Sunday, 28 April 2013

Author Spotlight - An interview with C.J. Baty


C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio with her very patient husband and two encouraging children. Her heart however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.

One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: "You are never too old to follow your dream even if it takes you fifty years."





QTo start off with, what motivated you to become a writer?  How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?
C.J: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in high school. Looking back I’ve always kept a journal or jotted down thoughts and when my son was born I started scrapbooking. The best part of that was the journaling to tell what was happening in the pictures. Becoming a published writer, that took a long time. Mostly because I didn’t think I was talented enough or that anyone would want to read what I wrote. I needed time to work my craft and make it better.

Q:  Is there a genre you won't write?  Why?  Is there a genre you haven't written but would like to give a try?
C.J: I don’t think I could write horror or BSMD. Why, probably because neither of those genre’s appeals to me as a reader. I’m a HEA girl and it’s hard for me to get into reading something where people are hurt intentionally or not.

 I would love to be able to write a historical romance and do it justice. I would have to do a large amount of research to get the settings and the costume descriptions to be as they should be. Little details like that are important to me as a reader and I’d want my readers to have that.

Q:  Plotter, pantster or a combination of both?
C.J: So don’t laugh; I had to look up what a pantster was! Now that I know, I can say I am a combination of both. I can get a vision of how a story will start, where it will go and how it might end. Then I write, scratch out, and write again and so on until I can clearly see what the characters are telling me about themselves.

Q: What types of books do you like to read?  Do you re-read books?  If so, what is your comfort read?
C.J:  Mysteries, a problem to solve with a good love story thrown in are probably my favourite. I have read the classics but I still lean toward the ones with a mystery involved. I do re-read books. I have several books that I keep at the front of my Kindle which I bounce back and forth between depending on my mood. I can’t say I have a comfort read but I do have comfort authors. They are the ones that I go back to time and time again because their stories have touched me in some profound way.


Q:  Where do you find inspiration for your novels and characters?  Real life events?  Imagination?  Or a combination?
C.J: Here again I have to say it’s a combination and it depends largely on what I’m writing. I once wrote a very short story that was an M/M romance that turned out to be very tender and sweet. The inspiration for the story came from an experience I had with a young man when I was a teenager myself. In that instance, the inspiration was real life but for the two male characters I had to imagine how young men would feel and act in that same situation.
I do get a lot of inspiration from nature itself, especially the mountains. You will always find some scene or mention in my books about the mountains or nature of some kind. I’m working on a book at the moment that takes place at a hotel on a beach. A great deal of the action in the story takes place outside...even the love scenes.

Q:  What is a typical day like as author C. J.  Baty?  Do you write every day?  How long does it typically take for you to complete a book?
C.J: As I am still an office worker by day and author by night, I write when and where I can. I love to write and I wish I could write every day. But I do find that I write whenever I have a free minute. I carry a notebook with me always. Lunch breaks find me grabbing a bite and writing. The best time of day for me is in the morning at the local diner where I have coffee and breakfast. I get up an hour earlier than I really have to just so I can go there and let them refill my coffee cup and I write. A few of the places that I frequently visit know me and know I write. 

Depending on the length of the book, it usually takes me two to four months to complete a first draft. I have a tendency to edit and re-edit as I go. I guess I’m old school in that more than 75% of what I write is hand written first then typed up. I add or delete or change direction as I take it from the handwritten copy to the computer.

Q:  Could you tell us a little about A New Dream?
C.J: A New Dream is a book about accepting the changes that come in life and learning to move on. Walt’s dream is crushed when he can’t be a competitive skier any longer. His self confidence is shot when his boyfriend can’t stay by him while he recovers. He mistakenly believes no one would want to love a failure with a broken body, like him. Curt has rolled with the heartaches he’s suffered in life and feels pretty good about the road he’s on but he longs for something more than one night stands and the loneliness that comes with his career. They literally run into each other one day outside a barber shop in the little town of Flat Rock and life changes for both of them. Love wasn’t what they were looking for but then love seldom comes around when you are.


Q:  What projects are you currently working on?  What can readers look forward to from you in the upcoming year?
C.J: Oh I am so glad you asked this question. I am currently working on two projects and I hope to have them out by the end of the year. One is a May/December story where a fifty something woman thinks that now that she’s a widow, love and passion are a thing of the past for her. She settles for the everyday routine of life but doesn’t like it. She takes a trip with her best friend to Scotland, meets and is helplessly attracted to a younger man who happens to own the inn where she and her friend are staying. The story involves arson, a murder and a kidnapping all leading up to a HEA. Of course, there is an abundance of sexual tension and desire. It’s called At Any Age.

 The other work in progress is an M/M romance where our hero’s ex-lovers keep showing up murdered on a beach near the hotel he owns. Drifting Sands takes place in Beaufort, South Carolina at the Warfield Hotel. It’s a race against time to prove that Justin is not killing the men who keep showing up dead before the local sheriff finds out the truth about Justin and how he is related to the men who have been killed. His brother Peter and his brother’s best friend Marcus are trying to help. But it doesn’t help that Marcus and Justin are incredibly attracted to each other. Oh and did I mention that due to Justin’s and Peter’s father and a clause in his will, Justin is married to a local socialite who can’t stand the air he breathes. It’s going to get hot on the beach in this story.

***

We'd like to thank Kathy from the Book Reviews and More by Kathy blog for originally hosting this interview during the Valentine's Collection tour. 

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C.J. Baty's book A New Dream was published by BDP in February 2013 as part of our Valentine's Day Collection
For more information on A New Dream click here.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Author Spotlight - A mini interview with T.D. Green



1) What was the inspiration behind your story within Second Chances anthology?

The theme itself, Second Chances, was the inspiration. I wanted to explore how a bad breakup could cause long term emotional damage and what it would take to re-earn someone's trust after years of hurt.


2) Why did you decide to submit to an M/M anthology? 

I've been writing M/M stories for a long time now--about a decade--so submitting to an M/M anthology was a no-brainer. :)


3) What is your guilty pleasure when reading? 

I can hardly get enough of fluffy M/M romances. I find writing fluff difficult, so it's like brain candy for me.


4) How do you visualise when planning (if you do any)?

I'm what you call a pantser, so I only start off with a vague idea or a bit of dialogue. I let the story shape itself around the characters as they come to life one interaction at a time. Most of any visualizations come in mental character conversations while I'm doing the dishes or folding laundry.


5) Tell me about any projects you are working on or have in the pipeline.

Currently, I'm working on the companion novel to my five star rated dark, gay novel, Fragile Bones. Another M/M romance short is nearly completed, and I'm also editing book two and starting on book three of my YA series under another name.

***
T.D.'s story "Non-Negotiable is included in our male/male romance anthology, Second Chances. A collection of short stories about finding love again.
To find out more about Second Chances, check out the book page here.

***

We''d like to thank Mich from Mich's Book Reviews for originally hosting this mini interview during the Second Chances blog tour.

***



 T.D. Green, the author of Fragile Bones, is as passionate about supporting the arts as she is about creating art. When she’s not wrangling words across the white space, she’s deeply immersed in painting. A proud Hoosier, T.D. currently resides in her beautiful home state of Indiana with her husband, three children, and a clutter of curiously devoted felines.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Author Spotlight - Bette Browne - Are gay men versatile, does fiction imitate real life? And why does it matter to me?

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Hi. I’m Bette. Being a “published author” is new to me, so I must admit it’s a bit daunting putting together this post, but it’s my pleasure to do so in support of the Second Chances anthology blog tour. I love the book, and I’m very proud that my story “Dirty Martini” is included in it.


I discussed many possible topics for this post with my publisher, and when “Are sexual preferences within male/male relationships in the real world actually as defined as those often portrayed in fiction and on the television screen?” was mentioned, I decided that this topic could prove rather interesting. It is something I have certainly thought about and would love to know.

I’m a heterosexual woman, and even though I have a healthy obsession (yes, I did use that word) with male/male romances, I really have no idea what goes on in the bedroom of gay couples around the world. Why does it matter to me? In all honesty, it doesn’t. I’m just curious. And as an author writing in this genre, I would hope I am not too far off base. I’m certainly not a voyeur, and I don’t think I’m alone in sometimes looking at a couple, regardless of pairing, and… well, just wondering. I certainly consider a fictional couple when I read them and wonder about the dynamics and whether they could exist as “real.”

My imagination is fierce; I certainly have ideas, but are any of my fantasies justified in the realm of reality? I’ve watched a bit of porn (who hasn’t?), but how accurate is that reality when the models/actors are being “paid” to do whatever.  The stories I read that are written by the male authors within the M/M romance genre haven’t shed any light for me either. Characters in those range as well. Having recently read the Adrien English series by Josh Lanyon where the main characters most definitely have defined roles, well… confused again. As for television: Queer as Folk (QAF) definitely cemented the more “defined roles” tag for me. The couples in it were very “non-versatile” (is that a word?). And for me, as I would assume for many, QAF was my first real exposure to gay romance, and QAF was accurate? Wasn’t it?

When I began researching, there was so much more on the topic than I’d imagined (praise, or curse, Google). And what surprised me, according to the research, is that the “majority” of gay men are versatile. I truly didn’t expect this to be the case. I assumed more defined roles would be held. Instead, what I found was men may lean one way or the other, and they may have a preference, but they are still versatile overall. Age groups, geography, as well as other factors varied the results, but it still remains distinct. Men mix it up. They “top” and “bottom.” This makes me happy. I think because if I were a man for a day, I would “definitely” want to experience everything!

When I think about it, my favorite male/male stories, and fantasies, are the ones involving two very evenly matched men, e.g., Cut & Run and its sequels by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. They are sensational. Those two men have me under their spell. They are men with similar careers and education, both tall and lean (nice six-pack and muscles of course, but not too bulky); men who like to give and take equally. Why does this appeal to me? I think it’s because they are the men who appeal to me in real life, the ones I am physically attracted to, the ones I would date (sorry hubs) if they were straight, and if I can imagine two (or even three) of them together… well all the better.  Am I objectifying men? Yes, possibly, it is my fantasy after all.

I’m sure my preferences will continue to come across in the characters I choose to write about, as well as what I read. But as I think about the couples I’ve read and enjoyed—some of my favorites—I realize I really did have a soft spot for Josh Lanyon’s very defined “Adrien-with-an-e English”… Maybe I need to revisit him. It seems I’m versatile too.

***

Bette's short story, “Dirty Martini,” features in the Second Chances male/male anthology published by Bottom Drawer Publications in August 2012.
For more information on Second Chances  click here.

***

Bette Browne is wife to an extremely understanding husband and mother to two very tolerant children. In her mind they are the most accepting family in the world, allowing her the freedom to indulge her passion for fiction, whether it is reading or writing it.

She enjoys traditional male/female romances, but male/male is her passion. In her mind nothing is more erotic than two (or more) beautiful men finding love together.

For Bette, the fight for tolerance in all its guises is an important one, and hopefully her contribution, even if it is only in the form of the occasional love story, is one she will continue to happily find the time for.



Thursday, 18 April 2013

Author Spotlight - An Interview with C.C. Lorenz

Today we are posting an interview with author, C.C. Lorenz, whose short story "Notice to Appear" is included in our male/male romance anthology Second Chances. 

For more information about the book, check out the book page on our website here.

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The interview questions were compiled by Kathy from the Book Reviews & More by Kathy book blog as part of the Second Chances blog tour.  Thank you so much Kathy for asking such insightful questions and participating in our book tours. Check out Kathy's blog for more great author interviews, reviews & general book news: http://www.bookreviewsandmorebykathy.com/


Kathy:  Ms. Lorenz, welcome to Book Reviews & More by Kathy and thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to answer a few nosy probing questions for us!

I always have to begin by asking what motivated you to become a writer? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?

Ms. Lorenz: First off, I'd like to say thanks for asking me to be a part of your blog!

Up until three years ago, I hadn't written anything creatively since college, but was inspired after becoming involved in the world of fanfiction. I remember thinking of a story that I'd wanted to read and combed through the existing works for something similar. Finding nothing, I thought, "Hey, why not just write it yourself?" It took a few months, but finally (and very nervously), I posted the story and was surprised by the positive response it received. Looking back, I think it's pretty obvious that it was my first work - formatting was a mess, and I clearly had no restraint - I threw everything but the kitchen sink in there! I've since edited and reposted, but it was an amazing learning experience.

Since then, my writing has grown by leaps and bounds, and a lot of that growth has come from the editing process. I've been writing short stories pretty steadily for the last three years and when I heard about the open submissions to the Second Chances anthology, I jumped at the opportunity to submit something, and was ecstatic when it was accepted!

Kathy: What type of books do you like to read?  Favorite authors?  Comfort reads?

Ms. Lorenz: I'm a pretty avid reader, and would say that my tastes vary widely. I love Margaret Atwood, and one of my favorite novels is The Blind Assassin. In it, she uses gorgeous language to weave together a science fiction story within a story about relationships – her work is phenomenal. I also really enjoy authors that explore cultural diversity with strong female characters, like Amy Tan, which is a little ironic since I personally prefer writing from a male point of view.

For comfort reads, I love fanfiction. There's some truly incredible work out there if you find reliable rec lists. Also, I love revisiting my favorite guilty pleasures, like Twilight or True Blood.

Kathy:  How much impact do your choices as a reader have on your writing career?

Ms. Lorenz:  I'd say they've had a huge impact, especially since I've fallen headfirst into the M/M romance genre. I have a pretty clear idea of what I enjoy as a reader, and am definitely influenced by my personal tastes. For example, I like to read detailed sex scenes (yes, I'm a proud perv!) so that's what I write.

Kathy:  What is a typical day for author C.C. Lorenz?  Are you a plotter or a pantster?  On average, how long does it take you to write a book?

Ms. Lorenz: Could I call myself a plantster? I give the characters a lot of leeway when I write, but always start with an outline, even if it's only in my head at first. I also like to have both short and long term goals when I sit down to write. Often, I find myself mentally chanting things like, "just make it to the sex scene!" I don't write linearly, either. If I find myself stuck on something, I'll start working on a different scene where the words are flowing a little better - usually the aforementioned sex scene - and then fill in the missing spaces later on.

Notice to Appear took around two months to write and edit. I tend to get lost in editing, but the looming deadline I was up against worked to push me along. Usually, I can count on finishing about 5,000-10,000 words a month.

Kathy:  Where do you get your inspiration for your characters and plots?  Real life? Imagination? Or combination of the two?

Ms. Lorenz: It's a definite combination of the two, but real life is a heavy influence. I'm lucky to have friends that do ridiculous things and like to tell me about all about them. For example, I have a good friend who loves to call me with story ideas, usually after he's spent a debaucherous weekend with his partner in Palm Springs. Basically, one of his great "ideas" ended with one guy inserting himself into the proper spot during an orgy to have sex with the guy he'd had his eye on all weekend. I asked him when exactly the characters would fall in love and he responded, "Love? The happy ending is that he got to fuck the guy!"

Not all of his ideas are usable, LOL!

Kathy:  Is there a genre you do not think you will ever write?  Why?  Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to give a try?

Ms. Lorenz: Science fiction would be pretty difficult for me to write, much as I enjoy reading it. I pull so much of my stories from real life and it would be a huge challenge for me to completely suspend reality. I just don't know if I'm creative enough to pull something like that off.

I'd like to try writing some hetero fic at some point, but I'm having too much fun in M/M romance right now to start just yet!

Kathy:  Could you tell us a little about Notice to Appear?

Ms. Lorenz: Sure! It starts off in a courthouse where the main character Josh has to deal with a notice to appear he received for driving with an expired drivers license. While waiting for his turn to face the judge, he spots an old high school crush in the courtroom, looking gorgeous as ever. The story explores the concept, what if you ran into your old high school crush and they finally noticed you? Would the years that have passed make you a little more confident, or would you still be completely intimidated by them?

Kathy:  What projects are you currently working on? What can readers look forward to from you in the upcoming year?

Ms. Lorenz:  I've been tossing around some ideas for a new short story, and hopefully it'll flow as quickly as Notice to Appear did! Also, I would love to write something novel length, but that's still a little intimidating, so we'll see about that.

Kathy:  I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you today. Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?

Ms. Lorenz: I'd just like to say thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you today - it's been a pleasure!

***

C. C. Lorenz grew up in Southern California and currently resides in Los Angeles where she works in the finance industry. Searching for a distraction from the daily stresses of her job, she stumbled upon the world of male/male romance and fell in love with the genre. Intrigued to explore the unique challenges of gay relationships, C. C. put pen to paper (figuratively) for the first time since her college days and began to write.

When not immersed in the world of M/M romance, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, drinking wine, and driving her husband crazy by acting like a teenager.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Author Spotlight - Twenty questions with Carly Fall


Carly Fall is a wife, a mother and a slave to Nicky the dog.

She loves to laugh, and thinks chocolate and wine should be considered their own food group. She also wishes Christmas happened twice a year.

Three years ago, she decided to take a break from writing business material and dip her toe in the fiction pond, and has loved watching her imagination come to life on the page. She is the author of contemporary and fantasy romance.


Which do you find harder to write?

1. First person POV or Third? 

First person.

2. As a male or female?

Oddly enough, as a female. I do well with an alpha male voice, but finding the voice of a female that is his equal is a bit of a struggle for me. She either comes across as a wimp or less than feminine. Finding that line is a challenge for me.

3. Beginning, middle or end of the story?

Definitely middle. I do plot out my books, but sometimes the characters have their own ideas and we take detours.  Eventually we end up where I want to be!

4. Fight scenes or smex scenes?

Smex. The act itself is very base and doesn't change much, so finding new ways and words to describe it can be a little bit of a challenge

5. Synopsis or blurb?

Both. I would rather write sixty novels that deal with either.


As a writer, do you prefer:

6. Writing in the morning, afternoon or evening?

I'm a morning person, so I do like to write then, however, life sometimes has other ideas. So, I write whenever I can

7. Writing with music, or in peace?

I like to listen to ambient music where it blocks out what's going on in the house.

8. Planning, or Improvising?

I'm a planner

9. Juggling a few projects, or concentrating on one at a time?

I'm definitely a juggler.  I should be in the circus

10. Sticking to one genre, or exploring many?

Currently, I write fantasy romance and contemporary. My plate is pretty full with those two, but I won't rule out other genres in the future.


As a reader, do you prefer:

11. Story being told from female view or male?

It depends on the scene. I love when an alpha male is brought to his knees by a woman, and I love when a woman is loved hard by that male. I guess a little bit of both :)

12. Good guys or bad boys? 

Bad boys. The badder, the better!

13. Fesity females or fragile damsels?

Fragile damsels make my teeth grind. Feisty females all the way.

14. Stand alone stories or series?

I like both. Sometimes a good book is just what I want, but I also love getting lost in a great series.

15. Quick reads or long stories?

Again, it depends on my mood.  Sometimes a quick read is great, other times a good novel is what I like.

16. Romance as a side dish or the main course?

Main course, dessert and a late night snack as well!

17. Erotica or soft romance or something in-between?

Usually in between

18. More action or humor?

Probably humor. It depends on the book. I've seen some epic fails at humor.


Just for fun:

19. Vampires or Angels?

An angelic vampire?? I love them both.

20. Werewolves or Demons?

Give me a smelly dog any day!


***

Bottom Drawer Publications are proud to have published Carly's short story Time or Money as part of our Valentine's Day Collection.


***

We'd like to thank Elizabeth from the My World blog for originally hosting Carly's 20 Questions during the Valentine's Day Collection blog tour.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Author Spotlight - An Interview with Elise Marion

Elise Marion is a lover of books and has a special place in her heart for sweet and sensual romance. Writing about love across all walks of life is her passion, as is reaching people through the written word. The Army wife and stay-at-home mother of two spends most of her time taking care of her children. Her second job includes writing stories about characters that people can fall in love with. When the Texas native isn’t caring for her family or writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, singing loudly, or cooking up something new in the kitchen. 





QElise, what motivated you to become a writer? 
Elise: It all began as a love of books and good stories. While other kids played, I was that kid sitting on the curb with a book. From there, it evolved into a knack for storytelling, which then developed into a talent for writing and expressing myself with words.

Q: How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become published?
Elise: I wrote my first piece of fiction when I was 12. I’ve been at it ever since. All through junior high and high school, I wrote poetry and short stories, eventually penning a few short novels as well. It was a constant presence in my life, as I was also a writer and editor for my school newspaper. Up until a few years ago, most of my writings (outside of the newspaper, of course) remained mostly private. While I’d always wanted to be published, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started researching the business and began trying to find an agent. I became worn down by the whole process, and for a year straight, was unsuccessful at finding an agent to represent me or publisher to sign me. I began publishing independently and now, over a year later I have near a dozen books published and have been picked up Bottom Drawer. They have been so good to me and I will always remember then as the first publisher to ever believe in me.

Q:Do you prefer to write in a particular genre, and why?  
Elise: I love Romance because it is full of possibilities. Within the genre, there is room to move around and play with different themes while still staying within the parameters of romance. Historical romance is my first love, but I love Romance of all kinds!

Q:Is there a genre you haven't written but would like to give a try at some time?
Elise: I think Time Travel and Steampunk sound like so much fun. Maybe even both together? I have so many ideas, there’s no telling what I’ll put out next.

Q. Do you tend to plan/plot out your whole story before you start writing, or do you write more by the seat of your pants as you go?
Elise: I generally start off knowing who the characters are, the general idea of some kind of plot, and the major obstacle that the hero and heroine will face. From there, I allow the story to take shape on its own. I find that it’s more of an adventure that way and that the character growth and development is more genuine. When I’m surprised, I know the reader will be too, and you just can’t get that from an outline. At least, that’s how it is for me.

Q: Do you have a preference in the types of books you like to read?  Have you found yourself reading genres you never thought you would?
Elise:  I used to be a Historical Romance snob. For years it was all I would read. Once I discovered other genres within Romance, I began to expand my horizons and now I’ll try just about anything once. But Historicals are still my go-to picks. Though, I have found lately that I enjoy the YA genre more than I thought I would as well.

Q:Where do you find the inspiration for your novels and characters? 
Elise: All of my characters have a bit of my personality, sort of like a signature. Anyone who knows me can read my books and spot the traits right off. I like the idea of letting readers get to know me through the characters. But I also like painting vivid pictures of different types of people. I make a real effort to write about people from all walks of life.

Q:  What is a typical day like for you?  Do you write every day?  Do you have a set time you like to write? How long does it typically take for you to complete a book?
Elise: A typical day for me consists of trying to make it to the end of the day without losing my wits! While staying at home with my young children, it’s often hard to get any writing done. When there’s laundry to do, meals to cook, cleaning, etc. It can be hard to fall into any set routine. So, I write when I can. When my kids are being particularly good (or napping) or after everyone has gone to sleep are all good times for me. I find the time to get it done.

Q: Could you tell us a little about The Gift?
Elise: I love Valentine’s Day and I loved the idea of continuing Avery and Dom’s story. In The Secret Life of Avery O’Dea we get to see them ride off into the sunset after a whirlwind romance. I liked the idea of exploring what comes after the so-called ‘happily ever after’. Sure, marriage and life together is wonderful and good and sweet, but it also has its pitfalls and roadbumps. It’s all about how we choose to navigate those moments that strengthen us as people and as couples. This story was less about two people finding love and more about two people who we know already love each other, learning to live together harmoniously. I think a lot of people in committed relationships can relate to it.

Q:What projects are you currently working on?  What can readers look forward to from you in the upcoming year?
Elise: This year I am looking to complete my Historical series by December, but I am also looking to expand my Contemporary Romance backlist with a few releases in that genre as well. Whatever the case, readers can always expect for me to deliver heartfelt stories about real people. 

***

We'd like to thank Ursula from the Love Books - Book Reviews blog for hosting this interview as part of the Valentine's Day book tour.


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We are proud to have published two books by author Elise Marion: The Secret Life of Avery O'Dea and The Gift. 



Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Author Spotlight - L.J. Harris on women and male/male romance

(Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


According to the Romance Writers of America, women make up ninety-one percent of romance book buyers. Considering that fact, and that the writers across all romance genres are predominantly straight women, it's of little surprise that hot, bare-chested studs are just as popular, if not more, than the bodice-ripped heroines on the covers of the more traditional romance novels.

After all, why should men be the only ones able to fantasise about two members of the opposite sex getting down and dirty?

The moment I read my first male/male story, I knew I was hooked, but not just because I loved reading about hard, lean bodies and broad shoulders, perfect abs and handsome faces. I’ve also come to discover that I find it fascinating to read about the unique set of challenges that are often faced by two same sex characters.

From the emotions that go along with realising one’s sexuality, to dealing with how relationships can change once a character comes out to family and friends, to facing discrimination both in one’s personal and/or working life, or even dealing with acts of violence just because of who one chooses to be with, all add a dimension to the story that you simply can’t find in male/female romance.

There’s also something refreshing about getting inside the male psyche…seeing a relationship develop from the male perspective. Though some would argue that because of the high number of male/male romance stories are written by women, predominantly for women, we aren’t getting inside men’s heads at all and are in fact getting a woman’s fantasy of how a man should think, I’d prefer to think of it in a different way.

When reading a story, no matter the genre, we all want to leave our everyday lives behind for just a moment, and immerse ourselves in a world filled with characters we can easily relate to and ultimately fall in love with.

It is, after all, the reason why we read romance in the first place, isn’t it?

L. J.  Harris


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We'd like to thank Lauren from Live, Read and Breathe blog for hosting this blog post originally as part of the Second Chances anthology blog tour. 

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L. J. Harris’s short story, “Heart of Glass” features in the Second Chances male/male anthology published by Bottom Drawer Publications in August 2012.


To find out more information about Second Chances, check out our webpage here.

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L. J. Harris was born in Sydney, Australia and now lives in the nation's capital with her husband and twin teenage sons. She has only discovered her passion for writing in the past three years. Shy by nature, she discovered that after her father fell ill, writing down whatever she felt not only helped her deal with the situation but express herself in a way she couldn't before.

Working part-time afforded her the opportunity to explore her sudden drive to write, originally via fan fiction. With her husband's encouragement, she penned a dream sequence around which her novel-in-progress is built.

She loves building the sexual tension between characters and developing interesting plots twists, as well as leaving readers wanting more.



Monday, 8 April 2013

Author Spotlight - An Inteview with DaNay Smith



DaNay Smith lives in a small suburb in Michigan with her family. She began writing her stories when she left grade school and was no longer able to tell her stories orally at recess, eventually trying her hand at poetry as well. She attended Roosevelt University, majoring in English concentrated in creative writing, for two years before she had to take a hiatus from her education. It was at that university that her love for male/male novels was born. The school’s history and values are deeply rooted in activism and the fight for civil rights. She learned to see the similarities between the struggles all minorities go through, especially the LGBT community where the fight has just begun. She wanted to write books that were about gay men, not just included as side characters or used as token like most types of pop culture. DaNay spends most of her days working in data entry, but uses her free time to continue doing what she loves; writing.

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What kinds of books interest you? Who are some of your favorite authors, and have they inspired your writing?

I’m very picky when it comes to books. Genre plays very little part in my decision making when it comes to choosing something to read. I need a strong plot that will envelope and own me. I need realistic dialogue and characters, because I’m the type of person who will buy book and then shelf it five chapters in if something about those elements really bother me. The most important thing of all though is a book’s ability to make me feel something. I have to be affected in some way while I’m reading. As for my favorite authors I can’t really say for sure because I don’t usually put down a book by one author and then go find something else they’ve written. There two exceptions to that rule, so I guess I’ll talk about them; Marisa de los Santos and K.A. Mitchell. Marisa de los Santos’ writing flows like air, but it's insightful and filling. Her book "Love Walked In" is the only book I finished reading and immediately flipped back to the first page to read it again. I adore everything about her writing. And her characters! They are magnificent and feel more like friends than fictional people. As for K.A. Mitchell, I’d been reading M/M stories for a long time before I came across her Florida boys, but it wasn’t until then that I decided to actually write an M/M story myself.

Do you believe that people should be given a second chance in a relationship?

Absolutely. One of my favorite parts of being humans is our flaws. I think that when you truly love someone you have to accept their flaws. Maybe someone is selfish, vain or is occasionally an insufferable asshole. Of course, they’re going to piss you off, and you may even need to step away from that person for a substantial amount of time. That’s all okay. Reconnecting because you realize life isn’t so bad with that selfish, vain insufferable asshole is okay too.

What inspired your story in the Second Chances anthology?

I love the idea of insurmountable obstacles being overcome. In most of my writing there’s something, usually the characters themselves, standing in the way of their happiness. With Greyson’s character in Better Together, I used his location and career hopes to pit the happiness of fulfillment against the happiness of being with the person you love. Since Greyson’s partner Dominic’s career was in a different location from where Greyson’s career could thrive, the insurmountable issue in the story became Greyson having his cake and eating it too. Once that idea was rooted in my head, I just wrote until the problem worked itself out.

Why did you decide to submit to a M/M anthology?

I started writing M/M stories in my spare time almost two years ago. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I think that stories that expose something real and true about love whether it be romantic, familial, or even just physical need to be told regardless of the character’s sex. When the opportunity to publish arose, M/M is what I happened to be writing so that’s what I submitted.

How and where does DaNay Smith write (in a physical sense)? Do you have any writing rituals that you must adhere to, and what gets you in the mood to write?

I don’t really have rituals, but I’m always listening to music, watching TV and around a bunch of people all at the same time. I like to be in the middle of everything when I write. Most days, the living area of my apartment provides enough ruckus, but if not, I happily relocate to my favorite bakery. As for what gets me in the mood to write, I’d have say to obsession. There are always characters living in my head, but when I see, feel or hear something that brings one of them to the forefront, it’s all I can really think about. When that happens, I just have to write!

What’s next for DaNay Smith?

I have two stories I’m working on at the moment. One is another M/M story in which the plot surrounds one of my guilty pleasures. Without giving too much away, I can say that the story is about a man dating his deceased best friend’s son. The other story I’m working on has been rolling around in my head for quite some time and finally starting to come together sentence by sentence. It’s, in part, about a young girl trying to create a world for herself that is far better than what her parents have to offer, and her only friend who has his own fair share of issues but is determined to help her as she stumbles along toward her goals. Both stories are pretty ambitious for me, but I’m excited about them.

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DaNay Smith’s short story, “Better Together,” features in the Second Chances male/male anthology published by Bottom Drawer Publications in August 2012.


For more information check out the book on our website here.

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We wish to thank Jennre from the Well Read Blog for posting this Q&A with 
DaNay as part of the Second Chances blog tour.