Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, and Giveaway

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.​

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Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.

 

The Great War – where do I start to research it?

If you were to say to me, “Charlie, old thing, I’m interested in finding out more about World War One. Where should I begin?” I’d respond, “Whatever you do, don’t start with a history text book!” Not unless you’re really interested in what battle took place where and which regiments were involved or which governments did what and when. That may be precisely your cup of tea, but I can’t say it’s mine. For me, the bigger picture is just the setting for the characters, and those details are only relevant when they impact on part of an individual’s life story. It’s the people who interest me: what they did, the experiences they lived through, and the effect these things had on them.

When it comes to finding those things out, there are a wealth of resources and some of the very best get as close to the source material as possible. All history is clearly seen at one or more removes, and as it reaches us it’ll have gone through one or more filters, as people relate the things they want us to hear and which support whichever view they’re taking. You have to remember this with whatever material you look at or listen to, but the fewer steps between you and the “eye witness”, the better.

So, here are some of my top resources:

  • War poetry. All of it from the jingoistic to the deeply cynical, and other poems written by notable poets of the era. (When we studied Wilfred Owen at school, nobody mentioned his homoerotic works, some of which are stunning and which put a new context on his more famous war poetry.)
  • The “Voices from…” series of books which uses testimonies from men and woman who lived/fought/sailed/flew in the era. The detais this provides is staggering.
  • Biographies, but not just of the big political or military names of the era. There are some great books about army chaplains, ordinary soldiers, even real war horses!
  • Diaries, letters, artwork from the era. One of the most moving books I’ve read is “Scrimgeour’s Scribbling Diary” which are the wartime writings (made strictly against protocol) of a midshipman. The abrupt end of entries is the most poignant reminder of the terrible loss of young lives.

 

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

 

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

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

Finding Home by Garrett Leigh: Blog Tour, Exclusive Interview, and Giveaway

How do you find a home when your heart is in ashes?

With their mum dead and their father on remand for her murder, Leo Hendry and his little sister, Lila, have nothing in the world but each other. Broken and burned, they’re thrust into the foster care system. Leo shields Lila from the fake families and forced affection, until the Poulton household is the only place left to go.

Charlie de Sousa is used to other kids passing through the Poulton home, but there’s never been anyone like his new foster brother. Leo’s physical injuries are plain to see, but it’s the pain in his eyes that draws Charlie in the most.

Day by day, they grow closer, but the darkness inside Leo consumes him. He rejects his foster parents, and when Charlie gets into trouble, Leo’s attempt to protect him turns violent. When Leo loses control, no one can reach him—except Charlie. He desperately needs a family—a home—and only Charlie can show him the way.

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  1. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

I tend to hum as I type if I’m really into it. Not musically, but more like a deranged robot. I didn’t know this about myself until I worked in an office and found everyone staring at me.

  1. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Probably sport. I know nothing about any of it, apart from perhaps track and field, but even then it’s still limited to a weird crush on Kris Akabusi.

  1. Which would you rather do: ‘Never write another story or never read another book?

I don’t think you can have one without the other. I didn’t have time to read a few years ago when I had a great deal of upheaval in my personal life, and I definitely found writing harder. Even if I’m reading a book that’s totally out of my genre, there’s always something that flicks the author switch in my brain. Writers are readers. It’s how we learn and grow.

  1. Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Both. I rarely write my plots down, and often change my mind halfway through the manuscript, but I still insist on constant brooding over whatever I’m working on.

  1. Always the fun question: What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I couldn’t possibly comment.

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Social media:

Website: http://garrettleigh.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

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

Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

To celebrate the release of Finding Home, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 14, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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

Sightlines (The Community #3) by Santino Hassell: Blog Tour, Exclusive Interview, Review and Giveaway

Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He’s the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He’s the son of the Community’s founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he’s nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he’s ever loved is there too.

Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn’t the haven he’d believed in and Chase was the only person who’d ever truly tried to protect him. Now they’re surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.

With Chase playing the role of a tyrant’s second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase’s mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.

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  1. What are five words that describe your writing process?

Precise, brisk, web-like, harried, coffee.

  1. Picture your favorite writing space. What are three objects you would find there?

A whiteboard! When I say my creative process is web-like, it’s because I tend to weave the story over time even when I start with a pretty precise outline. I build a little more to a section here or there then go back and figure out more ways to connect them. That is so much easier with my whiteboard.

I also picture a giant coffee mug and my phone. Why my phone? Because I’m constantly messaging and texting with my writer friends while writing so we can encourage and motivate each other.

  1. What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?

Honestly, it’s writing that first draft. That’s when the magic happens and that vague idea or skeleton of an outline comes together. It’s also where I get to know my characters and their voices.

  1. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?

I think I’d ask one of romance’s stars, like Beverly Jenkins, how she’s written for so long and has been so prolific and still manages to have amazing ideas. My one big fear is that one day this creative well will dry up, and there won’t be any more books or ideas.

  1. Always the fun question: You wouldn’t be caught where?

At anything that requires a suit and tie! Seriously, uninvite me to all future weddings or formal parties. I go nowhere without the hat.

Sightlines is book 3 in The Community series by Santino Hassell. You absolutely have to read the first two. Now assuming you read the first two…..

Overall, it was a decent conclusion to the series. This book really focused on breaking up the Community- or at least shutting down The Farm- and the budding relationship between Chase and Elijah.

So while everything was wrapped up pretty neatly, it was….okay. Not great, not terrible. It was ok. I wanted more. More of what happened at The Farm. More of Chase and Elijah falling in love. More of Chase opening up and accepting love. More of Elijah discovering his gift. Just more.

The relationship between Chase and Elijah had been blooming since book 1. And when they finally got together, seemingly under false pretenses at The Farm, it was anticlimatic. I don’t know what I was expecting, but again, I expected more.

This band of ex Community members are attempting to infiltrate The Farm to rescue people. But there wasn’t a lot of planning. Just kind of, ok, we’re here. Take these night vision goggles and go. These were smart people. It didn’t have to be a Mission Impossible type rescue, but maybe a bit more than “you go in there, we will go in here…”.

It was an enjoyable read. I don’t regret it, the ending was satisfying. Book two was my favorite of the three by far. But after putting this down and reading a few more books, it won’t be very memorable.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

What lies beneath the surface of the world you thought you knew?

Secrets and lies have twisted an underground community founded by psychics escaping persecution. Blackmail, sex, and social climbing in the name of power has created an irreparable rift.

In the eyes of the founders, there are two sides: loyalists and everyone else. Surely no one would emerge from their tightly woven webs. And they certainly wouldn’t sow the seeds of rebellion within the heart of the Community’s only queer night club.

Now an outcast, a scion, and a runaway are leading a revolution to save not only the men they love, but the entire Community.

Check out The Community series! https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/community

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Connect with Santino:

 

To celebrate the release of Sightlines, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 14, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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

Five Dares by Eli Easton: Blog Tour, Release Day Review and Giveaway

Andy Tyler has been the class daredevil since middle school. Over the years, he’s convinced his best friend, Jake Masterson, to perform some dangerous-looking stunts with him. But the dare they attempt on the night of their college graduation goes sideways. The firecrackers explode too soon and both of them end up with badly burned palms.

But hey, nothing gets the “terrible two-o” down for long, and they recuperate in style at Andy’s family cottage in Cape Cod. As the weeks go by, both Andy and Jake grow frustrated over the inability to use their hands for all sorts of daily activities—including getting off. So Andy begins a new series of dares that don’t just cross the friendship line, they obliterate it.

But what might be mere sexual relief to Andy is serious business to Jake, who only recently got over years of secret pining for his straight best friend. Inevitably, the burns heal, summer ends, and hearts are broken. To fix things, Andy will have to face the greatest dare of all.

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So, I have read quite a few Eli Easton books, and I love that she always steps outside the box with her writing. You never quite know what you are going to get with one of her books, and Five Dares was no exception.

I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this book. Even once I started reading it, and seeing all the…let’s face it…idiotic stunts that Andy does, and kind of twists Jake’s arm in order to get him involved, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the direction that the book was going.

Then, I started to see what was happening, where the motivation for these stunts/dares came from, and the feels began. Andy was still an idiot 🙂 but you could see where that came from, and how tangled up it was in how he felt about Jake, and even how he felt about his father.

I always do love my HEA, and this author never disappoints, but the way this HEA came about made me smile a big toothy grin, and the epilogue made me laugh (although I had to be quiet, because I finished reading this at work…shhhhh, don’t tell my boss, but I was NOT putting this book down!).

In the end, although I might have hesitated at the start of the book, I ran right through it and enjoyed it from beginning to end. Oh, and yes, there was some good hot sweaty man sex included. Enjoy! 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, an author of paranormal thrillers, a fan-fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a profound sleeper, Eli Easton is happy these days writing love stories.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with her husband, three bulldogs, two cows, a cat, and a potbellied pig. She enjoys reading in all genres and, when she can be pried away from her iPad, hiking and biking.

Eli Easton has published 24 books in m/m romance since 2013. She won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary Romance in 2014 (The Mating of Michael) and in 2016 (A Second Harvest). Her Howl at the Moon series of humorous dog shifter romances have become fan favorites and placed in the Rainbow Awards and the Goodreads M/M Group Reader’s Choice awards. She is best known for romances with humor and a lot of heart.

Connect with Eli:

Twitter: @EliEaston

To celebrate the release of Five Dares, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 7, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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

Rank and File by L.A. Witt: Blog Tour, 5 Good Questions, Review and Giveaway

Senior Chief Will Curtis is as straitlaced as they come. While his fellow Sailors have partied their way through their enlistments, he’s had his eye on the prize—making master chief and retiring after thirty years of service.

Lieutenant Brent Jameson is a Navy brat turned Annapolis grad. He’s lived and breathed the military his whole life, and he knows he’s destined for great things—once he’s done paying his dues at the bottom of the ladder.

When their paths cross, both men know better than to give in to temptation, but that doesn’t stop them. It also doesn’t keep them from coming back for more, even though being discovered would sink their careers. Something has to give—Will can retire, Brent can resign, or they’ll both face court-martial.

But there’s also the option neither wants to acknowledge: jump ship and walk away from each other instead of ending their careers over a fledgling relationship. And they should probably decide before they fall in love.

Except—too late.

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  1. Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write? – I’ve been writing for years and could spend twenty pages listing every author who’s ever influenced or inspired me. For the sake of not going on and on, I’ll keep it to the more recent authors within our own genre who I’ve found incredibly inspiring – Anna Zabo, Santino Hassell, JA Rock, Lisa Henry, Jordan Castillo Price, to name a few. I’m pretty sure they’re collectively occupying about half of my Audible account!.
  2. How important are names to you in the books you write? Do you choose the names based on the way it sounds or how it fits the story you are writing? – Sometimes a name falls out of the sky, and sometimes I have to work to find one. I usually google baby naming sites or lists of names by decade (i.e., popular boys’ names from the 1980 census) to get ideas. The names themselves don’t tend to influence the story or the character’s personality.

  1. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy? – Sex scenes and car chases. I’ve written hundreds if not thousands of the former, but they will always be one of the hardest for me to write. Car chases are just hard. They’re jerks. I hate car chases. But I write suspense, so… car chases happen. Huff.

 

  1. What book do you wish you could have written? Do you get to read books for pleasure? – Probably the entire PsyCop series by Jordan Castillo Price. It’s just SO good. I listen to audiobooks for pleasure, and will usually spend an hour or two each night listening to something. I’ve actually started hating air travel a little less because flying is the perfect opportunity for an audiobook. In fact, I listened to Abi Roux’s Fish & Chips in one sitting during a transatlantic flight. Passes the time with no eye strain and no motion sickness!

 

  1. Always the fun one: Grab the nearest book, open it to page 48 and look for the fourth word in the second sentence. Now, write a line that starts with that word. (Please include the name of the book!) Say, why am I doing this before I’ve had caffeine? (The book is Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell.)

I love this series, seriously just love it! So when Rank & File came up, I was stalking Net Galley waiting for this book, and as is so often the case with any L.A. Witt book, it did not disappoint.

First, if you like to read “on paper”, steamy, sweaty, graphic man/man sex, this is the book for you (conversely if you do not, you may want to skim those scenes). And there are a lot of them. These two men want each other…a lot…so there is quite a bit of on screen sex. But if that normally scares you, the sex scenes are very well done. They aren’t raunchy scenes, but scenes that are appropriate for their story. These two men have a one-night stand that turns into more, and the sex scenes completely tell that story. As their relationship grows and changes, so does their sex. It is still super hot, don’t get me wrong, but they become infused with little bits of humor, revelations, as well as learning and acknowledging their partners needs and wants. These were not sex scenes merely for the sake of making it an erotic book, but for advancing their relationship from f**k buddies to “this is the man I need in my life”, which made them all the more satisfying as a reader.

One thing I love about L.A. Witt’s stories is that she brings realism into her stories, no matter what environment her main characters are in, and telling the story of these men and their different experiences with the Navy, and all that goes along with it shows that she researches heavily before she writes. Myself, as a civilian, I would have never guessed that an enlisted man could not date an officer, even if they do not have any interaction at work. It seems to be an arcane regulation, yet could have caused one or both men to be ushered out of the Navy without a care to their career history. And her resolution to this issue could have been a fiction one that would have never happened in a real life Navy situation. Instead, she creates a resolution that isn’t perfect, but real for where these characters are in their lives and careers.

There are other things I appreciated about how this book was written. Like the fact that there was an age difference of about 10 years between the two MC’s, and yet it was little more than a blip on the screen. It doesn’t have to be an issue for RL people, and the author doesn’t use it to create another conflict for these men. It is mentioned (admittedly more than once) but not with anything other than the mention, and then the characters move on.

My heart broke for these men when they had to try to figure a way to live without each other, but merely existed on a day to day level. Finding their way back to each other took thoughtful work on their part, in their lives, and even how they presented themselves to others.

I really loved this book, probably my favorite in the series, so far, and I will fan girl enough to say that I would love to see more of this series. I can’t seem to get enough!

4.5 pieces of eye candy

About the Anchor Point Series

Welcome to Anchor Point!

Nestled on the northern coast of Oregon, this small town is home to Naval Air Station Adams. On base, you’ll find freshly minted Sailors who’ve just graduated boot camp, salty officers counting down till retirement, grounded pilots who’ve landed behind desks, and everyone in between—and they’re all looking for love. Well, not all of them, but that won’t stop love from finding them.

So pull up a barstool, grab a beer, and get ready for some sea stories as these men in uniform—or not—navigate the waters of love and life in the military.

Anchor Point stories can be enjoyed in any order. Hop in wherever you’d like!

http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/anchor-point

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

To celebrate the release of Rank & File, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two eBooks off L. A. Witt’s backlist (excluding Rank & File) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 30, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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

Covet by Yolande Kleinn: Spotlight Tour and Giveaway

Hi everybody! I’m Yolande Kleinn, and I’m thrilled to welcome you to the Covet blog tour. I’m giddy to be here myself, and I hope you’re looking forward to my kinky contemporary M/M/M love story. I had a terrific time writing this book—getting to know Jack and Colin and Peter—and I can’t wait for you to meet them too. Follow along for the chance to win a $30 Riptide Publishing gift card!

Jack Mason—graphic designer and unrepentant player—has never been interested in monogamy. He certainly isn’t looking for romance when he meets Professor Colin Sloan.

Newly single and not looking for anything serious, Colin is intrigued by Jack’s offer of a physical affair with no strings attached. Becoming friends wasn’t part of the plan, but as accidents go, this one’s pretty great.

Peter Mason is Jack’s identical twin. In a long-term relationship himself, Peter tells no one that he’s falling for his brother’s newest favorite, even as the secret creates tension with his girlfriend.

When Peter’s relationship falls apart, he seduces Colin, fully expecting Jack to forgive his transgression. But Jack is keeping secrets too—he hasn’t told even Colin that he’s fallen in love. Suddenly the twins are feuding, and Colin is caught in the middle, blindsided by the revelation that he doesn’t want to choose between them.

Now all three must find a way to share, or they’ll tear each other apart.

 

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Yolande Kleinn may be a shameless dreamer and a stubborn optimist, but she is also a proud purveyor of erotic romance. Excitable, fastidious, and a little eclectic, she spends every spare moment as far away from reality as possible.

A Minnesotan by both heart and geography, Yolande has plenty of experience weathering tough winters. Her favorite method: distracting herself with warm beverages and even warmer stories. A night spent with a good book is heaven. A morning free to write, with a hot cup of coffee close at hand, is even better.

 

Connect with Yolande:

To celebrate the release of Covet, one lucky winner will receive a $30 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 23, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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

Midlife Crisis by Audra North: Blog Tour Spotlight, Release Day Review and Giveaway

Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said “I do,” Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.

Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.

No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can’t bring himself to fully embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.

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Riptide Publishing

This book intrigued me from the beginning for several reasons. First, how often do we see an m/m romance with characters that are people of color, and then on top of it, they are over the age of 50?!?!?!? These are quite often anomalies in the romance genre, much less gay romance, and having them addressed so prominently in the story was fantastic. And the author did both of those sides of the main characters justice. Addressing all the aches and pains that come with aging, and even having one MC come from a town of all African Americans in Texas, made their journey seem more realistic, falling in love at an age where most people think that people are settled with a partner.

In fact, Dave HAD been settled with a partner, for a number of years, until that partner had his own midlife crisis, and moved on. Cam, meanwhile, was married for 35 years to a woman who died the previous year. He had always known he was gay, but never felt he could be in the tiny, all African American town he lived in. Falling in love was never in Cam’s plans, but finally kissing a man was, as we find in the opening scene. Cam went to Austin to find himself, or possibly to see what he could do to be who he wanted to be for a time.

I understood Cam’s hesitance to move forward with the life that he wanted to lead, but it was frustrating as a reader to understand his continued look at his “old life” as something he needed to get back to, and one he couldn’t move forward from. He’d spent his entire life in the closet, finally moves forward with finding a new love, then makes himself choose between (and this isn’t a surprise since she is called this by her brother) his selfish spoiled daughter who is appalled that her father is gay, versus the man who he fell in love with, and who had had nothing but undying patience for Cam’s slow coming out.  Cam had spent his entire life lying to everyone around him, making sure they all had their needs met, and finally his own were being met and he decided to give it up when his daughter threw a tantrum.

Of course, there is an HEA, so Cam gets his man back, and his children approve, but it still seemed like there needed to be more of a challenge on Dave’s side (although his sister Jacqui did a good job of pushing back on Cam).

One piece that was especially telling for how Cam continued to allow everyone to dictate his entire life was the short snippets of his life with LaVerne, through the years. Although it didn’t necessarily show growth of the character, it did show how he continued to be caught in the spiral he began in high school.

All in all, a sweet story, with a man who took care of everyone but himself first, who deserved a happy ending more than most people.

 

Audra North is a contemporary romance author of more than twenty romances, including the Stanton Family series, the Hard Driving series, and the Pushing the Boundaries series. She is the owner and publisher of Pink Kayak Press, which focuses on the publication of diverse romance works. Winter Rain, a Pink Kayak Press anthology, won a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Awards.

Audra enjoys speaking to writing groups and at industry conferences. She is also an avid jogger and loves running marathons. She has three children and lives with her family outside of Boston.

For more about Audra, and to sign up for her newsletter, visit audranorth.com.

Connect with Audra:

To celebrate the release of Midlife Crisis, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 2, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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

Suspicious Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt/Cari Z blog tour for Suspicious Behavior, the second Bad Behavior book!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of an eBooks off each of our backlists (excluding Suspicious Behavior) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 26th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

 

Five things I (L.A.) learned while researching for this series (about the subject matter or each other!)

When you’re writing a thriller, research happens. It’s just part of the game. Fortunately for me, I live with a cop, so a lot of the research is really just: “(turns head) Hey, what would happen if…?”

So what did I learn while writing the Bad Behavior books?

  1. About serial killers… They’re not all geniuses. In fact, they’re largely average or even below average intelligence.
  2. About cops… All that stuff where the cops are turning on Darren and Andreas? Backstabbing? Pettiness? It happens. For real. Okay, so I knew that, but researching and writing this book meant diving deeper into it, and… yeah. It can get ugly when cops turn on other cops.
  3. About early onset Alzheimers… Man, that stuff is heartbreaking. Cari knows much more about it than I do, so I followed her lead, and… wow. The ferocity of the disease and the speed at which someone deteriorates is so much worse than I ever knew.
  4. About HIV… I honestly had no idea just how many advances had been made in treating and managing the disease. Between this series and my upcoming Bluewater Bay book, New Hand, I’ve spent a lot of time this year researching HIV, and it’s been amazing to see how many strides have been made since the 1980s.
  5. About my co-author… Y’all, she seems nice and sweet and all, but don’t be fooled. When it comes to characters, Cari is as sadistic as I am. Maybe more so. Evil. Evil, I tell you! AND SHE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU!

 

Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren.

For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again.

Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

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Suspicious Behavior is the second in the Bad Behavior series by LA Witt and Cari Z, and I have to say I am glad to see that there will be a book 3, Reckless Behavior in 2018. I’m enjoying this series on multiple levels.

I really love the relationship between Andreas and Darren. They are great offsets for each other. In book 1, so much was about how Andreas was dealing with the issues in his life, leading up to the culmination of the book where…well, I don’t want to give that part away in case you haven’t read this series, but if you have, you know what happens. 🙂

In book 2, we see more of their relationship blooming from a support level. Darren is crumbling inside, as more and more stressors build for him. Throughout the story, they are working to catch a serial killer, yet real life doesn’t give them even a moments break. Seeing how heart-wrenching it is for Darren to deal with Asher’s debilitating disease, knowing he can only be supportive is tough for Andreas, but he works hard to be whatever Darren needs him to be. We see that these two men are not merely F-buddies (and in fact there really is only one sex scene in book 2), but a growing relationship that they are building to last.

Andreas, of course, has his own issues…mostly of his own making…to deal with, but manages to muddle through with only a minimum amount of pain to himself and his children. And seeing how he reacts to his children, allows the reader to see that he isn’t just a hardened detective, who scowls and growls, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He is a man who loves his children, despite not seeing them often, and having tried to shut them out of his personal life on many levels. His daughter Erin doesn’t allow it, and he learns that maybe opening up isn’t going to carve him to pieces.

Although much of the focus of this book was working through all the circumstantial evidence to find the killer, and seeing how cops can easily turn their backs on other cops, it still manages to make these two men, who realize how much they need each other, a priority to each other. Finding stolen moments together may be all they have, but they know that time is precious and will take whatever they can.

Looking forward to book 3!

4 pieces of eye candy

It’s “hell no” at first sight for newly partnered detectives Andreas Ruffner and Darren Corliss. Darren is too chipper, Andreas is too gruff, and that whole “IA wants me to prove you’re a dirty cop” thing really doesn’t get them off on the right foot.

It doesn’t matter if they like each other. They’re partners and that’s final. Though Andreas is easy on the eyes. And Darren is kind of cute. And . . . okay, maybe they can make this work.

They’d better, because as their cases get more horrifying—and more personal—they’ll have to trust each other with their lives, and with their hearts.

Check out Bad Behavior!

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About Cari Z.

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, 

she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.

Connect with Cari at http://cari-z.net/  or via her blog, http://carizerotica.blogspot.com/

About L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .

L.A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

To celebrate the release of Suspicious Behavior, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit and their choice in an ebook from each of Cari and L.A.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 26, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

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

Get a Grip by L.A. Witt: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post and Giveaway

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Get a Grip, the latest Bluewater Bay story!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Get a Grip) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 29th, and winners will be announced on July 30th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

 

If a tree falls in Bluewater Bay . . . could it be fate?

A year after his divorce, Shane Andrews isn’t interested in dating—not that he has time, between three kids and a demanding job as a grip. When a windstorm knocks a tree onto one of the Wolf’s Landing soundstages, Shane’s there to help with the mess . . . and so is firefighter Aaron Tucker.

A former smoke jumper, Aaron’s an adrenaline junkie and way too restless and reckless to be relationship material. As far as he’s concerned, monogamy is for penguins, and he’d rather be alone than tied down. Signing up to be a stepparent? No, thank you.

But after a scorching-hot night together, they’re hooked. Aaron is a taste of the excitement Shane’s been lacking, and Shane’s pushing buttons Aaron didn’t know he had. The more they’re together, the less Aaron craves wild nights with other men . . . but the more Shane wants to play the field like he never got to in his twenties.

This could be the love neither man knew he needed, but only if Shane gets his feet back on the ground before Aaron walks away.

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

Writing in an Established Series

Writing in an established universe definitely has some challenges. When that universe is shared, there are even more. But it’s a ton of fun, too, which is why I’ve done it twice (first with Tucker Springs, now with Bluewater Bay), and will probably do it again in the future.

An equal parts pro and con is that you don’t have complete control over your universe. If it’s a shared world, you have other people working on it, which means keeping track of the town’s layout, if that restaurant on First Street is still in business or if one of the other authors burned it down two books ago, etc.  With so many people involved in Bluewater Bay, we kept a couple of detailed “bibles” on Google Docs, which we could all access to make sure we had our stories straight.

That can make things challenging, of course, but it can also make things easier. When I want my characters to go on a romantic date, it’s entirely possible another author has already created a restaurant that fits the bill. So I just send my characters to that place and don’t have to worry about naming it, establishing the atmosphere, etc. So it’s a bit of a shortcut!

Similarly, you can have characters introduced by other authors. In Get a Grip, Shane meets a couple of swingers, Simon and Lydia. They’ll be front and center in Anna Zabo’s book, Outside the Lines. And in turn, Anna introduces Jesse, the assistant manager at the Simon and Lydia’s comic book shop, and Jesse will be one of the main characters of my next book in the series, New Hand.

Basically what it boils down to is that you have to make sure you’re consistent with other authors, and you have to keep track of details from one book to the next, but you’ve also got people establishing cast and setting along the way, which can make things really fun. So yes, shared and established universes certainly have their challenges, but they’re really a lot of fun. I don’t know when or where my next shared universe will pop up, but there will definitely be more of them.

About Bluewater Bay

Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield,  Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, Jaime Samms and Ally Blue. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

Check out Bluewater Bay! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/bluewater-bay

 

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

L.A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).  

To celebrate the release of Get a Grip, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two ebooks off L.A.’s backlist and a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 29, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

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

All Wheel Drive by ZA Maxfield: Blog Tour, Exclusive Author Interview and Giveaway

Healey Holly is battered, depressed, and looking to go to ground in his childhood home. He wants to rent the garage apartment, but it’s Diego Luz’s place now, and the last thing Diego wants is to share it.

Diego is recovering too—from the accident that put him in a wheelchair and the death of his mother shortly after. The garage apartment is where he’s keeping his mother’s things, and as long as they’re up those stairs and he’s down on the ground, there’s no way he can deal with his loss. And that’s just how he likes it.

Healey believes in science. Diego believes in luck. It will take a blend of both, and some prayer thrown in besides, for these two to learn that it’s the journey and the destination that matters.

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Kobo Books

Hi Z.A. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

 

Hi, and thanks so much for allowing me to be part of your blog with my latest novel, All Wheel Drive. I’m Z.A. Maxfield, and I’ve been writing m/m romance since about 2007, when my kids dared me to make my dream of being a writer come true.

We had a long talk that day about the difference between being a person who follows their bliss, and being a person who looks at their bliss from a long way away hoping their bliss will follow them and I’ve been following mine ever since.

All Wheel Drive is a companion book to Hell On Wheels. The main characters are twins, something I know a little bit about because I’m the mother of twin boys. Most of the twins in my books are identical, like mine, and differ because one is right-handed and one left-handed. Apparently that’s my thing! I’ve written this character combo more than once.

  • Do you pay attention to literary criticism? If so, how do you handle it?

I like to think that I’m levelheaded, but like most writers, I take criticism poorly and personally and PRIVATELY–I enjoy a little whine with friends.

That said, reviews don’t reflect the books themselves, but rather the reader’s experience with the book, and therefore I truly consider it none of my business unless a reader wants to make it my business by bringing it to my attention.

These two ideas are like X and Y coordinates, and at any one point in time, depending on a thousand different variables my functionality can be plotted somewhere on that grid…

  • How do you come up with your titles?

Titles sometimes come to me all snappy and premade. All Wheel Drive made perfect sense, because it’s a follow up to Hell On Wheels, and one of the main characters is a driven man in a wheelchair. Crossing Borders was about the bookstore. I’m oblivious too! I thought Drawn Together was brilliant until I realized it was a television show…

  • What new authors have grasped your interest?

They’re not new authors, but recently, I’ve discovered Annabeth Albert and Tibby Armstrong, both of whom I got to meet and chat with at RT Booklover’s Convention. So fun!

  • What is the hardest part about writing in an established series such as Bluewater Bay? One that has tons of characters, and locations people have read before.

For me it was a little daunting to include characters other writers created. In this book, I used Heather’s men from Burnt Toast B&B. You want to be super-true to someone else’s vision and honor their creations as much as possible (while still using their characters like puppets for your own megalomaniacal ends.)

  • And now the fun one. Name the four things you would bring with you to a deserted island.

IF I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be marooned on the island by myself forever, and IF it was sort of a magical place where I didn’t need to fend off wild boars, I would bring sunscreen, a kindle stocked with every single book I’ve ever purchased (including all the books I bought in print before ebooks), as much water as I need to survive, and a never ending bowl of individual handfuls of Trader Joe’s assorted trail mixes.

Thanks for stopping by! I love that answer, practical and still fun. 🙂

I didn’t read the first book, Hell on Wheels, yet, although after reading the story of Diego and Healey,  I am most curious about Healey’s twin brother, Nash and Spencer’s story. Nash was a big part of Healey’s book, and getting to know him was fun.

There must have been an incredible amount of research that went into this by the author. This was not a story where Diego “miraculously” got feeling back in his lower body. This included the challenges that someone with a spinal cord injury faces day to day life. They can have a sex life, just not the way someone who doesn’t have a SCI does. Yet, Healey, having a sister with her own SCI didn’t care about any of that. He wanted to find out what Diego wanted, what felt good to Diego, and the author did not mince words on what it would take for someone with Diego’s injuries to face all those challenges. It was good to have a realistic outlook on someone who lives every day with an injury like that.

Healey, meanwhile, was a mess of his own, and I honestly didn’t know what to think when I “met” him. He really was someone who wanted to care for those he loved, even to his own detriment. He respected Diego, and his independence, but always wanted to care for those around him in whatever way was necessary, as we learn later when the full import of his “accident” comes to light.

I didn’t always know where this story was going. It seemed to hit on areas I wasn’t expecting or didn’t find to be necessary to the story. However, I did find that although these two had a lot in common, their differences complimented each other as well.

I did enjoy meeting both their families, as they were all characters in their own way, bringing an additional dimension to the story, and creating more depth into Healey and Diego’s lives.

4 pieces of eye candy

About Bluewater Bay

Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield,  Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, Jaime Samms and Ally Blue. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

Check it out at Riptide Publishing! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/bluewater-bay

Z.A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back.  Pathologically disorganized and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends.  If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four manages to find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”

Her published books include Crossing Borders, Epic Award finalist St. Nacho’s, Drawn Together, ePistols at Dawn, Notturno, Stirring Up Trouble, and Vigil.

Readers can visit her website at http://www.zamaxfield.com, and contact her at zamaxfield@zamaxfield.com.

To celebrate the release of All Wheel Drive, one lucky winner will receive an ecopy of Hell on Wheels and a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 15, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

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