Rainbow Snippets 28/5/17 – Sunset at Pencarrow

Rainbow Snippets is a group who post 6 sentences each week from LTBTQ+ fiction or a book rec. Check out the FB page for more. #RainbowSnippets

I haven’t posted in a while, but finally getting to a breathing space between edits, promo, and deadlines, although it won’t be for long!

My snippet is from Sunset at Pencarrow which is co-written with Lou Sylvre, and set in New Zealand. It’s also releasing from Dreamspinner Press on the 7th!

“I’ve already told you—” She glanced at his ticket. “—Mr. Dunn… Nathaniel… I don’t have that information. The fog will lift when it decides to lift, and we can’t begin to reschedule flights until that time. In the meantime, you’ll have to wait like everyone else.”

“You don’t understand. I have to be in Christchurch this afternoon.”

Posted in dreamspinner press, Lou Sylvre, rainbow snippets, Sunset at Pencarrow | 6 Comments

Release Day Blitz – Unexpected Powers by Chris McHart

A big welcome today to Chris McHart as part of her release day blitz with Eyes on Books for Unexpected Powers.

Banner Unexpected Powers by Chris McHart

Synopsis

Unexpected, Book Four

Ash’s life hasn’t been the best so far. Mated to a man he hates, he resigns himself to his fate of being abused. When his mate kidnaps the highly pregnant Alex, they become friends, and to Ash’s surprise, Alex’s rescuer saves him as well. Now he can start a new life, but it’s going to be a lonely one, due to his visible and invisible scars.

D didn’t seek out a man, but one look at Ash and he’s head over heels in love. But Ash needs to work through his issues before he can see D’s love for him. Slowly, Ash learns to trust D, but with their growing feelings, other strange phenomena appear. What’s up with lights turning on without Ash touching the switch and doors opening on their own? Is something dangerous happening and threatening their blossoming love? Or is it something else altogether?

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711P432H/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0711P432H/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B0711P432H/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0711P432H/

Excerpt

D returned to Ash’s bed every day, sitting there as long as the nurses allowed him to. By now, Ash should’ve woken up, although no one knew how long it would take. They initially put him in a coma so he wouldn’t feel the pain, but by now he should’ve regained consciousness. Should have, but so far, there weren’t any signs.

D signed deeply and ran a hand through his hair and over his face. He needed to shave soon, although he preferred to not get a clean cut these days but just to crop his beard short. As long as he didn’t look like a bum, he liked to maintain the facial hair.

He stopped his mind from wandering. Tonight, he was going to leave again on a mission. Everything in him screamed to stay, not move from Ash’s bed, but he couldn’t. Firstly, it was his job. Secondly, he’d never actually spoken to Ash, except a couple of whispered words. Sitting by his bed every day, waiting for him to wake up bordered on stalking him. To stay home from an assignment to do so would cross that line. Definitely.

Damn. He’d been here for three days in a row, without any changes in Ash’s condition. He needed to get his life back under control, so he could move on.

Now, if only that’d be so easy.

Unexpected Powers by Chris McHart

Unexpected Series

Alex’s Surprise

Alex wanted a night of hot passion with Gerome, but he gets more than he ever bargained for. His life will be changed forever in a world where he’ll be thrown in jail— or worse— for being pregnant.

Alex’s best friend, Sam, has been acting strange ever since he met Alex’s one-night stand, but now Alex needs help in order to hide, and Sam is his only hope.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZCYUT3C/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ZCYUT3C/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00ZCYUT3C/

Saving Alex

Not only is Alex pregnant, something punishable by jail time, but Gerome, the father of the baby, is a vampire prince. When strangers invade Alex’s home and kidnap him, he doesn’t know who is responsible, if he’ll ever see the man he loves again, or even get to see the child growing inside him.

Considering himself the father of his lover’s child, Sam has a hard time standing around and letting others plan Alex’s rescue. But when the Prince and his trackers find an important clue, the race to save his beloved is on. Now all he can do is cross his fingers that the scheme they’ve devised will work.

When Prince Gerome receives ransom demands, the instructions are clear: mate a complete stranger or he’ll never see Alex or the child he carries again. Will he be able to convince his newly intended to help, or will those seeking to dethrone his family win this evil game of blackmail?

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZI4GPRA/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ZI4GPRA/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00ZI4GPRA/

Mate Me, Hate Me, Date Me, Love Me

When his father, King Harold, forces Prince Gerome to mate a complete stranger in order to save his unborn child, he complies with a heavy heart and says goodbye to all his dreams of finding love. Gerome’s hurt and treats his mate the way he’s been taught all his life: through power and submission. But with Luis, it doesn’t work.

When Luis is mated off to a stranger, his world ends. He was a carefree student one day and the next a vampire prince demands his submission. He can’t run, but he can hide and hate in silence. So he withdraws until only a shell remains.

Neither of the men has any chance of finding love together until a friend intervenes. Can Gerome forget what he’s been taught all his life, and is it possible for Luis to forget what’s happened to him? Will they ever find their own happy ending? And can love blossom where only hate exists?

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DY0104M/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01DY0104M/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01DY0104M/

AAuthor Chris McHartbout the Author

Chris McHart lives in Germany, with her husband, slave, Dom, partner in crime, and muse (all in one person, not even she’s that kinky!). She loves her husband, men in kilts and Scotch Whisky. Her idea of a perfect evening is to curl up with her laptop and write (the other options are not suitable to post in public).

Visit her blog or friend her on Facebook, where you can join her author group.

Website: https://chrismchart.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008256641886
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chris_mchart

Posted in eyes on books, release day blitz | Leave a comment

Reviewing Update

Life’s been a bit hectic lately with 2 books releasing close together bringing a lot of edits, and promo. I’ve also got a submission deadline end of this month, and taxes due 1st July.

I feel bad that I have a pile of books I’ve read but haven’t reviewed so wanted to let people know I haven’t forgotten to review them! As soon as things calm down I’ll be writing a LOT of reviews – the books in the queue are in my currently reading stash on Goodreads. I’ve read them-as I’ve kept up my reading and written copious notes-so that I know what I want to say in the reviews – just need to write them.

Posted in book review, updates | Leave a comment

Welcome Joe Cosentino – Drama Luau

A big welcome to Joe Coastentino – and his characters Nicky and Noah – as part of his blog tour for Drama Luau

Interview with Nicky and Noah, the leading characters in Joe Cosentino’s
fourth Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance series, Drama Luau

Joe: Welcome, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver. Thank you for chatting with me today about the fourth novel in your popular Nicky and Noah mystery series.

Noah: Our lives are an open book—or four. Thank you for letting us out of the books for a while.

Nicky: Our spines are killing us (no pun intended).

Joe: Thanks for always being there for me.

Nicky: We enjoy telling you what to write.

Noah: We know you have a soft spot in your head for us.

Joe: True. For anyone who hasn’t read them (and they should!), tell us about your mystery series.

Nicky: Our mysteries are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College.

Noah: The clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Nicky (Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza) and me (Assistant Professor of Acting).

Nicky: In the first novel, Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, Contemporary Novel of 2015), college theatre professors are falling like stage curtains (while I direct the college play production), and Noah and I must figure out whodunit and why.

Noah: In the second book, Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Nicky is directing the college’s bodybuilding competition, and bodybuilding students and professors are dropping like barbells.

Nicky: In <Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back (which Joe and his spouse also did). Noah and I must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as I direct a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring other college theatre professors including Noah.

Noah: Complicating matters are our both sets of parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with us. In each book Nicky and I eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book.

Joe: Have your mysteries been well received so far?

Noah: They like us! They really like us!

Nicky: Reviewers called the books hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending.

Noah: One reviewer wrote it was the funniest book she had ever read. Who are we to argue?

Joe: Good point. Did you like being in Hawaii for the fourth novel?

Nicky: They call it paradise for a reason. Maui is the most beautiful place on Earth. The white sandy beaches, tall and majestic waterfalls, multicolored craters on mosaic mountaintops, palm trees waving in the soft breeze, and laid back and friendly Hawaiians were amazing.

Noah: Nicky and I marveled at the hidden beaches, took the white-knuckle drive to the gorgeous Seven Sacred Pools, gasped at the sunrise at Haleakala, swam in the clear turquoise water, and flew through the crystal blue sky while parasailing.

Nicky: Of course we also went to the luau complete with the boat procession, pig roast, huge and sumptuous buffet of Hawaiian foods, and the hula dancer show. The dancers were amazing! Incredibly muscular Hawaiian men wearing grass skirts, leis (no pun intended), flower headdresses, anklets, and bracelets, gestured with their arms, waved their knees, stomped, and grunted on an outdoor stage masked by a dormant volcano. It was a blast working with them on the show and getting to know them. That is until they were murdered one by one.

Noah: But the best thing about Maui was being with Nicky.

Nicky: You’re the best, Noah.

Noah: Love you, Nicky.

Nicky: Always, Noah.

Joe: You can take the boys out of the book, but not the book out of boys. Tell us about the storyline in Drama Luau. But no spoilers please!

Nicky: In Drama Luau I am directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort. Noah and I need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Our department head and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In addition to the sexy hula dancers, we meet a handsome Hawaiian detective, a Bloody Mary type housekeeper, a cigar chomping hotel manager, the hotel owner and his senator wife who give new meaning to the term family values, and a cute young waiter who wants to be a hula dancer more than an anti-gay politician wants a dark backroom in a gay bar.

Noah: Nicky and I have the time of our lives solving this one, and also find our relationship in for quite a change.

Nicky: And in the third and fourth novels we get some help from Martin and Ruben, joining in with hysterically funny role plays to nab the killer.

Joe: And both sets of your parents make a brief appearance in book four.

Noah: They’re absolutely hilarious. Nicky’s mama and papa are pretty outspoken on just about everything.

Nicky: I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how Noah’s dad is an amateur sleuth like me.

Joe: As they say, men marry their fathers. Who is your favorite character in Drama Luau?

Noah: Nicky of course! He’s smart, handsome, strong, affection, and my partner for life. I love how he cares so much about everyone, and tries so hard to solve the mysteries.

Nicky: And I love Noah’s warmth, sweetness, devotion, and compassion.

Noah: Our favorite new character in book four is Mark Iona, the Maui Mist Resort waiter who desperately wants to become a hula dancer in the luau show.

Nicky: We also like Mark’s secret crush on hunky island detective John Nohea.

Joe: Which character do you like the least in book four?

Nicky: The hotel owner and his state senator wife are quite vocal about their religious freedom, in their case meaning their right to discriminate against gay people. Religious freedom means you are free to practice whatever religion you like, not take away someone else’s civil rights.

Noah: But as is always the case in the Nicky and Noah series, everything is not always what it seems, and Mano and Joanna Kapena offer lots of humor and surprises.

Joe: As in all my mysteries. Tell them about my Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.

Nicky: Noah and I aren’t in them, but they’re still really good. Joe created a heroine who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In Satin Doll Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a flirtation with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s agent and best friend are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

Noah: Your Dreamspinner Press novellas (An Infatuation—Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award 2nd Place for Best MM Romance, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland) were so well received, the first two winning a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. What do you say to people who loved them and might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?

Joe: I’d ask them to give you and Nicky a chance. As my mother said to me as a kid about pea soup (now one of my favorite foods), “Just try it, you may like it.”

Noah: And how about Joe’s New Jersey beach series? Tell everyone about that, Nicky.

Nicky: Noah and I aren’t in that series either! NineStar Press published Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings about handsome Cal Cozzi’s gay beach resort on a gorgeous cove. Joe spent his summers as a kid on the Jersey Shore, so it’s a special place for him. The first novel was a Favorite Book of the Month on The TBR Pile site and won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. I love the intertwining stories so full of surprises. Some reviewers have called it a gay Fantasy Island. Maybe Noah and I will check in there one day.

Nicky: But back to us.

Noah: How can your readers get their hands on Drama Luau, and how can they contact you?

Joe: The purchase links for Drama Luau are below, as are my contact links, including my web site.

Nicky: Joe loves to hear from readers. You can get to Noah and me through him!

Joe: Thank you, Nicky and Noah, for sharing with us today. What’s next for you too?

Nicky: Drama Detective, book five, releasing in six months.

Noah: But for now, it is our joy and pleasure to share our stories with you.

Nicky: So grab your plate at the buffet table, and take your front row seat for the luau show. The grass curtain is going up on Drama Luau!


DRAMA LUAU (a Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO

Theater professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls. Things erupt faster than a volcano when Nicky and Noah, along with their best friends Martin and Ruben, try to stage a luau show. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the grass curtain down on male hula dancers—before things go coconuts for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and aloha!
Buy Links:
http://myBook.to/DramaLuau
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711186
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drama-luau-joe-cosentino/1125994872?ean=2940154062050

Excerpt
Excerpt of Drama Luau, Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino
The olive-skinned, barefooted muscular men wore loincloths (malo), coconut necklaces, shell bracelets and anklets, and flower (lei) head garlands. With the powerful emerald mountain behind them, the dancers (‘olapa) aerobically executed hand signs, knee sways, and foot stomps toward the turquoise sea (makai), as their deep, full voices chanted to the goddess of the ocean (Namakaokahai). The lead dancer (alakai) and the dance captain (kumu) moved front and center executing their tree in the breeze hand gestures. The dancer helper (kokua) made gestures to the ocean waves behind them.

“Stop!”

The ‘ukulele, steel guitar, and bass accompaniment ended. The dancers slouched and looked toward the rows of tables and chairs facing them.

“Kimu, stand further upstage.”

“Nicky, they don’t know what upstage and downstage mean.”

“Thanks, Noah. Kimu, stand behind the other dancers, so Kal and Ak are the focus of the dance.”

That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Associate Professor of Directing at Treemeadow College, an Edwardian style private college in the quaint state of Vermont. My husband and the love of my life, Assistant Professor of Acting at Treemeadow, Noah Oliver, is by my side, right where I like him. Why am I directing a luau show at the Maui Mist Resort in Hawaii? Our honeymoon in Maui was a gift from our parents. But when the customers of my parents’ bakery in Kansas became glucose intolerant, and the clientele of Noah’s parents’ dairy farm in Wisconsin found themselves lactose intolerant, Noah and I were left tolerating the bill. So my department head and his husband hit the internet and found this luau show directing job, which came with free airfare, hotel, and food for two. Enticed by the gorgeous tropical location and the gorgeous luau dancers, Martin Anderson, Professor of Theatre Management at Treemeadow College, and Ruben Markinson, director of one of the top gay rights organizations in the country, decided to tag along and keep us out of trouble. Since Martin and Ruben are our best friends, that was more than fine with Noah and me.

Since you can’t see us, I am thirty-six, tall, with dark hair, green eyes, a Roman nose, cleft chin and long sideburns. Thanks to the gym at Treemeadow College (named after Tree and Meadow, the gay couple who founded it), I am pretty muscular. One minor thing. Actually, it’s pretty major. I have a nine and-a-quarter by two-inch penis, which causes Noah to tell everyone we are “going clubbing” when we have sex.

Noah is handsome with wavy blond hair, crystal-blue eyes, porcelain skin, and hotter and sweeter buns than any found in my dad’s bakery. Martin is short, thin, and bald. As an incredible gossip, he resembles an alien looking for a good piece of news to bring back to his home planet. Ruben is tall, thin, distinguished-looking, with salt and pepper hair and two large eyes watching over Martin. Though Ruben would never admit it, like his husband, Ruben revels in the dish too.

I said to the dancers, “The opening (ho’i) number will be fine. Let’s move on.”

Whereas the first dance was an introduction to the dancers, the second number, in honor of the creation gods (Kane and Lono), is a sensual dance, where the muscular dancers get to flex, grunt, and gyrate.

Sitting next to me at the front table opposite the stage, Noah rested a hand on my knee. “Did my character work with the dancers pay off?”

I nodded. “They all seem like characters to me.”

Noah squeezed my hand as the five dancers came on stage, now wearing grass skirts. Kal (short for Kalani), at twenty-five, is tall, strikingly handsome, muscular, the leader of the pack, and he knows it. Ak (Akamu), at thirty-five, was once the stallion of the troupe, but a receded hairline and wrinkles had transformed Ak to dance captain. As leaders, Kal and Ak take focus in the dance numbers, either dancing downstage center or up center on the platform in the shape of a volcano. Pretty ironic since Kal and Ak are ex-lovers and ex-friends.

Current lovers Keanu (dancer helper), at medium height with a growing paunch, and Ahe, young, small, and cute as a button, took their places midstage and looked at each other adoringly.

Finally, Kimu, at medium height with a bull dog face and protruding belly, stood farthest upstage. The only straight member of the troupe, Kimu, said, “Are you girls ready to dance?”

Keanu left his lover, Ahe, and approached Kimu. “What a surprise, Kimu. Liquor on your breath.”

Leader Kal added, “Yeah, Kimu, during the last number you were wavering more than the palm trees near the stage fan.”
Kimu answered, “Hey Kal, is it true that you gave Keanu a pity lei?”

These guys are worse than the divas I work with in the theatre. “Can we please start the number?”

Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, Contemporary Novel of 2015):
“This fast-paced, hilariously funny, entertaining novel will have you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who-dun-it!” Joyfully Jay

Praise for DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention):
“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino’s writing is absolutely flawless. He’s a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle’s highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine

Praise for DRAMA CRUISE, the third Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press:
“Joe Cosentino does it again with Drama Cruise, the third Nicky and Noah mystery. I loved the humor, drama, and theater work inside. Plus, the romance and murder investigation keep readers turning the pages. Absolutely, must read this latest book in the series.” Urban Book Reviews

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau; In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015! Coming next: Drama Detective, the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery.

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May’s Blog Post at Love Bytes Reviews – Genre Crossing

My monthly post at Love Bytes Reviews for May is about Genre Crossing ie books that cross genres. I’d love some recommendations plus any ideas about how to promote one….

Posted in blogging, love bytes reviews | Leave a comment

Welcome Gary Boelhower – Naming Rites

A big welcome today to Gary Boelhower as part of his blog tour with Embrace the Rainbow Book Promotions for Naming Rites.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
Writing for me is a spiritual practice, it helps me take the time to look at the world, to see its brokenness and its beauty, and to put that seeing into words that story and sing. Writing poetry in particular is a way of getting to the heart of things, to tell the essence of the story or relate the pulse and pull of a feeling. I live in Duluth, Minnesota, on the shore of Lake Superior which is a palpable presence in my life. I love to sail its waves and walk its shoreline and gaze at its silvery body. And I teach courses in ethics, vocation, religions of the world, and living, dying and grieving at The College of St. Scholastica.

How long have you been writing for, and what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing since 4th grade. In second grade I started memorizing poems and reciting them to my class and then to other classes. My first poem was published in the Wisconsin State Historical Magazine when I was in 7th grade, when I still thought poetry had to rhyme. It was about the paper mill in the little town where I grew up.

Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
“Naming Rites” is about persons and things and experiences that name me, touch me, brand me, influence me, scar me. I am a soft clay vessel imprinted by the hands and objects and names of those who have been part of my life. I am who I am because of love and betrayal, because my mother taught me how to dig in the garden and plant seeds, because my grandmother taught me to lift my eyes to the stories of stars, because of bread and hunger, passion and assault, the body and the mind. We only have one gift to give the world and that’s the uniqueness of our own voice, our own story, our own particular and unique way of being in the world. “Naming Rites” is a way of saying my name with full voice, and hopefully it might inspire others as well to continue to give themselves away.

How did you come up with the title?
I knew this collection of poems was about identity, uniqueness, selfhood, and I wanted to find a way to say that with freshness. I am always playing with words; looking for words that sound alike so that the saying of the word carries more than one meaning. “Naming Rites” also brings the shadow word “rights.” The title plays with the rituals, experiences and bodily gestures of being named and with what has the weight, power and influence to name.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For me the hardest part of creating a collection of poetry is finding what really belongs together, what poems support and reinforce each other, or take different perspectives on the same idea. And the really hard part is to cut the 20 or 30 poems that I love that there just isn’t room for.

Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
This is the first time I have written about my own experiences of sexual abuse. I learned that it is possible to heal and also that healing is never over. I also learned that I can be more vulnerable than I thought possible. I have read some of these very vulnerable poems to several audiences now and I have learned that I am still standing after I read them.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Writing is a practice. I think there are only two ways to become a better writer—first, keep reading, read outside of your comfort zone and read and reread the people you really resonate with; second, keep writing, discipline yourself to find some regular time and make a pact with yourself to write. It doesn’t have to be long or every day; but it needs to be regular committed time for writing.

Are there any genres you prefer to write and if so, why? What book do you wish that you had written?
I love to write poetry and it is my favorite genre but I also write non-fiction. “Choose Wisely: Practical Insights from Spiritual Traditions” is a book about five common principles that are shared across the wisdom traditions of the world that provide a foundation for making good decisions. “Mountain 10: Climbing the Labyrinth Within” is a book that provides a deep reflection process for listening to one’s own inner wisdom. I also have a few children’s stories that I would like to publish within the next couple of years.

Why M/M?
I am gay, the father of three amazing kids and three grandkids. My gay spouse and I got married twice, once in our church two years before marriage equality was passed in the state of Minnesota and a second time after that historic event. We worked very hard on the marriage campaign. It took me a long time to come out and be comfortable with my authentic way of loving. I want to show up in my poetry as the fullness of who I am.

What are your writing and personal goals for 2017 and beyond?
I have three book projects on the burners. One is a book of non-fiction that deals with men’s circles or personal development groups. I have had a small group of men with whom I have met for over 20 years. The group has made a huge difference in holding me accountable to personal growth and goals. It is an amazing group of men who speak their own truth, listen deeply to each other, and love each other unconditionally. This book will tell our story of coming together, some of the stories from our own individual lives, and the processes we use to help each other delve into our own wisdom and values. The second book that is in the beginning stages is a collection of poems about living on stolen land—recognizing that the land I walk on every day belonged to the indigenous tribes who lived here with a sense of sacred trust and stewardship rather than the illusion of ownership. I hope to travel to sacred sites and have conversations that will help me understand more deeply my indigenous brothers and sisters and how I can step more softly on this land. The third book is a collection of poems written from the labyrinth—an ancient form of meditative walking that I use as a spiritual practice. Here’s a poem from the new collection:

IF THE WAY IS LOST
If the way is lost in you
stop breathe pay attention.
Step again onto the path of your belonging
the path that calls from the center
of who you are and who you long to be.
Claim the journey that belongs
to
your song, your story, your name.
Claim this day as the next step
this day as a promise
as a small hope that wakes up
something inside you that has been sleeping.
Step to the center of that hope
and let it surround you with light.
Let go of everything that doesn

t call your name
of all the baggage that keeps you in chains.
Let go of your certainty and your doubt
of your small plans and your grand designs.
Take this step
this one in front of you.
This breath this step is the only path
that brings you alive.

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Can you tell us about your pets?
I am a dog person, but I used to have a cat. And now the house is dogless at the moment. Dogs are a great example for a poet or maybe any writer—just follow the scent, keep your nose down, run wild and free as often as possible even if someone else has created fences or boundaries or chains, and at least once a day take a long nap in the sun.

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Title: Naming Rites
Author: Gary Boelhower
Release Date: May 16th 2017
Genre: Poetry

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BLURB

Gary Boelhower’s third collection of poems explores the ways we are named and branded with multiple identities, a clay vessel molded and imprinted from the inside and the outside by those who know us or think they do, by wounds, worries, stones, and nicknames, by place and absence, by teachers and traitors. Boelhower dares to name the body’s blows and pleasures and how they are celebrated in solitude and connection. His language soars with ecstasy and burrows into hidden places in the soul. His lyrics tell how the world’s pain lodges in the cells and how the fragrance of summer stars opens an aperture to healing. Boelhower is winner of the Foley Prize from America and the Midwest Book Award for his second collection Marrow, Muscle, Flight.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Find Naming Rites on Goodreads

Reviews

Naming Rites is such a generous collection it offers both blessings and confessions, dirt and bread, miracles and explosions, cruelty and mercy, great blue herons who resemble monks and blue jays clowning around, a lover’s tender touch and the horrors of the nightly news. In second grade, Gary Boelhower admits, he won ‘the glow-in-the-dark statue of Mary,’ and his religious drive, now mature, is still alive in these poems. They aim for (and often achieve) not just a personal record but transubstantiation, transforming experience into wisdom, fear into freedom, language into song. Naming Rites is the autobiography of a soul, reaching out beyond the boundaries of the self. Bart Sutter, author of Cow Calls in Dalarna and Chester Creek Ravine: Haiku

Gary Boelhower’s poems resist convention and confinement even as they speak deeply of and from history, family, and community. The persona names and narrates himself into being as he chronicles profound and tender encounters as well as ‘tectonic shifts and betrayals.’ Software engineers meditate, children go hungry, and faith is lost and reconfigured. ‘Let me not forget to be what I have spoken,’ Boelhower reminds himself and his readers. Naming Rites is an important and sustaining book for our times, with its ‘cadence that calls us into the streets with voices/of protest and hope.’ Julie Gard, author of Home Studies

EXCERPT

IN THE SILENCE

footsteps crunch on the cold snow
heaven’s full of falling mercy
the big arms of the pine
spread in prayer shawled in white
the whole everyday machine muffled

if everyone could say their name
in such silence we might hear
each one might send their small swirl
of hopes and prayers
spiraling out like sufi robes
in the dervish dance
and we might all
hear each other’s hands rise up
and we would know the one world’s song

all our rituals are attempts at listening
all our songs a preparation
for emptiness when our words
have all fallen away because we know
we are all whirling together

wherever you are however you do it
notice how we are all whirling together
in the great round dance
on this tiny rock with fire in its soul
through the grand galaxies
spinning with mercy and wonder

GIVEAWAY: WIN a copy of Naming Rites and Marrow, Muscle, Flight by Gary Boelhower

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Bio
Gary Boelhower’s poetry has been published in many anthologies and journals. His second collection of poems published in 2011, Marrow, Muscle, Flight won the Midwest Book Award. He was awarded the Foley Prize in poetry from America magazine in 2012 and a career development grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council in 2010. His recent nonfiction books include Choose Wisely: Practical Insights from Spiritual Traditions, and Mountain 10: Climbing the Labyrinth Within,(co-authored with Joe Miguez and Tricia Pearce). His third collection of poems, Naming Rites, was published in April by Holy Cow! Press. Gary teaches courses in spirituality, ethics and leadership at The College of St. Scholastica where he is a professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department.

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Welcome Nicky James – New Beginnings: Abel’s Journey

A big welcome today to Nicky James as part of her blog tour with Enticing Journey Book Promotions for New Beginnings: Abel’s Journey

Title: New Beginnings: Abel’s Journey
Follow Up novel to No Regrets
Author: Nicky James
Word Length: 100K
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance 18+
Release: May 17, 2017


Life is beyond our control. It can bring joy, laughter, and happiness, then turn around and rip your heart out of your chest without warning.

Abel Matheson received a cold dose of life’s reality six months ago when the man he loved most lost his fight against cancer.

Free-spirited, easy-going Abel doesn’t know how to cope with the rotting, festering grief growing inside him. What was once an easy life has become a struggle to put one foot in front of the other.

His grades are slipping, his job is suffering, money is tight, and the nightmares plaguing his sleep are relentless. Something has to give. He can’t keep going like this.

Desperate to end his suffering, Abel falls back on old habits. Self-destructive habits he knows are wrong.

Every time he tries to stand, he ends up face-first in the mud.

On the advice of a counselor, Abel makes attempts to find a support system to help him handle his grief. Unexpectedly, during his quest toward healing, Abel makes a connection with the most unlikely of people.

His mind wants to rebel against the man who stands before him. Run far and fast in the other direction. But his heart forms a bond that annihilates his fear.

Why this man of all people?

Sometimes you find help and love where you least expect it.



Nicky James lives in the small town of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada. She is mother to a wonderful teenage boy and wife to a truly supportive and understanding husband who, thankfully, doesn’t think her crazy.

Nicky has always had two profound dreams in life; to fall back hundreds of years in time and live in a simpler world and to write novels. Since only one of those dreams was a possibility, she decided to make the other come alive on paper.
Nicky writes MM romance books in a variety of styles including contemporary, medieval, fantasy, and historical.

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Welcome Jaime Reese – A Worthy Man

A big welcome to Jaime Reese as part of her blog tour with Enticing Journey Book Promotions for A Worthy Man.

Title: A Worthy Man
Series: The Men of Halfway House #5
Author: Jaime Reese
Genre: M/M Romance
Release: May 2, 2017
Photographer: Eric McKinney of 6:12 Photography

A story of two men and the boundless love that forever changed them. 


Vannguard Shaw has spent the last ten years serving a life sentence and adjusting to the ache of solitude. He accepts his fate, a sacrifice for the only man he ever loved and the one person who saw beyond his rough edges.

Drayton grew up with a trust fund and pre-planned future, but an unexpected encounter one night forces him to abandon everything and start from scratch. He is now a self-made man and developer of one of the most sought after electric exotic automobiles in the world with a fortune greater than that of his birthright. Yet, he’d surrender it all—again—for the only man who’s still ever-present in his heart.

After a decade and entirely too much distance between them, Vann is suddenly released back into a world that has been nothing but cruel. Drayton never lost hope they would once again reunite and pick up where they left off, but Vann’s stubborn nature and repeated encounters with a heartbreaking world prove to be a challenge.

Vann needs to tap into his fighting spirit’s reservoir of strength and hope life doesn’t punish him for taking a chance. Only then will he realize his own value and feel worthy enough to finally have Drayton’s heart. And their chance at forever.


* Although part of a series, this full-length novel can be read as a stand-alone. *Word count: 124K


“Emotionally, beautiful and inspiring” – Amanda L Amazon Reviewer

“A great addition to this series. One of the most romantic books I’ve read this year.” – Bayou Book Junkie

“Overall…Their story is beautiful, heartbreaking, inspiring, sexy, and moving.” – Two Book Pushers

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“C’mon,” Drayton said, tugging Vann by the hand. After breakfast and a countertop quickie, they had immediately returned to the bedroom and had been hibernating there since. He had no objection to spending all day in bed, but he had a surprise for Vann and couldn’t stand waiting any longer. “I want to show you the rest of the house.”
“But I like the bedroom.”
Drayton chuckled, pulling him up with more force. “We can come back after.”

“Fine,” Vann grumbled, finally sitting up on the bed with a dramatic pout.


“You’re cute when you don’t get your way.”

“Cute enough to stay in bed?” He waggled his eyebrows and petted the bed. “It’s really soft.”
Drayton leaned in and gave Vann a chaste kiss, jerking back quickly to avoid his grasp.

Vann’s laughter filled the room. “Damn. You’re still super-fast.” He reluctantly stood and stretched his arms over his head.

Drayton’s lips parted, enjoying the flex of muscles.

“Like what you see?” Vann asked, delivering a cocky grin as he seductively licked his lower lip. “Let’s get back in bed—”
Drayton threw his head back and laughed. “You’re still persistent as hell. C’mon. I want to show you something.”

“I want to show you something too.”

“This is important.” Drayton crossed his arms. “We can skim the other rooms but there’s one that’s special. It’s…yours.”

Vann sobered. “You’ve given me enough to cover every event for the rest of my life and then some. I don’t want—”
“It’s also for me. I’ll watch you while you use the room.”

“Hmm.” Vann pursed his lips. “Okay, you’ve got my attention.”
After a little more bargaining, Drayton finally lured Vann out of the bedroom and down the hallway. He opened the door to his office and stepped inside. “This is the room I’m usually in when I’m here.”
“Not anymore.”
He chuckled as they exited the office. They walked down the hall to the room he’d had converted into a gym.
“Damn, this is nice.” Vann checked the different weight options and looked at each of the machines.
“You’ve got everything here for all types of routines. And if you don’t like the view, you’ve got a TV.”
“The view’s beautiful.”

“Whatever we need to change out or add, we’ve still got space. I do a lot of thinking while I’m on the treadmill, so we’re not getting rid of that.”

Vann chuckled. “Okay.” He walked over to Drayton and leaned in for a slow kiss.
“Mmm. What was that for?”
“Is this the room I’ll use while you watch me? I promise I’ll make you sweat too.” 
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.

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Welcome Carolyn Hill – Beneath the Skin

A big welcome today to Carolyn Hill, the author of Beneath the Skin.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing? How long have you been writing for, and what inspired you to start writing?
Some of my earliest, most vivid memories are of telling myself stories: arranging plastic horses in thundering herds across the couch and describing to myself over and over in excruciating detail how I would live alone in an apple tree. If I really loved something I’d read or seen on TV, I’d revise the story in my head, changing the ending or inserting myself into it as one of the characters or as an entirely new character that I made up. When I was in fifth grade my father gave me a manual typewriter, which I pounded gleefully, churning out “newspapers” and “spy manuals” for friends. By high school, I was writing full-on stories and the beginnings of strange novels. A teacher told me then that I’d grow up to be a writer; I told him no, I was going to be an astronaut.

At university I didn’t have time to write fiction—but every school break, I’d hit The Other Change of Hobbit (the local science fiction and fantasy store) for a hefty stack of novels to inhale. And the first thing I did after I got my degree was clear out the academic muck in my brain by writing a novel about aliens that look like people-sized rats. And then I kept on writing fiction. My short stories tend to be fantasy or magical realism, inspired by a dream or an image or a writing exercise. My novels tend to be science fiction, often with a strong romantic component (inspired by binge-reading romance novels, whose pleasures I discovered shortly after writing the alien rat novel).

The universe in which Beneath the Skin takes place is one in which I’ve set several other novels, including a young adult space opera. That universe grew in my mind organically over the decades, morphing and changing with my interests, but it’s rooted in concerns about the environment that I developed during a decade as a Girl Scout and concerns about social injustice that were sown in my years at UC Berkeley.

Writing fiction simply feels good. It feel right. It feels as if writing is what I am meant to do. Not to put money on the table, but to feel … whole.

Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
Beneath the Skin is a romance, of course, and love is its inspiration. But the novel also explores identity–directly, in Riven’s ability to shapechange into people, and indirectly, in Aleta’s struggle to decide who she is once she is no longer drugged. And as I wrote it, it became an unexpected meditation on how to deal with cataclysmic problems in my own life: run away and protect myself? shelter in place? actively resist?
Love and identity are intertwined, aren’t they? The longing to be loved, the longing to love, to be known and know oneself, loved and loving.

At the very beginning of the writing process, while I was contemplating the tangled intersections of power and family and identity and love, one image came strongly to mind: Marlon Brando in the opening scene of Godfather, when Bonasera comes to Vita Corleone during Connie’s wedding to ask for justice for his daughter. I pay conscious tribute to that image during the first chapter of Beneath the Skin.

Are there any genres you prefer to write and if so, why? What book do you wish that you had written?
I love to write science fiction and fantasy, and I enjoy combining both with romance, because that’s what I love to read.

What book do I wish I had written? Wow, okay, just one …. In science fiction, there’s a book that I’ve returned to many times over the years, one that contains strong strains of romance and fantasy: Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. That novel touches me on so many levels, satisfying my love of romance (albeit unconventional), folklore, and thorough worldbuilding, all delivered in prose that sings as it conveys the nuances of alien culture. The book reveals much about what it is to be human as it questions our presumptions about gender and our fear of the Other. And the ending breaks my heart.

Are there any characters that you write, that are based on you, or people you know?
Oh, yes. Many! For example Bead’s Pickle, a young adult science fiction novel in the same universe as Beneath the Skin, is based on my experience managing a fast-food restaurant during a two-year break from college. Wild times, wild people, all became a band of teenage misfits and runaways aboard an aging starship, who hatch a scheme to save their new home by contacting a mysterious race of dangerously eccentric aliens.

Are there people in your life that annoy you, and you write into your books?
Annoying, harmful people make good fodder when I’m thinking about villains. Thinking about real people helps me avoid the error of creating one-dimensional villains, because the annoying or harmful people I know are complex, multidimensional individuals, and I understand in part what makes them who they are and do what they do.

In a larger sense, the villains in my books tend to be annoying—no, that word is too benign, so let’s go with Evil—institutions and systems (economic, legal, political, and so on). These systems shape the individuals who play villainous roles in my writing.

If you could have any superpower or magical ability, what would it be and why? What would you do with it? And yes world domination is an acceptable answer.
For decades, I have pondered this question carefully (as well as considered that other best-decided-well-beforehand question about what three magic wishes I’d make)!

It used to be the ability to heal with no negative consequences to myself or others. But I’m tired of that self-sacrificing attitude.

I want teleportation! The ability to accurately teleport myself and a half ton of whatever I touched and intended to teleport with me, any distance within our solar system, without having first been to that destination, and without harming anyone or anything I do not specifically consent to harm. This is clearly a practical superpower that would save me from having to drive for an hour and a half just to travel 30 miles in snarled San Francisco Bay Area traffic.

But I have two other reasons for wanting to teleport (as stipulated–no harm, half a ton, etc.). This way, I’d be able to go to other planets and moons and asteroids and take stuff that people need to use in colonizing or exploring space. Some people might object that in traveling instaneously from point A to point B, I will miss the delight of the travel itself. But no, I’ve an answer for that: teleportation will allow me to fly. How fly? A rapid succession of extremely short microburst teleports from point A to point B will be equivalent to flying—sort of like blinking, the eyes will fill in anything missed in during the microburst transit.

(Thank you for asking!)

If you had access to a time machine just once, is there anything you’d go back and change? Either on a personal level or an historical event?
Yes. I would go back and listen to what my first cat was saying when she peed on my bed.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things (or people) would you want there with you?
You mean besides potable water, nutritious food, and protective shelter? This question stresses me out. I wouldn’t want anyone else to suffer being stranded on a desert island.

What are your writing and personal goals for 2017 and beyond?
Keep writing and don’t let the day job get in the way! I have three different novels in various stages of completion and would like to find out what happens in one, fix what happens in another, and decide whether I can cope with what has to happen in the third.

Personally, I’d like to help ensure that my mother and father and sister are as happy and healthy as can be, now that our parents have gotten on in age.

What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
Beneath the Skin is actually the second (chronologically, not publication order) in a trilogy about the Faraway shapeshifters, so Riven’s backstory is shaped in part by the events of that first novel, which tells the story of how Verilyn Beau Astra (who appears in Beneath the Skin as a sympathetic character) crash-landed on Faraway, met her husband, and came to protect the shapeshifters’ secret existence. I’m not yet satisfied with the draft of this book, so I need to revisit it.

The third book will tell the story of Verilyn’s daughter, Cera Felice (another minor character in BtS), who falls in love with a most difficult object of affection. My editor advises me not to say this, but what the heck: when Cera Felice meets him, he’s a rock. Yes: GRANITE, quartz, that sort of thing. Hard-headed. Metaphor much?
A third project is unrelated to Beneath the Skin. It’s a novel that straddles several genres (science fiction, fantasy, horror), set in present-day Northern California, near Mt. Shasta. There’s some minor romance between several characters, MM as well as MF.

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Can you tell us about your pets?
Yeow? Meow. Purr purr purr purr purr.


Blurb:
In a dystopian future, a healer and a shapechanger join forces against a ruthless alliance of powerful families.

Aleta Graham is a healer and empath, abilities that make her a useful pawn for the Dagarro family, who have addicted her to the drug known as Sand in order to keep her submissive. But Aleta is determined to overcome the influence of the drug, and make a desperate bid for freedom — even knowing that the penalty for disloyalty to the family is death.

Riven is a shapechanger, a computer genius, a spy sent by the government to destroy the power of the Dagarro. By taking on multiple identities he becomes at once Aleta’s dearest friend and most feared enemy. But in growing closer to Aleta, Riven imperils her, himself, and his mission.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Skin-Carolyn-Hill-ebook/dp/B01MYB3AI9/

Excerpt

Chapter One

The drug was wearing off. Aleta Graham’s head ached and her hands shook as she leaned against a pair of diamond-studded urns embedded in the ballroom’s wall. She fought the drug’s deadening effect and focused on one clear fact: she must escape, now, while they were all preoccupied with Joanna’s wedding.

Aleta peered out from behind the enormous porcelain vase that shielded her from the wedding guests. Joanna was waltzing across the low-friction floor in the arms of her groom. Above the dance floor, the orchestra wheeled in the air, bows sawing across strings, drums booming, cymbals chiming. The music rattled Aleta’s nerves.

She craned her aching neck and stared up, past the orchestra, her burning gaze following the inwardly sloping walls of the ballroom. Each wall was formed of gold and platinum bricks, covered with precious containers of various sizes and shapes: fine art and irreplaceable antiquities, all useless now, set permanently in the metal, an extravagant display of the Dagarro Family’s wealth. Five stories above, beyond a clear ceiling, lay the airless moon’s surface and the void of space.

Withdrawal sank talons deep into Aleta’s chest. She gasped and bent double. Dear God, she wanted . . .

Escape, she must focus on that. She wanted to escape. While Joanna smiled in the arms of her beloved under the watchful eyes of Dagarro Family security, Aleta trembled and struggled not to scream. She straightened her spine, took one step, then another, and slipped out from behind the urn into the shadows between two marble sarcophagi.

The music changed, and guests poured onto the dance floor in a rainbow of glittersilk gowns and light-washed haute couture. Aleta slid deeper into the shadows, until she could no longer see the security guards. Her wrist itched—a maddening, distracting, incessant itch. She scratched furtively beneath her formal glove. The itch grew worse. She yanked the glove off. Her arm spasmed, and the glove slipped to the floor.

Something moved behind her in the darkest shadows: a man’s figure. Melting? Changing?

Aleta blinked, trying to shake off the hallucination.

Softly, gently, the glove was placed back in her hand.

The fingers of the man who had returned the glove clamped over her velvet sleeve, pushing the fabric up her arm. Looming above her, he studied the fading blue spiderweb of lines that streaked her pale wrist.

She trembled again, this time in fear.

Dark on dark he was, dressed all in light-swallowing black silk except for a glowstone earring whose incandescence stained half his jaw a bloody red. The angles of his face were as sharp as the glint in his obsidian eyes.

Darcavon.

He lifted his gaze and met her own. One sculpted black brow rose.

Aleta squared her chin.

Carefully, without touching her skin, he ran a forefinger above the drug’s lingering blue trace at her wrist. “A web not of your own making,” he stated. One heartbeat, two, then Darcavon dropped her arm.

“Trituros wants you,” he said, and stepped past her. As he strode toward the dance floor, light from the cascading candleplants glinted off his tightly bound black hair.

Aleta stood, stunned. Darcavon had seen that she was fighting the drug the family used to enslave her, yet he hadn’t called the guards.

It made no sense. The Darcavon she had always so carefully avoided was a perfect creature of the Family Dagarro, as ruthless as Trituros Dagarro himself, advancing in the household ranks with the cold inexorability of a glacier, intent—so rumor had it—on becoming seneschal.

Her hands shook. He must be setting her up for some later, unguessable purpose of his own.

Pulling the glove securely over her hand and wrist, Aleta peeked around the end of the sarcophagus. The closest guard was looking in her direction. Linked to the family’s security net, the guard knew that Trituros wanted her and that she should leave the ballroom and head toward the patriarch’s office.

She cursed silently to herself and stepped out from behind the sarcophagus. The mouths of the vases buried beneath the clear floor gaped up at her in silent warning. She must be careful—very very careful—or Trituros would know that the drug was wearing off.
#
The man who would be seneschal turned and watched Aleta walk toward the arched doorway. Had she seen him change shape? After long years of planning and preparation, had he ruined everything because he had needed a few brief moments to be himself?

He noticed the slight hesitation in the empath’s step as she neared the door guard, and he noted the squaring of her shoulders as she continued past.

The pad of his finger tingled where it had almost caressed her flesh. She had skin as white and cool as purest marble, and eyes as green as ancient jade, lit from within by a fire he’d not seen before in her glance. The family and its drug were banking that fire, enslaving her to their own ends.

But he had ends of his own.

And he would be seneschal, no matter the cost.
#

About The Author

Born and raised in the heart of Silicon Valley, I developed an abiding sense of wonder and a fondness for heroic geeks.

By the age of eleven, I was reading all the science fiction I could lay my hands on at the local library, and, because they were shelved together, I was also reading all the fantasy books. Genre-straddling works by Andre Norton gave me the impression that everything I was reading belonged on one wonderful spectrum of imagination and possibility. Andrew Lang’s fairy books (in all their colorful editions) left me with the equally strong impression that Beauty and the Beast is the yummiest folktale ever.

I entered university a chemistry major intending to become an astronaut who would rocket into a brave new future, and I left (or, rather, never left) with a doctoral degree in rhetoric, a dissertation on James G. Frazer’s twelve-volume encyclopedia of magic, science, and religion, and a job teaching writing at the University of California, Berkeley.

And now I write my own science fictional variants of Beauty and the Beast, exploring the romance of the alien, the metaphorical beast in every man, even in the handiest of techno-geeks.

When I’m not writing, teaching, or reading, I’m quilting, playing board games, or hurling heavy objects into the air above my head. Or I’m sitting on the couch, eating almond M&Ms and daydreaming about life amongst the stars.

CAROLYN’S WEBSITE LINK: http://carolynhill.com
CAROLYN’S FACEBOOK LINK: https://www.facebook.com/carolyn.hill.334

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Cover Reveal – Sunset at Pencarrow

Lou Sylvre and I are over at Love Bytes Reviews sharing our gorgeous Reese Dante cover for Sunset at Pencarrow, our co-written New Zealand set novella, which is now available to pre-order through Dreamspinner Press.

We’re also launching our giveaway today so don’t forget to enter!

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