Monday, December 31, 2012

M/M Books of the Year Honors for Diversion!

Lucky is a card-carrying asshole with a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas and barbed wire around his heart. Yet, he spoke to me, of loniliness and loss, insisting I tell his story--a scary proposition. Did I have the writing chops to pull of a sympathetic drug trafficker?

I gavemy best shot at giving this man an HEA, or maybe HFN. To my delight, Lucky's story, Diversion, scored an honorable mention at this year's Rainbow Awards, and has five nominations for the Goodreads M/M Group's Members' Choice Awards.

Through the wonders of a Smart Phone and a kind friend, I found out today on my lunch break that reviewer Jenre at Well Read has named Diversion her top M/M Book of the Year for Mystery category! Thank you so much, Jenre! And Lucky's tale is keeping good company, with books by such talented authors such as Marshall Thornton, Jay Bell, Barry Brennessel, P.D. Singer, Andrea Speed, Jordan Castillo Price, and many more.

And... that's not all!

Guest reviewer Cryselle picked Diversion as one of her Top Picks for 2012 at Reviews by Jessewave.

Well, Lucky, you were right; your and Bo's story did need telling. Umm... you don't have to look so smug about it.

Lucky and Bo will return in Collusion, due out the weekend of March 3 at Amber Allure.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

High Praise for The Wish

It's been a great week for my books in the review world. And I'm thrilled with the recent accolades for The Wish:

"The style is sometimes bouncy and sometimes solemn—it’s a strength of the writing that some very serious notions permeate the work but don’t bog it down. Aging, ill health, death, and surviving loss all play a role, but there’s more hope than gloom, and love absolutely triumphs over everything else. For a wonderful emotional journey, a reader couldn’t wish for better than this."

That's what Cryselle at Reading Reality had to say about The Wish. And she rated the story an "A"!

See full review here:

More Love Shown to Naked Tails

It's been nearly two weeks since possums shifters were released on the unsuspecting world, and it appears they've made quite an impression.

Reviewer Pixie at MM Good Book Reviews rated the story four hearts, and had this to say:

"This is a great shifter story that is quite refreshing and pretty unique." 
"I will recommend this to those who love a different kind of shifter, a possum political storm brewing, two men reconnecting after many years apart, a touch of unexpected danger, some hot loving and a very happy ending… oh and don’t forget the crickets!"
Read entire review here:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Goodreads M/M Romance Group's Member's Choice Awards

I'm late posting, but it's my great delight to have my books nominated for this year's Goodreads M/M Romance group's Member's Choice Awards

And here are the nominated stories, in no particular order:

 Bo and Lucky from Diversion

In Dreams




In Dreams

The Wish
The Telling


There's so many of my favorite novels and authors being honored this year, and a lot of tough decisions to make while casting my votes. Voting ends on December 31st, so be sure to show love to your favorite stories and authors. Link.

Oh, and to whomever nominated Diversion for Best Story That Should/Must Have a Sequel? Collusion is due out the weekend of March 3 from Amber Allure.

Thank you readers and Goodreads M/M Romance group, for this incredible honor.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Day Just Keeps Getting Better! Another Fabulous Review for Naked Tails!

What a wonderful Christmas Eve it's been! I just found out about an awesome new review for my latest release, Naked Tails, from The Novel Approach. 

Here's some of what reviewer Lisa had to say:
"Naked Tails is a sweet and sometimes downright laugh-out-loud romance, touched by just the teeniest bit of bittersweet before the happy making ensues. The town of Possum Kingdom is populated by some seriously wonderful residents, including my favorite female character in quite a while, Monica Sims, the six-foot-tall, pull-no-punches, half-breed possum goddess who gets Seth whipped into fighting shape to claim his destiny before the greasy Junior Timmerman can usurp him and turn the town and the entire shifter world on its ear."
Read the full review here:

Find Naked Tails at Dreamspinner Press:

An Unexpected Christmas Gift--From Reviewer Amos Lassen

I had the privilege of meeting Amos Lassen at the Lambda Awards earlier this year, after having read countless numbers of his reviews. Recently he told me he was about to read and review my novel, Naked Tails, and I must say that I was a bit nervous. I mean, stacked up next to some of the greatest GLBT novels of our time, what would he think of a passel of possum shifters from Possum Kingdom, Georgia?

Well, today he gave me a lovely gift in the form of a review that brought happy tears to my eyes.

Here's some of what Amos had to say:
"Now all of you probably want to know how does the author succeed in writing a love story about possums and keep our interest at the same time? That you would have to ask the writer. She does it and she does it beautifully and it indeed helps that she includes detail and well created characters. She writes with wit and humor and there is a certain “I am not sure what” quality to her writing. I am quite sure that most of us would consider a story about possum shifters to be a ridiculous idea and to a degree it is. Winters is able to turn that “ridiculous idea” into a wonderful story of identity and love. Winters gives us a look at friendship, family and loyalty and the story is really about one finding his place in the world."
Read the entire review on Amos's site. 

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season and a very happy New Year! Merry Christmas! I have a tendency to be overly sentimental, especially around the holidays, so I'll try not to get mushy.

Free Graphics

This past year has seen many changes in my life: I welcomed a new family member, rode an up and down roller coaster with my writing, and I made many wonderful new friends. I'm blessed with a life in which I have enough, not only for myself, but to help others in need. May we all be blessed with "enough." Not only enough food, shelter, and warmth, but enough friends, happiness, laughter, and good memories in the making. 

If you're reading this, as a dear friend from Germany says, "Consider yourself hugged."


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Memories

My earliest memories from Christmas are from when I was four years old, my mom clipping a serial comic from the newspaper, that over the course of time, made a book. She sang Christmas songs to my sister, brother, and me, and in my mind, her voice was every bit as lovely as my idol, Kitty Wells, whose album Mom sang with. (Everyone under fifty may need to Google "Kitty Wells". She was a big deal, let me tell you.) We lived in Washington state and had snow at Christmas. I remembered watching A Charlie Brown Christmas when it was still considered new.

Skip forward a year or two, my family was in Germany, and I feared getting coal in my stocking like my brother teased. I'd been told that Santa wouldn't leave me any toys if I was awake when he got there, and was worried because I was sick and prone to waking up in the middle of the night. Santa came anyway. Again we enjoyed a white Christmas, and I couldn't imagine anyone having the holidays without snow.

My family moved to a South Carolina farm, my dad left, and my customs got turned on their ear. Very rarely did we have snow, and we no longer bought a tree from a lot or unpacked a silver tinsel creation from a box. Instead, the three of us went out into the woods to chop down an cedar tree. In hindsight, I do wonder at the wisdom of my mother entrusting us with an ax. One year my sister and I, aged about fourteen and eleven, respectively, dragged home this wonderful beauty of nature, only to find it was approximately thirty feet tall, and Mom had to cut the top out to use in the house. We always put the tree up on my sister's birthday, December 18.

We attended church, and always particpated in the pageant as angels or shepherds. From the age of seven I sang solos, or duets with my sister. To this day I cannot sing Silent Night without thinking of her and wondering if she's still harmonizing with me, just out of my rang of hearing. She passed thirteen years ago.

I grew up and had kids of my own, and developed traditions for them, like decorating the day after Thanksgiving and opening one present on Christmas Eve, and saving the rest for morning, to open along with Santa's gifts. Through their eyes I saw the wonders of the season anew, and enjoyed the giving of gifts more so than the getting.  I baked a lot in those days, and every year made treats to take to family and friends.

My kids grew up and left the nest, and my traditions have changed again. My extended family gets together before Christmas to share a meal, and meet at my daughter's on Christmas morning for breakfast and to watch my grandkids open their gifts. Aftewards, I'll take lesson from my Jewish friends and go to a Chinese restaurant for lunch, and go see a movie. Sadly, Navy son won't be coming home this year.

Christmas Eve is spent in my home, with the tree lit and carols playing. I may watch a version of "A Christmas Carol." Oh, and there will be wine.

Though my holiday season is no longer filled with parties and excitement, I still love the season just as much, and still think the most magical thing in the world is the see the holiday through a child's eyes. Oh, and nothing brings a smile to my face better than really, really tacky Christmas lights, you know, the kind where planes are circling, trying to land, and the neighbors' lose power? White lights and tasteful bows have their place, but bring on the mis-matched chase  lights and dancing candy canes....just not at my house.

I found this Lindsey Stirling video visually stunning. Enjoy! This one's for you, my dearest sister.

Merry Christmas, my friends, and I wish you the happiest of New Years.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reviews and Giveaways for Naked Tails!

If you'd like to read my latest release, Naked Tails, now is a great time to get a copy without breaking your holiday budget.

Sign up to win an ebook copy at these three fine sites:

The Armchair Reader

Mrs. Condit and Friends Read Books

Reviews by Jessewave

Mrs. Condit awarded the story 5 Sweet Peas and Recommended Read Status. Here's some of what she had to say:
 I HIGHLY recommend this often funny, sometimes poignant, always entertaining, beautifully written book about the importance of tradition, love, and finding one’s place in the world.
Read entire review here:

Cole Riann at The Armchair Reader rated the story Really Liked It and said:
But more than this being a lighthearted shifter romp with funny possum behavior and a cute romance, the core of the story is about the growth of Seth. He starts the story a shade of the man he could be and the crux of the story is based on his growth.
Read entire review here:

Double Release Day Party!

Good morning (afternoon or evening, depending on where you are). Come celebrate with me! Today Dreamspinner Press released my latest novel, Naked Tails, a paranormal/contemporary romance involving skinny dipping and possum shifters. There's even a fox shifter for those who go for variety, and if you look really close, you'll spot a chipmunk and skunk shifter too! And don't get me started on the Johnson triplets! (Thanks, Elizabeth North. for the awesome pic!)

And if you like strong female secondary characters, check out Monica, enforcer, conscience, and designated attitude adjuster for the possum shifter passel.

What? You say you're not really in the mood for a shifter story today? No problem, for my dear friend Michael Rupured is sharing my Dreamspinner release day with a good, old fashioned action adventure, Until Thanksgiving. Love a gripping mystery and steamy romance all rolled up in an edge-of-your-seat who-done-it? Michael has just the book for you!

What release party is complete without cover art and a bit of blurbage?

Didn't Shobana Appavu do a fantastic job on the cover?

Seth McDaniel wasn’t raised among a shifter passel and has no idea what it’s like to turn furry once a month. An orphan, torn from his father’s family at an early age, he scarcely remembers Great-aunt Irene. Now her passing brings him back to Possum Kingdom, Georgia, to take up a legacy he doesn’t understand and reconnect with a friend he’s never forgotten. 

As Irene’s second-in-command, Dustin Livingston has two choices: assume control of the passel or select another replacement. Unfortunately, the other candidates are either heartless or clueless. Dustin’s best hope to dodge the responsibility is to deliver a crash course in leadership to his childhood pal Seth, a man he hasn’t seen in twenty years. However, while Dustin's mind is set on his task, his heart is set on his old friend. 

Seth’s quest for answers yields more questions instead. What’s with the tiny gray hairs littering his aunt’s house? Why do the townsfolk call each other “Jack” and “Jill”? Do Dustin’s attentions come with ulterior motives? And why is Seth suddenly craving crickets?


Mrs. Condit at Mrs. Condit and Friends Read Books rated Naked Tails at Five Sweet Peas and a Recommended Read! Read the full review here, and enter to win an ebook copy. 

Love this cover!

Josh Freeman knows his best days are behind him. After his partner of seventeen years has an affair with a younger man, Josh buries himself in takeout boxes, half-smoked joints, and self-pity until his best friend gently kicks him in the ass and encourages him to try out a new job in Washington DC—at least until Thanksgiving. 

Though DC has its share of troubles, specifically in the form of a murderer targeting gay men, Josh soon discovers its charms as well. Unlike his old home, DC is crawling with men who want to date him—apparently he's not as overweight, out of shape, or over the hill as the man he once loved made him believe. In particular, Josh would love a chance with relocation expert Thad Parker, but Josh is sure Thad is seeing someone, so he looks for love elsewhere. He tells himself he and Thad don't have anything in common anyway.

Then Josh learns Thad really is available. Maybe they can work it out after all. Suddenly the future seems bright again. Of course, Josh doesn't know he's the murderer's next target....

I've included links throughout the post, or you can find Naked Tails here:

And Until Thanksgiving here:

Both are available in multiformat ebook or print. 

And speaking of print, enter at Goodreads now through December 27 for a chance to win a paperback copy of Naked Tails. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

And the Winner is....

Pat Nelson! You've won Shae Connor's giveway. We'll be contacting you shortly.

Hugs, and thanks for stopping by everyone!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Countdown to Possum Shifters! And a Review and Giveaway!

In a little over twenty-four hours Dreamspinner Press will release my latest novel, Naked Tails, a tale of love, skinny dipping, and possum shifters. Due to the magic of pre-release reviewer copies, the story has already received its first feedback, currently posted on Goodreads.

Reviewer Becky Condit of Mrs. Condit and Friends Read Books awarded the book five stars and writes:
This is a book to savor - every word, every page. It is definitely a character-driven book, and what characters they are! NAKED TAILS is like an addictive drug. When you get to the end you will be sad it’s over and may even do like I did and write to Ms. Winters asking for more stories about Seth , Dustin, and the possum passel, Andy and the fox skulk, Seth’s ex-boyfriend Michael and his unlikely new boyfriend, Monica, who has all the charm of a Marine drill sergeant, the skunk and chipmunk lifeflight helicopter pilots, the mischievous Johnson triplets, and on and on. I HIGHLY recommend this often funny, sometimes poignant, always entertaining, beautifully written book about the importance of tradition, love, and finding one’s place in the world. 
Please see my complete review and an opportunity to win a copy of NAKED TAILS on December 17, 2012 at

The countdown has begun...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Early Literary Influences - A Guest Post by P.D. Singer

I'm thrilled to be hosting my dear friend P.D. Singer on the site today! I know from our many conversations that she's extremely well read, and when I asked begged her to write an installment for my Early Literary Influences series, I eagerly awaited her post, wondering which book(s) she might include. So please welcome P.D. aka Pam.

I'm also very excited that she's released another book in her "Mountain" series, this time Blood on the Mountain, even if she does put poor Kurt and Jake through the wringer.


The Speaker’s Dead and I’m Confused by P.D. Singer 

I’ve been following Eden’s early literary influences pots and being delighted that we share a lot of childhood favorites. Since she’s asked to hear about one of mine, I have to tell you a story on myself.

My parents kept up on the popular releases of the day with the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, which shoehorned four novels into one volume by the interesting editorial trick of jettisoning all but the essentials. Since I read everything I could get my little mitts on, these volumes were fair game, which is how an eight-year-old came to be reading Victoria Holt’s The Queen’s Confession: the Story of Marie Antoinette.

Just because I was reading this material in no way meant that I understood it, and in fact, I was still pretty shaky on the differences between fiction and non-fiction. I certainly had no notion of historical fiction—you mean you can make up a story that’s partially real? It certainly sounded real, and had dates in it that happened a long time ago, and Marie Antoinette as presented here had a fascinating voice. She narrated her own story, and I was enraptured.

I also knew the book was published recently, and I also knew that Marie Antoinette was dead.
This was a paradox to my eight-year-old self. How the hell (I probably thought it in milder language) did her words get written down just like she was telling them? How did that pesky author know what Marie Antoinette was thinking, especially since her head got chopped before this author could ask her any questions? And how nice of the author to tell us her thoughts in English too.

This was my first encounter with first person POV, and probably my first real encounter with historical fiction, or at least the first I recall. When I read Beautiful Joe and Black Beauty a few months later, my brain hurt even more, because not only were these stories clearly from another time, they were in the animals’ POV. My confusion was complete.

At this point I had some inkling there was a trick I didn’t understand here, and had a long overdue chat with my mother, who stopped putting quite so many books in the main bookcase. (I found the other cache when I was about fourteen, and was much stealthier about reading them and returning them to their dusty cubby. Heh.) But she clarified a number of things about points of view and authorial license, and how these stories were not actually interviews. I understood the concepts once I learned them, but sad to say, a bit of magic also went out of the world.

It wasn’t until I started writing my own fiction that a certain chunk of that magic returned, albeit in a different form.  I had the wonderful fun of writing first person POV. Now I could be the one to make someone think something.

First person POV isn’t common in romance, but certain characters work better for me in first, and others in third. Jake Landon, who is my POV character in Fire on the Mountain and most of Snow on the Mountain, is definitely a first person voice. I don’t think I could write him in third person even if threatened with coffee deprivation, but his partner Kurt Carlson absolutely refuses to let me into his head in that way. Kurt is third person in everything, and that’s one reason he doesn’t get to be POV very often. He got some voice time in Snow on the Mountain and in some as yet unpublished short pieces. Good thing he’s not shy about telling Jake what’s on his mind.

Kurt's strongly held opinions form the backbone of Blood on the Mountain, namely that Jake had damned well better get his ass back to the classroom before his professional opportunities disappear. Kurt would also like Jake to get more than one tentative toe out of the closet. Neither Jake nor readers will have any problem knowing what Kurt’s thinking, even if Jake’s the one narrating the story.

Jake has plenty of story, too, because he’s very conflicted about those issues, and before Blood on the Mountain is over, he’ll be yearning for the days when “who’s winning at strip archery?” was his biggest problem.


Jake Landon thinks a second ranger season in the Colorado Rockies with Kurt Carlson is close enough to heaven, and a national forest is big enough to be his closet. Pharmacy school—and the luxuries of electricity and running water—can wait, maybe forever, as long as Jake doesn’t have to come out. He doesn’t plan on Kurt’s vision of his future being as narrow and direct as the single track roads through the trees.

“Your future, your fear, and me,” Kurt tells Jake. “You can have two of the three, so choose wisely.” Jake may have no choices left after they stumble on armed men guarding a beautiful but deadly crop that doesn’t belong among the pines and spruces. Angry men with guns are only one danger in the Colorado wilderness, and Jake’s reluctance to come out is now his smallest problem.

Kurt’s skills and Jake’s silver tongue may not be enough to get them out of this mess—how much of the blood shed on the mountain will be theirs?

Blood on the Mountain is now available from Dreamspinner Press. 

P.D. Singer lives in Colorado with her slightly bemused husband, two rowdy teenage boys, and thirty pounds of cats, all of whom approach carefully when she's in a writing frenzy. She's a big believer in research, first-hand if possible, so the reader can be quite certain P.D. has skied down a mountain face-first, been stepped on by rodeo horses, acquired a potato burn or two, and will never, ever, write a novel that includes sky-diving. 

When not writing, playing her fiddle, or skiing, she can be found with a book in hand. Her husband blesses the advent of ebooks -- they're staving off the day the house collapses from the weight of the printed page. 

Follow the adventures at

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where the Story Came From, a Guest Post by Shae Connor

Today I have the honor of hosting a guest post by Shae Connor, a fellow southerner that I had the privilege of hanging out with at last year's Outlantacon in Atlanta, Georgia. We had the best seats in the house as the booth across the way sold videos, which the sellers played non-stop throughout the con. Hee. 

Anyway, Shae is here to tell us how her new release En Fuego came to be written.

En Fuego: Where the Story Came From
By Shae Connor

En Fuego, released yesterday by Dreamspinner Press, is a novella about a firefighter, a veterinarian, and the cat who brings them together. But as is often the case, there’s a story behind the story.

Way back in 2007, Boise, Idaho, firefighter Dana Brown rescued a cat from a house fire. Two pictures from the scene, of him carrying the cat from the fire and then the cat looking up at him (adoringly!), have been making the internet rounds ever since, and one day, they showed up on my Tumblr dashboard.

 I couldn’t get the image out of my head. I wondered what happened to the cat after the rescue. Did she stay with the family? What if she was a stray? Would someone take care of her, get her to a veterinarian, make sure she was okay?

So I sat down, and I started to write. And what came out was En Fuego.

Brown was definitely the inspiration for Brad, and the cat he rescued for Fuego. The story itself didn’t come from either of them, though. It came from Marsh, the veterinarian who’s taken off guard by the sudden appearance of a sooty (but hot) firefighter at the door of his clinic. But Brad and Fuego offered up their own surprises along the way. Characters do tend to have minds of their own—even the four-legged, furry ones!

Like a lot of writers, I have more story ideas than I have time to write. Almost anything can prompt an idea. Heck, I passed two window washers at work on my way to the office one day last week and immediately started wondering about them. What if one of them was injured on the job and, say, fell for his physical therapist? Or what if one of the guys had a crush on the other one but was afraid to say anything, until an equipment failure left them stuck high up the building for hours?

My plotbunnies overfloweth.

But sometimes, no matter how many stories you have in the works, an idea comes along that just won’t wait. En Fuego was one of those. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

(A funny coda: Late last week, Elizabeth North, the head of Dreamspinner Press, emailed me a set of pictures she said reminded her of the story. It turned out to be the ones that inspired it!)

And now, the giveaway part! Here’s the story blurb:

Marshall Ramirez isn’t looking to fall in love, but from the moment firefighter Brad Flannery walks through the doors of Marsh’s veterinary clinic, he’s smitten. Marsh treats Fuego, the cat Brad rescued from a house fire, and convinces Brad to take her on as a foster—along with the three kittens Marsh helps her deliver. What Marsh really wants, though, is for Brad to keep him too.

Want to win a copy? Cool, I want to give you one! Just comment and I’ll pick a winner to receive an ebook of En Fuego (via the Dreamspinner Press website), as well as some story-related swag by mail. Be sure your email is included so I can contact you if you win!

Find En Fuego here:

Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she works for the government by day and reads and writes about pretty boys falling in love by night. She's been making up stories for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should start writing them down. Now, she usually has far too many stories in progress, but when she does manage to tear herself away from her laptop, she enjoys running, hiking, cooking, and traveling, not necessarily in that order.
Shae posts snippets, updates, and thoughts on writing and editing at her web site, You can contact her at

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Stories!

It's the holiday season, and what better way to get into the spirit than to read a Christmas themed book? And one is conveniently on sale now!

Candlelight, mistletoe, gaily wrapped packages beneath a trimmed tree, and someone to share it with. That's all Barry Richards wants for Christmas. Desperate for a traditional holiday, he takes drastic measures. Creating a profile on "," he hopes to find the perfect man in a matter of weeks. One date after another goes sour, while all around him friends are falling in love, and Barry starts to lose faith.

The first snow falls and the world is filled with seasonal cheer, all except for Barry, for whom time is running out. Facing the prospect of a lonely holiday, he tries just once more to make The Match Before Christmas.

Now on sale at Torquere Press!

The last time Tony danced, he wore the spangles and tights of the Nutcracker’s Prince and the audience threw roses at the stage. One career-ending accident later, he’s dancing again, and he’s not proud of hoping that the audience will reward him with twenties.

Frost, the big, pale bouncer, has reasons of his own for keeping a watchful eye on Tony. He keeps his distance, too, until he has to bounce an aggressive customer who takes things with Tony too far. They have a short, shared walk home but a huge divide between their lives. Do Tony and Frost have more in common than they believe?

Find Tinsel and Frost at:


All Romance:

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Musical Influences Part II - A Guest Post by Amelia Gormley

Please welcome Amelia Gormley back this week with part two of Musical Influences, expounding on the music that shaped her writing. 


Musical Influences — Dan Fogelberg and Bluegrass

I’ve written elsewhere about Jim Croce and in particular, the song “I Got A Name” and why I chose to use it in Acceleration. But one question that is probably outstanding is why, of all instruments, did I choose to have Derrick know how to play the banjo.

The short answer is: the banjo is a brilliant instrument.

And a deeply under-appreciated one. I grew up exposed to bluegrass, being from a southern family originally from the Ozarks. We lived in Flint, Michigan in a community comprised of many other southern transplants who had come north to find jobs in the auto factories. I attended a Southern Baptist Church as a child where bluegrass gospel was the standard musical offering.

Of course, as I got older, I rebelled against that and rejected it as being hokey and outdated. Which is not an uncommon opinion. Bluegrass music doesn’t get much appreciation. But occasionally there are artists who try to give it its due recognition.

Dan Fogelberg, who passed away in 2007, wasn’t the only celebrity to attempt to elevate this under-recognized art form into the mainstream. The incredibly brilliant actor/comedian/writer Steve Martin plays banjo and has tried give public acknowledgment to a new generation of talented bluegrass and banjo players, offering an Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass award. 

Before that, back in 1985, however, Dan Fogelberg made an album called High Country Snows in which he brought together some of the world’s best bluegrass musicians to try to give bluegrass music a modern touch that would catapult it into popularity. I don’t remember how successful it was, or if it got much Top 40 play. What I do remember, however, is being in the car as a teenager with my aunt, who was a huge Dan Fogelberg fan, and having her exhort me to listen to the lyrics of “John Sutter’s Mill.”

(I’m leery about quoting lyrics because I believe, like in books themselves, one must purchase the rights to quote lyrics in blog posts. So I’ll just let you listen.)

I was hooked.

Admittedly, a lot of this is because I’m drawn to music that tells a story. This is why I gravitate toward musical theatre and pieces like “Driving the Last Spike” by Genesis. But as I got older, I began to listen to what was happening musically behind the lyrics and the banjo just blew me away. The skill it took, skill I didn’t recognize in church as a child or listening to the haunting story of John Sutter’s Mill as a teenager. It was absolutely amazing.

So, when I decided that Derrick would hail from the mountains of eastern Tennessee, I knew I had an opportunity to give him a trait that would be both a little quirky to the casual observer, and also one that said a great deal about him as a character. Bluegrass might not be terribly popular, but it’s an art form with depth and history, and an old soul like Derrick who feels so deeply tied to his roots would be drawn to it.

The piece I chose to highlight in Acceleration is “Mountain Pass” because of the marvelous banjo and fiddle featured in it. I appreciate that Mr. Fogelberg made a point of giving the instrumentals on his album moments to really shine, and as the opening piece, “Mountain Pass” exemplifies that.


Acceleration, Impulse Book Two
(Print Edition) 978-1-4802216-6-6
(SmashWords) TBA
(eISBN) 978-0-9857082-7-6

Gaining Momentum

Gavin Hayes is everything Derrick could ask for in a lover. Gorgeous. Passionate. Great in bed. Derrick finds it very easy to just let himself go, to let Gavin guide him and teach him all the things he missed during a decade of celibacy. In the course of a single weekend, Derrick’s routine is transformed, his mornings and evenings filled with sex. Sweet, seductive, wild, or raunchy, Gavin offers Derrick all the pleasure he’s denied himself for so long.

But learning how to be a lover in bed is one thing. Learning to be one out of bed is another. For Derrick, being alone has become habit. Sharing his confidences doesn’t come nearly as readily as sharing his bed. And after so many losses, the last thing Derrick wants is to become dependent upon another person who might not always be there.

And Gavin always being there is far from certain. With an ex-lover lurking in the background, and the question of Gavin’s future health still outstanding, neither Gavin nor Derrick feel capable of asking for anything more than right now. But Gavin won’t be kept on the fringes of Derrick’s life. Can Derrick let someone in before the opportunity passes him by?

Purchase Links
More TBA. Links will be added to as they become available on release day.


It was nothing more than a simple peck of greeting. It had been easy. Effortless. Natural. But as he sat at the table, Derrick could still feel Gavin’s kiss on his lips.
He wasn’t sure what to make of it. On only their third night together, he and Gavin were already developing the sort of comfortable and casual intimacies that came with relationships deeper than this undefined whatever it was.

Friday night had been an impulse. Derrick had been filled with wild need when he’d shown up on Gavin’s doorstep. Sunday had been more deliberate, planning to stay over at Gavin’s.
Now it was Monday.

Maybe we should make a habit of this, Derrick had suggested earlier, before they’d each left for work. Gavin had taken him up on the offer.

Habit. Habit was a good word for it.

Could three nights be deemed a habit?

Gavin sniffed as he entered the dining room and closing his eyes as he sat down. “Ah, smells like Friday.”

Derrick just gave him a quizzical look.

Shabbat. The Sabbath. My mother used to always make roast beef for dinner before we went to services.”

Derrick laughed softly. “Oh, right. Sorry. You’d think I’d have put that together given the number of times my friends have had me over to dinner on a Friday before Devon and I go to play pool… while his wife goes to service.”

Gavin shrugged, taking a sip of his beer. “I was a little vague.”

“I’ll keep that in mind for Fridays from here on out, though.” Derrick bit his tongue when he realized what he’d said.

Habit. Right. Like an addiction.

Derrick lowered his head and cut his roast, keeping his hands busy and his face from giving away his embarrassment. Luckily Gavin let the remark slide.

“I hope so. You know, it’s a good deed, practically a commandment, to have sex on Shabbat?”

Or maybe not.

Derrick felt his face flush. “Does that, um…apply to gay guys too?”

“It should.” He gave Derrick a smug smile, which made him fumble his knife. Gavin tilted his head, regarding Derrick with a slight wrinkle between his brows. “Are you nervous about something?”

Derrick frowned, puzzled at the extent of his raw-edged nerves. He’d been feeling short of breath and antsy even before Gavin arrived, and he couldn’t explain it any more than he could explain why the kiss hello had shaken him.

“Yeah, I guess I am,” he admitted.


“I have no idea.” He said, glancing across the table at Gavin. “I’ve been looking forward to this all day.”

Gavin smiled. “Good. So have I.”

“I—I mean, I guess it’s different, somehow. Here. In this house.”

“Oh? How so?” The wrinkled of concern turned to one of flat-out confusion.

Derrick shook his head, shrugging helplessly. “I’m not sure. Maybe because I’ve never done it before? Had anyone over here, I mean. Well, I’ve had company, of course — people have come to visit. Guests. Friends. That sort of thing.” He begun babbling, which was a minor miracle in itself, but he didn’t seem to be capable of shutting up and, dear God, why couldn’t he shut up? “But not like this.”

“You mean you’ve never slept with someone here.”

And now Derrick was blushing again. Great. Just great.

Gavin grinned, clearly delighted by the blush. He seemed to actually think it was cute.
“Yeah. Exactly.” He and LeeAnn had made out up in his room all the time in high school, naturally, but by the time they’d begun having sex during her vacations from college, he’d been too immersed in taking care of his grandparents to ever consider having her over to the house for any length of time. Sex had been something they’d managed in the short, hurried interludes when Miss Ingrid had shooed him out the door and taken over the care of his grandparents for a couple hours here and there.

“Why does it feel different than at my place?”

“I don’t know.” Derrick shook his head again. He suspected he did know, but it wasn’t something he could say. Having Gavin stay overnight, in his home, made everything all the more real. This thing with Gavin wasn’t something that just happened elsewhere, outside of his normal existence. He wasn’t just bringing Gavin into his bed. He was bringing Gavin into his life.

And over-thinking it in the process.

Gavin cleared his throat quietly. “Are you still okay with this?”

Derrick nodded, meeting Gavin’s gaze as he reached for his beer. “Yeah, I am. It’s just all very new. But I meant what I said: I’ve looked forward to this all day. Just…now I feel like I can’t catch my breath. All I can think about is last night and this morning.”
“In a good way?” Gavin asked, an edge of caution in his tone as he tipped back his own beer.

Derrick nodded, cutting his food nervously again. “It was incredible.”

“Which part?” Gavin shot an assessing look across the table. He ate calmly, as though whatever had such a profound effect on Derrick barely registered with him.

“I don’t know. The way you…the way you talked to me, for one.”

Gavin, kneeling over him on the kitchen floor. Gavin’s hand jerking him off. Gavin’s cock rocking against the cleft of his ass.

Gavin’s voice, commanding him.

Look at me! No. Don’t hide your face. Let me hear that voice of yours. You sound so sexy when you beg.

“You liked that?” A small smile crept to Gavin’s lips.

Derrick nodded, trying to eat slowly, to downplay just how hot the memory made him.
“Good,” Gavin said, satisfied. He leaned back in his chair once he finished interrogating Derrick. “I won’t lie — I do enjoy doing that.”

Enjoy doing what, exactly? Derrick wondered. What had Gavin done to make the last twenty-four hours so amazing that Derrick craved more? He hadn’t said much, or even talked all that dirty. But what he had said, those simple commands, had driven Derrick wild.
“I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that.” He wasn’t sure exactly what he’d agreed to, but whatever it was, he wanted more of it.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” They fell silent as they continued eating. When Chelsea finished her own food, she padded toward the archway from the kitchen to the dining room. The overhead light shone on her bristly, fawn-sable coat. Gavin shook his head with an amused smile.
“I can’t get over it. She has enough loose skin to make another dog.”

“She’s a shar pei. Comes with the breed,” Derrick chuckled, glad for a distraction from the pounding of his blood in his ears and the tightness of his jeans. He gave Chelsea a look as she stepped over the line where the linoleum met the carpet.

“Uh-uh,” he said firmly, pointing the the kitchen floor. “You know better.”

Chelsea hung her wrinkled head and lay down on her belly with a heavy sigh, her paws just touching the threshold.

Gavin glanced over at her and smiled. “You’ve got her well-trained.”

Derrick quirked up one corner of his mouth in a half-smile, and murmured, “Keep an eye on her, but don’t make it obvious you’re watching. She likes to test me.”

They continued eating in silence. After a moment, Chelsea inched forward, creeping on her belly, just over the line. She did it again when no one reprimanded her. Soon her paws had crossed the threshold up to the joints, while her muzzle still rested on them, trying to appear as inoffensive as when she’d been laying where she was supposed to be.

Derrick snapped his fingers and her head came up with a start. “Back to your spot.”
Obediently, she slid back, her brown eyes woeful, and Gavin chuckled. “She does this every time?”

Derrick shrugged with an affectionate smile. “Not all the time, but usually, especially when I’m cooking something that smells good to her. Or when I’m distracted by company. She likes to test who’s top dog, see if she can get away with giving herself a promotion in the pack.”
Gavin grinned, and dropped his voice to a lower register. “So, you like being top dog?”
Derrick’s mouth went dry and he took a long pull from his beer. Damn. He’d walked right into that one.

“Do you?” It wasn’t an answer, but it was better than How the hell am I supposed to know?
Gavin’s grin spread, became a bit predatory. “I would’ve thought it was obvious. Though I can be versatile.”

Derrick cleared his throat, pushing aside his empty plate. “Good to know.”
Gavin’s grin persisted, his gaze keen. Did he mean to make Derrick squirm? Because it was working.

As he wrapped up the leftovers and washed the dishes, Derrick wondered how long it would take before he stopped reacting that way. When would every moment he spent in Gavin’s company stop being filled with unnerving expectation, every action just passing time until the next touch? When would every word no longer be an opportunity for verbal foreplay?
It felt good. Fun. Wild. Delirious. But terrifying and out of control, too. He was so used to standing on stable ground.

Gavin brought in the last of the dishes from the table, bowls with spongecake crumbs and remnants of blueberry juice and whipped cream clinging to the sides.
“And what did you plan for us to do after dinner?” he asked with a smile.
Derrick swallowed. Was he the only one who had expected they’d go straight to bed? Had Gavin planned to be entertained? Would Derrick be demanding — or worse, pathetic — to want to get right to it?

“I hadn’t thought very far ahead. I got to dessert, then my brain just sort of shut down.” It was about as close as he could come to admitting the only thing he could think of was sex.
Gavin chuckled. “Well, what do you usually do in the evenings?”
“Nothing very exciting, I promise,” Derrick murmured. “Hang out with Chelsea. Watch some TV. Play a game, if I’m not working on building something for a client.”
“Well, we could start there,” Gavin suggested. “I don’t do much different in the evenings myself.”

Derrick stacked the last of the dishes on the drying rack and drained the sink, wiping it down. Then, with his head bowed over the sink, he closed his eyes and clenched his jaw. He gripped the edge of the counter, his knuckles whitening, the insatiable need to have Gavin growing. Was he the only one feeling it?

“I don’t wanna watch TV with you, Gav.” His murmur was calm and low, but honest.
Gavin stepped close, the fabric of his dress shirt and suit pants brushing against Derrick’s simple t-shirt and jeans. Slowly, Derrick turned to face him.
“I don’t want to watch TV with you, either.”

Gavin thrust his hands roughly into Derrick’s hair and kissed him, hard.
Yes. Derrick groaned, all the eager expectation that had been thrumming inside him since they’d parted that morning finally breaking into action. His arms slid around Gavin’s chest, caressing the fine cotton of his shirt. Derrick’s body relaxed against Gavin’s with a low, grateful moan.

Each detail became its own knee-weakening point of focus. Gavin’s tongue in his mouth. Gavin’s hands clenching in his hair, then moving down to grip his shirt. Derrick’s fingers dug into Gavin’s back as Gavin reached to his waist and tugged his shirt up out of his jeans. Then those long, lean fingers were on Derrick’s skin, stroking across his stomach.
“God, your hands…,” Derrick moaned between kisses.

He let his head fall back, offering Gavin more liberty to move down to his neck, nipping and sucking. Gavin’s teeth closed gently over the junction of his shoulder and neck, gradually increasing the pressure. Derrick sagged against the counter as Gavin rubbed circles around his nipples with his capable thumbs.

He panted as the bite on his neck edged closer to pain, drooping with relief and disappointment when Gavin eased off.

“We really…ought to get…to the bedroom,” he gasped as Gavin dragged his tongue along the impressions left by his teeth. “Before I can’t walk.”
Gavin laughed softly and stepped back, looking satisfied with himself. “Go, then. I’ll be right behind you.”

Derrick nodded once, a brief, jerky movement, before bending to unlace his work boots and kick them off. He jerked his shirt over his head as he went, trying to walk at a normal pace down the hall. He wanted to give himself time, to draw back from the frenetic need welling up inside him, pushing him toward desperation.

Without warning, Gavin’s hands closed over Derrick’s upper arms. He propelled Derrick chest-first against the wall, pressing his own body along Derrick’s back. His voice rasped behind Derrick’s ear, “I’ve been wanting to do this all day.”
A nudge of his hips against Derrick’s ass clarified just what he meant.
“God, yes,” Derrick whispered, his eyes closing as he rested his hot cheek against the cool wall.

Gavin ground against him harder. “Have you been thinking about it, too?” he murmured. “Thinking about what I did this morning when I came all over your back? Were you distracted while you were working?”

Hard. Everything was hard, physically and mentally. He was caught between the wall and the pressure of Gavin’s erection. His own dick, trapped inside his jeans, found nothing yielding to ease the ache.

His thoughts came only with monumental effort. His pride resisted. His need to control this headlong plummet into… whatever this was… rallied one last desperate defense that was quickly defeated. He struggled with giving Gavin the admission he sought and trying to retain his dignity at the same time.

Truth and need won over reserve. He pushed his ass back against Gavin, seeking more.
“Yes. God. All damn day. Couldn’t stop thinking about you.”

Gavin’s fingers slid down Derrick’s ribs, ghosting along the sensitive line of skin above the waistband of his jeans. “Tell me — what did you think about? Did you imagine more? When you got home after your morning job, did you jerk off to fantasies of us?” Gavin’s voice dropped lower, barely a whisper as his lips brushed the shell of Derrick’s ear. His hot breath blew strands of Derrick’s hair against his cheek. “Did you call out my name when you came?”
The sound Derrick made was humiliatingly close to a whimper as he moved, urgent need driving him.

“I did.” The confession came in a thoughtless torrent, spilling from his mouth without any deliberation. “All day. You were all I could see. Couldn’t wait to get home.”
Gavin rocked against Derrick’s ass again. His fingers quickly unbuckled Derrick’s belt and slipped into the snug gap between his jeans and his waist.

“What else did you think about, then?” he asked, nipping at Derrick’s earlobe. He drew one hand out of Derrick’s waistband to cup the bulge under his fly; the other slid up to pinch his nipple. “Tell me. I want to know just what dirty fantasies you spin up in that gorgeous head of yours.”

“Oh, God, please,” Derrick moaned, feeling mindless, delirious with wanting.

Tell me.

Derrick’s throat locked against the words he wanted to say. He fought against the verbal paralysis and tried to find a way to admit that he’d stopped by the adult bookstore today, where he usually bought porn, to make a different sort of purchase. Not just condoms, but a better brand of lube than the stuff he grabbed at the pharmacy for jerking off. He’d done it knowing this moment, this decision, might come. Possibly tonight.

Trapped between Gavin and the wall, his clothes hanging half-off and Gavin grinding against his ass, he wondered why the prospect of words made him feel exposed and vulnerable.
What if the pantomimes of fucking they’d done were as far as Gavin was willing — or comfortable enough — to go? He didn’t think Gavin would reject him, not after the way he’d rimmed Derrick to within an inch of his sanity the other morning. But was it even a good idea? Or was it too soon, too big a risk?

How could he be willing to trust Gavin with the act, without being willing to trust Gavin with the confession that he wanted it in the first place?

“I…oh, God…” Gavin’s hands tightened, both on Derrick’s nipple and around the ridge of his cock beneath his fly. The words, when Derrick forced them from his throat, came out much more coy than he would have liked. “I wondered what it’d be like…if you’d…gone further….”
“Further? You’re wondering what it would’ve been like if I’d fucked you this morning?” Gavin’s voice was smooth, steady, controlled. And yet it seemed to growl.

Derrick nodded, his cheek sliding against the wall.

“I admit, I’ve thought about it. Imagined the noises you’d make. How you’d move.”

Derrick moaned as Gavin’s hand slid up and down his bulge with deliberate intent.
Gavin dropped his hand from Derrick’s chest to his fly and opened it quickly, pushing his jeans down his hips before pressing him back against the cool wall. The pressure of Gavin’s erection against his ass was even hotter without the extra layer of denim between them.
“Is this what you want?” Gavin murmured in the same low, insistent tone. “You want me to fuck you until you can’t see straight?”

Derrick swallowed hard, nodding again, trying to pull himself back enough to make it clear he wasn’t just carried away.

“Yeah,” he said soberly. “Yeah, I want it.”

“You have what we need?” Gavin’s voice took on a serious note as well. “I won’t do it, otherwise.”

Derrick blinked at the question, surprised for a moment that Gavin wouldn’t have brought his own supply of condoms and lube, just in case. Or maybe Gavin was testing him, seeing if this was something Derrick had truly thought through. Especially with the question of Gavin’s health outstanding.

“Yeah. There’s a bag in the bedside table.” He glanced over his shoulder, seeking both to reassure Gavin and his own reassurance.

Gavin smiled, kissing Derrick. He started at Derrick’s mouth, gently, and moved down his neck, his teeth scraping. His fingers brushed teasingly over the length of Derrick’s cock, straining against the navy cotton of his briefs.

“Out of the pants,” Gavin murmured. His tone was soft, but it wasn’t a request. “Into the bedroom. Now.”

Derrick obeyed.

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Amelia C. Gormley

Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her five year old is napping. When she’s not writing, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into a everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else. Her first novella from the Impulse Trilogy is available through Amazon, Smashwords and other retailers.

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