GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour: Exclusive Guest Post C.S. Poe

**TCO is so excited for our final guest post in the GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour. This weekend, we will be working our way towards Denver, and I love that C.S. Poe is our final author. I have been loving her books! So check out her survival list!**

Surviving GRL with Poe’s Characters – C.S. Poe

 

Hello, everyone! I’m C.S. Poe, attending author for GRL 2017. I hemmed and hawed what to write for my GRL post for a while. (And by a while, I mean right up until the evening it was due.) I figured, since this is my third attendance, I should share some tips and tricks for the newcomers. But on the other hand, I’ve only been published since 2015 and perhaps a lot of you aren’t yet familiar with my work.

So how to combine those two ideas into one post…. How about some advice my characters have often had to learn the hard way? I write mystery, romance, and paranormal, so there’s some pretty decent tips here that I feel could be spun on their head and still be practical convention recommendations.

  1. If you find any sort of abandoned egg, animal, or small child in the trashcan of a family bathroom, do not try to adopt it. – Love, Marriage, and a Baby Carriage

 

  1. Dead bodies turn up anywhere, and when you least expect them. If you trip over one, call the police. – The Mystery of Nevermore

 

  1. If you’re a picky eater, have a food app handy. Otherwise you may be stuck eating fluffernutter sandwiches all weekend. – Joy

 

  1. Definitely dress up for the Wild West party, but with the West comes crazed Steampunk engineers, stoic outlaws, and sassy coppers. Be ready for trouble. – Gunner the Deadly

 

  1. Sometimes liquor can cure all our troubles. Whether you’re overwhelmed from meeting authors, just spent your entire book budget on day one, or haven’t slept in three days— have a whiskey neat. Also maybe a cupcake. – The Mystery of the Curiosities

See? Relevant. I mean— except for probably the dead bodies thing, but I didn’t want to not mention it on the off chance…. Look, just don’t fancy yourself a sleuth in that moment, okay? Bad things happen.

Anyway, I’m psyched to see everyone in Denver! I’ve never been. I wonder if it’s chilly in October? Tip Number 6 should be to pack a sweater. That’s not from any of my books, it’s just a practical suggestion.

C.S. Poe

xo

C.S. Poe is an author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.

She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.

She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful, and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.

C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

Social Media:

| Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads | Newsletter |


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GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour: Hans Hirschi

**TCO is excited to welcome Hans Hirschi to the blog, for the GRL Blog Tour. GRL is just a few weeks away, and we are super excited to see everyone again, and meet all the new peeps! Reading Hans’ post, it looks like he has enjoyed GRL since his first time. The countdown really has begun!**

 

And so it begins, the countdown to GRL…

 

First of all, a big thank you for hosting the GRL blog tour and for providing me with an opportunity to reach out to your readers. It’s greatly appreciated.

One of the saddest things I’ve done, every year since 2014, is the brunch on Sunday morning, heralding the end of GRL, or GayRomLit, as it spells out. I know, ridiculous, right, but taking leave of my chosen family is getting harder and harder, every time.

That Sunday in October is also when I begin to look forward to the coming year, and ever since I left Kansas City, I’ve been secretly planning for Denver. In a way, after GRL is before GRL, that’s how good it is… So what’s so special about GRL? Allow me to regress a bit, all the way back to 2014, in late July.

My Twitter friend and author Wade Kelly had just returned from Tampa and RainbowCon. I was  in my second year as an LGBT author and had – very me – no clue about conventions.

I mean, why would any reader want to meet with authors, right? Words like “fan-girling” hadn’t entered my brain and at the time, I’d have waved it off as mere nonsense, a fantasy of a “twisted” author mind at best.

Alas, Wade told me about this con she’d been to and how much fun she’d had. But Wade also added that the con of cons was GRL, which was to take place in Chicago that year. GR-what?

Wade explained and added, sheepishly, that I’d miss it, because all author spots had sold out in a record 180 seconds. But that I should contact them anyway. One never knew, right? I did. Btw, I’ve since met Wade, and she is a hoot, a great friend and an amazing writer.

A thousand sponsor dollars later, I had secured a spot at my very first GRL in Chicago, which coincidentally was during the very height of the M/M craze. People were nuts and publishers were spending big bucks on sponsoring the event, more than one of them no longer among us… I’ve been sponsoring the event ever since, not because I have to, but because the organizers do such an amazing job at creating a safe and fun environment for all of us to meet and share our love of books.

Back then, I didn’t know about the Facebook group, I didn’t know about the costume party on Saturday, or anything else for that matter. I arrived in Chicago like a newborn baby, a blank slate. The first people I met were two fierce Icelandic ladies, Viking valkyries of sorts, author Erica Pike and her best friend Þóra who registered me, gave my my program & badge, and yeah, since they were fellow members of the Nordic cultural sphere, I instantly felt at ease. Later that same day, some lady from Mississippi invited me to her suite for drinks, and despite being ridiculously scared of meeting my demise at the hand of some axe carrying lunatic with every corner I took walking down the hexagonal corridors of the convention hotel, Helen turned out to be another great friend, completely sans axe, and so was her room mate, author Bru Baker. After that first night, it was smooth sailing for me, and for every year that I’ve returned to GRL, traveling from Sweden to San Diego and Kansas City, I’ve made more friends, and some I’ve really grown close to.

I can’t wait to return and see my chosen family in Denver. I may not be the typical GRL author (since I don’t write romance), but I feel welcome nonetheless. There’s plenty of room under the rainbow. I understand that many newbies are apprehensive and “scared”, particularly the so called introverts, but trust me, you needn’t be. We are a friendly crowd. And if you allow me, let me give you just a couple of tips:

  • Join the Facebook group. You’ll get all the information in a timely fashion plus you’ll get to know some people way before you arrive in Denver. There’s information on room sharing, ride sharing, book pre-orders and what not.
  • Consider dressing up for the Saturday night party. It is a I had no idea there was a costume party on Saturday when I got to Chicago and totally missed out. I epically made up for it the year after!
  • Books: Most publishers and many authors will have pre-orders available. It’s usually cheaper to buy than on site plus you’ll be guaranteed to get the books you want. They have a tendency to sell out otherwise. If you prefer ebooks, worry not. Many will have discounts available for you. But do make space to buy at least a couple of paperbacks from your favorite authors to sign as keepsakes.

As I write this post, I’m less than a week away from my spring release of Last Winter’s Snow, a novel about recent Swedish LGBT history viewed from one couple’s perspective. It’s also a story about being a double outsider, with Nilas being Sami and his husband Casper having been raised in an evangelical congregation. How they deal with that is what this story is all about, set against the backdrop of the past thirty-odd years. I hope you’ll consider Last Winter’s Snow as one of your GRL reads.

I also try to have a fall release, in time for GRL. I’ve begun writing it, but it’s far from finished, which makes it a bit odd to talk about. But you can rest assured that whatever it will be called when finished, it will do the Queen of Unconventional Happy Endings justice!

I look forward to seeing you there. I’m easy to find in the book seller room.

Hans

Image Capture

  • The Queen of Unconventional Happy Endings making an appearance at GRL in San Diego.
  • Author Hans M Hirschi

 


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Monthly Author Column: Victoria Sue talks GRL

 

Victoria Sue asked to make her monthly post this month a GRL post, and really who am I to argue? As a featured blogger for GRL, I am happy to spread the love about GRL, and anything Victoria Sue wants, she gets from me! And boy, does she have a lot coming up in the next few months!!!

 

Liar, Liar, Bad Boys on Fire!

I guess I should make this post all about GRL or Gay Rom Lit for those of you who haven’t heard of the acronym. Anyway, for the uninitiated, GRL is a conference celebrating gay romance literature that takes place in October every year at different locations around the country.

This year it’s in Denver and I’m beyond excited to be going there.

Authors get the chance to choose between either a book reading, a place on a discussion panel, or (and there are only a few of these) getting together with two other authors to plot something different.

And that’s what I’m doing this year. I was lucky enough to team up with Charlie Cochet and Alexa Land to do a game called Liar, Liar, Bad Boys on Fire.

The idea is each author is going to make statements or quote storyline facts about their books and the audience will have to choose whether the author is telling the truth or lying.

Everyone who comes will win something! We have a freebie for everyone, but there are many big prizes including a massive gift basket from each author which will contain a Kindle Fire and many other goodies!

You really don’t want to miss this!

And I am planning a little extra gift for any members of Victoria’s Secrets that will be attending. So make sure you join 😉 https://www.facebook.com/groups/1182647028418709/

Onto Book News:

The third in my series The Kingdom of Askara – The Alpha Prince – will hopefully be released just before GRL.

The next in my Enhanced series – Beneath This Mask (Gael’s story) is coming out in January.

Then the first in my new contemporary series will be released – Rainbow Key. Think wedding destination, white sandy beaches, lurve… except at the moment Joshua is struggling to pay the electric bill, they’ve no paying customers, and even if they had they cannot pay for the repairs from the devastating hurricane three years ago – and to top it off they have to take in a grumpy businessman who has been ordered by his doctor to take some time off before he has a heart attack from too much stress.
Funnily enough, the businessman happens to own a very expensive hotel chain and has been trying to buy this particular island for years. Not that Joshua knows that yet – and boy are sparks gonna fly when he thinks he’s been set up.
Then there’s Matt who has just been let out of prison, Cy who has escaped an abusive relationship, and Ben who used to be a model until a devastating house fire destroyed his face.

Rainbow Key – coming to a kindle near you in February <3

 

Check out all of Victoria Sue’s work here.

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

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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GRL 2017 Blog Tour Exclusive: Sid Love-Guest Post and Giveaway

**TCO is excited to welcome Sid Love to the GRL 2017 Blog Tour. Check out Sid’s post, his books, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Look forward to meeting you in October, Sid!!!**

I am Sid Love and I’ll be attending GRL this year as a supporting author.

To be honest, I’m scared shitless but I know I’ll end up having fun even while doing all the supporting author stuff because … come on, it’s GRL!

I attended my first event in 2015 when it happened in sunny San Diego, CA. Some great memories were made back then. It was overwhelming at first and I cried in happiness every time I met any person I’d only chatted on Facebook till then. I also made new friends and got to know some new authors too. Oh and there were hugs. People at GRL love to hug and I wasn’t complaining because I loved to hug them too! When I went back home, I carried a luggage full of books, a lot of swag and a gazillion pictures with me.

It was my first time in the states too (Did I tell you that I’m from India? Well, I am 😀 ) and California made me fall in love with its beauty.

So, Denver’s something I am definitely looking forward to. I’m quite excited to start planning out my trip. When you see me around, don’t hesitate to come up to me and say hi. I’ll be the only nerdy looking Indian guy there, so you can’t miss me 😛

Do check out my newest release from Cool Dudes Publishing titled “Detour”.

 

Austin Reyes works as a bartender to support his ailing mother in a small town called Eaton. But his life takes a horrible turn when his boss’ son, Caleb, arrives in town and force

s himself upon Austin. There is no end to Caleb’s lustful intentions. Austin leaves Eaton and flees to Denver to start a new life when his mother co

 

mmits suicide after succumbing to depression. There, he meets Dylan Carver.

Dylan is out and proud. He’s also a well-known actor in the porn industry. When haters damage his car, Austin, now homeless and destitute, is injured and Dylan helps him. In the immediate aftermath, Dylan develops more than a passing interest for Austin, and, though they part ways, chance meetings never stop.

Austin lets Dylan in on the secret about his past, but soon realizes that the man who looked so happy on the outside, has his own baggage. Unbeknownst to them, someone is plotting to get Austin killed.

Even while surrounded by danger, Austin and Dylan’s relationship takes a detour that was always meant to be. Will this detour be Dylan’s undoing? Will Austin finally come to terms with his mother’s suicide and follow his own truth? Or will their lives implode?

Trigger Warning: Content includes a rape scene.

 

Sid Love grew up in one of busiest cities in the world, Mumbai, listening to the excerpts of Indian epics as told by his father every night. While it served as an inspiration back, he has always had an ambitious mind.

In 2007, when he had just turned sixteen, he decided that he would make his lifelong dream come true—to become a well-known, respected author someday.

Ask him and he would refuse to accept that he is obsessed with books. Or movies. Or TV shows. Addicted may even be the right word.

He is a die-hard fan of Jane Austen’s romance novels and loves to reread them time and again.

AUTHOR LINKS –

 

Website: https://sidlovewrites.wordpress.com/

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sid.love.16?ref=tn_tnmn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FatefulMercy

Email: sidlovethewriter@live.in

 

Holding on to Hope

Dear Stranger

Let it Go

Detour

 


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GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour: Giovanna Reaves

**TCO is excited to have Giovanna Reaves, Supporting Author, joining the GRL 2017 Blog Tour today! Check out her post on Comfort Zones, all the books, and don’t forget the TCO GRL 2017 Giveaway!

 

 

Comfort Zones

Since becoming an author/writer; I’m learning a lot about myself both personally and professionally. I’m learning not to be easily offended if a reader leaves a negative review. Does it hurt that someone didn’t like what I wrote? Hell yeah, it does. But I have to push past the negative and concentrate on the positive. Being a writer is scary and exciting. I’m sure many other authors who were starting out understand where I’m coming from. The mixed feelings we experience as a writer can be overwhelming at times leaving me to wonder if I did the right thing. But then I think about how my life has changed since I became a writer. I’ve learned to express myself through my writing.  I’m becoming more confident by pulling myself slowly away from the corner where I have felt comfortable.

Being a writer, I’m learning to get out of my comfort zone. Such as being a bit more open on social media (not big on talking about myself) and the biggest one, meeting new people or learning to accept that not everyone is going to love my work. Some writers, myself included are very shy and get nervous whenever we are about to do something new by stepping out of our comfort zones. One of the ways that I will be pushing myself further away from my corner will be by attending my first GRL this October! I’m a ball of nerves and excitement. I’m doing this because I think it would be the perfect time for me to learn from seasoned authors who know what the heck they are doing. Not only that I can’t wait to meet all the authors whose books I’ve enjoyed over and over for the past few years. I cannot wait to thank the writers who unknowingly encouraged me by taking the first step in becoming a writer. There are so many questions I

want to ask so many things I cannot wait to see. In my excitement, my only worry is that I will end up being that one annoying fan they’ll run from when they see me coming. I know for certain that I will have a blast and I cannot wait!

Giovanna (Gia) Reaves is my alter ego, who is a dreamer. I spend my days and nights dreaming and thinking of the worlds I want to create with words. I started writing about three years ag

o when I was introduced to the world of fan fiction. I loved the idea of creating a new world around characters that people already knew about. And ones that are original of my own making. I have written four novels and currently working on much more to come. I am a mother, wife, and a military veteran. I enjoy trying new things such as traveling, cooking, and reading. I try to incorporate some of the things I have experienced into my books. Currently living in Newport, RI with my two favorite men. If I am not hidden in my cave writing, I love to read and spend time with my hubby and son. I love listening to R and B along with neo soul when I am writing. When I’m not writing, I am trying to perfect my baking and decorating skills or try to pick up something new. I love spending time with my husband and son playing video games and traveling.

Check out my website www.giovannareaves.com or my books on Amazon.


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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.

GRL 2016 Blog Tour: Guest Post: Jordan L. Hawk

GRL Blog Tour Banner

**TCO is happy to welcome Jordan L. Hawk to the blog today, as we lead up to the final weeks before GRL. Check it out, and make sure to drop by and say Hi to Jordan!**

Guest Post

Thanks to Two Chicks Obsessed for hosting me for the GRL blog tour!

This will be my fifth GRL and my fourth as a Featured Author. It will also be the fourth for my spouse (and beta reader) David, who I think has his own fan club at this point. 😉

While there are a lot of things to love about GRL, the best part is just hanging out with readers. My favorite memories of previous GRLs aren’t the parties or the games, though those are fun too. But when I think back, the first moments that come to mind are sitting at the bar talking to someone, or hanging out in a group. Interacting with readers at signings or author lounges are also among those most special moments.hexmaker_final_200x300

The funny thing is, during my first GRL, I really had to psyche myself up to leave the room. My first book had just come out the month before; no one knew who I was, and I’d never met anyone else at the conference. How was I possibly going to talk to other readers, let alone the authors whose work I loved?

It was a challenge to force myself to leave the room and start conversations with people I didn’t know. But it was worth every moment. So if you’re at GRL and feeling nervous about approaching people, consider this an open invitation to talk to me at any time. I know just how you feel.

My latest book, Hexmaker, will be released October 14th—just in time for the retreat!

jordan2013_webFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/jordanlhawk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordanlhawk

Website: http://www.jordanlhawk.com

 

GRL Featured Blogger

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GRL 2016: Guest Post Tali Spencer

GRL Blog Tour Banner

**Welcome Tali Spencer to Two Chicks Obsessed. I love Tali’s post about swag envy…I know I will be stopping by her Author’s Lounge at GRL. 🙂

Guest Post

Swag Envy

swag: goods acquired by unlawful means; loot

I’m an older author. You will notice this when you meet me at GRL. I’m the slightly mystified-looking one without much promo going on. Take swag. The term itself only really emerged in the 90s, when publishers took advantage of new technologies—printing, primarily—to produce inexpensive promotional material. For my first published book, back in when that meant mass market paperbacks, I had no swag at all. My publisher would have laughed at the idea.

In the last decade, digital publishers and self-published authors jumped on the promotional wagon and, before authors knew what hit us, it became part of our job to produce or purchase mind-blowing amounts of bookmarks, postcards, pens, mugs, trading cards, magnets and keychains with our names and/or book covers upon them.

Our imperative: Catch the Reader’s Eye. If we can catch a reader’s eye, she might find what she sees interesting enough to check out our book. Win!

Maybe. Or maybe swag just becomes another form of competition.

At my first GRL, a few years ago, I walked around the swag room and reached an ominous conclusion: my swag was… well, pretty sad, actually. Other, far more famous authors were giving away tote bags. Tote bags. Not only that, but some were handing out tee shirts, jewelry, and action figures. I think I saw bundt cakes on one table, but don’t quote me on that.

I was coming up small. Thank goodness I had ordered a custom shoulder dragon for myself and decided on the spot to hold a raffle to give that away, along with a cute mug. Whew!

Readers did take some of my postcards and bookmarks and magnets, but the one bit of swag from my table they really went for wil_570xn-499044782_npqmas individually wrapped unicorn horn hand soaps. People talked about those. The only reason I had any left was because I didn’t put them out all at once. And the best part was I felt almost as good about people liking my soaps, mug, and dragon as I did about them liking my books.

I felt like I was giving readers a gift. Thank you, it said. Thank you for coming and giving me a chance to meet you. If you have a moment, maybe you could take a look at my books.

Swag does cost money and authors work with budgets. Some have really tight budgets. Gifting readers is well and good, but swag ultimately is about getting the author’s name out or promoting one or more of their books. It has to be, or the expense is frivolous. That’s why I like the new setup for this GRL. Instead of a free-for-all swag room with all the goodies laid out on impersonal tables for indiscriminate picking, there are now Author Lounges where readers can meet the author behind the swag.

Naturally, authors are going to want to offer up their best swag. Anything it takes to lure readers in.

So visit my Author Lounges if you get a chance—one on Thursday and one on Friday. I’ll have unicorn horn hand soaps and unicorn horn rainbow bath salts. And journals. And coin purses. And bookmarks. Lots of postcards and bookmarks, all handed over with a smile.

As for me, I get to join other readers in seeing what authors far cleverer than me have come up with. At least one is bound to be giving away a tote bag.

Author Bithickasthieves2o:

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Tali’s books include the three preceeding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, Adored, and Victory Portrait, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds,are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often publishes in anthologies, and puts up free stories and excerpts on her blog.

Visit Tali’s blog at http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com
E-mail: tali.spencer1@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/talispencer/GRL Featured Blogger

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

GRL 2016 Blog Tour: Guest Post A.J. Truman

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**TCO is excited to welcome A.J. Truman to the blog to talk about his upcoming appearance at GRL next month. Can’t wait to meet him!!!**

Guest Post

I can’t wait to attend my very first GRL. This is my first convention period. In social settings, I’m usually the guy either hanging by the food/drink table or standing in a group listening and nodding and not saying anything. Yep, life of the party right here. But everyone keeps telling me that all attendees are super social. We’re all awkward, so we’ll be awkward together.

I write books about witty college boys falling in love and falling into bed with each other. I like to think that my Browerton University series could be part of The WB’s lineup in the late 90s (Dawson’s Creek, Felicity) and like a non-hipster version of Girls.

I love this time period. This part of life is rife with conflict and drama and self-discovery. For many, college is the first time you’re on your own. You’re trying to be an adult and find your way. I also love the idea of getting a second chance. Whatever happened in high school, whoever you were, is in the past. You get a fresh start in college. In my books, my characters are always trying to escape their pasts. College provides a physical distance, but not the mental. I thought I could be someone new when I arrived at college, but it took me four years (and more) to realize that the only person I was capable of being was myself.

My latest book, Out of My Mind, came out of the thought “Can gay guys and straights guys be friends without sex getting in the way?” One of my favorite movies is When Harry, Met Sally… but over several drafts, the story evolved into something much stronger. Mac and Gideon are two guys who use lies and excuses to hide the pain they don’t want to cope with. After one awkward encounter freshman year, they wind up being roommates junior year. And then friends. And then something much more complicated. I especially loved writing Gideon’s character. He speaks to how well a lot of gay men have to get at lying. Code switching. Pronoun switching. Staying in the closet is rough. The lies may come easy, but the stress is soul-crushing.

If you see me at GRL, please say hi. I can’t wait to meet readers. I love their enthusiasm for authors and the genre. They are what keep me motivated to write. I’ll be that guy awkwardly standing in the corner.

 

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synopsis

Mac had to be out of his mind.

Completely out of his ever-loving mind to even consider rooming with Gideon. The same guy he kissed during his freshman year who said he was straight. He’s held Mac’s mind hostage for the last two years after running out that one special night. Mac was a fan of social experiments, and this one was going to be a doozy.

Gideon doesn’t sweat anything. He was always two lies ahead of everyone. A master at spinning rock solid alibis to protect the house of cards that was his life. To Browerton University, he’s the popular guy getting over a breakup. To his family…the dutiful & responsible son. But rooming with Mac was bringing up old memories and forming new ones. First, a friendship develops, and then a late night infused with alcohol pushes them into uncharted, benefits-laden waters.

As their sexual experimentation continues, and the lies add up, both of them fight to withstand the feelings growing between them, feelings that could ruin their friendship and topple Gideon’s house of cards for good.

Out of My Mind is the 3rd book in the Browerton University series, but can be read as a standalone. It contains humor, heart, and hot guys. This book is intended for readers 18+.

excerpt

Gideon didn’t like to call himself a neat freak. He merely believed that a clean living space was the key to a good life. How could a person achieve success in the world when where he lived was in disarray?

Mac was the one who called him a neat freak.

“You are,” Mac said as he was pouring himself a bowl of Raisin Bran for dinner. Mac ate cereal for dinner, and lunch, and breakfast. Could he not rotate in some canned soup or Chef Boyardee?

“There’s nothing freaky about wanting to have a clean apartment. You need to respect your shared living space.”

“You sound like an RA.” Mac poured milk in his cereal. Drops splattered against the flakes and onto the counter. “I’ll try harder.”

“You said that two days ago. You’re still on trial here.”

“Where’s my lawyer?” Mac smiled at his joke. “I will take care of the sun room. I just got distracted with classes starting. This weekend, though.”

Gideon didn’t believe him for a second. “How did you survive with your past roommates in the dorm?”

“I kept my mess to my half of the room, which I’m doing here.”

“But I can still see it. The sun porch looks like an episode of Hoarders. Your pile of shit is on the verge of collapsing. It’s not just there. You can’t leave the kitchen a mess. We don’t want to get ants.” Gideon pointed his head at the milk droplets.

“For real?” Mac asked.GRL Supporting Author

Gideon nodded yes.

“Man, you run a tight ship.” Mac whipped off his T-shirt, exposing a smooth chest rippling with muscles. Gideon cut his eyes to the floor and focused full-throttle on the specks of dust on the tiles.

He pulled the dishrag off the oven handle. “Use this!”

“This is easier.” Mac’s arm muscles jumped around as he wiped up his mess. He left his T-shirt in a ball on the counter.

“Are you going to get a new shirt?”

“Nah. It’s a white T-shirt. The milk blends right in.” Mac gave him a knowing smirk and shoveled a mountain of cereal into his mouth.

Gideon didn’t know why that threw him off so much, why it made it so hard to breathe for a moment. It was just a shock. No warning. Then, bam! Shirtless! Perhaps he wasn’t expecting Mac to be so jacked. Pittsburgh did a body good.         Gideon was regretting this two-week trial already.

“I thought gay guys were supposed to be super clean.”

“And I thought straight guys were supposed to be slobs.”

Gideon cocked an eyebrow. Touché. He checked the time on the microwave.

“I have to get ready.”

“Hot date?” Mac asked.

“Yeah.”

“Cool,” Mac said. He seemed surprised, and maybe a touch sad, to be right.

“I’m kidding. We’re throwing a party for new students at Hillel tonight.”

“Sounds familiar. Don’t give any naïve freshmen the wrong idea.”

“I’m laughing on the inside.” Gideon entered the solace of his clean bedroom with a new bed, washed sheets, and clothes that were folded or hung up. He changed into a navy blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, khaki shorts, and boat shoes. He went into the bathroom to get his puff of hair just right and spritz on cologne.

“Stop being awkward,” he whispered to himself.

He returned to the kitchen, where Mac was finishing up the last bits of his dinner. Still shirtless.

“I’ll be back later.” Gideon froze in place. Heat strangled his neck.

Did Mac just check me out?

He felt Mac’s eyes travel up and down his body for a split-second. It was so quick, and Mac was back to munching on his cereal, but Gideon caught it. He had given girls the onceover plenty of times. He knew what he saw. He wondered how much times that had happened over the past week. Gideon found himself puffing out his chest.

And did I like it?

“Make sure you put your spoon and bowl in the dishwasher when you’re done.”

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meet the author

A.J. Truman remembers his college days like it was yesterday, even though it was definitely not yesterday. He writes books with humor, heart, and hot guys. What else does a story need? He loves spending time with his pets and his husband and writing on his sun porch. You can find him on Facebook or at ajtruman.com

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Social Media Links:

Website: ajtruman.com

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

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

Mailing List signup: ajtruman.com/outsiders

 

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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.