Monthly Archives: March 2017

An interview, some fangirling, and a giveaway with LETA BLAKE!

Today I’m going to unapologetically fangirl the hell out of Leta Blake. You’ll probably know her for her ice skating novel, Training Season, and also the Will and Patrick (Wake Up Married) series. But I’m fangirling all over her for The River Leith. Seriously peeps. This book kept me up all night. I simply could not put it down. I felt compelled to contact Leta (I gushed via Messenger. Can you imagine?) and asked very nicely if she’d like to come over to my blog and answer some questions. So, here we go:     (Don’t forget to check out the giveaway!)

RJ: I totally fell in love with Leith and Zach. Where did you find the inspiration for these two?

Leta: I often find inspiration in music and, this will make no sense, but this whole story showed up for me when I was listening to the Gaslight Anthem song “Here’s Looking at You Kid”.

If you can listen to that and tell me how this story lived in the song and then accosted me with a demand that I write it, let me know! Because I have no idea!

The other thing I was playing with at the time was the idea of falling in love with the same person twice. I’d been talking with a fellow writer pal about how people love to read first time love stories and how it’d be fun to write one where the people fall in love a second time, but not because they broke up. Amnesia seemed a good solution.

RJ: Okay, you’re right. That makes no sense. It’s a cool song, though. I loved how you gave us Zach’s POV, without actually giving it to us. (For those who haven’t read it, Zach ‘talks’ to us via his vlog) This was ingenious and I haven’t seen it done before. Why not just write his POV? Was there a specific reason why you did it this way?

Leta: A dear friend of mine actually suggested the idea back when she was beta reading the original draft, which had none of Zach’s point of view at all. She read the draft and said, “You know, this really requires Zach’s point of view, and you’ve already got this vlog thread in there, why don’t you write his point of view as him doing the vlogs?”

 If I recall correctly, though, I’m the one who decided to do it in script form, but it’s possible that was her idea, too. It was quite a few years ago now.

But I’m glad you liked the way Zach’s point of view was presented. I enjoyed pushing some boundaries with that!

RJ: Any chance of getting Arthur’s story? If not, what can I bribe you with?

Leta: Aw, Arthur! He’s a good brother! And, alas, no. I’m afraid this entire universe is off my writing radar right now. For some time after I’d finished it, I’d actually thought I’d write the story of their first time falling in love, and do it from Zach’s point of view. I was going to call it The Running Zachariah. But I’ve only written a few very, very short things for my blog, AO3, and Patreon account.

The Running Zachariah Meets the River Leith: https://archiveofourown.org/works/2601446

Are You a Runner or a Fighter? https://letablake.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/are-you-a-runner-or-a-fighter-the-running-zachariah-mmromance-amreading/

RJ: Leith’s story revolves around him losing three years of his memory and the implications, not only on his life, but on those closest to him. How much research went into the medical and emotional side of these events.

Leta: I did quite a bit of research but I tried to keep it more emotionally true than medically true. I wanted to explore the idea that love is more than memories and explore the grief of how a traumatic event can change people’s lives, leading them to make less than stellar choices (Zach) and yet also making them dig deep to find themselves again. I was more interested in telling that sort of story than making the medical details perfect.

I wrote a blog post about the choices I made regarding the amnesia here: https://letablake.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/amnesia-doesnt-work-like-that-research/

RJ: The title is reflected around Leith and Zach’s names but also around the loss of memory. How did you come up with the title? Did it come first or did the storyline dictate it?

Leta: Well, I specifically chose the name Leith because it was a great play on the River Lethe in Greek Mythology. That’s the river of forgetting that the dead cross through on their way to the underworld, making them forget their loved ones. I chose Zach’s name because it means ‘The Lord has remembered”, which sort of means like the one who remembers it all, yeah? So it made sense that there would be a lot of river symbolism in the story itself and, in the end, it just seemed to be the right title for the book. I actually love the title but have wondered if it is off-putting to readers since it doesn’t make it really clear that it’s a romance, etc.

RJ: Okay, time for some quick-fire questions. No thinking!

Coke or Pepsi?   COKE 4-EVA
Favorite color?  Red or green or yellow or blue depending on the day. 🙂
Favorite place to read?  The beach!
Cook at home or dine out?  Dine out!
Favorite non-alcoholic drink?  Seltzer water!
Favorite holiday spot?  Florida’s Gulf Coast
Winter or summer?  SUMMER ALWAYS
Harry Potter or Twilight?  Harry Potter!
If there were 25hrs in a day, what would you do with the extra hour?  Write! 🙂

RJ: Wow! Most of your answers match mine. We could be twins!

That’s it from me. A huge big thanks to Leta for taking the time to indulge in my fangirling. If you haven’t read The River Leith, or any of Leta’s other works, I suggest you step it up and check them out. I guarantee a great read.

Keep scrolling for the buy links and a chance to win an ecopy of The River Leith and the first three episodes of Will and Patrick, you lucky buggers. 🙂

Memory is everything.

After an injury in the ring, amateur boxer Leith Wenz wakes to discover his most recent memories are three years out of date. Unmoored and struggling to face his new reality, Leith must cope anew with painful revelations about his family. His brother is there to support him, but it’s the unfamiliar face of Zach, a man introduced as his best friend, that provides the calm he craves. Until Zach’s presence begins to stir up feelings Leith can’t explain.

For Zach, being forgotten by his lover is excruciating. He carefully hides the truth from Leith to protect them both from additional pain. His bottled-up turmoil finds release through vlogging, where he confesses his fears and grief to the faceless Internet. But after Leith begins to open up to him, Zach’s choices may come back to haunt him.

Ultimately, Leith must ask his heart the questions memory can no longer answer.

The River Leith Buy Links

iTunes   Amazon   Kobo   B&N   Smashwords

 

Giveaway details

A random commenter on this blog post  will receive an ecopy of The River Leith (you’ll be fangirling too after you read it) PLUS the first three episodes from Will and Patrick – Wake Up Married series. Winner will be drawn next week.

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

If you’d like to be among the first to know about new releases, you can sign up for Leta’s newsletter HERE or join her Patreon HERE.

 

Exclusive excerpt and guest post! Home Before Sundown by Tinnean

Today on the blog I welcome Tinnean. She has a new release coming April 1st. It’s a western set during the American Civil War. Historical cowboys? Yes, please!  Make sure you check out the exclusive excerpt and guest post and find out how this story came to be.

Enjoy!

Blurb

George Pettigrew and his papa must leave the California rancho they’d lived on since his birth. They end up in New York City, where Papa marries and George gets a new beloved mama. George also meets Frank and Bart who become fast friends, and in Bart’s case, even more.

The start of the Civil War leaves George the man of the family, but although he’s found a job, it’s difficult to pay the ever-increasing rent. Then Papa dies at Appomattox and Mama falls ill.

After Mama dies, her father takes George’s siblings. When George learns his younger sister is being abused, he rescues the three children. But will dressing his sisters as boys and himself as a woman be enough of a disguise to keep them safe until they can reach the valley he’s dreamed of? Will Bart leave behind his own family and go with the man he loves?

Exclusive Excerpt

George knew a number of boys at the academy he attended, boys he’d say hello to or smile at, but none that he was interested in pursuing a friendship with.

He’d talked to Papa about it.

“They’re acquaintances, Georgie, and that’s fine. Don’t let it worry you.”

“But—”

Papa ruffled George’s hair. “Your Uncle Guillermo was the first man I liked enough to call friend, and I was…” His gaze became unfocused as he considered it. “I was twenty-five when we first met. It nearly tore out my heart when he died.” He looked almost as sad as when he thought about Mama—George’s first mama.

“Are you sorry you became friends with him?”

“No. I wouldn’t have missed that for the world. He was the sort of man you wanted at your back when you knew trouble was brewing. The sort of man I want you to grow up to become.” Papa smiled. “So you’ve got plenty of time to find a friend or two.”

Because Papa had said so, George was content to wait.

And Papa was always right, because now George had two friends, Frank Thompson and Bart Hall.

George liked Frank. They worked together grooming the horses, and George helped Frank with his riding lessons. Frank helped him with his schoolwork, because while Papa was a smart man and knew many things, he wasn’t very good at teaching book learning to George.

“You’re not stupid, George,” Frank told him. “You can do this.” And he set to work teaching George how to do his sums.

They were close friends.

But George was fascinated by Bart, Mrs. Hall’s oldest son, who worked as a carpenter’s apprentice.

He first met Bart when he came around the side of the cottage while George was in the paddock exercising Nightfall.

Papa and Mr. Thompson had set up a schedule for Frank to come and help with the horses. Today wasn’t one of the days he’d come over… he’d had to go to the lawyer’s office, where he clerked.

They had three horses now, and in another five months, the number would rise to four. The beautiful palomino mare was in foal. Mama couldn’t ride, mostly because she was expecting a baby too, but that was okay. Papa worked with Bella Dama, calming her down, since not only had her last owner taken a whip to her, but so had the one before that, according to the old scars on her flanks.

That day, George had only put her through mild exercises; horses were big animals, but they could abort easily. She’d been out in the paddock earlier with Sunrise, but now she was resting in her box stall.

George had set up a few low jumps, and he rode Nightfall in a circle around the paddock before setting him at the first jump. The gelding took it easily and went on to the second jump and then the third. When they finished the course, George turned Nightfall, and that was when he saw the tall, broad-shouldered boy standing there.

For a second he couldn’t catch his breath. Hair so dark a brown it appeared black was tied back at the nape of his neck. His eyes were also a dark brown. A toolbox hung from his shoulder.

“Can…” George swallowed. “Can I help you?”

“I’m Bart Hall. I come by to walk my Ma home. I was going to the servants’ door, but then I saw you and I had to watch.” He said the last words almost defiantly.

“We don’t have a servants’ door, Bart Hall. Hello, I’m George Pettigrew.”

Bart’s brows met above his nose in a scowl. George figured he was about fourteen, three years older than him, but that expression made him seem older. Bart opened his mouth, and George smiled and wondered what he was going to say.

Bart’s scowl was replaced with a reluctant smile of his own, and George felt his heart give an unexpected thump. “Hello, George. Sorry, it’s been a long day, and I get snappy when I’m hungry.”

Did he think what he’d said was snappy? George wanted to grin at him, but he wasn’t sure how Bart would take it, so he didn’t. But he couldn’t resist a saucy smile

“Go on into the kitchen. Your mama’s putting the finishing touches on dinner. You can have some.”

“No, I can’t. I’m just a carpenter.”

“You’re a carpenter—that’s an honest profession, and there’s no just about it. I have to put Nightfall up. Go in, and I’ll join you in a minute. The side door opens into the kitchen.” George started to lean down to open the gate, but Bart bounded forward and unlatched it for him. “Thanks.” George nodded at Bart and nudged Nightfall through. “Close it, please?” He felt Bart’s gaze on him as he rode into the stable, and a quick glance over his shoulder proved him right. He sent a small salute Bart’s way, and Bart grinned at him and saluted back.

George kicked free of the stirrups, swung his leg over Nightfall’s neck, and slid to the stable floor. “What did you think of him?” he asked the gelding as he removed the saddle. “I’ve never seen anyone like him before.”

He couldn’t understand what was happening. Papa had told him about wet dreams, and he hadn’t panicked the next time his prick had grown hard and he’d climaxed, shooting white liquid over his groin and chest. Not that it happened frequently, since Papa had also told him about masturbating, an act George had taken to with relish.

But this was the first time his prick had hardened just from looking at another person.

He worried his lower lip. He’d heard the boys at the academy making fun of one of the smaller students. They’d called him nellie and even tried to beat him up. George wouldn’t have stood for that—Papa had raised him better. Papa had also taught him some tricks for when you were fighting more than one opponent, but the boy’s papa must have taught him the same tricks, because while the boy had a torn shirt and a knot on his cheekbone, the bigger boys had black eyes and bloody noses, and they’d run away crying.

“Nice work,” George had said, and the kid grinned at him and flinched when the knot pulled.

“I’m small, but I’m tough.” He fingered the tear in his shirt. “Pa’s not going to be happy about this.”

George wanted to ask the kid why they’d called him Nellie, obviously a girl’s name, but he was afraid he’d come across as ignorant if he did, so he didn’t. He decided to wait until he had a chance to talk to Papa.

And that had been an eye-opening conversation.

“I’m glad you were willing to stick up for that boy,” Papa had said.

“Why did they call him nellie?”

“They were bullies, and they did that to make themselves feel big. Men do that also. When you’re faced with a situation like that, you do whatever it takes to let them know you won’t put up with it.”

“Yes, but I still don’t understand…”

Papa sighed. “You know how a man and a woman sleep in the same bed to make a baby? Well, there are some men who like to sleep in the same bed with other men.”

“Oh. I understand.” But he really didn’t. A man couldn’t make a baby with another man.

Papa looked relieved, so George let the subject drop.

Only now, George thought he did understand.

Buy Link

(and it’s on sale right now at JMS Books!)

Guest Post

Thank you, RJ, for this opportunity!

Isn’t it interesting how things work out? Originally, this story was supposed to be about a young man circa 1870 who had to dress as a woman in order to protect his family. My plan was for him to meet another young man, who fell in love with him, not realizing they shared the same plumbing. I even had the idea that George Pettigrew would take a tumble off his mare and wind up with his skirts up around his waist. Sharps Browne would ride up, realize the woman he’d been falling in love with was actually a man, and decide he didn’t really care.

Well, that’s not going to happen.

I first had the idea for Home Before Sundown back in 2012. It’s what I call my Civil War western, so readers wouldn’t be confused and think it was a contemporary. At that time, the title was Home Before Daylight. All my books go through at least one title change in the course of getting them written.

I knew the story was going to start with George and his Papa. Or was it? Maybe it was going to start with the young man called Sharps instead. The problem was, no matter how I worked it, the story just wouldn’t come together.

So I set it aside, and 2012 passed. So did 2013, 2014, and 2015. Every once in a while I’d open the file, but still no luck. Finally, in October of 2016, I realized the story didn’t start with George or Sharps talking, but with Tom Pettigrew, George’s Papa, and voilà, the story finally began to move!

We traveled from California to the Badlands of South Dakota, to New York City, from the time of the Mexican-American War to the Civil War.

As it moved, it occurred to me that George would need a romantic interest before he encountered Sharps, so I created Bart Hall. (see the exclusive excerpt.). Only as it turned out, George and Bart were so sweet together, I couldn’t bear to separate them. I’d just have to find someone else for Sharps.

By the time Sharps finally put in an appearance, the story had reached about 90k. The next thing I knew, it was topping 103k, and I had to trim it back. What to do, what to do? *the light goes on* I cut out all of Sharps’s chapters, set them aside, and reworked what had happened from George’s POV. Although the word count dropped to approximately 88k, by the time I was done, it had risen to an additional 11k.

Never fear, though. Sharps’s story, Two for Home, will contain the missing chapters, and we’ll see what happens from his POV.

And just as an aside, Deuce Pettigrew, who we met in In His Line of Work, is the descendant of George’s brother.

Author Bio

Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn’t survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.

It was with the advent of the family’s second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that her writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.

While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters and has been published by Nazca Plains, Dreamspinner, JMS Books, and Wilde City, as well as being self-published. Recent novels have received honorable mention in the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards, and two of the 2014 submissions were finalists.

A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband, two computers, and a Surface 3 named Baby Jane.

Ernest Hemingway’s words reflect Tinnean’s devotion to her craft: Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.

She can be contacted at:

Email: tinneantoo@gmail.com

Live Journal: http://tinnean.livejournal.com/

Twitter: @tinneantoo

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

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tinnean/e/B004QS65KQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1391469662&sr=1-2-ent

She’d love it if you dropped by to say hello.

Books can be found at:

Dreamspinner   JMS Books  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo

If you’d like to sample her earlier works, they can be found here.

 

 

 

TIMELABS Inc. by L.V. Lloyd

Isn’t it amazing how time flies? It’s almost April already!  There’s so much to do, it makes me wish for a timemachine. That would be handy, huh?

Today I have on the blog fellow Australian author, L.V. Lloyd. If you’re a sci-fi fan, I suggest you check out her new anthology, Timelabs Inc. I’m pretty sure I need L.V. to set me up with some fancy machine to help me out with my day’s work.

And it’s only .99c. What do you have to lose?

TimeLabs Inc is a collection of six science fiction short stories, all with a romantic theme. Now available for purchase on Amazon for 99c! Enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

Gay Sci-Fi. Not explicit. Suitable for both teens and adults.

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Blurb:

“Welcome, Mr Reese and Mr Connor… I trust your special day was all that it was cracked up to be? And what better way to compliment your union than with a honeymoon across time, eh? We here at TimeLabs are the premier time travel company and our guides are highly trained. Anything you want, anywhere you want to go… The possibilities are very nearly endless…”

Sam and Zak take a Time Tour for their honeymoon, visiting some of the events through time which have captured their interest, including the very first Olympics. A five-star time machine for transport, luxury meals, fine wines—what could be more perfect? TimeLabs Inc.

Tom loved his master, his job and the wonderful society he lived in—until one day, somebody hacked his tattoo and his world changed forever. Tattoo

Kel meets his first alien and falls in love with her. Except… Alien Love Story

Evan and Joey step through a door and find themselves in a whole new world where mythical creatures are as real as they are. Love Spider

General Parker Rodriguez didn’t believe for one second in the existence of flying saucers with little green men conducting random probes, but he still knew that Aliens were out there. And when they came, he would be ready. E-Contact

And My Day At The Beach

Purchase from Amazon here.

 

About the Author

After thirty years of working with the unemployed, coping with threats, tears and broken lives (and these were only from fellow staff), LV Lloyd decided it was time to make her escape. And what better place to go than the world of m/m romance? She started writing Dangerous Tension, her first ebook in the Aurigan Space Saga, years ago, but put it aside due to work and family commitments.

In 2012, she dusted off the foolscap pages stored under her bed, finished the story and turned it into a book. Since then, she has written five more ebooks in the Aurigan Space Saga series, and numerous short stories. Her latest work, Gothic Romance is a venture into a new genre, Historical Romance.

LV Lloyd lives in Adelaide, Australia, with her family and two cats. In her spare time she enjoys fishing and visiting the many local wineries.

You can visit her at http://www.lvlloyd.com

I have some news… and a newsletter!

I’m going to be a dedicated blogger. I have literally just finished speaking to N.R. Walker, (over a glass of wine and dinner) about blogging and how she comes up with blog post topics, so I’m going to do my damnedest to keep everyone informed, even if it’s just a quick update on what I’ve been working on or random pic of my office.

Okay, so it’s not really news, but there you go.

On a different note, if you get bored of pics of my laptop but still want to be notified when I have a book coming out,  you can sign up to my newsletter here. This is where I’ll post news about any new releases or giveaways.

In the meantime, did you see that As the Sun Sets was released last month? If you were wondering about Noah’s ex (from As the Leaves Fall) and why he was a total arse, this is his story. It’s really interesting to find out what makes a person tic, don’t you think?

Make sure you check out the whole series if you haven’t already.

Read for free on KU or purchase here.

RJ

 

 

Out of the Blue is no longer available

Out of the Blue is no longer available

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Yes, you read that right. Out of the Blue has been removed from all sales sites and is undergoing a rewrite and re-edit. I’m obviously a sucker for punishment. LOL. I’m running a fine-toothed comb and a red pen through it. The original story will remain intact; Cam and Jake will still go through hell before they get their HEA, but the writing will be smoother and more consistent. Scenes may be added or removed, depending on what I feel the story needs. I will release it again later this year with a new cover too.

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Stay tuned. I’ll announce a date as soon as I can.

RJ