An interview, some fangirling, and a giveaway with LETA BLAKE!

RJ Jones has me as a guest! Check it out for a chance to win both The River Leith and the first three episodes of Will & Patrick Wake Up Married!

RJ Jones

Today I’m going to unapologetically fangirl the hell out of Leta Blake. You’ll probably know her for her ice skating novel, Training Season, and also the Will and Patrick (Wake Up Married) series. But I’m fangirling all over her for The River Leith. Seriously peeps. This book kept me up all night. I simply could not put it down. I felt compelled to contact Leta (I gushed via Messenger. Can you imagine?) and asked very nicely if she’d like to come over to my blog and answer some questions. So, here we go:     (Don’t forget to check out the giveaway!)

RJ: I totally fell in love with Leith and Zach. Where did you find the inspiration for these two?

Leta: I often find inspiration in music and, this will make no sense, but this whole story showed up for me when I was listening to the Gaslight Anthem…

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Exciting Announcements! Audio, Slow Heat, and Surprises to come! #gay #romance

Hello! Long time, no blog. But I’m back with some wonderful announcements that I can’t wait to share with you.

  1. AUDIOBOOKS ARE COMING! – After a confidence-busting false start and more angst than I’d anticipated, I’m incredibly excited to let you know that audiobooks are in the works for Training Season and the Wake Up Married serial.Michael Ferraiuolo will be narrating Training Season. He’s the voice behind the audio of Santino Hassell’s First and First and Sunset Park, amongst many others. I’m excited to see what he can do with the bratty Matty Marcus.
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    A newcomer to the field of gay romance, Jason Mitchell, of Voiceovers 911, will be narrating the Wake Up Married serial. His Patrick was utterly perfection, exactly what I hear in my head when I’m writing Patrick, and so after discussing things and working the financial aspect out, it was a no-brainer to make an offer. I was thrilled when he accepted and I can’t wait to see what he does with this serial!

    I want to thank all patrons over at Patreon for making this monetarily possible. And I want to thank my $5+ patrons especially, for holding my hand while I fretted and worried, and for listening and giving their opinions on the various audio auditions. As a reminder, a $5 pledge on Patreon gives readers access to my entire back catalogue of books, access to new books for as long as they are a patron, and all kinds of extras and goodies. The $10 pledge gets all that plus access to any audiobooks produced for as long as they remain a patron. We have a lot of fun over there. 🙂

  2. SLOW HEAT IS ALMOST READY TO GO TO THE EDITOR! – My next release, a non-shifter omegaverse book is nearly ready to go to the beta readers and the editor. My personal deadline is to have it out to them within the next five days. (Another reminder that patrons at the $10 level will be offered beta reading opportunities. Not a requirement, mind you! Because beta reading means getting a less than quality book and giving critics to turn it into a quality book, and that’s not everyone’s bag! But it’s an option.) I just need to go over it really thoroughly one more time and then off it will go to find out all the ways it sucks. 🙂
  3. SURPRISES TO COME! – There is going to be a surprise coming to my Patreon in the next month or so. I’m not going to say much about it yet, because it’s still in the percolating phase. But let’s just say that I’ve had Dar Albert do something with this little picture to help promote the endeavor when the time comes, and we’ll leave it at that. It will be available to $1 pledges and up. Oh, and there might be a very grumpy doctor and a diabetic do-gooder involved in the storyline.

Leta Blake Recommends Kit Brisby’s ROGUE MAGIC! Check it out! #gay #romance

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I’m thrilled to welcome Kit Brisby today to talk about her excellent book Rogue Magic! It was one of my favorite books I beta read last year and I highly recommend it!

Let’s get started:

1. Rogue Magic is deeply romantic, but more than that it’s a wonderful but never heavy-handed allegory for persecution based on religion, race, or any other human quality that might go against the values of the established culture. Was this intentional on your part?

 

Persecution based on religion, race, and countless other identities has existed for centuries. It’s a common theme in stories, and I don’t think I was doing anything revolutionary here! When I wrote this book, the political climate in the United States hadn’t quite reached its current fever pitch. I’ll be honest – I hoped that by the time the book was released, our nation might be entering a time of healing under the leadership of the first female president.

But that’s another story entirely.

Ultimately, I believe #ownvoices is incredibly important, and while ROGUE MAGIC might be read as an allegory about what marginalized people face today, I urge readers to seek stories written by members of those populations. I’m a queer white woman with anxiety. I can speak to those experiences, but I can’t begin to speak to the lived experiences of people of color, Muslims, and other marginalized people. I’m touched that readers have drawn parallels but a direct parallel was not my intention.

 

2. Do you remember the first moment this story came alive in your mind? The point of inspiration? Can you tell us a bit about it and how it made you feel inside?

 

The opening scene was always the foundation of this book. The act of sacrifice and the immediate consequences. The mix of confusion and fear and empathy. I get a little squiggly feeling in my stomach over that scene, and it’s that kind of excitement/inspiration that fuels me as a writer as the story unfolds.

 
3. Was there a point with this story when you felt like it was too much, or that you’d never be able to complete it satisfactorily? What got you through that time and led you to persevere?
I’m always very excited for the first 15,000 words of a new draft. Then I enter the “despair and whining” phase until I’ve got about 15% left. I stick to a fairly stern drafting schedule that gets me through the agony of the “I’ll never finish this garbage” doldrums. Revisions and line edits can be rough, but in this case I had amazing guidance. That always makes the hard work more gratifying.

 

4. Many authors write with music playing or use songs to drive inspiration and channel emotion. Is there a particular song (or songs) that will forever be attached to Rogue Magic or its characters for you?

 

I listen to moody Google Play Radio stations when I’m writing. I also listen to short, curated playlists that help me get into characters’ headspaces. The Shins played a large part in ROGUE MAGIC’s playlist, along with a little Belle and Sebastian. I have a feeling that was more Levi’s influence than Byron’s.

 

5. You have an annual star chart you use to track your writing and edits. I found it deeply inspiring and started doing a similar one for myself. Do you want to briefly explain it?

 

I’m deeply inspired by author V.E. Schwab. She popularized the “star chart” method and uses monthly calendars. Her productivity is amazing, and she’s very transparent with her fans about the amount of labor that goes into producing a book. Using a star chart to tracking drafting is particularly motivating, but I’ve found a lot of value in visualizing revisions, which aren’t nearly as sexy as cranking out brand new words. (But they’re so much more important!) I use a year calendar from NeuYear.net to track my book-related work.

 

6. What is the one thing you hope readers take away from Rogue Magic and what is the one thing you are most proud of when it comes to the book?

 

I hope readers enjoy themselves as the story unfolds. I’ve found great comfort and escape in books throughout my life, and it’s truly the greatest honor to offer that to others.

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Thank you, Kit! Congratulations on the release of Rogue Magic! 

Important Information Regarding the ’90s Coming of Age series (Pictures of You & You Are Not Me)

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For a long time now, I’ve been trying to figure out how I wanted to make this post and what I wanted to say and disclose. And for an equally long time I’ve put it off. Mainly because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone and I kept hoping for some kind of change that would make it unnecessary. But, truly, it’s been necessary from the get-go because that’s how publishing works.

When I made my initial projections regarding the release dates for We Can Be Good (Bk 3) and We Make It Real (Bk 4), I operated on a central assumption based in prior experience: that the first two books would pay for themselves. See, as long as I’ve been self-publishing I’ve never had a book not pay for the cost of creating it. I’ve had books earn more or less profit, but I’ve never failed to cover my expenses. So, when I set aside the money to publish the four book series, I went with $5,000, thinking that would be more than enough. I was wrong.

See, it’s a rule for me that each book carry itself. It becomes dangerous to my business for me to allow for a situation where Peter pays for Paul. At least during this stage of my career. Maybe when I have many more books out and a steady back catalog income coming in I could take that risk. But at this juncture, I just can’t. It would only take a few books that didn’t sell with a profit for me to have no capital to work with at all.

So, back to Pictures of You & You Are Not Me. They’ve been so well received by readers who took the leap and reviewers that it may come as a surprise for many to hear that they have barely covered even half of their expenses. I put $3,600 into those books (editing, covers, formatting, marketing) and as of the other morning they had earned $1,900. Not each, but both of them together.

Perhaps it’s crass to be giving you guys actual numbers, but I want you to understand that this isn’t a case of the books not earning enough to satisfy me. I never thought they’d make that much of a profit because they are a little out of the box. But rather these books just aren’t carrying their weight financially. This at a time when my day job is precarious and my book sales are down by 1/3 across the board last year.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Well, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get the rest of the ’90s Coming of Age story. I am DEFINITELY writing the next two books. What it does mean is that I need to bend my rules and allow for Peter to pay for Paul. But I need to do that on future books, not past ones. The plan has to change because the outcome didn’t work out the way I’d initially assumed it would. (Humbling? You bet!) I simply don’t have the leeway financially right now to take another $3,600 hit with the hopes it will pay off eventually. (And I do believe these books will pay off eventually! It may take time, but as a back catalog piece, they are going to be a good asset, in my opinion.)

It means that I have to publish at least one, if not two, books that make a decent profit so I can save up that $3,600 with the idea that it won’t be coming back to me quickly. I don’t know that my next releases will provide that profit. I have no idea, frankly, what will sell and what won’t. It’s always a bit of a mystery.

But here are a few things I do know:

  1. I love this series. I’ve been working on it off and on for fourteen years and I won’t let it go until it’s finished.
  2. I will not take fourteen years to finish the back half of it! LOL!
  3. I WILL put We Can Be Good out in 2017 for sure. If I can, I’ll also do We Make It Real, but I can’t know if it will be 2017 or 2018 at this point.

I want to apologize to everyone who is eagerly awaiting Peter’s next adventure. I am sad to know that I’m disappointing you and a little embarrassed to know that there is no way out of it. At this point, even if some crazy generous weirdo (LOL) were to fund the cost of the edits, etc, I’m so far down the path of trying to get this next unrelated release out that I’d need to do that first.

Again, I’m so sorry to let everyone down. I’m not giving up, though. I’m still enthusiastic af for the books and for Peter and for his story! I’m still invested 100% and that’s part of the reason I’m slowing the timing of releases down, too. Obviously, I could forgo editing, etc, to lower costs. But I can’t ask you guys to accept lower quality books for the last two. I’ve waited this long to put his story out, and I’m not going to send sub-par follow-ups into the world.

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I hesitate to call ’90s Coming of Age series a failure, but this Winston Churchill quote does sum up how I feel about the future of the books. I refuse to lose enthusiasm for the books and I refuse to quit on them.

In the meantime, I’m serving up some hot, slow-burn omegaverse for my next release (hopefully in late Feb or early March). I hope you’ll join me for that wild ride! Sending love to all my readers out in the world! Every last one of you makes the difficulties worth it! Every review, every bit of feedback, every email and FB like and Twitter reply.

You make it real, you make it fun, and you make it worthwhile. ❤

ETA: At the urging of a reader, I’ve updated my Patreon site with some goals regarding audiobooks and getting these next two books released. You can become a patron (and access some extras!) by clicking here:

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Day Job Is Tenuous But the Future Can Be Bright – What’s Happening, Leta?

I have a (wonderful, flexible) day job because I don’t make nearly enough money as a writer to pay my family’s bills. My employer has been sick for 2+ years now and his income has been cut drastically. Obviously, this affects me. It’s a very small business with just me and one other employee. The last time I talked with my employer about my job he said, “I will continue to pay you as long as I can. But I have no idea how long that will be. You need to get ready for that eventuality.”

My current day job allows for a lot of flexibility in my time which has let me write as many books as I have. Since 2013, I’ve put out what amounts to seventeen books. Guys, that’s a lot of books. And I’m nowhere near to earning enough that I don’t need the money from my day job. In fact, book sales were down by 1/3 this year over last and I’m not sure how to reverse that trend. That is, frankly, almost beside the point, though. Book sales go up and down, and there’s nothing I can do about that. All I can control is the making of books and what I spend my time on.

In the face of possibly losing my day job soon, I am determined to be proactive and get ahead of the situation before there is a crisis. I believe in my writing and my readers. I’m not a lazy person. I put a lot of time and effort into my work. I think the number of book releases I’ve had while carrying on a day job and being a good mom shows that. I work hard and harder and more and longer and yet without my day job my family would be in a crisis situation very quickly.

Which brings me to Patreon.

This video explains it better than I ever could. Please take a moment to watch.

“Patreon is for creators who love their communities and the communities who love those creators back.”

I love that line.

Don’t get me wrong! You can love me and my books a whole lot without being part of Patreon and I totally feel that love. More than feel it, I appreciate you deeply and thank you from the bottom of my heart for that love, devotion, and your readership. I get that not all readers can afford to give even a little bit more and I want you to know that I will continue to put out high quality books for you! Patreon won’t affect that at all.

Also, I want to be clear, EVERY SINGLE NEW COMPLETED STORY OR BOOK I WRITE THAT STARTS ON PATREON WILL EVENTUALLY GO OUT INTO THE WORLD FOR ANY READER TO ENJOY. The only difference would be that Patreon subscribers will have early access. I am not offering exclusive content in that way. For example, if I wrote a short story tied into the Wake Up Married universe and put it on Patreon first, I would eventually release it on Amazon, B&N, etc, or put it up free on my blog. Every reader will have access to every new story.

But I also know there are some readers out there who are passionate about some of the books I’ve written, who feel like those characters are friends or family, and who want to be part of seeing new books be built from the ground floor up, and who want and are able to help me do that for a living instead of looking for another day job.

So you’ve figured out that readers would make a monthly pledge to my Patreon account in exchange for more access to what I do. But what’s in Patreon for you as a reader exactly?

I have long known that some readers what more information and access than other readers. Many are happy to pay for a finished book, read it, and be done, but others want more information. What happened to the characters next? What other books do I have coming out? What does it look like behind the scenes of being an author? Not to mention, I’ve always had a lot more to say about my creative process and my books than I’ve taken the time to write up. Mainly because I haven’t thought that was a very good use of my time when I have bills to pay and a sick boss.

But Patreon offers a chance to change that for us! Readers who want more can get more and writers who want to share more can do that without fearing that it’s time taken away from something that will help pay the bills. Throughout time artists and writers have depended on the fans of their work to help support them. Today is no different. Patron acknowledges that and I can’t say how much I appreciate this opportunity the creators of the platform have given us.

Again, readers who don’t want to participate or can’t, I promise that you will still get quality books! Have no fear! I appreciate you and everything you are. Thank you for being readers and fans of my work! Patron or not!

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you’re curious about what I’m doing on my Patreon account, click below and have a look! (Even though it says “Become a patron”, you don’t have to do that just to have a look!) On Friday, I’ll begin posting chapters of my current WIP for all pledges at $5 and up! I’m excited to see how that process goes.

Thank you for reading this and considering contributing!

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A Deeper Analysis of My 2016 Writing/Publishing Year by Leta Blake

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Looking back, did you write more than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you’d predicted?

I always overestimate what I’m going to get done, so I’d go with less. I always think I’m a super-human machine who will be endlessly inspired and motivated to crank out word after word after word. Then it turns out I’m human and have down periods and times when four pages just won’t “lay flat” and I spend a week on them.

What did you write that you would never have predicted in January?

I published Angel Undone. That was never in my plan for the year. It hit me in June that I was essentially done with the story. That it was finished in my heart and that it was either going to languish on my hard drive forever or I was going to send it out into the world. So I quickly polished it up and published it. I also never would have guessed that I’d be working on my current WIP. It was never, ever in the plan for 2016/2017, but events transpired with the fall releases that made me have to take a step back from my goals in October. This WIP hopped into that space overflowing with words and begging to be written. In my need for something to feel good/right/moving, I took it on, despite reservations about it. And now I’m nearly 50% finished with the book. I hope to have it out in early spring.

What’s your own favorite story of the year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you happiest?

The unfinished book that makes me the happiest is the one I’m working on right now. It’s a bit top secret until I’m closer to the release date, but let’s just say that it involves, um, male pregnancy. The book I published this year that makes me the happiest is You Are Not Me. You have to suffer through Pictures of You to get to it, but everything about You Are Not Me fills me with joy. Maybe I’m weird, but, unf, I love these characters so damn much.

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Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them?

I did! Everything I did this year was a risk, from doing the Will & Patrick Wake Up Married serial to releasing ’90’s Coming of Age books, to Angel Undone. The real question is which risks paid off? And what does it mean for something to “pay off”?

Will & Patrick turned out to be a brilliant choice. It was crazy fun to write and has turned into a consistent little money maker, which, let’s get frank, is important.

Angel Undone didn’t really pay off in terms of critical reviews or sales, but it did get the hell off my hard drive and that, believe it or not, is a pay off that is priceless in some ways. No more agonizing over what to do with this little story. It’s out and done.

And then ’90’s Coming of Age (Pictures of You & You Are Not Me)… Well, guys, I don’t know. I have a lot of mixed emotions about this risk because it did exactly what I expected it to do: it was a financial and sales flop, but a critical darling, and, dammit, I lived off those reviews like it was ambrosia of the gods. But reviews don’t pay bills and they don’t put food on the table. For the first time ever, books I self-published didn’t pay for themselves or even come close. I’ll be releasing something in the new year regarding the plans for ’90’s Coming of Age, but I will state here that I can’t afford to put out more in the series until I produce something that refills the coffers.

So, the risk of publishing the ’90s Coming of Age series paid off in a few ways: wonderful reviews, dedicated fans, and starting the process of getting a 14 year old project put to bed. But now I’m looking at knowing that I have to invest another large hunk of money into two more books in order to finish it off, and I have quite clear evidence that those two books won’t be able to pay for themselves. So I have to be careful and very wise with my next publishing choices. Something my muses don’t understand–as evidenced by the male pregnancy WIP!

So, I guess, as you’ve seen, I’m diving into bigger risks this year, too. But more on that later.

My most popular story of this year:

The Wake Up Married serial for sure!

Story of mine most under-appreciated by the universe, in my opinion:

Ha! Well, I think it’s pretty clear from my rambling above that Pictures of You & You Are Not Me didn’t get massive sales numbers (or even decent sales numbers) so that’s what I’d have to go with, though I will say the people who did read it, mainly reviewers and those who got ARCs, seemed to love the books so much that I felt they were quite appreciated by those who took the plunge.

Most fun story to write: 

I have adored working on this current story! It’s just been delicious and fun and everything I’ve needed right now.

Story with the single sexiest moment:

Hmm, I think that You Are Not Me has a really sexy moment, but it’s not as graphic as some I’ve written.

Most “Holy crap, that’s wrong, even for you” story:

Probably this male pregnancy story? Or maybe the dark erotica I’m working on under a different pen name?

Story that shifted my own perceptions of the characters:

You Are Not Me. Once I understood Daniel, everything fell into place.

Hardest story to write:

We Can Be Good. The third book in the ’90’s Coming of Age series. I wrote 90,000 words of it several years ago and in reviewing those words recently I was sort of horrified to realize that most of it has to go. (And most of it is sex. Apparently, I was really into showing ALL THE SEX and that just doesn’t fit the vibe of the books anymore.) So now, between realizing that I’m basically going to start Book 3 from scratch, and knowing that I haven’t even come close to paying for Books 1 & 2, I sort of quail in fear every time I open the document. I’ll move past it, though. Eventually. It will be released in 2017. I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Biggest Disappointment:

*smiles softly* I think that’s pretty clear by now.

Biggest Surprise: 

How well the Wake Up Married serial was received. I had been told that serials were a mistake and a disaster and don’t do it, but while they weren’t the rousing success of Smoky Mountain Dreams, they have proved consistent and worth the time and effort.

Most Unintentionally Telling Story:

Definitely the male pregnancy WIP I’ve got going. All my societal issues are getting dumped into it. Yay.

Do you have any goals for the New Year?

I do! I wrote a whole blog post about that a few weeks ago. Check out the second half of THIS POST for my 2017 goals.

I’ll update more on my plans for ’90s Coming of Age books in a week or so. Until then, let me leave you with the best New Year’s Wish in the world, penned by Neil Gaiman:

 

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

My Favorite Reads of 2016! A Hodge-Podge of Excellence and Entertainment! #bookrecs

The rules for this list were simple: books I read in 2016, loved like whoa or found edifying in an important way, and (most importantly) didn’t beta read or edit.

Click on the book cover to purchase!

Seraphina & Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

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61gxyvytrolThese fantasy books featuring dragons and a wonderful, diverse cast of characters, including trans and gay characters, as well as a polyamorous end-game were simply wonderful. Highly recommended. I’d love to see more in this fascinating and well-drawn universe. My top reads of the year.

 

For Darkness Shows the Stars & Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

51rhgxrrfgl 51oskrptajl These fantasy books featured post-apocalyptic reimagining of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Baroness Orczy and Otto Penzler’s The Scarlet Pimpernel respectively. Unique world-building with descriptions that “roll film” before your eyes, these stories were addictive, new, and yet familiar all at once. Highly recommended. I’d love to see more in this universe, especially since a few threads are left dangling at the end of the second book. 

Backwards to Oregon by Jae

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I both loved this book and found it frustrating, yet it’s making my Favorites of 2016 list. How’s that possible? I bought it expecting a lesbian Western and quickly realized that it was a trans Western more than anything else. Luke Hamilton is clearly a transman and I loved the aspect of the book that dealt with how stunted Luke’s life had to be to keep his secret. But, again, it’s advertised as a lesbian Western, and it consistently calls Luke “she” when written from Luke’s own point of view. Which, well, really made me uncomfortable. I started to replace the ‘she’ with ‘he’ in my mind just to ease the cognitive dissonance. I wish that the author would edit this book to reflect Luke as a transman, removing the female pronouns, because it was, otherwise, an excellent, well-researched, very engaging read that’d I’d highly recommend. It’s a shame that it’s so good and yet this issue makes it deeply uncomfortable at times. Or maybe that’s a good thing, too. It certainly made me think.

Rorschach Blots by RoughDraftHero

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This book is short and you can pay whatever you like for it (including nothing at all) over at Smashwords. I can’t recall what made me pick it up. It’d been in my TBR for a long time, but this year I finally got around to it. I will say that this book is pretty problematic in that it covers a teacher and student getting involved in deeply inappropriate ways. It wasn’t even wildly well-written, but, dude, it’s free-ish, so let’s get our priorities in order here. It smacked of repurposed fan fiction, but I’m down with that, and maybe it wasn’t even and it just had that feel. BUT it’s on my Favorites of 2016 list for a reason and that is the really fascinating psychological stuff going on when you’ve got a young, uneducated, fledgling dom trying to assert himself over an older, not entirely educated sub who is resisting every step of the way because, duh, he’s the dom’s teacher. I’d probably sell a kidney to see a sequel to this book, to be honest. Okay, not a kidney. But I’d make statements like, “I’d sell a kidney” and hope the author would just simply deliver for me despite no kidneys being sold. Recommended if you enjoy twisted set ups with odd pay-offs and lots of spanking.

Blue on Black by Carole Cummings

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Fantasy-Western with angry men who are desperately attracted to each other? Yes, please. Fascinating world-building with several unexpected twists that I didn’t see coming? Double heck-yeah! I’m always excited when a book surprises me, because, to be honest, it doesn’t happen a lot. So I was pleased as punch when I got to say, “Now, what? Didn’t see that coming!” while reading this book. I’m a sucker for fantasy books and this one was my cuppa all the way. Broody men with high-stakes and a mystery that kept me curious until the end. Recommended!

The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe

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I adored this mystery by C.S. Poe. It had hints of Adrien English without all the almost unbearable angst. If you enjoy acerbic characters who are sexy while solving mysteries and who just can’t keep themselves out of trouble, then you’ll enjoy this one, too. This book felt like an old friend. It has the vibe of a cozy mystery despite being set in bustling New York City. Maybe it’s because of the heaps of snow? Regardless, this is a lovely read and I recommend it.

 

Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton

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I’ll just admit up front that I have a certain weakness for a younger/older book where the older character is the more flamboyant, over-the-top, dramatic one, and the younger character is steady and steadfast. This absorbing read hit that button hard and fast, and I loved it. Easily one of my all-time favorite Christmas reads, I lost track of time while reading this one and ended up staying up until 3:30 am. Not even on purpose! I was so absorbed, I didn’t even know what time it was! Highly recommended. Very cute. Loved it. Would read again.

“Be prepared to get sucked in.” Smoky Mountain Dreams #gay #amreading

“Great book and I totally recommend this to anyone wanting to read a story that will make you laugh cry and get angry and cry some more tissues are required to read this book because this book has it all and it is not a fast read so be prepared to get sucked in cuz this will make you want to read till the end!”

via Goodreads | Mary Irving, TX’s review of Smoky Mountain Dreams.

Sometimes holding on means letting go Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he's still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He's raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There's no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn't want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn't want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.
Sometimes holding on means letting go
Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he’s still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He’s raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There’s no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

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