ANNOUNCEMENT/GIVEAWAY: Whirlwind, by J.V. Speyer

Whirlwind - JV Speyer

QSFer J.V. Speyer has a new FF romance book out:

Rock star Jo Avery didn’t have a choice about coming out, but ever since her ex outed her as bi she’s been a proud advocate for LGBTQ+ issues. Most of her family wants nothing to do with her, but her brother has always supported her. When he gets married, he wants her in the wedding party, and she has to accept.

The only problem? Her new sister in law is the daughter of conservative pundit and anti-LGBT warrior Sarah Tremblay. Sarah has another daughter, too, the beautiful and charming Valeria.

Valeria has been in the closet since she was fourteen. She’s always envied Jo’s strength and freedom, if not her path to living her authentic life. She soon finds herself falling for the fierce, pretty rocker, but coming out could cost her everything. How many risks can she take for someone she’ll only know for two weeks?

Can Jo and Valeria turn attraction into love, or will their whirlwind romance blow out before it gets off the ground?

Releases Apr 14th at JMS Books


Giveaway

JV Speyer is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d476/?


Excerpt

Simon shifted uneasily in his seat. “Should I step in?”

Jo shrugged. “Seems dangerous. You’re not being paid to break up fights between conservative media hosts.” She looked up and groaned as she saw Sarah Tremblay making her way toward her. “Just when the fight was getting good.”

Simon straightened up in his seat as Sarah swept into position beside Jo. “This is not the way people should behave at an event like this. It’s supposed to be a joyous occasion, where people give the bride the material she’ll need in her new life as a wife. Not some kind of spectacle for the enjoyment of others.” She sniffed and cast her gaze pointedly at guests who had their phones out, recording the action.

Jo hated the thought of agreeing with Sarah Tremblay about anything, but she couldn’t argue either. “It’s a little bit like watching daytime television.”

Sarah stared as hotel security swooped in and separated the fighting women. The one who’d been kneed in the face was going to need an ambulance. “This is what comes from an overly permissive culture,” she said after a moment. “This is why I fight so hard.”

Jo rolled her eyes. And of course it all comes down to this. “So we can all enjoy a live action version of the Jerry Springer Show?”

Sarah curled her lip. “Do you honestly think any of this would have happened if you hadn’t showed your face here today?”

Jo lowered her eyes and laughed. “Sarah, I don’t even know those women. Any of those women. The great part of being a pariah at things like this is that no one can say they did anything because of me.”

Sarah grabbed onto Jo’s wrist with one claw-like hand. “You come walking in here with all of those tattoos exposed. That alone lowers the tone. It tells people, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter what you do.’ And with you flaunting your sin all over the place, disobeying your mother, giving your body to anyone who wants it, wallowing in the sin of Sodom and Gomorra without shame, everyone knows who you are. They know what you do.

“They think to themselves, If she can get away with that, then I don’t have to worry about what I do. I don’t have to live a clean and wholesome life. I don’t have to behave myself in public. And then we get what we had here today.”

“Wow. You get all that from a couple of tattoos and a complete failure at reading the Bible.” Jo snorted. Her hands shook, but they were hiding under the table so it didn’t matter. “Did you miss the part about motes and beams and all that? Or the Samaritan woman? I’m, like, ninety percent sure that those people would have fought even if I’d stayed on tour.”

“You should have stayed on tour. No one wants you here.” Sarah narrowed her eyes at Jo. “If even your own mother can’t stand to look at you, why should the rest of us be troubled with your presence?”

Jo shrugged. “Take it up with Tom. Much as I love hanging out here and being harangued about my sex life, I’d rather be out there with my band mates touring.”

Sarah recoiled, nose in the air. “I can see I’m not going to get anywhere with you. Just stay away from my daughter.”

Jo blinked for a second. Was Sarah really worried about Valeria’s virtue around her? If she was, that must mean she had a reason to be. Maybe there was hope after all. As for the rest of it …

She curled her lips into a wolfish smile and stood up. As Simon stood up beside her, she dropped a hand onto Sarah’s shoulder. “Oh, Sarah. I didn’t realize. I didn’t mean to lead you on. I’m not great with subtle hints. If you wanted to ‘get somewhere’ with me, you should have been more direct. If you want, I can help you find someone who might be looking for someone a little more like you, though.” She walked out of the shower, smiling.


Author Bio

J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before making the greater Boston, Massachusetts area her permanent home. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house with more animals than people.

J. V. finds most of her inspiration from music. Her tastes run the gamut from traditional to industrial and back again. When not writing she can usually be found enjoying a baseball game. She’s learning to crochet so she can make blankets to fortify herself against the cold.

J. V. can be found on Twitter at @JVSpeyer, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JVSpeyer

Website: http://www.jessicawritesonline.com
Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/JVSpeyerAuthor/
Twitter: @jvspeyer
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14108614.J_V_Speyer
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-v-speyer/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.V.-Speyer/e/B074G3SMMB/

COVER REVEAL: Creature, by Kim Fielding

Creature - Kim Fielding

Kim Fielding is about to release book three in her “Bureau” series, and we have the over reveal for you here! The book comes out on May 7th, and can be read as a stand alone. You can preorder it now!


About the Book:

Alone in a cell and lacking memories of his past, John has no idea who—or what—he is.

Alone on the streets of 1950s Los Angeles, Harry has far too many memories of his painful past and feels simply resignation in facing his empty future.

When Harry is given a chance to achieve his only dream—to become an agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs—all he has to do is prove his worth. Yet nothing has ever come easy for him. Now he must offer himself and John as bait, enticing a man who wants to conquer death. But first he and John must learn what distinguishes a monster from a man—and what a monster truly wants.

Preorder “Creature” Now From Amazon


About Kim

Kim Fielding is the bestselling, award-winning author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Author Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites/
Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/KFieldingWrites
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4105707.Kim_Fielding
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/kim-fielding/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kim-Fielding/e/B006FN2T78/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1521954454&sr=8-1

Words: Family

Swan family, swanning about. Source: Pixabay

The word I’d like to discuss for this month is “family.”  It might seem an odd choice for April, seeing as how we’re heading into spring (hah!) and renewal, rebirth, and all that jazz. April is also the month when many “ladies’” magazines start running features on baby shower planning, bridal shower planning, and all the things you’re not doing to prepare for Mother’s Day. So we’ve got the punitive side of “family” right there.

 

As I sit here typing this, I’m preparing for the annual family Easter trip. By the time you read this, I’ll be sitting around a very crowded table in New York City. I married into a Greek Orthodox family, and we celebrate Easter on a different calendar. There are all kinds of traditions and rituals associated with the holiday, which I won’t go into here because I’m not writing a feature on how to decorate for Easter. The big thing is community, and celebrating together with your family.

 

Well, and resurrection. But we won’t be resurrecting anything at the table besides a few grudges, which is part of family too.

 

Our families are part of what make every one of us who we are, whether it’s conscious or unconscious, whether we emulate a family member or whether we make a conscious choice never to become that person looking on from the family portrait gallery. We can’t help it. Even those of us who grew up without families are still affected by that circumstance. Our families don’t define our entire existence, but they do form a significant part of our life experience and in many cases our genetic background. They are part of us.

 

You would never know I was part of my mother’s family to look at me. I look like my father’s mother, enough that her own sister called me by her name. (She was pretty confused by that point, but still.)  My blood type, my skeletal structure, my mannerisms, the way I speak, and even the way I cut food when I cook – these all come to me directly from my mother’s family. They mark me so strongly as one of them that people from the Old Country – from which we’ve been cut off for a hundred years now – recognize them. I can’t control any of those – well I might be able to change my speech mannerisms if I tried very hard.

 

So – they’re part of me, whether I want them to be or not. And when we create characters, or we read characters, that character’s family is part of that character too. That family might never show up on the page. The character might be an orphan, who didn’t know their family at all, but their family will still be part of their story. The author, at least, needs to know who they were and how they affected that character.

 

We’re all here because we like queer romance. It’s really hard for me to imagine life as an LGBTQ+ individual without imagining the role family has to play on the character. Do they accept this character for who they are?  Do they reject them?  Have they stuck their heads into the sand, like an ostrich, and are they still trying to set the character up with the neighborhood roofing guy because “he’s such a good catch, Sharon!  He’s been to college, so you’ll have something to talk about!”

 

I have an upcoming release in which different family members, for both main characters, react differently to their family members’ sexualities. Family was one of the big themes of Whirlwind.

 

I recently read a book by Clancy Nacht and Thursday Euclid, called The Congressman’s Whore. It’s a good book, I recommend it if you’re into contemporary m/m, but what I want to point out here is the use of family as it relates to the two main characters. Upton’s mother is a major supporting character and it’s easy to see the effect she had on her son’s life, and continues to have.

 

It’s not hard to see the effect the father has on his son’s life either, even though he ever appears on the page as a living person.

 

Sloan’s family only show up sporadically, and never in direct contact with Sloan. We can see, however, how they’ve affected his life in every step he takes. He’s nothing like his family, but they’re still part of his makeup. Even the (reasonable) choice to not be like them is still a response to the family.

 

Now of course, families take a lot of the blame for society’s ills. Mothers bear the brunt of that, because misogyny, but one of the first responses people have to, say, a school shooting is, “What’s wrong with how these mothers are raising their kids?  These kids aren’t raised right!”  Not everything a character does is the result of some aberration or sin on the part of the family. All kinds of life events can lead to different behaviors or patterns on a character’s part later on. So, of course, can how a family responds to them.

 

When I was a kid, I developed a fascination with genealogy. I was hoping to find where I, personally, fit into our family tree. I found a whole lot of what I wasn’t looking for, to include one charmer from the Colonial period who buried 8 wives before anyone figured out something was amiss. People who go looking for things won’t always like what they find, and this is especially true when you can’t exactly pick and choose the people who share strands of DNA with you. Has your character time for all or part of his family?  Why?  What will he do when (if) he finds them?

 

Family is complicated. They help to form all of our first ideas of the world. Then we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out which of those ideas are the right ones to tear down, and if they’re awful enough to tear the rest down with it. We build new families, whether it’s by blood or by choice. We make them places to belong, but they still help to define us one way or another. Knowing our characters’ families can help us to understand the characters a little better, add depth, and even help with plot.

NEW RELEASE REVIEW: Vice Enforcer by S.A. Stovall

Author: S.A. Stovall
Book: Vice Enforcer
Series: Vice City, Book #2
Page/Word Count: 259, 84K words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Buy Links:

Buy Vice Enforcer by S.A. Stovall on Amazon Buy Vice Enforcer by S.A. Stovall on Barnes & Noble Buy Vice Enforcer by S.A. Stovall on iBooks Buy Vice Enforcer by S.A. Stovall on KOBO Add Vice Enforcer by S.A. Stovall on QueeRomance Add Vice Enforcer by S.A. Stovall on Goodreads

Holding on to a life worth living can be hard when the nightmares of the past come knocking.

Blurb:
Buy Vice Enforcer by S.A. Stovall on AmazonEight months ago, Nicholas Pierce, ex-mob enforcer, faked his death and assumed a new identity to escape sadistic mob boss Jeremy Vice. With no contacts outside the underworld, Pierce finds work with a washed-up PI. It’s an easy enough gig—until investigating a human trafficking ring drags him back to his old stomping grounds.

Miles Devonport, Pierce’s partner, is top of his class at the police academy while single-handedly holding his family together. But when one lieutenant questions Pierce’s past and his involvement in the investigation, Miles must put his future on the line to keep Pierce’s secrets.

The situation becomes dire when it’s discovered the traffickers have connections to the Vice family. The lives of everyone Pierce cares about are in danger—not least of all his own, if Jeremy Vice learns he’s back from the dead. Pierce and Miles face a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels—one that will gladly destroy them to keep operating. As Pierce uses every dirty trick he learned from organized crime to protect the new life he’s building, he realizes that no matter how hard he tries, he might never escape his past.

But he’s not going down without a fight.

reviewericon-natalie

5✨s – I always was attracted to bad boys and I’ve found my new book boyfriend in Nicholas Pierce. At first, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of him in book one, Vice City, but S.A. Stovall’s deft handling of black humor and often tongue-in-cheek character portrayals was a delight. I found this story even more delightful as she goes about redeeming the irredeemable Pierce. Hiding out with Miles and living with Miles’s siblings Lily and Jayden, he’s trying to go “straight” by becoming a PI and attempting more regular pursuits, like gardening:

“I find a passage about caring for plants midgrowth. It reads: talking to your plants is one surefire way to perk them up! Talk to the plants? What do you say to a plant? “Grow, you little piece of s**t,” I say. “Don’t you wanna live? F*****g act like it.”

Added to Pierce and Miles new life as quasi-parental figures to the siblings (emphasis on quasi for Pierce), they’re contending with Shelby the shady PI, Rhett the closeted police academy instructor, their neighbor Mrs. Timo and her granddaughter Shannon. Each has a crucial place in the plot and the plot is marvelously dark and twisty. When Pierce gets sucked back into dealing with the underworld he’d clawed his way out of, Miles still “has his back” and Pierce has his, no matter what. That leads me to mention their romance, that bears little resemblance to any typical trope. The sex is still rough, Miles wants a different dynamic between them and there are few tender words or declarations, at least not always recognizable ones. The action is fierce with plenty of bullets, blood and bodily injury.

The underlying current through the entire narrative is Pierce’s slow shift away from the hard-bitten loner we saw at the start of book one. His thought processes are both both funny and bleak as at times, as he weighs his criminally honed instincts against his desire to make Miles happy.

“Or… maybe I should call it quits. Move on. I’ve had a good run. And maybe it would be better for Miles, which, if I’m honest, really is the only reason I do anything anymore.”

You must read Vice City before reading this one but even at just two books so far, it has become a favorite for me. If you like books that are dark, gritty, with out of the norm romance, I can’t recommend this gem of a series highly enough.

About S.A. Stovall:
sa-stovall-authorS.A. Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family having a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was the moment Stovall realized that storytelling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game, or comic, she had to experience. Now as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world, and she hopes you enjoy.

Where to find S.A. Stovall:

S.A. Stovall Amazon S.A. Stovall Page S.A. Stovall on Goodreads S.A. Stovall on Twitter S.A. Stovall Website

BLOG TOUR: Livingston by J.M. Dabney

Author: J.M. Dabney
Book: Livingston
Series: Trenton Security, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 190 pages
Categories: Gay Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Buy Livingston by J.M. Dabney on Amazon Buy Livingston by J.M. Dabney on Barnes & Noble Buy Livingston by J.M. Dabney on KOBO Add Livingston by J.M. Dabney on QueeRomance Add Livingston by J.M. Dabney on Goodreads
Blurb:
He was the Beast without the escape clause.

Francis “Liv” Livingston was a beast. No matter if he wore a perfectly tailored suit or if he was in his tactical gear, people avoided looking at him. He was always first to volunteer for the jobs only a person with a death wish wanted. Tomorrows weren’t guaranteed. His boss had come to him and told him he needed him for a job. Linus knew the jobs he liked, but when he opened the file, it all went to hell.

Beauty was only skin deep.

Fielding Haskell made his way in the world on his looks. He’d earned his first film role before he could read a script. He didn’t want the fame. He wanted to go to college. He wanted a man who didn’t look at him and see how pretty he was. Unfortunately, a so-called fan only cared how attractive he was, and it earned him a personal bodyguard and a vacation. He looked forward to the break until he met the man in charge of his safety and wondered if the danger he left was worth dealing with a sudden attraction to a man who was colder than ice.

BLOG TOUR: Livingston by J.M. Dabney

Excerpt:
He disconnected the call and slipped his phone back into his pocket. “That for me?”

“Yes, sir, I didn’t mean—” Fielding swallowed hard. “I wasn’t listening.”

The boy closed the distance between them quickly and thrust the mug at him. He caught it before it made a trip to the ground.

“Black. I noticed you didn’t, um, put anything in your coffee. Is it strong enough?”

He hesitated with the mug at his lips. He swore the boy was holding his breath waiting for his approval. Taking a sip, it was perfect, but he took his time to see how long Fielding would keep himself from breathing. Nothing much amused him anymore, but that was doing it for him.

During the time the boy was in his home he’d picked up on little things about him. Fielding’s need for approval. The boy’s natural submissiveness. Fielding was also downright domestic.

“Not bad.”

“I’ll do better. Are you going somewhere?”

“No, not for a few more days. We’ll head to the office for a check-in, and see what Linus’ boy, Hunter, found out about your stalker.” Interesting, the stalker comment hadn’t earned a flinch, but the moment he said boy, the kid’s perfectly arched brows rose. “Make a list of anything you need. We’ll hit the store before we come back.”

“Can I get candy and chips?”

The question took him by surprise. Fielding didn’t look like anything fattening ever passed his pretty lips.

“Do you want candy and chips?”

“So much.”
He hid his smile behind his mug at the boy’s longing sigh. He’d noticed the boy didn’t eat very much, not enough in his opinion, but Fielding wasn’t big. Tiny compared to him, probably not for normal sized men.

“We’ll see then.”

“Yes, sir.”

One more submissive little yes, sir with averted eyes and the boy was going to find himself on his knees worshiping his cock. He was too old for the boy, but his dick didn’t seem to have a problem with it. What made it harder to resist Fielding was a natural submissive born to be someone’s boy. He was inclined to dominate and to have the perfect boy in front of him was more temptation than he’d ever experienced.

He needed to get Fielding as far away from him as possible and soon.

BLOG TOUR: Livingston by J.M. Dabney

About J.M. Dabney:
J.M. Dabney - AuthorJ.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. She lives with a constant diverse cast of characters in her head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. she lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure she does them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and she makes sure her characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more she wants from telling her stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

Where to find J.M. Dabney:
J.M. Dabney Amazon Author Page J.M. Dabney's Facebook Author Page J.M. Dabney's Facebook Group Page J.M. Dabney on Goodreads J.M. Dabney on Twitter J.M. Dabney Website

Only White People Fall In Love #weneedmorediversebooks #ownvoices

(Note: My apologies to the author. The mistake has been corrected. Thanks to a reader for pointing it out.)

Got your attention, didn’t it?

Yeah, this is going to ruffle some feathers, but that’s okay, they need to be ruffled.

We’re all aware that racism is rampant in the world. Plenty of people don’t like anything outside of the straight, white, and cis or their own race which is just as problematic. That’s not okay, but it’s their prerogative.

Racism is learned.

You’re not born to be hateful on someone just because they’re different than you. Growing up racist or intolerant is definitely a product of one’s surroundings, and whether or not you think it exists it does.

But let’s not continue to talk about the world’s problems. Let’s stick with publishing because this is a fiction blog after all. Fiction is supposed to be our escape from the real world and its problems. It’s supposed to be where we allow our imaginations to run wild whether it be to some make-believe land full of vamps and werewolves or a different planet with aliens who have three heads.

You get the picture. It’s supposed to take us away from reality, because, well it’s fiction, right? But, racism touches our fiction world too. And how sad is it that nothing has changed from the early days of publishing up until now.

Since I’m a romance writer, I’ll stick to romance. Romance is supposed to be about two or more souls connecting on some level. Real love is really supposed to be love without boundaries, and since this is a queer blog, we’re focusing on queer. The queer romance community is supposed to be one of inclusion, not specifically for one letter of the GLBTQIA community or for anyone of one race or culture. It’s supposed to be welcoming to all, but as shown in yesterday’s example, this is not the case.

For several years, there has been many rumblings about publishers being averse to books about queer people of color and putting those characters on book covers. However, when this author, Xen Cole McCade shared his experiences about Riptide, the ugly truth about this house was exposed. It was more than just an editor giving her two cents about characters on covers, it was an editor using her power to hush an author about his own knowledge. Then the situation was compounded with the editor sexually harassing the author.

You can read more about that here. An for a more in-depth analysis of the author’s article, please read the blog by Remmy Duchene.

What’s interesting about this situation is Riptide has been called to the mat before about its behavior. Most of us remember the incident with the “dark chocolate monkey of love,” in a book they published, but not aware of the other issues that were brought out by Courtney Milan on Twitter, here and here.

Apparently, the toxic culture at RT has been that way for quite a while. And while I notice a fair number of books with people of color, it doesn’t make the accusations of having a toxic culture disappear. Obviously, there are problems from top on down, but that’s another blog, isn’t it? And since I’m not an RT author, I won’t speculate any further.

However, I can say this. Being in publishing, I’ve seen a lot of ugliness. Writing fiction and giving representation to one’s own culture shouldn’t be an issue. Whether it’s the cover or the experiences, publishers should want more books with #ownvoices. After all, it keeps them out of fallouts like this one.

Despite the facts, that isn’t the case. Publishing, especially romancelandia, has a big whitewash problem. Many authors claim they don’t want to get it wrong or they can’t relate. Well, excuse me while I call BS on that. While it’s certainly true that you can’t relate to the struggles of a person of color, you can write about PoC characters. How often have I mentioned writing a person with respect and without stereotypes? When you do that, you can’t get it wrong. Of course, if you delve more into cultures and if writing historical, looking back on certain happenings with a PoC, you do have to do more research. But when writing a contemporary without the historical perspectives, write them as if you’d write yourself. You wouldn’t make generalizations about someone of your own race so why make those generalizations about someone else?

Now some may say, they don’t want to hear those stories from people who aren’t of #ownvoice, but that shouldn’t stop you. It is also within your right to outwardly refuse to write a person of color as well because, hey it’s your writing. However, when publishers contribute to this by not at least giving authors of color or authors who write PoC a fair shot, they’re contributing to the problem.

Representation matters. Listening to authors tell their stories should be a priority for publishers, especially in romance.

Why are all the characters who fall in love white?

Don’t I as a person of color deserve to see someone who looks like me getting their happy too?

I do, and I demand it.

Publishers who balk at this idea won’t get my money or my stories.

So, to end this on a positive note, I feel that we as authors, publishers, and readers can do better. Every year there are reports about how publishing is doing as far as diversity is concerned and despite the uptick in authors who identify as people of color or books with people of color, it is obviously still an issue.

We shouldn’t accept the small numbers increase as progress. More of us need to step up to the plate and demand more diversity. And that shouldn’t just fall on people, of color, it should be on everyone who truly believes that love is love!

* * * *

I’d love comments on this, but please be respectful of me and this blog. Thanks to Scott for allowing me to have my say every month!

Bio: Romance and erotica author Sharita Lira believes that love conquers all. Writing sexy stories of people who might be complete opposites, but somehow make a lasting connection that often leads to a happily ever after.

Happily married and mother of two, Sharita never allows complex plots to deter her from writing the story. Inspired by heavy music, attractive people she’s seen in person and on the internet, Sharita always has a tale on her brain.

In addition to being a computer geek and a metalhead, Sharita loves live music, reading, and spending time with family and friends. She’s also a founding member and contributor to the heavy metal ezine FourteenG.

For more information, please visit http://www.thelitriad.com and if you’re a fan who would like exclusive updates on her writings and chances to win prizes, sign up for the newsletter!

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Words: Anticipation

Krokus poking through the snow. Source: Myriams-fotos via Pixabay

As we inch our way into March, we find ourselves anticipating quite a few things. Maybe we’re waiting on a new release (ahem.)  Maybe we’re waiting for Spring – we had a few glimpses in February, but they seem buried under snow now that March is here. Maybe we’re waiting for a holiday like Easter or Passover, or the Spring Equinox. Maybe we’re just waiting for warmer temperatures and Daylight Savings Time.

 

Either way, it seems like anticipation is the name of the game right now. And while it can be fun to gear up for something, to hold our breaths and watch for some long prayed-for event, it can also be torture.

 

I’m sitting in my workspace right now, watching some huge old trees on our property line sway dangerously in the wind for the second time in a week. We’re expecting yet another nor’easter. It probably won’t be another “bomb cyclone,” which is something like a blizzard and something like a small hurricane but sounds like a cheap cocktail served to people with fake IDs on Spring Break. It will definitely be enough to make our kitten spend the night in constant vigilance, shouting at the wind from the kitchen window to scare the storm away.

 

We know it’s going to hit, we’re not sure when, and we’re not sure how bad. That’s anticipation.

 

You know what else is anticipation? I beta read a book by a friend of mine here on QRI. I haven’t seen it available for sale yet, or else I’d aim you there in a heartbeat. I fell in love with both leads, and as the book drew toward the end I kept putting it down. Why? I was afraid of The Black Moment, the point when everything seems to be going wrong for the couple. I couldn’t face the thought of these two people in pain. I knew the book would have a happily ever after ending, but the anticipation was too much for me to bear.

 

We do that with holidays too, don’t we? Little kids do it most, but we do it as adults as well. We get worked up about people’s reactions to the gifts we give them. We look forward to their excitement and we worry about their disappointment. We just about salivate over holiday meal favorites, from traditional Seder dishes to Thanksgiving standbys.

 

And we definitely do it with books.

 

I read a book recently. It was funny. It had a lot of sexual content, but it wasn’t erotic. It was more of a comedy, actually, a historical romp with a hint of mystery. The only problem was that the cover led me to expect something with a bit more erotic content. I was anticipating something erotic, and I chose to read that particular book at that particular time to help psyche myself up to work on a project that was a little past my typical comfort zone.

 

I still gave it a four-star review, because it was a good book that kept me laughing the whole time. But everything about the book made me anticipate something different, and I did leave disappointed.

 

When I find out a favorite author has a new book coming out, anticipation builds quickly. Does it work that way for you? If, say, A. E. Via has a new release, I’m downright distracted about it. That’s the result of consistency and brand building. I know I’m going to get a certain type of character, a certain type of adventure, and a certain pace. If I’m not in the mood to handle that, I’ll put off the book for a little while, but that sense of anticipation is still there.

 

As writers, we get that anticipatory glow too. At least I do. I know some folks hate the start of a new project, but for me it’s the best part. Everything is new and clean. I can see it stretching out before me with a nicely measured pace, everything cooperating to make sure I can get it done without ever losing focus…

 

Stop laughing. I can hear you, you know.

 

Seriously, though, I love those moments early in a project when I can anticipate how it’s going to go. It’s a lot like hope, and a little like worry, with a whole lot of enthusiasm thrown in for good measure. Every character sheet I draw up is a new bud on a tree, just starting to poke itself out to let me know what’s ahead. Every point on my outline is the temperature getting warmer, every new chapter in the project plan is a new season coming to life before my eyes.

 

Early spring is a season of anticipation. It’s a little challenging, because we’ve been waiting so long and we know we’ve got a way to go. Somehow anticipation feels worse when we can see the end of the line. It’s beautiful, because we have so much hope and life ahead of us that we can only enjoy what’s to come.

SYLVRE LININGS: Inaugural post for my column on QRI!

Hello fellow readers and writers. A while back, when I had a Facebook profile under my pen name Lou Sylvre, I also had a group named Sylvre Linings. It was a carefully closed group, because all kinds of stuff got posted, some of it definitely NSFW. It was a fun group, but when I lost that profile, I lost it, and didn’t start again. But I like the idea of silver linings (with a twist for my pen name), so whenI was searching for a name for my column, I decided to resurrect the old group name. (I’m also thinking aobut resurrecting the group on Facebook, more about that later.)

So here it is: Sylvre Linings. I’m not quite sure how often I’m going to post, yet—somewhere between monthly and quarterly. Sylvre Linings doesn’t have to be about big, important things, I figure. Sometimes it’s the little things in an author’s (or reader’s) life that make the sun peek out from the mood-clouds and light up the day.

This time, what has me smiling is my recent birthday. Birthdays are often full of celebration, so what’s the big deal? Well, this year, not only did I have a fantastic day with my daughter and grandsons (we went mini-golfing, toured part of a huge collectibles/swap meet, took the scenic route home so I could linger in memory lane, and had a family gathering teriyaki dinner) but also, with the help of my publisher, Dreamspinner, I had a fabulous day with readers.

A little before midmorning, I happened on an image (on Pixabay) that reminded me of a favorite-ish scene in the first book in Vasquez and James series. After a little manipulation and adding text, I had something I hoped would bring a little smile to people on Facebook, and I posted it. The positive response I got gave me the brilliant idea to give the book away—a birthday gift from me (and the publisher) to everyone who wanted it. I have no idea how many books were picked up that day. It doesn’t matter. Because the silver (Sylvre) lining here is about the joy with which people commented, and the joy it gave me to see people still remember that book (and me). It made a huge difference for me. Maybe you know I’ve struggled a bit the last few years, and my writing career took a real dip. Sometimes I feel like people I interact with don’t even know I’m an author. But this small thing let light burst through that cloud. Thanks, readers, friends, and Dreamspinner. It was a happy day.

Here’s that graphic and snippet:

The articles I plan for this column won’t always be about my life as an author. Sometimes they won’t even be about me—and if you have a suggestion for a post, I’d love to hear it. You can reach me at lou.sylvre@gmail.com, I’m @sylvre on twitter, and Loretta Lou Sylvre Sylvestre on Facebook (but you can call me Lou). And what do you think about the idea of starting up the Sylvre Linings group again? This time around, I think the group would be a place for people to post bits of good news, or things that made them laugh, books they loved, moments in their day that gave them joy, even positive moments or outcomes in tough times. Let me know what you think in comments here, or by contacting me in any of the ways I mentioned. If you think you’d like to be part of the group, mention that and I’ll add you when (if) I start it up.

Lou Sylvre IconThanks for hanging with me for my first ever post on QRI, and thanks Scott, Mark, and QRI for giving Sylvre Linings a berth on their shores.

See you soon!

NEW RELEASE REVIEW: Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth

NEW RELEASE REVIEW: Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Book: Lander
Series: The Oberon Cycle, Book #2
Page/Word Count: 294 pages, 91K words
Categories: Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Buy Links:
Buy Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth on Amazon Buy Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth on Barnes & Noble Buy Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth on iBooks Buy Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth on KOBO Add Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth on QueeRomance Add Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth on Goodreads

Blurb:
Buy Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth on AmazonIn the sequel to the Rainbow-Award-winning Skythane, Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.

Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander’s kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive. Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them.

In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.

Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel concocted? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?

reviewericon-Jessie

4.5✨s – First and foremost, you absolutely must read Skythane before you read Lander. You need to know where Xander and Jameson began, how and why they reunified Oberon and Titania together, and all the potential angst that will cause. Because Lander is chock full of all angst, hope, anger, love, frustration, (unwanted) blasts from the past, and the key—of course 🙂

The world building is flawless. The chemistry (which may well be chemically induced) is a low simmer beneath all the other moving parts, making me root for Xander and Jameson no matter what reason they were brought together. And the supporting cast of characters brings it all together in a believable fantasy that…ended in a damn cliffhanger. I knew it going in, it wasn’t a surprise, but I was still shaking my tablet and cursing Scott all the way from Florida.

This series continues to get better and it’s one you should experience for yourself.

Buy Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth on Amazon

About J. Scott Coatsworth:
Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Where to find J. Scott Coatsworth:

J. Scott Coatsworth Amazon J. Scott Coatsworth Page J. Scott Coatsworth on Facebook J. Scott Coatsworth's Facebook Author Page J. Scott Coatsworth on Goodreads J. Scott Coatsworth on Twitter J. Scott Coatsworth Website

Back to Nola!

St. Louis Cathedral

As you read this, I’m already in New Orleans, enjoying the sights of Mardi Gras. Here’s an older article I wrote about why I love the Big Easy!

Greetings readers.

Although I’m in my early 40’s, it’s so easy to revert back to being a kid when it comes to the Big Easy. And most do, especially during Mardi Gras.

In February or March, many tourists flock to N’awlins to take in parades, the bars to listen to love music, and drink until their hearts content or right before they puke.

*laughs*

The Courthouse in Nola

It’s equivalent to Rio’s Carnivale but in my estimation, a lot more tame. Restaurants, hotels, and any tourist attractions thrive around this time because adults make the Gras their playground. And why wouldn’t they? The atmosphere surrounding the city is infectious!

 

However, there’s more to that. The lovely architecture of Saint Louis Cathedral, the cemeteries, the Garden District, and the famous Café Du Monde, are just a few things to enjoy in New Orleans.

 

For me, it’s a hotbed of inspiration that I love coming back to.  In fact, a few of my books are set in New Orleans. The N’awlins Exotica series, N’awlins Exotica Paranormal, which features my favorite vampires, Ryland and Ryder Durand, as well as Anasa’s Awakening.

Although I’ve been there many times, it’s my favorite destination. I love talking about the city, the wonderful culture, as well as the scenery.

I haven’t been too many places, but New Orleans definitely tops my list. Someday, I hope to make it permanent home or at least a vacation spot to revisit every year.

If you’ve visited NOLA, share some of your thoughts.

 

* * * *

The entire N’awlins Exotica Series is on Kindle Unlimited!

Read all seven books for FREE here 

Series Blurb: 

The city of New Orleans is rich in tradition, diverse, and known for the inspiration it provides. In the “Big Easy” there lies the hunger for the erotic as well as the unknown. The residents here feel that sexual energy and it reveals itself through their various creative activities.

Join the characters as they take a wild ride on the edge, enjoying their town for all it has to offer. There’s a certain magic in the air, an erotic magic that cannot be ignored.