“Enjoyable Fun Read” – 5 Stars -Brad’s review of Training Season #mmromance #gay #ebook

“I don’t write many reviews but this one for me deserved a shout-out. The characters were fun to get to know and the HEA was a good ending.”

Read more of Brad’s 5 star review here: Amazon.com: Brad’s 5 star review of Training Season.

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Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. And also on iBooks.
Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.
When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.
But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?

Training Season Out In Paperback! Comment to Get Yer Signed Copy Here! #mmromance

No foolin’ this time! It’s the real deal!

TRAINING SEASON IS AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!!

Here is a copy sitting on our piano bench! IT IS A REAL BOOK, Y'ALL! I'm giddy! Giddy, I say!
Here is a copy sitting on our piano bench! IT IS A REAL BOOK, Y’ALL! I’m giddy! Giddy, I say!

I got that whole back cover thing fixed right up, so go forth and pick up your copy!

(Though, hey, nothing’s perfect, and apparently it might take a few days for the change to reflect on the Amazon site itself, but any books sold will have the correct blurb!)

AND I’m giving away two signed copies to two folks who comment here on my blog. I’ll use the random number generator thingy from the interwebs to choose from the comments and contact you. Oh, and the end date for signing up for this little drawing will be on February 3rd!

If you’d like to be considered for this giveaway, please leave a comment below!

Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed and loved on Training Season! You guys, I never imagined this book would be so well loved! THANK YOU! And thank you again! And again! AND AGAIN!

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Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. Coming soon to iBooks.

Gay Guy Reading – Review: “Truly a story you won’t want to put down.” – Training Season| #mmromance #gay

Scott at Gay Guy Reading Review (GGR-Review) has the following to say about Training Season:

“It is truly a story you won’t want to put down.”

and

“I should receive a quick kick to the arse for not reading this [book] earlier.”

and

“I can only recommend that you follow what I did (only don’t wait as long as I did to read it). Just open it up and start reading.”

***

Read the rest of his enthusiastic review here:  Training Season | GGR-Review.

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Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. Coming soon to iBooks. 

Nights Like These and Maybe: Training Season Extras! #music #lucero #ingridmichaelson

In my little series of music posts about my soundtrack while writing Training Season, here are two more of Rob’s songs. Both of them are very much how he thinks about Matty, the situation, and all of his hopes, dreams and fears. “Nights Like These” is the most despairing of the two and the reference to the only boy who ever broke your heart is a Figure Skating reference, but of course. “Maybe” by Ingrid Michaelson is a bit more upbeat, though I think hopeful resignation is the name of the game with that song.

Does Training Season by Leta Blake live up to all it’s crazy hype? Boy Meets Boy Reviews Tells You #mmromance #gay #amreading

“Does Training Season by Leta Blake live up to all it’s crazy hype? IT SO DOES!

— Breann, at Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Read more of her glowing review at:  Boy Meets Boy Reviews: Review: Training Season by Leta Blake.

cover-web-copy
Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. Coming soon to iBooks.

Stunned, Shocked and Bewildered #mmromance #gay #amreading

I am stunned. I am shocked. I am bewildered, beholden and breathless at what I have just read. What did I just read? A wonderful story? The most complete love story that I have come across? A gorgeous tale of love, hope, loss, acceptance, forgiveness and just a stunning tale…all of the above? You bet your sweet ass.”

— A Review of Training Season by Leta Blake, by The Risque Redhead Reviews.

Another really touching and amazing review of my book, Training Season. I’m so amazed! Thrilled you enjoyed it so much!

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Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. Coming soon to iBooks.

Whips or Shopping? Who Can Choose? Oh My! #MFRWhooks #mmromance #bdsm

MFRW Authors Blog

“I have leather horse whips, actually,” Rob said.

“You do?” Matty sat up, nearly smacking his forehead against Rob’s chin.

“Of course. Have you seen my ranch?”

“Oh my God, go get them!”

Rob laughed and stood up slowly, stretching. “Actually, I was thinking we should head into Missoula to do some shopping.”

“You’re passing up whips for shopping?”

“You’re bitching about shopping?”

“I feel so torn!” Matty pulled at his hair. “Oh my God. You suck.”

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Whips or shopping? Read to find out!

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What Are Bitters? Matty’s Fave Drink Explained. #cocktails #curealls #liqueur

To quote Wikipedia: A bitters is traditionally an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanical matter such that the end result is characterized by a bitter or bittersweet flavor. Numerous longstanding brands of bitters were originally developed as patent medicines, but are now sold as digestifs and cocktail flavorings in the contemporary market.

Bitters comes in many different flavors and brands. Some of the most famous are Agostura bitters, Bittermens, and Fee Brothers. Fee Brothers brand currently features the following flavors: Aromatic Old Fashioned, West Indies Orange, Peach, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mint, Cherry, Plum, Aztec Chocolate, Rhubarb, Plum, Celery, Black Walnut, Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters, and Gin Barrel-Aged Orange Bitters.

THIS ARTICLE from Australian Bartender discusses a tasting event involving bitters and had this lovely and handy explanatory piece with it:

Matty’s favorite is Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters with the Christmas-y notes. “It’s Christmas in a cup!”

Further historical info from Wikipedia: By 1806, American publications referenced the popularity of a new preparation termed cocktail, which was described as a combination of “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” Of the commercial aromatic bitters that would emerge from this period, perhaps the most well known is Angostura bitters, which was first compounded in Venezuela in 1824 by German physician Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert. Originally, Dr. Siegert’s bitters was compounded as a cure for sea sickness and stomach maladies, among other medicinal uses. Dr. Siegert subsequently formed the House of Angostura, a company that previously sold the bitters to sailors. Angostura bitters was named after the town of Angostura in Venezuela, although the preparation contains no angostura bark, a medicinal bark which is named after the same town.

Antique bitters bottles are collectible and some go for upwards of $10,000!

Apparently, making your own homemade cocktail bitters is a thing people do! And I sure wish I’d realized this a few months back. I could’ve made some for some fancy-pants, I’m-so-cool Christmas presents for people! Look how pretty her end result turned out!

Super cute!

Now, you may be asking, why did Matty in Training Season drink bitters in his hot water? Well, because they give flavor and they feel a little decadent. I’ve had them a few times when feeling sick and they do settle one’s stomach. I’m not even sure why it came to me that he would do this. I suppose it just seemed like something Matty would do. It’s fancy pants and snooty and feels decadent while not really adding much substance. Very Matty at the beginning of the book, especially.

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Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. Coming soon to iBooks.

How to Write a Blurb! #writers #help #blurb

Get your best writer friends to do it for you! No, really. Um, that’s the best way.

Ha! But seriously, though, my friend, Jed, has worked out a cool method. First, we researched the average length of blurbs, and it turns out they are about 240 words in length. Another friend told me that her publisher tries to keep the blurbs to 200 words, so somewhere between those two seems to be what one should aim for.

Click on this to read a hilarious post about studying the art of blurbs and ending up buying a ton of books!

The examples I’m going to give you regarding what your blurb should contain are based on the work to get a working blurb on Training Season and a short novella (currently out for submission) called Everything Is Yes. (You can read more about Everything Is Yes HERE.)

Let’s start with Training Season! First, Jed said:

Basically, I think you need

  • a tagline?
  • a paragraph to set up who Matty is and his situation generally
  • a paragraph where the set-up for the book is laid out
  • a paragraph about the challenges and dilemmas
  • a paragraph that vaguely covers the resolution, just the general concepts
  • maybe reiterate the tagline in a new way?

I’m not sold on having a tagline just to have a tagline, though. It does seem to be a romance novel thing, but it’s not done with general books all that often, so maybe you can get away without one if you can’t think of anything, either. I think a bad or clunky one is worse than none at all.

In the end, that translated into the following blurb.

Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.

When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.

But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?

It is sans a tag line, because neither I, nor any of my brilliant friends could think of one, and while I feel like it could be a tiny bit better if some blurb genius tweaked it, I’m really quite happy with how it turned out. It is decidedly better than before Jed worked out the above process and basically wrote the rough draft of the blurb for me. Let’s just say that my first attempt a blurb would either make you cry or laugh…or cry with laughter.

Next, with Everything is Yes, Jed worked out the following:

  • Tagline.

  • Second paragraph needs to establish who Alex is. Mentioning his age and that the Missed Connections is in a campus newspaper positions him as young; disappointed in love helps set him up as wanting change; and the description of what he wants is just that. Answering the ad establishes that he is going to meet someone new to satisfy his desire.

  • Third paragraph to set up situation and rules with this new “love.” Think it is good idea to work “everything is ‘yes'” in there, actually.

  • Fourth paragraph gives away that Smith is Hephaestus and a god, but I think you have to give that away. I don’t think you really need to explain a lot about Hephaestus, though. Thought all the questions about humans and gods fit well here without needing to be a separate paragraph.

Obviously, it’s not perfect, but maybe it gives you something to work with.

That rendered the following blurb:

Are you ever more alive than when you think you’re about to die?

Nineteen-year-old Alex, disappointed in love, wants the kind of fierce passion that will take him beyond the mundane world of safe, consensual sex into a realm of white-hot sensation and utter loss of control. When he recognizes himself in his campus newspaper’s Missed Connections, he takes a chance that this mystery man will be the one who will take him over the edge.

From their very first email, Alex is convinced Smith is the one who will push him beyond his limits, but Smith refuses to meet, warning Alex that there may be dire consequences to an in-person encounter. Alex persists, and so before Smith extends a weekend invitation to his remote cabin, he exacts a promise that Alex will obey him in all things once there. As long as he is with Smith, Alex agrees that everything is “yes.”

The sadistic god Hephaestus, also known as the Smith, chooses human lovers from among those who thrive on fear, pain and loss of control, and he knows that Alex is ideal for his purposes. But will Alex be able to keep his promise? Can a human love a god and come through unscathed? Can terror, combined with pleasure, result in transcendence? And, having once experienced such terrible bliss, what would a man risk to experience it once more?

Alex is about to find out.

***

So, yes, the best way to get a blurb is to have your best friend write it for you. Ha! But, truthfully, what this taught me was how to break a blurb down into the various parts. I feel like I can move forward now with this guidance and write better blurbs for myself. I’m sure she’ll still need to touch them up, but I have really learned a lot from her help on the blurb front. I hope that reading about this process helps you, too!

cover-web-copy
Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. Coming soon to iBooks.