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Posts Tagged ‘contemporary romance’

First of all kudos to Paul Richmond for yet another memorable cover, with shades of Mucha plus a welcome variation on the ‘naked guys getting close’ theme seen on so many M/M romance covers. Good art with implications of sweetness and light, very appropriate.

Secondly, I’ve been asked by the author to make it absolutely clear that this book is a standalone novel. It is the first in the Season of Love series but the books are only loosely linked, much as Ben’s other books are linked by characters who live in the Oscar Wilde apartment block who may appear in subsequent titles. The linking is a little more formal in this case, being the about romantic relationships of a group of friends, but I’m assured that every book will be able to be read independently of the others. There also isn’t too long to wait if you are a B G Thomas completist. The next book will be published in July, with Autumn written and Winter well on the way.

Here are the details:

Spring Affair by B G Thomas

Blurb: Sloan McKenna is going through a tough time. His beloved mother has recently passed away, leaving him her house and beautiful garden. But should he keep the house? Sell it? To make matters worse, he’s in love with one of his best friends, Asher, a man who can’t (or won’t) love him back.

Sloan’s neighbor, Max Turner, is married to an ambitious woman with far-reaching dreams, including moving the family to France. But Max is happy teaching at the local college and living in their nice, quiet town. Then he discovers his fourteen-year-old son is not only gay, but out and proud as well. That throws him into complete disarray, for more than one reason….

When Max’s wife leaves on a two-month business trip to Paris, circumstances throw the two men together. As they become friends, Sloan finds himself falling in love with Max, who is completely unavailable… just like Asher. As for Max, he is discovering that both his son’s coming out and his new friendship with Sloan are stirring up feelings he thought buried long ago. Spring is a time for rebirth—Is there any way the two men can find happiness and a new beginning?

Excerpt:

Sloan was lucky to have all of the dear friends who had gathered here with him tonight, especially after the last month. Month? Hell! Six months. His shoulders sagged, and he felt the tears almost prick at the corners of his eyes. Almost. But it wasn’t happening. And that was a good thing. He didn’t want his friends to see him crying. Not tonight. Even though he could. Even though it would be fine. He wanted to be brave tonight. Impress the hell out of them.

Were they talking about him now, or were they delving into a discussion of whether John the Baptist was real or not? At least Scott wasn’t going on and on about one of his online romances—men he fell madly in love with and rarely met in real life. And when he did? Disaster every time. The last time Scott had actually flown to Chicago and checked into The Four Seasons, a very expensive hotel, so he could meet the man he just knew was Mr. Right. The two of them were supposed to share the costs of not only the room, but the plane tickets as well. That didn’t happen. Scott and his romance du jour met, fucked, wound up having a huge ugly fight, and it was over. Scott had been devastated. For a couple of weeks. Maybe a month. Then Scott was right back online.

Scott, Wyatt, and Asher. They were the best friends a man could have, despite their eccentricities.

Scott was always there for him at an instant’s notice, no matter what. He had actually been the first one Sloan had called on the worst day of his life, not more than a month ago. Scott had had a plan already set and instantly took over so Sloan could just throw himself on the couch and, well, not cry. That hadn’t happened yet. He’d been too afraid to let the tears go until the funeral was over—he had wanted, needed, to maintain a sense of decorum until then. He could cry later.

Except he hadn’t yet. Not really.

Read more at Dreamspinner Press

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My guest today is John Goode. Now resident in Texas, he was once in the Navy, but currently spends a lot of his time writing. He has been a professional author for about a year and is best known for his beloved stories about the students and staff of Foster High and his Lords of Arcadia series.

John is with us today to celebrate the release of his new Foster High book, 151 Days, which is OUT TODAY.

###

Elin: Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?

John : Yes I work graveyards at a security company so it gives me all night to write which is nice. I’m a night owl so writing at night is natural.

Elin: When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy? Have you ever written about it?

John : I love music though I can’t sing. I just really love listening to it, the way a song can be crafted to invoke emotions fascinates me

Elin: What are you reading? Can you recommend something that you wished you’d written yourself?

John : I am reading a book that is about the first season of Star Trek TOS that is incredibly detailed. That is the nerd in me showing. I think everyone should read Jasper Fforde’s Next Thursday series. If you are a reader those books are made for you.

Elin: In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?

John : Usually for me character though most of the time it is actually theme that does it. I like writing in themes or what is the book for? What message does it have when all is said and done. I start there and then begin tolling together a story from that meta message.

Elin: Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them? Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?

John : They are far more real than I care for that’s for sure. I think fully developed characters are the only kind that should make it to page so I spend a lot of time getting to know them as well as I can.

Elin: Is there any genre you would love to write, ditto one you would avoid like a rattlesnake? What inspired you to write about teenagers in high school?

John : I have a couple of Sci fi stories that I need to get to quickly. I would say just straight up erotics, porn with no plot would send me running into the hills. I wrote Foster High because I wanted to write the books I wish I had when I was a teenager. I don’t think there are enough positive role models for gay teens so I wanted to see if I could make some.

Elin: Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?

John : Well there are no villains in Foster High. There are people who seem to have sinister intentions but honestly they have their own reasons for what they are doing. I don’t think there are people out there who wake up and say I am going to be the bad guy today or I am going to do evil. I think they have their own reasons and think them as valid as any one else’s.

Elin: What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.

John : Well I finished the new Lords of Arcadia book, and now I am about halfway through a story about a gay teen that has to decide between being out or being a basketball player. It’s called Fadeaway and is a character that is in the new Foster book 151 Days,

Elin: Could we please have an excerpt of something?

John : Here’s an excerpt from 151 Days

Change is a bitch.

I am using the term here to mean a difficult task and not a derogatory name for women or the scientific term for a female dog, just in case there are any who might take offense to the word. Change is a bitch, and that’s because it isn’t always easy to know it when it happens. I mean, sure, sometimes it’s obvious. I go over to Brad’s and end up kissing him, and my whole world turns upside down. Hard to miss that change. I decide to tell the world I like guys. Colossal change that is still affecting crap today. Kelly shoots himself. A change that brings the town to a standstill like an earthquake, and the aftershocks of it keep coming and coming.

Take race discrimination. After being considered property for far too long, African Americans were finally considered free people in the United States. That was a big change. But what went unnoticed, or at least unspoken, was the way people changed because of that decision. Some people thought the fight was done. The slaves wanted to be free—they were free, so that’s taken care of. Other people resented the fact that these people who were always second-class citizens to them were now supposed to be treated as equals, and they got angry. And their anger motivated a lot of ugly things, and the country changed while no one was looking.

Now, over a hundred years later, we elected a black president, and some people say, “Well that’s done.” What’s next? Other people reacted to that event in a rather unpopular way. They said the country was being taken over, they said he wasn’t an American, and some even said he wasn’t their president. And the world changed again.

Big change, little changes.

When Kelly killed himself, Foster, as a whole, reacted. Since no one thinks a teenage boy putting a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger is a good thing, the majority of the reactions were sympathetic, with a desire to make sure it could never happen again. People spoke out, said that the way kids were being treated was wrong, and that things had to get better. That was the bulk of the reaction, but there were others.

Some wanted to place blame on someone for why Kelly did what he did. Some blamed his parents, others blamed the kids on Facebook, and some blamed me. They said none of this stuff happened in Foster before I came out. There were arguments made that things were fine the way they had always been and that by rocking the boat, I had caused this to happen.

I’ll be honest, a lot of other things were said about me as well, but they were mostly hateful things, so you’ll excuse me if I don’t repeat them.

Things were changing in Foster, big and small, and most of it seemed to be centered on me.
Some for the better, some for the worse. The problem was, there was no way for any of us to know which was which until it was far too late. It is impossible for anyone to know what effect our plans will have until they already happen, and by then, there is no going back. I swore the day they put Kelly in the ground that I would change Foster before I left for college. It was a change, and none of us knew what would come of it.

There are 151 days until graduation. Roughly five months before I plan on running out of this town as fast as I can and never looking back. A lot of things can happen in 151 days. A lot of things that people might not be ready for.

So I’m telling you now, hold on. This might get a little bumpy.

###

Many thanks to John for answering my questions so kindly. If you would like to follow John and the students of Foster High his links are below.

The Foster High Facebook

The @fosterhigh Twitter account

email: fosterhigh88@gmail.com

Cover art by Paul Richmond

151 Days by John Goode

Sequel to End of the Innocence
Tales from Foster High: Book Three

With just 151 days left until the school year ends, Kyle Stilleno is running out of time to fulfill the promise he made and change Foster, Texas, for the better. But Kyle and his boyfriend, Brad Graymark, have more than just intolerance to deal with. Life, college, love, and sex have a way of distracting them, and they’re realizing Foster is a bigger place than they thought. When someone from their past returns at the worst possible moment, graduation becomes the least of their worries.

Order here.

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My guest today is Jayson James who was born and raised in Washington State, where he currently lives and teaches. Whenever Jayson has the time (and money), he likes to travel, hoping to see most of the United States over the next 5 years.
His first novel, “Finding Our Way”, was published in September 2012 and released the follow-up novels, “Tormented Discovery” and “Drifting”, in 2013 creating what readers would identify as the “Finding Our Way Series.” Much to his delight, fans are eagerly waiting to read what happens next with Justin, Derrick and the rest of the gang.

His new release is T.E.D. and he is offering a terrific giveaway. Please keep reading for the link.

Elin: Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?

Jayson: Yes, for the sake of bills and living, I do have a day job.
My life is full, especially now that I have, as one friend put it, “a doghter” (dog daughter) named Cooper. I’d wanted to adopt a dog for the past two years but I did not think the time was right. It was my mom who reminded me that there never really is a good time to have kids. I am so glad that Cooper and I fell in love with each other the minute I picked her up. She has truly enriched my life.
I enjoy spending time writing, reading, watching movies and socializing. As I said before my life is full and I am always busy. Sometimes more than I would like to be. Recently I read that people are happier when they have something to look forward to. I think this is why I like to keep myself busy. Although I’ve been looking forward to having a weekend home, where I do not go anywhere. I get close, however something always comes up. It will be a real treat when I finally get those two full days off.

Elin: When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy? Have you ever written about it?

Jayson: Drawing is what comes to mind when I consider this question. It is something that I get inspired to do, typically with pencil. I will draw practically every second I can for weeks on end in all sorts of mediums. Then all the sudden, as if a switch gets turned off, I quit drawing all together. I’ve drawn all of the cover images for my books with much prompting from my friends. As I go along I get more creative and think the images look better. In my writing, I’ve had a few characters that are artists and they have talked about experiences I’ve had when it comes to creating art.

Elin: What are you reading? Can you recommend something that you wished you’d written yourself?

Jayson: I’m reading Nick Nolan’s “Wide Asleep.” This happens to be the third book with two of my favorite characters, Jeremy and Arthur. Within the first few chapters, I was crying and had my hopes up for things to work out. Nick writes real characters who are people who act like people, meaning not everyone sees or reacts to things in the same way. Nick’s books are each based upon a different fairytale, which I’ve always found clever.

Elin: In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?

Jayson: That’s a tough question! When I plan out they all come to mind. As I quit overthinking the question I realized that it is the character. Actually, all I had to do is glance over at my white board with my current work in progress on it. The characters are on the board: 1) The individual details of the characters are all each worked out underneath them, 2) Their storyline gets outlined underneath, 3) The story gets written, 4) Once the details are down everything below the characters is erased, 5) More outlining, such as chapters and other details, 6) This cycle repeats several times throughout the course of the book. The characters stay on the board typically until the second or third round of edits.

Elin: Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them? Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?

Jayson: My characters are never ready to fly. I like to write them as real people, thus they are changing and growing and even sometimes going in a downward spiral. I do have set ideas in many ways though. Such as with Derrick and Justin from the “Finding Our Way Series,”with each tellingl the story from their own perspective. Something I did with them (which drove some people nuts) was Derrick would use possessives such as “my dad” while Justin referred to them as “dad.” Derrick spoke with less contractions in his dialog while Justin used many and frequently swore.

Elin: Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?

Jayson: I enjoy writing characters that are both lovable and flawed. Such was the case with “T.E.D.” Each of the three characters that make up this book are real people that readers can identify and relate to on some level. Tim is the kid you feel sorry for and you want to give him advice on how to better his life, yet you also want to tell to suck it up and quit being a wimp. Eric picks on others to keep himself from being discovered. Delsin is dealing with his own monsters and struggles, yet is supportive and does what he can. Their lives are intertwined, having an effect on each other.
This is similar to “Finding Our Way” with Derrick Wilson being the one thing keeping Justin Parker, whose home life was falling apart from going too far on the self-destructive path his was traveling down.
Then there is Kristian Kirkpatrick who is my own villain. He is handsome, charming, cunning and just plain evil. Everything about him is someone that I cannot stand. Yet, I would like to write a book with him as the main character.
As far as other villains, I have always wanted to write a book told from the point of view of the killer. The closest I think I have ever gotten was a book I started writing a couple of years ago about this guy who decides to kill his wife.

Elin: What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.

Jayson: A new book called “Pieces of Us.” When completed, this will be only my second novel to have a title from the beginning of the writing process. It is about a guy and girl who are best friends in high school, growing and learning about themselves and others. I’m quite excited about this novel, as it will be different in many ways from my previously published works. Typically, I will not talk much about a book until it is in what I call, “the downhill stretch”, known as the last third of the book. This one I’ve been discussing quite a bit with my friends and I think the storyline is developing wonderfully.

Elin: Could we please have an excerpt of something?

Jayson: Gladly! This comes from my new release, T.E.D. This is the scene gives the reader’s insight to Eric, who is bullying Tim.


Sheila had been partially correct that he was hiding something. There was no way in hell Eric was going to ever let anyone know what that was though, especially not his two best buddies. Conrad was the meanest person he’d ever met and would no doubt kick his ass, and without much effort. Keifer would be more subtle, slowly not hanging out with him or returning his calls.
Definitely not his family either. Eric’s parent s made no qualms about expecting their youngest son to provide them with at least one grandchild. He could remember a long time ago when his older brother Ethan lived at home. He missed Ethan and wished that he could see him again.
Eric was thirteen years younger than Ethan. When he was six, he remembered waking up to shouting. Ethan was standing in the living room, with his parents. His mom was holding the door open and his father was face-to-face with Ethan. They all looked angry. Eric’s dad bellowed, “There is no way any son of mine is going to be into this shit. If you want to get involved with those kinds of people, than you can get the hell out of my house.”
Ethan looked to their mom, “Are you going to let him just throw me out?”
She didn’t even hesitate, “Your decision is why we are asking you to leave. If you decide to make the right choices, you can come back. Until then I’m afraid you are basically dead to us.”
“It is not a choice!” Ethan shouted. He kept on repeating that as their dad shoved him out the door and their mom closed and locked it.
Eric was crying, not wanting to see his brother go, “Where’s Ethan going?”
His father walked past him, “He doesn’t live here anymore.”
His mother picked him up, holding him and looking him in the eyes, “Ethan is doing something very, very bad. It is something that if he doesn’t stop doing, he will eventually die from. I know this is hard for you to understand, but Ethan is no longer a part of our family.”
Eric cried and cried, wanting his brother back. Ethan was the only person Eric ever felt a family bond with. His father put his arms around his mom and him, “You’ll understand when you get older.”
Nearly nine years later, Eric still ached to see his brother. His parents told him that Ethan had a bad drug problem and they feared for his safety and the wellbeing of the family. They sent him to a counselor who explained things like tough love and coping with the loss of a family member. This guy pretended to care about Eric and get him to tell him things that were supposed to be kept private between the two of them. Once Eric learned the counselor was telling his parents everything they talked about and how mad his parents got, he started saying the things he thought he needed to say, which worked and a couple of months later he did not have to go anymore.
Years later Eric would overhear his mother on the phone with her sister, “I’ve been hoping Ethan would get over his homosexual tendencies for years. I know now that he never will. It’s been so long I often forget I have another son. He died to me the night he told me that he was gay.” Eric never let her know that he’d heard what she said. Several years later Eric would learn what gay was and what homosexual tendencies were.
Eric’s eyes were starting to tear up as he thought about Ethan. There was a guy in the magazine he was reading who looked very much the way he remembered Ethan had. He hoped that his brother was okay and that they could be a family again someday. He planned on tracking him down the first chance that he could.
His father walked in the room and said, “What are you crying about? Is there a sad article in your Women’s Day?”
“Ha ha! I got something in my eye.” Eric closed the magazine and quickly left the room.

###

Many thanks to Jayson for answering my questions so sportingly. Here are the details of his latest release and at the bottom of the post you will find a link to his giveaway.

T.E.D. by Jayson James

TIM is being bullied. No one in high school wants to be known as a tattle-tale and to do so would only make things rougher for him. The repercussions would most likely make him an outcast, and without any friends.

ERIC is frustrated with life. His parents are overbearing and if they ever knew the person he really was, they would throw him out of their house. His friends are not much better, they only like him when he is who they expect him to be.

DELSIN is gay and ready to come out. Unfortunately, life at home is on the brink of falling apart with his parents constant fighting. Admitting the truth could bring his whole world crashing down around him.

Each of these three needs to decide whether the risks of being honest about who they are outweighs the importance of being true to themselves. This could mean ruining life as each of them knows it. Maybe it is better to remain miserable in order to play it safe. On the other hand, doing nothing doesn’t seem to working either.

You can buy T.E.D. on Amazon here: http://amzn.com/B00IC0NX7W

Jayson’s contact details are below.
Blog/Website: http://www.jaysonjamesbooks.blogspot.com
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJaysonJames
Twitter: @jaysonjamesbook

Click to join in a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Bridge on the River Wye
by Adam Fitzroy

Blurb:

Chef Rupert’s picking up the pieces after a catastrophe; he’s lost his love, his business, his home and even his dog, and he’s trying to make a fresh start. Linking up with Jake almost on a whim he soon finds himself involved in a strange tale of organic farming, migrant workers, greed and even possibly murder – in the midst of which the attraction is still there, but Rupert’s not sure whether the feeling’s mutual or if he’s ready to try for a proper relationship again just yet …

70,000 words/256 pages
£3.75

Go here for an excerpt.

Available from Manifold Press.

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As usual I’ve lost the plot a bit this week as far as signing up for stuff but here’s a Saturday Rec post anyway.

I’m a big fan of historical action stories, and of action stories in general. Until I found the growing M/M genre knocking on for 10 years ago now, I had never read romances – preferring Fred Forsythe or Patrick O’Brien to Loretta Chase or E L James – and I still have problems getting my head around the tropes. Some of the best stories I’ve read play all kinds of games with these ‘set in stone’ rules.

Because I know that I have problems with romances I scan the ebook sites very quickly ignoring all the naked torsos and cuddling contemporary couples, instead pouncing on anything with a gun on the cover, a suggestion of noir or a whiff of historical costume. The Boys of Summer went on my To Read List the moment I saw the gorgeous cover.

Boy, did I feel daft when I read the blurb and realised that it was a contemporary romance but actually it was that glorious thing – a twofer! As in two for the price of one.

The contemporary romance concerns David, a location prospector for the film industry checking out sites in the Hawaiian archipelago, assisted by Rick, a pilot, whose skill at the controls is the only thing between them and death when a tropical storm blows up. There’s action right from the first page and the pace continues, with quieter moments that allow the reader to catch up and realise just how much trouble the protagonists are in. Neatly inserted into the contemporary narrative is a slightly slower paced story set during the Second World War where another David and Rick carry out an exquisitely agonised courtship against a backdrop of code breaking and far too many sorties as a fighter pilot. This part of the book was beautifully done and impressed me very much – a clear 5 star read. Then we return again to the present with a greater sense of purpose and urgency.

How one story fits with the other would be a spoiler, as would how the past impacts on the present so I’ll say no more about it other than that it was a damned good read and kept me entertained throughout.

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