Monday, December 25, 2017

Kayla Jameth Guest Post

Hey, y'all! Today I'd like to welcome Kayla Jameth to Magnolias and Men. I recently had the privilege of reading her latest work, Save a Horse, Dive a Cowboy, a shifter story involving a character from Native American culture. 

I had a few questions. Now, without further ado, I turn my blog over to Kayla. 

***

Hello, Eden. Thanks for hosting me today. That wasn't… um, just the Imperial March playing, was it? What a lovely place you've got here. Everyone should have a Stormtrooper standing at their beck and call. He won't… um, fire that… will he?

Just my luck to find the only blog with one of those guys. Probable can hit the broad side of a barn too.

E: You were saying?

K: Uh… Nothing! Nothing…

E: I hear you are following in Pam and my footsteps and now have your own shifter story.

K: Yeah. Possums, otters, and bears. Oh my! So I thought I'd add a mustang to the mix. I hope he fits in with the rest. He might be a bit leery of the bear, but should be fine with the rest.

E: Interesting. Tell me more about this shifter.

K: Charlie "Hoss" Running Horse is a Native American mustang shifter. He and his lover Shep have been together since high school. Jointly, they run the ranch Shep inherited from his father. Until one day, Coyote takes a shine to Shep and decides Hoss must go.

E: A western with Coyote? That sounds intriguing. Did you have much trouble researching it?

K: Not really. I grew up on a farm and then later went to Texas A&M University to become a veterinarian. I haven't practiced large animal medicine for many, many moons so I did have to go back and make sure I remembered some of my terms correctly. 

I spent most of my time researching scuba diving and Coyote tales. A&M wasn't big on either of them.

Coyote is an interesting character. He's either the Creator Spirit or a trickster depending on the source of the tales. I went with the latter. Even as a trickster, the way he is depicted varies. He can be foolish or sneaky or, upon occasion, evil. He's a shapeshifter.

He wanted Shep, but came from an era where warriors took what they wanted. Sometimes there was little to distinguish between wives and captives. So the poor thing has no idea how to woo anyone. Needless to say, he does a shit job of it.

Coyote steals the medicine horseshoe that allows Charlie to shift, trapping him as a horse. Now Shep must find some way to rescue him before it's too late.

E: Poor Charlie! I hope Shep succeeds.

Excerpt:

They turned west, riding into the sunset. Well, soon enough it would be a sunset. Right now it was just really bright sunlight boring into Charlie's eyes and obscuring his vision. He'd have to focus on the trail to avoid laming himself. Good thing he could rely on Shep to guide him around any real dangers.
Dust puffed under his feet and settled on his legs. That and his dried sweat made him itch. He couldn't wait to get in the shower.
A sharp pain on his rump startled him into bucking and kicking.
Shep shifted his weight forward and followed his every move. "Whoa, Hoss!"
Charlie stopped so suddenly, he felt the horseshoe shift again.
Just a deerfly. Now he felt like an idiot. Fortunately, horses couldn't blush; although, he'd heard that rabbits could.
He turned his head and met Shep's eye, hoping to convey his apology, earning him another pat on the shoulder.
"I'm okay. But it was good practice for saddle bronc riding. Should I enter this year?"
He tossed his head and crow hopped, but didn't budge Shep. He could have tried a little harder, really bucked; after all, his partner had a good seat. The horseshoe thumped against his hoof and he stopped. This business with the shoe was getting worrisome.
A fly buzzed behind him again and this time he settled for swishing his tail. He hated the damn things. At least it wasn't a horsefly. Those things were vicious.
"Maybe you should use more of that fly repellant you call aftershave."
Haha... Charlie snorted and considered making Shep walk home.
Shep shifted his weight forward. Charlie took the hint and set off. Clip, clop, clip, clop... The trip home always seemed to take longer than reaching their goal.
Something dust-colored darted across his path. He threw his head up and reared, startling like some green-broke colt. His hooves struck the ground on either side of a quivering jackrabbit. The poor animal screamed and brushed against his fetlock as it made a dash for the scrub bordering the trail.
A fluffy little bunny. How flipping embarrassing.
He stood with legs braced, still snorting. His rib cage expanded and contracted spastically under the girth.
"That was close. You didn't hurt yourself, did you?" Shep slung a leg over and dismounted. He smoothed gentle fingers over Charlie's legs and examined his hooves. "Other than the horseshoe, I think you're fine."
Shep picked up a stone and tried to pound one of the nails back in. A partial success, but they both knew it would work its way back out again.
His breathing slowed, but he could still feel the adrenaline burning in his veins. Maybe a lope would take the edge off.
"Feeling better?" Shep scratched between his ears, calming them both.
He nodded and gave a breathy sigh, nuzzling against Shep's chest.
Shep uncapped the canteen and took a few swallows. Then he took his hat off and smacked it against his leg, sending up a puff of dust. He poured water into his sweat-stained Stetson and held it up for Charlie.
He drank the salty water in a few quick draws.
Clapping the hat back on his head, Shep mounted. Once he had settled, Charlie took off at a lope.
"In a rush to get home?"
Charlie snorted and stretched out. He still had some relatively smooth flatlands before he reached the outcroppings. When the last of the frantic energy began to ebb, he dropped down to a jog, and then a walk. He felt a little better.
More rocks littered the ground. Soon boulders took their place. He could see the stone outcroppings ahead. Shep's deft hands on the reins helped him make his way through the maze where a stone bruise could leave him lame.
Before they reached the outcroppings, a snake slithered out in front of him. The unmistakable buzz of a rattlesnake filled the air. Heat flushed his skin and then a chill filled his veins. What. The. Hell?
He didn't have room to jump the rattler. Once more he rose in the air, pivoted and came down outside the irate serpent's strike range.
"Back! Get away from it!" Shep shouted.
Charlie agreed with him whole-heartedly. He started backing, ears flicking forward and then to his rider, trusting Shep to guide him with little movements of the reins.
"Just like we practiced it for that reining class," Shep encouraged.
Yeah, they'd done this before. Nothing difficult, just tighter quarters and the risk of being lamed if he stepped wrong.
"I've got you. I won't let anything happen." Shep spoke slowly and evenly, soothing the disquiet in Charlie's soul.
When they finally left the boulders behind, Charlie stood trembling.
Shep dropped from his back and pulled his head into a hug. "I'm really starting to hate today." He glanced around. "We'll take the long way. I don't want to risk anything else jumping out at us at this point."
Charlie sighed, but Shep was right. If they stayed in the open, nothing else should happen. If something did while they were cutting through the rocks, they could get hurt. Good thing Shep was a bronc rider or they'd have been in trouble today.
"Thirsty?" When he nodded, Shep gave him the last of the water.
They walked for a while, side-by-side, until Charlie stopped and looked pointedly at the saddle.
"Are you saying I'm too slow?"
He nudged the stirrup with his nose. If they kept on at this rate, it would be dark before they reached the ranch.
Charlie hadn't gone two strides when a roadrunner darted in front of him with... a coyote on its tail. Seriously?! I thought that shit only happened in cartoons.
The coyote slowed and winked at him. Actually winked. Could this day get any weirder?
"You've got to be shitting me!"
The coyote circled Charlie and came up behind them, much closer than he liked. Coyotes usually left larger animals alone, but this one was acting strange. Could it be rabid?
The slinking shadow took another step closer and Charlie cow-kicked. His horseshoe went flying.
"Finally!" A voice he didn't recognize shouted in triumph. The coyote snatched the glittering curve of metal out of the air and ran away.
"Hey! We need that!" Shep tugged on the hackamore, whirling Charlie, and set heels to his flanks.
Charlie didn't even think about it, he jolted into a gallop. He had to have that horseshoe or he'd spend the rest of his life as a horse, slowly losing his humanity.
Burdened with a rider, he couldn't seem to catch up with the coyote. But stopping to offload Shep would only insure he wouldn't overtake the damn thing. At least, this way he could keep the mangy beast within sight and see what it did with his horseshoe.
He did manage to slowly gain on the coyote. If this went on long enough, he might catch up.
Ahead, he could see the cenote coming into view. Was the coyote headed toward the sinkhole?
He caught up with the coyote in time to watch his horseshoe arc into the air and splash into the water. The coyote grinned and disappeared into the brush with a flick of its tail.
Abso-fucking-lutely unbelievable.


Shep's just your average all-American cowboy. He runs his own ranch and rides the occasional saddle bronc. Nothing special there. Unless you look too closely at his boyfriend.

Descended from a long line of Native American mustang shifters, Charlie "Hoss" Running Horse is anything but average.

When Coyote takes a shine to Shep, he decides that Hoss has got to go. With the theft of the medicine horseshoe that allows Hoss to shift from mustang to human, Coyote sets his evil plan to have his way with Shep in motion.

Will Shep be able to save Hoss before it's too late? Or will Coyote's plan come to fruition?



Save a Horse, Dive a Cowboy goes live on December 26th, just in time for anyone with a new Kindle to read it.

Available at Amazon.

Rainbow Award winning author, Kayla Jameth grew up on the family farm in Ohio. An unrepentant tomboy, she baled hay, raised cattle, and her father taught her to weld before she graduated from high school.

She attended Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University and later, Texas A&M University in her pursuit of veterinary medicine, taking her far away from her rural roots.

But it wasn’t all hard work for her, her sojourn as the princess of the Celestial Kingdom left her with the title "Sir" and a costume closet the envy of many knights, lords, and ladies.

After declaring for years that she was not an author, Kayla now finds herself writing m/m erotic romance outside of Houston, Texas. While you can take the girl out of the country, you can't turn her into a city slicker. Kayla would still rather be outside getting down and dirty with the boys.

She shares a full house with her favorite animals: a dog, a cat, three guinea pigs, as well as her husband, son, and daughter. 



Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Merry Christmas from me to you! And lots and lots of hugs.




What's in a Word? What Does This Look Like?

Anyone who's ever gotten a critique from me has seen this one sentence on many occasions: What does this look like?

The comment usually follows something like:

1) He looked concerned.
2) He looked nervous.
3) Her face radiated happiness.

Keeping with the whole "show, don't tell" mantra of writing, sentences like the three I've just shared fall into that realm.

Imagine you're with someone, and they are doing something that brings concern or nervousness to mind. What are you seeing that makes you believe they're concerned or nervous?

1) A furrow appeared between his eyebrows. He leaned forward and stared into my eyes.
2) Jerry shifted from one foot to the other, wringing his hands and averting his gaze.
3) Her smile lit her whole face, and laugh crinkles formed at the corner of her eyes.

Does the second set of phrases bring to mind concern, a bad case of nerves, and happiness?

When reading, we're supposed to bond so closely with the characters that we ARE them, so don't tell me "he looked nervous", paint a picture for me of what the POV character is seeing, and let me draw my own conclusion that "he looked nervous."


Saturday, December 23, 2017

What's in a Word: One Good Turn Deserves Another--Or Not

As a writing mentor, beta reader to the masses, and editor, I often see a word that gets my attention for being overused, and as I've learned from my own personal experience, many writers have no idea that an innocent, insignificant word insinuates it's way into stories--again, and again, and again, to the point where readers might count the occurrences.

Many words are guilty, but the one I'll focus on today is "turn."

He turned. She turned. Turning his head... etc.

What's wrong with "turn"? you ask.

Lots. Mainly because, in most cases, it imparts no crucial information and is unneeded.

For example, many times I've read a scene in which two characters are talking, facing each other, then one "turns" to the other. Or, the author is unclear as to the characters' positions, so "turn" isn't needed because we had no idea they weren't already facing.

And worst case scenario, the characters "turn" in one sentence and "turns back" in the next. (Unless they're a werewolf, one or both is probably not needed.)

So be careful when writing, and if you absolutely must use "turn" in the book, be sure to look up synonyms or find other word choices to avoid repetition.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Release Day! Hell is Where the Heart Is




Demon Prince Noorvik Metlakatla Hoonah Emmonak (“call me Vik”) likes his lack of responsibilities just fine. His mother, the Big Fucking Deal of the Sixth Level of Hell, longs for the tippity tap of tiny hooves and gives him two choices: find a mate within the next twenty-four human hours or settle for the demoness of her choice. Where can he find the ideal man on short notice, who’ll meet the mother-in-law from Hell’s approval? 

Especially when he can’t have the only mate he wants. 

Hell is Where the Heart Is is now available at:













Friday, December 8, 2017

What's in a Word -- Captain Obvious

It's been a while since I posted a What's in a Word installment, but now, I think, is high time. 

Why, you ask? The reason is "obvious."

One thing that I had to overcome in my own work was telling instead of showing. I learned the hard way, and now try to share tips before authors run up against reviews that wax less than poetic about craft issues in stories. 

One big offender is the word "obvious", with its partners in crime "clearly", "as if", and "as though."  

Whenever I see "obvious " in a story, usually one of two things is happening:

1) It's not obvious at all and the reader has to be told information, or

2) It's obvious without the author having to say so.

Example of 1: Ralph stood outside, obviously cold. 
Example of 2: Ralph wrapped his arms around himself and huddled into his jacket, obviously cold. 

When reading, the reader should become the POV character. We're totally in their head, and can only know what they know. Example 1 can be the author's way of imparting knowledge to the reader that the POV character doesn't have, thus distancing us from the POV character and losing the opportunity of total immersion in the book.

Show us what the POV character sees, feels, hears, etc., and let us draw our own conclusion that Ralph must be cold. 

Is he shivering? Teeth chattering? Turning blue? Are his head and shoulders dusted with snow? If he acts cold, then we can see it for ourselves and don't have to be told. In fact, if the description is particularly vivid enough, readers might shiver themselves or reach for a comforter, pulled so into the story that they themselves now experience Ralph's discomfort. 

In the second case, if you've shown that Ralph is cold, you don't have to say that it's obvious, because it is obvious. 

Substitute "clearly" for "obviously" and you have the same issue. 

In some cases, these two culprits appear to avoid a point of view flip, when the author needs to impart information about the non-POV character.

Imagine you (POV character), are sitting at a table, having dinner with a friend. Your friend smiles, “obviously happy”. Why are they happy? What makes you think they’re happy? It’s possible to force a smile.

What if your friend smiled, “obviously uncomfortable”. Saying “obviously uncomfortable” based on their smile, is feeding us information we can’t possible have.

However, if your friend gave you a strained smile that didn’t quite meet their eyes, darted furtive gazes right and left, and pushed their chair back from the table, arms wrapped around themselves, what does that bring to mind? I don’t think many would read “obviously happy” there.

“As if” and “as though” also feed us information that the POV character can’t have. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read something like this:

He smiled at Justin, as if he was the most beautiful thing in the world.

Or:

Sylvia cocked her head to the side, as if to say, “I told you so.”

Wow, that is one talented smile or head cock if a simple gesture can convey all that. The thing is, a smile alone can’t, nor can the mere tilt of a head.

To convey such a complex thought involves many more body cues. What does it look like if someone is gazing at beauty? Would they lean in, subconsciously trying to get closer? Are they staring? Is their body language open? Now, it’s perfectly okay to say “a coy smile”, as that is an easily discernible expression.

Cocking the head to the side is usually associated with confusion. A scowl and an eye roll might convey the sentiment “I told you so,” but the “as if” has no place here.

Try this:

She rolled her eyes and scowled, arms squeezed tightly to her chest.

Now, her gesture might mean many things, but taken in context, the intention is clear:

“Billy, slow down! The speed limit here is forty-five,” Sylvia snapped, clutching the “oh shit” handle.

Billy glanced down at the speedometer. “Nobody ever slows down for this inter—”

Whiiiiiirrrrrr. Blue lights flashed behind them.

She rolled her eyes and scowled, arms squeezed tightly to her chest.

Now, in this passage is it understood that Sylvia is conveying, “I told you so”, without “as if”?

This scene does not, for any reason, under any circumstances, require an “obviously”, “as if”, “as though”, or “clearly.”

And don’t you kind of want to roll your own eyes along with Sylvia? Because, in the end, folks, it’s all about connecting with the reader.





Thursday, December 7, 2017

Reunion (Diversion 6) Scores Finalist in the 2017 Rainbow Awards!

I'm thrilled to announce that the 2017 Rainbow Awards results have posted, and Reunion (Diversion 6) scored Finalist in the Best Gay Mystery Thriller category! Many thanks to the incomparable Elisa Rolle and her team of judges for making the awards possible.


Reunions can be murder. 

A dial tone instead of a human voice announced Lucky’s ousting from the Lucklighter clan over twelve years ago. After living a life of crime. After testifying against his drug lord lover. After receiving a ten-year sentence. Ah, hell. Lucky would’ve disowned himself too. 

Now life’s better. He’s done his time and earned a place in the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau’s Department of Diversion Prevention and Control. He has a house. He has Bo, his partner both on and off the job. And pets. But not his folks. The worst part? He’s not sure exactly why they disowned him. Too late now—they think he’s dead. 

Now his father needs a gift only Lucky can give. And Lucky’s family has something that may destroy all he believes: 

The truth. 

Reunion (Diversion 6), from Rocky Ridge Books. 

Find Reunion at Amazon.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Reunion Wins Honorable Mention in the Rainbow Awards



Although the Rainbow Awards still have a few days before winners are announced, I'm pleased to say that Reunion (Diversion 6) has won an honorable mention, awarded to books that received 36 or more points out of a possible 40 points from at least one judge!

Here's what the judge had to say:

Another very good entry in this series, less crime and more personal as we meet Lucky's family, and realize how far loving Bo has brought Lucky from the lonely, sarcastic, and disillusioned man he once was.



Wow! That's some pretty great company to be in! Thank you Rainbow Awards, Elisa, the judges, for this massive undertaking. 



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Audio Version of the Diversion Series?

My next big project is putting the Diversion series out on audiobook. I'm currently looking for a narrator and immersing myself in this process, learning all I can.

It's still a mystery at this point, but I love audiobooks, know what kind of narrator I want, and just have to find one who can read a convincing Lucky, Bo, Walter, and the others.

I created an account on ACX and posted an excerpt, but so far haven't found someone. Any suggestions? The narrators I really want, sad to say, are out of my price range. (But, man, they'd make an awesome Lucky!)

Wish me luck, and I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hell is Where the Heart Is excerpt

I'd like to share a preview of my upcoming novella Hell is Where the Heart Is


The door flew open without so much as a knock. Oh, Home and damnation! Didn’t anyone respect privacy anymore? Vik snapped his fingers, banishing his PlayStation and Black Veil Brides posters back to the ninth level of Hell where no self-respecting upper level demon dared go. While the sixth level ruler didn’t embrace the trappings of modern humanity like heads of other levels did, lately she’d learned a new human word: slacker—and wasn’t afraid to use it. After all, any son who’d reached the ripe old age of two centuries should be out of the parental cave by now.
A flickery little fire minion hopped up onto the coffee table and bowed low. He’d better not leave any ashes or scorch marks. The maid service would have Vik’s hide. “Your Royal Highness, Prince Noorvik Metlakatla Hoonah Emmonak, Master of the Sixth Level of…”
Yeah, yeah. Yadda, yadda. Vik wafted out a puff of smoke. A minion didn’t deserve a full-flame snort, and what the Home had Mother been thinking to hang a guy with so many barely-pronounceable names? Writing his name and phone number on matchboxes at bars gave his quarry too much time to get away.
“Can you call me Vik like everyone else?”
“But sire, I’m on official business, summoning you to a private audience with Her Supreme Highness, the Most Glorious Sovereign of the Sixth Level of Hades, Mistress of All Things Dark and Sinister, Anaktuvuk Iliamna—”
“Mom. Go ahead, say it. She’s my mom. The Big Fucking Deal of the Sixth Level.” The only level worth inhabiting, in his mother’s eyes. Lower levels fell to chaos and ignorance, and the denizens of the upper levels grew too snooty to tolerate. She carefully guarded her turf from outside influences. Big Fucking Deal, indeed.
The fire minion shaded from red to blue, his edges tinged with white. He dropped his already hissing voice to a lower susurrus. “Don’t let her hear you say that…”
Vik emitted another sigh, offering up a touch of flame through his nostrils. Pompous ass of a minion. Why couldn’t Mother simply install intercoms or hand out cell phones? Sometimes the temperatures reached a bit on the high side on the sixth level, but surely someone could figure out how to make a cell phone work in the netherworld. Oh yeah. Her Royal Badness was the biggest technology snob ever. With single-minded determination she kept her people in the Dark Ages, where men were men, demons were demons, and Grand Theft Auto were three words that had yet to be used together.
Ah, no use crying over old times. Old times. Hah! Back before the rulers of levels five and six had some kind of falling out, declared a silent war on each other, and sealed the passageways between the two domains. What glorious times Vik once had, entertaining himself on the fifth level. There was this one young prince named Diomede…He and Vik had gotten up to a lot of mischief behind the brimstone pile.
Yes, those were the days, spent with a handsome young demon prince with blue skin, yellow eyes, and an endless fascination for Vik’s body. Whatever happened to Prince Diomede? Diomede. Heh. Vik had certainly yelled his name enough in the past.
For fifty years or so Vik had tested the wards between the levels. The resulting scorch marks served as visible reminders of his failed attempts. Whoever sealed the doors didn’t mean for them to be breached.
Sigh. Diomede. Vik’s very own “Big Blue.” Where was he now? Did he ever think of Vik, or had he moved on, like Vik tried to do, burying himself in video games and the occasional hookup?
The messenger cleared what passed for a throat on a fire minion. Oh, yeah. Not alone. Vik stopped his hand midway up his thigh where it seemed to have wandered on its own while he’d recalled his exploits from years gone by. He’d save those memories for later and some privacy.
“So what brings you down here?”
The minion sucked in air, his little chest heaving. “As I was saying, The Mistress of All Things Dark and Sinister cordially requests your presence.”
“In other words, she screamed, ‘Get my slacker son’s ass down here—now!’”
The minion’s flames shaded to green. “Something to that effect.”
Ah, Home. No hope for it now. When the BFD called, Vik came trotting. He passed by a mirror on his way out the door for a fang and zipper check, and added a bit more eyeliner to highlight his glowing golden eyes. Maybe the sexy new lieutenant would be in attendance tonight. Vik would love to get his mitts on Lt. Sex-on-Legs. That is, as long as his mother didn’t find out.
Two centuries were a long time to stay in the closet, but somehow Vik managed. Mostly because his mother, the workaholic, was too busy wreaking havoc on humankind to pry into his personal life. She had underlings for spying on her son, and they could usually be bought off with movie tickets and a day pass to the surface—another transgression to hide from Mother.
The residents of level six were an easy lot, with a voracious appetite for human vices. Vik had even dodged a scandal of epic proportions with a pack of chewing gum once, given to a very dense fire minion. Too bad it melted in the little cretin’s mouth. Gobs of greenish goo oozed from a ball of rainbow-colored flames. Took a month to clean up the mess.
“Ah-hem,” the current fire minion said. “We mustn’t keep her waiting. You know how she can be.”
Yes, Vik did. Last time he pissed her off the resulting earthquake formed a new island off the coast of Pakistan.
He closed his apartment door on the conjured image of a Manhattan high-rise, for as long as the illusion lasted. It’d take another decade or so to learn long-distance glamour maintenance, or how to maintain the fa├žade while sleeping. One more reason to kick out his one-night stands before they actually spent the night and quite literally woke up in Hell.
From the semblance of a big city to the very real caverns of Hades: outside his front door the scent of brimstone overrode his patchouli incense and the rough stone walls were hot to the touch, hinting at his true location. He’d love to extend his glamour to the rest of the immediate area, but the re-creation of a human city would tip his mother off about his continued surface exploring. Plus, he pretty much sucked at glamour.    
He followed the fire minion, taking care to step clear of the trail of live sparks the servant shed like cat fur. What did Mother want this time? Vik had been on his best behavior since his last foray to the surface, when he’d made tabloid headlines by getting caught in a photographer’s lens and ending up on the cover of a tabloid. “Demons Exist!” the headline blared. Bah. It wasn’t even a good likeness. Still, it’d cost him a huge portion of his DVD collection to arrange the cover up. Greedy little minions.
The closer they came to headquarters, the livelier the minion bounced. He hopped into a broad chamber, lit by strategically placed flames. Crystal stalagmites rose from the floor of the cavern, their inner fire cast flickering light along the wall. Her Supreme Highness, the Big Fucking Deal of the Sixth Level—although the unofficial title wasn’t used to her face—reclined on her stone throne. No way could a hunk of carved brimstone be comfortable. The gorgeous lieutenant was nowhere in sight, just two ugly bodyguards who could pass for trolls. A handful of hangers-on mingled at the far end of the chamber, bearing silent testament to his mother’s foul mood.

“Hello, Mot—”

Now available for preorder at Amazon.com, publishing December 16.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hell is Where the Heart Is, now available for pre-order

Like hot, steamy, scenes? Like, literally hot and steamy scenes 'cause they take place in Hell?

Hell is Where the Heart Is is now available for pre-order on Amazon.


Demon Prince Noorvik Metlakatla Hoonah Emmonak (“call me Vik”) likes his lack of responsibilities just fine. His mother, the Big Fucking Deal of the Sixth Level of Hell, longs for the tippity tap of tiny hooves and gives him two choices: find a mate within the next twenty-four human hours or settle for the demoness of her choice. Where can he find the ideal man on short notice, who’ll meet the mother-in-law from Hell’s approval? 

Especially when he can’t have the only mate he wants. 


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tis the Season... For Holiday Reads!

Wow! This year sure went by fast, and now the holidays are upon us. What better way to kick off the season than with lovely holiday romance novellas?

First up: A lonely gamer searchers for love at Thanksgiving in A Lie I Can Live With. Although this is the third installment of The Match Before Christmas series, it can be read as a standalone, as it features a secondary character from the first two volumes. Readers wanted to know Otis's story, and I was happy to oblige.


A dating site profile faked up to make geeky gamer Otis Tucker more alluring hasn’t done much for his social life, so what does he have to lose by putting his real picture and honest interests online? His pal Barry swears there’s someone out there who will love Otis for himself, extra pounds and all.

Handsome Garret Mims sends “I’d love to meet you!” but takes things so slow Otis is quite sure they’re stopped. Is it really a date if there’s not so much as a kiss between them? Maybe he shouldn’t worry about Garret’s intentions and just enjoy every platonic moment. Instead, Otis could work on finding the missing ingredient for his pumpkin pies before Thanksgiving.

Garret’s upfront in every way but one, and Otis may have found a lie he can live with.
 


Next up:  The Match Before Christmas.



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 creates a profile on "GetaDate.com," in hopes of finding 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 fills 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.
 



Although it's a bit early to think about Valentine's Day, Fanning the Flames picks up Barry's story two months after meeting the man of his dreams, as he fumbles his way through the maze of Valentine's Days hearts and flowers. 


The man of Barry's dreams has gone from a sugarplum fantasy to sweet reality, thanks to the GLBT dating site GetaDate.com. Introducing a new boyfriend to the family and settling into coupledom aren't the easiest things in the world for a man with little dating experience, but the romantic demands of Valentine's Day are beyond Barry's imagination. His piteous cry for help brings all kinds of suggestions from family and friends.Fully believing he's found the perfect ways to charm his sweetheart, Barry isn't prepared to hear "Achoo " at every turn. Adam's allergic to what? And will sneezes and welts wreck Barry's painstaking plans for Fanning the Flames? 


But there's no need to choose just one of these novellas. Why not indulge in all of them, with the Match for the Holidays collection? 


Adventures in computer dating. 

What starts as Barry Richards’ desire for someone to share Christmas grows into an adventure in friendship and a little matchmaking of his own. Now the three-story set: The Match Before Christmas, Fanning the Flames, and A Lie I Can Live With have been combined into a single collection. 

Follow Barry and his friends as they navigate the tricky (and often bizarre) world of Internet dating, in their search for love. 



While we're on the subject of holidays, Tinsel and Frost tells the story of men who, together, discover the beauty in what they've always seen as flaws.


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?
 



And let's not leave out Hanukkah, celebrated in Happy Holidays, a sexy romp by my dear friend and fellow Rocky Ridge Books author, Z. Allora! 


What do erotic sex toys and Hanukkah have to do with each other?

Absolutely nothing unless you’re a member of the famous rock band The Dark Angels and the shy but kinky Robin gives gifts that guarantee to spice up the holidays!

Each couple makes the most of these unique gifts blending love and orgasmic fun to REALLY celebrate the holidays.
 You'll find these and other great stories at Rocky Ridge Books and your favorite book e-tailers. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Lovely Review for What You Can't Live Without

Reviewer Lindsey at The Novel Approach Reviews had some glowing words for What You Can't Live Without:
"I just enjoyed this story to pieces. The characters both mature, they both learn to compromise, they find their purpose and how to achieve their HEA, and, ultimately, find out what truly matters."
 Read the entire review at The Novel Approach Reviews.



Dr. Arnulfo Oliva is torn: he could stay in the United States, but he vowed to return to his home country and practice medicine in the remote villages that offer little to no healthcare. Mitch doesn’t need him, not really; he’s surrounded by wealth and possessions.


Rising star Dr. Mitchell Rollins enjoys his lavish lifestyle, and if Nulfo wants to turn his back on all they could have together, let him. Mitch doesn’t even miss him. Much. Or think of him—more than five times an hour.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocks El Salvador and both men. Mitch joins a mercy mission, determined to find his former lover, talk sense into the man, and bring him back to the US and safety. What he finds opens his eyes to all Nulfo tried to tell him.

Mitch must decide what he truly can’t live without. 

Find it here at Amazon. Also available at Kindle Unlimited. 

Family

Nature gave me a wonderful, if small, family that I dearly love. They're here for me, and me for them. Even so, I was a loner who never really fit in with classmates and those around me.

Now, many years later, I have a huge new family of folks I've met along the way and we decided to keep each other. It only occured to me yesterday that, with few exceptions, I met those folks through my love of books.

Especially gay romance. These folks started out as names and icons on social media and progressed to instant messages, Skype, phone calls and, finally, meeting in real life.

I used to worry that meeting people in real life would ruin my idea of who they were. I worried needlessly. These folks are even more awesome in the flesh. 

And they give the best hugs, reassurance, advice, shoulders to cry on, encouragement and whatever else I might need. Just as importantly, they trust me to be there for them, which I am. 

We're family. 

What's even better? My chosen family and given family are now tightly interwoven, accepting each other and caring for each other as I do for each of them. 

To all those in my family, and to those who'll be added in time, big hugs. I cherish you all. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Halloween Read

In honor of Halloween, I'd like to share part of Same Time, Next Year, a story of young love and the thinning of the walls between worlds on Halloween.


Jerome and Greg played on the dirt road halfway between their homes when they were kids, and found much better games to play there when they grew older. It's their special spot, the perfect place for Greg to propose, and the worst place possible for the accident that takes his life.


Devastated by the loss, Jerome visits that lonely road on the anniversary of Greg's death, only to discover that not all endings are permanent.


Same Time, Next Year by Eden Winters

“I still can’t believe that your folks sprang for a brand new Mustang convertible for graduation and all I have to drive is my sister’s hand-me-down clunker. It must be nice.” Jerome ran a hand down one sleek fender, watching his reflection in the shiny black surface. At least one of them had a nice ride. He couldn’t help it Greg’s folks had money and his didn’t.

His best friend since childhood came up from behind and they appeared together in the car’s tinted window, a matched set, height-wise, at six foot each. Greg’s dark hair and light eyes contrasted with Jerome’s dark eyes and light brown hair.

After a brief glance over his shoulder to ensure no one was watching, Greg leaned in for a kiss, balancing a loaded duffel between them. “And you look so good in it,” he murmured. His mouth tasted of breath mints.

Jerome took the kiss and the bag, placing it in the trunk when Greg pulled away. “Is that everything?”
“I think so. Maybe we’d better check one more time.” A suggestive smile and winking green eye hinted at mischief.

Jerome took Greg’s hand and laced their fingers together, leading the way back up two flights of stairs to their apartment. The cramped, one bedroom shoebox was tiny, yet special—their first home together. “Okay, but if we’re late, I’m gonna let my sister know who to blame.”

Greg jumped away, eyes wide in feigned terror. “Dude! Anything but that!” They shared a laugh. Shelby was sweet if somewhat bossy, and liked to pick on her brother’s boyfriend. Greg humored her, pretending to fear the petite brunette.

“Okay. Let’s do a quick check and then get on the road.” Jerome disappeared into the bedroom, leaving Greg to inspect the living area. He returned a moment later, holding a piece of dark fabric. “I’m glad we checked. You forgot this.”

“My cape!” Greg grabbed the proffered garment and clutched it to his chest. “I can’t be Dracula without a cape.”

Jerome grinned. He opened his fist to reveal a set of plastic teeth with long, pointed canines. “Or without these. Come on, let’s go. The party starts at eight.”

Now ready, they returned to the car. The engine purred like a contented cat when Greg fired up the engine. “Can we?” Jerome asked, putting on a hopeful face.

Greg cocked one eyebrow and attempted a glare. “It’s October. It’s cold.” A muscle twitched at the corner of his mouth.

“Please.” Jerome fought dirty, giving Greg big brown puppy dog eyes. Greg could never resist “the eyes.”

The restrained smile broke free, revealing a chipped front tooth. “Oh, all right. If it means that much to you.” Greg flipped the switch to retract the roof and turned on the heater while it folded back. “The things I do for you.”

“Because you love me.”

“Yeah, I do.”

“And because you look out for me.”
“Always have, Jer, always will.” Yes, Greg had, ever since grade school when they’d first met on the playground.

Their fingers interlocked over the gearshift, they chatted, sang along with the radio, and took turns grinning at each other. The tassel from a college graduation cap swung back and forth from the rearview mirror. Jerome had one just like it in his car. Had graduation really been just four months ago?

“Sure you won’t change your mind and spend the night with me?” Greg asked when they passed the sign that read, “Murphy Town Limit.” Wide spot in the road was more like it.

Jerome sighed. He’d love to spend the night together, but wasn’t ready to push it with Greg’s parents yet. They weren’t nearly as accepting as his own. Besides, it was only for one night. “I’d love to, you know that, but...”

“My dad?”

“Yeah, your dad.”

The next few minutes were uncomfortably quiet before Greg spoke again. “Things would be so much easier if my parents could just get over the fact that we’re together. You think they’d be happy that I’m not out cruising and getting girls pregnant like my brother. I mean, he’s twenty-eight, still living at home, and has two kids with two different women.”

Jerome gave Greg’s hand a gentle squeeze. “They accepted me well enough in your life before they walked in and caught us kissing.” Oh what an argument that had been.

“It doesn’t bother them to catch my sister kissing her boyfriends, and she brings home a new guy every week.” Greg’s face twisted into a scowl. “They should be darned impressed that we’ve been together so long. All it’s ever been is you and me.”

“That’s all it ever will be if I have anything to say about it.” Jerome narrowed his eyes to match his possessive growl.

Greg stopped the car at a four-way stop. He looked right, left, and in the rearview mirror before delivering a brief, sweet kiss. “That’s all it will ever be. Now, think that will tide you over for a few hours?”

“Shelby won’t care if we make out at her place.” Jerome’s sister was pretty open-minded and understanding, even if she did like to tease.

“It’s not Shelby I’m worried about. Other people will be there and it’s not worth the grief. This is our Po-dunk home town, not the big city.” Greg nuzzled against Jerome’s nose. “We can behave for a night, right?” Poor, shy Greg. Would he ever be comfortable enough to kiss openly in public?

Jerome poked out his lower lip. “Not all night, I hope.”

A wide grin was his answer.

“I know! Why don’t you stay with me, Greg? My folks love you and call you their son-in-law.”
Greg’s face flushed and he turned his attention turned back to the road. “You know my dad wouldn’t forgive me for not staying with him and Mom. Besides, I have some things I need to discuss with them.”

“Looks like we’re stuck, then.” Hmmm... Something was on Greg’s mind. Too bad there wasn’t time to find out what.

The conversation ended when they pulled up in Shelby’s yard. Greg squeezed the car into the only space available on the front lawn. A ghost chased a giggling witch across the lawn, while two skeletons catcalled from the porch. Yep, a lively crowd tonight.

Greg flipped open the lighted visor mirror and dabbed on white face paint with a sponge.

“Hey, Greg? I have an idea.” Jerome reached into the back seat for his werewolf costume.

Count Dracula leered at him while outlining one eye in black. “I wuff yo ifears,” the count said around a mouthful of plastic teeth.

Jerome pulled a rubber mask over his face. The tiny mouth opening muffled his words. “Remember our old parking road?”

“Yeffff.” Had one single word ever sounded so hopeful?

“What say we put in our appearances and go relive old times?”

“Owff!” Greg yelled, jabbing himself in the eye with an eyeliner pen.

“Sorry!”

Greg removed the plastic teeth. “No, you’re not, you just love teasing me.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Well, then, Wolfman; I’d say it’s a date.

***

Two hours later found them parked on a lonely dirt road exactly halfway between their parents’ houses. When they were ten they’d built log forts here, at twelve they’d tried out new mountain bikes. At sixteen it was the site of their first kiss, and shortly thereafter they fumbled their way through do-it-yourself sex education.

Greg parked the car out of sight of the main road. “This is one time when I wish we’d have brought your car instead of mine. We could have an orgy in the back seat of the Buick. We have to be very, very creative in here.”

“Hey! We’re both engineering grads. I’d say we’re pretty creative.”

They started by kissing until the gear shift dug painfully into Jerome’s belly, then they gave up and climbed into the miniscule back seat. “I think I now know the real reason your parents bought this car,” he griped when they resorted to getting out of the car to strip. “It’s the modern equivalent of the chastity belt.” The temperature had dropped since the sun went down, and they shed their clothing in record time, racing to see who could get back into the car first. No mention was made of lowering the roof.

“We’ll just have to persevere then, won’t we?” Even without the plastic teeth Greg did an impressive job of neck nibbling, slipping one cool hand up Jerome’s side.

Same Time, Next Year is available at Amazon and other e-books sites.