The “We’re Not at GRL” Facebook Party Sat Oct 18th!

Woot!

This is the last day of the Walk a Mile book tour and your last shot at entering the Rafflecopter for the e-book giveaway before it closes. 🙂 It’s been a rush, going to so many websites, chatting with people, finding out how many readers have fallen in love with Flynn and Jerry and want more from them!

Tennant You Should Be WritingBut all good things come to an end, and the best part about coming to the end of the book tour is that I can go back to doing what so many people are clamoring for: working on the next installment in the series!

I’ve still got some stops today, and will be posting the entire schedule (with links updated) tomorrow, for those wanting to get in on the giveaway at the last minute. I realize that many of you already have a copy of the prize, Unspeakable Words, so if the winner of the rafflecopter already has a copy, we’ll exchange the prize for something else from my backlist. 🙂

I won’t *entirely* disappear from the internet, though! Some friends and I were chatting on Facebook about how disappointed we were that we couldn’t to to GRL 2014 this year, and how much fun everyone was having–and we decided to host our own online party! Better organizers than me quickly got on board with this idea, and so we’re going to be at Rainbow Gold Reviews holding a “We’re Not At GRL” Party this Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm EST. Come on down and join the fun because this is for everyone who can’t go to GRL as well!

Today, on the final stops of the book tour, I’ll be at MM Good Book Reviews, Jade Crystal, Velvet Panic! I hope you’ll join me to talk about Walk a Mile, find out my darkest secrets, read some reviews, and enter the giveaway!

GRLsale_DSPsiteAs part of the celebration of Gay Rom Lit weekend, Dreamspinner Press is having a sale! 25% off everything in stock, and 35% off on all GRL participating authors! Go check it out, and get a good deal on my backlist while you’re there!

 

Got your running shoes on? Because Monday is here!

Nike_Free+_3_running_shoe_wikipediaWhew!

Got your running shoes on? You’re going to need them because Monday is here, and it’s going to be a hum-dinger! You know that the first day of the work week is going to be rough when a co-worker texts you with a warning ahead of time…

But that’s okay! The Walk a Mile book tour is in it’s second (and final) week. I had a wonderful live chat on Facebook yesterday, as part of Dreamspinners Meet the Author takeover of their fan page, and on Tuesday, Oct 14th from 8-10 pm EST, I’ll be co-hosting a takeover of the Dreamspinner Twitter account with fellow author Jude Dunn!

Today, I’m visiting Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, and The Hat Party!

Because work is promising to be, ah, challenging, I might be slow to return comments, but believe me, I appreciate each and every one. There will be interviews, chances to enter the rafflecopter, and more details on Walk a Mile and what’s next for the boys, Flynn and Parker. I hope you’ll drop in and say hi!

Today’s the last day to get Walk a Mile at 25% off during Dreamspinner’s Halloween Sale!

DSP Halloween SaleI want to make sure everyone knows about Dreamspinners early Halloween sale! All paranormals, fantasies, sci-fi, mystery and suspense e-books are 25% off but the sale ends today!

It won’t be your last chance to get Walk a Mile at a discount, however! I’m going to be taking over the Dreamspinner Facebook page from 2-4 pm EST Sunday, Oct12th and there will be a coupon code good for several days offered then. I do hope you’ll drop in for a chat and some giveaways!

The Pride Promotions book tour for Walk a Mile is ongoing:today I’ll be at Romance the Night, Cate Ashwood, and also at Shae Conner’s too. Stop by, enter the Rafflecopter, and ask me some questions–I’d like to hear from you!

Another big day on the Walk a Mile Tour!

Fall PumpkinsWell, I have a big day scheduled today! Walk a Mile is a bestseller on All Romance and Dreamspinner Press–and I have only you, the readers, to thank! I I know that sounds corny, but believe me, I knew that by taking so long to come out with the sequel to Unspeakable Words, I ran a huge risk of no one caring anymore about my boys, John Flynn and Jerry Parker. But you guys do. You still do! And that both amazes me and humbles me, too.

Today, I’m going to be stopping on some wonderful sites: Andrew Q Gordon, Inked Rainbow Reads, Love Bytes, and Smoocher’s Voice!

BestsellerIcon100X100This coming Sunday from 2-4 pm EST, I’ll be doing a live chat on the Dreamspinner Press Facebook page–I do hope you’ll join me! Barring spoilers, you can ask me (almost) anything! And on Tues, Oct 14, I’ll be taking over Dreamspinner’s Twitter feed with fellow author Jude Dunn from 8-10 pm EST. I’m looking forward to chatting with you guys and sharing about what’s in store for the Sixth Sense series!

DSP Halloween SaleAnd you still have a couple of days left to take advantage of the early Halloween sale on Dreamspinner! All paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and suspense e-books are 25% off, now until Oct. 10th! What are you waiting for? 🙂

Where is the world is Sarah Madison? Walk a Mile Book Tour, Sale & Giveaway continues!

travelIt’s day five of the Walk a Mile book tour, and man, has it been a whirlwind experience! The best part has been hearing from people all over the world how much they’ve been looking forward to the continuing adventures of Parker and Flynn. The worst part has been cringing when people howl, “It’s been so looooong!” Okay, I deserved that. 🙂 Life has a way of derailing you at times when you least expect it. But I promise it will NOT be four years before the next installment, I swear!!

Today I’m a the wonderful Charlie Cochet’s site, talking about sex in our romance stories–how much is too much? Too little? Just right? It promises to be an interesting discussion, so do drop in and tell me what you think! I’m also over at 3 Chicks After Dark, talking about my favorite paranormal element and why! I’d love to hear what *your* favorite paranormal element might be! And last, but not least, I have a new review at Prism Book Alliance. It made me both cringe and blush–so be sure to check it out and find out why! There’s also that rafflecopter thingy floating around somewhere, so find it and enter to win a copy of Unspeakable Words! Of course, if you already have that, we’ll have to talk about what we can substitute instead. 🙂

DSP Halloween SaleSpeaking of my backlist, the Halloween sale is still ongoing at Dreamspinner Press, which means you can get 25% off almost my entire backlist with them! Sale ends October 10th, so hurry!

If you missed the beginning of the tour, it’s not too late to go back in and join the fun! Previously, I was at these sites, but it’s not too late to check out the reviews and posts, there, either!

 

October 3: Louise Lyons, Parker Williams
October 6: Multitasking Mommas, Kimi-Chan

So, see you around the internet! I’m looking forward to conversations with everyone. 🙂

Sarah Granger’s story is worth “A Minor Inconvenience”

A_Minor_Inconvenience_Large_transparentOh, I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be hosting Sarah Granger today as part of the A Minor Inconvenience book tour. I recently reviewed her wonderful M/M historical romance and I couldn’t sing its praises highly enough! I’m not the only one, either! Gay Guy Reading Reviews calls it ‘a breath of fresh air’, and I have to agree. I consider A Minor Inconvenience one of the best M/M romances I’ve read in 2014. 🙂 Be sure to read through the entire post to find out how you can enter the Rafflecopter for some cool prizes!

Welcome to my website, Sarah! I’m delighted to have you here today, sharing with us something about your historical M/M romance, A Minor Inconvenience. I’ve been looking forward to this interview and book tour so much! I can’t say enough wonderful things about this story, but I want to make sure that I don’t get too spoilery here. I want everyone to read this story and enjoy it as much as I did!

First, a couple of questions about this particular story. Correct me if I’m wrong, but A Minor Inconvenience takes place at the time when Napoleon escaped from Elba and started a second campaign, is that correct? What was your inspiration for this story?

Thanks for having me here, Sarah, and I’m truly delighted that you enjoyed A Minor Inconvenience so much!

The book is set in 1813, though the date isn’t mentioned in the book itself. It’s actually just before Napoleon was banished to Elba, taking with him an eye-watering number of his favourite horses, but not, so far as I’m aware, his wife. My choice of year for the book was in some ways a little random. It needed to be far enough through the war for campaigning to have taken up most of Hugh’s adult life, but my ultimate choice of 1813 was due to my rather wistful longing that none of the military men who returned to the Peninsula after the events of the book would face too much more war.

As for inspiration, I wanted to write an M/M Regency and I have something of a weakness for military uniforms. That led to the overall concept, but once the characters came into being, they shaped the story in somewhat different ways from those I’d envisaged. So I guess my original moment of inspiration was down to those darn military uniforms!

Hugh is such a wonderful character! He seems like such a deceptively simple man, which is probably why so many underestimate him, including members of his family. He leads a quiet life and had has fairly low expectations for life outside the measures decreed by society. He believes in honor and duty: duty to his country, his family, and his position in society. He is a fairly self-contained man as well, but this doesn’t mean he is dull or without brains. These fundamental characteristics are what make it so tremendous when he decides to go against everything he believes in for love. What was it like to write such a character? Were you ever concerned as to how he would be perceived by your audience?

In a word, yes! You’ve summed him up so beautifully here. I was definitely worried that people picking up the book might take him at face value – which might also lead them to question what qualities he possessed that could attract Theo. As you say, he’s deceptively straightforward and one has to look beyond his self-perception to see who he really is. But each time I wondered if I could persuade him to be a little more forthcoming and open, it was very clear that doing so would violate his character.

By necessity, Theo had to remain a bit of a dark horse in this story, yet he comes across as a completely three dimensional character. Did you create a backstory for Theo in your mind when you were writing this?

I do have a backstory for him, because he’s full of such vitality that I needed to know where he came from and how he got to where he is at the time of the book. But his history in my head isn’t detailed – his personality seemed to me to shape him more than events. (I’m happy to share his backstory, but I haven’t set it out here because I know some people prefer to have their own ideas.)

Why M/M romance? What’s the attraction there for you?

I find that a difficult question to answer because I don’t really know. 🙂 When I first started reading M/M, there was just something about it that appealed to me straight away. As a writer, I struggle with the concept of writing a female main character I like – even while part of me is curling up in horror at that statement.

I think what ultimately attracts me is something in the different dynamic between two male main characters, and the way M/M relationships aren’t bogged down with the same societal baggage as M/F.

Why historicals? Is there a particular period in time that you feel drawn to, and if so, why? Once having thoroughly researched an era, do you find yourself drawn to writing other stories in the same time frame?

I grew up reading Georgette Heyer, so the Regency is always going to have a special place in my heart. I love the formality of it for its own sake, but also for the way in which all that unresolved sexual tension bleeds through. It’s also close enough to our time to be able to write in a reasonable facsimile of the language they used rather than being faced with the choice whether to render old speech into today’s idioms or to try and make it sound somehow ‘old-fashioned’ without writing it in Middle English!

I definitely hope to write more stories set in the Regency. I love Regencies, and the thought of writing M/M Regencies opens up all sorts of exciting possibilities.

Have you written in other genres besides M/M romance? Besides historicals?

My books so far are all M/M. My first novel was a contemporary, set in the world of professional tennis. As with A Minor Inconvenience, it required quite a lot of fact-checking, but I can truthfully say that the research was a sheer joy from start to finish. I mean, going back and rewatching some of my favourite tennis matches on YouTube and not feeling guilty for wasting time? It doesn’t get much better than that!

What is the most difficult scene you’ve ever written and why? What was the most fun?

I think the scene I struggled with the most was when Theo tries to explain himself to Hugh in the carriage. Finding the right balance between Theo saying enough for readers (if not Hugh) to understand while keeping true to his character and period was difficult. I ended up wanting to throttle the pair of them for being so oblique in their conversation!

I’ve had an absolute blast writing Hugh and Theo, but my vote for the scene I had most fun writing has to go to Ryan in The Unforgiving Minute and his observations when he’s been given morphine. He’s a fairly stream-of-consciousness narrator in any case; removing such filters as he has was instructional, to say the least.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and all the characters in it! Will we see more from Hugh and Theo? Lady Emily?

I hadn’t planned on writing more of these characters because I felt that, although their story wasn’t done, my part in telling it was. But it’s always possible that a story set in the same universe might demand to be written, especially as I’d love to see Hugh and Theo from Lady Emily’s perspective! Thank you for the encouragement. 🙂

What are you currently working on? Tell us a little bit about your next story and the writing process for you as well. What can readers expect from Sarah Granger in the future?

Well, I’ve just made the very difficult decision to shelve the story I’ve been working on for some time, and the reason for that decision ties in directly to my writing process. I wrote it because it fitted with a submission call, not because I had characters turn up in my head and demand that I tell their story. The story’s quite enjoyable, I think, but I’m not happy with it, despite a massive rewrite and an eye-watering number of tweaks. That’s not to say elements from it might not find themselves reworked in another book.

The result of that decision is that I’m currently looking at a completely clean sheet and deciding what to write next. I’d love it to be another Regency, but I’ve learned from my mistakes—I can’t force anything. Once I know what it is, I’ll definitely share! 🙂

Thank you, Sarah, for joining us here today! I have to point out that one of the BEST parts of a Regency M/M romance is breeches and how well they show off the male form! I’d long known of the practice of some women in that era dampening their muslins in order to define their, um, attributes, but I was unaware (until I read your blog posts) that men did the same to highlight their—assets. 🙂  Long live the desire to show strut your stuff! 

MinorInconvenience-A72lgTour-wide excerpt for A Minor Inconvenience:

Hugh was so turned about by the time the next set of dances ended that he had lost sight entirely of Lindsay. He retreated to the edge of the room, seeking a wall to stand against, only to find a hand placed in the small of his back and Lindsay’s voice close against his ear. “Escaping already, Fanshawe? I cannot permit that. We must present a united front if we are to prevail.”

Smiling, he turned his head. Lindsay looked even more handsome than Hugh had remembered, the silver buttons on his uniform coat sparkling in the light and his grey eyes filled with warmth along with the lazy amusement they so often showed.

“Does your united front permit a strategic regrouping?” Hugh asked.

“Music to my ears, Fanshawe. What have you in mind?”

“I was thinking a glass of punch and perhaps some cool air in the hall.”

“With a tactical brain like that, I can’t think how you have not yet been gazetted as general.”

Procuring a glass of cold punch each, they escaped to the hall that ran the length of the house. It proved to be a busy thoroughfare, used by those seeking to move to the card room or the dressing room, or simply to take some cooler air. In unspoken agreement, they moved to the far end and the large window onto Grosvenor Square, where they would not be disturbed. As Hugh turned to speak to Lindsay, he spied a familiar and extremely unwelcome figure reaching the top of the stairs. Stanton was here, and although Hugh thought he cut a most peculiar character in his striped waistcoat, he was fairly sure Sophia would be less discriminating in her taste.

“Damn it,” he said, momentarily forgetting he was in company.

Lindsay followed his line of sight. “Ah,” he said. “I had the impression the other night that Stanton was dangling after your sister.”

“In a manner of speaking,” Hugh concurred grimly.

“I suspected as much. Perhaps what gave me the first clue was when he likened her eyes to the beauty of stars sparkling like bright diamonds in a sky of black velvet and her smile to the sunrise that graced the dew of Eden’s first dawn.”

Hugh turned a revolted eye upon him. “No,” he begged. “No, for God’s sake, even he would not be so—so—”

“Lost in the poetical throes of passionate romance?” Lindsay suggested.

“I was about to say making a cake of himself,” Hugh said. “But Sophia—I am sure that no matter how handsome she might think him, she would never hear such nonsense without succumbing to giggles.”

“It’s possible I exaggerated his words a little,” Lindsay confessed. “Perhaps he merely mentioned how prettily her eyes shone and that her smile could light the room.”

“Well, that’s bad enough,” Hugh said indignantly. “What sort of a fellow spouts such claptrap?”

“I take it you have never courted a lady,” Lindsay said. “At least, not successfully.”

Hugh choked on his punch. And then something, whether honesty or some inner demon, prompted him to answer. “No, I never have.”

Lindsay fastened his eyes on Hugh’s suddenly, and the look in them was such that Hugh found it difficult to breathe. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sarah Granger’s Official Tour Page

A contract, a review, and some excellent writing advice…

Pop A CorkIt’s been a banner day here at Chez Madison today!

Last night, I signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press to publish Walk A Mile, the first of two planned sequels to Unspeakable Words! Estimated release date sometime in Sept-Oct 2014! I can’t tell you how delighted I am–I’d been dragging my feet working on the second sequel (tentatively titled Truth and Consequences) while I held my breath waiting to hear back from Dreamspinner. But yay, all is well, contract has been signed and returned, and today I feel as though I could tackle such problems as world peace and global warming. Or maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. Either way, it’s all very happy-making!

I’m also the author spotlighted today on Jamie Lynn Miller’s Friday Feature! My blog post is on the True Secrets of Successful Writers–you should check it out! It might not be what you think! 🙂

Spitfire in the airAnd the icing on my very large cake is that 3chicksafterdark reviewed The Boys of Summer on their site today–I got stilettos! Comments left on the review post will enter you to win an e-copy of The Boys of Summer, so head on over and drop me a line or two. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments there so we can find you if you’re the winner!

So, what has you grinning from ear to ear this weekend?  Or is it just the fact that it’s the weekend? 🙂

 

A Minor Inconvenience by Sarah Granger: Book Review & Interview

MinorInconvenience-A72lgBook: A Minor Inconvenience

Author: Sarah Granger

Genre: M/M Romance, Historical

Publisher: Samhain

Rating: Five Gold Signet Rings. (I’d rank it higher if I could)

Call it Jane Austen meets Horatio Hornblower–in a story that Jane would blush to tell!

Blurb: Duty, honor, propriety…all fall in the face of love.

Captain Hugh Fanshawe returned from the Peninsular War with a leg that no longer works properly, thanks to a French musket ball. Now his fight against Napoleon is reduced to quiet, lonely days compiling paperwork at Horse Guards headquarters.

His evenings are spent dutifully escorting his mother and sister to stifling social engagements, where his lameness renders him an object of pity and distaste. But his orderly, restricted life is thrown into sudden disarray with the arrival of Colonel Theo Lindsay.

Theo is everything Hugh is not—a man of physical perfection and easy yet distinguished address. Surprisingly to Hugh, Theo appears to be interested in making his acquaintance. Lindsay turns out to be a most convivial companion, and Hugh finds great pleasure in his company. Their friendship deepens when they become lovers.

In spite of himself, Hugh falls desperately in love. But when a French spy is suspected at Horse Guards, Hugh discovers nothing is as it seems…and the paper he shuffles from day to day could be the instrument of his lover’s death.

Earlier today, I was on Facebook, chatting with Lisa from The Novel Approach Reviews. She mentioned how sometimes writing a review was like writing a love letter to a set of characters and I had to chime in. “Yes! Yes! I know exactly what you mean!”

High Perch Phaeton_wikimediaBecause that’s what this is going to be here: a love letter to Hugh Fanshawe and Theo Lindsay from Sarah Granger’s A Minor Inconvenience. Let me begin by saying that I do not consider myself a reviewer. I think writing reviews is an art form that requires a certain amount of finesse and skill to share an opinion of a story without giving too much away. This isn’t a review as much as it is a gushing love letter. It is rare that one finds an author that truly understands the genre in which she is writing. Sarah Granger masterfully captures the essence of the Regency Romance as perfected by Jane Austen and imitated by every Regency writer since. In A Minor Inconvenience, Sarah weaves in all the tropes we’ve come to know and love: the effervescent and headstrong debutante, her shy wallflower friend, matching-making mamas, and the social maneuvering of the ton, which is conducted with a deadly intensity every bit as serious as Wellington’s campaign against Napoleon. As someone who has read a lot of Regencies, Granger’s knowledge of history and her familiarity with her subject rang true to me. Mantua-makers and high perch phaetons, Almacks, and the terrible threat of being ‘ruined’ were easily absorbed as rich background detail, the kind that makes you feel as though you’re recognizing landmarks as you arrive closer to home.

The genius of the story, however, lies in Hugh Fanshawe. On desk duty after receiving a crippling injury in the Peninsular War, Hugh is quietly soldiering on. His family, and in fact, society in general, looks upon him as less than whole, as damaged goods, even though his brother dismisses his debilitating pain with the label of ‘a minor inconvenience.’ Duty is all Hugh has left–duty to his country and his family obligations–while quietly accepting his life of pain and disability. He is also aware of his preference for men over women, something else that isolates him from the rest of society.

It would be a mistake to think that because Hugh is reserved (and somewhat resigned) that he does not feel deeply. The fact that this story is told strictly from Hugh’s POV means that we get a somewhat circumspect recounting of the impact Theo Lindsay has on his life–perfectly appropriate to the character, the time period, and the tone of the story. Like Theo himself did in an unguarded moment, I found myself also saying, “Oh, Hugh! What am I going to do with you?”

Vauxhall Garden_wikipedia commonsTheo remains a bit of a mystery throughout the story, but Granger brilliantly allows us to see what kind of man he is through his actions, rather than his words. Like Darcy, who comes to Elizabeth Bennet’s aid when Lydia has disgraced herself and her family, Theo doesn’t hesitate to use his ‘friends in high places’ to square things for Hugh in similar circumstances. Though his motives may be unclear, his love for Hugh comes shining through, even if Hugh himself is too dense to see it at times. 🙂 It is absolutely essential to the story that Theo’s intentions are unclear at times–that’s what makes the climax of the story all the more satisfying.

Then there is the lovely, gradually developing relationship between the two men–following the rules of society until it suddenly goes off the pages into territory of its own. While Hugh might have been reticent about sharing with the reader everything that went on behind closed doors, he was not shy with Theo. He gave himself unreservedly to the man who introduced him to everything he’d been craving and more.

I can’t leave off this review without mentioning the wonderfully developed secondary characters, in particular, Lady Emily. Oh, Hugh! How could you be so blind? Lady Emily is a marvelous character–a woman smart enough to know she can’t get what she wants–and strong enough not to let that sour her. She is far more than the token female friend in a M/M romance–she is a true friend in every way while still abiding by the rules of the day.

homecooked dinner flickr commonsI really can’t say more without giving too much away. There is so much about this story I love–the ways in which Theo make Hugh feel like a whole person, someone worth loving. The ways in which Hugh sheds his negative self-perception to risk all for a love he can never openly declare. This is an utterly perfect story, and one of the best ones I’ve read all year. It is not a beer to be chugged at a party and immediately forgotten. It is a fine wine to be savored and revisited again.

Interview:

Hello, Sarah! Welcome to my blog! I am so excited to have you here!  First, please tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of stories you like to write. Would you say there is an underlying theme behind your stories?

Thanks for having me, Sarah, and for your (definitely discerning!) questions.  I like to write and read M/M romances, and haven’t yet met a sub-genre I haven’t liked. I’m not sure whether there are underlying themes across my stories, though one common thread in my writing is the need for each person within a relationship to retain their autonomy, even when they’re as snuggly and happy a couple as can be.

I see you write M/M fiction. Would you characterize your stories as M/M romance, erotica, or something in between?

I’d say romance first and foremost. The erotic content varies enormously depending on the characters. In A Minor Inconvenience, Hugh just doesn’t talk sex in detail, even though he’s not at all retiring when it comes to doing it, whereas in another story I’m working on, the point of view character is insistent about sharing every last detail of his many encounters.

What draws you to the M/M genre? Have you written in other genres?

I stumbled across the M/M genre for the first time when looking for fan-fiction about a minor character on a TV Show (Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, for anyone who remembers that triumph of cheesiness and oiled male torsos). I liked it, finding two attractive guys to be even better than one. While that aesthetic appreciation hasn’t faded in the least, I’ve found I also enjoy writing about relationships that have different societal pressures and expectations from those placed on M/F relationships.

I haven’t written M/F for many years and can’t see it happening in the near future, but never say never.

Hercules and Iolas! I remember them! I was a big Xena fan, too. 🙂

Do you have a favorite character that you’ve created? Why does this character resonate with you?

My answer would probably vary depending on when you asked it. At the moment, it’s Hugh in A Minor Inconvenience. What I love most about Hugh is the way that he just keeps going, with quiet dignity and courage, no matter what life throws at him.

With so much taken away from him, back in the ambit of his family who regard him with fondness but without a great deal of respect, and forced into social situations where he feels uncomfortable, he’s retreated somewhat from life. And then he meets Theo, who doesn’t treat him as anything less than a man and fellow officer, and begins to rediscover his self-determination. I suspect I feel a particular resonance with him because, having been struck down by chronic illness some years ago, I relate to the temptation to withdraw and become resigned that this is how life will be from now on.

Hugh is a treasure! I can see why he would be a favorite. I can also understand how you can identify with him as well. I think the best characters come from some part of us within.

Research: love it or hate it?

Love it, love it, love it. In fact, entries on my blog are almost all about fascinating (truly!) things I’ve discovered when researching. I have to be very strict with myself or I’ll find myself spending hours reading about the reproductive habits of the Surinam toad, with no recollection of how I got there from eighteenth-century racehorse bloodlines.

Same here! In fact, I’m contemplating setting a story in the 1950s and I’m nearly giddy with the influx of research materials coming my way. If I want to get any work done, I have to set a timer on the research. 🙂

Do you miss your characters when you come to the end of their story? Do you find ways to write sequels for them or do you become entranced with a new set?

I miss them horribly at first, and visualize their lives long after the last page just to ensure they’re happy. But once another set of characters comes along, I can let them go to forge their own way through the world. I haven’t yet had the impulse to write a sequel – there has to be enough story to tell rather than me simply indulging my love for the characters. But that doesn’t mean I never will. 🙂

I’m so glad to hear that! I know sometimes there simply isn’t another story to tell about a set of characters, but it’s always nice to know there could be. 🙂 Thank you so much for coming here today, Sarah! Be sure to stop by again, and keep us apprised of your upcoming work!

 

Bio

Sarah Granger is a sucker for a happy ending. She believes, however, that characters will only fully appreciate their happy ending if they’ve suffered along the way.

Cotswolds_Landscape_Cottage_wikimediaSarah lives in the Cotswolds, an idyllic part of the English countryside with gently rolling hills, dry stone walls of golden stone and fields dotted with sheep. She has shamefully broken with local tradition by not having a rose growing around her front door. When she isn’t writing, Sarah enjoys walking in the countryside with her elderly and affectionate black Labrador.

Her contact details are:

E-mail: sarah.granger01@gmail.com

Website: http://sarahgrangerfiction.wordpress.com

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.granger.311

A Minor Inconvenience buy links:

Samhain   Amazon   All Romance eBooks   Barnes and Noble

 

Giveaways, Updates, Reviews & More: What’s Coming Up Next For Sarah Madison

Whew! I’ve been a little negligent lately on updating what’s going on right now.

Pop A CorkFirst, The Romance Reviews is celebrating their third anniversary with a month long party! Over 450 authors and publishers have donated prizes and the Grand Prize is a $100 gift card! You can find out all about it by clicking on the party banner over to the right or on the link above. On my books page, you’ll find the answer to my question that will be posted later this month at The Romance Reviews: up for grabs is a copy of The Boys of Summer!

The Boys of Summer400x600Speaking of The Boys of Summer, I received a smashing 4 star review for it from Christopher Stone over on Queer Town Abbey. If you haven’t checked out this online magazine for the LGBT community, its friends and supporters, you should really give it a try! It’s introduced me to some fabulous artists and authors with their in-depth interviews, weekly book recommendations, and Author of the Month spotlights. If you’re an author, there are author pages for you to post your works, and they post reviews and new book releases, too. And if you’re an avid reader, they’re looking for book reviewers right now!

Christopher had this to say about The Boys of Summer: “Here is where the story could have stumbled badly, “stranded on a desert island” plots are frequently sand traps for storytelling. But Sarah Madison’s skillfully avoids the sinkhole clichés of the sub-genre. The author succeeds where others sink by crafting fresh character and plot shadings – by using unexpected turns of events that steer character and their situations clear of clichés.”

For the entire review, read it here.

dreamspinnerpressI spent the evening working on the first round of edits for my short story for the Not Quite Shakespeare anthology to be released by Dreamspinner Press sometime in June. I’m really excited about this one! I drew heavily on my memories and impressions from my visit to the UK last year and I had great fun writing the story. The editor had some really lovely things to say about it, too, which is always nice to hear. Dreamspinner is also currently celebrating their second year with their YA imprint Harmony Ink by offering 30% off all titles from authors who published with Harmony Ink in their first year–now through March 17th!

I’ve also been working a bit on some new stories. Perhaps not as hard as I should have been–I’m still struggling a bit to take off with the next story while I’m waiting to hear on the one I just submitted. It’s stupid, I know, to hold my breath until I hear something back. A) It’s unproductive. B) No one can hold their breath that long.

In the meantime, I’ve mastered the vocals for “Let It Go” from Frozen, which is a deceptively difficult song. I can say with all honesty, however, no one can belt it out in an empty riding arena quite like me. 🙂 The day that DVD is available, that movie is *mine*.

BluebirdThe weather is being unpredictable, as it usually is this time of year. Yesterday we had flocks of bluebirds in the yard, and I could hear spring peepers. This morning I woke to two inches of snow on the ground. The weekend is supposed to be gorgeous, however, so I’ll have to make sure I step away from the keyboard and spend a little time outdoors while I can.

Oh! I almost forgot! I’m doing a poll on romance writers and pen names! If you want to get in on the poll, check it out here. I’m going to tally the results this weekend and post them on Sunday. What I want to know is whether or not the gender of the author influences you in any way when choosing a romance novel within specific genres, and how you feel about multiple pen names when authors write in two (or more) very different genres. There’s still time to let me know what you think! Thanks!

Worth Keeping: Another winner from Susan Mac Nicol! Review, Interview & Giveaway!

Worth Keeping CoverI find book reviews difficult. There is really an art form to explaining why you like a story without revealing too much about it. After all, I want you to be able to experience the same thrill and satisfaction that I do–and that’s not possible if I give too much away…all the same, there are some stories that you can’t help but share with others, and Worth Keeping is one of those.

Be sure to read through the entire post to find out how you can win a copy of Stripped Bare or Saving Alexander!

Let me share with you my reaction to Susan Mac Nichol’s latest release, Worth Keeping.

Susan is an extremely talented (and prolific!) author of such bestselling M/M romances as Stripped Bare and Saving Alexander. I’d read Stripped Bare, so I knew I could expect a rollercoaster of emotions in Worth Keeping. I wasn’t disappointed. 🙂 Susan Mac Nichol often tackles serious topics in her stories, always relying on the power of love to heal and overcome any situation. I wasn’t sure at first that I would be able to identify with either character: both were men who, for various reasons, had contemplated suicide. Don’t let that dissuade you from reading this marvelous story. Together, Nick and Owen were stronger than the wounds from their past.

Initially, I wasn’t sure how Susan could resolve such a tricky introduction: while Nick Mathers is on the verge of suicide (something he has contemplated before), he comes across Owen Butler, a man who jumped off a boat under the influence of drugs and grief because he couldn’t get over the loss of the love of his life.

The two men form an unlikely alliance, each feeling as though they are obligated to the other for saving his life. As the tale unfolds, the two men discover that together, love is stronger than any pain they’ve suffered in the past.

Title: Worth Keeping

Author: Susan Mac Nicol

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group

Bookseller: Boroughs Publishing Group

Rating: Four Monkey Kisses!

Nick Mathers pulls Owen Butler from the freezing waters off the Norfolk coast, but Owen’s love can carry Nick back from the edge of oblivion. 

Abused horrifically as a boy, Nick Mathers has come to terms with his existence as a man. Mostly. Other days life seems a little much. Especially when Nick knows he’ll always be alone.

On those days his thoughts turn black. He walks the Norfolk coast and considers the frigid embrace of the waves. And then, one stormy night, he finds someone who’s tasted just that. The beautiful stranger on the beach is near death, and Nick rushes him home to slowly nurse back to health. As he does, he finds a love unlike any other. Owen Butler’s body is as warm as the sea was cold, his heart as big as an ocean. And Owen is a man who swears to repay the favor. Nick can yet be saved from himself, and he will see that he is indeed a man…

What other people are saying about WORTH KEEPING

We have to re-iterate that this Author will always be an automatic one-click for us. Her writing is flawless and her flawed characters are completely lovable. There’s always something quirky and fun in her stories as well as drama, angst and heaps of passion! We can highly recommend!!” – Gitte & Jenny – Totally Booked Blog

“The cast of supporting characters adds depth and color, and the subplot of impending danger is artfully woven into the fabric of two men learning to overcome their own limitations, to open to the possibility of love and to redefine who they are. … this is a novel… Worth Keeping.” – Beach Bum Books

“Susan has written what I found to be a truly wonderful story about two damaged men that fit together in a way that gives them a relationship that can be everything they never dared to dream of.” – T. Kurtz, Book Addict

…it is a beautiful story of survival. It is a story of two men who fought for their lives and there are times they can trip and fall, but somehow they do manage to pick themselves up and face life. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Love it.“– Johanna Alba Bilbao

“Susan has been hailed as a genius writer of male/male literature. Her Saving Alexander has been nominated for several awards and has been reviewed widely. Congrats on all your success, Susan. You have earned it.” – Gay Lit Authors

Leave it to master story-teller Susan Mac Nicol to weave a tale of two tortured souls who find solace in each others company! At first. even though I was rooting for the pact between the two men to work, I had my doubts. I confess, I didn’t understand how Owen’s family could maintain such an indifferent distance, given that he’d jumped off a boat into freezing waters with the intent on killing himself. As the story unfolded, however, it became clear that Owen was not only highly impulsive, but unlike Nick, who had the support of his adoptive family, Owen’s spur-of-the moment decision to jump, heightened by the use of drugs and the lack of a family network, was completely within character. Suicide had been a momentary impulse on his part. Once he met Nick, and discovered what real past trauma was like, his own troubles seemed minor in comparison.

As someone who grew up with a cutter in the family, I did find it a bit inconceivable that Nick’s support network was so ready to accept his word that further self-harm was unlikely after the initial trigger that set him off. I was a bit surprised at how much space his family allowed him, and now readily they trusted Owen, given Nick’s past history. But Owen himself, with his emotions in plain sight and his willingness to share about his past, convinced me that Nick’s family, too, would have accepted him as is.

In fact, the supporting characters in this story are fully fleshed out–and each of them demands a story of their own! I loved the physical description of Don, Nick’s adoptive father (and I won’t spoil it for you!) and his budding relationship with Heather, Nick’s therapist. I also appreciated Daniel, Nick’s former friends-with-benefits (before Owen) and how besotted he was with the flamboyant Justin (we’re going to get that story, yes?).

Given my personal experiences with a stalker (though nothing like Brad, thank God!), I found the scenes in which Nick’s former boyfriend, determined to find Nick again and dominate him, frankly terrifying. The lengths to which he went, including lying to Owen in order to find out Nick’s location, rang frighteningly true. Thank goodness for the intervention of Socks! Mac Nicol’s rendering of  Nick’s pet Capuchin monkey was spot on  as well (as a veterinarian, I can vouch for this!) and I was cheering at the penultimate moment!

All in all, if you are looking for a satisfying read, combining suspense, humor, and tenderness with a deft hand, Worth Keeping is the book for you!

Don’t miss the book trailer!

Tour Giveaway

Susan and her publisher, Boroughs Publishing Group, will be awarding a copy of Stripped Bare and a copy of Saving Alexander to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now, an interview with Susan Mac Nichol about Worth Saving!

Susan, I just finishing reading Worth Keeping, Susan, and I was blown away by it! That was a pretty intense story folded into a touching romance. What was your inspiration for this story? What lead you to center a story on a character with such a dark past as Nick Mathers? 

I was watching the news about an actual child sex ring that had been closed down by the police and the stories of those children broke my heart. I wanted to tell a story of a man who’d been through it yet had survived and Nick’s tale was born. I wanted to make it a happy ending because a lot of those children in the actual event weren’t so lucky. So along came Owen to give Nick the boost he needed. Sometimes the only way to make the world a better place is to imagine the good and live within that place in your head that says things can always get better. Maybe I’m an idealist but there are worse things to be.

This is the reason that part proceeds for Worth Keeping are being donated to the NSPCC -National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children- here in the UK. They do a lot of good work with abused and neglected children and it just seemed right to help them in some way.

Owen and Nick aren’t your typical heroes, and they certainly don’t meet in a typical fashion! Owen is a man who can’t get over the death of his lover. Nick is a man with history of childhood abuse. Together they find purpose in life again—but was there ever a point during the writing of this story where you weren’t sure you could give them a happy ending? The story has dark elements to it, subjects which can be very triggering for some people—childhood sexual abuse, self-harm, attempted suicide—and yet this is not a dark tale at all. How did you balance these components? What is the message you want readers to come away with from this story?

I always knew these two would be happy together. Otherwise, I couldn’t write it. And to be truthful some of these elements you’ve mentioned I’ve lived through in one way or another so I do speak from experience. I won’t elaborate but I think it’s important to tell readers where I’m coming from. And, one of the things I harp on about with any story is that I write is the underlying message of hope. I’m a great believer in the fact that if you can be strong and with the right support from someone, anything is possible. It might not quite end the way you wanted, but the journey is made so much better while you take it. And if you infuse that with humour, compassion and understanding, it helps that journey along and makes it more palatable.

I’ve noticed in several of your stories now, one of the characters has lost someone very dear to them, and afterward has an extremely difficult time coping with life—to the point of indulging in self-destructive behavior.  Do you believe this a secret fear for many people, or are you drawing on personal observation?

Losing someone that you love is heart-wrenching, gut-churning and can drive people to do things they might not have done before. Some people get through it, stay strong and face their loss head on. Others hide away, let it fester and then when things become too much to take, they manifest their own way of dealing with it, like self-harming, drinking etc. I speak again from experience in both camps, as people are complex beings and you never quite know what’s in their heads, no matter how long you’ve known them. It can tear families apart and leave the survivors struggling to cope. I’ve often wondered – we hear about the victims who die, and their story. But we never quite hear about the ones left behind. The train driver who watched in horror as someone threw themselves in front of his train. The driver who had someone run in front of their car on purpose. The family member watching someone shoot themselves.  How do they cope? It’s always fascinated me how the human psyche deals with such tragedies.

 What is the best part of being a successful author? The worst part? If you had to do it over again, is there anything you would change?

The best part of being a successful author is the sheer variety of what I get to do every day, coupled with the passion in telling stories that sit in your head and won’t leave you in peace 🙂 I have met some wonderful people, developed both face-to-face and virtual relationships that just blow me away with their intensity and support, been in the newspapers, on the radio, learnt new skills – social networking and creative writing – and, of course, this is all done around actually getting words onto the screen for the next book. I’m doing something I love, with people I love around me and it’s the most inspiring feeling ever. Having people email or Facebook message me telling me how much they like my stories -that’s absolutely mind-blowing. Each and every one is special and without them I’d be no where at all.

You’ve spoken (and written) before about sexual abuse of men, something that many victims are reluctant to admit to having suffered. Could you share with us more about some of the research that went into this story, and why you feel so strongly about this subject?

I have a pet hate that I climb on soapboxes for; Persecution and Intolerance. I hate any sort of judgment by one person for another because they are different – gender, colour, religions, beliefs – it makes no difference. I lived through apartheid in South Africa so I know first-hand how damaging this it.

Before I wrote my first book, Cassandra By Starlight, I saw a video clip and read a story. It was a story about a man, an ex-Marine, who had been raped by a woman, after being given some sort of drug at a party. The abuse and ridicule he suffered as a result of him speaking out was horrific. He was told to ‘man up,’ that he was lucky he ‘got some’ and that he should put it behind him. He was told that he was a man and women don’t sexually abuse men unless ‘they want it.’ But, he was clearly traumatised and in his mind, there was no black and white. He’d been violated.

I remember filing it away somewhere in the recess of my mind, thinking, that’s a contentious scenario. When the time came for Bennett Saville’s (the hero in Cassandra) stalker to kidnap him, the rape scene just happened. I researched it first, finding out the man I’d seen on the video – James Landrith – and used his experience as Bennett’s. James actually got in contact with me after the book was published and promoted it on his civil rights blog in the US. We both believe that male rape by women exists and that the law and society need to do more to educate and make people aware of it.

There was much I appreciated about this story, especially the secondary characters Don and Heather, and of course, Socks , the capuchin monkey! As someone who works with animals, I found the scenes with Socks very realistic, very believable. What made you choose a monkey for Nick’s companion?

I knew the end of the story somehow relied on the pet helping them get free. I had a vision of the two men tied up and thought – hmm, monkeys have prehensile hands and are pretty dexterous – I had to be able to use that fact somewhere. So Nick’s pet became a monkey, he had a penknife because I knew that could factor in at the end…and so cheeky Socks came to life.

It helped that my husband had a monkey when he was in the army, of a similar type. It was the Army mascot, and this little monkey was almost human himself. He got drunk with the soldiers, suffered hangovers and stole their cigarettes, then sat above in the tree and broke them one by one as everyone ranted and raved at him when they couldn’t reach him. I think he was trying to start the first Simian anti-smoking ban 🙂

Nick has chosen to live in an isolated manner as the keeper of a lonely lighthouse on the Norfolk coast, which suits him well as a painter. What is your vision of the ideal place to live, work, and write?

I have to say I love the idea of the lighthouse myself. In fact, I’m going out to visit the very lighthouse that inspired the one in Worth Keeping. On Wednesday 29thJanuary, I am travelling to Norfolk to be with the maintenance crew while they go in and check the Cromer Lighthouse, the exact one you see in the pictures on my Pinterest board. I’m looking forward to it, seeing inside and taking some pictures. So for me, a lighthouse would be an ideal place to write and be inspired.

If a lighthouse wasn’t forthcoming, then a great big old Gothic house deep in the English countryside, with a resident ghost or two, a cellar, an attic and plenty of atmosphere. Oh, and a butler and housekeeper. I’d love a butler. Someone needs to keep me in coffee, tea and do the housework while I beaver away at the PC as I look out across the vast expanse of countryside to see the wildlife and the beautiful English fields.

You’ve had terrific success with Stripped Bare and Saving Alexander, your first M/M romance novels, both making the bestseller list on Amazon. Your author’s note in Worth Keeping mentions that you have five more novels in the pipeline, as well as a planned series called Men of London. Can you tell us more about your upcoming work?

Yes indeed I’ve been fortunate that all my M/M books have all reached the best-selling lists and have done well. I’m grateful to everyone for their support.

 Waiting for Rain is due out on the 24th February via Dreamspinners. This is the ‘pole dancing /sheep’ book. My trailer for this one will blow your socks off as I had a world-class pole dancer do a scene from the book specially for me – I had to take a cold shower afterwards with all the hip thrusts and sinuous writhing that Andre Corey in New Zealand does. It should be illegal for a man to move like that. *Wipes sweaty brow*

The next book due out is the 25th March. It’s called Double Alchemy and it’s the first in a two book paranormal series. Warlocks, witches, water sprites and the Witchfinder General of Essex, Matthew Hopkins. All play a part in this story. It’s a total change to what I’ve written to date, as I’ve indulged my own love of Wicca and witchcraft and let my imagination run free in the contemporary London setting of Hampstead Heath. Uhm. This also happens to be where Benedict Cumberbatch lives and I can tell you there’s no ulterior motive in setting the book here. No sirree bob, none at all 🙂 Sarah, stop that snorting. It doesn’t become you at all *grins*

The second Alchemy book will be out later in the year. I have the third book in my Starlight trilogy due out as well, not quite sure what the release date is for that. It’s the story of the gay couple, Dylan and Alec, who were in books 1 and 2. Then I have an erotic crime thriller called Born Human, which I’ll be working in towards the middle of this year. Hunky detective meets feisty reporter while trying to catch a bisexual serial killer. The research for this one sparked the love for M/M Romance that I have so this story was definitely the catalyst.

Men in London was commissioned by my publisher, Boroughs Publishing Group. It’s a six book series of novellas, about 50k words each. They asked me to write a series about – strangely enough – men in London, strong, professional men meeting each other and the events are all set in or around the city. I tentatively have 4 ideas for the series, as to who and what professions meet, but I need inspiration for the others. Anyone out there who feels they have an idea for the professions of the perfect couple to write about, feel free to let me know. I’ve also submitted a short story of about 13k words to Dreamspinners..It’s called ‘A Little Light Magic’ and it’s set in Glastonbury – for an anthology, so as soon as they are done reading it, I’ll get either a nod or a nay to my submission and then I’ll decide what to do with it from there.

Sue Brown and I are also co-writing a book together, the story of a man subjected to sexual abuse by his Scoutmaster. I’ve mentioned this ‘factional’ story before, fiction based on the facts of Joe Leistman’s life. Sue and I had lunch together recently and we worked out what we need to do to move this book forward so I’m looking forward to this project with her.

Your readers have so many new works to anticipate! What is a typical day for Susan Mac Nicol like?

I huddle under the bed covers as husband leaves at 6.30 am to go to work. I get up about 7.30, make a coffee, shower then onto the couch, laptop on my lap, and basically stay there until I finally go to bed around midnight. It’s nothing exciting ladies and gents. My bum is spreading, and the couch actually has a dip in from where I sit so long, so I need to get up and walk about every now and then to keep the blood flowing and remind myself I am actually alive and I do need to eat and drink.

While I’m on the laptop I do all the things most writers do. Try and get some new words on paper for the latest WIP, respond to posts on Facebook, Twitter etc, perv over pictures of naked men, make an appearance in the Male Pole Dancing group I manage with co-admin Shanella McBeth, invite sexy gyrating men to join us, flirt with them madly until they agree then do the same thing again in a never ending cycle. I write blog posts for book tours, do some hosting for other authors books, and also read books so I can review them for The Romance Reviews. God forbid I should ever get another day job as I really don’t know how I will cope. 🙂 But it’s all jolly good fun…..

Thank you, Susan, for sharing with us!

Be sure to join Susan Mac Nichol for the rest of her tour!

Tour Event Pages (Facebook and Goodreads): https://www.facebook.com/events/202803816578033/

About Susan Mac Nicol

Susan Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, UK, and left for South Africa when she was eight. She returned to the UK thirty years later and now lives in Essex. Her debut novel Cassandra by Starlight, the first in a trilogy, was published last year by Boroughs Publishing Group in the US. Sue’s latest story, Worth Keeping is her third m/m romance.

Sue has written since she was very young, and never thought she would see herself being a Romance writer, being a horror/psychological thriller reader all her life. But the Romance genre is now something very close to her heart and she intends continuing the trend.

Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association here in the UK.

To learn more, visit Susan on her website and blog on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Susan Mac Nicol is also author of The Magick of Christmas, Confounding Cupid, Cassandra by Starlight , Together in Starlight, Stripped Bare and Saving Alexander.

Tour Schedule

Monday 3rd February – Sid Love (review and interview)

Tuesday 4th February – Virtual Writers, Inc. (interview) & Mandie Foxylutely (review and guest post)

Wednesday 5th February – Gay List Book Reviews (review and guest post) & Pip Gilmour from Live Your Life, Buy the Book (review and guest post)

Thursday 6th February – Charlie Cochet (guest post) & Sarah Madison (review and interview)

Friday 7th February – Kathryn Lively from All Romance (guest post) & Scuttlebutt Reviews (review and guest post)

Saturday 8th February – Beckey White from In the Pages of a Good Book (guest post)

Sunday 9th February – Twitter Interview with Susan Mac Nicol (6pm GMT) (hashtag #WorthKeeping)

Monday 10th February –  Twinsie Talk Book Reviews (review and guest post) & Shh Moms Reading (review and guest post)

Tuesday 11th February – Zipper Rippers (guest post) & Cup O Porn (guest post)

Wednesday 12th February – Tammy Middleton from TTC Books & More (review and guest post) & Scott Burkett from Gay. Guy. Reading (guest post)

Thursday 13th FebruarySusan Mac Nicol’s site & Sophie Sansregret from Evolved World (review and guest post)

Friday 14th February – Hearts on Fire Reviews (review and guest post) & Joyfully Jay (original excerpt)

Saturday 15th FebruaryThe Novel Approach (review)
Sunday 16th February – MM Good Book Reviews (review and guest post)