12 Days of Kissmas: Avon Gale

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TCO is so excited to bring you 12 Days of Kissmas. We have 12 of your favorite authors ahead over the coming days, bringing you beautiful pictures of men kissing that the authors have chosen themselves, along with exclusive posts, excerpts, and giveaways. The idea sprang from a conversation with an author that just turned into a “what if…”, and when I started asking a few authors, they immediately said they were in. Make sure you enter the giveaways, as there are lots of them! Thanks for stopping by, and a HUGE thank you to all the authors for their generosity, and loving spirit. Happy Holidays to everyone!

 

Guest Post

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Hi! I’m Avon Gale, and I’m here sharing a delightful picture of two boys kissing – er, almost kissing. I like this picture because I love that moment of tension right before the kiss. Also this one cutie is wearing a bowtie! Adorable, right?

My most recent novella, Whiskey Business, is out December 28th from Dreamspinner Press and is a part of their States of Love line. It’s about a bourbon distillery in a small Kentucky town, and it features an opposites-attract love story and a lot of really bad puns.

whiskeybusinessfs_v1I’m from Kentucky, so writing this was super fun for me. Also, I love bourbon (and pie), which is why I decided to share this recipe with you! Ignore that “or water” part of the directions, because trust me, you want the bourbon 😉 And make sure it’s good Kentucky bourbon, too – none of that Jack Daniels nonsense (sorry, Tennessee!) for this pie.

(Kidding, you can use whatever you want, but in my humble estimation, Kentucky bourbon is the best and that’s all I have to say about that.)

 

Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie

1/2 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts

1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels

1 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon or water

4 large eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons plain white cornmeal

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon table salt

 

Preparation

Hands-on: 15 Minutes

Total: 2 Hours, 10 Minutes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly onto bottom of piecrust.

Stir together corn syrup and next 3 ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients. Gradually whisk one-fourth of hot corn syrup mixture into egg mixture; add to remaining hot corn syrup mixture, whisking constantly. Pour filling into prepared piecrust.

Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until set; cool pie completely on a wire rack (about one hour).

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giveaway

Avon Gale is giving away an ebook of winners choice. Give us your favorite traditional recipe. (Any tradition you like).

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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: Avon Gale recaps GRL

Featured Author Avon Gale

 

Guest Post

So, a few weeks ago I attended my first GRL! The only other romancelandia con I’d been to was RT in Vegas last April, and wow, this was a totally different experience. And I had a good time at RT, it was definitely an eye-opening, interesting and worth-while experience…but GRL was all of that AND MORE! I had an awesome time, and I’m definitely planning to go again next year.

 
This year, GRL was in Kansas City – which just so happens to be about a 2 hour drive for me. I live in Columbia, which is halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, so! Super convenient. I came up on Wednesday with a bonus! Piper Vaughn, who’d been chilling at my house that week since Mr. Gale was off for a conference of his own in San Francisco (on like, mobile banking, so not nearly as fun as mine). My roommate was the lovely Carrie Pack, who I’d met at RT and chatted with online a little. We luckily got along really well and shared a mutual love of mocking House Hunters, so that was great.

 
I signed up as a Supporting Author this year, and I’m glad that I did that – it was a great way to both be involved and learn about the conference. The supporting author signing on Thursday was awesome, I love getting to meet readers! I almost fainted when one of my favorite authors, Lisa Henry, stopped by and got a copy of “Let the Wrong Light In” for me to sign. !!! I tried to play it cool and probably failed, after babbling something about how she was a huge inspiration to me as a writer (I love how she can write so many different moods and types of stories and they’re all awesome). I did the same thing to Jordan Castillo Price, who I was so nervous to meet! If you’ve met me, you know I’m super friendly and will talk to just about anyone. But Jordan is one of my favorite authors and her Psy-Cop series was among my first reads in original M/M fiction. So meeting her was totally awesome, and I’m not going to lie – I actually got a little teary-eyed. But there are reasons for that! Other than me being a weirdo who gets nervous around her favorite authors, I mean.

 
(Lisa Henry and Jordan Castillo Price are both immensely lovely ladies, gracious and fun and I’m so glad I got to meet them! All this awkwardness is on the part of yours truly, let me just get that out there.)

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Anyway, something happened between the author signing and my author lounge session that was very significant, and why I got sort of teary-eyed talking to an author I admired so much. I was going down to the conference area and I got off on the wrong floor of the hotel, and ended up…amongst other conference people, dressed in business casual and carrying folders and laptops (meanwhile, I’m in a skull dress with a bow on it, and above-the-knee red boots, carrying a box of buttons with fake hockey logos and a package of rainbow Twizzlers). “Oops,” I thought, (or said out loud, probably, knowing me), “This is not where I’m supposed to be.”
I’d been there before, though. I’d been to conferences during the ten years of my development/fundraising career, and I know they were supposed to be fun and revitalize my love for my career and all of that. But somehow they never did, and while I always loved traveling, I never had that spark of enthusiasm for what I was doing. So I couldn’t help thinking about how incredibly happy I was to be “on the wrong floor”, so to speak. Here I was, doing what I loved and at a conference full of readers and writers who share the same passion for books as I do. It was a wonderful moment of feeling like I was in the right place at the right time, and I think that’s why I got a bit emotional saying hello to Jordan. I had no idea when I first started reading her books that one day I’d get to meet her, and as a reader and as a fellow author. It was a cool moment.

 
Another cool moment came on Saturday night, when I got to watch an ECHL hockey game surrounded by other GRL-goers! And the Mavericks won, so that made it even better. There’s nothing like live hockey!

 
All in all, I had a wonderful experience at GRL and I’m so glad I went. It was lovely to meet so many wonderful people, and one of my favorite author experiences thus far – even if I didn’t win a single game of Bingo 😉  TCO note: I’m not sure anyone actually won at Bingo…I feel like it was rigged. 😉

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

Empty Net by Avon Gale: Release Day Review, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Featured Author Avon Gale

empty netsynopsis

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

Title: Empty Net
Series: Scoring Chances: Book 4
Author: Avon Gale
Release Date: September 2, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

tco exclusive

Exclusive Excerpt from Empty Net:

Kissing Laurent was both a good idea and a bad one.

Isaac had no idea what he was doing with Laurent on a personal level, but professionally they were in competition. Laurent’s goaltending was getting better and better, because he’d apparently decided to show up and play, after all. Which was great, but Isaac was having to step up his game.

And he liked it, he realized. The competition wasn’t vicious—since Laurent was being way less of a dickhead—but it was intense.

The more intense it got, the more intense the kissing got too. Isaac continued to wonder if he was getting in over his head.

“So you’re spending a lot of time with Saint,” Hux said, when they were playing video games at his and Murph’s place.

“And isn’t it better for everyone?” Isaac made his on-screen character shoot the puck. He liked playing forward on video games, even though everyone expected him to be the goalie.

“Not talking about the team, bro,” said Hux. He, on the other hand, played a defenseman, just like he did on the ice. He also liked to try and get in fights. Hux was a man secure and happy with his role in their shared sport, that was for sure.

“You fucking him?” Murph asked, wandering in with a beer.

“Murph thinks he’s gay,” Hux said, as if that needed explaining.

Isaac stared at the screen and tried to make Mike Fisher do some kind of Spinarama move. Instead Hux’s team stole the puck and scored off the turnover. Being a Predators fan was hard in any reality—real or pixelated. “I’m not fucking him.”

His friends stared at him, but Isaac tried not to let anything show on his face. Things were too complicated to talk about.

“Holy shit. Ha. I was right. My gaydar is better than yours, dude,” Murph crowed, smacking Isaac on the back of the head.

“Ow. Would you stop? I told you I wasn’t fucking him.”

“Yeah. But you’re getting some,” Murph prodded. “Don’t lie.”

“I’m not,” Isaac said. Firmly. “Believe me. Can we not talk about this?”

“Nope.” Hux paused the game. “Spill it. Are you guys dating?”

Isaac was two seconds away from snapping “I’m going home” and throwing the controller like he was a sulky twelve-year-old. Instead he took a deep breath and said, “Guys, can we not talk about Saint and just play the game?”

Murph and Hux exchanged a look, but they didn’t say anything else about it. Isaac didn’t trust that look at all, but he kept it to himself. He couldn’t say he didn’t want to talk about it and then start talking about it.

Making out with Laurent and trying to be friends with him didn’t necessarily make it easier to like him. He still rubbed a lot of the guys the wrong way, and though Isaac understood that dickhead Laurent was a result of him feeling insecure or defensive, no one else did. Yet there was a guy worth knowing under the mask. Isaac was sure of it.

Which was why, when Coach Samarin told them about an outreach opportunity at a local school, Isaac signed them both up without asking Laurent.

“You want me to talk to kids?” Laurent stared at him incredulously. “I can barely handle talking to people my own age, and you think this is a good idea?”

Isaac shrugged and then flashed a grin. “Probably not, but you gotta learn sometime. Right?”

Laurent didn’t look convinced. “I’m not ever having children,” he said in a flat voice.

“Stop making everything so dramatic,” Isaac responded. “You’re going.”

The outreach was about getting kids interested in hockey without the use of one of Belsey’s 80’s-music-themed ad campaigns. He and Laurent wore a few pieces of their gear—mostly to emphasize the importance of safety, and because kids thought their masks were cool—and stood in front of some nets while the kids were organized into two groups, and then tried to score with a giant nerf ball and what looked to be an over-sized golf club.

Isaac wasn’t used to kids, but he had fun flailing around and pretending to stop goals. Each kid took shots until they scored a goal, which was basically just Isaac letting one in when the kid looked frustrated or stopped giggling.

One of the teachers paused the shootout and came up to Isaac. “Umm. Could you maybe tell your teammate that this is supposed to be fun?”

Laurent was apparently taking his position too seriously, as usual. Isaac reassured the harried-looking teacher and went over to Laurent. “It’s not the Stanley Cup playoffs,” he said. “You’re not supposed to make other guys cry.”

Laurent’s dark gaze was cool and unreadable. Isaac had been told more than once that he had the crazy, “come and try it, asshole” goalie stare beneath his mask when he was in net. Not for the first time, Isaac noticed that Laurent’s stare looked like nobody was home—like he was just an extension of the net instead of a person.

No wonder he didn’t like hockey or playing goalie. Shutting down hotshot shooters was supposed to give you a feeling of glee. Just not when they were seven.

“My father never—”

“I swear to—uh, gosh. If you mention your dad, I will deck you with one of those Nerf things.” Isaac looked around and made sure he was smiling wildly in case a small child overheard him. “Now stop being a prick and make these kids have fun.”

Isaac yanked his mask back down, went to his side of the makeshift court, and took his spot back in goal.

A few minutes later he heard some cheers and giggling, so Isaac figured Laurent had gotten with the program.

After the kids were finished shooting at the goalies, they were allowed to take turns in net. Isaac was momentarily horrified at how that would play out with Laurent. He worried that he’d just consigned about ten kids to therapy. But Laurent was surprisingly good at that part. At one point Isaac looked over to check on him and saw Laurent bestow an honest-to-God smile on a kid and ruffle his hair.

That’s when Isaac decided they needed to go on a date—a real one that maybe ended in more than kissing. Because there was something about that gesture, about seeing Laurent St. Savoy drop all his attitude and be a regular guy having a good time and showing the affection he’d probably never had as a child. And Isaac needed to know if the thing between them was leading somewhere or if they were just going to be friends who sometimes petted each other’s hair, but no more than that.

“See. Wasn’t that fun?” Isaac asked on the way back. Laurent looked as relaxed as Isaac had ever seen him.

“It wasn’t bad,” Laurent said.

“You want to go get some dinner?” Isaac tried not to sound too eager.

“It’s four thirty,” Laurent said. “Are we going for a senior citizen’s discount?”

“Well, I meant later. But you know we don’t get paid all that much.” Isaac grinned. “Don’t expect me to take you anywhere fancy. I meant like, Olive Garden or something.”

“I don’t like Olive Garden.”

Isaac sighed and took the turn toward Laurent’s apartment. One step at a time. “We can go somewhere else. The important part was the one where I asked you out. On a date.”

“Okay.”

That was all he got, but Isaac said, “I’ll pick you up at seven thirty” and watched as Laurent climbed out of the Jeep without a backward glance.

 

 

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paula review
This book about broke my heart. Laurent was such an emotional character to read. His life was hell. His outward personality was very much a result of how his father raised him, he was an asshole. In the beginning he really doesn’t know how to act any different. Thank god for Isaac. These two get off to a horrible start due to some pretty shitty things Laurent said to Isaac at the end of the last season and also when the meet again after Laurent’s transfer. Thankfully Isaac is more than just a surface guy and realizes there is more to Laurent then his mouth. Isaac is able to get past Laurent’s guard, and they become friends. I really liked how supportive Isaac was and how he always called Laurent on his bullshit, in regards to his attitude and how he talked to people. Isaac was able to recognize Laurent’s defense mechanisms for what they were and help Laurent find other ways to deal with things. These two characters were brilliantly written and the story was beautiful. I couldn’t put this one down.

5 pieces of eye candy

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giveaway

Win an e-book copy of Empty Net!

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/49e561f521/?

 

meet the author

Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and she never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

Find Avon

@Facebook||   @avongalewrites.com||  @twitter

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-with a Giveaway: Avon Gale

Featured Author Avon Gale

 

Hello there!
Last month, I talked about how awesome (and also weird!) it was to have one of my books turned into an audiobook. So I thought maybe it would be nifty if I did a giveaway for an audio copy! I love the narration, and Scott R. Smith really made the characters come to life. I was impressed by his audition because he nailed that earnestness that so defined Lane Courtnall as a character, but I have to tell you – his Jared is hot like burning. Seriously it made me want to write an entire book of just Jared saying things so that Scott would maybe read it. Gah.
You can enter the giveaway via this handy Rafflecopter! (I can’t ever not giggle when I say/type that word, “Rafflecopter” – is that just me??)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway runs until September 1st, and it will choose one random winner for an audio copy (via Audible) of the book.
In a few weeks, I’ll be back to talk about the newest Scoring Chances title, Empty Net, which releases on September 2nd. Yay! It’s a story about goalie Isaac Drake, who you may remember from Power Play as the angry, blue-haired Spitfires’ goalie. Isaac has a new reason to be cranky when his hockey nemesis, fellow goalie Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. I’m super excited to share this one, because if you can’t tell, Isaac maaaaay be my favorite (shhh, don’t tell the others I said that!) and I definitely made him work for his HEA 😉

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: Avon Gale Writes

Featured Author Avon Gale

 

The other day on Twitter (where, it is established, Avon spends a lot of her time) someone asked the question, “What’s the first audiobook you remember listening to?” And I thought about it, because important questions like these deserve thoughtful answers, and realized the answer was…

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.
Okay, disclaimer, I’m thirty-nine so I grew up in the era when everyone read Flowers in the Attic, even those kids who didn’t read or whose parents were always trying to get books banned in your school. Someone inevitably had it and passed it around to “that one part” in the way of kids. Or, maybe I should say, in the way of kids in the late eighties. Now I guess it would be on Snapchat.
Anyway, my parents actually bought me two box sets of V.C. Andrews’ novels for Christmas when I was twelve – one with the Flowers in the Attic series (three books at the time, I believe) and one with the three-book Heaven series, which was actually my favorite. I have no idea why my parents thought these were appropriate books for a twelve-year-old, except that I read Sybil in the fifth grade and Pet Sematary in the sixth. So maybe they were like, “Dial it down, would you?” There’s a reason I found Bridge to Terabithia boring in school, LOL.
So long story short, I loved the V.C. Andrews’ books. When I was 13, my mom would give me a copy of a gothic romance novel and that was it, I was sunk and I ended up a romance novelist. (I still read a lot of V.C. Andrews along with the romance in my teenage years, I won’t lie. I gave up around Ruby though.) So I have a very vivid memory of checking the audiobook out of the library – they were cassette tapes, of course, because this is the late eighties. We also used to go on a lot of car trips when I was a kid, and my parents would stop at Cracker Barrel because you could rent “books on tape” there and then return them at any other Cracker Barrel, of which there are a lot – especially in the south.
(Apropos of nothing – I still refer to audiobooks as “books on tape.” I can’t help it.)
I remember spending a lot of happy trips listening to Lawrence Sanders’ Archie McNally series with my mom, about a PI in Palm Beach, Florida. And I remember listening to my favorite Disney story, “The Fox and Hound”, on one of those little record players for kids that were popular when I was small.
Recently I had the experience of listening to my own book in audio, as the narrator for Breakaway (Scott R. Smith, who is awesome!) sent me the files as he recorded them. It was one of the coolest experiences in my authorial career thus far, hearing a professional bring my words to life. I was lucky enough to get narrators for both that title and my first book, Let the Wrong Light In, who really sounded like the characters did in my head. Lane and Avery both have distinctive voices to me, and Scott and Derrick McClain (the narrator for Let the Wrong Light In) both nailed those voices to a T. And wow, Scott’s Jared is just to-die-for sexy, let me tell you.

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I won’t lie, listening to someone read a sex scene I’ve written was…well, if you follow me on social media I think I posted a picture of me hiding under a blanket the first time I had to listen to one. It’s a similar feeling to the one I got when my mother-in-law told me she was reading Breakaway because…well, she’s my mother-in-law. (She liked it, though!)
One of the things that I really found interesting as I was listening was how much I hear the rhythm of my own words when I write them – and how the narrator “hears” them so much differently than I do. Not even dialogue, though that is a part of it, of course. It’s the non-dialogue bits, too – my own narrative voice, if you will. I had no idea how strongly I narrate the inflection in my head (since I never stop talking, this is probably a surprise to no one). And it’s not a case of right or wrong, good or bad — it just surprised me to hear how different it could sound.
It’s sort of the same feeling I get when people talk about my characters, and how different other people’s interpretations of them can be than my own. Lane was a character that people either really liked and connected with, or…not so much 😀 Which is fine! As an author, I think it’s sort of awesome when people have strong reactions to my characters, even if they don’t like them. I mean, Lane drove me crazy a lot. They all have things that drive me crazy, to be honest. I try to make them real people and that means they’re not perfect, even if I do tend to write everyone living in a land where people are tolerant and accepting because, well, that’s the world I’d like to live in and that’s a happily-ever-after I can totally get behind.
Writing and putting something out there is scary, but the rewards are pretty awesome – and I really do love the audiobook and hope people who enjoyed Breakaway will love it, too. It’s strange to think about myself when I was younger, listening to Flowers in the Attic or the McNallybooks, scribbling away at my own stories and not knowing one day I’d have the chance to listen to those.
I wonder if V.C. Andrews listened to her books. I bet I know exactly what part made her cringe, too.

 

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

TCO Exclusive: Avon Gale Monthly Author Column

Featured Author Avon Gale

**We are so excited to have Avon Gale join us for a monthly author column.  Her latest release is Power Play, which you can grab here. One of my personal favorites though is Conversation Hearts. I promise if you read it, you will be begging Avon to write a follow up. You can check that one out here

 

Time (Mis)Management
So, it’s been just about six months since I decided to write full-time in lieu of pursue my hair stylist career. I simply didn’t have the ability to build up a stylist clientele and focus on the writing at the same time, and to be honest, writing is my first and greatest love and I never, ever thought I’d be blessed enough to do this as a job. And now I am! And boy, have I learned a lot in these six months.

 
Some of these lessons include:
1. My cats do not appreciate my dance moves or random, impromptu sing-alongs. My cats hate joy.
2. Being an extrovert and working home alone all day…well, there’s a reason I have dance parties and impromptu singalongs. IT’S TOO QUIET HELP SEND PEOPLE.
3. My neighbor seriously spends all his time mowing his yard. 24/7. It’s not that big of a yard, either. I don’t even know.
4. I talk to myself constantly, at home or while doing errands during the day. To be fair, I did this before I started writing full-time. I do it a lot more now, but hey. Eccentric authors can talk to themselves, right?
5. Eccentric authors can also leave the house in their stylish work-from-home wardrobe of leggings, canvas skull shoes, a tank top and the two of the world’s smallest pigtails which are totally uneven because whatever, #YOLO.
6. I fought having to get up in the morning like some kind of angry fighting thing that fights. Now? I wake up naturally and without my alarm at 7:30, and am usually at the desk working most days by 8:30/9:00 and work until 6 or so. Contrarian to the end, that’s me.
7. Time management, my ancient nemesis, is a lot easier when you love what you do…but loving what you do isn’t enough to master it.
8. One day I watched my mail carrier put the mail in our mailbox, then flip off my house. I still don’t know what that’s about.

Probably the hardest thing, though, is that planning and plotting and writing have always been things that I just *did* before. I wrote sometimes (or, who are we kidding here, all the time) at my office jobs, I wrote in the evenings, I wrote on the weekends. I wrote at theSocial media time management and web strategy concept with a clock and social network word and sign printed in multiple colors 3d render image. salon when I was working as a receptionist during beauty school. I was probably always writing when I was supposed to be doing something else, which yes, was a pretty good sign I should have been doing this all along.

 

Except now I have entire days devoted to writing, so I thought I’d be doing it constantly. And that is totally not true. Some days I’m in the groove and I write like crazy, but some days I play on Twitter, dance with the cats (they REALLY hate that), do promo stuff (you know, like playing on Twitter >>) and obsess over my schedule and when I need to get things done by.

You guys, the other day I procrastinated editing (okay, I think this is fair though because editing arghhhh) by cleaning out my linen cabinet. What! I used to procrastinate cleaning by writing! WHAT MADNESS IS THIS!
Things that have plagued me my entire life are organizational skills, time management and pesky details that I would rather ignore in favor of candy. So now that I’m my own boss, I’m having to find ways to curb my natural distracted tendencies, set up schedules and procedures that work, and not feel guilty about not getting enough done. I read somewhere this was the biggest challenge for people who work from home, the constant thought that they should be working around the clock and never take breaks to play Futurama: Game of Drones on their phones, or have intense conversations with their friends about craft night.

 
I guess that’s the main thing I’ve learned – even when I love something as much as I love writing, even as passionate as I am about what I do and how grateful I am that I get to do it…I’m still going to play Futurama: Game of Drones and have cat dance parties. (Sorry, cats.)

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

Power Play by Avon Gale: Blog Tour, Character Interview and Giveaway

PowerPlayfs-200x300

 

synopsis

A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

After spending guilt-ridden years for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime to forget, but also a sleazy GM determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets the team, Misha revisits his darkest days, which might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.

Author Name: Avon Gale

Book Name: Power Play

Series: Scoring Chances

Book: Three

This book can be read as a standalone

Release Date: May 9, 2016

Pages or Words: 240 pages

Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction

Goodreads Link

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

[Read more…]

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

Power Play by Avon Gale: Release Day Review

PowerPlayfs-200x300

synopsis

A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

After spending years guilt ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.

Title: Power Play
Series: A Scoring Chances Novel
Author: Avon Gale
Release Date: May 9, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

Heather's Review

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Avon Gale fan. Like, to the point I’m kind of waiting for a restraining order to show up at my door because I’m an online stalker. Okay, so maybe not that bad, but I really love Avon Gale. Have I mentioned that? And it’s the Scoring Chances series that roped me in as a lifelong reader of her stories, so I couldn’t wait to get my greedy little hands on Power Play. 

Misha and Max have a history on the ice, and it’s not a good one. I loved the way Avon portrayed the guilt Misha felt over ending Max’s career. There was a balance between what I think is realistic guilt a player would feel and the added angst ingrained in him from childhood. Without that balance, Misha could’ve easily been seen as over the top and a bit unlikeable.

While I hated the ulterior motives that brought them back together, I’m glad they were. Both of them needed to heal from what happened, and it was perfect that they were able to do so together. They not only had great chemistry together, but they worked well as a coaching team. Both had their own strengths and neither felt slighted when the other took the lead.

I was expecting this book to be heavy on the angst given the fact that Misha is Russian and harbors a lot of fears over being gay. I thought his past would come back to haunt him in a more dire manner than it did. I kept waiting for it, but it never came. While part of me wishes it did, I don’t know that something so dark would’ve fit with the rest of the series.

I’m hoping and praying we’ll get to see Isaac’s story next, because I really feel for that boy!

1-4.5 pieces of eye candy

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

Conversation Hearts by Avon Gale : Review

conversation hearts avon galesynopsis

It’s Valentine’s Day, and grad student—and male escort—Levi Barron expects to spend his evening with a client who’s paying him for his services in bed… not an assassin who needs to borrow the view from his hotel room in the morning.

With nothing to do but endure the company of his unwanted guest, Levi and the assassin, Sinjin, spend some time bonding over HGTV, minibar beverages, Flannery O’Connor short stories, terrible Valentine’s candy, and the necessity of lying about their jobs.

Their evening takes an unexpected turn when they decide to indulge in their mutual attraction, and in the morning Levi doesn’t know if he’s spent the night with a hired killer or a hydraulic engineer with a very specific fantasy. Either way, the two have enough chemistry—in and out of bed—that Levi isn’t sure one night with Sinjin will be enough.

And a message left in candy suggests the feeling is mutual.

Heather's Review

Avon Gale quickly made her way onto my very short insta-buy list. Don’t get me wrong, there are authors I love, but very few can get me to click on their books without knowing anything about the characters.

I’m glad she is on that list, because otherwise I might have skipped this book because I’m not a huge fan of novellas. Most of the time, I’m left feeling unfulfilled. With Conversation Hearts, I was so deeply in love with Sinjin and Levi by the last page that I was legitimately ticked with the author for ending the book the way she did. I just know these guys are going to make it, but I need to see their love develop just to be sure.

The love affair between an assassin and an escort might seem unlikely, but the truth is their occupations make them that much more perfect for one another. The biggest question in my mind right now is which will be harder to overcome? Would it be harder for Levi to live with the knowledge that his lover kills people or for Sinjin to kiss Levi goodbye knowing that he’s going to give his body to someone else?

Without a doubt, this was a 5 star, shout it from the rooftops, read for me. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to create my first online petition because we need to show Avon Gale that it’s a moral imperative that she give us more of this couple.

5-pieces-eye-candy3

denise reviewThis was my first Valentine’s Day novella. I usually don’t read novellas, but when I have, they have been holiday ones. But when I saw the premise of Conversation Hearts, I wanted to give it a shot. I’m glad I did…and yet, I kind of want to have a stern discussion with Avon Gale about this. Just leaving it open ended like that? Cruel, I have to say.

These two men, came together in the most unusual circumstances, and yet through little conversations, snippets of moments, they found common ground, and were able to make their short time together work. Despite the nerves of an assassin just coming in, Levi finds a connection with Sinjin, and come together.

Avon Gale is a new author to me, although I have heard great things about her Scoring Chances series. I’m thinking I might need to pick those up and have a weekend read-athon with her books.

Now…can I remind the author that we NEED more Levi and Sinjin…please??? 4 pieces of eye candy.

4-pieces-of-eye-candy2

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Save of the Game by Avon Gale : Pre-Release Day Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

 

SaveoftheGameFS

synopsis

After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His new roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences. Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. While trying to financially help Ethan, Riley must hide his family’s wealth so as not to hurt Ethan’s immense pride. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.

Author Name: Avon Gale

Book Name: Save of the Game

Series: Scoring Chances

This book is a ‘Scoring Chances’ novel. It can be read as a standalone.

Pages or Words: 200 pages

Release Date: January 29, 2016

Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Sports, Hockey

Save of the Game on Goodreads 

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Heather's Review

Save of the Game by Avon Gale is the second book in the Scoring Chances series. I’m so glad Riley got his story because I felt bad for him in Breakaway. No really, I did! When he started asking Lane about Jared, there was just something that screamed unrequited crush to me. I wanted him to find his happy.

At first glance, Riley and Ethan seem like the Odd Couple. Ethan  is a loud, obnoxious enforcer and Riley is the quiet goalie doing everything he can to prove himself as a goalie. As the reasons for Riley wanting to prove his worth unfold, I felt even more deeply for him.

Ethan is the character who sticks out more in my mind after the end of the book. He struck me as the dumb jock used to using his fists because it’s what he’s good at. At no point is he portrayed as a rising star. He’s a utility player there to do a job. He has potential, but given the fact that he’s slow and clumsy on the ice, smokes, and doesn’t eat right, he’s unlikely to reach that potential. All of that’s gotta give a guy a complex.

Even though Riley’s the better player, he seems to be jealous of Ethan to some extent, with good reason. Ethan has the one thing Riley would give up anything to have. And once they’re together, he gets a taste of what he’s missing.

Avon Gale walked the line between making Ethan accept his feelings for Riley too quickly and writing him as so tortured that it’s difficult to read. For a while, I did think he was too accepting and willing to explore what he felt, but once I met his family, it all made sense.

The Scoring Chances Series is quickly becoming one of my go-to series. I can’t wait to get my greedy little hands on the third book. I won’t go to extremes and threaten to tie Avon Gale to her chair until she hands it over, but only because illegal activity is frowned upon and I’m not sure how I’d get books in prison. Seriously, if you love a good hockey book, read this series. If you’re not a hockey fan, I won’t hold it against you, but I will still tell you to pick up Breakaway and Save of the Game. You won’t regret it!

5 pieces of eye candy!

Save of the Game Avon Gale

excerpt

His phone beeped, alerting him that he had a new text message. It was from Ethan Kennedy, the defenseman the Storm had acquired before the trade deadline last spring. The rowdy Kennedy, who had a heavy New York accent and was a huge fan of the New York Rangers—a team Riley hated, by virtue of being a New Jersey Devils fan—had bunked with him for a few weeks during the finals. He’d gone back to New York after the Storm lost in the playoffs. Riley hadn’t been sure if he was coming back or not, but the text message indicated he’d just gotten back to toBanner300x250wn, and would Riley mind picking him up from the airport?

And oh, he got a cheaper rate by flying into Tampa, which was three hours away. Was that a problem? And one last thing. Riley didn’t need a roommate by any chance. Did he?

Riley looked around his apartment, which was nice and clean and quiet. Just like it always was, except for those few weeks last spring when Ethan was there. He was loud and messy and always in Riley’s space, left half-full cans of Pepsi everywhere, drank whiskeys with dubious-sounding names, and smoked like a chimney.

be there in 3 hrs, Riley texted and grabbed a few boxes of coconut water out of his fridge. The idea of coming home alone after games reminded him of those car rides in Wyoming, and he was getting tired of the silence.

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Character Interview 

Excited to be interviewing Riley Hunter

  • What do you find attractive in a man?

Ethan would probably say my answer would be “blonds” but that’s just because I think Martin Brodeur is hot. But really I think my answer is passion and confidence. Also, tattoos.

  • The first thing that went through your head when you saw Ethan?

That I was going to be killing a lot of penalties. Sorry, Ethan, but my first impression was that you were a loudmouth who would end up in the box a lot and give the other team a lot of man advantages. And I was right about that. I wasn’t sure about the whole being into guys thing yet, but I noticed Ethan’s tattoos.

  • Do you think you’ll insist the author visits you again?

I hear I show up in the third book, and am at least mentioned in the fourth. I don’t mind if she comes back to visit, especially if she writes a book about how I’m the starting goalie for the New Jersey Devils. Then Ethan would have to cheer for the Devils instead of the Rangers, haha.

  • Before you met Ethan, what was your ideal man?

Uh, Martin Brodeur? (Laughs) I wasn’t really sure if I was bisexual or not. But I always wanted someone in my life to shake it up a bit. Someone to make things not so quiet all the time. I definitely got that.

  • You’re going out for dinner. What’s your favorite food?

I’m really boring about food when I’m training, which is basically always. I eat a lot of grilled things – chicken, fish, vegetables. I do like pizza, and stealing Ethan’s cheese fries from Cruisers. You’d think we would eat more seafood living in Florida, but I play hockey for the ECHL. Seafood is kind of out of our budget, unless maybe we caught it ourselves. Which I could do, but no way would Ethan have the patience.

Thanks Riley!

meet the author

Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and when she’s not writing you can find her at the salon, making her clients look and feel fabulous. She never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

Where to find the author:

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

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authoravongale

Twitter: @avongalewrites

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/avongalewrites/

Other: (join my mailing list) http://eepurl.com/bGLSrD

Tour Dates & Stops:

29-Jan

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Posy Roberts, Book Lovers 4Ever, Mikky’s World of Books, Jessie G. Books, Gay Book Reviews

1-Feb

Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Kirsty Loves Books, Love Bytes, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Divine Magazine, Hearts on Fire, Open Skye Book Reviews

2-Feb

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, V’s Reads, Nautical Star Books, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, BFD Book Blog

3-Feb

Bayou Book Junkie, Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly, Happily Ever Chapter, Unquietly Me, MM Good Book Reviews, 3 Chicks After Dark

4-Feb

The Novel Approach, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Carly’s Book Reviews, The Hat Party

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