GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour: Guest Post Rick R. Reed

**Today TCO is excited to welcome Rick R. Reed to the GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour. I’m a big fan of his. Psssttt…he mentioned something about a kissing booth at GRL, so here’s hoping! Check out his guest post. I love it! And don’t forget there is a giveaway to enter. (And here’s a little secret, in response to Rick’s post…my husband is coming with me to Denver!!!)**

 

What to Tell People About Your Attendance at GRL

A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed

 

I admit it—to some folks the idea of going to a conference about gay romance literature might seem a little hard to understand. For those of us who are looking forward to it, it’s a foregone conclusion—that it’s fun, that it can be like a family reunion, that it can be an amazing way to mingle with your tribe, with people who get you, and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the reading and writing you love.

But some people in your life might not get it, and it’s for those folks that I offer up these talking points.

I once overheard some people talking about what they tell friends and family about their attendance at GRL, a retreat, as we all know, for lovers of m/m romance. For a reason that’s alien to me, some of the people I overheard felt the need to not be totally open about the event they were attending. As a gay man who’s been out of the closet now almost more years than he was in, the secrecy is a bit hard to understand, but I guess there are still people out there who A. care what someone else thinks about how they spend their off time or B. there are people (like, say, maybe a teacher at a parochial grade school) who knows their association with ‘gay’ literature might be frowned upon. And that’s sad. But I understand it’s a reality for some.

So here are some tips to help you decide what to say when people ask you about where you’re going and what you’ll be doing when you attend GRL.

 

For the straight folks in your life who have never heard of m/m romance

Now, for those of you who are open about where you’re going and people who don’t know your tastes in reading ask something like, “Gay romance? Why gay romance? You’re not gay, are you?” This is such a silly question, as if we have to confine our reading tastes to only who we are. Reading a book with African-American characters and you’re white? Why? Reading a story that’s about aliens from Mars and you’re not one? Why on Earth?

When you put it that way, you begin to see what a silly question it is. It would be like me, as a gay man, saying I don’t read stories with straight characters. I’m not straight, so how could a book about straight people possibly interest me?

Because I’m human! Because we’re all human! And our needs, desires, hopes, aspirations, and despair do not divide us; they unite us.

If someone wonders why you read m/m, you might clue them in that, in the end, you like reading about people falling in love. People. And then you might use the opportunity to tell them what’s so wonderful and different about m/m romance and why it makes sense not only for you to read, but why it also might make sense for them to step out of their comfort zone and give it a try.

 

For the gay folks in your life who wonder why m/m romance and not just gay fiction

And here, it gets a little trickier. I heard someone say on Facebook recently that m/m romance is by and for straight women and that gay romance is by and for gay men. Um, I beg to differ! Putting aside the inanity of trying to classify who reads and writes love stories, you still might have to talk to gay friends about what they might perceive as reading in a genre that’s not gender-appropriate for you, especially if you happen to be a gay man. Again, the same thing I said above applies–we’re all human. And human love stories, whether they’re about gay people or straight people, have a lot more in common than they have differences. Most of us want to find our happily ever after. Most of us have trouble getting there and may even have the misfortune of kissing a few frogs that did not turn into princes along the way. M/m, gay fiction, gay romance (my personal preference) whatever you want to call it, if it centers around two people falling in love, then it’s blind to gender and you really don’t have to defend your reading choices. Tell them that…and tell them that reading or writing about love is about our shared human experience and has very little to do with what’s between our legs, but what’s between our ears. And we all have that in common.

 

What to tell those who simply cannot know

So you may fall into the camp of someone, for whatever reason, must keep your attendance at a gay-related event on the down-low. I wish the world weren’t a place where this was sometimes necessary, but if it is in your case, you have lots of options (and these you can say without even lying). Tell ’em you’re attending a fan convention for fiction, a romance convention, a get-together with other readers like you to compare notes and meet your favorite authors. See, the specifics are nobody’s business but your own. Yet, I urge you, if you possibly can, to be open about where you’re going. Come out of the closet! You might be surprised that people are not as judgmental or surprised as you think. And by being open, you bring the possibility of the good news of m/m fiction more out into the world at large.

 

What to tell people if you’re an author

I can only speak for me, and the answer to that question is easy. I come because I want to connect with my tribe. For each of the now five years I’ve been coming to GRL as a featured author, my experience is always the same: it’s like a family reunion. It’s a chance, for almost a week, to be with the people I write for, the people who ‘get’ me and I them, and to connect with others who write what I do and be go fan boy on them. It’s truly a retreat…into a perfect world where everyone likes the same stuff as I do. I am not big on swag or giveaways. My best giveaway, I’ve always thought, is a smile and a hug. Those are the things that give me my biggest return.

 

Check out all of Rick R. Reed’s books here!

 


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Never Let You Go by Andrew Grey: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Friends since they met in school, Ashton and Brighton soon become much more. Ash and his aunt are Brighton’s haven away from his mess of a family, and when Ash enlists in the Army, Brighton learns to endure his long absences and eagerly awaits his return from missions.

Until one day Ash doesn’t come back, and Brighton thinks his greatest fear has come true.

Months pass and Brighton grieves for Ash, not knowing that a terrible misunderstanding sent Ash running, unable to cope when he thought Brighton had betrayed him. Even after an emotional reunion, their relationship isn’t the same—Brighton is now responsible for his young niece, and he’s having a hard time rediscovering the trust he once had in Ash. Ash must still tend to his mental health, but before he can, he’ll have to deal with a past secret that puts all their lives at risk. With so many forces determined to tear them apart, can Brighton and Ash hold on to each other and never let go?

Title: Never Let You Go
Series: Forever Yours: Book Two
Author: Andrew Grey
Release Date: September 8, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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Usually when I start a story, I begin with the characters, a few times it’s the setting or a particular situation.  Never Let You Go started with the prologue.  I had a clear vision for how this story was going to start.  That vision of Ash seeing Brighton and then turning to walk away when he jumps to a conclusion, is what drove the entire idea.  That in turn helped me develop Ash and Brighton.  It told me a great deal about Ash, his history, and just how broken he felt at that moment.   Brighton and the hurt and pain he carried with him came into clear focus as well.  That isn’t how I usually do things, but for this story I think it worked very well.  Though I will confess that I’m not someone to let go of a story idea no matter where it comes from.  Inspiration can be both fleeting and amazing at the same time.   I like to think that the important thing about inspiration is to wrangle it once it strokes and not let go.  I’m certainly glad I didn’t let go of that initial vision for Never Let You Go.

“You know, you need to get out once in a while,” Raymond said as he came out of his bedroom. “Do you realize it’s been eighteen months since they told you about Ash? He’s gone and isn’t coming back, and you need to find someone to share your life.” He leaned closer. “And don’t say that’s what you have me and Violet for. You need someone to love and love you in return.”

“I had that once, and I don’t know if I can ever have that again.” Brighton knew what it felt like to have someone who was the other half of him. “Besides, Violet is still settling in and I need to concentrate on her. Allie asked me to take care of Violet if anything ever happened to her, and I intend to do the very best that I can.” He knew the answer was a cop-out of sorts and that he was hiding behind his niece, but he wasn’t ready to date yet. “So you go on out and have a good time.” He did a double take on Raymond’s outfit. He wore a pair of jeans that had to be two sizes too small and a shirt that showed off his arms. “Where are you going?”

“To Rose’s for coffee.”

“Don’t you think you’re a little overdressed… or underdressed, in this case? God, you don’t want to cut off circulation to your bits. And this is Biglerville.”

“The guy I’m dating is from LA. His name is Ethan, and he’s Justin Hawthorne’s assistant. So he’s used to being around people who are really cool and interesting and….” Raymond shifted his gaze to the floor.

“You are not allowed to be unsure of yourself. Go back in there and change. Let this Ethan see who you really are and he’s sure to like you. And if he doesn’t, I’ll show up at his house and kick his ass.” Brighton pulled Raymond into his arms. “Now go ahead and change. Just be yourself.”

With a smile, Raymond went back into his room while Brighton returned to making dinner.

“Violet, please turn that down a little.”

She lowered the volume, and Brighton cut up some lettuce to make them each a small salad. He was really blessed that Violet loved vegetables, though if he asked her what she wanted to eat she’d tell him bacon. That girl would eat bacon for each and every meal if he let her. He opened the door to the refrigerator and pulled out some chicken he’d already cooked and began cutting it into small pieces, along with a little celery and some herbs, as well as chopped nuts.

“Is this better?” Raymond asked, and Brighton nodded.

“You look great. The slacks are nicer than the tight jeans, and I like that shirt. The green is great on you.” Brighton watched as Raymond pulled on his shoes and got ready to go. “Take an umbrella. You’re going to need it.”

Raymond looked out the front window, groaning as the rain lashed the glass.

Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled, sending Violet off the sofa and into his arms. He set aside what he was doing, lifted her up, and took her back to the sofa. “It’s just thunder. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” He sat down with Violet on his lap and turned to Raymond. “Just wait a little while. This isn’t going to last long. When are you supposed to be there?”

Raymond checked his phone. “Fifteen minutes.” He shoved it back in his pocket. “The one time I’m ready early and I’m stuck waiting until the storm lets up.”

Brighton patted Violet’s knee. “Why don’t you go get the really big umbrella for Uncle Raymond? That way he won’t get wet.” He smiled as Violet hurried to the closet and brought over the black-and-white umbrella. She jumped when the thunder rolled again, but handed it to Raymond and then sat next to Brighton once more. “Do you think you can sit here while I finish making you something to eat?” He tweaked her nose, and she nodded slowly.

The storm was already moving on and the thunder sounded less sharp. Raymond took the umbrella and headed for the door to the stairs. “I’ll see you later.” He waved, and Violet waved back. Raymond closed the door behind him, and Brighton stood to return to the kitchen.

Violet laughed as one of the characters on her show did something funny. He adored that sound. She’d been with him for six months now. His sister had developed cancer, and by the time they diagnosed it, she was beyond help and lasted only a few more weeks. The strain she’d had was nasty and had left none of her untouched. At the end she’d been little more than skin and bones. One of the hardest things Brighton had ever had to do was take Violet home with him as she cried for her mother while he was barely able to hold himself together. Thank God Raymond had come to stay with him the year before.

Just like when Ash walked out of his life for the last time to take his assignment. Ash had promised it would be his last one that his time was up after that. It all turned out to be true, though not in the way either of them had hoped at the time.

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

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Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Sometimes family chooses you.

At forty, Vincent “Vinnie” Fierro is still afraid to admit he might be gay—even to himself. It’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, it’s getting harder to ignore what he really wants.

Vinnie attempts some self-exploration in Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek, Trey agrees to let Vinnie court him and see if he truly belongs on this side of the fence—though Trey intends to keep his virginity intact.

It seems like a solid plan, but nothing is simple when family is involved. When Vinnie’s family finds out about their relationship, the situation is sticky enough, but when Trey’s mother goes critical, Vinnie and Trey must decide whose happiness is most important—their families’ or their own.

First edition published by Samhain Publishing, 2013.

Title: Family Man
Author: Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
Release Date: September 11, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 206

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This is a super sweet book. Yes, there is hot sex, but I really enjoyed the romance.

Vince is from a big Chicago  Italian family. I live in the N.Y. tristate area.and, trust me, families like these are everywhere. Big, loud, in your business and completely loving. I think it bothered me a bit that Vince didn’t want to tell his family-  Because they are the type to not judge. Even with their heavy religious background.

Trey is a neighborhood kid who always noticed Vince, but Vince didn’t notice him. Until he did. And what started as an experiment of sorts turned into a slow burn romance as Vince came to terms with his sexuality and Trey dealt with his crazy home life, trying to hide his alcoholic mother from Vince.

Let me tell you, there is a scene in a jazz club that is so hot. And all of their clothes stayed on. I adore scenes like that. Hot and sexy is more than sex.

Even with the various family issues, the story is low angst. It boiled down to two neighborhood kids discovering each other and falling in love.

This one is far from perfect, but worth a read.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


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Dreamspinner Press Exclusive Guest Post: Andrew Grey, RWA Centennial Award Winner

**Once again, Dreamspinner Press is stopping by TCO to give us a little update on some of the awesome things happening over there! Check it out, and yes, there is a giveaway too!

Writing is hard work but writing more than 100 books is astounding. But that’s exactly what Andrew Grey has accomplished. In July Andrew was awarded the Romance Writers of America’s Centennial Award for writing more than 100 romances. Andrew is the first male author and first author of gay romance to receive the RWA Centennial Award. You can read an interview with Andrew here.

If you’re an avid Andrew Grey reader, or new to his titles, you will fall in love with his Forever Yours series while it’s on sale at Amazon and the Dreamspinner Press store: eBook one, Can’t Live Without You, a reunion romance between a now-famous actor and his high school boyfriend, is 99 cents; eBook two, Never Let You Go is available tomorrow and features a soldier returning home who must battle secrets to re-establish a relationship with his boyfriend.

Andrew Grey’s unique blend of sweet and sexy will have you happy that his catalogue includes more than 100 titles for you to read!

Congrats to Andrew on this huge achievement!

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Stalking Buffalo Bill by j. leigh bailey: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Stalking Buffalo Bill—A Shifter U Tale

A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.

A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.

While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.

It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.

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Before I get started, I wanted to say a big “thank you” to Two Chicks Obsessed for  letting me stop by today and celebrate the release of STALKING BUFFALO BILL. I had so much fun writing this book, and I’m thrilled to be a part of Dreamspinner Press’s new line, Dreamspun Beyond.

Why Google (or any search engine) Needs an “I’m an Author!” Flag

I don’t have a clue as to how authors in the past ever got anything written without Google and Wikipedia. I love research—that real, buried in the library under stacks of resource books research—but there are times when I’m writing that I need to confirm a detail or verify that what I want to happen actually can happen. In these instances, Google comes to the rescue. But if anyone was looking at my search history, I’d probably come off as deranged, odd, or criminal, depending on the book. So I’ve decided to share a few of my more random search terms.

  1. Writing about shifters means researching really important animal-related factoids like: Which is faster, a buffalo or a coyote? This doesn’t sound like something a normal person needs to know. But when you are writing a chase scene in which a buffalo is chasing a coyote, this is critical. The answer, in case you’re interested, is that both the coyote and the buffalo top out at about 40 miles an hour (the buffalo gets up to 35-40 mph, and the coyote can hit 43 mph).

 

  1. Writing shifters has also prompted this gem: Do birds smell? Of course, then I had to specify the olfactory sense, not “do birds stink?” This then also led into a rabbit’s warren of searches because the answer to “Do birds smell?” depends on which birds.

 

  1. When I was writing my YA action/adventure novel DO-GOODER, a couple of my searches probably landed me on a government watch list. Things like How do you make and transport Sarin Gas? and Weapons trafficking routes through Africa might make international law enforcement folks take another look.

 

  1. Some of my searches have yielded horrifying results. DO NOT look up Pit Viper Snake Bites unless you want to see gross, beyond-painful-looking, sometimes rotting and infected bites, including injuries that show bone and tissue and pus.

 

  1. The best—the absolute best!—searches yield eye candy. When I did a search for Hot men with beards, I found William. It was almost a shame that I found him right away. I mean, searching through thousands of images of hot men wouldn’t be the worst way to spend my time… The model that was used for the cover of Stalking Buffalo Bill, by the way, is 100% how I pictured William while writing the novel. 100%

 

I know there are authors who’s search terms might be crazier (or even more likely to land them on a watch list) than mine. Anyone writing romantic suspense or action/adventure novels probably has way more fascinating stories to tell, for example. For the project I’m working on now, I’m going to have to do some digging into black-market baby adoptions. Not quite as fluffy as “Do birds smell?” but I’ll learn something new. 🙂

 

**GIVEAWAY** I’ll be giving away a signed copy of my gay YA action/adventure novel DO-GOODER (US only) or a digital copy of one of the contemporary New Adult m/m romance titles in my Letting Go series (open internationally) to a random commenter who tells me: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to look up on the internet?

 

By the time William’s bulky form stood in the entrance of the closet, I was human and 100 percent naked, though I didn’t have time to worry about it. There was a creep out there after my manly man.

“Not real quick with the nonverbals, are you?” I propped my hands on my hips.

He copied the gesture. I had to admit, his version was much more intimidating. And not just because he was actually wearing clothes. “You want to tell me what that was all about?”

I rolled my eyes. “Obviously I needed to get you alone.”

His eyes trailed down my body, from the top of my sandy-brown hair to the tips of my toes. Heat prickled along every inch his eyes touched. Flustered, I snapped, “Not for that.”

“Too bad.”

Did he really—no, now wasn’t the time for that.

“Look, a couple of freaks are looking for you. They had your picture and everything.”

The slight smirk he wore slipped off his face. “What?”

“Yeah, these guys—who gave me chills, by the way—stopped into the café and wanted to know if we’d seen you. They were evil. I mean, to the core. And they definitely weren’t from around here.”

He reached out and gripped my shoulder. “What did they look like?”

“Like a couple of thugs in an amateur production of Oklahoma.”

At his blank look, I gave him a more specific description of the weirdos. Then I told him what I’d seen. “So, Mafia Hit Man is out there right now, looking for you. And you stood there, a hulking target, just begging to be caught.”

“Sorry, I don’t speak coyote.”

j.leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending. For upcoming releases and appearances information, sign up for her newsletter at https://t.co/FfL9gFVJLQ.

 

Social Media Links

Twitter @JenniWrites (http://twitter.com/JenniWrites )
Facebook @JLeighBailey (http://www.facebook.com/JLeighBailey )
Instagram @j.leigh.bailey_author (https://www.instagram.com/j.leigh.bailey_author/ )
Website (www.jleighbailey.net )

 

 

 

 

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Earning His Trust by Alicia Nordwell: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review & Giveaway

Evin lost the only two men he ever loved. But he might get a second chance with one of them—if he’s willing to take the risk.

Following the death of his husband, Evin is living in Portland and raising the infant son they had through a surrogate. Six-month-old Micah is his life, and if it means no time for activities or friendships beyond his minuscule support network, that’s a sacrifice Evin is willing to make. When he suffers a burn baking teething biscuits, the last person Evin expects to encounter in the ER is Ben, his lover from college—and the man who left him without a word of explanation.

Ben knows it won’t be easy to earn Evin’s trust and prove he’s not the same man Evin once knew, but he can’t bear to watch Evin struggle to care for Micah, hurting and alone. He wants back in Evin’s life, as a friend and hopefully more, but Evin’s heart is fragile, and the years have changed him too.

Title: Earning His Trust
Author: Alicia Nordwell
Release Date: September 6, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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Five Things You Don’t Know About Me ~ Childhood Edition

Evin, one of the main characters from Earning His Trust, has a six-month-old son. What I’ve found, as a parent, is that we remember so much more about our childhoods as we watch our children grow and live theirs. Here are a few things about me from those tender years!

  1. Growing up, I had as close to two dads as you can get—without having gay parents. For literally as far back as I can remember, my dad and his identical twin brother lived together. I actually moved out before my uncle did, lol. Of course, we have always sworn they share a single brain in two separate bodies, so maybe it was like having one dad that could be in two places at once. (Seriously, I’ve had them thank me by saying, “Thank you for doing [whatever] that for me” when I actually did it for the other one!)
  2. I learned the sign language alphabet in the first grade, and I can still remember all the letters, though I’ve only used it once when asking a worker at a store where to find work gloves. It’s a basic communication skill that I think everyone should learn, though.
  3. The first book I ever remember reading was a collection of Aesop’s Fables. I got a reprint with the original illustrations to read to my babies.
  4. I remember making up the adventures of a family of swamp monsters called the Goo Goo Dolls for my younger stepsiblings as we lay in bed waiting to fall asleep. This was an early indication of my desire to share to create fiction revolving around members of a family.
  5. I’m writing this while listening to the soundtrack to Burlesque. I absolutely love the movie (not only because of all the eye candy) but because that kind of singing and dancing fascinates me. In the 6th grade I learned I have a visible muscle tic in my cheek that triggered when stage fright struck during a song I had to sing as a trio, and having two left feet would be a step up compared to my dancing skills, so it’s all pure admiration for what I could never do, lol.

I’m so glad that I didn’t judge this book by it’s reviews… I’m not sure why so many people are having problems with it…Even me, who isn’t much of a fan of second chances, loved this story!

Evin lost his husband in a “wrong place at the wrong time” accident, leaving him alone with a six month old son and only his friend Gianna who lived two hours away for company. Life as a single parent is hard, I know all about it…but still grieving and trying to get to a new normal without your husband and with a new baby…I can understand why Evin was the was he was. An accident while cooking has him rushing to the hospital with a fussy, teething baby in tow and that’s where he see’s Dr. Perez. His ex.

Ben left after college without so much as a word to his boyfriend and love of his life, Evin. Of course it was a mistake, but they were young and just figuring life out. Saying he went about it the wrong way is a massive understatement, but if he hadn’t, then no doubt about it, Evin wouldn’t have met his husband and had his baby. It’s awkward at first, but Ben goes out of his way a couple times to see Evin again, that leads to texting and then hanging out and then…Feelings are back and things are like they were before.

As anyone who knows me, knows that I love babies in my stories… there’s just something about good daddies that I love reading about! Okay, those kind of daddies too, but get your mind out of the gutter… I meant, actual fathers! And there is no better daddy for Micah than Evin. He’s so sweet with him and patient… and Ben is crazy about them both.

Is was a cute story… very low angst, no terrible exes coming out of the woodwork or scheming people trying to break them up. It was just a nice, fluffy, read about two men who lost touch and then reconnected down the road. You never know what life will have in store for you…that’s the truth…I was so glad these two found it in themselves to work it out though. I wouldn’t mind reading more from them in future books. Fingers crossed, I guess?!

4 pieces of eye candy from me!

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social Media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

Prizes: Amazon Fire 7” *US Only* $20 Gift Card (Amazon or Dreamspinner) (2) Backlist title winners
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Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet: Release Day Review with Giveaway

He’s nobody’s definition of Mr. Right—but that might make him perfect.

Matthew Hart is heir to the family fortune and owner of Hart & Home. When a near-death experience has him fretting over the future, he decides he needs a husband, and not just any husband—an appropriate man to protect the Hart legacy. The last thing Matthew expects is to cross paths with Jax Foster, his first love and the boy who crushed his heart when he disappeared.

Jax is unlikely to make Matthew’s list of suitable candidates. Bad boy, vagabond, deep in debt, with a father who can’t keep out of trouble, Jax has nothing to offer—except his heart and a second chance at the romance they never got to explore.

Title: Finding Mr. Wrong
Author: Charlie Cochet
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 218

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Second chance romance is one of my favorite tropes. Finding a love, then losing it, only to find it again, while trying to rebuild the lost trust just hits all the feels for me. Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet hits all those notes.

Jax disappeared from Matthew’s life, without a word, after being his guiding light during high school. When he is “found” by some meddling friends and family, Matthew initially is determined not to let Jax back in. As he learns why Jax disappeared, their trust begins to be rebuilt, but of course the course of true love is never steady. 🙂

Matthew has a bit of a panic attack once he realizes he could have died, and the company he runs could fall into the wrong hands. As they work back towards each other, it is easy to see how Jax is torn between wanting to do what’s right by his father, and wanting to live a life where he is able to just complete his art. Jax’s story was heartbreaking. He’d spent literally his entire life covering for a father who was weak, and allowed his son to protect him, rather than the other way around.  Honestly, the reader wants to kick Jax’s dad out, but in the end, it is understandable that he couldn’t do anything but help him get out of the next mess.

The Dreamspun Desires line was brought about as a set of stories that harken back to the old Harlequin romance days, where tropes like babies that were previously not know about, or families that break couples up, or where unseen forces tear loves apart, and this book falls right in that line. A little dark, but with a love that stayed true for both men through the time that they had been apart. This quote even hits a little on that old Harlequin trope:

“Honey, I might not be able to have his babies, but wouldn’t stop me from trying.”

I am enjoying this entire line, and really anything by Charlie Cochet I will read, so win-win.

4 pieces of eye candy


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Stalking Buffalo Bill by j. leigh bailey: Release Day Review and Giveaway

A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.

A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.

While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.

It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.

Title: Stalking Buffalo Bill
Series: Shifter U
Author: j. leigh bailey
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Werewolves/Shifters, Mystery/Suspense, Dreamspun Beyond
Pages: 220

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This new Dreamspinner Press line, Dreamspun Beyond, would not normally be my cup of tea. I don’t read much paranormal, shifters or things that run contrary to normal contemporary romance. However, for some reason this series has pulled me in a few times already. Stalking Buffalo Bill is the second book in this line that I have read, and I really enjoyed it!

I loved that the author took the actual physical characteristics of the animals that the MC’s shifted into and incorporated them into their personalities. Donnie was very excitable, quick, loyal, and rather tenacious when it came to what he felt was important. Meanwhile William, a buffalo, more stoic-as I would imagine a buffalo to be, never having seen one-a college professor, and a man who didn’t seem to really get ruffled much, and wanted to protect Donnie by not allowing him anywhere near the problems that he was dealing with.

Donnie made me laugh…he found his mate, and like a wily coyote, would not let him out of his sight. He knew what he wanted, didn’t care that his family didn’t approve of his life choices, and held on tight to his choices. I highlighted so many of Donnie’s thoughts:

“I was protecting my mate from those who would do him harm. It was all very…alpha. How cool was that? Holy shit. Did I just think mate?”

“I turned away from the monitors and realized–again–that I was naked. ‘Really, William, could you bring my clothes in? I’m sure my arguments will be much more valid if my junk isn’t hanging out.”

“Then he smiled, which made my fingers go number, so I dropped my fork. ‘Cause I was smooth like that.”

This book was a fun read from beginning to end for me. It never had me looking to see how far I was in the book, and when it would end. I just kept reading and enjoying. And that is exactly how you want to be reading a book! I’m looking forward to more books in this new line from DSP, and if j. leigh bailey were to write another installment in this world, well, I would be quite happy to read it. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy


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Remember When by SJD Peterson: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.

Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.

Impossibly fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.

Title: Remember When
Author: SJD Peterson
Release Date: August 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 210

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An epic love story that had potential, but in the end was just ok for me.

The story is told in three parts. As children/teens, early twenties and then close to forty.

I really enjoyed the first part, but I think that was because of nostalgia on my part. Graduating in 1989, I have a fondness for the 80’s. I liked seeing Luke and Nelson as best friends slowly discovering their feelings for each other. Until a quick an unexpected move tears them apart. And as kids are wont to do, they have grand plans of keeping in touch. But alas, the distance is too great. What threw me a bit about this part of the book is that I expected the parents- the mothers especially- to strive to keep in touch as the mothers themselves grew up as best friends. But that didn’t seem to happen.

Part 2 does a fast forward ten years. The inexplicable meeting at the airport that neither was expecting. It was great to see them together again, but it lacked chemistry and heat for me. Add to that a long distance relationship AND parental expectations, it was a recipe for disaster. Then they are torn apart again.

Time jump of 17 years and they somehow bump into each other again. This was a bit eye rolling for me because come on. But ok, it is fiction, let’s roll with it. Again, I just didn’t feel the chemistry and heat. It was sweet, but left me wanting. I also feel that this part of the book wrapped up too quickly and neatly.

So I really did like the way the book was set up in three parts. They were very distinct to each time period and age. And as I said previously, it was a sweet story, but I wanted a bit more.

3 pieces of eye candy


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Remember When by SJD Peterson: Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.

Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.

Impossibly fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.

Title: Remember When
Author: SJD Peterson
Release Date: August 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 210

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Had he lost his goddamn mind? Luke was a friend he hadn’t seen in ten years, not a potential date. He shook his head at his stupidity. Just two old friends having dinner to catch up on old times. It didn’t matter that Luke was still the hottest guy Nelson had ever laid eyes on. Maybe Luke had become a jerk. Perhaps they no longer had anything in common. Hell, just because they rubbed off on each other a couple times, shared a few blowjobs, it didn’t make Luke gay. A lot of adolescents experimented. It didn’t mean anything. Besides, Luke talked about a steady girlfriend. “So put your dick and your hope away,” Nelson warned himself.

The jeans weren’t the easiest to get into with wet skin, but he managed. Somehow he was able to dress, fix his brown mousy curls—sort of—spray on a little cologne, and was downstairs in the allotted time. He was presentable, but sure, he looked frazzled. Of course, when he spotted Luke leaning against a pillar, Luke appeared calm and relaxed and, man, oh man, did he look presentable. He was wearing tight jeans and a baby-blue dress shirt the same color as his eyes that accentuated his deep tan. He wore his hair styled back, the longish strands tucked behind his ears, and from this distance, it looked dry, unlike Nelson’s wet mop.

“Just dinner with an old friend,” he mumbled. He ran his fingers through his hair one more time and took a deep breath.

His hands were shaking so badly he shoved them into the pockets of his jeans to hide his nervousness. With as much confidence as he could muster, he strolled over to Luke.

Luke smiled when he spotted Nelson. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Oh, that was original.

“The receptionist said they have excellent food in the Torch Light, but if you’d rather get bar food, we can hang out in the lounge.”

“Might be hard to talk in the bar,” Nelson pointed out.

“True. Torch Light it is. We can always head to the bar later.”

Nelson walked along with Luke, doing a little mental math. He had to meet his client at seven in the morning and still had to go over the notes his boss had sent him. He was young. As long as he got back to his room by, say… two… three at the latest, he’d be good.

The restaurant was high-end. White linen tablecloths, fine china, cut-crystal wineglasses. The whole nine yards of way too fancy for me to be here. The other patrons wore slacks, dinner coats, and dresses. Nelson was way underdressed, as was apparent from the disapproving looks he was getting. However, since Luke was dressed casually as well, it did make Nelson feel marginally better. He pointed out the dress code as soon as they were sitting and the host had walked away.

Luke waved a dismissive hand. “Like I care. My money spends just as easily as theirs.”

Nelson shook out his napkin and laid it in his lap. “I’d have thought, you being from Malibu and all, you’d adhere to etiquette. You know, wear nothing but the finest everywhere you went.”

“This is my finest. Best pair of blue jeans, that is,” he chuckled. Luke then tilted his head. “Does it really bother you? We can go somewhere else if you prefer.”

“Nah, I’m good. Hell, I don’t even own the finest pair of anything.”

“My kind of guy,” Luke said. He flashed that stunning dimpled smile before hiding it behind his menu.

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

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