Saturday, February 22, 2014

Now Available - Free Read - Coffee Shops and Condoms

Coffee Shops and Condoms is now available on All Romance Ebooks in Epub and Mobi formats. As part of The Real Story Safe Sex Project, this story is free. 

Find it here:

Two teenaged boys, an unlimited supply of condoms, and too much time on their hands. What could possibly go wrong

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Coming Soon - Coffee Shops and Condoms

I posted a while back about The Real Story Safe Sex Project, created by Brent Hartinger, designed to be "a new way to encourage safe sex among gay and bi male teenagers and twentysomethings." So far four authors have contributed stories, all with the common theme of safe sex. But while the stories certainly are educational, don't expect dry lectures. Each book has it's own tone, as varied as the authors who wrote them.

Find The Real Story Safe Sex Project and the free story dowloads here:

I'm thrilled to be taking part in this noble effort. As you might can guess from the title and blurb, my offering is a lighter, coming of age story. The talented Allison Cassatta created the lovely cover, and P.D. Singer applied her expertise to editing.

Two teenaged boys, an unlimited supply of condoms, and too much time on their hands. What could possibly go wrong?

Part of The Real Story Safe Sex Project.

 Coffee Shops and Condoms will be available Saturday, February 22, from Rocky Ridge Books.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rainbow Book Reviews on Almost Mine

Almost Mine is a bit of a different animal for me, writing-wise. I truly believe in happy endings (even if I put my guys through the wringer getting there), yet this story addresses an issue many of us can relate to: depression--not only how it affects the individual suffering from the illness, but how it impacts their family. Sometimes situations aren't always what they seem at first glance.

Reveiwer Lena Grey had this to say about the story:

Eden has done a marvelous job of presenting some very difficult topics. She succinctly and effectively reminds us is to pay attention to those we love because they are very precious. Don't take anything for granted because if you are not constantly vigilant, your life can change in a second. I recommend this to those who like a story with angst, intensity, and hard-earned love. Thank you, Eden, for this poignant, well-written story.
 Read entire review here.

 A perfect life. A perfect home. A perfect husband. Gone in an instant.

Ian’s world turned upside down the day Travis walked out without so much as a word, or even a backward glance, leaving a lonely Ian to wonder why. Their son implores him, “Please go see Dad.”

Two years of hurt leaves Ian ready to confront the man who’d broken his heart, but what if everything he’d believed about their failed romance turned out to be wrong? What if the biggest problem in Ian’s marriage was…Ian?

Almost Mine, available now from Rocky Ridge Books.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Enter to Win a Copy of Almost Mine

Enter to win an e-book copy of Almost Mine at Stumbling Over Chaos.  And be sure to properly admire the lovely Mayhem and wily Chaos, two of my all time favorite kitties.

Also, check out the linkety, Misadventure in Stock Photography, and other giveaways. Say hi to site mistress Chris while you're there.

A perfect life. A perfect home. A perfect husband. Gone in an instant.

Ian’s world turned upside down the day Travis walked out without so much as a word, or even a backward glance, leaving a lonely Ian to wonder why. Their son implores him, “Please go see Dad.”

Two years of hurt leaves Ian ready to confront the man who’d broken his heart, but what if everything he’d believed about their failed romance turned out to be wrong? What if the biggest problem in Ian’s marriage was…Ian?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Eden Winters, Successful Author?

What does it mean to be a successful author? Does it mean winning awards? Does it mean books gracing best-seller lists? Does it mean that the author can give up their evil day job to support themselves with their writing? defines “successful” as “achieving or having achieved success. Having attained wealth, position, honors, or the like. Resulting in or attended with success.”

I also read a blog post (likely meant to deliver a healthy dose of reality to would-be authors) that stated that a “successful” author earned at least ten thousand dollars a year from their writing.

By those standards, as an author, I don’t have much to brag about. And if I were in this for wealth, position, of honors, I may never. And yet, I consider myself pretty darned successful as an author. The nerve of me! Here’s why I believe as I do:

According to the World English Dictionary, “successful” means “having succeeded in one’s endeavours. Marked by a favourable outcome.” And yes, “having obtained fame, wealth etc.”

I choose to ignore the last point in favor of the first two. What are my endeavors in regards to my stories?

1)      I want to tell a good story that people connect with.
2)      I want to entertain readers. Sure I get bad reviews from time to time, but the ones that say, “Wow! You really made me think!” make up for the bad.
3)      I can’t not write. I’d explode. Writing keeps that from happening.
4)      I meet really great people.
5)      As a beta reader and editor, I get to help other people make their writing dreams come true.
6)      I’ve been lucky enough to help some brand new writers go from “I can’t write” to “Guess what? The publisher accepted my novel!” That is the coolest thing ever!
7)      I’ve used my craft to raise money for worthy causes: PFLAG and It Gets Better to name two.

When you measure success by my goals, I’m totally rocking this author gig. Go me! Yes, I’ve had books acknowledged in the Rainbow Awards, and some have won awards. One even made finalist in the annual Lambda Awards. Did I win? No. But finalist! Whoopee! I’m a happy woman!

So, maybe my books don’t sweep the awards, and I’ve never had a book hit number one at Amazon (or anywhere else, for that matter), and I may never be able to focus totally on my writing without an evil day job, but in my own way, I’ve succeeded.

You see, I quit listening to the naysayers who said I couldn’t do it, and I wrote a novel. And that was just the start. I’ll never put in a pool and hire a cabana boy with my royalties, and I might never have lovely trophies to dust, but that doesn’t matter nearly as much as seeing my name in the dedication of another author’s book simply because I believed in them.

And hearing someone say, “Your story really touched me” puts trophies to shame, and deserves hugs, not dusting. I like hugs. If you’ve met me you know that. If you haven’t met me yet, you have been warned.

Hugs, y'all!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Interview with Artist Paul Richmond

While author interviews are fairly common, there are so many others supporting GLBT fiction: readers, publishers, artists, editors, reviewers, and more. Without them, where would our genre be?

I first became aware of Paul Richmond when I saw a cover I really liked on a review site, and found out he created it. Curious, I followed the link to his website… and promptly fell in love. At the time he was working on an exquisite piece called “Sanctuary” and I kept coming back to see each new part revealed. Now I can admire that lovely image any time I want to: a framed print hangs in my office. The lady who did the framing confessed that she’d hoped I’d forget to come back, so she could keep it. So y'all, please welcome Paul to the site.

Sanctuary, oil on panel

Paul, thanks for agreeing to answer some questions.

From visiting your site, I know that your interest in art began at an early age. When did you start painting? Was that your first choice for creating your work, or did you dabble in other art forms? 

As soon as I was old enough to crawl up onto the dining room chair, my butt was glued to it from morning to night as I worked diligently creating about two hundred drawings a day on old computer paper my mom brought home from her office. Just before my fourth birthday, my parents made a connection with a local artist named Linda Regula who began teaching me private lessons in her studio once a week. Even though I was her youngest student and she was skeptical at first, it was a match made in heaven. She introduced me to oil paints right away, and though I have dabbled in everything from colored pencil to digital art techniques, oil paint is still one of my favorite mediums to this day.

Paul at age 4 with early paintings

Who was your biggest artistic influence? 

Linda will always have that honor, because she’s the one who first opened my eyes to what it means to be an artist.  I don’t remember much about being three years old, but I can clearly remember the day I walked into her studio for the first time. I’d never seen anything like it. Everything was so vibrant, and the walls were covered floor to ceiling with her dramatically enchanting paintings. It was like we had driven down the street in our small, Midwestern town and somehow stumbled into Oz. Linda always told stories through her art and encouraged me to do the same. I knew right then I wanted to grow up and be like her.

Paul and art teacher Linda Regula in 1984

Did you always dream of being an artist, or did you originally have other life plans? 

Well, my first career aspiration was to be a Disney princess, but I couldn’t find any good colleges offering that major. There was also a brief period during my childhood, after I saw the movie “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” that I wanted to grow up and be a whore. Granted, I didn’t know what that meant. I thought it involved wearing pretty outfits, singing, dancing with cowboys, and hanging out with Dolly Parton. Sign me up! Other than those two things, I’ve really never had a backup plan, so thank goodness everything worked out.

Then and Now – Pauly Princess

I love how on your site you tell the story of your works. Do you have a favorite? If so, what makes it so special for you? 

I have quite a few sentimental favorites because so many of my paintings are reflective of what was happening in my life at the time, and viewing them is kind of like going back in time. They trigger memories that photos don’t capture. For that reason, I’ll pick “The Clearing.” I painted it early in my relationship with Dennis. We were both focused on making a life together, but we had to create an open space first where we were free to set the clutter and baggage from our pasts aside in order to look ahead. It’s the only painting of mine that I will never sell. It hangs in our house where I can see it every day and think back to the time when we were just starting to form a blueprint for the life we wanted to create for ourselves. And now we’re living it!

The Clearing, oil on canvas

You’re now associate art director at Dreamspinner Press. As an author, I complete an art request form for a book, send it in, then get back a lovely cover. I’m sure it’s not that simple. What happens behind the scenes, and what duties does your position entail? 

I absolutely love working for Dreamspinner! It’s a dream job. I get to spend my days doing any number of creative endeavors to help promote the work of talented authors like you! Aside from coordinating all of our covers, I also do graphic design work including ads and promotional pieces for the company, which is a lot of fun. Dreamspinner is always trying something new and I love the limitless creative opportunities this job offers me. As for cover design, once we get your cover spec, we determine what style of cover would be the best fit and then which artist it should be assigned to. I work with the artists to review their drafts, share them with the authors for feedback throughout the process, and then help finalize the files to hand them off for production. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into making the cover art happen, and I am deeply inspired by the number of talented artists and designers I get to interact with on a daily basis.

A few of Paul’s book cover designs

I know sometimes I don’t have a clear idea of what I want, artwise, for a book. What advice would give to help an author get the cover of their dreams? 

If you’re not sure what you want for the cover – or even if you think you are – my advice would be to stay open-minded and give the artist some creative flexibility because they might just come up with something new and exciting you wouldn’t have considered. Definitely share all of your thoughts and ideas, and if there’s an image in your mind, describe it to the best of your ability. But don’t be surprised or closed off to the possibility of some extra options being thrown in that approach the theme from a totally different direction. With so many novels in this genre now, it’s important to find ways to make your cover stand out, and every artist that is working with us is committed to doing just that. Try to view your cover as though you have no idea what your story is about. Does it draw you in and make you intrigued? Or does it overload you with confusing imagery? I find that the strongest covers use a “less is more” approach. It’s not the job of the cover to tell the whole story. That’s your job! We just want the cover to grab a potential reader’s attention long enough to pick it up and discover the wonderful story that lies within.

Some of Paul’s recent cover art

What can we expect to see from you in the near future?

You’ll definitely be seeing many more covers! I’ve already done over 250 and I’m still going strong. I’m also working on a new painting series for an exhibition this summer. The series is called War Paint, and it uses a more expressive approach to explore ideas of strength, masculinity, and courage. I’m inspired by the variety of ways in which people summon their inner strength to prepare for battle, and through this body of work, I hope to expand upon the notion of what “being tough” really means. War Paint will be featured in a two-person exhibit at the Lyman-Eyer Gallery in Provincetown along with works by one of my favorite watercolorists, Kevin Peterson. The show coincides with P-Town’s Carnival celebration, and the opening reception is Friday, August 22.

Brave Face, oil on canvas

Fresh Coat, oil on canvas

Blue Surrender, oil on canvas

You’re always so involved in projects to do good in the world and promote acceptance. Would you please share some of your favorite causes with us? 

I co-founded the You Will Rise Project with Linda, my childhood art teacher who I told you about earlier. Its mission is to encourage victims of bullying to speak out through the arts. I was bullied horribly as a kid for being gay, and looking back, I recognized that art was my salvation. So many young people who experience bullying have no outlet for the pain they are carrying around inside. You can learn more about the project and how to get involved by visiting our site here:

You recently married (congratulations!) Details! We want details!

It was the craziest, busiest, most exciting, wonderful whirlwind of a wedding I could ever have imagined. We participated in an initiative this past June sponsored by Marriage Evolved called C-Bus of Love. Along with 24 other LGBT couples, we rode a bus to Washington DC and exchanged vows in front of the Supreme Court building – just days before the historic DOMA decision. We were told that we wouldn’t be allowed on the steps because public demonstrations are not permitted there. So the ceremony was held on the sidewalk in front of the building. But some of the security guards who watched us said they were so moved by what they saw that they were going to bend the rules and allow each couple to walk up inside the Supreme Court building and emerge through the front doors so that we could walk down the steps together to introduce ourselves as spouse and spouse. It was a profound moment for us, and I’m so glad that we were able to be a part of making an important statement for marriage equality.

First kiss as husband and husband

Wedding day guests from Dreamspinner Press (l to r) Tessa Cardenas, Pearl Love, Dennis + Paul, Nessa Warin, Elizabeth North, Mara McKenna, Michael Murphy

What’s a normal day like for you?

Dennis leaves for work pretty early, so I get up with him, shower, and maybe put on pants if I’m feeling especially ambitious. Then I spend the first part of the day working on the administrative and design aspects of my role with Dreamspinner. Afterwards, it’s cover time! And then, like a good Suzie Homemaker, I make sure I have dinner on the stove when my man arrives home. I also fit in time to work on various You Will Rise initiatives and daily updates on the site, snuggling with the pups (we have two whippets), and working on my paintings. Having the kind of flexibility that working from home provides is such a great fit for me. I’ve done my time in a gray cubicle, and I pray that I never have to go back!

Paul with office-mate Una

Your covers have graced numerous novels. Have you ever considered writing your own stories? 

Yes! I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I’ve brainstormed some ideas. I love telling stories and I know I would enjoy writing them down. My problem is that I have to be picky about what tasks I undertake because I can’t do anything just a little bit. I’m an all or nothing kind of boy, and right now my schedule is pretty maxed out. But one day…

What is one thing about you that might surprise your fans? 

I can hold my own (or at least not fall over) while dancing on stage in my underwear and high heels! Here’s proof:

Performing at Axis Nightclub, photo by Eric Albrecht

What hobbies do you enjoy? 

I enjoy all the cozy homebody things that allow for chill time with Dennis – like reading, watching movies, cooking, bubble baths, etc. We bought our first house last year, so I’m all about decorating right now too. And then my adventurous side occasionally beckons for a dose of zaniness, so I’ll dream up some wild excursion we need to take or a crazy project to undertake. I’m still very much that little wide-eyed boy who discovered the whole world was at my fingertips 30 years ago the first time I picked up a paintbrush, and I want to experience everything I can from that perspective.

Photo by Marci B Photo

Where can people find you online?

Thank you, Paul, for joining us today at Magnolias and Men.

And now, may I proudly present the print that hangs in my office? 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Real Story Safe Sex Project

Recently I read (another) post on how condom use in M/M romance is unrealistic. I've even heard that it's a "woman thing."

Sadly, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases ARE realistic. From the mind of Lambda Award winning novelist Brent Hartinger sprang The Real Story Safe Sex Project,  "a new way to encourage safe sex among gay and bi male teenagers and twentysomethings."

So far there are three stories posted, with many more authors furiously typing as we speak. The stories range from heartrendingly tragic to hysterically funny, all with a common theme of safe sex.

My own story is currently being betaed and will soon join the lineup: Coffee Shops and Condoms. Two teenage boys, an unlimited supply of condoms, and lots of time on their hands. What could possibly go wrong? The stunningly talented Allison Cassatta created the cover for me.

Click here to check out fellow contributor Zoe Lynne's post. She wrote the wonderful YA story Just Like You, the tale of a young man faced with telling his boyfriend that he was born with HIV. Such a gorgeous story. 

And also check out Brent Hartinger's Two Thousand Pounds Per Square Inch, an amazingly written story that I couldn't put down.

I'm adding the other stories to my TBR list. Won't you do the same? 

If you'd like to contribute your own stories, videos, etc., to the project, contact information is on Brent's page. 

New Release, A Review, and a Giveaway for Almost Mine

Time and familiarity sometimes blinds couples to each other, until they no longer see their lover as who they are now, focusing more on who they used to be. They grow apart. Then, one day, they find find themselves alone.

That's the predicament of Ian and Travis in Almost Mine. They've lived a wonderful life together, raised a son, and now the son has left the nest to start his own life. What's a couple of empty-nesters to do?

A perfect life. A perfect home. A perfect husband. Gone in an instant.

Ian’s world turned upside down the day Travis walked out without so much as a word, or even a backward glance, leaving a lonely Ian to wonder why. Their son implores him, “Please go see Dad.”

Two years of hurt leaves Ian ready to confront the man who’d broken his heart, but what if everything he’d believed about their failed romance turned out to be wrong? What if the biggest problem in Ian’s marriage was…Ian?


 “Just go see Dad, okay?” Bobby, excuse me, Bob (can’t have a doctor named “Bobby,” now can we? Though to me he’ll always be Little Bobby) stared at me with the same puppy dog eyes once employed to con me out of cookies. Now he tried to con my sanity from me.

“And why should I?” I huffed a breath into my tea to hide my agitation. Anyone else I’d tell to go fuck themselves. Even with my hardhearted reputation in a courtroom, I’d never say those words to my child.

Something flickered in Bob’s blue eyes, hidden when he shifted his gaze to stare down at the table. “He’s… he’s not doing too well.”

My resolve to not give a damn wavered. “Is he sick?”

“No. Not sick. He’s just… not really happy these days, I guess. Nothing physically wrong.” Bob shrugged. “Just… not right.”

Oh, not sick, just unhappy. I’d stopped giving a damn (or pretended to) the moment Bob’s other father had waltzed out of my life, giving up a comfortable life with me to go find himself or some such. Good luck with that. “I don’t see how his well-being is my concern, since he obviously wants nothing to do with me.” I pulled my bitterness tightly around me. It provided no warmth, but we’d become inseparable companions of late.

For an aspiring doctor, my son argued better than many attorneys of my acquaintance, presenting hard evidence. “He’s still your husband.”
And for the life of me I couldn’t recall why. I kept telling myself that the next week I’d file the necessary papers—as I’d done every day for the past two years. “A technicality easily enough resolved.”

Time to break apart the Sanders-Robinson hyphenation and become Ian Sanders and Travis Robinson once more. The product of twenty years of my dream life sat across the table from me, waiting to pounce on my words. Part of my dream had included Travis and I enjoying another twenty or thirty years of affluent empty-nesting. Talk about a rude awakening—that future was gone, and for reasons I’d not worked out. Over and done. Time to move on.

Until now I’d convinced myself I simply didn’t want to have to change my name on my driver’s license and passport, and that’s why I hadn’t officially ended my marriage. I’d never quite gotten the knack of believing my own lies.

Our son—yes, he’d always be our son, not Travis’s, not mine—gasped at my words. Whatever’d held his attention on the table seemed forgotten in favor of skewering me with his dagger-sharp gaze. “You’d divorce him?”

I set my cup down, lest he notice the trembling in my fingers. “I should have long before now. You know it. I know it. He wants no part of me.” The twisting behind my sternum must’ve been indigestion. Perhaps I’d eaten my baguette a bit too fast.

The conversation died, awkwardness casting a pall over our breakfast. Snippets of conversation floated our way from nearby tables in the cafĂ©. Across the aisle two thirtyish men sat with a young boy of about seven. They tried to project a casual air of good friends, but I knew what to look for. One man spread jam on the child’s bagel, while the other wiped a butter smear from a chubby cheek. A family, enjoying breakfast before sending Junior off to school.

If time suddenly turned back, that image of domesticity would have been Bob, Travis, and me, only Travis would’ve handled both butter and jam duties, allowing me to read my morning paper. What a well-oiled parenting machine we’d been. Only, he’d done the parenting. Neither he nor Bobby had seemed to mind the arrangement. Had I ever wiped butter from Bobby’s cheek, or smeared jam on bread? A sudden flash of envy spiked my heart. Oh great. Now I’ve turned into a jealous old man, missing his glory years.

Watching a scene ripped straight from my past caused clouds to gather in the normally sunny eatery. Bob tapped his fingertips against the marble tabletop. Like two gunslingers in a Western movie, we each waited for the other to draw. Bob flinched first, as he always did when discussing his other father. But it wasn’t Bob that Travis had walked out on. Bob had been away at college when the fabric of our family unraveled. “You do know what tomorrow is, right?” my son finally ventured.

How could I not remember a date that had set me back quite a few thousand dollars and replayed itself in my head on a far too regular basis? I might not tell Bob to mind his own business or lie to him outright, but evasive answers didn’t count as lying in my book. “Friday?”

“Besides that.” When I didn’t waltz into his trap he snorted out a breath. “Your anniversary. Your twentieth anniversary.”


Lucky from Mrs. Condit and Friends Read Books awarded the story Five Sweet Peas. Not only did they review the book, they're hosting a giveaway for an e-book copy. Find out what Lucky had to say, and enter for a chance to win, here.

Almost Mine is available at Amazon and All Romance.

Free Book? I need a favor....

I'd like to offer readers a free book... but I need a favor.

Amazon won't permit the posting of free books, so when I posted my Goodreads M/M Romance story, The Sentinel, I listed the minimum price of .99. In order to make this book free, Amazon users have to report a lower price elsewhere.

Kobo has the story listed as "free", here.

Would you be so kind as to visit the Amazon page, here, click on the link: "Would you like to tell us about a lower price?" (or you can do so here), and give them the Kobo URL?

The more people who report, the faster the price will go to free. This story was always intended to be free, so I'm embarrassed that folks are buying it. All accidental earnings will go to my PFLAG group, as I did with The Telling. 

Thanks, y'all!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Coming Soon - Almost MIne

A perfect life. A perfect home. A perfect husband. Gone in an instant.

Ian’s world turned upside down the day Travis walked out without so much as a word, or even a backward glance, leaving a lonely Ian to wonder why. Their son implores him, “Please go see Dad.”

Two years of hurt leaves Ian ready to confront the man who’d broken his heart, but what if everything he’d believed about their failed romance turned out to be wrong? What if the biggest problem in Ian’s marriage was…Ian? 

  Publishing Saturday, February 8, from Rocky Ridge Books: