Sunday, 17 December 2017

Short Order (Foothills Pride #8) by Pat Henshaw - Blog Tour

 
Title: Short Order
Series: Foothills Pride #8
Author: Pat Henshaw
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: December 13, 2017
Price: $3.99/£2.99
Format: eBook
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Cover Design: AngstyG
Length: 28,400 words/89 pages

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Buy links


Blurb 

When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust. 

While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him. 

As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.


Guest Post:
 
  1. Where do your ideas for books come from?

I’m always reading, eavesdropping, looking around, soaking up impressions of people, places, and things around me. I like to sit in coffee shops and restaurants and imagine what the other people there are like and what they’re talking about. I can make up a story at the drop of a hat. One of the most fun times I had doing that was when my grandchildren and I were taking a train ride that was exciting to them at first, but grew boring with time. So I took a box of candy from my grandson and began explaining the personalities of the various pieces of candy. I had a great time, and since he and his sister seemed to be listening and adding to the stories, I think they had a good time too.

  1. Where did the idea for this book come from?

Two very different news stories prompted the plot for Short Order. The first came years ago when I read a very short article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian about a prostitution ring that had recently been shut down. That’s the seed from which John’s story emerged. Fen’s ideas about improving the lives of the poor by putting plants in public schools and giving students responsibilities and information for keeping those plants alive came from a press release I read online. I think I also saw a TED talk about plants for improving poor environments, but I wouldn’t swear to that. How those two stories came together and produced a book is a mystery to me, but it happened.

  1. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

I write gay romance, not gay mysteries or gay exposé. My books dwell on happily ever, not in rehashing the horrible things that people do to other people, and certainly not about what adults do to children. But John’s past as an unwilling prostitute in San Francisco when he’s rejected by his family is a big part of the story. It was also the most painful part for me to write about. But since it’s an integral part of what shaped John, I had to gut up and write it.

  1. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Depends on what I’m writing. It takes me three or four months to write a novella-length piece, a couple of months for a short story, and a year to write a novel. I take a lot of time to read and reread what I’ve written, and it takes a while for my husband to read and comment on the current project. Then I’m back to the drawing board making changes and tweaking, always tweaking what I’ve written. I used to be much faster at writing, but not anymore.

  1. Tell us a little about the Foothills Pride series.

The Foothills Pride series was a complete fluke. I wrote What’s in a Name? initially as a stand-alone novella. But then got an idea for Redesigning Max. Someone at Dreamspinner asked me what the name of the series was at that point, and since I thought the books were stand-alones set in the same fictional community, I was stymied. I came up with the name Foothills Pride since there was a defunct group with that name in the real area where I’d placed my fictional town. Suddenly I could think of other stories that happened in the town, and the series was born. Each of the stories stands alone and is about a couple getting together in town. The books break down like this:

What’s in a Name? On his birthday, barista Jimmy Patterson is rescued by bartender Guy Stone after Jimmy’s boyfriend dumps him.

Redesigning Max Famed designer Fredi Zimmer agrees to redesign sporting goods retailer Max Greene’s wilderness cabin and in the process lures Max himself.

Behr Facts Contractor Abe Behr knows a relative is ripping him off and hires accountant Jeff Mason who balances his books, finds the culprit, and steals Abe’s heart.

When Adam Fell Celebrity chef Adam de Leon retreats from the Bay Area to get away from his druggie lover. But David Fairbanks appears saying he’s kicked the habit and wants Adam back.

Relative Best Hotel owner Zeke Bandy is smitten with Native American Vic Longbow when Vic comes to town looking for his roots.

Frank at Heart Hardware store owner Frank McCord falls for software designer Christopher Darling who moves to town with his teenage son after a divorce.

Waking the Behr Contractor Ben Behr finds he isn’t as straight as he’s always thought he was when San Francisco entrepreneur Mitch O’Shea sweeps him off his feet.

Short Order Fen Miller comes to Stone Acres to help his cousin Beth during the holidays and falls for his landlord, sous chef John Barton.


Excerpt 

That night I stood freezing at Barton’s door, admiring Blue Cottage. The snow drifts piled on the lawn made the house look greeting-card perfect. I searched for a doorbell. Instead, a lion-headed knocker snarled at me. I grinned. Every house needed an intimidating guardian, right? 

A man who looked about my age and height opened the door and slipped out, shutting it behind him. I was curious to see inside, but I got that the guy wanted his privacy. No problem. 

“Hi. I’m Fen.” 

He looked me over, then turned to the left along the shoveled porch. As he walked, he played with the keyring, bouncing a key in his hand. Did I make him nervous? If so, was that a good thing? 

“This way.” 

Okay. I took a breath and followed his pert ass and brisk steps as we rounded the porch to a steep staircase. From my brief glance at his face, he seemed okay. I was still slightly put off by his brusque manner. But hey, I reminded myself, I was renting from him, not fucking him. 

In silence I followed him up to a small porch and a solid-looking back door, which he opened after only a little fumbling. 

I was greeted by the stuffy, closed-up odor of a place long left undisturbed. 

“You’d be my first renter. It’s furnished, but I can store anything you don’t want.” He made quick eye contact with me. The words erupted from him like I made him uncomfortable or something. Maybe it was my piercing and the tattoo, or maybe the hair color. I tried a smile, but he blushed and turned away, gesturing to the rooms. 

Even though the air inside was chilly, I looked around and fell even more in love than I had when I’d first seen the house. The 1940s era furniture and knickknacks turned what could have been sterile rooms into my kind of home. I exhaled, letting the ambience settle in my soul as I wandered through a country kitchen, tiny dining room, sitting room, two bedrooms, and a classic bathroom, ending eventually at a circular tower room. I fell even deeper in love along the way as I touched the scratched kitchen table, a velveteen-covered parlor settee, a solid-looking four-poster bed, and the needlepoint-cushioned window seat in the tower. 

If I were Barton, I’d charge thousands a month for this place. I prayed he wasn’t me and was relieved when my prayers were answered. 

“You want to keep the furniture?” He still didn’t look at me as he bent over the kitchen table to fill out the rental agreement. Who needed him staring? I could live with letting his voice pour over me and seeing his kissable lips. 

“I can’t imagine living here without all of it.” Or maybe even you, I thought, eyeing his pert butt wiggling at me as he wrote. 

He stopped, stood, and eyed me for a few seconds before bending and going back to writing. I hadn’t said that about his butt out loud, had I? 

As I was daydreaming about his ass and the scarred table, he stopped writing, looked over the form, and finally twisted it toward me. “Sign here, initial here, and date it. Then I need your rent for the month.” 

I was signing before he changed his mind. The rent was ridiculously cheap. “No deposit?” There had to be a catch, right? 

“No.” 

I glanced up. He was gazing down at the table, or maybe at my hands. Or my groin? I signed as fast as I could and wrote a check to John Barton, the name on the rental agreement. So he had a first name, and we had a deal.   


I drove back to my cousin’s house whistling. Within an hour, and with Beth and Kate’s help, I was moved in. Having only clothes and electronics made the move a one-trip job. Then I went food shopping for breakfast stuff and frozen dinners. We all celebrated by eating a late dinner outside town at a diner called the Rock Bottom Cafe. Renting a place with a wonderful kitchen hadn’t automatically taught me to cook. 

Even with an enigma for a landlord, my life was perfect.  

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About the Author

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, has spent her life surrounded by words: Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs. Pat was born and raised in Nebraska where she promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California. Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube. Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion. Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.  

 
Author Social Media Links:

 

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE


December 16
Noteworthy Book Reviews GUEST POST AND REVIEW

December 17
The Way She Reads GUEST POST

December 18

December 19

December 20

December 22
Drops of Ink GUEST POST
~

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Unexpected Christmas by Nell Iris - Release Blitz with Review




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS

Length: 13,527 words

Publisher: JMS Books

Blurb

Daniel Erickson stormed out of his family celebration after choking on turkey served with a side of bigotry. Utterly miserable, he reluctantly lets himself be charmed by the hulk of a man and gets into the stranger’s car ... hoping he won’t be axed before the night is through.

Axel Wilson -- Ax for short, unfortunately -- is a sweetheart. Really. He may be badass-looking but his heart melts into goo at the mere mention of his four-year-old niece. Surely he isn’t dangerous?


Thrown together by family drama, the two men spend the evening getting to know each other. Axel is nothing like Daniel expected. But it doesn’t matter that he loves poetry, is gentle and patient -- and hot! -- Daniel is absolutely not falling in love at first sight. There’s no such thing.


Right?



Excerpt

A few minutes later, a vehicle approached from behind. Reacting instinctively, I turned around and waved my arms, hoping the big truck would stop and have mercy on my freezing ass.

I let out a giddy yelp as it slowed down, but it got stuck in my throat when the driver rolled down the window.


He was huge and couldn't hold his head upright without banging it on the ceiling. Big steel gauges adorned both his ears -- at least an inch and a half wide -- and his hair was black and so closely cropped it resembled a five o'clock shadow more than an actual haircut.


"You need a ride?" he asked and his voice was deeper than the Mariana Trench, perfectly matching his frightening appearance. Black tattoos crept up his neck and snaked down his hands below his sleeves. His shoulders were wide, his muscles strained the sleeves of his thick black jacket, and his cheeks were hollow. I was one second from shitting myself.


"I'm not riding with a serial killer!" The words slipped out of my mouth and I groaned. I couldn't have kept my mouth shut for five fucking seconds to avoid being chopped up and thrown to the wolves?


He threw his head back and let out a thunderous laugh.


"What's so goddamned funny?" I glared at him, but he didn't seem to care.


"I'm no serial killer."


"And I'm just supposed to take your fucking word for it?" I raised an eyebrow. I knew I was being combative and taking out my frustration on this stranger, but I couldn't stop myself.


"You could call my ma for references."


"Ha ha. Very funny." With a deep sigh, I resigned to my fate and started walking again. No way was I getting into a car with that mammoth of a man.


"Where you goin'?" he called after me. When I didn't bother to answer, he eased off the break and let his truck crawl after me.


I swirled around. "Stop following me, you creep," I hissed.


He let go of the steering wheel with one hand and held it up as if he surrendered. "Look, man. It's freezin'. You're wet and miserable. Get in the truck and lemme take you wherever you're goin'." His deep voice was surprisingly gentle. Non-threatening, as if he'd come to expect reactions like mine.


"I'm really not a bad guy." He stuck out his lower lip in a pout that would have made a five-year-old girl green with envy and I had to bite my lip to stop a smile from erupting.


"Really?" I tried to hang on to my mistrust, but he made it hard. His appearance screamed RUN AND HIDE, but there was something soft in his eyes that told a different story.


He shot me a crooked smile. "It was worth a try. It works on my niece every time."


The fucker knew all the right words to say to disarm me. "And how old is she?"

"Four."


I huffed out a reluctant chuckle. "Well, you know how it is. Everyone always says how they couldn't believe their neighbor was a serial killer because he seemed like such a nice guy."


His eyes grew big and round. "You're sayin' you don't trust my niece as a character witness?" He sounded as I'd just delivered the biggest insult of his life, but the amused glint in his eyes told me it was all for show.


"Can you blame me?"


"I guess not." He sighed and grew serious. "Please. I couldn't live with myself if I left you here to freeze to death."


My body screamed at me to take him up on his offer. The ice pellets were relentless and I was soaked and gloomy and was starting to feel like maybe being ax murdered wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to me right now.


The openness in his posture and honesty in his eyes had me on the verge of caving. "You promise you won't kill me?" I sounded like a scared little kid even to my own ears.


Review


First impressions can be so treacherous, not to mention wrong J And boy does Daniel jump to all the wrong conclusions when he first sets eyes on Axel.

Axel looks like danger; huge, covered in black tattoos his appearance seems to scream ‘stay away from me’. And yet, he’s pulled over to help Daniel who is in serious danger of freezing to death unless he finds shelter. And while he might look brutish, he sounds nothing except kind and friendly.

When Daniel accepts Ax’s offer of a lift he doesn’t know that not only are all his preconceptions about to be turned on their head, he’s also taking the first steps towards a future he didn’t expect and couldn’t have seen coming.

My main impression after reading this book can be best described in one word: Cute. Really, characters and stories don’t come much cuter than Axel and the Unexpected Christmas he creates for Daniel.


I really don’t want to say a whole lot more about this story. It’s sweet. It’s cute. It doesn’t shirk away from issues but doesn’t allow them to ruin the overall festive mood of the book. If you’re in the mood for a feel good story that will leave you smiling and sighing, you probably want to read Unexpected Christmas.

Author Bio

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along but let’s face it, she’s not Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.


Nell is a 40-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, where she spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her life long dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, and wants to write diverse and different characters.






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Secret Santa by Jay Northcote - Review Tour



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 38,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Blurb

Keeping secrets is never a good way to start a relationship

Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.

Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognise Luke, and Luke realises he’s not the only one with a secret.

Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches their secrets pile up like colourful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all—each other.


Review

Secret Santa — and it’s not just Santa who is (keeping) secret(s). Boy, if ever two men made dating, and therefore life, complicated for themselves, it has to be Luke and Theo.

I had to smile that while they manage to deal with the somewhat treacherous intricacies of Grindr without any real problems, despite Theo being new to the app; it is the rest of their lives, and what they don’t tell each other that almost trips them up. I mean, we all know that we need to be careful about what we diverge and what we believe while chatting online but, as this story shows, it is advisable to also pay attention when dealing in a more direct fashion. Or, novel idea, try to not keep secrets from each other.

I have to be honest and admit that the secrets both Luke and Theo were keeping didn’t really work for me. After all, there’s nothing shameful about a temporary job as a store Santa and keeping the fact that you are co-parenting a child secret when you’re looking for something more meaningful than a hook-up seems somewhat nonsensical. Then again, characters not communicating has never been my favourite trope, so this one is probably on me rather than on the author. And, I would like to add at this point that while I had no complaints when it came to Luke and Theo, I think Archie, Theo’s four year old son, was the male who stole my heart in this book.


As for the book in general, it’s a Jay Northcote special, which means Secret Santa is a well written story, featuring two cute men, amazing sexy times, and plenty of moments to make you grin from ear to ear. But then again, I wouldn’t have expected anything else. Jay, for me, is a safe bet when I’m looking for a comfort read. This Christmas, he once again delivered on that promise.




December 4 - BooksLaidBareBoys
December 8 - My Fiction Nook


Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.



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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament by Clare London



39 pages
2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Blurb

Frankie Faraday is a promising young salesperson at Mason’s Emporium. Bill Mason is his boss, the son of the store’s founder, and the object of Frankie’s long-suffering, deeply devoted crush. Bill is steady and sober; Frankie is frivolous and flaky. Or so they seem to each other, until the night of the annual inventory, when they’re trapped together in the Seasonal Gifts storeroom, with nothing but candy and peppermint schnapps to sustain them until they’re rescued. And then the real truths—and something definitely more intimate—emerge!

Review

This here, The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament, is thirty-nine pages worth of seasonal fun that had me either laughing out loud or smiling from start to finish. Frankie and Bill are the ultimate and most joyous proof that opposites do indeed attract.

Frankie is totally over the top, which becomes very clear as soon as the story kicks off.

“I guess you might say my current predicament is punishment for my sins.

What sins? you may ask, amazed that a cute twink like me with such angelic features and a sweet sunny disposition could be so debauched.”

Bill on the other hand is adorably gruff and totally in denial when it comes to how he sees himself, his life and especially Frankie. He tries very hard to convince both himself and the reader that Frankie is something of a walking and talking disaster but can’t deny the attraction he feels, no matter how hard he tries.

In fact, neither man is exactly how they at first appear. Frankie has a lot more going for him than his flamboyant style and lighthearted approach to life and his job seem to indicate, whereas Bill isn’t really the bullish business man he portrays while at work.

Trapped together in the tiny and locked store room is the perfect situation for these two men, who may or may not have been admiring each other from a safe distance for some time, to get closer to each other and discover that sometimes there’s more to a person than what we see at first glance.

Lighthearted, fun, sexy, and totally heartwarming, The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament is a wonderful little treat and a very worthy addition to my collection of holiday reads.


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Eight Nights in December by Keira Andrews



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 25,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs

Blurb

A geek. A virgin. One sexy holiday.

Orphaned Lucas figures spending the holidays with his obnoxious roommate’s family in New York City is better than staying alone on campus upstate. He ends up sharing a room again, this time with his roommate’s brother, Nate. Geeky photographer Nate isn’t at all what Lucas expects. In fact, he’s incredibly sexy—especially when he invites Lucas into his darkroom...


They hide their attraction during Hanukkah celebrations, but behind closed doors, Lucas and Nate can’t keep their hands (or mouths) off each other. Nate’s only looking for a bit of holiday fun, and amazing sex with a hot virgin definitely fits the bill. Yet as the candles burn, Nate and Lucas begin to realize eight nights will never be enough.


This gay holiday romance from Keira Andrews features secret trysts, new adult angst, spinning the dreidel, and of course a happy ending.



Review

Ah, romance… This is one of those sweet, low angst, sexy and totally charming stories you’ll read with a huge smile on your face more or less from start to finish. That’s not to say there aren’t one or two moments that will pull on your heart-strings, but even those moments feel good.

These two young men sure came with a lot of ‘baggage’. There’s Lucas, who has recently been orphaned and is a more or less friendless virgin. Nate on the other hand is a typical geek, not out, and somewhat of a commitment-phobe when he first meets Lucas. Despite, or maybe because of, this combination the two men hit if off from the start and have a wonderful and very sexy time getting to know each other intimately.

What should have been eight days of fun, as well as a sexual awakening for Lucas, all too soon turns into more and, into a very happy ending.

I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted read. And I truly appreciate that it managed to give me an insight into Hanukkah, a holiday I know little to nothing about, without taking me out of the story. In fact, the celebration fitted perfectly into Lucas and Nate’s tale.


If you’re in the mood for a holiday story that will leave you filled with seasonal cheer and satisfied, Eight Nights in December will not let you down.

Author Bio

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:


“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”





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Jesus Kid by Kayleigh Sky



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 114,000 words

Blurb

Thirty years ago, an asteroid stuck the Earth. Now killer plants hunt the last surviving humans.

Ori Scott is a young junkie running from his mother’s prophecy that he’d one day save the world from the killer plants. Her preaching made him a laughingstock and now he hides in his drugs. But he can’t hide the change in his veins. They are turning green, and the prophecy is dragging him into a dark struggle between invisible forces. Set up on bogus drug charges, Ori is taken to a secret facility where he becomes a test subject in experiments to discover an antidote to the alien plant’s sting.


Jack Doll is a cop with a vendetta against the plants that killed his best friend. All he has in the world now is his old friend’s lover, Rive. Together they form an unbreakable bond—or so he thought. Jack has never liked Rive’s friend, Ori, but he believes in Ori’s innocence and doesn’t understand Rive’s strange indifference to Ori’s conviction. Struggling with his suspicions, Jack can’t help digging into a mystery that draws him closer to Ori than ever before—and closer to somebody who has secrets to hide.


Alone and scared, Ori is grateful for Jack Doll’s friendship, and his longtime crush soon blossoms into love. But Ori has no plans to accept his fate. He wants to escape, and he doesn’t care if he takes the cure with him.


Author Bio

Kayleigh Sky is a m/m erotic romance writer.

Kayleigh’s stories are tales of struggle and pain, loss and despair. Love is won in the battle to rise out of the depths of darkness. Victory is in the sweet bliss of happily ever after.


Once upon a time Kayleigh hid out in a cold dark garage reading a book her parents forbid her to read. She was nine years old. The book? Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, a story of love between two men–well, actually the story was a little more complicated than that, but hey, she was nine.


In the dark of the garage, a light, a passion, a sheer joy for love in all its manifestations awoke.


And love between two men–Hot!


Kayleigh’s men are often broken, always brave, and always memorable.





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