Top Ten Ways to Procrastinate When You Should Be Writing

*Waves* Hi y’all. I’m Lee Brazil, author of m/m romance with Breathless Press, Story Orgy, Pulp Friction and Evernight. I’ve been a professional writer for about three years now. Maybe longer if you count the fact that I started writing in 2010. I didn’t get paid for it then, though. Didn’t actually get my first royalty check until mid-2011. In all that time of writing, I’ve produced a lot of books.

But I’ve also spent a lot of time nto producing anything.

I’ve come to consider myself an expert at procrastinating when I should be writing. I have a variety of stall tactics that I employ on a regular basis. When inspiration isn’t striking… and writer’s block is impending, sometimes it’s easier just to not sit down at the computer and work at all.

So, here are my Top Ten Procrastination techniques, in no particular order, just in case you need to stall for time when you should be producing words on the page.

  1. This works great, especially if you, like me, live in an old house and have to wait for the hot water to heat up. It also comes with a neat little series of side distractions… like suddenly realizing that you really should refold and stack the linens in the closet.
  2. Get the mail. I love this one. I have a post office box in town, so getting the mail can take me a full hour or more. Even better if I bump into an acquaintance who wants to chat about the unusual winter weather we’re having, the incredibly low price of a gallon of gas, and the sad performance of the Denver Broncos in the last game.
  3. Walk the dog. She actually hates this, because she has to stay by my side the whole time when she’d rather be off running in the woods and scaring up the wild turkeys, or chasing down a deer.
  4. Bake something. Like brownies. Or cookies. Muffins are good. Then you have to clean up the kitchen. Maybe even take out the trash… sample the goods.
  5. Read a book. This actually counts as work. SCORE! It’s research… or market sampling if you read in your genre. Necessary, and exemplary even.
  6. Clean your desk. It’s such a mess, how can anyone work in a messy environment?
  7. Check your email. Fifteen times should do it. Just in case something urgent shows up in there.
  8. You need to promote, right? And interact…and look at cute videos of cats and pictures of shirtless guys.
  9. Beware. This one can be very, very time consuming. I’ve gone to Pinterest with the best of intentions and wound up hours later having added dozens of margarita recipes to my Great Margarita Quest Board, when I know darn well I’m only going to try one new one over the weekend.
  10. Text From Dog. Hysterical.

What about you? How do you not write when you should be?

Lee

***

The Ice King 200x300CPA Rafe Montaigne’s day is heading downhill fast and he hasn’t even had a decent cup of coffee yet. What could make it worse? A secretary in a snit.

Elian is efficient, attractive and cold as ice toward his boss, and he has been since Rafe’s ex stopped by the office.

Rafe is a sophisticated player, a businessman who knows how to have fun and he’s not particular about whether his playmates are male or female.

It seems Elian isn’t quite so indiscriminate… What’s a boss to do when his secretary won’t play nice?

Buy: The Ice King

***

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

CONTACT LINKS: FB http://www.facebook.com/lee.brazil

Blog http://leebrazilauthor.blogspot.com/

New Year Resolutions that go Horribly Wrong

Hi everyone! I’m back again! This time I’m talking about my book Makahiki, the third and final chapter in my M/M urban fantasy/paranormal series, The Last Warrior.

It’s apt that I am here so early in the New Year since Makahiki is the Hawaiian word for a special festival celebrated each New Year in the islands. These lavish feasts often went on for a week, so maybe it’s not so surprising they are no longer celebrated.

For my character, Lio and his alter-ego, ‘Ailani, life has come full circle with endings and beginnings. Life is wonderful for Lio, but also frightening. Somebody very close to him is trying to kill him. But when he has dreams about the future, the killer looks like…him.

With this being the first week of 2015, I’m still thinking about fresh new beginnings, and resolutions. And how they can go horribly wrong. Mine usually do, but then I do tend to set myself lofty goals that doom me to failure. I’ve also seen people around me set good intentions for themselves, with often appalling results.

I once had the worst New Year’s Eve on record. I get breathless just thinking about it, but this is what happened. A guy I liked asked me out for New Year’s Eve and I was thrilled. I have always been taught that how you usher in a new year is a harbinger of how the other 364 days will go. And so I have strived to do something fun that doesn’t involve leaving my house. Yes, I’m a bit of a hermit, really.

But many years ago I was single and caved in to temptation. This guy asked me out and his sister and best friend called me and said we’d all been invited to a toga party. God! It sounded awful, but I was trying to be congenial. I was trying to be, well, happy. So two of my friends came over and sewed me into a bed sheet since I had no idea where to rent a toga, and they sewed fruit along the one shoulder holding the whole thing up, and I looked pretty good.

Until the others arrived and nobody was dressed up.

Nope. Not a single one. It was impossible to get out of that tight-fitting outfit. It was awful. They all made fun of me. When I asked the girls why they hadn’t dressed up, or why nobody had mentioned it to me they said, “We all had bets that you’d come dressed up.”

Well!

I had to walk all the way down to the taxi stand, on the street, in my bed sheet. My companions picked at the grapes dangling over my right breast and I wanted to go home, unpick the stitches in my sheet and crawl into bed. For the rest of my life.

But that was just the beginning. My date and his best friend had never mentioned to any of us that the party was at a sex club. As in, sex orgy.

I went mad. I didn’t want to be at an orgy!

I was the only one who ended up having a good night because I left and headed home, eating the rest of the fruit on my toga and nabbing the last free cab in town. I have never forgotten that night. Those girls sat there miserable all night. I guess I got the last laugh but it wasn’t fun. Going home, cutting myself out of that sheet and hanging out with my pets was super fun.

But, what happens if the New Year brings you more joy, more happiness, yet more weirdness than you could ever imagine?

That’s what happens in Makahiki: The Last Warrior. What was your worst New Year’s Eve ever? Please post a comment to qualify for the draw to win an ebook copy.

And in the meantime, please feel free to check out my details:

***

MAKAHIKI_200x300On the anniversary of the ancient Makahiki festival, reincarnated Hawaiian warrior, Lio Paiaki, goes back in time to face a deadly enemy: himself. In the final chapter of the exciting Last Warrior series, Lio Paikai rushes to the hospital with his lover, Kord, for the birth of his baby brother, Lono. They’re soon waylaid, however, by traffic on the Pali Highway. 

Not by cars, but foot traffic. He and Kord, who once were warriors for the last king of Oahu, have intercepted an ancient procession of devotees marching down the old Pali for the Makahiki. They’re stunned to learn dark kahuna forces plan to provide a blood sacrifice for the New Year festival. 

The sacrifice they have inadvertently crossed paths with is Lio’s. He must right past wrongs—or there won’t be any future for him or the man he loves.

Find A.J. Llewellyn on Amazon

***

A.J. Llewellyn lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to all the islands, bags of Kona coffee in the fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep this writer refueled.

A.J’s passion for the islands have led to writing a play about the last ruling monarch of Hawaii, Queen Lili’uokalani, plus a non-erotic novel about the overthrow of her kingdom written in diary form from her maid’s point of view.

AJ never lacks inspiration for male/male erotic romances and on the rare occasions this happens, pursue other passions such as collecting books on Hawaiiana, surfing and spending time with friends and animal companions.

A.J. Llewellyn believes that love is a song best sung out loud.

Find A.J. Llewellyn on Amazon

How to find/friend A.J.

website: www.ajllewellyn.com

www.facebook.com/aj.llewellyn

www.twitter.com/ajllewellyn

Newsletter sign-up: ajllewellynnewsletter@gmail.com

I’m an app! Download my FREE A.J. Llewellyn App for Android here: http://tinyurl.com/lkbc4wm

The Greatest Mysteries are Inside Us

DD Symms Author PicLet’s welcome guest author DD Symms who clues us in on his latest story, a male-male romance that digs into the intense emotions of guilt and anguish that we try to hide in our struggle to cope. Log on to DD’s website, ddsymms.wordpress.com for his upcoming works.

The greatest mysteries lie inside of us. Medicine is not an exact science, opines my wife who is a nurse practitioner. Each person’s body is unique in how it responds to treatment and I’ve decided that who we are and how we respond to the world around us is much more art than science.

If we were formulaic beings then wouldn’t most of us live in very similar type surroundings, have about the same amount of savings and enjoy going to the same places for vacation and eating the same types of food?

We are much more art than science and that’s why so many wonderful stories exist and why we as authors can put our unique spin on stories that have been told over and again throughout history.

It’s this pursuit of personal discovery that led me to write my current story, In His Sights.

Dalton Blake is about to end his commitment to the military and he fears a future that he could face alone. He is engulfed with guilt about not detonating a roadside bomb that killed his best friend and lover. He suffers quietly but the base captain notices and tries to break through Dalton’s personal barriers.

Can Captain Bruce Shafter bring him back to life?

I loved dealing with this question and I feel this is my most satisfying work of fiction to date, even though it is a short read. I liked sitting at my desk, gazing out my study windows during the infrequent quiet times I have and clicking on YouTube or Pandora for musical accompaniment. One of my favorite songs that fits well with the theme of this story is Celine Dion’s Loved Me Back to Life.

I feel that’s what we all need. Someone to love us back to life when the struggles threaten to overwhelm us, and it’s even better when that someone understands that we are works of art even when we are pieces of work.

In His Sights 200x300EXCERPT

“Dalton.”

Shafter again. Dalton made his way to the edge of the parking lot, away from the streetlamps and the angle of the headlights beaming in and out of the bar’s parking lot, gravel crunching beneath the cars’ tires. “Go back in and fuck with someone else’s mind.” This sure as hell was no way to get another guy in bed. Maybe Shafter was an emotionally sick and twisted pickup artist.

“Talk to me.”

“Why the hell should I?” Dalton wiped his eyes.

“Because you need to.” Shafter’s voice was calm.

Dalton hated losing control of his emotions. That was for his college years and the giddy boy-in-love moments in the stupid frat house. Those days had vanished and his future was as bleak as the Mojave Desert in August. Finally, he composed himself and leaned against the tailgate of a pickup. He felt like a con man on the run and Shafter the good guy lawman unwavering in his quest for justice. Why fight?

Buy: In His Sights

Why I Write LGBT Fiction

enough_200x300Guest blog by Matthew J. Metzger, author of Enough

I’d like to get serious for a minute, if I may. (I know – Matthew? Getting serious? Pft.) But just for a minute. Please? Cool.

My name is Matthew J. Metzger. I am twenty-four years old and an author – six times over now – of LGBT fiction, both adult and young adult. I am also queer, both in terms of sexuality and gender identity. I make bananas look straight.

I realised I was queer around the age of thirteen. It has taken me eleven years to come to terms with the fact. Truth be told, I’m still not 100% there yet, so it may be that with time that number becomes twelve, then thirteen…

But right now, eleven years.

Count ‘em. Eleven. That’s 46% of my lifespan. And for the other 44%, I wasn’t aware I was queer at all.

Writing LGBT fiction, you get asked a lot why you write what you do. It’s niche, it’s not very mainstream, and it has a stigma and a reputation as being, basically, housewives writing about guys getting it on. Now the adult fiction, I write that because it’s fun or I get cool ideas that don’t work for kids. My adult bestseller, Enough, simply would not have worked as a teen novel. It was a smash hit within two weeks and recently went to print – but it was, at the very core, an adult novel.

Am I pleased it was a hit? Of course. Am I thrilled it’s out in paperback? Absolutely. Is it my favourite book?

No.

I write adult LGBT fiction as a fun extension of my real reason – and that is young adult LGBT fiction. I write young adult fiction because it is young adults who most need these stories to be written.

I struggled for eleven years to come to terms with who I was. I picked up and dropped almost all the labels in the great alphabet soup that is sexuality and gender identity. I initially thought I was gay, and I didn’t have a problem with that. Then I started to realise that didn’t fit, so maybe I was bisexual. Again, that was…okay. Only bisexual didn’t work either. Then the panic started to set in. I didn’t fit. And if I didn’t fit, then there was something wrong with me. Why didn’t I work like other people? What had broken?

I fought depression, and lost several times. I still bear physical scars from it, and a mental tendency to pinwheel from feeling amazing to feeling awful within a 12 hour period of time. I am comfortable in my own skin, but not my own mind, and even when friends in the know question me about my experiences as a queer person, I can and do get very upset and defensive very quickly. And then I spiral, because I feel bad about lashing out.

It’s not fun. And I was struggling with this predominantly on my own.

I was twenty-one years old before I worked out what I am. And I was twenty-three before I even came close to being okay with it. I’m now twenty-four. In truth, I’m not totally there yet. I don’t get depressed about it anymore, and I am growing more comfortable using the term genderqueer – but I am still nearly entirely closeted about my sexuality, and  – soul-baring truth here – scared about what it means for me in the long term.

I’m the kid who needed stories. I needed stories about people like me. I needed someone, anyone, to tell me they knew what I was dealing with, that it was okay to be scared, and that it wasn’t going to be forever.

But I wasn’t the kid they talk about. LGBT media is all about kids in religious homes, kids in the Deep South, kids in poor areas. And sure, those kids need help too. But those kids weren’t me. I didn’t feel like those campaigns were talking to me. I wasn’t religious, and we ignored the religious side of my family anyway. Nobody had ever told me being queer was wrong – if anything, I distinctly remember someone calling my friend a lesbian at thirteen, and I had no idea what it meant. (I was an oblivious kid, okay?) I grew up in a middle-class, middle-England, generally nice suburbia. I didn’t have the faintest idea until my early teens that homosexuality was a thing, never mind homophobia. I wasn’t the kid in the media.

But I still needed someone to tell me it was okay to be me.

So on one level, I write LGBT fiction for me. For the kid I was. And for the kids that are still out there, growing up scared, growing up queer. The kids who think they’re busted, the kids who think they will never be happy, the kids who think that if they could just work like everybody else then they’d be okay, and the kids who thinks if they try hard enough, they can make it work. The kids for whom it’s not as easy – and yes, I said easy – as being straight or being gay. The kids who are something else entirely.

A while ago, I received a letter from a teenage reader. You can read it here. She was recently discovering her bisexuality, and finding a refuge and a comfort in LGBT YA. One of my books reached out and talked to her. And in a single letter, that reader made every moment of work in this industry worth it. I talked to one, single kid who needed to hear it – and that made everything worthwhile.

That’s why I write LGBT fiction.

About Matthew J. Metzger

Matthew is the front for a British author working and living in Bristol in the United Kingdom. Matthew writes both adult and young adult LGBT fiction, with the odd idea straying into sci-fi territory that never seems to go anywhere. Matthew’s writing deals with intense, often painful issues affecting people across the entire sexual and gender spectrum, and he aims to do with respect, grit and a touch of dark humour. His first adult novel, Enough, was an instant bestseller and is now available in paperback. Matthew is open to some low-level stalking once in a while, and can be stalked on Twitter, Facebook, and at his website.

Blurb:

Jesse can do the math: Ezra’s perfect, he isn’t, and this relationship is doomed. Until the accident forces Jesse to recalculate.

Jesse has never had a real boyfriend before. He’s a firefighter, and that’s all that anyone’s seen before—a quick and thrilling screw, and a story for the future. So when he lands Ezra Pryce, the most beautiful man in the whole of Brighton, Jesse can’t quite understand why Ezra is still here eight months down the line.

Not that he’s going to complain. Ezra’s sexy, sarcastic, and doesn’t treat Jesse like he’s stupid, but Jesse can do the math. Ezra is nothing short of perfection; and Jesse falls a very way short of it. Jesse isn’t going to be enough for someone like Ezra in the long run, and he is living—and loving—on borrowed time. When a disastrous weekend in Norwich introduces Jesse to the staunch disapproval of Ezra’s family and the six-pack of his ex-boyfriend in one fell swoop, Jesse’s fate is sealed. He cannot hope to live up to an ex who has every intention of getting Ezra back, and all the looks and charm to do it too. Jesse is not enough for Ezra and he’s never going to be.

Buy: Enough

Excerpt:

Until the accident forces Jesse to re-evaluate, and shows him exactly what he looks like through Ezra’s eyes.

Jackie’s was a loud cross between a bar and a club, with a sticky dance floor populated by both straight and gay couples, and a tiny LGBTQ flag above the bar with a sign declaring it to be a “safe space.” Jesse had no idea what that meant, but he grasped that it was okay to be gay in here, and slid an arm around Ezra’s waist at the bar.

“You’re clingy,” Ezra said lightly, but tucked his head briefly against Jesse’s neck in a kind of half-hug pose. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Jesse said, and slapped Ezra’s hand down. “I’ll get this round. I want you to get tipsy, and you’ll never do that if you stick to your bloody lager.”

“Mr. Dawkins, are you trying to get me drunk?”

“Yes,” Jesse said, handing over a twenty to the bored bartender. In the pause as the guy wrestled with the till, he twisted to kiss Ezra soundly, transmitting his exact intentions with his tongue and his hand possessively low on Ezra’s hip.

“Mm,” Ezra hummed as he pulled back, and his eyes were just a little darker. “Maybe I’ll get a little bit drunk.”

“You do that,” Jesse said, and pressed the glass into his hand.

Jackie’s livened up a little as the bar slowly filled and the money kept changing hands. Jesse kept Ezra on the vodka, relishing the chance to be able to get him drunk. Ezra didn’t like to get drunk if Jesse couldn’t, and Jesse often couldn’t drink because of the risk of being called to an emergency at work, so it was nice to get to let go a little, to drink a bit more than the two-pint maximum, to feel the first fuzzy edges of poor coordination and disjointed thinking take over his brain. The music was kind of shitty – late nineties stuff he hadn’t heard in years – and the bartender was stingy with the doubles, but it was fairly cheap and it was nasty enough to work, and when that wide, beautiful smile bloomed across Ezra’s face when a tiny little lesbian and her girlfriend dragged him to dance with them, insisting they knew him as insistently as he said that they didn’t, Jesse felt happy. Despite Mrs. Pryce, despite Audrey Hepburn being a lesbian, despite the crucifix on the gatepost, he felt happy.

He drained his glass and went to the bathroom, relieving himself clumsily in a definitely nasty bathroom with the telltale streaks of sticky white powder on the counter that said that at least one part of the sex, drugs and rock and roll was going down in here on your average evening. Rinsing his hands off, he wondered if another round was called for, or another bar. Obviously they’d keep going a bit longer. He could still think, for one. And thinking was counterproductive for later, when he’d get Ezra’s long legs wrapped around his waist and try and suck all the alcohol back out through his mouth. Or his neck. Or other places.

Then he left the bathroom, and saw him.

Ezra had escaped the tiny lesbians, and was leaning very precariously against the bar, a fresh drink in hand, and smiling—beaming—at a man who was just offensively good-looking. He looked like one of those underwear models or something. Tall in a too-tight-T-shirt, with spiky dark hair in a style that could have been achieved with an electric razor but he’d probably paid fifty quid for at a salon aimed at women. A waxed chest, judging by the naked v of skin that was visible below his neck. He was flashing a chiseled, perfect, cologne-ad smile at Ezra. People could model cologne and underwear, right? Because this guy definitely did.

Jesse hesitated at the bathroom door, and felt a shaky warmth bubbling up in his stomach as the underwear model reached into his back pocket and passed Ezra a thin bit of card. His number, maybe? Why the hell was some underwear-cologne model giving Ezra his number?

Why the hell was Ezra putting it in his pocket?

Ezra turned from the bar, eyes scanning the room, and that placid, drink-smudged smile widened when he locked eyes with Jesse. He leaned back against the sticky wood, weight on his elbows, and beckoned with one long finger, and it was like an invisible rope reeling Jesse in. The underwear model glanced Jesse’s way and melted back into the crowd on the dance floor and Jesse’s anger went with him. He planted his hands on either side of Ezra’s waist, bracing himself against the bar, and crowded Ezra against it to kiss him and taste the drunken want on his tongue.

“You ran away,” Ezra accused, tugging on Jesse’s hair lightly.

“You started talking to other guys,” Jesse murmured, and yet with Ezra’s hand playing with his ear and the wide, blissfully peaceful expression he wore when he was drunk, it somehow didn’t matter.

“Only because you ran away,” Ezra teased, and bumped his nose against Jesse’s clumsily.

“Can we go?” Jesse whispered, dropping a hand to slide it around Ezra’s hip and down to the top of his leg, rubbing against the denim of his jeans lightly. “Back to the hotel? I have designs.”

“On what?”

“On you and the bed and being bendy.”

Ezra grinned, and downed the rest of his glass in one expert motion, his back and neck flexing like liquid in suspension. “I knew you got me drunk,” he accused, and Jesse laughed, putting a hand into Ezra’s back pocket to hook him in and guide him out. The night air was cold after the heat of the bar, and the underwear model had vanished like an ugly, sexy mirage.

“You shouldn’t talk to underwear models,” he blurted out, and Ezra laughed too loudly in the street.

“I only talk to your underwear,” he retorted, and then all the sense of it was slipping away, and Jesse simply forgot in favor of other things.

For the moment.

Buy: Enough

Why Listening is Important

TouchOfAGhost_200x300Guest post by L.M. Brown, author of Touch of a Ghost

First of all, thank you for having me here today.  I’m L.M. Brown, a writer of MM and MMM romance novels, often with a paranormal twist. I believe that there is nothing hotter and sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three!

For my writing tip of the day I am going to share with you the reason why I learned the hard way that reading out loud is sometimes a necessity when it comes to writing.

Now, I am the first to admit that I am not the biggest fan of audio books.  I have listened to many in the past, particularly abridged versions of the classics, but these days I prefer the written word.  I find when I am listening to audio books I am far too easily distracted by what  is happening around me and I have to keep going back to play things again because I completely missed what was being said.  I suspect this comes from the habit I have of tuning out noise to read, write, or even just concentrate at a very noisy day job – I am tuning out the audio books instead!  Unfortunately, it means that I find it very difficult to listen to them at all.

You are probably wondering what this has to do with my new release.

Well, for those who have followed my writing since the very start, you will recognise that Touch of a Ghost is a re-release of my very first published story.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will also note that there is a slight name change of one of the main characters.  Andy, which although never actually specified in the original story is short for Andrew, has now become Drew, also short for the same name.

The reason why is the audio book which, although no longer available, came out the year following the initial ebook release.

At the time Touch of a Ghost was initially written, edited and polished, I wasn’t reading the stories out loud.  This is largely because of certain young ears that shouldn’t be listening to such stories hanging around me at the time. Then the audio book was sent to me for proofing.

Yikes!

Andy and Benji, whilst both being names I like, just didn’t sound right together.  For some reason, when I look at the names in a lot of my stories, there are many which end in the “ee” sound.  Jamie, Cody, Cory, the list just goes on and on.  Thankfully I don’t think any of the others have been put together as a couple, but after hearing how Andy and Benji sounded when spoken together it started to irritate me.

So, when the rights to this story were returned to myself and I began to look for a new home for the story, the first thing I did was alter Andy’s name to Drew.

I hope this doesn’t cause too much confusion for readers.  Chances are most people won’t notice, or will realise that the story is the same purely from the blurb, but I guess there might be a few who are unsure.  I note it clearly on my website/blog that the story is a re-release and have a note to say why the name has changed, so hopefully no one is caught out.

But, this experience did teach me an important lesson.  Even if you don’t think it is necessary, sometimes things can be picked up when you hear your story read out.

So, there you have it, my tip for all writers is to take the time to read aloud your manuscript before you send it anywhere.  It may also help to highlight errors like where a character might have accidentally had a sex change (*cough* Driving-Me-Crazy *cough*).

Yes, I have had two audio books out in the past and while there wasn’t any error, as such, in Touch of a Ghost in the other one there was an instance where “he” became “she” and it was way too late to change it.

I hope my tip is a useful lesson for those of you who don’t read out loud.

Oh and feel free to share any of your own written/audio experiences – especially the goofs. I would love to know it isn’t just me doing daft stuff like this!

Blurb

Drew Jessop wants a life without ghosts. He doesn’t want to see, hear, or talk to them. Ignoring them should be relatively simple.

But Drew soon finds that Benji Richards, an eternally gorgeous ghost from the fifties, is not so easy to ignore.

Halloween night is approaching and both Drew and Benji know what it could mean for them. From sunset to sunrise, it is the one night of the year when a mortal can feel the touch of a ghost.

Buy: Touch of a Ghost

Excerpt

Drew leaned forward and put his empty bottle on the table. The match had finished and the commentators were recapping the highlights, so Drew reached for the remote control.

“Well, thank you for having us.” Flora stood up and stretched, as though her joints were still giving her grief as they had apparently done in life.

Drew turned off the television and picked up the crisp packet together with the nearly empty bowl. He tossed the last few crisps into his mouth as he stood up and walked into the kitchen. He left the beer bottles on the table as he contemplated whether to have another. Remembering he had an early start in the morning, he decided against drinking too much. He had a feeling Flora might have an opinion on alcohol intake too. However, when he turned back toward the living area, Flora had vanished.

Benji, on the other hand, still lingered. He remained on the sofa, his arm stretched along the back and his chin resting on it as he stared at Drew directly.

“You’re very rude, you know?” Benji commented idly. “Not saying a single word to us all evening like that. You could at least have said hello.”

Drew ignored him as he turned off the lights.

“I know you can see us. Your eyes give you away.”

Drew suspected Benji might be guessing, but if he said a single word in response that guess would be confirmed. He had to keep quiet. That way he could still maintain a normal life.

“Not going to admit it, huh?” Benji said. “Well, I’ll stop by again tomorrow. Maybe you’ll be more talkative then. If you are, I might just tell you how I know you’re gay, if you ask nicely.” With that comment, Benji flashed Drew one final killer smile and vanished from the room.

Drew reacted to Benji the same way he would any other handsome man. His mind may tell him Benji was off limits, but his body thought otherwise. Drew wondered whether he could keep up the pretense of not seeing and hearing the ghosts who were as real to him as the rest of the human race. If this evening was anything to go by, it might not be as easy as he thought.

Buy: Touch of a Ghost

Where to find L.M. Brown

Website & Blog – http://lmbrownauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/L.M.Brown.author

Twitter – @LMBrownAuthor

Excerpt: Haunted by the Past by Pelaam

HauntedbythePast_200x300Blurb: Jared didn’t believe in ghosts or love, until he moved into his new house and found both.

Finding a house that suits him, Jared makes the move to reclaim his independence. However, he doesn’t expect to find himself both attracted to and concerned for the almost-reclusive gardener, Evander.

Jared believes Evander is hiding an eating disorder. But the appearance of old photographs and love letters in the house cause him to wonder about the stoic man. As their friendship becomes more, he wants to help and uncover the secrets he knows Evander is hiding. Each of them are haunted by something, and it’s not the house.

When a ghost from Jared’s past appears, they must fight for their own happiness, even if it means exposing themselves and the truth.

Buy: Haunted by the Past

Excerpt:

A couple of hours later, Jared returned. Hands on his hips, he glared at the thick, muddy mess on his boots. No matter, the hose is right there. I’ll switch on the tap, rinse the worst of the mess off, and carry them into the house to clean properly. Blindly, Jared reached around the corner with one hand as he crouched down to snag a hold of the hose with the other.

With a surprised grunt, he fell back onto his butt. His hand hadn’t come into contact with cold metal but cool flesh. He stared up at the man who stepped into view. His dark hair was pulled back into a pony tail, and from this angle the man looked like he towered over six feet.

For someone who worked outdoors, his skin was remarkably fair, and the expanse of pale, smooth skin temporarily robbed Jared of his wits. His eyes seemed determined to focus on either caramel colored nipples or the ‘v’ lines disappearing into well-worn denim. The man stared down at him, and Jared wondered what kind of impression he was making sitting open-mouthed in a mud puddle.

“I…you startled me.” Great opening line. Real smooth, Jared.

“I was about to clean the equipment. You were out.”

The stranger’s voice was soft, his expression morose, and he tilted his head as if Jared’s appearance was a shock to him too. His eyes were a shade of gray Jared had never seen before, and they reflected concern and intelligence.

“Ah, yes, I did go out, but I wandered off the track, got stuck in mud, and since my boots were covered in the stuff, I decided to come back. When I saw the hose, I thought I’d rinse them off before going back into the house.”

“Oh. Well. I can wait if you want.”

Jared blinked. That’s it? He isn’t even going to help me?  “Um, could you help me up?” Considering he’d spent the best part of the last six months not wanting anyone to look twice at him, he couldn’t understand why it was suddenly so important that this man did.

“I guess so.” The man held out his hand and pulled Jared upright with an ease his slender frame belied.

Now standing up, the difference in their height diminished rapidly. In fact, they stood almost shoulder to shoulder, the stranger was maybe an inch or so taller than Jared’s modest five foot ten inches. “I’m Jared, the new tenant here. Obviously, you’re the gardener, but I wasn’t told your name.”

“Evander. My name’s Evander.”

Neither man released the hand of the other. Jared wasn’t sure he wanted to be the first to let go, but Evander seemed to realize he still held Jared’s hand and released him. He took a couple of steps back.

“I have other things to do. You can use the hose.”

Buy: Haunted by the Past

Pelaam lives in clean, green New Zealand. She is a multi-published author of gay male romance and erotica across time and space. When not writing, she indulges in her other passions of cookery and wine appreciation. She can be found on Facebook, and a full list of her published works are on Lazy Beagle Entertainment.

Review: In Your Eyes (The Mates Series Book 3) by Cardeno C.

in your eyesReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Born to rule, Sam Goodwin is the perfect leader for the Yafenack pack as he has studied shifter laws, made sure his body is up to the challenges from his pack he will soon meet, but talking to the ones he will lead is something he has never been used to, but someone is around to help him – Korben Keller, the son of another pack’s Alpha. Korben is the one who makes him feel emotion instead of a blank slate. When a war rages between both their fathers, Sam and Korben come together again, but this time they both have to help each other from the way they feel if they are to hope to have a loving relationship.

Review: As it’s true that opposites attract, it can also be difficult in Cardeno C’s world of wolf shifters. Sam isn’t the perfect friend to have, he has no social graces and knows nothing of having friends until he meets Korben. Korben is the total opposite in every way and completes him. As they have met early on in their lives, they have had a chance to get to know each other unlike some potential pairings. I found it interesting that finding a mate is quite hard for heterosexual shifters, but for gay shifters it is even harder, and the failure of a shifter to notice when they are liked by a potential mate can be catastrophic if ignored. Korben is one of the nicest men Sam could have ever met, but his cruel father causes problems in their “what could have been a relationship” that make Sam feel as though he hates Korben. Thankfully this is only at the start, but when they meet again, they have to really work on their relationship or it might get to a serious meltdown.

Good Bits:

  • Strong characters
  • You are pulled in different ways as far as the characters are concerned
  • Finding a true mate is harder than you think
  • Sam and Korben are cute – ‘enough said!

Summary: Readers might have read a lot of shifter novels as there are plenty of writers out there who focus on the lives of these interesting men, but Cardeno C has the knack of being able to tell her stories from the heart like no one else can. She puts her characters before her readers, naked and unashamed of who they are,even if they are shy or lacking in some other areas. Sex scenes are abundant in all these novels, but they are well done, intimate, sexy and smoulder like they are supposed to if they are to move the story along. Cardeno uses the conflict between the main two characters to get a rise out of the reader, to make them wonder what will happen next, and book three of the series has done this and so much more.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: In Your Eyes (The Mates Series Book 3)

My writing space. (Well – spaces.)

Guest blog by Lisa A Adams, author of Fire on Ice

Through the course of several book releases, I usually get the same questions from different blog hosts. One common one, that I usually skip, is “What does your writing space look like?” So, this post… this blog… you will see my writing space, and see why I never could answer it in just a couple sentences.   Here we go!

1_my_desk

#1 – My Official Writing Desk – This is where more than half of my writing is done. It’s in my living room in my house and allows me to be out with my family while I’m tapping away at the keyboard. (This is both a blessing and a curse… and leads us to my second space.) It’s often covered with snail mail, and papers from my children’s’ schools. But at least the chair is comfortable.

2_hiding_desk

#2 – My Hiding Desk – This is where I go when I’m under deadline. Usually, a very tight deadline. Snuggled in a small corner in my bedroom, my family knows that if mom’s in their banging away at the keys, it’s serious. AND, go ask dad! It’s amazing how just changing my space, different rules are in place.

3_bed

#3 – On My Bed – This is a nightly ritual. My journaling space before I go to bed, and often where you’ll catch me scratching notes in the margins about new ideas or planning out my next submissions. My writing time here is usually very brief, but it’s something that gives me time to reflect.

4_porch

#4 – My Front Porch – Whether I am waiting for my children to get off the bus in the afternoon, or just need a break from my monitor and the blinking cursor. The freedom of being outside often lends to some of my best creative thoughts.

5_Car

#5 – My Car – Did I mention before that I have five school aged children? Between afterschool functions and waiting for early releases, there is always a notebook kept in my car for those ten to fifteen minutes that I have to squeeze in writing time. A plethora of pens and even a voice recorder are stored to capture my thoughts whenever they come.

6_soccer

#6 – The Soccer Field – If I’m waiting for one, or two, or three of my children’s practices to end, then I have the time to write. This is mainly more in the fall, but as they get older my girls play spring soccer in their schools, so it is really becoming a year round thing.

7_el_Burrito

#7 – El Burrito – A fine intimate close restaurant that allows me to meet up with a beta reader when I get stuck. We order, eat, laugh, and then she reads. Once she’s done she always asks the same thing. “So, what’s next?” I proceed to tell her my vision of the next scene and the next chapter, and before I know it… I can go home and write it all down. Sometimes food and friends is the cure for writer’s block.

8_Creativity

#8 – Yesterday’s Pub and Grill – A close family fun place that has led to many a great night and wonderful ideas. The owners are awesome people and even let use their establishment in one of my books. (Check out Saving Holiday published by Breathless Press as well.) Sometimes wrestling the beer mug, helps tame the muse, and suddenly the words are flowing.

9_Caffeine

#9 – Jitterbugz – Right around the corner from Yesterday’s and only two doors down from my daughter’s dance class, this little café serves amazing coffee with a great atmosphere. Whether in a notebook or on my laptop, I’m always comfortable here and soothing scenery inside helps calm my thoughts and allows me to write.

10_Car_work

#10 – Auto Business Inc. (Waiting Room) – Oil changes, inspections, new tires, tire rotations, whatever the case may be, ABI is my go to shop for my cars. This family run business has been a staple in my community for aver twenty years now, and while I’m waiting… I’m writing.

So, there it is… I don’t have just one writing space. I have lots! And there’s more than just this. But, I’ll spare you all the details. (I will admit that I’ve written locked in the bathroom before just to get ten minutes away from my children when they were older. But… I didn’t think you wanted a picture of my toilet… hehe.)

I’ll leave you with a question. Where’s your writing space? Is it one sacred space or are you more like me, racing against the clock… your writing space is wherever and whenever.

Hook up with me on Social Media! I love hearing from other authors and readers!

Fire on Ice 200x300Book Blurb:

And look for my latest release from Breathless Press “Fire on Ice” for just .99!

Marcus Zankoriewicz is a leader in the National Hockey League… and has just announced he’s gay.

Facing a firing squad of reporters accusing him of adultery with another player’s wife, Marcus Zankoriewicz sees there’s only one way out. He must make the announcement he knew would come one day.
But, this is hockey. Well known for its rough and manly men, Marcus must prepare himself for an onslaught of changes that threaten his career and love life.

Excerpt:

Marcus chuckled. “After all this time I ignored the questioning looks and there were still people who figured it out. I should have guessed.”

“Don’t get me wrong. You’re definitely not flaming. In fact I bet my ass you’re the hitter in the game.”

Marcus grinned. “Really? You bet your ass?”

Justin rolled to his knees and stood in front of him. “Of course, you’ll have to catch me first.”

Find Lisa A Adams on Amazon