On the red carpet – Mickie B Ashling

Please welcome my fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Mickie B. Ashling, to talk about her new release.

And when you read where it’s set, you’ll realise how VERY apt it is for me, after the tooth-saga-beset year I’m currently experiencing! Ah well, what doesn’t kill us, and all that … :).

Now over to Mickie …

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Fractured1bThank you for inviting me to share an excerpt from my latest release Fractured. As an avid reader, I’ve come across every sort of character imaginable: firemen, vampires, shape-shifters, doctors, polo players, cops, teachers, you name it, I’ve seen it. The one thing I rarely find are stories featuring dentists. Let’s face it, almost everyone agrees on one thing—dentists rank up there with morticians and tax collectors. Most people associate them with pain and financial ruin, when they’re only trying to make things better, not worse. Imagine what your life would be like without teeth. Pretty grim if you ask me. Nowadays, you can get replacements with a lot less pain and trauma than in years past. But enough with the PSA. What I’m trying to say is we need dentists as much as we need our cops, firemen, and teachers. Let’s take them out of the Dark Ages and try to see them in a better light. The majority of them are pretty cool, and some are even drool worthy. What are the odds of falling in love at first sight in a dental chair? Stranger things have happened, and they’re usually happening in my world.

Like the previous novels in this series, Fractured is set in a San Francisco dental clinic. Characters from Impacted and Bonds of Love make guest appearances but Fractured can be read as a stand-alone. My latest dentist is Lance Roberts, new to the Bay Area and hoping to find the perfect sub to complete his Dominant nature. Roque Celdran is a struggling Mexican-American who’s just suffered some facial trauma due to an unfortunate encounter at a BDSM club. Neither man expects to find romance in this incongruous setting, but they do. Here’s the official blurb and a short excerpt.

Blurb
Roque “Ro” Celdran dreams of a better life, far away from the hand-to-mouth existence of his migrant worker family. He moves to San Francisco to study Landscape Design but finds himself short of cash. Tony, Ro’s identical twin, comes up with a plan to help Ro make ends meet. The BDSM club Tony frequents is looking for gay men to act as submissives to the Dommes-in-training. Ro reluctantly takes the job and falls headfirst into a world he neither understands nor desires.

Lance Roberts is the new doctor at the dental practice started by Scott Gregory and Robin Kennedy. On the surface, he seems to have it all: the Mensa IQ, blond and blue-eyed good looks, and the determination to make it in his competitive field. Underneath lies a frustrated Dom in search of the perfect sub who can handle his obsessive behavior and debilitating need for control.

When Ro ends up in Lance’s dental chair, the last thing either one expects is a physical and mental connection. Ro’s attraction to “White Bread” never pans out, and Lance’s weakness for Latinos always leads to a dead end. Could this time be different? What happens between the two alphas leads to a lot of soul-searching and some surprising conclusions.

Bio
Mickie B. Ashling is the alter-ego of a multifaceted woman raised by a single mother who preferred reading over other forms of entertainment. She found a kindred spirit in her oldest child and encouraged her with a steady supply of dog-eared paperbacks. Romance was the preferred genre, and historical romances topped her favorites list.

By the time Mickie discovered her own talent for writing, real life had intruded, and the business of earning a living and raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing and the inevitable emptying nest, dreams were resurrected, and the storyteller was reborn.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Mickie loves to travel and has lived in the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East but currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

Fractured is now available in paperback or e-book format at Dreamspinner Press HERE.

You can contact Mickie at mickie.ashling@gmail.com or leave a comment on her website at http://mickieashling.com or her blog http://mickiebashling.blogspot.com.

Excerpt
Dr. Roberts walked in before Ro turned on the music, and he removed one earbud so he could hear the doctor talk. He exuded the same confidence that had set Roque at ease when they’d first met, and this morning he was a welcome sight. An easy smile creased Lance’s face as he greeted him. The light-blue gown made of some papery fabric made him look like one of the surgeons on his grandmother’s favorite telenovela. Dr. Roberts epitomized everything Roque ever dreamed of in a man, although he was just as unattainable as the proverbial stars he longed to reach. He could only imagine Tony’s caustic remarks about his attraction for “white bread.” Was it the blond hair and blue eyes that yanked his chain, or was it everything else the man symbolized? Now wasn’t the time to psychoanalyze his feelings for the good doctor. There would be more time in the future to figure out what, if anything, was drawing him toward the guy. Hell, he probably had a wife and two kids waiting at home.
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Red Carpet Post: Sue Brown + (cheeky) Giveaway

Welcome today to the talented and very popular author Sue Brown, on one of the stops of her blog tour. Sue has had some tricky times with her new, and apparently somewhat controversial cover art! Want to know the whys and wherefores?? Read on … 🙂

Sue Brown’s A COCK IN THE WINDOW Blog Tour

CitWheader
Hello, my name is Kit Stone and I’m taking A Cock in the Window on tour for Sue Brown before its publication on Friday 20th December. You haven’t met me before. I’m thirty-six years old, grey eyes, have most of my hair and am just under six feet tall. Brad Pitt I’m not, but I don’t crack mirrors. I own a gift shop in a seaside town which hasn’t made it into the twentieth century and hand carve the cocks of gorgeous porn stars. That’s how I met Steve. He spotted his dick in the window of my shop and the rest is history.

On this tou
r I’ve mentioned very little about the murder. It would hardly be a mystery if I told you all about how the unfortunate victim met his demise. One of Sue’s problems was how to kill the victim. For a while her web browser was full of methods of killing people. I tell you, there are some scary sites out there. In the end she got the information she wanted from a NaNoWriMo site. If you’ve ever seen the start of Castle where the very lovely Nathan Fillion talks about two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers. Well, writers have murder sussed, I can assure you. Sue says she’s not on Richard Castle’s level of income but she’s aiming for it.

<<<< If you’ve been with me on the tour you’ll know this
was going to be the original cover, and winners of the blog tour will get an ebook with this cover. Sadly booksellers are throwing a wobbler at the moment so a less suggestive cover will be on the book that is for sale and will be unveiled tomorrow.

Excerpt: 
Steve grunts as he rests against the wall. I smirk because reducing a guy to grunting by sucking his brains out through his dick is a great feeling.

I rest my cheek against his groin as we both recover, feeling my arousal push painfully against my jeans. It can wait until he can return the favour. He weaves his fingers through my hair, a gentle soothing touch. I could go to sleep in this position and for a minute my eyes do close, then he tugs on my hair again.

“Quit with the tugging,” I grumble. “It bloody hurts.”

“Shhh.” He claps a hand over my mouth. “I can hear a noise.”

I listen intently but I can’t hear anything at all, and I pull away to speak, but then I hear something, the sounds of voices in my shop. I look up at Steve and he nods, taking his hand away from my mouth. I stand and he tucks himself away.

I pick up the cricket bat besides the stairs.

“What the hell?”

Before I can go down the stairs Steve grabs my arm. “What the hell?” he hisses, “Where are you going?”

“To save my shop.”

“Call the police and let them deal with it.”

“The place will be destroyed by the time the plod get here.”

I tug my arm but Steve hangs onto me. “They could have knives, guns. You could get hurt.” He stares at me, still flushed from his orgasm, but worry clear in his eyes.

“It’s probably a bunch of drunk kids hitting the junk shop for a dare. I’ll be fine.”

I tug free and run down the stairs. I don’t tell him this isn’t the first time I’ve been targeted. There’s an element of kids around here who think picking on the queer is Friday night entertainment.

 I slam on all the lights to the shop at the bottom of the stairs, not wanting to encounter anyone in the dark. There’s a startled exclamation from the shop. I rush in waving the cricket bat, yelling something stupid, aware that Steve is hard on my heels.

The two guys in the shop wearing masks stop what they’re doing – smashing up the ashtrays – and stare at us, then they bolt for the door. I’m left with the bat above my head, staring at an empty shop. I whirl around as someone touches my shoulder and Steve narrowly avoids getting a cricket bat to the skull.

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Sue can be found at her website, http://www.suebrownstories.com/
H
er blog, http://suebrownsstories.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter,
https://twitter.com/suebrownstories
and her Facebook,
https://www.facebook.com/suebrownstories.

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The blog tour finishes at http://ukgayromance.co.uk/ on Friday 20th December and prizes will be drawn at 10pm GMT. Leave a comment with your email address here or anywhere along the blog tour to take part.

My previous stops on the tour were at:

·6th Dec. Sue Brown

·7th Dec. Talon PS

·8th Dec.Lou Sylvre

·10th Dec.Sara York

·11th Dec. Patricia Logan

My next stop is on Saturday 14th December at: Queer Town Abbey

PRIZES

1st Prize – Wooden Cock

Plus a copy of A Cock in the Window with original cover (mobi, epub or PDF)

Plus $10 Amazon gift voucher

2nd prize – Wooden Cock

Plus a copy of A Cock in the Window with original cover (mobi, epub or PDF)

3rd Prize x3

A copy of A Cock in the Window with original cover (mobi, epub or PDF)

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From Clare: I can tell you, dear readers – *I’VE* entered 🙂

*HOHOHO*

Red Carpet post: J. Vaughn + Giveaway

Welcome today to author J. Vaughn who’s chatting about her new release ROUGH BOYS: RUNAWAY. Find out where she found her inspiration, what she loves to write – and all her other favourites!

GIVEAWAY: Jay is kindly offering THREE FREE DOWNLOADS of her book to lucky commenters. Don’t forget to leave your email address and/or contact details in the comments box, and the winners will be picked at random on Tuesday 17 Dec.

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What inspired you to write Rough Boys?

I was inspired by Pete Townshend’s song of the same name. I heard it on the radio one morning—not on my usual station. If you’re not familiar with it, you should check it out. It’s awesome. “Rough boys, running the streets … rough toys, under the sheets…” I started thinking about what kind of boys these would be. I wanted to “get inside their bitter minds”.
I slammed out the first 15,000 words in a week and posted it on a free story site without too much forethought. I was overwhelmed with the response I received and shortly abandoned all other in-progress writing efforts to focus on this one.

In addition to the blurb, is there anything you want to tell readers about the story?
At it’s heart it’s a coming-of-age story. It follows the lives of three young gay men who are just out on their own, falling in love for the first time, and sometimes making pretty big mistakes.
It’s not for the faint-of-heart. The first chapter in particular is quite brutal. It also has some scenes depicting drug abuse which garnered more than a few complains from beta readers, but I also got kudos for realism. In the end, many of my strongest critics said they loved the story, so I’m hoping readers will stick with it even though at times it is not an easy read.

How do you find the books you want to read?
I used to browse the best sellers at wherever I was buying my book. That was hit or miss for me, though. What’s selling well now, are not necessarily the best books in class, and sometimes the choices were less than stellar. What is selling well is also not always what’s highest rated, and sometimes the highest rated books are the ones with very few ratings.
Lately I’ve had good luck using the lists at Goodreads. There’s quite a few in the M/M category and they have some great books in them.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My father was in the navy, so I moved around a lot growing up. I also spent quite a few years in Alaska before settling down in Seattle. I went to grad school in Manhattan and Germany. All that travel has definitely influenced my writing and allowed me to write with confidence about both wilderness settings and city life.
One of the motifs that often creeps into my stories is the theme of trying to fit in someplace new or with others who are very different. One thing you will never see me do is to have characters instantly learn a foreign language. I like to have them struggle with communication as so often happens in real life.

What types of books do you like to read?
I’m an adrenalin junkie. I want to read a book that I can’t put down. I like lots of harrowing action, but not at the expense of character development. I’m also much more of a romantic than I care to admit and do enjoy sappy love scenes.
I have very little tolerance for sad endings. If I know a book or movie ends badly, I will likely not read or watch it. I think maybe I’m one of the few left in America who still hasn’t seen Titanic. I know how it ends, right? I’m just never in the mood to go there, although I’m sure the journey is wonderful.

What are you writing at the moment?
I’m currently writing a vampire novel, Encounters with Evil, which is pretty funny because I don’t like vampire novels. I like this one pretty well though. The vampire in it is actually evil, and there’s lots of mystery surrounding the main character’s love interest—the hot, muscle-bound, Harley-riding hunk who rescues him from the vampire’s clutches.
I also just finished writing a shorter work about a college jock who finally comes to terms with his own homosexuality after helping a rape victim. I’ll post it on my Website soon.
Because my writing time is so limited, I try not to have too many stories going at once, although I have to admit that there’s three others I’ve made a start to and countless more in my head. So many men, so little time…

And a few personal questions…
Favorite book?
My all-time favorite book is Lord of the Rings. It’s an amazing story, one I can read over and over. The writing is beautiful and unusual.
Favorite music?
I like almost any kind of music but listen to alternative rock more than anything else. My favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I’m fickle, so that could change soon.
Favorite sport?
Swimming. I love backpacking and skiing as well.
Favorite leisure activity?
Dinner and wine with friends. Is that a leisure activity? It is for me.
Favorite foods?
Cheese (like really good French cheese), wine, and dark chocolate.

Book Blurb

A runaway, a dreamer, a gorgeous femme … are they rough enough to survive the brutal city?
Ty is only seventeen when he flees in terror from his homophobic father, but surviving on the streets is more difficult than he could possibly have imagined. When bad choices send Ty spiraling toward ruin, can he be saved by love?
Dani leaves home with stars in his eyes but his feet on the ground, fully expecting his road to success to be long and difficult. What he doesn’t expect is to fall head-over-heels in love with a gorgeous, self-centered rock star. Can Dani find happiness with the arrogant Englishman or will his heart be broken?
Kaeden is banished by his conservative Asian parents when he comes home with extreme hair, false eyelashes, and glittering fingernails. He naively accepts a position with a male escort service, dreaming of fancy parties and wealthy men. Instead he finds himself playing Russian roulette with his heart.
This gritty urban romance follows the lives of these three young men as they forge strong bonds of friendship in spite of, or maybe because of, the challenges they face.

Publisher’s Notes:
This story contains content which may be offensive to some readers: extreme violence, substance abuse, offensive language, and detailed descriptions of M/M sex. No underage sex.

Author Bio
Jay Vaughn lives in sunny Seattle, a clean, progressive city that is way too expensive for a writer’s income. Therefore, Jay holds down a full-time, computer-industry day job, but writing is her passion. It’s a hobby-gone-wild, so much so that her teenage kids accuse her of being an addict.
Jay carries her laptop everywhere and can often be seen combining other favorite activities with writing. For example, you can find Jay sitting at a small table in the back of the gay bar around the corner from her house, drinking wine and writing. Or waking up early while camping, dragging out the laptop, and writing. Or writing in the truck on the way to and from concerts, ski-trips, visits to relatives … wherever.
Jay’s favorite genres are sci-fi, fantasy, and M/M erotic romance. She discovered M/M quite by accident when she was writing a traditional fantasy novel, and one of her characters ended up in an all-male prison for a bit too long. Whoops!

Find out what Jay is working on next at http://www.authorjvaughn.com or drop her a line at jayvaughn@live.com. She’d love to hear from you.

Buy Links
Divergent Publishing
Smashwords
Amazon
Apple iBookstore
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
My blog with free reads

Read a (generous) excerpt from Rough Boys on Page 2

Red Carpet post: Kate Sherwood + giveaway

Welcome today to the talented author Kate Sherwood who’s chatting about the ever-intriguing topic of authors writing what they know – and the readers’ reactions!

GIVEAWAY: Kate is kindly offering a FREE DOWNLOAD of her new book (as soon as it releases) to one lucky commenter. Don’t forget to leave your email address and/or contact details in the comments box, and the winner will be picked at random on Monday 16 Dec.

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Write What You Know… When the Audience Doesn’t!

My first few novels were set in the States. It just seemed natural… that’s where the books I read were set, that’s where most of the TV and movies I watched came from, and that’s where the publishers were, not to mention the largest audience. Canada does have its own literary and entertainment industries, and they’re quite vibrant and creative. But they’re small.

Then the Dreamspinner editors posted some beautiful images on their author group and said they were up for grabs, if anyone was inspired by one and wanted to make it a cover for their book. I saw a gorgeous photo by Dan Skinner, a pair of male legs on a dock with nature in the background  and it immediately evoked my childhood in Ontario’s cottage country. I wanted to write the book  – Lost Treasure – that went with that cover, and I wanted to set it at home.

It was great. I could include all the little details I’d just imagined for my other books. I knew what the characters were smelling and hearing as well as what they were seeing – I don’t care how much time I spent on Google Street View, I could still never get a real feel for places I hadn’t been. So I set my next book, Shying Away, in Vancouver, since I’d lived there for eight years, and many of my books since then have been set in rural Ontario, where I now live.

I love it. But I’m writing for an audience that is mostly American, so while I know my setting much better than I did before, my audience might not. At the same time, Canada isn’t so exotic and fascinating that it deserves the level of description I’d expect in a book set in Zimbabwe or something. Canada’s not different enough to be interesting, just different enough to be weird!

In The Fall, my current release, the characters live in rural Ontario. On a ranch. People not from rural Ontario may not know this, but… there are not a lot of ranches here. I figure an American audience probably wouldn’t know or care, but I do have some Canadian readers, and I care for my own sake that I’m authentic. So I spent some time in the book having a character explain that the locals call it a ranch because it’s a huge chunk of property that’s too hilly for much other than grazing, and what would you call that if not a ranch? And I know of at least one property in Ontario that fits this description so… I’m satisfied!

We also ran into a few challenges with word choices. In Ontario, kids with working parents go to daycare after school. That’s what we call it. According to my Dreamspinner editor, Americans wouldn’t call it daycare, they’d call it afterschool care. So… do I use the Canadian term for authenticity, or the American term for clarity? Same issue with a character eating porridge. Apparently Americans are more likely to call it oatmeal.

They’re just little things, but they’re among the many details we need to sort out before bringing a book to the readers.

Do you guys notice the little stuff? Is Canada so close to the States that you don’t really care if a book is set here? If you do notice, is it for better or worse?

About the Author:
Kate started writing at about the same time she got back on a horse after a twenty-year break. She’d like to think she’s far too young for it to be a mid-life crisis, but apparently she was ready for a few changes!

Kate’s writing focuses on characters and relationships, people trying to find out how much of themselves they need to keep, and how much they can afford to give away. She tries to find a careful balance between drama and humor—she wants readers to have an intense experience and feel drawn into the book, but she also wants them to enjoy the time they spend reading.

Her links:

 

The Fall, from Dreamspinner Press, coming December 16, 2013 – available for pre-order now! HERE.

Blurb

Every relationship leaves something behind. Dumped by his sugar daddy, part-time model Scott Mackenzie somehow ends up owning an abandoned church in rural Ontario. He dreams of using it for gay weddings, even if he’ll never have one of his own. Joe Sutton is trying to keep his family together after his parents’ deaths. Between the family ranch, his brother’s construction company, and commitments around town, he doesn’t have time for a relationship. But Mackenzie is hard to ignore.

As both men fight their growing attraction, challenges to Mackenzie’s business threaten their relationship. If he can’t make it work, he’ll have to crawl back to the city in defeat. But the only solution involves risking the ranch Joe loves, and each man has to decide how much he’ll sacrifice for the other.

Excerpt

Lorraine snorted. “He didn’t seem too friendly? I’m not surprised.” She shrugged philosophically. “It’s probably the gay thing.”

It hit Mackenzie almost like a slap. He’d thought he was prepared for small-town attitudes toward his sexuality and had absolutely considered homophobia as a possible barrier to setting up his wedding chapel somewhere like Falls Creek. But he couldn’t believe it was being treated so casually. “You’re saying he was rude to me because I’m gay?”

Lorraine looked startled. “No. I’m not sure I’d call it rude, but the way he acts? Distant, kind of? I always figured it was because he’s gay. You know, he’s always been a bit different, so he’s never really tried too hard to fit in. He just hangs out on his ranch, being a lonely cowboy….” She trailed off and fixed her gaze on Mackenzie. “But you say you’re gay as well? I mean, I can’t say it didn’t cross my mind. But it seemed rude to ask…. ”

“Joe Sutton is gay.” Mackenzie had always prided himself on being able to read people and certainly on being able to pick up on that little spark from a man who was noticing Mackenzie’s undeniable charms. But he’d gotten none of that from the cowboy brother. “That’s confirmed? Or you’re just guessing?”

“Well, I haven’t been there in the room with him and another fella,” Lorraine said with an arched brow, “but it’s general knowledge. He’s never tried to hide it, not that I ever heard of.”

“Maybe he just couldn’t be bothered to speak in order to deny it. He doesn’t seem like someone who cares a whole lot what other people think about him.” Mackenzie was trying to figure it all out. He wanted to find a mirror and make sure he still looked like himself. First Nathan had dumped him for that twenty-year-old, and now a man living in what must surely be a gay desert had crawled right past Mackenzie’s bountiful oasis?

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