Love is in the Air: Valentine’s Day Sale at Dreamspinner Press!

I don’t know about you, but I hated Valentine’s Day growing up.

I hated all the emphasis on being ‘chosen’ to be someone’s Valentine, and how the whole day was an exercise in humiliation for a introverted, homely child.

As a young adult, it felt like a comment on my attractiveness and desirability that I didn’t have someone special in my life to take me out to dinner or bring me flowers. And yet I still wanted those things very much. I wanted that tangible proof that not only was I loved, I was deemed worthy of love.

The first couple of times I was in a relationship as Valentine’s Day rolled around, I went all out: the romantic dinner, the fancy restaurant, the expensive (and sexy) dress. Chocolates, wine, flowers, and cards. The whole nine yards.

Now after having been in a committed relationship for nearly a decade, I can appreciate it not the day that matters, or the meal, or the bling. It’s the person who is sitting across the table from you. It’s the person holding your hand, or the friends taking you out for Galentine’s Day, or the cat in your lap and the dog at your feet. I love that people are taking what has always been for me a problematic celebration of ‘love’ and making it their own–redefining it for their needs.

 

 

 

As part of that celebration, Dreamspinner Press is having a store-wide sale: 25% off all titles until Feb 18th, and a flash sale of new releases today only! That means you can pre-order the newly revised version of Unspeakable Words at the sale price (release date March 10, 2017)–or perhaps you’d like a story of love, loss, and re-connection with The Boys of Summer.  Or maybe werewolves and vampires are your thing–in which case, check out the award-winning Crying for the Moon! Plenty to choose from, and not just my titles. Entering the DSP store is like opening the Potter family vault at Gringott’s. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Dear Women’s Fashion: Size 12 is not XL

Okay, fair warning. I have my Ranty McRant pants on again.

This time the subject that’s been weighing on my mind recently is the ridiculous–and unfair–standards when it comes to women’s clothing. My musings on the subject began a while back when everyone was sharing a post written by Kallie Provencher for Rantchic.com called “24 Things Women Over 30 Should Stop Wearing.” No, I’m not going to share the link here because the post is pure clickbait. My reaction to it when everyone was talking about it was to tweet “The one thing women over 30 should stop wearing is the censure of random strangers on the internet.” Suffice to say, there was a lot of eye-rolling. I feel bad for the author, actually. If she’s lucky, she’s going to spend more time over thirty than under it, and according to her, life is over at twenty-nine and counting.

A beautiful rebuttal was written here, however. WarningCurvesAhead posted a brilliant collection of classy, sassy women wearing whatever pleased them–and looking smashing while doing so. I want to be these women when I grow up. I wish I had a fraction of their sense of style and their confidence in carrying off what looks great on them.

But one of the things Kallie Provencher frowned upon women over thirty wearing was graphic t-shirts. Which brings me to today’s subject: sizing of women’s clothing. Now, I’m a sci-fi geek. You can pretty much ask me about any sci-fi universe and if I can’t whip your butt playing Trivial Pursuit, I will at least have heard of it and am familiar with it. And I love my fandoms; Doctor Who, Firefly, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate… I love mashups and crossovers. I love fanfic, fanart, and fan vids. My friends know the way to make me squeal in the ultrasonic range, so high I can only be heard by dogs, is to surprise me with something from one of my favorite shows. Just this evening, the BF surprised me with a CD of ambient engine noise from ST:TNG. Just think, now I can hear the murmur of the Enterprise’s engines lulling me to sleep on an endless loop instead of the usual white noise machine.

One of the things I love doing is sharing my fandom pride with graphic tees.

About the same time these previously mentioned posts circulated, another post caught my eye: Man Tries on Girlfriend’s “XL” Clothing and Gets Pissed About Double Standards.

Yeah, because my friends and I have been talking about this, too.

Now, for the record, let me state I am a solid size 12. There was a period of time when I was closer to a 10–there are days when I’m closer to a 14, but 90% of the time, I’m a hard 12. I wear a 36 C sized bra. Now I know in these pictures, I might look ginormous, but remember, the camera adds ten pounds. (I know what you’re thinking here, but trust me, only ONE camera is pointed at me in these photos…)

Let’s start out with a T-shirt I bought a few years ago. It’s a medium, but unisex. This is important, as you’ll see later on. NOT a men’s shirt, not a women’s shirt, unisex.

Medium UnisexYou can’t see it clearly, but it’s a “Hello, My Name is” shirt, with “Inigo Montoya–you killed my father, prepare to die” penned in. It’s also autographed. That’s neither here nor there. What’s important is the size.

This is a medium WOMEN’S T-shirt. I love Agent Carter, and this was sent to me by a friend. A friend who knows what I look like, and assumed I would wear a medium T-shirt.

Medium Women FittedOkay. I got into it, though I look a sausage encased in Saran Wrap. That’s what it felt like, too. And believe me, getting out of it was interesting. I seriously thought about using a pair of scissors… I was very disappointed, needless to say. I love this character, the show, and this sentiment. I should point out as well, that many of the graphic T-shirts I would order, like this one, do not come in a men’s or unisex option.

Right, then obviously, a medium is too small. So, when I ordered a T-shirt for myself (a lovely mashup of Frozen and Doctor Who), I ordered a large.

Large Womens Fitted

Um, I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t look all that much bigger than the medium to me. Okay, so maybe the material isn’t cutting off my circulation, but it is still sucking down to my skin like it was painted on. At this point, I *finally* took a good look at the sizing chart. That’s when I saw that a size 12 is an XL on most sizing charts for the graphic T-shirts I like.

Excuse me, WTF? 12 is considered XL? Since when? Since when does the size of the average woman in the U.S.–which is 12-14 by a Google search–considered extra-large? It brings me back to the pissed off boyfriend and the double standards of the clothing industry.

Okay. Deep breath. Order the XL. You like the shirt and you want to be comfortable. And you don’t want your arms to go numb when you’re wearing it. Exchange the large for an XL.

Here’s the XL:

XL Womens FittedNo, I am not kidding. This is the XL. It is microscopically different from the large, but honestly, it looks so much like the large I had to look at the time stamps to make sure I wasn’t posting the same picture twice. AND, I would like to point out, the shirt only comes one size larger–the XXL. That is insane. No, I’m sorry. It’s just wrong. What kind of message are we sending to young women (because obviously women over 30 shouldn’t be wearing graphic tees, right?) when 12 is considered XL? When there is so little difference between sizes that someone has to get the very largest size a product comes in just to be comfortable?

I honestly don’t know which is worse: vanity sizing, in which clothing companies mislabel clothing as being a smaller size than it is so women will feel good about buying it, or this. It  feels like a slap in the face either way.

BoysofSummer[The]FSOkay, rant over. In other news, Dreamspinner Press is continuing the Lazy Days of Summer sale until June 24th, which means you can get a copy of my award-winning The Boys of Summer for only a dollar! It’s the perfect beach read at the perfect price–but it won’t last long!

On Dreamspinner/Amazon/AllRomance

 

 

 

Fool'sGold-400x600And coming up next month, I’ll be releasing Fool’s Gold, a story about Olympic level eventing–just in time for the 2016 Games!

 

The Boys of Summer on sale!

The Boys of Summer400x600Oh! I just discovered The Boys of Summer is on sale right now as part of Dreamspinners Lazy Days of Summer!

That means for a limited time, you can purchase this award-winning story from either Dreamspinner directly or Amazon for only $1–today through June 24th!

I confess, this story is a personal favorite of mine–from the stunning cover art by Reese Dante, to the story of two men trying to survive against all odds–and discovering that life is more than mere survival.

This is the best sale price ever–so grab a copy while you can!

Dreamspinner Press/Amazon

Blurb: David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches…and a secret crush on his hot, ex-Air Force pilot, Rick Sutton.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, make rescue imperative, but it takes an intensely vivid dream about the war to make David see that Rick is more than just a pilot to him. Will David gather his courage to confess his feelings to Rick—before it’s too late?

Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. Nominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards. Selected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave and a Top Pick Read by The Romance Reviews. Winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Re-released by Dreamspinner Press Dec, 21, 2015.

Excerpt (Rated R for language)

“Hey! Hey! Don’t pass out on me,” David warned, reaching under Sutton’s jacket and around his body to take hold of his torso. “I’ll never get you out of here if you pass out, and I can’t reach whatever’s bleeding from here. I need to stop the bleeding, okay? You’re going to have to help me.”

Sutton nodded silently. His lack of heroic banter worried David. He tightened his grip around Sutton’s chest, locking wrists that were slick with far too much blood. Where the hell was it coming from? He braced his feet against Sutton’s chair and pulled.

At first, it seemed like nothing was happening, as though he was attempting to lift a two ton gold brick. Then slowly, he felt Sutton coming with him, oozing out of the seat like a man being pulled out of quicksand. Sutton wasn’t helping him much, a fact that scared the crap out of him. He’d slung one arm around David’s shoulder, but he was pretty much dead weight as David tugged on him. Nonetheless, things were progressing steadily, with David gradually pulling Sutton up out of the crumpled mess that was the pilot’s seat, when suddenly they stopped moving.

David grunted and tugged some more, but to no avail. He slithered around, trying to get a different grip on Sutton but nothing worked.

“Hang on,” Sutton said, his breath coming in short, warm bursts near David’s ear. “I think I’m caught on something.”

“What, again?” David asked, and was rewarded with a faint chuckle. It was odd to think he could so easily turn his head and his lips would be on Sutton’s. They were practically embracing now. As it was, Sutton shifted, trying to move his injured side, to reach around behind him. His actions caused him to arch his back slightly, pushing up against David’s chest. The rain had soaked through Sutton’s shirt, leaving no questions as to his physical fitness. They could have been skin to skin, the contact was so close.

“Fuck, that hurts.” Sutton slumped against him. “Sorry.” His words were little more than exhaled breath. “I can’t reach it.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” David huffed, pulling Sutton closer into his body and then fishing around blindly behind him to see what he was caught on. He found the offending piece of cloth, hung on part of the console. When he couldn’t unsnag it, he tore it instead. He collected Sutton into his grip once more. “Most heroes could get impaled in the belly at least once every other episode, and still manage to fight off the bad guys and get the girl in the end. You’re supposed to say, ‘I’m fine, I have at least two kidneys’ and keep moving, mister.”

A laugh so soft it only stirred the hair near his ear sent a ripple of undefined emotion through David. He was so afraid Sutton would die. He needed Sutton not to die.

 

Pounds of mud on my shoes: overcoming self-doubt as a writer

best-good-enoughI haven’t been in a good place lately. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been stuck at the house for too many weeks now, just me and the animals. Normally, I’m good with this, being the kind of person perfectly capable of entertaining myself and enjoying my own company, but with the frequent storms, I haven’t been as active and I’ve had a little too much time to brood. I’ve been indulging in too much comfort food and I’m seeing a number on the scale I’ve never seen before.

I suspect too, it’s the time of year. We’ve had our pretty snows and our bitter temperatures. Now we’re sliding–literally–into the Season of Mud. For the next month or so, everything will be ankle deep in mud here. It’s so thick, deep, and clinging that it can suck the boots right off your feet. It cakes everything: your shoes, your car, the dogs, the carpets… Walking with several pounds of mud attached to your feet is a chore, and it feels like it will never get any easier.

I believe self-doubt is like that. It’s not that it prevents me from writing, but it does make everything slower and harder. I’ve actually written 22.8 K words this month, and yet it is all like ashes to me because I think what I’ve written is utter crap. With the frame of mind I’m in right now, if I read something amazingly good, I am discouraged because I will never write anything that fantastic. If I read something appallingly bad, I’m discouraged because that book has is out there making money, and people seem to love it, and what does that say about the industry–and my place in it–as a whole? At the moment, I am quite discouraged about my writing. I’m not convinced I know how to tell a decent story. Worse, I’m afraid I’ll never get any better at this. Like I said, not in a good headspace.

fraud moneyI’ve never been one of those people good with the concept of ‘act as if’ or ‘fake it til you make it.’ I understand the concept. It’s not outside my capabilities: I’ve done a lot of theater in my time. The problem for me always lay in that if I didn’t believe in said ‘fact’, I couldn’t sustain an attitude of belief. I can’t act sexy, or confident, or successful if deep down I don’t believe I’m any of these things. If I think someone is going to come up behind me and whisper, “Fraud.”

I’ve always wondered what the secret was. How some people could walk forward exuding confidence or sex appeal, when to the initial glance, they appear rather ordinary. How anyone could simply have that kind of utter belief in themselves that they weren’t shaken not only by self-doubt, but the put-downs and negative comments of others. It was always so chicken-and-egg to me. How do you take as your own what you don’t have?

Earlier this morning a meme was circulating Facebook that was posted by Meryl Streep, in which she related how, on being turned down for a movie role, she was told she was too ‘ugly’ for the part. She said she could have let that shatter her dreams of being an actress, but instead it forced her to believe in herself. She told the casting director, “I’m sorry you think I’m too ugly for your film, but you’re just one opinion in a sea of thousands, and I am off to find a kinder tide.” She’s won eighteen Academy Awards. Eighteen! (I had no idea!)

So I guess the answer is you don’t wait until you feel sexy or smart or accomplished. You simply decide you are these things. And act accordingly.

So tell me, what is holding you back and how do you plan to overcome it? Has anyone ever told you that you were wasting your time trying for something? That you had no talent or ability. That your best wasn’t good enough? How did you deal with that? I want to hear your stories!

From now until Wed Feb 24th, if you leave a comment, someone will be picked at random to win their choice of any of my available books. You don’t have to enter the giveaway to leave a comment though! I want to hear your stories of perseverance in spite of doubt.

The Boys of Summer400x600My latest release is The Boys of Summer, now available from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance ebooks.

 

Fixer Upper by Meg Harding: Interview and Excerpt!

IMG_8243Hey everyone! Today as part of The Boys of Summer book tour, I’m being interviewed by Louise Lyons on her site, so be sure to drop in over there and see what’s going on, as well as enter to win an e-copy of The Boys of Summer!

Today on my site, I’m welcoming Meg Harding, who’s latest release, Fixer Upper, is available from Dreamspinner Press today!

Fixer-Upper
Meg Harding
22, 585 words
Contemporary Romance
Published by DreamSpinner
Cover by AngstyG
Buy links: Dreamspinner / All Romance / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Hello, Meg! Welcome to my blog and thank you for answering my nosy discerning questions! 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?

I’m a massive geek, so I tend to like to include a fair bit of that in all of books. You’ll find mentions of Sherlock, Marvel, LOTR/The Hobbit…. They’re things I love, and I like to work them in in passing at least. Most of my books all tend to have some kind of pet in them, because I love animals, and it feels natural for me to include them. I wouldn’t say there’s an underlying theme, though. I write whatever happens to come to my mind at the time. I like happy endings and the right amount of angst to get them there. A lot of the time I definitely veer toward the sweet side, though that’s something that’s changing a little in some of my upcoming works.

The Good ShepherdHah! That’s interesting! I’m a huge geek too, as well as an animal-lover, so it sounds like your stories would be right up my alley! What gave you the courage to submit your first story to a publisher?

Fanfiction. I read a lot of fanfiction, and it encouraged me to get back into writing and to fix up and finish some of my work. I even first published on a fanfiction site in order to receive feedback before I sent things off to a publisher.

Oh wow, your backstory could be very similar to mine! I found my way back to writing after a long hiatus through discovering fanfiction as well! I see you write M/M fiction. Would you characterize your stories as M/M romance, erotica, or something in between?

I would say M/M romance. A lot of my stories aren’t heavy on the sex scenes (though some of them are), but the focus is more on the romance either way.

City Girl or Country Mouse—and why?

City girl through and through. I like being close to all of my interests. I like that if I want to do something or see something it’s right there, and I don’t have to travel hours to get to it.

Whew, for a moment there, I was beginning to think we might have been twins separated at birth, but I’m a Country Mouse all the way! 🙂 Do you see your writing as a hobby or is it your goal to be a full time writer at some point in the future?

It’s definitely my goal to be a full time writer eventually. I think that’s probably a long way off at this stage, but I’m working on it.

Research: love it or hate it?

I’m a bit of an anomaly. I don’t like research. I’ll do it when the story requires it, but it feels like pulling teeth. I like being able to write from my head and just spit it out without having to switch to a google tab every five seconds to check my facts.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, do you find what you listen to influences the story at all?

I listen to movie soundtracks while I write. I can’t focus with words, but the upbeat bits of the tracks and the big swells of the orchestras tend to help me when I’m writing more charged, exciting moments.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing a bit about yourself and your new story, Meg! Congratulations on your new release!

Blurb:
Ex-business owner and soon to be ex-husband Jake has had some rotten luck of late. His world is tumbling down around him, but it’s time to dust himself off and move on. Buying and fixing up the most dilapidated home he can find might be just the thing to get him back on track. But Jake gets more than he bargained for when he meets former lawyer turned landscaper Dakota. Dakota is smart and ridiculously sexy—and Jake doesn’t have a clue how to act around him. After several gardening mishaps, Jake is sure Dakota thinks he’s completely inept. Turns out Dakota is thinking something else entirely. And as Dakota gives Jake advice, an ear to listen, and helps him work through his issues, Jake realizes flowers aren’t the only thing blooming between them.

Excerpt:

There was a truck already parked out front when he got there, the back of it loaded down with equipment. He parked, and as he stepped from the car, a short blond man rounded the corner.

“Hello,” called the man, striding quickly over. “I’m Jasper, your landscaper. I’ve just been checking the place out.” He shook Jake’s hand. He had a steady grip. “Quite the fixer-upper you’ve got here. My partner and I will really have some fun with this.”

“Your partner?” asked Jake, looking behind Jasper.

“He should be getting here any minute now. He’s bringing the trailer.”

“Oh,” said Jake, and then, remembering his manners, said, “I’m Jake. Nice to meet you.”

Jasper smiled at him, revealing a crooked incisor. “Nice to meet you too.”

A truck pulled up, and another after that, and still another. Jasper walked off, and Jake turned to greet the construction crew as they piled out of their trucks. There were so many of them, and Jake knew he’d have a time of keeping their names down.

The head of the crew was a tall man named Lincoln, who had a thick beard and not one strand of hair on the top of his head. Lincoln had Jake walk him through the house and explain in detail what he wanted done. He looked at him like he was a bit insane, but he didn’t say anything, just nodded and asked questions when he had them.

“Who’s your carpenter?” Lincoln asked at the end of the tour.

Jake blinked. “I haven’t got one yet. I was going to wait till you were done.”

Lincoln shook his head, pulling out a pad and pen from his back pocket and starting to scribble. “Get someone now. Walk them through and explain what you want. It’ll take time to build the stuff, but most of it will be ready by the time we’re done. More efficient that way.” He ripped the first page off the pad and handed it over. “Here’s a number for a guy I know. God’s gift to man when it comes to woodworking. Give him a call.”

The handwriting on the paper was almost illegible, but Jake nodded. “I will.” He’d look him up when he went home.

“I’d get the roofers in right away as well, if you haven’t already got them.”

Jake pocketed the number. “The roofers are starting tomorrow.” They’d had to finish up another job first.

“You really picked a wreck,” noted Lincoln as they walked out into the front yard.

“I know.” A wreck it may have been, but the inspectors hadn’t said it needed to be torn down. Jake had been unable to contain the small surge of pride when they’d declared it to be of sound build.

The painters came over, and Lincoln walked off. Jake took them over the outside of the house and briefly talked about some of his ideas for the inside—which would have to be done once everything else was finished.

“I’ve got someone coming to fix the eaves and whatnot later this week. Will you be good to start with them like this?” he asked.

“Yeah, it’ll be fine,” answered Josh, the head painter.

“Perfect,” said Jake. “If you need an extra hand, I’d be more than happy to help with the painting.”

Josh side-eyed him. “Sure,” he said. “I’ll let you know.”

Jake watched him walk away with the feeling he wasn’t going to be asked to aid in the painting at any point in time. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he surveyed the crumbling house and the overgrown yard, all the people milling about preparing themselves for work.
He needed to be doing something. It was an ache in his bones, an itching in his skin. His gaze drifted, searching… searching…. There. Two riding mowers sat side by side on the sidewalk. He could do that. He was perfectly capable of mowing the lawn. With a quick stride, he made his way over to the mowers. He didn’t know where Jasper had gotten to, but he figured he’d be back eventually.

He’d never actually mown a lawn before, but he didn’t think it could be that hard. Circling the mowers, he examined them with a close eye.

“Can I help you?” asked a deep, husky voice.

Author Bio:
Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and is completing a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

Find me at:

WordPress / Twitter / Facebook / DreamSpinner / Amazon / Google + / Goodreads

The Boys of Summer Book Tour and Giveaway!

BoysofSummer[The]FSI don’t know about you this morning, but I really wasn’t looking forward to going back to work. You know how it is, the harness chafes a bit once you’ve had a chance to take it off. I forced myself out of my warm bed today, grumbling bitterly about the cold, dragging myself into the kitchen to start a pot of tea, when I noticed that I didn’t receive a calendar alert about my schedule this morning. That’s when I checked and discovered I’d made a mistake and I didn’t have to work at ALL.

Hush! Don’t tell anyone!

I’ve spent the last few days writing blog posts like mad and answering interview questions for The Boys of Summer book tour, which starts today! I haven’t even had a chance to post about the tour until now, so yay for schedule screw ups! Hey, if I had to make a mistake, at least it’s finding out I don’t have to work when I thought I did!

I’m so very happy about this re-release too. I have a soft spot for this story–I feel as thought it’s one of the best things I’ve written–but when I self-published it in 2013, I made a number of newbie errors that I believe prevented it from getting the recognition it deserved. I was delighted when Dreamspinner Press contracted it for revision and re-release. I do hope you’ll check out the new version and join us on the book tour! Today, I’m at The Novel Approach and later this morning, at Gay Media Reviews. Here’s the full schedule:

 

Tour Dates and Stops:

The Boys of Summer: Available again Monday Dec 21!

BoysofSummer[The]FSI’m very pleased to announce that the award-winning M/M romance, The Boys of Summer, will be re-released on Monday, December 21st, 2015!

This story, without a doubt a personal favorite of mine, also has the deepest emotional meaning for me. It’s the best story I’ve ever written, and yet it is also the one that probably the fewest people have heard of because it was my very first self-publishing effort, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. Therefore it is with great pleasure that I can say this revised version is a work I can truly be proud of.

 

I’ll be doing blog posts and giveaways in various places over the next couple of weeks, including a Twitter Takeover of the Dreamspinner Twitter account Tues, Dec 22 from 7-9 EST. Be sure to join me for some lighthearted chat about books, movies, heroes, and what makes us love them so much! I’ll be taking part in Divine Magazine.net’s 12 Days of Christmas celebration on Dec 18th (my post is here–be sure to stop in for my famous sausage ball recipe, as well as the giveaway!) and K-lee Klein’s marvelous 31 Days of Gratitude posts and giveaways and Aisling Mancy’s site on Dec 21st, as well as stopping by to visit with my good friend Anna Butler. So come join the fun and enter to win in one of the many on-going giveaways!

You can pre-order The Boys of Summer now from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance ebooks and many other third party vendors.

The Boys of Summer (novel) :

David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches…and a secret crush on his hot, ex-Air Force pilot, Rick Sutton.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, make rescue imperative, but it takes an intensely vivid dream about the war to make David see that Rick is more than just a pilot to him. Will David gather his courage to confess his feelings to Rick—before it’s too late? Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. Nominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards. Selected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave and a Top Pick Read by The Romance Reviews. Winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

On: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. All Romance e-books.

The Romance ReviewFinalistSMHonorableMentionSMBest_Historical.N (1)1st place

Walk a Mile is a finalist in the Rainbow Awards–and on sale!

WalkAMileGreat Scott! You could have knocked me over with a feather this morning when I received the email that Walk a Mile (Sixth Sense series Book 2) was a finalist in the 2015 Rainbow Awards! Believe me, I was tickled when it received an Honorable Mention, but I didn’t think it would progress any further in the awards than that. I almost didn’t even enter the awards this year because I wasn’t certain I had a worthy contender that qualified. I decided to enter in the end because all the proceeds go to charity, which just goes to show that we aren’t necessarily the best judge of our own material. 🙂

 

The awards are being announced tonight, and though I have no real hopes of winning–this is one of those situations in which it truly is an honor to be on the same list with such great stories–I can’t help but keep refreshing the page. However, the moderator is taking a break for a couple of hours and I’ve decided to just go to bed and see what the results are in the morning. 🙂 My congratulations go out to all the winners named thus far and the ones that will be announced shortly. Update: Walk a Mile came in 7th in the gay paranormal romance division–a delightful achievement–my thanks to everyone involved in the Rainbow Awards, and congratulations to the winners! A special thanks to the organizers of the awards, and the volunteers who helped make it possible. This year over $17,000 was raised for charity, donating to GLBTQ organizations!

The Boys of Summer400x600I’m also looking forward to the re-release of The Boys of Summer through Dreamspinner Press two weeks from today! This story is very dear to my heart and I hope that many new readers will discover it through DSP. There will be a book tour in January, with a chance to win an e-copy of this combination contemporary/WW2 historical story.

As part of K-lee Klein‘s 31 Days of Gratitude, I’ll be sharing with you a post about my own experimentation in practicing gratitude on a daily basis–and giving you another chance to win an e-copy of The Boys of Summer, as my post will go live Dec 21.

I’ll also be doing a Twitter Takeover of the Dreamspinner Twitter account on Dec 22, from 7-9 pm EST, so if you want to join me and chat about the upcoming Star Wars and Marvel Universe movies, hot pilots and the men who love them, what I’m working on next and where you might be able to meet up with me in person in 2016, then come join in the fun! There will be links to free stories, pics of hot heroes, and a good time will be had by all.

It’s not too late to go vote for your favorite author and stories in the 2015 Divine Magazine Awards. You might find my name there in a few places… *cough-cough* 🙂 I’ll also be taking part in Divine Magazine’s 12 Days of Christmas event, in which guest authors will be posting about what Christmas means to them, as well as offering terrific prizes in a Rafflecopter. Be sure to check it out! Among other things, I’ll be giving out the recipe for my ‘famous’ sausage balls. 🙂

UndertheMistletoe_DSPsiteAnd before I sign off the for the night, I must tell you that Dreamspinner Press is holding a 25% off sale on the entire story from Dec 8-11–which means you can grab any of my stories for a great price! Do check it out!

What are you waiting for? Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time! 🙂

Today only: Unspeakable Words is free!

UnspeakableWordscoverWhat a whirlwind the last few weeks it has been! It seems like only a few days ago, I was saying, “Halloween already?” and now Thanksgiving has come and gone.

I have more to say on gratitude later, but I had to take a moment to get the word out: for today only, Unspeakable Words (Sixth Sense series Book 1) is FREE. That’s right, free! Snag a copyfree-sign from Dreamspinner Press until midnight tonight, EST. Even better, you can get the entire Sixth Sense series on sale until 11/30! Wait, not only the entire Sixth Sense series, but ALL my books are on sale! I know, right? That’s because Dreamspinner is having a 35% off sale  on the entire store until 11/30.15. In fact, you can even pre-order The Boys of Summer at the sale price (release date 12/21/15). So what are you waiting for? Go, shop, enjoy!

Have the Guts to Gut Your Story

frustrated-writerWell, it’s November, which means almost everyone I know is doing NaNoWrMo–the challenge to write a 50 K novel in 30 days. At least, it seems that everyone I know is doing it, based on the way my social media is exploding with word counts and updates, as well as posts on NaNo. Not me. I applaud anyone who does NaNo, I love the idea of having that network of support pushing you to write some every day. It *is* the best way to complete a story. But it doesn’t work for me. I don’t mean the part about working on your story a little bit every day–that is good advice and the best way I know to stay connected–and committed–to the story at hand. No, for me, the hard part about NaNo is the stricture that you not go back and self-edit, that you move ahead with the story as written each day. No massaging of text or tweaking the previously written material.

This is so much the antithesis of how I write that the one and only time I attempted NaNo, it sent me in to my first (and worst) case of writer’s block. NOT the intention of the challenge, I suspect. For me there’s a fine balance between moving forward and making sure your story has a strong enough foundation to support it.

Siege_of_Peking,_Boxer_RebellionThat’s the problem I’m having with my current WIP. I’m a good enough carpenter to know when something is off-kilter and out of balance, and yet I’ve been struggling for the better part of the last six months to make this story work as written because Jeez Louise, it’s sitting at 45 K, which means it’s halfway done. To stop now and have to go back to pull down walls because the floor isn’t level? Argh! Surely that can be overlooked, right? No one will notice. To say I’m at the halfway point is arbitrary anyway. There’s no set story-length. All those ‘rules’ of story-telling were created by the publishing industry in order to create a cost-effective and marketable printed book. All bets are off in the digital era, right? I don’t need your stinkin’ rules!

Um, no. It doesn’t quite work that way. In fact, the reason I’ve been struggling with this story for so long now is I can feel that the balance is off. I know in my gut that it’s wrong and I can’t keep forging ahead in the hope that it will somehow come out right in the end. In fact, the further out you go from a crooked starting point, the worse the deviation from the correct path becomes. And the last thing I want to do is pull down an entire house because there’s a serious crack in the foundation. Much better to solve the problem now, even if it means gutting a good bit of the existing work.

Yeah. Because I’m looking at having to cut about 15 K of extraneous story to get back to the structure of the thing and make it right. And ouch. That hurts. It hurts because some of those scenes are fun, and we all need fun in our lives. It hurts because we’ve been trained to think of word counts as the ultimate sign of a day’s progress, and yikes–this is like back-tracking several weeks for me.

But word counts are NOT the end-all and be-all of writing. To strain the metaphor further, at the end of the construction, what we want is a solid, sturdily-built house that will hold up for the next thirty or forty years–longer if we’re really lucky. And while the ‘rules’ of storytelling should be somewhat fluid, in that we shouldn’t wed ourselves to formulaic guidelines simply because that’s how it has always been done, most of us recognize when a story is off-balance. We know it because we read a LOT and we know what feels right. We know the difference between good storytelling and bad. You shouldn’t ignore that inner writer’s instinct that tells you when something isn’t working.

crumpleI’m not talking about that point in the story (and we all reach it) where you’re convinced you’re holding a sack of crap and nothing in the universe can transmute it into anything else. For me, that’s usually the 3/4 mark of any story, the point at which the writing becomes hard, when I’m certain I’m an idiot and there’s no hope for the story. No. I’m not talking about that. We need to learn our own writing cycles and when to ignore the routine run-of-the-mill crippling self-doubt. This is far more subtle. It’s sensing that an engine is running at less-than-optimum efficiency. It’s noticing that the floor is warped and things tend to roll to the right. It’s the certain knowledge that if you put a level to your story, the bubble wouldn’t be in the center.

A shoddy contractor would be tempted to hide this fact before it became apparent to everyone else. That’s a mistake. Because if it is apparent to you as the author, it sure as hell will be apparent to the reader. The longer you plug away at an inherently flawed story without fixing the underlying problem, the harder the edits will be too. And that, in a nutshell, is my problem with NaNo. Sometimes it’s smarter to stop what you’re doing and fix the problem before you cover it up with brilliant work that will only have to be torn down again. It’s easier to write a clean copy the first time than to repair a damaged one.

So don’t feel bad if NaNo is not for you. And don’t be afraid to follow your gut instincts and gut a story that isn’t working out. In the end, the revised story will be the better for your efforts. You’ll see.

In other news, Truth and Consequences was listed as an October Recommended Read by Prism Book Alliance, and there’s a giveaway going on at their page. Truth and Consequences has received stellar reviews from Rainbow Book Reviews and the Paranormal Romance Guild, among others, which just makes my heart sing.

Looking ahead to next month, The Boys of Summer will be re-released as a revised version Dec 21, so Merry Christmas to everyone!