Hey, thanks for having me on your blog today, Charli!
In my new book, Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, Declan and Isidore’s parents are diplomats. Declan’s mother is the Irish ambassador to the U.S. and Isidore’s father is the French ambassador to the U.S.
I grew up knowing two ambassadors. They were a married couple who were ambassadors to neighboring countries and saw each other on weekends. Most people don’t realize that ambassadors are extremely powerful people. They carry nearly one hundred percent of the authority of their own president, king, queen, or prime minister in the foreign country of their station. The land that embassies sit on is sovereign land, which means that a little piece of the ambassador’s home country exists right under their feet no matter what country they’re stationed in. Here in the United States, we take the protection of the sovereign land of others very seriously and all embassies located here are guarded by our military, usually by Marines. Diplomatic persons and pouches transporting documents are not subject to search. Any person or package bearing a diplomatic coronet cannot be touched or invaded by anyone. #truestory
Foreign relations are essential to all countries and diplomatic functions are vital to maintaining those relationships. I went to a few in my youth and, plainly stated, they are boring unless you’re into watching insanely dressed up people eat and dance formal dances. In order that I present accordingly at these affairs, my grandfather sent me to Cotillion—which is nothing more than a fancy name for etiquette, deportment, and dance school. You learn everything from how to create a proper place-setting and the purpose of each piece of silverware, to dancing a waltz, and posture—how to sit, how to stand, how to walk, how to carry yourself, and how to greet people. I detested this in my youth yet, as an adult, have found the knowledge invaluable at formal functions. Now, cotillion offers much more than etiquette, deportment, and dance. It provides a leg up to those graduating from middle and high school in the areas of socializing, character development, and presentation for interviews. If you’re interested in learning what Cotillion offers today, check out The National League of Junior Cotillions.
Enjoy reading Slaying Isidore’s Dragons and the glimpse it gives you into the world of diplomatic persons! Through April 25th, follow along for Fun Facts, never-before-seen Excerpts, Interviews, Character Interviews, interesting Blog Posts, and chances to win each of my books!
About Slaying Isidore’s Dragons
5 Best friends
4 Vicious brothers
3 STD tests
2 Guys in love
1 Car bombing
Nowhere to run
Follow the burgeoning love of two teens during the worst year of their lives. Irish-born Declan David de Quirke II is the son of two ambassadors, one Irish and one American. He is ‘out’ to his parents but to no one else. French-born Jean Isidore de Sauveterre is also the son of two ambassadors, one Catalan and one Parisian. His four half brothers have been told to cure him of his homosexuality. Both teens have lost a parent in a London car bombing.
5 Weeks of hell
4 Attempts on their lives
3 Law enforcement agencies
2 Dead high school seniors
1 Jealous friend
A love that won’t be denied
Declan and Isidore meet at the beginning of their senior year at a private academy in the United States. Declan is immediately smitten with Isidore and becomes his knight in shining armor. Isidore wants to keep what is left of his sanity and needs Declan’s love to do it. One is beaten, one is drugged, one is nearly raped, one has been raped. They are harassed by professors and police, and have fights at school, but none of it compares to running for their lives. When the headmaster’s popular son attempts suicide and someone tries to assassinate Declan’s mother, they are thrown headlong into chaos, betrayal, conspiracy, allegations of sexual coercion, even murder. And one of them carries a secret that may get them killed.
5 New family members
2 Extraordinary Psychologists
1 Courageous Mother
A new beginning for two young men in love
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.
Stop by Cody’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind.
Cover and Artwork by Reese Dante
Today my guest is fellow Harmony Ink Press author Brynn Stein!
Welcome Brynn and thank you for visiting!
This is the ninth stop on my blog tour. I’m having such fun, as I always do on these tours, talking about various aspects of writing in general, and Ray of Sunlight in particular and getting to know all of you. Thanks so much for following the tour. If this is your first stop, feel free to go back and comment on the others, listed below, to be entered to win one of five prizes. More about that later.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Charli. I always love dropping by.
Characters inspired by real life people…sort of.
I’ve already mentioned that Russ was inspired by my students and the homophobes in the story by the people I work with. Now I’d like to talk about CJ’s inspiration. At least part of it.
Years ago, when I was a homebound instructor, raising my own two small children, I taught a little girl with the same kind of cancer CJ has. Let’s call her Jessica.
Jessica was twelve and a half years old and had been fighting cancer for six months when I first met her. Because she was in and out of the hospital and even when she wasn’t she was way too sick to go to school, she need homebound instruction. That means the county schools paid for me to go into her home and work with her so she wouldn’t get too far behind in her studies.
When she was in the Children’s Hospital, of course, she had an educator on staff there who worked with her, but I still visited and kept up to date with what was going on with her. So, by virtue of working so closely with her, I know the symptoms of that kind of cancer, the toll chemo takes on a young body, how education in a children’s hospital works, and unfortunately, how it feels to lose someone so young to cancer.
I worked with her for almost two years. She had just turned fourteen when she went into the hospital for the last time. I visited her, as I always had, but she told me that day that she wouldn’t be there tomorrow. She said that for the first time in two years, she didn’t hurt. (She was always in pain, even with the high powered pain killers she was on). The nurses explained to me that that sometimes happens. The patient’s body shuts down enough toward the end that it doesn’t carry pain impulses anymore.
She was right. She died that evening. Her dad called me the next morning. (I didn’t know him as well as I knew her mom, but mom was justifiably distraught and wasn’t making phone calls.) I think I cried for the rest of the day. She wasn’t the first student I lost to death. And she wasn’t the last. But each one is devastating.
So, now, it feels like a little part of her is immortalized in CJ. He’s really nothing like her, except maybe that indomitable twinkle in his eye. He’s a different age; he has a very different home life. But still…Jessica is sort of the inspiration.
What about all of you? Writers, do you find that your characters are inspired by real life people? Maybe they’re not really anything like them, but the fact that you knew this one real life person went a long way toward your development of this fictional character? Readers, I’m sure far too many of you have had experience with loved ones, or at least people you know, having cancer. I’d love to hear your stories, if you’d like to share short memories, or better yet triumphs, of the people in your life who have fought or are fighting cancer.
Comment below for a chance to win.
Here’s how the giveaway will work. Visit as many sites as you want, as often as you want. Each comment will enter you to win one of the following prizes: 1st) An autographed paperback copy of Ray of Sunlight, 2nd) An electronic copy of Ray of Sunlight, 3rd) Your choice of audio or electronic copy of Living Again, 4th) An electronic copy of Through the Years, and 5th) an electronic copy of Haunted. The takeovers for Harmony Ink’s blog and Facebook page will be part of the tour, so comments on there will count. I will draw the winners during the FB takeover and will announce them then, but will come back and announce it to all the sites too. So, you don’t have to leave your email address here if you don’t want to, just remember to check back. You’re also welcome to leave your email in the comments if you’d rather or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading of “just in case”, so I can contact you if you win, if you don’t want to have to stop back by the blog sites. You don’t have to be present at the FB takeover to win.
Thanks for playing.
Ray of Sunlight
Russ Michaels has his whole life ahead of him but no plans beyond dropping out of school as soon as he turns eighteen. He’s been in and out of juvenile detention for the last four years and thoroughly expects to end up in an adult penitentiary at some point. He hates life and everyone in it, especially this latest community service that he earned in lieu of juvie yet again.
CJ Calhoun has big plans. He wants to bring joy and happiness to sick and injured children for as long as he can by performing as a clown. The problem is, he has stage-four cancer and a horrible prognosis.
When circumstances throw these two polar opposites together, they find they have more in common than they imagined. CJ discovers Russ’s talent for art and arranges for Russ to create a mural in the hospital foyer, which leads to a tentative scholarship to the Art Institute. As life changes in ways neither of them could have expected, Russ must work harder than ever to better himself as CJ struggles with his deteriorating health.
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Brynn Stein has always loved to write. Fan fiction, original fiction, whatever. While Brynn wrote in numerous genres—everything from mystery, to contemporary, to supernatural—she had always tended toward strong male characters. And then she discovered “slash,” male/male romance, and all those strong male characters were finally allowed to express their love for one another. It seems that there are always at least two characters clamoring to tell Brynn their story.
Brynn lives in Virginia near her two grown daughters who encourage her writing and provide a sounding board for fledgling stories. When she isn’t writing, Brynn teaches children with special needs. In free time, when such a thing exists, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and haunts bookstores. She draws and paints, and enjoys the outdoors—especially if she can get to the beach—and is always thinking about her next story.
I’m happy to welcome Raine O’Tierney today! She’s brought one of the main characters from her new Harmony Ink release, I’ll Always Miss You, and a giveaway!
Thank you for visiting, Raine and Mackie!
An interview with Macklin “Mackie” Cormack
(To read Isa Zaman’s interview, visit http://ckennedyauthor.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-character-interview-of-isa-zaman-from.html)
I’m going to give it to you straight, your buddy Isa said you’d be an interesting interview.
—*Sigh* Which really means he just didn’t want to do it himself.
Do you end up doing a lot for Isa?
—If by ‘doing a lot’ you mean reading to him so he doesn’t have to crack open a book himself? Then yes. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that and not say that he does stuff for me, too.
What does he do for you?
—Well…he’s my friend. He wasn’t always. At first he was a total ass—but he wasn’t really a threat. Nothing like some of the kids I met in foster care. Eventually we warmed up to each other. Now we’re close like brothers. Maybe more.
Maybe more? Isa wouldn’t talk about it.
—He’s more confused about it. I don’t know. I sort of “got” that I liked him pretty early on, you know, like that. It didn’t bother me.
Are you dating?
—I’d like to—I think about it a lot—but Isa’s Isa and it’ll come in its own time.
Wow, you’re pretty mature for a fifteen-year-old.
—Uh…thanks? I guess. I’m just quiet. I don’t know if that’s really mature.
You’ve been through a lot with your abusive mother and your father not realizing what was going on. How did you cope?
—Lots of reading. Lots of being outside of the house. Foster care was pretty awful—but the alternative was Mom. So, yeah. Foster care it was.
Is it weird living with an Arab-American family?
—Not at all! I really love the Zaman family. I wish they would cook more Moroccan food though, or I wish Rashid would come over more often. I didn’t even know I liked it until I met them and now I can’t get enough!
So, do you really think the house is haunted?
—I don’t know… Pretty spooky stuff happens, though, and I don’t have an explanation. We haven’t seen the ghost, but… that doesn’t mean she isn’t there.
Anything you want the world to know about you, Mackie Cormack?
—I’m not glass. My experiences have made me who I am.
I’ll Always Miss You by Raine O’Tierney
Isa Zaman might forgive his parents for taking in a friend’s son if only he wasn’t the most boring teenager in the universe. Macklin “Mackie” Cormack’s only interests are reading and the outdoors. Yeah, right. Isa’s convinced Mackie is either a pyro or a klepto. Plus, as a white kid, Mackie looks ridiculous in the Zamans’ Arab American household. Forced to share a bedroom, the boys keep butting heads until an absurd fight finally breaks the tension between them.
Isa’s just starting to figure life out: this new houseguest, his cultural identity, school, and even girls, when the entire family is uprooted from their home for reasons Isa can’t understand. They move from their tiny city apartment to a giant, old house in a small town, hours away from everything he’s ever known. Oh, and the new house? It’s probably haunted, or so says the blank-faced ten-year-old next door. As if things weren’t weird enough, Isa’s friendship with Mackie suddenly takes a strange turn down a path Isa’s not sure he’s ready to follow. It turns out Mackie Cormack isn’t nearly as boring as Isa once imagined.
He took a deep breath. “That’s sort of the thing. I don’t like anything about her.”
“She asked me out.” Mackie shrugged. “But I don’t really like her all that much either.”
I couldn’t wrap my head around it. We’d been ignoring each other for all that time over a girl he didn’t even like? Bullshit. Complete and total bullshit.
“Are you for real?”
“So why are you going out with her, then?” And then I remembered what he’d said in my room that day, that he was dating her just because…. Because why? If we were ever going to be friends again, then I needed to know. “Why are you going out with her?”
“I really don’t want to talk about that, Isa.”
“C’mon, Mackie. It’s been driving me nuts. Why would you date someone you didn’t even like? Or do you like kissing her?”
“Not… really,” he said. “That’s kind of the thing. I thought I would. But… I don’t.”
“Okay, then stop.” I shrugged. “We’re supposed to start working at Rashid’s, and we could hang out again, and there’s only like a week left of school. We could be friends.”
I don’t… think that’s… a good idea.”
“You don’t want to be my friend?” I demanded. “What? ’Cause of Katy? ’Cause I was a jerk? That’s stupid, Mackie! It was your fault too! I don’t understand you at all.”
He was quiet for a really long time.
“I’m screwed no matter what I do,” he finally said on a low sigh.
“You think?” I asked, not knowing what he meant. I rolled Dad’s nine iron with my palm.
“Jesus H, Isa. You’re going to make me do this, aren’t you?”
“Yup,” I told him dryly. “Yup, I’m going to make you do this, whatever the hell ‘this’ is.”
He turned his face and stared at me. He stared at me so hard and for so long, I started to get uncomfortable. And then he leaned in, and I thought he was going to whisper it. Whatever the big secret was, whatever he’d been hiding from me, his reasons for dating a girl he didn’t even like, his reasons for not wanting to be my friend, all of it. Instead, he kissed me.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Raine O’Tierney loves writing about first loves and friendship. She believes the best thing we can do in this life is be kind to one another, and hopes her stories always reflect that. Raine loves encouraging people to write and has been known to repeat the phrase “I believe everyone has a story to tell” endlessly, until she breaks down even the most stubborn non-writer!
Raine lives outside of Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, fellow M/M author Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job.
Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Categories: Young Adult | Bisexual | Coming of Age |
Pages: 256 pages
Welcome to my first Book Blast as a Pride Promotions Blogger! I’m excited to host Jackie Nacht. Check out the great excerpt, and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance at a$10 Amazon gift card and your choice of a PDF from Jackie’s backlist!
Wrong Locker by Jackie Nacht
I was in pure hell. As I stood in front of Northeastern High, I could already feel my body tremble in panic. I was barely able to swallow, my throat dry with fear. Scrubbing a hand over my face, I wiped away the stray beads of sweat that showcased my anxiety to everyone passing me by.
Why was I so afraid to walk through those double doors? Oh that’s right. The front office had assigned me a locker in the senior hallway this year due to overcrowding. A sophomore in the senior wing? What in the world had they been thinking?
“You get up late, Shaun? Do you need me to start calling you in the morning again?” Wade adjusted his backpack as he came to stand next to me.
Wade was my only friend in school. We had grown up together and were tight as they came. He was protective of me and vice versa. He was also the only one I’d ever told I was gay, outside of my mom, even though I was teased ruthlessly by the jerks who just assumed. I wasn’t hiding it, but it was no one’s business either, so I didn’t confirm or deny.
How could I tell Wade that every day I tried to be this late? That way I might avoid having to walk to my locker in a hall crowded full of jerks that made it their life’s mission to put me through hell on a daily basis. If I came in late enough, I would only have to deal with a few stragglers as opposed to the whole gamut.
“No, I’m good, Wade.” My voice quivered. I hated feeling this way.
We entered the school together, and Wade paused at the front of the sophomore wing, pursing his lips. “Do you want me to go with you?”
As much as I wanted to say yes, I knew these jerks would be horrible to Wade, and I wanted to protect my one and only friend. “Go on to your locker. We only have a few minutes to make it to class.”
Walking away from Wade was a test of my courage. My whole body started to go on lockdown, ready to be verbally attacked, insulted and made to feel like a piece of chewing gum on the bottom of a shoe.
Putting my head down, I turned the corner, heading for my locker. I learned that if I didn’t make eye contact with the seniors, usually they would ignore me. I prayed that this would be one of those days. Getting to my locker, my fingers trembled as I grabbed my lock. Sheesh, I couldn’t even get the combination in I was shaking so badly. After screwing it up once, I had to try ‑
spinning the combination out and trying again.
I took too long. The presence behind me confirmed that my day of hell was about to begin. Leaning my forehead against the cool locker, I didn’t even bother to try opening it up as my breath quickened.
A fist slammed next to me, causing me to jump.
Blake was there, leaning against the locker next to me with two of his buddies standing next to him. I have no clue what I ever did to offend the guy, but he hated me with a passion and was the ringleader to a group of seniors that gave me hell on a daily basis.
“Why haven’t you left yet? No one wants you here, fag.” Blake all but sneered at me.
It was the same thing every day. A sophomore wasn’t wanted in the wing, but it was more than that. This guy hated me. And I absolutely loathed being called a fag. That was just as bad as a slap to the face. Worse.
There was no point in responding. I’d tried the first couple times, explaining administration couldn’t switch my locker and that the sophomore wing was on overflow to other wings. Heck, there were a few more sophomores in this wing too, but they didn’t seem to have half as much trouble as I did. Of course, those sophomores were athletes.
Me, I was more on the small side, skinny as they came with stylish brown hair that I used to love but now seemed to be a beacon for these jerks.
“I don’t want to see you anymore. I don’t care how you do it, but I don’t want you walking in this hallway again.” Blake slammed the locker with his fist again. The three walked away, laughing and jeering at my humiliation.
I had hoped that it would get better, that these guys would get bored and leave me alone. Yeah, they hadn’t physically hurt me, yet. I knew that it was only a matter of time. Things had escalated too quickly in the last month since I had started school.
The bell rang, and I groaned, knowing that I was going to get into trouble for another tardy. Some days it just didn’t pay to wake up.
I ran all the way to my classroom and got a stern look from my Spanish teacher before sitting down in my assigned seat. This was the best part of my day. While one group of seniors were jerks, they weren’t all bad. Spanish was an elective that students were required to take two years of. Most waited until the last two years but I knew that I wanted to minor it in college so I wanted to have four years of languages.
This period, I got to stare at the back of the football co-captain, Nash Wilder. The man was gorgeous with sun-streaked light brown hair that had a short messy style to it. He was filled out ‑
with muscles that I would forever lack and a tan I wish I could achieve. However, in my paleness, all I could hope for was a third degree burn. The man was handsome and unattainable. It seemed every girl dreamed he would ask them out, but the guy remained oblivious, concentrating on sports and school.
Glancing up at the dry erase board, I began doing my silent work of conjugating verbs and putting them into sentences. The tension in my body was still there from my earlier confrontation, but a small amount slipped away, knowing that I would have at least a small reprieve.
I was just about finished when Nash turned and stared at me. I glanced up from my paperwork into his puppy dog chocolate-brown eyes, surrounded by long dark eyelashes.
My jaw threatened to drop as he just scrutinized me. What was he thinking? Did I have something on my face? Oh God I did, didn’t I?
“You okay, Shaun?” Nash whispered, doing a quick glance over his shoulder to make sure the teacher wasn’t looking.
Nash knew my name? He freakin’ knew my name. I didn’t think anybody as popular as him would ever notice someone like me, unpopular and not an athletic bone in my body. He also sounded concerned. About me?
“I’m fine,” I croaked out.
Someone in Nash’s social stratosphere didn’t want to hear about all my problems. Probably would bore the guy to death.
Nash stared at me for a moment more before he went back to his work. I blew out a breath with relief that I didn’t have to discuss the jerks that constantly harassed me. How embarrassing would it be to admit to Nash the extent of my struggles, while crowded hallways seemed to simply part for him as he strolled along?
Rolling my pencil between my fingers, I frowned down at my work. This year was going to be so long for me. How was I ever going to be able to get through it? Sighing, I decided to try not to think about it as I got back to my work. Maybe in time I would have an answer, but right then, all I wanted was to survive the day.
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Tour Stops: Parker Williams, MM Good Book Reviews, Full Moon Dreaming, SA McAuley, My Fiction Nook, Love Bytes, Prism Book Alliance, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Will Parkinson, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Charli Green, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Cate Ashwood, Hearts on Fire, Iyana Jenna, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Trisha Harrington’s Blog, Fallen Angel Reviews, Rainbow Warriors
Posting on 8/21/14:
Short, sexy and sweet— where a little love goes a long way.
That’s the best way to describe Jackie Nacht’s stories. She was introduced to M/M Romance through her sister, Stephani, and read it for years. Then, she thought it was time to put her own stories on paper. Jackie began writing short and sweet stories that ended with a happily ever after.
Thinking back to her own book addiction, where there were many nights Jackie stayed up way too late so she could read just one more chapter— yeah, right— Jackie decided to write short romances for young adults as well as adults. Hopefully, they will give high school and college students, or working men and women something they can read during their lunch hour, in between classes or just when they want to briefly get away from the daily stresses of everyday life.
Cover Artist: Zathyn Priest – Scarlet Tie Designs
Publisher: Featherweight Press
I’m ecstatic to host the wonderful Will Parkinson–the heart and mind behind Pride Promotions–and his gorgeous new cover!
WILL PARKINSON believes that no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path of young love, it will always find a way to win in the end. He wants his characters to have their happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easily.
None of this would have happened if he had followed the advice he was given many years ago. “What are you wasting your time on that for? It’s never going to amount to anything.” He believed it for the longest time, abandoning characters he’d created in his childhood.
He picked up his very first m/m story by a writer named Eden Winters, who was an absolute joy when they corresponded. She asked him if he wrote and he told her the story. Eden explained to Will that the voices in his head would never go away and how he needed to let them out. With that thought in mind, Will put e-pen to e-paper once more. It was truly a liberating experience and one he has no intention of giving up again.
Wet Paint by Will Parkinson
Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.
High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.
When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what – or who – they face, they belong together.
Benny cast a glance at Addy, noticing how his eyes kept darting to him and then to the floor. He seemed troubled, unsure.
“Addy? Is there something wrong?”
Addy heaved a deep sigh, then was quiet for a moment. “Do I embarrass you?” he finally asked.
“What? No, of course not. Why would you even think that?” Benny was genuinely perplexed.
“Jackson and Taylor don’t seem to have any problem touching each other, but you act like I’ve got germs or something and won’t come anywhere near me when there’s other people around. I have to wonder if you’re ashamed to be seen with someone like… me.”
“Oh God, no,” Benny replied sharply. “Please don’t ever think that. You know what? C’mere.”
He grabbed Addy’s arm and dragged him into the lounge.
“Listen to me, little man. I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be ashamed of you. If anything, you should be ashamed of me.”
Addy looked puzzled. “Why?”
Benny slid his fingers through his stubbly hair, then rubbed the back of his neck before he spoke. “I’m not really comfortable with being… like this. I really do care for you, but I’ve never felt this way about a guy— well, about anyone—before, and I don’t know how to handle it. So no, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of you at all. I’m just not sure how to deal with everything.”
Addy took Benny by the hand and peered into his eyes. “That’s all I needed to know. I don’t want to rush you. If you need time, you’ve got to know I’ll give it to you. I just wanted to be sure that you wanted me.”
Benny regarded his boyfriend. Yeah, his boyfriend. Benny had never been afraid to stand up for anyone in his life. Why should he be ashamed to stand up for himself now?
“C’mere, little man,” he growled, putting his hand on Addy’s neck, pulling him in close.
Addy’s eyes went wide, excitement dancing in them. Benny licked his lips and then pressed them to Addy’s in a deep, thrilling kiss. Someone whimpered. Benny wasn’t really sure which one of them it had been. He felt his synapses fry. It was the most incredible thing he’d ever experienced. A voice called out, startling them both.
“Benny? Is there something you’d like to tell me?”
Benny looked up and stared for a moment at Taylor, who had a wide smile across his face. Benny could feel his cheeks heat up. This wasn’t the way he wanted this to go, but damn, right now he needed Addy in the worst way.
“No, Taylor, not right now,” he replied quietly. Then he went back in for another one of those amazing kisses.
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Video trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVOiQ8yOsII
Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Angel Martinez, Hearts on Fire, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Cate Ashwood, Amanda C. Stone, SA McAuley, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Love Bytes, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Prism Book Alliance, Havan Fellows, Emotion in Motion, My Fiction Nook, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Charli Green, Jade Crystal, Lee Brazil, Trisha Harrington’s Blog, Will Parkinson, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wake Up Your Wild Side, EE Montgomery, Inked Rainbow Reads, Full Moon Dreaming, Top2Bottom, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Fallen Angel Reviews, Sinfully Sexy, Iyana Jenna, Andrew Q. Gordon
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Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Lou and her publisher, Harmony Ink, have generously offered a discount code!
I’m thrilled to be a part of the cover reveal for this novel. Not only is the author a friend and a lovely person, but the cover is one of the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen. Am I right? After you’ve taken some time to admire it, check out the blurb and enter the giveaway for your very own copy!
On his way to meet a fate he’d rather avoid, homeless gay teen Lucky steps through a wizard’s door and is caught up in a whirlwind quest and an ancient war. He tries to convince himself that his involvement with sword fights, magic, and interworld travel is a fluke, and that ice-breathing dragons and fire-breathing eagles don’t really exist. But with each passing hour, he remembers more about who he is and where he’s from, and with help, he begins to claim his power.
Lucky might someday rule a nation, but before he can do that, he must remember his true name, accept his destiny, and master his extraordinary abilities. Only then can he help to banish the evil that has invaded earth and find his way home—through a gateway to another world.
Rafflecopter Prize: E-book of Key of Behliseth
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About Lou: Lou Hoffmann, a mother and grandmother now, has carried on her love affair with books for more than half a century, and she hasn’t even made a dent in the list of books she’d love to read—partly because the list keeps growing as more and more fascinating tales are told in written form. She reads factual things—books about physics and stars and fractal chaos, but when she wants truth, she looks for it in quality fiction. Through all that time she’s written stories of her own, but she’s come to be a published author only as a johnnie-come-lately. Lou loves other kinds of beauty as well, including music and silence, laughter and tears, youth and age, sunshine and storms, forests and fields, rivers and seas. Proud to be a bisexual woman, she’s seen the world change and change back and change more in dozens of ways, and she has great hope for the freedom to love in the world the youth of today will create in the future. You can find Lou on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lou.hoffmann, or twitter @Lou_Hoffmann.
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Amanda C. Stone, Havan Fellows, MM Good Book Reviews, Prism Book Alliance, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Velvet Panic, Love Bytes, The Hat Party, Angel Martinez, Fallen Angel Reviews, Iyana Jenna, Will Parkinson, The Novel Approach, Hearts on Fire, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Smoocher’s Voice, Cate Ashwood, Kimi-Chan, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Charli Green
I’m lucky enough to know a few amazing YA authors–one of them is Christopher Hawthorne Moss, who writes for Harmony Ink Press. I’d like to share an excerpt from his latest the historical novel, Beloved Pilgrim. I love trans fiction–I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
If you’d like to read more about this novel and the history behind it, check out this post on the Harmony Ink blog!
Elias, who has a female body but knows his mind and heart are male, is traveling through Italy on his way to take ship to the Sublime Port, Constantinople in Byzantium. He has run into one of the group of mercenaries traveling to the Crusades with him who decide to treat him to a night with a prostitute.
A flint sparked, and the scraps of linen in a tinderbox caught and flamed. Giuliana tipped a lantern so the wick caught. She blew out the flame in the tinderbox and replaced the horn cover on the lamp so a dull golden glow lit the space between her and Elias. She set the lamp on a table and looked at him. With her his hands on her hips, she said, “Can’t what? Can’t get it up? That’s my job.” She came to Elias and pressed her magnificent breasts against the front of his tunic. Elias closed his eyes and moaned. The woman reached down to put a hand on Elias’s groin. Elias felt his mound cupped and moaned again.
“Oh!” Giuliana exclaimed. She felt more searchingly. “You are a woman! Do they know? I will get them good if this is a jest to make a fool of me.”
Elias stepped back. “No, no, they don’t know. And please, I beg you, don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.”
Giuliana smiled gently. “Clearly.” She looked Elias up and down. “But why do you pretend to be a man?”
Elias swallowed. “I—I am a man.” He had had no reason to concoct an explanation for what others might see as a masquerade.
Giuliana eyed him skeptically. “Not if you have a cunt, you aren’t.”
Now Elias subsided, his shoulders slumping. “This”—he indicated his body—“is a woman’s body. But in my heart and soul, I know I am a man.”
Surprisingly, the whore accepted the explanation. “Oh, I knew that some men feel they are really women. One of my girls at the bordello is like that. Clementina. There are plenty of customers who want to fuck her. But I did not know there were women who believe they are men.” She had an intrigued smile on her full lips. “Well, what do you want to do?”
Elias looked about the dim room. He could just make out a bed with the covers cast about. There was little else. The single window was shuttered and only a thin sliver of light showed where it was sagging on its hinges. “Can we just stay here? All night? So they think I… you know…?”
Giuliana gave him a wicked grin. “We can do better than that. You can’t fuck me, but we can still have some fun. In fact, for once it will be fun for me.”
She came forward and pressed her breasts against Elias’s again. She reached up with her arms and, putting them around Elias’s neck, pulled his stunned face down to hers. She put her lips on Elias’s and took in a deep, sighing breath. “Mmmm,” she murmured, and slid her tongue into Elias’s mouth.
“But… but… it’s a sin!” Elias protested.
Giuliana stepped back and put her hands on her hips. “Who says?”
“Well… the Church.”
“They are all buggering each other when they aren’t in here slobbering over my girls. And does it really say making love is a sin? In the holy books, I mean?” The woman cocked her head.
“Th-thou shalt not commit adultery, that is what it says.” Elias’s brain was too foggy to think further than that.
Giuliana stepped forward again and reached out a hand to toy with Elias’s cropped tresses. “I thought adultery is when you sleep with someone who is married already.”
Elias gaped. “Well, yes, but….” He supposed he ought to admit that he was, in fact, married, but for some reason was reluctant say it.
Giuliana leaned in to nibble on Elias’s throat. In between nibbles, she said, “I always thought they just didn’t want a lot of little fatherless bastards running about begging. And we can hardly produce any bastards, can we?”
“I guess not.” Elias raised his arms and put one palm on each of Giuliana’s breasts. They were firm to the touch. He kneaded and moaned. His thumbs found the nipples and discovered they were as hard as little nuts. “Touch me there again,” he heard himself entreat.
“Let’s get these clothes off you first,” the whore said. She expertly untied laces, raised the cloth, pushed down other cloth, and all the while her hands stroked the flesh through and then under it all. By the time he was naked, Elias was trembling all over.
“I want to see you,” he begged.
Giuliana smiled languidly. “Then take off my clothes.”
Elias reached around to untie the laces that closed Giuliana’s bodice down the back. This made him crush the woman’s breasts to his own, and he grinned. “You really like this?” he asked. “With a woman, I mean.”
“I like it, si, much more than with a man. A woman will seek to please me.”
Elias decided not to pursue whether he was or was not a woman. He was happy to play along. “And men do not?” He pulled the bodice forward so that it slipped over Giuliana’s shoulders. The breasts were now covered with only a thin linen shift. He took one in his hand and flicked the nipple.
Giuliana groaned with delight. “Some do. Some men know that giving pleasure makes the whole thing better. But they don’t have women’s bodies, so they don’t know what we like. Have you never made love before?”
Elias had loosened the tie that held up Giuliana’s skirt and let the garment fall to the floor. “Love? No, I have never made love,” he answered bitterly. Elias undid the drawstring of the woman’s shift and drew the neckline over her shoulders to expose her breasts. He sighed as he saw them. He leaned in to take a nipple in his mouth, licking and sucking.
Elias learned delights that night he could never have imagined. Giuliana’s hands on his breasts made them seem to swell with pleasure. After the woman lowered them onto the bed, she started to tickle between Elias’s lips within his mound’s soft downy hair, and he felt as if someone had touched him in his most sensitive place with cold steel. His orgasm came slowly, reaching inside him more sharply and strongly than he ever had through his own tentative explorations. He found himself crying out, sobbing, and moaning. He writhed on the bed, then lay gasping.
“Let me do that to you!” he pleaded. Spreading Giuliana’s lips and taking in the rich aroma of her sex, Elias dipped his tongue in a salty-sweet woman’s brew. He tried to remember the technique the woman had used on his. Whether he did it as well or not, Giuliana responded. As her cries and moans became louder, Elias begged, “Say, ‘Fuck me, Elias!’” When she smiled and complied, Elias hoped the mercenaries were listening.
Settling into each other’s arms, the two took turns resting their heads on the other’s shoulder. Elias discovered he was thinking that this soft, warm cuddling was almost—almost—as wonderful as what they had done first. The comfortable laziness was far from chaste, however, as they reached to stroke some special spot on the other, and the more active lovemaking recommenced.
At the sound of a cockcrow, Elias sat up, unsure at first where he was. Then he felt and smelled Giuliana next to him. Leaning over, he put one arm around her and pressed his chest against the warm, smooth back. His hand rested on a breast. He heard Giuliana sigh. “What is your name, amoro?” the woman crooned.
“Elias,” he whispered.
“Grazie, Elias,” the woman said.
She turned her head to be kissed. Elias was glad to oblige.
They both started when a fist hammered on the door. “Elias! That’s enough. Time to get mounted.” It was Ranulf’s voice, followed by guffaws.
Sebastiano’s voice jested, “Don’t tell him to mount. In fact, he probably already is in the saddle.” More laughter.
Elias called out, consciously deepening his voice. “Can’t you wait? I will be out in a minute.”
Three male voices made lewd sounds.
“All right, but hurry. Conrad wants to get back on the road.”
“Already?” Elias groaned.
After a short time, the door to the room swung in. Elias, fully clothed, stood with a mostly naked Giuliana in his arms, locked in a deep kiss.
The four men out on the rickety gallery stared. The whore had her hands clasped on Elias’s buttocks. “Come back, my lord, I beg you. I have never been fucked like that before. I want it again and again.
Elias gratefully smiled into the woman’s twinkling eyes. “I already did that. All night.” He bent in for a last long kiss. “Arrivederci, bella,” he said gently, then turned to the mercenaries. “Well, what are we waiting for?”
The men took the steps two at a time. After passing through another door into an alley, Ranulf and Leif put their arms around Elias’s shoulders, Sebastiano and Thomas throwing theirs over each other’s. “Hail the conquering hero!” Thomas began to sing.
At the time of the earliest Crusades, young noblewoman Elisabeth longs to be the person she’s always known is hidden inside. When her twin brother perishes from a fever, Elisabeth takes his identity to live as a man, a knight. As Elias, he travels to the Holy Land, to adventure, passion, death, and a lesson that honor is sometimes found in unexpected places.
Elias must pass among knights and soldiers, survive furious battle, deadly privations, moral uncertainty, and treachery if he’ll have any chance of returning to his newfound love in the magnificent city of Constantinople.
Another of my cool author buddies is celebrating a new release today! Here’s a little about Sara Hubbard’s By Force, the first book in the Forever Fae series!
Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance at a $40 gift card to Amazon or Kobo! You might find a new author or two while you’re there. 🙂
Title: By Force (Forever Fae I)
Genre: NA Fantasy
We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, though it was probably mere seconds. His ice-cold stare made me forget to breathe. I swallowed hard as his face inched closer to mine, and his stale breath on my skin made the hairs on my head prick up. Strands of his hair fell from his braids and lightly tickled my neck and face. I closed my eyes, preparing myself for what he would do next.
Kidnapping Isame would set them free…
Isame wanted freedom: the freedom to travel, the freedom to explore, but most of all, the freedom to choose the life she wanted over the life—and the husband—her parents had chosen for her. But when Isame leaves home to accept another man’s proposal, she happens across five fierce, handsome warriors. She wonders why they’ve travelled so far from home, but she never imagines their purpose might have something to do with her. Not even after they kidnap her.
Remmie is a man of honor and fierce loyalty. So when his king commands him to find a specific young woman on the island of Copaxa, he’s prepared to obey. But he’s not prepared for the woman to change everything. Isame is special. He can see it from the start. But how can one puny woman make him question everything he’s always known, including the rightness of doing what he’s promised?
Where to find By Force:
About the author:
Sara Hubbard is the author of romantic novels for both young adults and adults. Her debut novel BLOOD, SHE READ released fall 2012 and was a NEORWA Cleveland Rocks winner and a RCRW Duel on the Delta finalist. Sara lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with her two children (four if you count her husband and her needy labradoodle) and works as a registered nurse with the military.
Find out more about Sara and her books here: