I checked the calendar this morning and had to do a double-take. We’re at July 31st! July 31st! Has this year flown by for you like it has me? Sure, it’s been a very strange year. One for the history books in so many ways. A year where we’re living from one disaster to another. Plus, we’re stuck at home.
I had to think back to my childhood where we stayed glued to the TV through JFK’s assassination, the moon landing, the Viet Nam war. (An aside, one of my most vivid memories was watching a reporter get shot and having a South Vietnamese medic wrapping his leg with a tourniquet—while he continued his report!) Now, we (maybe just I?) can watch news 24/7. I’m listening to the news while I’m typing this! It’s crazy. Not healthy, I’m sure, but I feel like I have to know the second when the zombie apocalypse starts! Because that’s next, right?
In the meantime, it’s the end of July. I did plenty of work this month but don’t yet have a new book to share. That happens in August. Check out Cage, if you’re ready for another sexy bounty hunter. I did a s*$t-ton of editing for other folks. I painted my ass off. I spent a lot of pool time with the kids. So, I wasn’t lazy. I just wasn’t writing fast enough. I realize I’ve been using my family’s self-isolation as an excuse to…watch more movies with the family, participate in meal preparation, playing with the little ones, playing with a new hobby that provides me joy… Maybe that makes me a bad writer, but I’m not caring. 🙂
Hello, everyone! Big thanks to Delilah for letting me hang out with you today in her place. I always appreciate it and always have a great time.
I just had my birthday a couple of days ago. For some people, they’re not a big deal. For us, they’re mostly a family thing, though when my kids were younger, we of course did the parties with classmates so they could do something fun, like hayrides, or bowling, or whatever the fun thing was that year. Now that they’re grown, it’s just immediate family and occasionally one of their friends for dinner, cake and presents. For us, as parents, it’s usually the same, minus their friends.
But I remember family birthdays from when I was a kid, where sometimes extended family came (and I have a very large extended family), usually grandparents, or when we were in school, best friends. My mom always made our birthday cakes, and we got to choose what we had for our birthday dinner—I had lasagna a lot of years because I loved Italian food. I remember how much fun it was with the whole family around the table, eating a special dinner, then digging into a delicious homemade cake.
When you’re a kid, you don’t fully appreciate those days, I think, or at least I don’t believe that I did. When you’re a kid, you think things will always be the same, right? That your family will always be together, that home is always going to be there. Also while wishing fervently for the time to come when you can date, or drive, or any number of other milestones. And before you know it, you’re not home anymore, or at least not in your childhood home, your family is spread over seven states, and those family days are fewer and far between.
Anyone else has moments when they look back at these things and wish you’d paid closer attention, or to just go there for one day, one hour? Maybe it’s just the birthday. There are a lot of July birthdays in my family, and they all seem bunched up in a 7-10 day period, including a couple on the same day. But these days, we’re reduced to birthday cards in the mail, phone calls, text messages, and Facebook because none of us live close together.
So this is my long-winded way of saying pay attention to those days when you get to be with the people you love, always. If you’re lucky, you’ll continue to have lots more of them, and you’ll still have all the good memories. If you’re not as lucky, you will have the good memories, and even though they aren’t the same, they’re still a really nice thing to have as a substitute.
These days, we’re making new memories, just with a smaller group, and I know better now. These days and moments are precious and deserve full attention. My family birthday dinner will be this coming weekend. I am not making my own cake but ordered one from a place I love as a splurge, and our little group will have a good meal, followed by amazing cheesecake, and I will cherish every moment of it.
Since I last visited here, I have a new novella out, so I have an ebook version to give away in the winner’s format of choice. Just tell me something you know now that you wish you’d known “then” about birthdays. Or maybe just a favorite birthday memory? Everyone who shares by 11:00pm on July 30, 2020 will be entered in the giveaway.
Lucie had been on Mac’s Light Island for almost three weeks, but the view from the back door of her temporary home still took her breath away. Right now, she realized she’d been standing there staring, slack-jawed, at the sunlight glinting off the grey-blue ocean waves for a good five minutes. Shaking her head, she pulled the door shut and stepped down onto the sidewalk, feeling in her purse for her car keys.
She closed her fingers on the fob as a giggle reached her ears. She turned to the white picket fence that bordered the property next door as a big multi-colored ball sailed over it, toward her. “Oh!” She caught it before it hit her in the face, then started across the grass, balancing the ball on her hand.
Another giggle sounded as she neared the fence, so she adjusted her direction a tiny bit and came to a stop looking directly down onto a tousled blond head.
“I think you lost something,” she said.
The little boy’s face tipped up quickly, his blue eyes wide with surprise–as if he couldn’t believe she’d found him already.
Lucie grinned and held the ball higher.
He smiled as he got to his feet, brushing off his jeans-clad knees.
From seeing him playing outside several times already, she’d guessed he might be four, but now at close range, she scaled that back to three.
“Hi, I’m Hayden,” he said, holding out his right hand.
It was her turn to be surprised. She shook his hand, bemused. “Hi, Hayden, I’m Lucie.” Not too many three-year-olds had such good manners. Aside from the ball toss at her face, that is. “Nice to meet you.”
He glanced up at his ball. “Me an’ my dad are your neighbors.”
“I see that.” She noted he hadn’t mentioned his mom. “Who were you playing with?” She gave the ball a little bounce.
“Maybe you wanna play with me.” Guileless blue eyes locked on her face.
Ah. She squelched the pang in her chest. “I wish I could, but I’m on my way to town. Maybe we can play another time?” she added when his grin vanished.
“Like this afternoon?”
The deep voice got her attention–and the boy’s–just before a tall, sandy-haired man rounded the back corner of the next-door house.
Lucie’s mouth went dry. Wowza!
About the Author
Elizabeth Andrews has been a book lover since she was old enough to read. She read her copies of Little Women and the Little House series so many times, the books fell apart. As an adult, her book habit continues. She has a room overflowing with her literary collection right now, and still more spreading into other rooms. Almost as long as she’s been reading great stories, she’s been attempting to write her own. Thanks to a fifth-grade teacher who started the class on creative writing, Elizabeth went from writing creative sentences to short stories and eventually full-length novels. Her father saved her poor, callused fingers from permanent damage when he brought home a used typewriter for her.
Elizabeth found her mother’s stash of romance novels as a teenager, and—though she loves horror—romance became her very favorite genre, making writing romances a natural progression.
Along with her enormous book stash, Elizabeth lives with her husband of twenty-six years and spends plenty of time with her two young adult sons who have recently flown the coop. When she’s not at work or buried in books or writing, there is a garden outside full of herbs, flowers, and vegetables that requires occasional attention.
My journey to writing gay romances was full of twists, turns, and switchbacks. I wrote my first book in 2012, the same year I bought my first e-reader. I had no notion of books beyond those being traditionally published and the indie world opened my eyes to the possibility of writing for more than just a major publisher. The collision encouraged me to open myself up to what else was out there.
I read my first gay romance in 2013. It was an Ava March story, Pleasures of Somerville Park. It was revelatory, but not earth-moving. I had gay friends. I’d seen Tony Kushner’s Angels in America plays in Toronto. I’d enjoyed the movies Peter’s Friends and Philadelphia. I thought I was enlightened. What I had yet to discover is there was a whole subgenre of romance called gay romance that was about to really break out. And it did so mostly by word of mouth.
A good friend insisted I try books by Tara Lain, Marie Sexton, and Kaje Harper. I was just moving into audiobooks so I tried Kaje’s Into Deep Water. My mind was blown. Here were two gay men in the navy during the Second World War in the Pacific Theater. I had no notion. And not only did their new love survive the war, they went on to live together and love together well into their eighties. I was moved, realizing for the first time just how difficult things had been for gay men and lesbians back then. I supported marriage equality, of course, and was pleased that Canada was one of the first countries to adopt the legislation, but I still was naïve.
From there I moved on to Tara Lain’s Knight of Ocean Avenue from her Love in Laguna series, and I was hooked. I’ve never looked back. My first dip into writing gay romance was when I saw a call from a publisher. There were certain criteria and I hit all of them, quite pleased with myself. Then I asked a Beta Reader – a gay man – and he had plenty of feedback, including that the story was incomplete. He was right and eventually I did tackle the edits for that book. The call from the publisher had long closed but I had something I really loved. That being said, the book is way too long and still in need of work. I will publish it one day, I promise.
Another call from a different publisher caught my attention. This was a general call and there was no specific mention of gay romance, yet I knew I wanted to be part of this. The series is set in a small fictional Vermont town with an inn at the center. Every book had to have a visitor from the inn meeting someone in town. I went way out of my wheelhouse and chose a black Civil War soldier’s ghost who haunts the local cemetery and a history professor from Scotland who is in America to research untold stories of the dead. I had my story, I had my conflict (because one of them is dead, how are you supposed to get a happy ending?), and I was off to write a story I believed in. My first paranormal as well, but that was secondary to the love story between the two men. The book, My Past, Your Future, was my first book published and I earned some great reviews.
The next call from the publisher was for beach-read books. The only criteria was there had to be ice cream and a beach. I ruminated over that for months before one day knowing the story I had to tell. I wanted the book set in my city, Vancouver, Canada, and I knew I wanted something to do with the film industry. A story coalesced and the next thing I knew, I had a book. The edits moved swiftly as the publisher wanted to get the book out in time for summer. Catch a Tiger by the Tail was released last month and I have to say I’m happy with the project. And if you’ve never heard of tiger tail ice cream (orange cream with ribbons of black licorice), here’s your chance. I call this book my fake-boyfriend age-gap gay rom-com.
Catch a Tiger by the Tail
Thomas Walsh knows the number one rule in the film industry. Don’t get involved with the talent. But resisting the urge to take the big screen to the bedroom can be hell when the lead actor on the set looks good enough to eat…one slow lick at a time.
Peter Erickson’s latest role as a gay man hits a little too close to home. He’s still in the closet and secretly grieving the death of his lover. Then an enchanting production assistant catches his eye, and he’s surprised by the instant attraction that stirs more than his wounded soul.
When the two men are caught on camera in a very intimate pose, both Thomas and Peter are afraid they’ve caught a tiger by the tail.
Excerpt from Catch a Tiger by the Tail…
“The frown is back, Peter.”
Damn. “Just concentrating on the ice cream.”
“If you say so.”
I turned to him and stuck out my tongue.
His mouth gaped open. “Did you just stick your tongue out at me?”
Leaning over, I took another swipe at his ice cream. Little remained, only cone. Much the same as mine.
“You know, that licorice is growing on me.” The orange cream was becoming a favorite. “What’s it called?”
“Tiger tail.” The omnipresent grin was back. “Created by a woman named Morgan Carr back in the 1950s, it is very popular in Canada, Southern Ontario in particular. It is almost impossible to find in the United States.”
He said the words with faux officiousness, and I burst out laughing. “I find the flavor oddly compelling.”
“Ah, but here’s the real test—would you pick it all on your own if you had the choice?”
“Over the other hundred flavors?” Good question. “I’m not sure. I love cookies and cream, adore chocolate chunk, and have even enjoyed spumoni.”
Thomas gagged. “That’s disgusting. You obviously have no taste.”
“Says the man who believes black licorice belongs in ice cream.”
“You enjoyed it.”
“Probably more than I should have.” There, the honest truth. I had enjoyed it. I enjoyed the company even more.
Gabbi lives surrounded by trees, raccoons, deer, and other woodland creatures, on a mountain in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin poo keeps her safe from nasty bears.
Working for the government by day, she spends her nights writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances…and while she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love.
Does it feel as though the days are just blending together? I had to check the calendar to figure out what day of the week it was. There’s a sameness that’s just a bit numbing to my days now.
There are bright spots. The 7-year-old has decided that my bed is the softest, so she comes toodling in at bedtime with a smug smile. She knows I’ll flip back the covers and let her join me. Then we’ll lie side-by-side in the dark and talk about what’s happening with her favorite YouTube personality. The pool is another highlight. I mostly bob around on a noodle, enjoying the giant bathtub (the pool’s temp is right around 90 degrees!). It’s so relaxing if I stick to the side opposite of where the 7-year-old and 11-year-old are trying to drown each other in “sea battles.”
I have a book to finish and two sets of edits to work on. Plenty to keep me busy. And I’m trying to slowly get control over my craft room/office sprawl. So, yes, plenty to do.
The fall will look a lot like the summer, minus pool time. Our school district is offering an online option for students, so we’re opting for that. Gah!
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me a story about what’s happening in this picture!
BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY starts TODAY! If you want to be part of the tour for new release NATHAN UNWRAPPED – by Susan Saxx, please go here, to SILVER DAGGER TOURS! July 25th to August 25th. Tons of chances to win!
I’m pretty excited. I’ve started writing in a new genre! And I’ve fallen in love with it!
Why did I choose to start a new genre, while still writing M/F, especially in the Real Men series?
I found I loved exploring the different power dynamics between 2 men. There’s something about the push and pull between two warriors, two characters with similar power bases figuring out how to come together.
And the intense vulnerability when they finally do…
It’s got me captivated.
What did some of my lovely advance readers, die-hard M/F fans say, of their first foray into M/M romance?
“This is not usually a genre I read but I am so glad I made an exception this time. Even if M/M is not your thing I urge you to read this book. It is first and foremost an exceptionally beautiful book about love in all its magical and diverse forms.”
“Yep. Welcome to my first ever review for a M/M romance. No one is more shocked than I am since I land squarely in the box for liking hetero romances. This doesn’t mean I’m a hater, it’s just not my jam.
…But most of all, I was overwhelmed with the love that bound this house full of people that life had kicked to the curb. Not only did they have an outrageous, over-the-top love for each other, but they even had love for those on the outside who chose not to show love to them. Beautiful story. Fabulous depth. Pure joy.”
We all have our favorites, and that’s GOOD. However, if you love m/m, or just love love, and want to try something new (but not really…it’s still love…), here’s the series blurb.
THE MEN OF HOPE HOUSE
Refuge Bay spills into glorious Chesapeake Bay. It’s here Nathan Gentael has found his hope again, his mission…in the ancient century home that’s been in his family for generations.
To gather together gay men who have been shredded by life, to give them a chance. A second shot at life…
The men who come will not have it easy. Romance will be the last thing on their minds.
But love will find them…
A sensitive artist, frozen in time, but with a new mission… An ex-military bulldozer of a man who doesn’t brook any opposition and has his own agenda… And a derelict manse, in stunning, out of the way Refuge Bay, that must be rebuilt…
The cataclysmic drop in Nathan’s gut was all too familiar. If the pushy investor came in now and saw the disorder, everything would be lost.
His mission. The only thing he knew that could make his existence even remotely redeemable. It would all be gone. Again. And he didn’t know that he could recover from that kind of loss.
This was his last reboot. Absolutely the last.
And if that was gone…
Nathan ran to the back door, slammed it shut, turned the lock. Jumped to the kitchen window, hurriedly yanked the curtain closed.
“Dude. What are you doing?”
Zach shook his head. “Buddy. He had to have seen the curtains open.”
“Pfft. Guys don’t look at curtains.”
“But the noise… the commotion in here…”
“That souped-up rod he’s driving would have drowned out the waves on a Nor’easter.” Nathan catapulted to the basement entrance, yanked out the extension cord connected to the fans downstairs, and tossed it down the wooden stairs. Then he hurriedly flipped the light in the corner off. “We’ll be super quiet. Wait him out. He won’t know any different.”
He slid down against the wall, tucked himself into the corner, looped his arm around Molly, who’d finally trotted back to his side, grinning her slobbery grin, and held her close. He motioned to Zach to join him.
None of this made sense. But hell. He was acting on instinct. “When he’s gone, we’ll contact the agent. Reschedule. Clean up. Then…”
Zach looked wild. “Nate, he’s not stupid. Even if he’s an investor with way more money than those great big balls he’s supposed to have, he’ll know. You can’t just…”
And then, as if to be the proverbial cherry on the top — in tandem with the fact that there were cherries everywhere — a loud voice filled the air, coming from the far end of the kitchen, by the hallway.
There, wrapped in a distressed brown leather jacket and knife-edged khaki pants, stood a man. Shoulders spanning, well, way more than they would on an everyday mortal. Dark hair, curling around the nape of his neck. An open-throated shirt, brown leather boots. Staring at the two of them and definitely not amused.
For a chance to win a copy of Nathan Unwrapped, please let me know in the comments: Are you reading more, in these times of Covid-19? And/or…what new genre are you hankering to try out?
Amazon Bestselling Author Susan Saxx has a passion for the small towns of North America. She sets her compelling stories in the north country (Jack’s Bay), mountain country (Terrence Point, Dawson Ridges, Golden) and Chesapeake Bay area (Refuge Bay), replete with quirky yet big-hearted neighbours always willing to lend a hand—and an opinion, whether requested or not.
Susan also deeply loves Christmas, with numerous Christmas stories in her series, and adds more holiday books (including Valentine’s and Halloween), annually.
As she continues to write the beloved Real Men series, she is applying her passion for love without boundaries to the m/m genre.
Whether you’re a reader or a writer, we all meet under the covers in one way or another for our fictional rush. Striving to escape from the daily routines and meet under the book covers. And we all remember what book changed you or made a difference compared to so many others. The golden rush.
We all remember the moment when we went from being a curious person to a true reader or fan of an author. For me, I was in my late teens and it was Lynsay Sands with the Argeneau series. My first introduction into the paranormal romance. Before this I was used to reading Stephen King and Anne Rice, the books on my parents bookshelves. After reading the Argeneau series, it didn’t matter what the book cover looked like. I knew what to expect when I picked it up, and I couldn’t get enough of it. It was everything I wanted to escape to, the vacation I dreamed of, the romantic world of vampires and their mates! The golden rush happened. I’ve since became a fan of the genre all together. I didn’t chose paranormal romance, it chose me.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Cameryne Kayne, an indie paranormal romance author of the Crestemere series. I’ve recently debuted the first edition to my series, Becklan’s Doll. Now available at barnesandnoble.com. As a writer, I try to incorporate some of my best experiences over the years from many great stories. The stories we need a week to let the ending settle in our minds because they were just that good! I’ll be honest, some of the best stories I’ve read in the past, I don’t remember what the title was or the book cover. But the stories stick with us. Then there are book covers we can never forget. I still can’t look at an apple the same without being instantly reminded of Edward Cullen from the Twilight series.
Tell me what book or author was your golden rush! I’d love to hear about it!
Ready for the next great Hot SEAL story? Parker Kincade’s Hot SEAL, Best Man is here! Get your copy today, and then sit back and enjoy! I’ve read this one! It’s hot as hell and funny! All Wedding Edition book links are below!
Hot SEAL, Best Man
What does a Navy SEAL do in his downtime? Plan a wedding with his ex-girlfriend.
As a Navy SEAL, Evan “Cowboy” Lancaster can handle any task, any disaster. Until he gets roped into planning his best friend’s wedding and discovers just who will be helping him. But the high school sweetheart who stole and broke his heart isn’t a young girl anymore. She’s a stunningly beautiful woman, and it’s all Evan can do to keep his hands off her delicious curves.
Presley’s high school boyfriend reappears the same way he’d left—without warning. Now, all she wants is to plan her friend’s wedding and get back to her life without Evan. The last thing she needs to do is fall for a sexy, larger-than-life, blast from the past who has a history of leaving her in the dust.
They agree to put the past behind them for the sake of the wedding, but that doesn’t stop their chemistry from reigniting, burning hotter than ever. As they navigate their way through cake tastings, musical trio’s, and an unlikely wedding venue, Evan keeps a secret. One that could ruin everything.
When Evan and Presley come face-to-face after all these years, will they finally find happiness, or will old demons destroy their second chance?