinaire/cocky jock/big man on campus/every stereotype of all those things that I just mentioned all rolled into one. Sometimes, I found him kind of charming, but mostly I found him overcompensating and obnoxious. The dialogue… oh help me, the dialogue… it was not for me.

What I did like about this story is that it touched on some pretty tricky stuff and I thought the way in which Dakota handled some things were a bit ridiculous, but everyone handles things in their own way and I could commend him for calling up that backbone when he needed it. He was determined not to be taken advantage of again, he was determined to not show weakness and he had a little mouth on him when it came to Trystan. Which was awesome, because it was very apparent, nobody ever nay-sayed him before, lol.

Now, Dakota had a past and it was a sad one. He was the victim of kidnap, torture and rape. And I’m trying really hard to understand why the person behind said kidnap, torture and rape was only on an ankle monitor and not rotting his life away in prison or better yet, dead. Sorry for the spoiler there, but I really wish I’d had one at the time so I could’ve skipped over that whole part… I actually had to skip some pages when Evan was talking to Trystan. I couldn’t handle it… I’m not one of those TRIGGERED, kind of people, but… I have to admit, it triggered alright. It made me physically sick to my stomach. I couldn’t hang, y’all, I couldn’t hang. I was not at all sad to see the justice handed down to him although I would’ve liked to have seen him tortured and raped for the rest of his life, in prison… but… I guess we can’t always get what we want.

I also liked the supportive parents, that was an added surprise that I wasn’t expecting but really liked. Towards the end, it got a little mushy and I found myself rooting for these two to make it. Even if I did roll my eyes towards the end where Dakota was being all sacrificial and trying to keep Trystan away… I was like, give it up, kid… he’s not going anywhere, you literally can never tell him what to do because he’d never allow it. This was the only time I was glad about it.

So, overall… not my favorite, but I feel like it’s because it’s just a little too young adulty for me. I didn’t care for the dialogue or the unrealistic situations… The rest, wasn’t so bad.

Pieces of Candy: 3

T.S. McKinney lives in East Tennessee with her high school sweetheart/husband and all the countless dogs she picks up from deserted country roads. Her professional career has been in business but her heart has always belonged to the fantasy world found in books.

Creating wicked worlds where one can meet the perfect hero – and then do anything to him that you want – has been a hobby that has brought her plenty of hours of fun and naughty entertainment.

When not working, reading, or writing, she loves to spend time with my family and forcing them (because they don’t really have another choice) to allow me to redecorate their houses…and listen to my naughty…sometimes sadistic stories.
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Publisher Author Site: http://www.darkhollowspress.com/ts-mckinney

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tsmckinney1

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Fishy Riot by Lindsey Black: Exclusive Guest Post and Giveaway

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synopsis

Most people think riot squad officer Taylor Jameson is an asshole. Little do they know his apparent indifference stems from having a meddlesome family always butting into his business. And little does Taylor know he’s about to stumble into a situation that’ll make indifference impossible.

When everything goes horribly wrong at a political rally on a harbour ferry, Taylor encounters Sietta Salisbury. The son of a wealthy politician, Sietta is a revered—but presumed dead—musician, and an enigma who is so strange, Taylor is compelled to look into his background. What he discovers draws him into a bizarre mess of prisoners, politics, and attempted murder that makes him realise what he’s been missing.

Falling in love isn’t hard. Trying to convince someone else you’re worth loving despite your crazy family and the people trying to kill you? That’s a whole other can of worms.

Title: Fishy Riot
Author: Lindsey Black
Release Date: April 24, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 236

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Guest Post

Thanks for allowing me to visit today to talk about Fishy Riot. Since it hasn’t been released yet (though a few folks seem to have it on bail) it’s hard to know what to talk about, so I thought I would talk briefly about the main romance, because if you’re reading a romance novel that’s probably the bit you’re interested in (one would think).

Taylor and Sietta are an odd pair. On the surface they have very little in common. Their families have no similarities, they had completely different upbringings, they have no shared interests and as far as I’m aware the only thing they agree on in the book is that they both like the colour blue. To a lot of people I think that’s going to seem as odd as how quickly they’re drawn into a partnership together, but that has a lot to do with the way we are taught to understand love.

Love takes time, right? It grows, and it flourishes and it’s hard but amazing and you’ll fight but have amazing make up sex and all through it you’ll just know that they’re ‘the one’ and the world is amazing? You’ll have all these things in common, and you’ll love the same food and the same music and the same people and if you don’t then, hey, opposites attract and you’ll eventually rub off on each other and live happy ever after? Those are the messages we get about love, from our friends, our relatives, TV, movies, society…wherever. But how often to those ideas translate into true love affairs? I can’t see much of that in any of the relationships I’ve been in, nor in the relationships of my friends.

It’s quite possible I’m just really, really weird and have surrounded myself with similarly strange and wonderful people. These wildly outrageous individuals influence my perceptions of people and how we interact, and so Taylor and Sietta don’t actually seem that odd to me. If they’re odd to you that’s totally fine, by the way. It’s a pretty odd little book. The point is, I have immediate reactions to people I meet. I know if I like them or not, and if we’re going to be friends, or not, and if I ever want to see them even across a crowded room or will one day likely plot their demise. They’re either interesting or bore me to tears. Amazingly personable or irritating beyond belief. It’s generally a one conversation thing, and my circle of friends is small and intimate as a result but that works for us.

When Taylor and Sietta meet it’s with that same immediacy of understanding. The conversation is good, the physical attraction is there, and underlying the interaction is that comprehension that they’re ‘my people’ and it’s as simple as that. How that grows and where they take it from there is the natural evolution of relationships without the indecision. Relationships, romantic or otherwise, either grow or wither. Taylor and Sietta choose to build with each interaction, and yes it’s fast but while they are very different people the commonality in them is their uncompromising dedication to self-awareness. They know they’ve found something special, that each sees something in the other they want and need, and they don’t waste time questioning. Perhaps that’s another thing they have in common; they throw themselves completely into things, fearless of failure.

There are a lot of books out there about terrible things that break good people, but Fishy Riot is not one of those stories. The whole point is that terrible things happen all the time, but we can choose to change that. Yes, Sietta endures horrible things but to what degree he endures is partly his decision. He could walk away at any time but chooses not to because he believes he can create change and it’s that choice that allows his resilience to prosper. He has PTSD, and it filters through subtly in his interactions, but it’s not the out of control life consuming monster it’s often displayed as. It’s subtle and it won’t thrive because in Taylor, Sietta has a lifeline to normalcy. The Jameson’s don’t treat him like he’s broken, to them he is just Sietta and that’s what he needs.

There’s a lot of silliness in Fishy Riot, but I don’t think knowing your own mind is silly. I don’t think fighting for what you want is silly. I don’t think it’s silly to want to make change. And I guess that’s the small piece of me that has found its way into the relationship between Taylor and Sietta. We’re pretty simply people, and once we decide something there’s no going back.

One can only hope you decide the book is worth finishing once you start it.

 

 

Lindsey Black lives in Darwin, Australia, where the weather report permanently reads ‘humidity at 100%, only going to get worse’ for ten months of the year and ‘monsoon at 4:00 p.m. for exactly fifteen minutes’ for the remaining two. Between teaching and studying full-time, she escapes this oppressive environment to bushwalk for weeks on end wherever the mobile phone reception has zero bars for as long as possible and the weather report reads something along the lines of ‘blizzard likely.’ She enjoys martial arts, music, and mayhem, which explains the untidy state of her home where she attempts to write while splitting her minimal amounts of spare time between her incredulous husband, lazy Chinchilla cat, and crazed Siberian husky. If you expect her to sit and have a chat, it’s best to have a matcha green tea latte with almond milk on hand and your hiking boots within reach. Oh, and be sure to bring a guitar for impromptu jam sessions.

You can find Lindsey on facebook / twitter / www

 

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An Officer’s Submission by Christa Tomlinson: Blog Tour, Author Interview, Reviews and Giveaway

TitleAn Officer’s Submission

Series: Cuffs, Collars, and Love #4

Author: Christa Tomlinson

Publisher:  Self- Torlina Publishing

Release Date: March 15

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, erotic romance, contemporary, D/S, established couples

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synopsis

“You don’t ever have to keep anything you feel locked up, Clay. I’m your Dom, and whatever you need from me, I’ll gladly give to you.”
– Sergeant Logan Pierce

Police Officer Clay Foster is finally at peace and happy with his life. He enjoys his career as a member of Houston’s SWAT team, and he loves submitting to his Dom in the bedroom. His life is perfect, until one cruel act destroys Clay’s bubble of happiness. Shattered trust forces Clay to reevaluate his career, his relationship, and himself.

Sergeant Logan Pierce is the leader of Houston’s elite SWAT team. On the force, he’s the best at what he does. In private, the most important thing in his life is taking care of his submissive, Clay. Clay is his whole world, and Logan will do whatever is necessary to keep him safe. Even if that means going up against Clay’s stubbornness in order to help him heal.

Can Logan and Clay work together to rebuild their happiness? Can they find their way back to the shared passion of Dominance and submission? Or will their love and relationship end before it’s truly begun?

An Officer’s Submission is Book Four in the Cuffs, Collars, and Love series. If you love romance that is epic, emotional and erotic, you’ll want to give this series a read!

 

tco-author interview

Christa Tomlinson Author Interview

Hello, I’m Christa! I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri and I currently live in Houston, Texas. I have two dogs, I’m a former teacher and I’m a retired roller derby player. I’ve been reading romance novels since I was eleven! My big sister let me read hers as long as I promised to skip the “grown up” parts. I always said I would skip them but read them anyway. I was a rebel. My current book is An Officer’s Submission. It’s an erotic BDSM romance, featuring characters from my fictional version of the Houston Police Department SWAT team. This story is about Officer Clay Foster, who loves being a submissive, but still struggles with that part of himself. And his Dom, Sergeant Logan Pierce, who will do anything for his submissive.

  1. What misconceptions do people have about your genre?

That it’s all sex. My books may be heavy on the erotic side, but there are many authors who have books that aren’t. Also, there’s so much more to them than sex. Emotion, friendship and action play a part as well.

  1. How do you choose names for your characters?

I normally start with The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook. That way I can search by region or ethnicity, etc. But I always end up picking a name that matches the character. For example, I wouldn’t name a soft, kittenish character Ace Steel, unless I was trying to flip a book trope.

  1. What else do you use to immerse yourself in the story (music, visuals, etc.)?

Definitely music. I choose songs based on the mood of the scene I’m writing. And I play that song on repeat until I’m finished with the scene. It helps get my head in the right space, but also serves as white noise to block out any distractions.

  1. What’s your favorite movie?

Gladiator. Russell Crowe is amazing in that movie. Totally believable as the general Maximus. Plus he’s gorgeous and full of muscles. Joaquin Phoenix did an excellent job as Commodus – so evil! And the action and fighting scenes were very well done.

  1. What do you hope people say about you after you’re gone?

I loved her books!

  1. What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future?

I’m currently writing the next and probably last book in the Cuffs, Collars, and Love series. Officer Hector Castillo, the sniper from the team, is getting his own story next! I’ve already finished the rough draft and I’m planning for a June or July release. After that, I’ll be making a sub-genre shift. I’ve wanted to write historical fantasy for a long time now, and I’m in the planning stages for my first project. I’m very excited about it!

Thank you for having me on your blog today! I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my work and look forward to chatting with your readers. Readers, feel free to drop any questions you have for me in the comments. Have a wonderful week!

Love,

Christa

deanna review

Love this series and always love catching up with the guys. This book was no exception.

Logan and Clay have settled into a happy life. They work together, they almost live together and they spend all their time off together. Then Captain Hayden has the brilliant idea to split up Logan’s team sending Logan to Narcotics, Tiffany to the bomb squad, and Carlos to lead another team. This brings new team members Harmon and Nelson and new leader Dunlap.
When Clay is blindsided on a training exercise, realizing he can’t count on his new team he retreats within himself to figure out how to move on. He shuts everyone out, including Logan. Logan will need to figure out what happened fast if he has any hope of helping Clay move past what happened.

Captain Hayden has never been my favorite character, I really didn’t like him after he split the team up. However, I do feel like he was firmly in Clay’s corner after everything went down. I thought it was impossible, but he may have redeemed himself. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Harmon, ugh even his name sounds douchey (is that a word? I’m rolling with it.). He was a great villain, but that is the only nice thing I can say about him. I was praying he would get stuck somewhere with Tiffany and one of her bombs.

I loved reading about the old characters that I love and meeting new characters. As always, the character development is impeccable, they are rich in detail, interesting and fit into the story perfectly.

The story…. frustrating at times because Clay was being stubborn but so worth the read. It was a roller coaster of emotion that I would gladly ride again and again. I was furious for Clay, I was mad at Logan for giving him space, I was so grateful when they both pulled their heads out. There were times I had to put the Kindle down for fear I would throw it in my frustration, but Clay got it together in the end.

5 pieces of eye candy

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erin

Book 4 in the series brings us back to the original couple of Clay and Logan. Full disclosure- I read book 1, but did not read books 2 and 3. But they are definitely on my to be read list. I don’t know how I missed them really.

Back to the book. Clay and Logan are both still in the honeymoon stage of a relationship and the happily ever after. They don’t live together yet, but that is a technicality. Everything is going great- until the boss decides to break up the SWAT team. After learning to work together, now they need to learn to work apart.

When Clay is attacked, he retreats. Instead of leaning on his Dom, he holds it all in and distances himself. Logan has no idea what has happened and no idea what went wrong. Now they have to work their way back to where they were.

Watching Clay and Logan rebuild the trust and relationship they once had was like getting two of your favorite characters in a whole new book. Seeing Logan willing to give up a huge part of himself in order to get Clay back. He struggles, but ultimately his love for Clay beats anything he needs or wants for himself.

Ultimately, I think it made them stronger. Not only as a couple, but as individuals. Coming to terms with what has happened to Clay, to them as a couple, and to them in their careers is difficult. Seeing these two, big, tough, strong men being lost and trying to find their way back to each other makes for a great story.

My biggest complaint is how easy Clay’s attackers seem to have gotten off. I wanted blood.

4 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

Christa Tomlinson is an exciting up and coming author in erotic romance. Her first self-published novel, The Sergeant, was an Amazon Best Seller for Gay and Lesbian Erotica for seven weeks straight.

Christa graduated from The University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in History. She loves to create stories that are emotional and lovely with sex that is integral to the characters’ romantic arc. Her books include straight couples, curvy couples, gay, and multicultural couples. Love is love and everyone should have their story told.

Christa lives in Houston, Texas with her two dogs, and is a retired roller derby player.

 

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Tour Schedule

April 13thTwo Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy

April 14th –  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

April 15th MM Good Book Reviews

April 16thBoy Meets Boy Reviews

April 17thMy Fiction Nook

April 18th Love Bytes Reviews

April 19thErotica For All

April 20th Nerdy Dirty & Flirty

April 21st – Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

April 22nd – Booklover Sue

 

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Tys That Bind by Jessie G: Release Day Blitz and Review, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

RDB - Banner 2
Author: Jessie G
Book: Tys That Bind
Series: Devils Pride MC #3 (series should be read in order)
Key Words: Gay Romance, Adoptions & Weddings, Contemporary Romance
Cover Artist: Andrew Reyna
Release Date: March 31, 2017

Tys That Bind - Final - 400 x 600synopsis
Unprepared, ill-equipped, and with no example to look back on, Ty and Chase embarked on a journey to build a family for Ava and Luc that would far exceed anything they dreamed of for themselves. Two years later, they’ve succeeded beyond their wildest expectations, but there’s still a couple of things missing…and they’re ready to make them happen.

Bad boy biker Trick wouldn’t hesitate to fight for those he loves, but Ty knows it will take more than violence to win this war. Willfully submissive Chase has the utmost faith in his Master, but when he sees Ty struggling with demons from his past, it will be his quiet, unbending support that will see them through. Jumping through the loopholes of family court, they are only one event shy of making it all official and neither are willing to wait another second to check it off the list.

Clearing the path for adoption should reassure them, but it will take their cast of well-meaning friends and the occasional slap upside the head before they realize that the ties that bind them together are forged in a love that can never be taken away.

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The wedding hadn’t changed anything and yet he felt vastly different.

 

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deanna review

I am a huge Jessie G fan, so I will grab up any book she writes as soon as it drops. Jessie’s books are utter perfection and this one is no exception. I was so anxious to see where the road to adoption and marriage led Ty and Chase and I wasn’t disappointed. It was exactly as I had envisioned it and so so perfect.

Obviously this is a follow-up novella and shouldn’t be read as a stand alone. Some of my favorite men mad an appearance in this one and it’s always great to see them again.

Ty and Chase agreed that marriage and adoption went hand in hand. That’s how Ava and Luc saw it, and Ty and Chase were going to make that happen for them. When one of the stipulations of the adoption were that they already be married they had to find a way to do that without the kids feeling left out. Sneaking off for a private ceremony was so perfect (there’s that word again) for Ty and Chase.

The adoption itself made me want to cry happy tears, buckets of them. The happiness and the emotion poured off the page, I almost felt like I was being adopted (don’t I wish). The celebration after with the whole gang of merry men was just as it should have been. I can’t wait to see where these guys take us next.

5 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author
Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters, and series filled with families—biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.
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The Perils of Intimacy by Rick R. Reed: Exclusive Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway

We are so excited to have Rick R. Reed here with the cover reveal for The Perils of Intimacy! Oh my goodness, what an amazing cover by Reese Dante!

Guest Post

FROM RICK R. REED, THE AUTHOR OF THE PERILS OF INTIMACY

Covers are something I have a thing for. It’s the face of my book. It’s very important, so there’s a lot invested. There’s the old saw about not judging a book by its cover, but it’s not true—not with people and certainly not with books. People, myself included, judge books by their covers all the time. And why shouldn’t they? It’s the “face” of the book, it’s that all-important first impression. I know I’ve bought books based on the cover art alone.

And, being perfectly honest, I’d buy The Perils of Intimacy based on the amazingly talented artist Reese Dante’s cover. I’m very blessed, fortunate, lucky, whatever you want to call it to be able to work with Reese almost exclusively on my Dreamspinner Press books. I thing Reese outdid herself with The Perils of Intimacy. Working with her on this one was a mind-meld between author and cover artist. She got the mood I was going for, she got the mystery, she got my main character, Jimmy, and, most of all, she created a cover that truly stands out in the genre. I think it’s beautiful, provocative, and definitely outside the box.

I hope it catches your eye. I hope it makes you want to read the blurb and—once you’ve read that—will decide you simply must read The Perils of Intimacy.

 

synopsis

Jimmy and Mark make an adorable couple. Jimmy’s kindness (and clean-cut cuteness) radiates out of him like light. Mark, although a bit older, complements Jimmy with his humor and his openness to love.

But between them, a dark secret lurks, one that has the power to destroy.

See, when Mark believes he’s meeting Jimmy for the first time in the diner where he works, he’s wrong.

Mark has no recollection of their original encounter because the wholesome Jimmy of today couldn’t be more different than he was two years ago. Back then, Jimmy sported multiple piercings, had long bleached dreadlocks, facial hair, and was painfully skinny. And he was a meth addict. The drug transformed him into a different person—a lying, conniving thief who robbed Mark blind during their one-night stand.

Mark doesn’t associate the memory of a hookup gone horribly wrong with this fresh-faced, smiling twenty-something… but Jimmy knows. As they begin a dance of love and attraction, will Jimmy be brave enough to reveal the truth? And if he does, will Mark be able to forgive him? Can he see Jimmy for the man he is now and not the addict he was? The answers will depend on whether true love holds enough light to shine through the darkness of past mistakes.

Length: Approximately 63,000 words

Here comes the cover….

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 excerpt

I watch from the corner of my eye as Cinnamon Roll, as I’ve dubbed him, downs his low-carb breakfast. How someone can eat poached eggs without any toast is beyond me, but it takes all kinds.

“You got a thing for him or what?” Matilda Blake, the other server on duty, whispers to me. She pauses just behind me with three plates balanced on two arms. I smell pancakes, bacon, and the sage aroma of sausage.

I turn a little to grin. “What?”

“Ah, don’t play innocent with me, Mister. I could see the lust in your eyes from fifty paces.”

I shrug. “Guilty. Maybe. A little.”

She laughs, and it’s a sound like a bell tinkling. Matilda doesn’t even reach five feet and probably doesn’t top ninety pounds, but she’s a workhorse like you wouldn’t believe. She has short, spiked blonde hair and numerous tattoos. On the weekends, she plays in an all-girl metal band called Two Spirit. And in my head, I call her Tinker Bell, because that’s who she looks like to me. She takes off to serve her customers, but not without prompting me to “Go over and talk to him.”

I busy myself filling ketchup bottles and the salt and pepper shakers I’ve removed from empty tables, but I keep an eye on Cinnamon Roll. His food is gone and the newspaper’s been abandoned and he’s staring off into space. I shudder because I wonder if he’s recognized me and is thinking about our last encounter, a little over two years ago, at his place on Dexter Avenue.

But no, that couldn’t be possible, could it? I’m a different person now, inside and out. Back then I was twenty, twenty-five pounds lighter than my current one hundred and sixty-five. I had a septum piercing like Ferdinand the Bull. My hair, which is now cut high and tight and is reddish brown, was long back then, bleached blond, dirty, and tangled up in dreadlocks that reached down almost to my waist. My skin had, I’m sure, a pasty and unhealthy pallor.

That person doesn’t even exist anymore, and even though it’s only been two years, I look completely different today. He’s probably just thinking about his day or something.

Right?

I walk over to his table, a little nervous that he’d come to and look at me with an accusing glare. There’d be a scene. And maybe I’d end up getting fired or something. Thinking back to what I did to him, I deserve it.

But when I approach his table, all he does is smile. And that smile melts my heart. It did back then too. Just not enough to keep me from my desperate and dark ways.

“You need anything else?”

He looks down at his paper and back up at me. A blush rises to his cheeks, and I gotta say it—there’s nothing more adorable than this face staring up at me right now.

RickRReed2BW-500x749meet the author

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.

He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

STALK RICK

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Email: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

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