Author Spotlight – S.A. Collins

A warm welcome to today’s Spotlight Author, S.A. Collins

SA COLLINS

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a gay author living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up in the heady (and sometimes scary) days of the rise of gay rights movement of the 70s and 80s. I write about queer people based loosely on the exploits of myself, my husband and our many queer friends that I’ve gathered over the decades. I am married to a wonderful man who I’ve shared a home with for over 23 years with kids and (now) grandkids in the mix. We basically live the Neo-Con Republican nightmare.

What would people be most surprised to know about you?

That I come from the world of professional Opera and have a connection with Cher (not blood related, but a connection nonetheless).

How do you relax?

Reading or surfing for excellent queer content across all mediums.

Do you have a favorite quote?

The one I use at the bottom of all my email correspondence. It is from Gracie Allen and goes: “When I was born I was so surprised I didn’t speak for a whole year.”  Though I’ve been known to quote from movies religiously – Auntie Mame (with Rosaline Russell) being the most popular. It’s just filled with one liners that are absolutely biting.

How long have you been writing and what made you fall in love with writing?

I’ve been writing off and on for well over 20 years now. Maybe even before that; though not in any real meaningful way … more along the lines of just creating characters and worlds to explore in my own head.

What are your ambitions for your writing career and what’s your favorite part of writing?

While financial success would certainly be welcomed, it’s not the focus of why I write or what I hope to get out of it. Lately I’ve received several emails from readers from oppressed parts of the globe that have expressed to me what my writings have meant to them. I’ll take those moments and correspondence over any five star review rating or financial success I can gain from being a writer. In those moments you realize just how much your works have impacted someone who may just be holding on to life and need something to validate that their existence matters in this world. Those are the moments I have come to realize I am in it for. They mean the world to me. Those people in those situations I admire greatly for living as proudly as they can in a world that is often very unforgiving or accepting. After one of those encounters I am often gobsmacked for days pondering how that has affected me.

Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance? Why not another genre?

I don’t write to genre romance tropes. I use romantic threads in my queer oriented stories. Don’t get me wrong, I think the relationships matter. But I like to explore the external forces that often push/pull those queer characters and see how they survive (or don’t) because of these often overwhelming forces. I suppose, because of my opera background, I tend to write ensemble pieces with focused relationship points – mundane people going through operatic like drama to see what they’re truly made of. I love to write about headspace. It’s an area we tend not to see too much. Queer people have to constantly poll our world – even in the best of circumstances. We are constantly checking for safety in our lives, whether we do it consciously or not. I am definitely of the Queer Lit type of writer in that I want to explore queerdom and our worlds from a very intimate (not necessarily sexual) place.

Do you write any other genre?

Yes. Currently I have a supernatural series I am working on that deals with all types of supernatural characters in a fictional town of Sparrow’s Hollow in 1956 West Virginia (where my husband hails from). I also have a contemporary series (Angels of Mercy) which examines the institutionalized homophobia in competitive sports (in this case, American high school football). I wanted to explore when an out, shy, artistic boy who hides from everyone, moving like a ghost amongst the other students, suddenly finds himself in the arms of the star quarterback of his high school. I wanted to explore this element of light and darkness. A boy who craves darkness because it guarantees his safety only to fall in love with a boy made of pure light who is noticed by everyone. It’s a sometimes harsh look at their world and the struggles they face. It is loosely based on some of my own and my husband’s (he played for Clemson U back in his day) experiences.

What scene in your writing has made you laugh the hardest or cry the most?

I have a character named Danny Jericho in the Angels of Mercy series who is a fire cracker of a guy. He’s Elliot’s and Marco’s GBF. I just don’t know what’s going to pop into his head or out of his mouth at any given time. He’s made me laugh and cry depending on the situation. A real surprise of a character from when I first created him.

Give the readers a brief summary of your latest book.

The latest release was a boxed set – I released two prequel books to my main Angels of Mercy series that told the star quarterback’s past leading up to his growing love for Elliot (the boy he’ll eventually come to love). Because Marco wants to play ball, he has to “play the game” that all athletes feel compelled to play: bag the girl, draw blood on the field, and score, score, score. But Marco is a burgeoning self-made man. As he comes to realize that the script every other guy follows without question, Marco is a man filled with nothing but questions. Only Elliot, that shy, quiet and artistic boy seems to hold all the answers for him. The road to Elliot isn’t an easy one. Despite all the wealth, fame and power Marco’s family wields in the world, none of it seems to help as he tries desperately to find a way into Elliot’s arms. Perceptions, intrigue, lies and issues of fidelity collide against the rather dramatic world of Mercy High and their football team: The Mercy High Avenging Angels.

What genre does it fall in?

Queer Lit, mostly. Each volume of the series changes perspectives and covers ground along the same timeline but from each boy’s perspective on the events that unfold in the town of Mercy, California located just outside of Big Sur. While it has strong romantic themes in the story, it hones closer to to life in that it’s messy, complicated and because there are teenagers involved, high drama reigns supreme because only teens can make things so much bigger than it is.

Share a few words about your latest book, other than the usual blurb.

It was inspired oddly enough by two things: 1) I wanted to take the tragic events of Matthew Shepard’s beating and turn it around. What would’ve happened if he survived such an event? SPOILER ALERT: Would Elliot crumble or find the courage to climb back out of the hole that Marco’s teammates would put him in? And 2) it was very heavily inspired by the musical works of Jay Brannan (who I dedicate the first book to and also make Elliot a fan of his in the series), particularly Jay’s album “Rob Me Blind” which could literally be the soundtrack to this series. If you don’t know of Jay Brannan’s work as an out queer artist, you should definitely take the time to get to know his music and his brilliant, brilliant words. He is a true modern bard of the queer experience. He was kind enough to let me quote one of his songs in the series when I saw him in concert and met him after. Something I am deeply grateful for – one queer artist supporting another. I champion him whenever I can. The two latest (boxed set) books actually carry sub-titles that are directly from Jay’s work: The King of Imperfections and The Prince of Mistakes.

Give us a little insight into your main characters. Who are they?

Each of the main characters (twin brothers – Pietro and Marco Sforza) and the boy in the center of their lives, Elliot, all have angelic names and those names embody who they are as characters. They are metaphorical as is the football team who are called the Avenging Angels (because the school used to be a Catholic school and the team name remained the same after the school became secular).

Cassiel (the angel of tears and regrets) Elliot Donahey is the out, shy, artistic boy who is the most vulnerable of the main characters. He is the boy that my readers tend to gravitate toward. While not morose or wallowing in a puddle of emotional goo, Elliot embodies the sadness that often surrounds queer youth as they struggle to find acceptance and value in the world. It isn’t an easy road to walk.

Marco Rafael Sforza is named for an arch angel – the story is really his to tell. He gets the bulk of the books in the series (three of the six in all). Of all the characters, you spend the most time in his head and discovering what’s in his heart along the way.

Pietro Azreal Sforza, Marco’s identical twin, is the personification of the angel who sits in judgment. He is judge, jury and executioner in these boys lives. Pietro is the dark horse in this race. He protects his brother and will do anything to preserve the family at all costs. These three “angels” have what I hope is a ripping read of a tale to be told that explores what being queer is all about.

Will we be seeing these characters again any time soon? Is this book part of a series?

It is part of a series. Six in all (with two prequels and a companion book to Volume 2 of the main series). Five are available now, the final book should be out by the end of this year or beginning of next. It’s proving to be a bit of a bear to write and get right because I have so many balls up in the air with the ensemble of characters involved.

Which actor would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

I actually have three male models that I’ve always seen as the main characters of this series. So their looks are really solid in my mind. The Sforza twins are based off of Troy and Travis Cannata and Elliot is based off of Paul Becigneul, although I’ve always heard Elliot’s voice as Jay Brannan (who has a very active YouTube channel). The cadence and inflections Jay puts into his YouTube videos is solidly where Elliot’s snark, humor and thread of contemplative sadness comes from.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style. When and where is your favorite time/place to write?

I love to write first person. Mostly, because I love headspace of the character. This comes from years of being involved in professional theater (under a different name). We don’t often give weight to the perceptions of our world and how they truly govern what we do and why. As queer people, we have an often different take with perceptions because, for our safety, it’s a heightened awareness as we move through life. As a writer, I love exploring that – the arguments we have with ourselves as we try to find some sliver of happiness in our worlds. Sometimes, in my works, an HEA might not be two people riding off into the sunset. Sometimes that HEA is finding self-worth, validation and respect for ourselves that we are worthy of love and sometimes that has to start with ourselves.

What sort of book do you enjoy reading in your free time?

Mostly queer lit fic. I love to hear the voices of my queer brothers and sisters out there. To know what experiences they have worked through in their lives and how it may (or may not) mirror my own. Living in the bubble of San Francisco, I realize my experiences are not like those who may live in the mid-west or even in some Islamic country. I want to know what they’re up against, how they survive, how they find love and acceptance – both in fiction and non-fiction. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the odd MM Romance either. I am a big TJ Klune fan but come from a long line of other queer authors of the Violet Quill gang of the 70s, 80s and 90s (John Rechy, Felice Picano, Gordon Merrick, and Andrew Holleran to name a few).

What was the last book you read? What did you enjoy about it?

I am currently reading TJ Klune’s “The Long and Winding Road” – the last of the Bear, Otter and the Kid series. While I am loving it immensely, it’s also bittersweet because I know the series is coming to an end. I love Klune’s approach to character. His “Into This River I Drown” had a profound effect on me as a writer. That book is what made me take the plunge to publishing my own works.

Did you always want to be a writer? I think on some level, yes. Though it took me a long while to sort out that I could do it. Silly, really, because I have worked in printed media for so long in the professional theater community. I just never saw it for myself. That’s changed now.

Have you held any interesting jobs while you worked on your books?

Other than being an opera singer? That’s fairly unusual for a writer to put down on a bio. But my theater work has helped me because I have a long history of creating characters based on the writings of others. It’s not enough to follow a director’s stage direction to pick up the tea cup on a given line. As an actor, I need to know WHY I do it at that juncture. The motivation of character is everything.

What does your writing process look like? I run a weekly podcast (the Wrote Podcast – http://wrotepodcast.com) – that explores this topic with every author or artist we have on our show. After over a hundred episodes to our credit, we’ve discovered that, for many authors, the number of words on a page seems to be the goal of writing. How many did I get down on the digital page? Yet, I think writing goes far beyond that. Sometimes it’s the working out of plot, re-examining the dialog between two characters, looking at the world from a larger perspective to see if it all works. Those are elements of writing that won’t have a direct word count associated with them but are completely necessary to have it all work so the reader comes away with what you hoped to convey as a storyteller. So I think we need to allow ourselves, as writers, to embrace all of that. It’s what I love most about being an author. I love the creative process. Hitchcock, one of my heroes when it comes to storytelling, said that for him, creation was everything. The filming and editing and promotion was boring to him. I sort of get that. The creation is the most exciting part for me, too.

The publishing and promotion is icing on the literary cake, but it’s the world building, the character creations, the emotional relationships that are explored that is the real cake you’re cooking up for the reader. And like baking, there is a real sort of science behind it all. Sure, you may tell your story a certain way, give it your own spin, but ultimately we are in the business of communication – and to do that you really need to have the courage to deeply examine what you’re doing and the why of it to get it right. I think that’s something that can’t be faked for a reader … they’ll spot that a mile coming.

Thank you for sharing more about yourself.

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A promotional five-book set available only at S.A. Collins’ own webstore.

He can personally autograph the ebooks found on his webstore.
All the books are available from his author page at Amazon.

Angels of Mercy – Diary of a Quarterback I: The King of Imperfections

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Angels of Mercy – Diary of a Quarterback II: The Prince of Mistakes

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Diary Set Synopsis:

Born in America but reared in their father’s home of Torino, Italy, Marco Sforza has led a fairly idyllic life. The Sforzas are an ancient and powerful family with a strong ducal past. They run a vast global empire that allows Marco to enter halls of power that most men only dream of. Yet, Marco is a boy who lives in a bubble of his family’s making.

When Marco returns to America to attend high school he grooms himself to become a rising star quarterback of the Mercy High Avenging Angels. He thinks his focus is his burgeoning football career. He is all too aware he is a boy made of pure light that is meant to be seen and noticed. He is comfortable there. Until he meets a boy who shines brighter than him. Elliot Donahey is that boy. But Elliot is a boy who craves shadow and darkness to keep himself safe through another hellish day of high school.

Before he realizes it, Marco’s world becomes undone by this boy. Trapped in a script all jocks are meant to follow, Marco does his best to fit in and play along so he can play the game he loves. But this boy who hides in the shadows begins to consume his every thought and emotion.

Despite the script he’s been given to date girls, have sex, and hang with his teammates and follow along, Marco finds himself on an emotional pendulum where following that jock script only brings him further away from that world to circle the boy hiding in the shadows. Can Marco find it within himself to push against what others expect of him to find his way into Elliot’s arms? Even with all the fame, money and prestige his family brings to the table, will it be enough to gain the interest of a boy who only wants to hide from everyone?

Author Bio

SA “Baz” Collins hails from the San Francisco Bay Area where he lives with his husband, their daughter and wonder of all wonders, a whirlwind of a granddaughter and two exotic cats. A classically trained singer/actor (under a different name), Baz knows a good yarn when he sees it.

Based on years of his work as an actor, Baz specializes in character study pieces. It is more important for him as an author that the reader comes away with a greater understanding of the characters, and the reasons they make the decisions they do, rather than the situations they are in. It is this deep dive into their manners, their experiences and how they process the world around them that make up the body of Mr. Collins’ work.

You can find his works at sacollins.comvioletquillredux.com and as a co-host of thewrotepodcast.com series.

Social Media Links

sacollins@sacollins.com

www.sacollins.com

www.violetquillredux.com

@sacollinsauthor

google.com/+sacollins

facebook.com/authorsacollins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour – Hot Off the Ice by A.E. Wasp

HOT OFF THE ICE

Meet the men of the Seattle Thunder.

They’re hot on and off the ice.

HOT OFF THE ICE

 NEW RELEASE

Book Title: Country Boy: Hot Off the Ice #2

Author:  A. E. Wasp

Cover Artist: Ana J. Phoenix

Release Date: September 21

Genre/s:  Contemporary Romance, gay romance, steamy, sports, hockey

Length: Words:   80K

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#2  Robbie & Paul

Blurb

Sometimes the toughest thing to have faith in is yourself.

The first time Paul Dyson met Robbie Rhodes, they ended up naked in Robbie’s bed. The last time they met, on the ice the morning after, Paul punched Robbie in the face and called him something he’d rather not repeat.

Two years later, they’re teammates on the Seattle Thunder hockey team.

Being gay is wrong, unnatural, and there is no room for them in his world. Paul’s heard that his whole life. So when it hits him that he is gay, he does the only thing he can: he shoves himself so deep in the closet he would need a map to find his way out again.

When the chance to fulfill his lifelong dream comes along, Paul can’t say no, even if it forces him to share hotel rooms with the only man he can’t resist. It doesn’t take long for Paul to give into temptation and find himself falling in love with his brilliant, caring teammate.

But as much as he cares for Paul, Robbie is finding it harder and harder to justify hiding who he is. It goes against everything he was taught was right. He feels like he has a duty to come out to the public. He’d be the first out gay pro-hockey player.

If Paul wants to be with Robbie, he will have to turn his back on his family and everything he’s believed in. If Robbie wants to be will Paul, he’ll have to do the same.

It’s going to take them a lot of faith to find their way together in this shiny new world.

Country Boy is a love story about figuring out who you are, who you want to be, and how to get there. It contains sweet hockey plays, a 1976 Corvette Stingray, fancy underwear, and the journey of a lifetime.

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Excerpt

He took a slap shot at the empty net, raising his arms to an imaginary crowd and giving an almost silent cheer. Skating slowly to retrieve the puck, he said. “If we wanna make the show, we’ve got to be the best. We got to push harder and want it more.” He tossed the puck on the ice in front of Robbie. “Do you want it more?”

“More than who?” Robbie stared into his eyes, hands resting on the top of his stick.

“More than anyone else does. More than you want anything else. Do you want it that much?”

Their eyes met, glittering in the harsh shadows of the bare lamp light. Finally, Robbie nodded. “Yeah. I do.”

Paul tilted his head. “Then let’s get to work.”

They skated hard for some indeterminate length of time Paul knew he would never forget. The world had narrowed down to a frozen space of biting cold air, moon shadows, and the sounds of metal blades carving through the ice.

As they sped down the ice, Robbie right on Paul’s tail, an owl broke out of the trees, swooping low over Paul’s head with a swish of feathers and an eerie hooting. “Dang,” Paul said, throwing up his arms and ducking.

“Oh, crap,” Robbie yelped right before he crashed into Paul. Down they went in a tangle of arms and legs.

Robbie landed on top of Paul, knocking the air out of his lungs. Paul’s first thought was that the parka did a great job of insulating him from the cold. The second was that having Robbie laying on top of him felt really good.

Robbie started to push away, and, Paul moved without thought, wrapping his arms around Robbie.

Robbie stopped, raising onto his elbows to stare Paul in the eyes. His eyes were such a warm brown. Paul’s breathing grew heavy, and he felt Robbie’s chest pressing against his with each exhalation.

He licked his dry lips, and Robbie’s eyes dropped to his mouth, then back to his eyes. “Can I kiss you?” Robbie asked quietly.

Paul’s muscles tightened, and his breath caught.

Mistaking his silence for a no, Robbie blushed and tried to pull away. Paul grabbed Robbie’s coat awkwardly, fingers clumsy beneath the thick gloves, and pulled him back down.

Robbie’s lips were cold, but his breath was warm as he kissed Paul gently. He lifted his head to check Paul’s reaction.

Oh, Paul thought. Oh. He raised his head off the ice to reach Robbie’s mouth.

Robbie kissed him again, harder this time, pushing him back down to the ice.

Paul whimpered at the feel of Robbie’s lips on his. When Robbie’s tongue flicked against the seam of his mouth, he opened willingly, letting the heat in. Robbie’s thick gloves thumped to the ground as he pulled them off without breaking the kiss.

Robbie shifted on top of him as he explored Paul’s mouth, aligning their bodies in a way that made Paul’s eyes roll back in his head even as the ice numbed his ass through his jeans.

Skates scratching against the ice, Paul bent his knees, clamping his thighs against Robbie’s sides.

Robbie took what he wanted from Paul, tilting his head to the side with a hand, and encouraging Paul to open up with sharp nips to his lips.

He pushed Paul’s head back with pressure on his chin, his mouth moving down the column of Paul’s neck as best as he could through the protective barrier of outerwear.

Paul panted through his open mouth as Robbie set his teeth on Paul’s skin and sucked, tongue flicking against the pulse in Paul’s neck. “Oh, fuck,” he moaned, hips rising of their own accord as his body fought for some friction.

For most of a decade, he’d imagined what it would feel like to be held down by a man, to feel someone strong and hard pressing against him, matching their strength to his. His imagination had not come close to reality.

Robbie pushed up onto his arms, forcing his body down onto Paul’s rapidly growing erection. The place where his mouth had been was suddenly freezing in the cold air. Paul’s head to toe shudder threatened to throw Robbie off. “Oh, God, oh, God,” Paul groaned. “Don’t stop.”

Robbie leaned down for a long hard kiss that stole the air from Paul’s lungs. He smiled as he looked at Paul. “If we don’t go inside, we’re going to freeze to death, stick to the ice, and Mrs. Pierson is going to find our bodies in the morning.” He jumped up and held a hand out to Robbie.

Paul couldn’t process what was happening as he let himself be pulled up. Was that it? Was it over? Would the kissing stop when they got inside? Please don’t let it stop. He needed it so badly. Needed to shut off his brain, just for tonight. Please.

Robbie skated off the rink and headed towards the door. Paul followed him.

 

Buy Links  

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads Link

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BOOK 1 ~ Bryce & Dakota

City Boy (Hot Off the Ice #1) by A.E. Wasp

city boy pink - final

Title: City Boy (Hot Off the Ice #1)

Author: A.E. Wasp

Cover Artist: Ana J. Phoenix

Publication Date: June 29, 2017

Genre/s:  Contemporary Romance, gay romance, steamy, sports, hockey

Print Length: 280 pages

Blurb

Follow the money or follow your heart? Either way, you lose.

When a blown tire leads directly to mind-blowing sex with a white knight named Dakota, pro-hockey player Bryce Lowery discovers he is most definitely gay.

Being with Dakota opens up a whole new world. Bryce can’t imagine life without him. But he refuses to be Bryce’s dirty little secret. If he wants to keep Dakota, he’s either going to have to come out publicly or retire and walk away from millions of dollars.

Bryce Lowery feels like the answer to all of Dakota’s prayers. But is Dakota willing to leave the only life he’s ever known only to be thrust into the spotlight as the boyfriend of the first out gay hockey player? Would their relationship even survive it? He’ll lose Bryce if doesn’t because Bryce will leave eventually. No one would turn down millions of dollars for a nobody with nothing.

City Boy is a first time gay, fish out of water, May/December love story with a happy ending. It features snarky siblings, a dirty-talking farmer, lots of food, and big choices. (No poultry was harmed in the making of this book.)

Buy links – Available on KU

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads

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Meet the Author

Author Bio: A dreamer and an idealist, Amy writes about people finding connection in a world that can seem lonely and magic in a world than can seem all too mundane. She invites readers into her characters’ lives and worlds when they are their most vulnerable, their most human, living with the same hopes and fears we all have. An avid traveler who has lived in big cities and small towns in four different continents, Amy has found that time and distance are no barriers to love. She invites her readers to reach out and share how her characters have touched their lives or how the found families they have gathered around them have shaped their worlds.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

Pinterest

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Rafflecopter Giveaway

WIN ONE OF THREE e-copies from A.E. Wasp’s Backlist

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Blog Tour Schedule

HOT OFF THE ICE SCHEDULE

SEPTEMBER 26

Millsy Loves Books 

Tangents and Tissues  

Zipper Rippers 

SEPTEMBER 27

Megan’s Media Melange  

Lily G Blunt

SEPTEMBER 28

Stories That Make You Smile

Love Bytes Reviews 

Louise Lyons 

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews 

MM Good Book Reviews 

SEPTEMBER 29

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

SEPTEMBER 30

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 

Bayou Book Junkie 

Beautiful Book Corner  

Books Laid Bare Boys  

My Fiction Nook 

A Polished Reader 

Alpha Book Club 

 

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Blog Tour ~ WAKING THE BEHR by Pat Henshaw

 

WakingCover

Book Title: Waking the Behr (A Foothills Pride Story)

Author: Pat Henshaw

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Genre: contemporary gay romance

Length: 29,689 Words/88 Pages

Release Date: September 20, 2017

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Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Kobo

Barnes & Noble 

Google Play 

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

Both Ben and Mitch think they know exactly what they want. Turns out, they don’t even know their own hearts.

Good old boy Ben has dated women his entire life, while gay nightclub owner Mitch has never considered unsophisticated country boys his type. But after they start hanging out, the small-town contractor and the urban entrepreneur are both stunned by the electricity sparking between them.

As they step outside their comfort zones to spend time together, Mitch finds he enjoys rural car rallies, and Ben is intrigued by the upscale bars Mitch owns in San Francisco. When they share their lives and grow closer, they start to question the way they’ve always defined themselves. Then they kiss and fling open the door to love. Now they must step up and travel the road that may lead to happily ever after—even if that path isn’t one they ever expected to walk.

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Blog Tour Schedule

WAKING THE BEHR BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

SEPTEMBER 25

Stories That Make You Smile

The Way She Reads 

Love Bytes Reviews

SEPTEMBER 26

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author 

Drops of Ink 

My Fiction Nook 

SEPTEMBER 27

Lily G Blunt 

Socially Awkward Book Nerd  

SEPTEMBER 28

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 

Making it Happen 

SEPTEMBER 29

The Paisley Rowan Reviews 

SEPTEMBER 30

Tangents and Tissues 

Bayou Book Junkie

Louise Lyons 

Zipper Rippers   

MJ’s Book Blog and Reviews 

WAKING THE BEHR COVER 2

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Meet 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.

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Social Media Links

Blog

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Amazon

Email

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of THREE $10 Coffee gift cards

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Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

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Author Spotlight ~ Matt Converse

MATT CONVERSE

I’d like to offer a warm welcome to Matt Converse

Please introduce yourself and your writing.

I’m Matt Converse of San Francisco and write horror, thriller, mystery, erotica and m/m romance. I was first published by Comet Press in 2015 with my m/m erotic thriller Behind the Velvet Curtain. This year, Encompass Ink published the prequel, Strip Shot. My next release is an erotic horror thriller, Leather Head, due October 14th, just in time for Halloween.

How long have you been writing for, and what inspired you to start writing?

I wrote my first short story at age eight about a boy who dreams of walking to a graveyard and finding an open grave that has his headstone on it. My teacher asked if I copied it from TV or a movie. I was flattered and have been writing ever since.

Tell us about your new release. What inspired you to write it?

Strip Shot is the prequel to my first release, Behind the Velvet Curtain. Readers asked for a sequel but I thought a prequel was called for first to show the main character’s coming of age journey to becoming a stripper. Both books are based on some of my own real life experiences as a stripper.

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What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet? 

I’m current working on the sequel to Behind the Velvet Curtain. I’m afraid a snippet might be a spoiler but for those who wanted to know more about “The Creeper”, fasten your seat-belts!

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Do you have any advice for other writers?

Do what you love and remember every no is one step closer to a yes. I was turned down many times before being published, just like the stories you hear about famous authors like Stephen King. It’s true.

Are there any genres you prefer to write and if so, why?  

I am a horror writer at heart I think because my Mom turned me on to scary movies on Friday nights as a kid. I fell into the m/m romance erotica category simply by subject matter. My story of an Ohio boy turned San Francisco stripper who is stalked by an obsessed fan is more thriller than anything, but the characters just happen to be gay.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I haven’t started it yet, but Psycho by Robert Bloch. I want to see how it differs from the movie directed by my idol. Alfred Hitchcock.

What other novels do you adore/ writers you follow?

I have been a fan of Stephen King since I was young, he’s one of my idols.

Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?

Yes, my main character in both published books are based on myself. It’s fiction but many things are based on my own life experiences as a stripper. I wanted to portray a real, gritty look at the life of a stripper.

Do you have a favourite character and/or book you’ve written? Who, what and why?

I love “The Creeper” in Behind the Velvet Curtain. I guess it’s my love of horror.

Do you write often? Do you have a schedule?

I don’t have a schedule, but I’m a night owl so it’s usually very late at night. I don’t write every day but on the days I do write I’m almost the happiest.

What are your writing and personal goals for 2017 and beyond?

I have two novellas published, so my goal is having a full length novel published.

If you could choose any superpower or magical ability, what would it be and why? What would you do with it?

I love my dreams of flying so I’d go with that to see if it is as magical as it is in my dreams.

Thank you for telling us more about yourself.

More about the author

Matt Converse of San Francisco is the author of the erotic gay thriller novella Behind the Velvet Curtain and Strip Shot, the prequel to Behind the Velvet Curtain. He aspires to bring diversity to the publishing world.

He’s an avid fan of tennis, horse racing, and the Alabama Crimson Tide. His inspirations range from Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King to Lady Gaga.

Buy Links

Strip Shot

Behind the Velvet Curtain

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Release Blitz – Waking the Behr by Pat Henshaw

 

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Book Title: Waking the Behr (A Foothills Pride Story)

Author: Pat Henshaw

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Genre: contemporary gay romance

Length: 29,689 Words/88 Pages

Release Date: September 20, 2017

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Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Kobo

Barnes & Noble 

Google Play 

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

Both Ben and Mitch think they know exactly what they want. Turns out, they don’t even know their own hearts.

Good old boy Ben has dated women his entire life, while gay nightclub owner Mitch has never considered unsophisticated country boys his type. But after they start hanging out, the small-town contractor and the urban entrepreneur are both stunned by the electricity sparking between them.

As they step outside their comfort zones to spend time together, Mitch finds he enjoys rural car rallies, and Ben is intrigued by the upscale bars Mitch owns in San Francisco. When they share their lives and grow closer, they start to question the way they’ve always defined themselves. Then they kiss and fling open the door to love. Now they must step up and travel the road that may lead to happily ever after—even if that path isn’t one they ever expected to walk.

Excerpt

MEETING A potential client for the first time was usually a mixed bag. As a contractor and partner in Behr Construction, I never knew what I was going to get: a fanciful dreamer, an actual customer, or a combination of both.

So I was surprised when I opened the door to the gutted restaurant and found a giant of a man twirling Julie Andrews–style. He was grinning like a loon as the light poured over him.

That should have been laughable since he was alone, but he was kickass savoring the moment. Instead of appearing loco, he struck me as a big overgrown Peter Pan. He looked so happy, I had an urge to join him, which gave me a moment of panic because I’m not an old boy who does much dancing or cavorting—in public or in private.

“Uh, hello? Mr. O’Shea?”

When he turned toward me, my jaw dropped. I’m sure I musta looked like the village idiot.

The guy was unbelievably gorgeous. I don’t usually think men are good- or bad-looking. They’re men. Before that moment, I would have said men weren’t my type. But, damn! He was smoking hot.

He looked about my height—six four or maybe a little taller—and was dressed in a classy three-piece suit with a gleaming tie tack, had one pierced ear, and wore a sparkling watch. His raven hair stood up in a tall buzz cut in front and tapered long enough to curl around his ears in back.

But what stopped me and turned me to jelly were his wickedly merry eyes and his shit-eating grin.

He acted like a kid who’d found Santa or the Easter Bunny.

In the middle of the total disaster of the old Thompson’s steak house, this guy looked like he’d hit the jackpot.

Fuck me. I’d come to a standstill and was staring at him openmouthed. Since I’m your basic laid-back good old boy, nothing usually bothered me. Now I was poleaxed. He was bewitching. Too hot for somebody like me to handle.

He’d stopped spinning. Without missing a beat, he strode over to me with his hand held out. In the blink of an eye, he changed from the picture of kidlike excitement to a polished city businessman.

I stood stock still, wondering what the hell had just happened. Had I hallucinated the twirling around? Maybe it was time to get away from work for a while, take a vacation, maybe go do some fishing.

“Isn’t this place great?” he greeted me. His voice held a leftover tinge of joy.

He didn’t look embarrassed or bothered that I’d caught him dancing around like an ass. Up close, he was even more powerfully sexy and self-assured. Face-to-face, his lively, assessing stare unnerved me. His unbridled enthusiasm wrapped around me and lifted me off my feet.

The guy seemed to be pulling my personality and soul toward him as he decided whether I was friend or foe. Then he grinned even wider, stuck out his hand, grabbed mine, and shook like we were on the verge of becoming tight. Why did I find this move hot as fuck?

I shook his hand, stunned, and almost wanted to run back to the alley, where I’d left my regular, easygoing self.

His eyes brightened and his smile turned sexy, as if he’d discovered a delightfully lascivious secret.

“Mr. Behr? May I call you Ben? I’m Mitchell O’Shea. Call me Mitch.” He squeezed my hand one more time, then dropped it. “Great space here. I’m going to buy it.”

His hand swept up in an extravagant Vanna White gesture. I was about to tell him he couldn’t afford a vowel, much less a remodel, when he grinned and sucked me in again.

Fuck. Oddly, my body agreed with that sentiment. Why was this happening? To me, of all people. I wasn’t gay. Even a little bit.

My brothers, Abe and Connor, had come out a while back, but everybody knew I was the straight Behr. I’d been dating girls since I was twelve (but looked sixteen). I wasn’t attracted to guys. Ever. I didn’t go for tall girls, especially ones as huge as me, so why was I attracted to a big man?

I stepped back and gave him the once-over. My body sure as shit was a little interested. Okay, maybe more than a little.

Like all the Behrs, I’m tall and squared off. As my grandpa always said, I’m built like a brick shithouse. A brown brick shithouse. Brown hair, brown eyes, brown tan. Nothing exotic about me.

But this guy? This guy had dark blue eyes flecked with light blue and green. His big body was lithe, with a tapered torso, and he moved like a dancer. He hit me like a gorgeous morsel of urban life. Somebody polished and sophisticated except for a patch of boyish fun. His smile was so engaging, I figured my friends would even like him.

My buddies had always said I was attracted to bright, shiny things. Was that all this was?

Noise from outside burst my bubble. Mitch O’Shea and I’d been standing too long staring at each other and not talking.

Through the blush heating up my cheeks, I cleared my throat and shifted uneasily.

“What can Behr Construction do for you, uh, Mitch?”

There was no way under God I was asking him what I could do for him. Or to him. Or whatever. I made myself stop overthinking. Just focus.

His grin grew, embracing me. My prick rose. Dammit.

“I’d like you to take a look at this place’s structure and tell me if it’s sound enough to remodel. Or should I just raze it and start over again?” His voice had changed to one only board presidents and big money used around us peons.

I took a shuddering breath. I’d dealt with hundreds of Mitches as a contractor. Estimates and suggestions I could do.

We both turned to the dismal interior of the former steak house. I cleared my throat, then took a breath.

“Okay. Sure.” I took a step away from him and looked up at the lung-cancer ceiling. “What do you plan to do with this place?”

His grin tried to lasso me again, but I was onto him. I met his gaze with a frown. His eyes twinkled in response. Damn him.

“Well, I own a bunch of clubs in San Francisco, but I’ve always wanted to start a family restaurant, kinda like Chuck E. Cheese’s but not with the costumed characters.” He fucking winked at me. “I want to start a place with an Old West theme, where parents can get a great steak for a reasonable price and kids can play old-fashioned arcade games without their folks watching them the whole time. You know, where families can come and enjoy a night out.”

Okay, his idea wasn’t as flashy as he looked. I would have thought he’d want more Vegas—bright lights and pink cocktails—while he was thinking more Main Street, America. Thompson’s would be a great place for his vision if the Silver Star gourmet restaurant wasn’t nearby, feeding the rich and famous.

“Uh, yeah. You did see the place across the street, right?” I thumbed toward the Star.

He laughed, a hearty bellow of delight.

“Oh, Chef Adam de Leon won’t be challenged by my little family place. This is a big block. Our clientele won’t overlap at all.”

I was skeptical. We’d done some work for Adam, but I didn’t really know the guy very well. From what I’d gathered, the celebrity chef didn’t like to be messed with. Ever. Would he want chattering kids and cranky parents cluttering up the street in front of his place?

I shrugged. “Okay. Whatever. If you give me fifteen to thirty, I’ll have a rundown of what needs to be done and write out a preliminary cost estimate so you can make up your mind.”

He nodded as I bent my head to get an appraisal sheet and pencil from my shirt pocket.

“Oh, Ben,” he called over his shoulder as he walked away.

I glanced at him.

“Mind if we talk about this over lunch?”

“Sure, no problem.” My dick was on board even if the rest of me was wary.

“How about I meet you outside? Maybe we could drive somewhere? I bet you’ll want to try out my car.”

I shrugged again. What’d he have? A Maserati or something? Since I’d come in through the back, I hadn’t seen him drive up.

But I was more concerned about my reaction to him than his ride. Was it possible to turn gay? Is that what had happened to my brothers and it was just now catching up with me?

Damn. I didn’t know how I felt if that was the case. Maybe being gay was a family thing?

I waved to him. Then, as I got one last eyeful, I shouted a piece of advice.

“I’d lose the jacket, vest, and tie if I were you. We’re pretty laid-back around here.”

If nothing else, he wouldn’t stick out quite as much as he would in the suit. He’d certainly attract the single gay men the way he was dressed. I didn’t need… competition?

Shit, what was I thinking?

Read more at Dreamspinner Press 

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Release Blitz Schedule

WAKING THE BEHR RB SCHEDULE

SEPTEMBER 20

Hoards Jumble

Millsy Loves Books

Zipper Rippers

Tangents and Tissues

The Way She Reads

Bayou Book Junkie

Making it Happen

Louise Lyons

SEPTEMBER 21

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author 

MJ’s Book Blog and Reviews 

SEPTEMBER  22

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 

Lily G Blunt 

Meet 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.

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Author Spotlight – Kenna Knight

A warm welcome to today’s Spotlight Author, Kenna Knight.

Thank you for joining us and sharing more about yourself.

KENNA KNIGHT

Interview Prompts…

The prized possession you value above all others… I would have to say my most prized possession is my computer. It holds so many ideas for future books as well as every manuscript I’ve ever written. Without it I would be lost and unable to work and since I love my work that would be devastating.

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend… I wish I had spent more time with her before she died. She had a stroke three years prior to her death and after the stroke I couldn’t see the person who raised me in her eyes any longer. It made it difficult to spend time with her but I should have done it anyway.

The temptation you wish you could resist… Sugar, plain and simple. I have a terrible sweet tooth.

The book that holds everlasting resonance… Brightside by Kim Holden moved me deeply. It showed me how beautiful and positive people can be even in the face of adversity.

The priority activity if you were invisible for a day… Oh, this is easy. I would hang out in my teenage daughter’s room and find out what she’s doing up there all the time.

The film you can watch time and time again… Okay now, don’t judge, but I can, and do, watch the Twilight series over and over. I love it and if I’ve gone too long without seeing it I’ll sit down and binge watch all five movies in a row.

The person who influenced you the most… My grandmother made me the person I am today. Without her love and guidance I don’t know what would have become of me.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity… The first thing that popped into my mind when I read this question was, strangely enough, writing. I wanted to be a nurse ever since I was a little girl and that is what I went to college for. Writing came straight out of left field. If you had told me five years ago that I would be quitting my job at the hospital to become a full time author I would have laughed in your face.

The poem that touches your soul… Sticks and stones will build your thrones but love lives ever after. Atticus.

The event that altered the course of your life… My mother’s death when I was nine years old. Nothing has been the same since.

The happiest moment you will cherish forever… There are several, every time I had a child felt like the happiest moment of my life.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you… Finding true love.

The way you would spend your fantasy twenty-four hours, with no travel restrictions… I would want to see England and France but with only twenty-four hours I would have to choose England.

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise… Mouth noises make me gag and crinkling wrappers in a quiet room makes me want to scream. OMG just stop!

The figure from history you would most like to buy a pie and a pint… Mary Queen of Scots. She was such a heroic, strong willed woman who fought for what she felt was right even when those around her tried to convince her differently.

The piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child… Love more. Judge less.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again… I didn’t lose it; it was stolen from me, but my mother’s wedding ring.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it… I would rig the lottery so I would win the Powerball!

The character you enjoyed writing the most… I wrote a story about an alpha male who was the wealthy owner of a chain of restaurants all over the world. He was damaged and brooding but when he met the protagonist he wanted to be a better man. To me that’s what love is all about, two people who are better when they are together.

The character you found difficult to write… It might sound odd but writing happy well-rounded characters is difficult for me. I don’t know many people who are genuinely happy and that makes them feel foreign to write.

The book you enjoyed planning/writing the most… The story about the alpha male I spoke of earlier. It was a trilogy that I put my heart and soul into. I was invested in those characters. I loved them. I knew them inside and out, they felt like my friends and family. I still miss them.

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Author Bio

Kenna Knight was born and raised in the Midwest and now lives in sunny California with her children and her fur babies. Kenna is a laugh out loud extroverted introvert who has a voracious appetite for reading all types of romance stories.

A former health care professional turned romance author Kenna thrives on working full time from home where she can keep an eye on her kids. Kenna has been writing contemporary romance for five years under other pen names but only recently read her first m/m romance novel. She liked it so much she decided to try writing the genre herself and found that she loved it.

Kenna enjoys writing emotional stories with a touch of heartache, a pinch of disappointment, a smidgen of healing and a king sized helping of happily ever after.

Social Media Links

 

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Loving Noah is coming to Amazon and KU September 26th

Release Blitz ~ Exposure by Aly Hayden

New Release by Aly Hayden

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Title: Exposure

Author: Aly Hayden

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Aria from Resplendent Media

Genres: Contemporary M/M Romance

Length: 61,000 words/150 pages approx.

 It is the first book in the Drawn Together series.

Each book follows a different couple, so there’s a HEA and no cliffhanger.

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Blurb

Sam Hayward’s parents think he has a boyfriend. And he does… in his dreams. But when they insist Sam bring his partner to the annual Labor Day family reunion, his options are to either admit it was all a lie or find a stand-in in a hurry. The trouble is that his lies have all been based on one very real man.

Ben Matheny has been hurt before. When he’s bribed into playing a part by his friends, he fleshes out Sam’s dreams, but it’s like flying too close to the sun. He’s always had a crush on Sam, and now they’re going to the Hamptons to spend a week pretending they’re lovers, everything is getting harder.

When Ben uncovers another lie Sam has told – that Ben is every bit as rich as Sam is – things begin to unravel. If Sam isn’t happy with who Ben is, Ben can’t stick around to get burned again.

With their hearts on the line, the two must fight for their dreams as the pressure mounts. It would be so easy to admit that it was all a sham, but some dreams are worth the risk.

EXPOSURE BLURB

Excerpt

“Guess we have the hot tub all to ourselves,” Ben said with a smile.

He didn’t know whether he meant the words to be flirtatious or not. It was one thing to flirt when there were other people present. That was just what he did, how he interacted with people. Deliberately flirting with Sam was different. Dangerous.

“Guess we do.”

Sam’s voice was lower than usual. Almost seductive. There was no one around that would make Sam feel like he had to play the part of the boyfriend, which meant only one thing: Sam was actually into him. The signs were all there, if Ben was reading them correctly—the way Sam had taken to holding his hand, the morning wood after cuddling all night long, the look Sam had given him when he’d seen Ben in the shorts. And then there was that thing he had started to say right before they had gotten on the boat.

Much as Ben wanted to believe that Sam might have feelings for him too, there was still a part of him that wasn’t sure. There was certainly one way for him to find out, though. The hot tub was big enough for about six people, so naturally they had taken corners along the same wall. Slowly, Ben moved closer and closer to Sam, until they were sitting side by side. He took a deep breath, steeling his nerves, and let his leg brush against Sam’s.

“What are you doing?” Sam’s voice was low and husky, and when Ben looked up, he found Sam’s pupils so large that only a sliver of hazel showed around the edges.

He swallowed hard. “Getting closer to you.”

His heart beat so fast that his chest ached as he waited for Sam to do something. Say something. Have any reaction at all. It had been so easy when it was just flirting, but this…this was terrifying.

Seconds passed, though, and Sam didn’t move away. Instead, he leaned back against the side of the hot tub and slid his hand into Ben’s, underneath the water.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he said softly.

Encouraged by the reaction, Ben shifted down a bit and let his head rest on Sam’s shoulder. “Me too.” They sat in silence for a few seconds. Ben didn’t want to ruin the moment, but he knew that if he didn’t say anything, he would regret it. “Before, when we were about to get on the boat. What were you going to say?”

“I um…” Sam scratched at the back of his neck. “I was going to say, what if—”

“Sammy, Benny!”

Ben whipped around to see Karrigan. Someone had escaped from nap time. He fought to suppress a groan. Looked like this conversation would have to wait.

Buy Links ~ Available on KU

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads Link

Meet the Author

Aly Hayden has loved writing ever since she learned to pick up a pencil. As a child, she used to write short stories, then progressed to novels of various genres, none of which were ever published – for good reason. She started writing fanfiction in 2011, publishing on Archive of Our Own. After finding M/M romance in 2012, she fell in love and made it her mission to write one of her own one day. When Aly isn’t writing, she can be found playing with her lovable Yorkie and watching old reruns of House Hunters.

Social Media Links

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Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway: WIN ONE OF THREE e-copies of Exposure

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Release Blitz Schedule

EXPOSURE SCHEDULE 2

SEPTEMBER 14

Millsy Loves Books 

The Way She Reads

Tangents and Tissues 

Geekymama’s Reviews 

SEPTEMBER 15

Books Laid Bare Boys 

The Reading Addict 

Reviews by Crystal 

SEPTEMBER 16

Diverse Reader 

Bayou Book Junkie 

Top 2 Bottom Reviews and More 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 

Making it Happen 

My Fiction Nook 

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author 

Megan’s Media Melange 

A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog

SEPTEMBER 19

Drops of Ink  

 

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