Creative Caravan times!

How would you like to spend a weekend by the sea, reading and writing (and the occasional drinking!) with a group of your fellow authors?

Enjoy the post this week at Love Bytes Reviews where author Ana Newfolk reports on her latest fabulous weekend writing retreat in Hastings on the English south coast. I’ve been on a couple of these retreats, and they were both productive and FUN! Ana explains the positives of it so well <3.


“…I am looking forward to the next one but I hope that sharing my experience has maybe inspired you to find your own way to retreat and do something you love with your own tribe of like-minded people.”

 


Bio

Ana Newfolk was born in Portugal where she grew up surrounded by sunshine and countryside.  She has always had a deep love of reading, and ever since she can remember her favorite presents and treats have always been books. She would often be found in her not-so-secret spot reading her favorite adventure books (when she was younger) and romance novels (when she discovered boys). At 20 years old she moved to the UK where she has lived since.

In 2015 Ana stumbled across her first MM romance novel by chance, and she was hooked. She loves reading about men falling in love, hard, fast and ever so sweetly. This new found love for LGBTQ+ romance has opened a new world for Ana, and in 2017 she decided to finally listen to the voices in her head and write them down.

In addition to the time she spends reading and writing Ana has a full-time job that involves meeting lots of people with interesting stories to tell. She also loves baking as much as she loves watching people eat what she creates, much to the delight of family, friends and work colleagues alike.

Links:
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On the Red Carpet today – Jackie North’s new release

WILD AS THE WEST TEXAS WIND

Soulmates across time. Two hearts that were meant to be together.

In present day, Zach takes a road trip to Trinidad to find information on a missing friend.

In 1892, Layton Blue, outlaw, longs for hearth and home even as he treasures his life of freedom.

A freak rainstorm washes Zach’s car into a ditch, sending him back to the year 1892. Searching for help, alone and on foot in the middle of the nowhere, he crosses paths with the famous Ketchum Gang. Now the gang’s prisoner, Zach’s fate is to be sold at a seedy auction for whores.

Layton is put in charge of making sure Zach does not escape, but as the chemistry between them grows, Layton finds himself wanting to help Zach.

Can Layton overcome years of being on the run? Can Zach accept help from an outlaw?

A male/male time travel romance complete with fast rides across the desert, campfires beneath the stars, cool water in the desert, wild rescues, and true love across time.

Buy Links: http://mybook.to/WildAsTheWestTexasWind

Continue reading

Celebration for Marie’s birthday!

Come on over to Marie Sexton’s Facebook Group tomorrow to celebrate her birthday. Join a whole bunch of great authors (including me) who are chatting, joking, proclaiming, and gifting much fun and book news!

I’ll be chatting about my Valentines release Hidden Hearts and offering the occasional free book or two *wink*.

 

 

Ask me anything you like about my books, my current penchant for writing bears, and my recent research on a (fictional) gay Royal wedding – all questions within reason, of course!

Red Carpet – Chrissy Munder + her new release

WELCOME today to Chrissy Munder, and congratulations on the release of her new Christmas book, part of the 2018 Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar! Join Chrissy in celebrating the season – whether it’s freezing cold or Florida-hot LOL – and share YOUR favourite traditions with us all.

An except and BUY links are also below. Read the story and chuckle! I certainly did *wink*.


Is everyone staying warm? I’m Chrissy Munder, currently buried under far too many inches of snow! I’m here to celebrate my latest release, one of my favorite holiday traditions, and hopefully,  learn a little about yours. First, let me thank Clare for sharing space on her blog today. *smooches* Thank you!

I had a lot of fun writing this year’s novella for the 2018 Dreamspinner Press Advent Collection, A Holiday Tradition. I wanted to explore the ties that unite us all, despite our surface differences.

My main character, Paul, can’t imagine the holidays without his usual, cold weather celebrations. But here he is in Florida where his new crush, Kevin tells him that they still have traditions, they “… just don’t have to wear as many clothes when we celebrate them.” I’m a firm believer in families of choice and enjoyed helping these two come together and develop the first of their own traditions.

So, what is one of our favorite holiday traditions? If I ask the now-adult children they’ll roll their eyes and tell me it’s where we throw them in the car with a thermos of hot cocoa and a bowl of buttered popcorn, then drive them around for an hour looking at holiday lights and decorations while blasting rock guitar holiday music. (Every try any? Good times. You can listen to one of our favorites here:

https://youtu.be/uR_fsrYqZHk

What’s one of YOUR family’s special ways to celebrate, if you do? Do you have a favorite holiday movie, book,  or cookie recipe? Do you torment, erh, torture, erh embarrass your kids like we did? Like Paul, do you find it hard to celebrate without the trappings of snow and cold, or wouldn’t you trade your favorite holiday swimsuit for an ugly sweater if paid?

Go ahead and leave a comment or share a memory below.


A Holiday Tradition by Chrissy Munder

BLURB: Paul Carpenter has his life all planned out. Or at least his father does. The right school, the right degree, the right job. Paul is on track, until a bus accident has him sitting out a coveted internship, babysitting, or being babysat, by a grandfather he barely remembers during his holiday stay in a Florida RV park. His father’s reasoning? How much temptation can Paul find around a bunch of senior citizens playing bingo? There’ll be nothing to distract him from his studies.

It’s hard to muster his holiday spirit when Paul is used to snow and cold, not sun, surf, and plastic flamingos in Santa hats. But then Paul meets Kevin Lombardo, who offers to show him some new holiday traditions. Suddenly Paul’s fast track hits a curve.

Excerpt:

“Your father says you sleep with men.”

His grandfather’s unexpected statement dropped into the silence of the RV like a bomb, and Paul Carpenter jerked upright, knocking his head into the passenger-side window with a loud clunk.

Oh. My. God. A burning surge of resentment rose in Paul’s throat. What the hell? He’d send his father a furious text if it would do any good. Not only for dumping his sexuality on his grandfather, but also for the idea behind this entire trip!

He closed his eyes, focusing on the coolness of the glass rather than the scream he had held back for the last few miles of the drive from Michigan  to some mobile home and RV park on Florida’s eastern coast. Paul had never heard of the place, but Grandpa Louie swore Decembers were better under the Florida sun.

Two hours down, a minimum of sixteen more to go. Probably eighteen, with as many rest stops as his grandfather made. Paul took a deep breath and dug his thumbnail into his palm, mentally gearing himself up for the confrontation sure to come. “If you’re asking if I’m gay, yes, Grandpa. I am.”

Grandpa Louie nodded in reply. He carried his years with comfort, the bulk of muscle honed by hard work not yet whittled away by time, and his hearty appearance overcame his fondness for dressing in bright pastels.

Paul hoped he would age just as well, but he took after his father’s family. Which translated to him being shorter, thinner, and with hair more dishwater than blond.

“Thanks for telling me. It sure would have been embarrassing if I tried to set my wingman up with a bird of the wrong feather.” Grandpa Louie cackled at his own joke, his quick glance inviting Paul to join in.

Paul released his tension with a choked-off huff. “Wingman?”

“You betcha. Why do you think I spend my winters down south?” His eager grin peeled the bushy mustache away from his lips, making him look ridiculously like Paul’s roommate in the first part of his freshman year.

Paul shuddered at the memory. The adventures of Dean-o Hamilton, the self-proclaimed “Party Dog” of their floor, were something he preferred to forget. While his father’s intense micromanagement  of his college experience sometimes chafed, Paul hadn’t protested when his father insisted he transfer to the designated quiet dorm after paying them a surprise visit.

“I can give you the answer in one word: widows.” His grandfather whistled through the gap in his front teeth. “Fun in the sun doesn’t always mean pinochle and shuffleboard.”

A Holiday Tradition by Chrissy Munder – Available from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.US, and Amazon.UK

New serial from Sue Brown at Patreon

Are you following this witty serial from the talented author Sue Brown? I’m loving it :).

Are you already one of her fans / do you like one or more of the books she’s written? This serial’s a special treat, only available at the moment through her Patreon group.

Personally speaking, I subscribe to a few Patreon accounts, for authors, bloggers and artists I’m interested in knowing more about, and want to support beyond buying their public work. Obviously none of us have money to waste nowadays, but I reckon for the price of (yet another *g*) ebook a month, I can help them build the funds to keep going with what they – and I – love.

There is NO obligation at all, but if you’re encouraged to invest in a truly talented and hardworking author’s work – and get all kind of sneak peeks at work in progress LOL – you can join up for Sue’s account from HERE.

(PS and how fabulous is that graphic, from the equally talented Meredith Russell???)

For the Left-Behind-ers

I first called this post “Catfish Confession” then thought it may be misleading LOL. So I renamed it the Left-Behind-Ers, for reasons I hope become clear.

You see, I’ve been catfished. I’ve been emotionally manipulated and then dropped / shocked / made to face the horrible and humiliating truth that I was FOOLED.

My sympathy is always with the catfish-ees – those Left Behind. And I want to shout out a HUG to them, to assure you I’ve suffered it and am happy to talk about every humiliating, painful detail if it helps you come to terms. Then I have a fairly fierce Demand that you (i) grieve, but then (ii) you regain perspective, rebuild your confidence, and get on with the important thing i.e. Your Life.

My catfisher was a gay man I wrote online with, for over a year (I don’t know his real name, or if he was gay, or a man at all *sigh*). On another continent, so the timezones only overlapped for a few hours, which meant I was always up late and/or early to share time, which took its toll on my sleep, and also made my family worry.

It was fun and challenging, he was outrageous, told me exotic and intimate stories of his lovelife, always led the way on our provocative, edgy writing. Never showed me a photo – though we exchanged gifts a couple of times – never gave any other personal details that I could have checked *if* I’d wanted to. But I didn’t give too much away either, so it seemed fair. This was early in my writing career, and maybe I had some self-protection in place even then, or maybe I just thought my life was totally boring compared to his, so not worth going into detail! I’d never heard of the term “catfish”, I was relatively new to online chatting.

He was in general amused at my naivety, but sometimes asked my help and advice, so I felt a personal connection. Then one day he claimed an upset in his personal life and just vanished offline. Good God! It was devastating. No contact, no trail, no recourse. I was shocked, hurt, suddenly aware of how emotionally fragile online relationships can be. Me, a professional, intelligent, mature woman, in floods of tears over an online chat friend. Ulp.

He came back online briefly, several weeks later, but we slowly dropped contact. He never admitted to being anything other than his writing persona, but I suspect now he was a catfisher. During the time he was offline, I’d found other women online who’d been in contact with him, equally horrified to have “lost” him, probably on an equal fan footing as I was. Ouch. I’d been amazed and horrified at my response, and I determined not to be hurt like that again.

It still makes me wince, to think of ME as I was then! but I’m proud of myself as well, in that it spurred me to learn more, develop more, so I’m confident now in who and what I am.

But if anyone wants to talk about it? I can and will, to prove you shouldn’t feel humiliated or embarrassed or a fool – at least, not for ever. I can stand outside now and see I *was* a fool, but also how cruel *he* was. It may have been deliberate, though I suspect/hope it wasn’t, just someone seeking attention, which ultimately came at my expense. No money changed hands, no physical harm was done. But I was in emotional distress for a long time afterwards.

Also, don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself – you were fooled, you were misled, you were lied to, whether deliberately or by omission. And you know what? Admit that it was LOVE. Maybe not sexual (my guy was gay, apparently, what sexual relationship could I have had, even if I’d wanted?) but these connections are so often a combination of romantic love / fascination / titillation / pride / flattery. We’re not honest enough with ourselves, trying to avoid the self-hate, embarrassment, shame at falling for a non-person. The admission that, at the time, we were looking for someone special for ourself. But it’s not wrong to love – it just needs to be the right kind of love.

I feel I lost a lot at the time, because of it. But I’ve gained so much more since then.

**HUGS ALL ROUND**

My friend, the author Sue Brown – and thankfully a real person! 🙂 – shares her feelings too in a very honest and compassionate post here:
https://suebrownsstories.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/catfisher-of-day.html