Authors I’m Thankful For: Jordan Castillo Price

While the various authors I’ve pimped over the last few weeks make up only a mere fraction of all my favorites, you know I couldn’t end the month without sharing some JCP love!

PsyCop is one of my favorite book series ever, and Vic is one of my favorite heroes. PsyCop starts with Among the Living, which I could only describe as “perfect” the first time I read it. I’ve subsequently read it another 3 or 4 times. But as much as I adore the PsyCop series, I’d also like to pimp some of Jordan Castillo Price’s lesser known work.

First, there’s Meatworks, which I had the pleasure of beta reading. I knew then that it was one of her best books. It’s different from everything else out there, and it’s not your traditional romance. As I said in my review, JCP defies formulas and breaks molds when it comes to her writing. That’s something I greatly admire.

Then there’s The Starving Years, which I lost my mind over when I read it. It’s set in a dystopian, alternate universe and I’d consider it a thriller with romantic undertones as opposed to a romance. It was well-written, riveting, and left me with a hardcore book hangover. And what makes this book even cooler was that it started as a serial with a “choose your own adventure” type of concept. That’s right, readers had input into this story after every chapter, and it takes mad skill to to pull together a story of this caliber under that kind of pressure.

And of course I can’t leave out The Persistence of Memory, the first book in JCP’s Mnevermind series, set in alternate-reality Madison, Wisconsin. It reminded me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of my favorite movies, and the story itself was totally fascinating and once again, unlike anything else I’ve seen in m/m. That’s the great thing about JCP’s stories – while they’re always written with her signature talent and style, you’re always guaranteed a unique, incomparable experience.

And lastly, I must give a little shout out to her stories in the Petit Morts collection. I LOVE a well-written short story. Sometimes I just don’t have the time or energy to invest into something longer. I want short, sweet, and quick. With JCP, you’re also going to get a fantastically written story – and having done numerous shorts myself, I know how difficult it can be to try to craft something of this length. One of my particular favorites from this collection was Wishink Well. But Moolah and Moonshine, Spanish Fly Guy, Pretty Ugly, and Hue, Tint, and Shade all deserve to be mentioned! (Note: IMO, these are best read in order.)

Happy reading, everyone! If you’ve never read JCP before and want to try out some new-to-you authors in 2016, I can give her nothing less than my highest recommendation. ♥

 

 

 

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Depression and Writing Struggles

Over the years I’ve occasionally mentioned that I’ve been depressive since childhood. I don’t tend to talk about it much because there’s a certain stigma attached to any kind of mental illness, including depression, which many people think you should just be able to snap out of and brush off your shoulder.

My depression tends to happen in cycles. For weeks, months, I’ll feel… mostly good. Mostly positive. Then my mood takes a sudden downturn, and for weeks, maybe months, I become mired under this dark, crushing weight. But then, usually, the upswing starts. I come out of it and I go back to my normal (for lack of a better term).

A few weeks ago I scared some people when I vanished from most of my social media accounts for a good week or so. I didn’t mean to cause anyone concern, but it was as if my brain suddenly said, “nope,” and I didn’t want anything to do with… well, anything. Apps got deleted from my phone. Emails fell by the wayside.

I’d had a moment not too long before. An “I am not okay” moment, when I realized this depressive cycle felt more like a rapid decline into nothingness. It seemed—and still does seem—impossible to imagine any kind of upswing. But when my thoughts went from dark to potentially dangerous (for myself), I knew I needed to do something.

I sought out a therapist, and after seeing one who sent up about a dozen red flags, I found a different one through GMLA (the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association), who is familiar with dealing with clients who fall on the GLBTQ spectrum. Let me tell you, when I walked into her office and saw rainbow flags, I nearly lost it. After meeting one therapist who was not only lacking in tact, clearly didn’t have a clue how to deal with a client like me, I was so afraid I might have to start making long drives into Chicago to find someone who fit my needs. So far I’ve seen this new lady twice, and it’s hard to say what kind of results this therapy will bring. But at the very least I feel hopeful that maybe with her help I’ll be able to dig myself out of this.

During our first visit, she said to me, “Sometimes I might say something you don’t agree with. I’m human, and I’m not always right. Feel free to tell me to fuck off. Go ahead and say, ‘M, get fucked.’ I promise it won’t offend me. The only way I can figure out what’s working for you is if you tell me when something isn’t.”

With snot and tears flowing, I nodded, and I thought to myself, We’re going to get along great.

So that’s what’s happening with me. To the people who already knew or who reached out to me when I disappeared, thank you for the support. It means more than I can say.

I can’t lie. This post was hard for me to make. In fact, I’m only discussing the situation because literally everything in my life is being affected, and that includes my writing. Even though I wish this wasn’t the case, all of my projects are currently on hiatus. Because, well… if there’s no me, there certainly won’t be any future books either. So I have to focus on getting myself better before the words will start flowing again. I’m hoping that any readers who might have to wait a little longer for the next book in the Portland Pack Chronicles or my other series will understand the delay.

Happy New Year, everyone! Aside from one last “Authors I’m Thankful For” post next week, this will be my last post of 2015. Here’s hoping I’ll be back with a vengeance in 2016. 😉

Authors I’m Thankful For: Kim Dare

Ah, Kim Dare. ♥ She’s been one of my long-time faves since I discovered m/m existed as a genre outside of fanfic. I’ve read nearly everything she’s released, but I definitely have some favorites!

First, there’s Duck!, which tops my list. It’s a retelling of the Ugly Duckling fairytale… but with BDSM and some wicked shifter lore. And sweet, sweet Ori. I love him and Raynard. And I love the next book in the series, Magpie, also and I eagerly look forward to more in this world.

Then there is her Pack Discipline series, which starts with The Mark of an Alpha. That book and The Duty of a Beta are my faves of the series, but I also loved it as a whole. Good stuff, but definitely best read in order.

Axel’s Pup is her most recent all-new release. A motorcycle club and shifters? When I saw the blurb, I said, “Yes, ma’am, sign me up!” It didn’t disappoint.

And there’s Temporary Mark, which I have a major soft spot for. I’ve read that gem about 4-5 times now. (If you’ve read her Bi Now, Gay Later, you’ll recognize cameos by Jerry and Denton. Mr. Nolan, one of the MCs of Temporary Mark, first appeared in that story.) Mr. Nolan lost his long-time submissive a couple of years ago and hasn’t been able to find someone who can fill that void, while Mark can’t seem to find a good Dom who wants to keep him. I loved watching these two guys come together and wouldn’t mind seeing a little follow-up someday.

If you like lighter BDSM, you’d probably enjoy Kim Dare. She writes everything from contemporary to paranormal and has a huge backlist. The Thrown to the Lions series was fun, as was Sun, Sea and Submission, and the Perfect Timing books, and… well, you get the idea. 😉

Check her out!

 

Authors I’m Thankful For: Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon

Hey, all. So, life sort of hit me in the metaphorical nuts last week and I didn’t get a chance to write up my gratitude posts. Maybe I’ll double up on some, or possibly I’ll just call last week a wash, but I’m hoping I can finish out the month without any other blips. Cross your fingers for me. 😛

Today I’m grateful for Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon. If you’re a historical romance fan and you haven’t read this duo, well, you should rectify that posthaste! I like them both together and separately, and they don’t just write historical romances, for those who prefer contemporary. Individually, they also write other genres, but it’s their historicals I love most.

Some of my favorites by these fabulous ladies are: The Gentleman and the Rogue, Mending Him, The Gentleman’s Madness, The Bohemian and the Banker (set during the 1901 Paris Expo, which I hadn’t seen in M/M before this book), and Seducing Stephen. They have a couple of newer titles out too, including a cute Christmas short called Simon and the Christmas Spirit, but you seriously can’t go wrong with whatever book you choose by these two. Give them a shot, if you haven’t already! And if you’ve never attempted to read a historical before, I’d further recommend their books as a starting point because they’re not overly bogged down by factual details. In my opinion, there’s just enough to show they’ve done their research and know their setting without making you feel like you cracked open a history book.

Happy reading, friends!

 

Authors I’m Thankful For: Andrea Speed

Anyone who follows me on social media, or heck, even this blog, won’t be surprised to see this author’s name as part of my gratitude event this month.

I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by Andrea Speed. Her Josh of the Damned shorts are hilarious and different from anything else in the genre. DMZ was 29 pages of awesome. But it’s her Infected series that well and truly captured my heart from the first page.

Roan… what can I say about Roan McKichan? He’s an amazing character. He’s snarky as hell, which I appreciate. He loves obscure bands. He loves to read. He’s brave, and he’s a bad-ass. When he loves, he loves whole-heartedly, and he’s incredibly loyal to those who’ve earned his trust, and he inspires the same kind of loyalty in return. Hell, I even have a tattoo for Roan – and he’s the only individual character I have ink for so far! (The Leo symbol, as seen below.) My other book related tattoo is a nod to a couple of different characters from the Harry Potter series.

roantattoo

Beyond Andrea’s writing, which is masterful, in my opinion – a mix of humor and snark and grittiness – it’s the characters that really make this series. I may be a Roan fangirl, but I also have a lot of love for Dylan and Paris and Holden and Scott (and the other hockey players).

I’ve reread all the books in this series. I’ll reread them again. While at its heart, this is an urban fantasy mystery series, don’t let that fool you into thinking you won’t sometimes get gut-punched straight in the feels. Book two sort of ruined my life for a while, I’m not even going to lie.

I highly recommend all of Andrea Speed’s stuff, but especially the Infected series, which ranks as one of my favorites not only in the m/m genre, but in every genre. Everyone should experience the glory that is Roan.

 

Authors I’m Thankful For: Kim Fielding

Hey, all! Happy Thanksgiving to my readers who are in the U.S. 😀 Today I’m making the entire meal at home for the first time. It’ll just be me, my husband, our son, and my father-in-law for dinner, and then later in the day, I’ll be stopping by to see my parents who are mid-move and couldn’t host at their place like they normally would have. Since they’re going to a friend’s place for the day, I decided to do something small here. Hopefully all the food comes out okay. 😛 Wherever you are, and whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or not, I hope your day is filled with good food and great company. ♥

Earlier this week I started up “Authors I’m Thankful For.” I was only going to do one a week between now and the end of the month, but I decided I wanted to showcase as many authors as possible, so I’m going with Tuesdays and Thursdays instead.

Up today is Kim Fielding. If you follow me on any social media, you’ve probably seen me gushing about Kim. I don’t keep the fact that I’m a fangirl a secret. Kim writes beautifully, and I never have any complaints about her craft, but I think what strikes me most about Kim’s writing is her characters. They just come alive for me–I cry with and for them, I cheer for them, I hope, suffer, and rejoice with them. To me, they feel real.

Kim has written three of my favorite books in the m/m genre: Brute, Speechless, and Rattlesnake.

These are all incredibly different books, but they share the common thread of overcoming odds, whether external or internal, and forming relationships that better both partners. Her heroes aren’t perfect. They might not be the best looking guys. But if you’re like me, they’ll tug your heartstrings, and you’ll want to reread their stories again and again.

If you haven’t tried Kim yet, you really should. I couldn’t recommend her more highly.

Authors I’m Thankful For: Avril Ashton

So, on a more positive note than my last blog post, every Tuesday and Thursday between now and the end of the month, I plan to post about an author I’m grateful for. This is just me spreading the love, since I’m as much a reader as I am a writer. And of course, after December 1st, I’ll also be posting the books I loved most in November, and as I did last year, I’ll be listing my favorite new (or new-to-me) holiday reads in another post as I dive into the seasonal offerings this year, so be on the lookout for those!

First up is Avril Ashton. Avril writes both het and gay romance. She has a gritty style, she writes smoking hot sex scenes, and her bad boys are unlike any others. These aren’t guys who are just tragically misunderstood. No. They will shoot you, kill you, pistol-whip you, and all around f*ck your shit up if push comes to shove. And I love them!

I particularly recommend her Run This Town series, but I’m also a huge fan of the Brooklyn Sinners series (Syren, anyone?). Characters intermingle between these two series, and you’ll have a richer appreciation if you read them all, but the Run This Town Series can certainly be read on its own also.

Start with (Watch Me) Break You and join the rest of us who are hooked on Avril’s boys! (Though I have to confess, (Watch Me) Unmask You is probably my fave of the series so far. ;D)

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Heartsville: Five authors, five times the fun! #newrelease #gayromance #heartsville

I’m super excited about this series! The covers were designed by the awesome Natasha Snow for a collaborative project between Jayden Brooks, Nico Jaye, Cate Ashwood, J.H. Knight, and myself. We joined together to create the town of Heartsville, where all of our characters work, live, and love.

We’ll be releasing one story each day during the last week of October. Bookmarked kicks everything off on Monday, October 26th, but if you want to buy it now, I’ll list the pre-order links below. All of the titles are on sale for $0.99 (USD) from now until one week after their respective release dates, after which point they will go to their normal price of $2.99. They can all be read as standalones and in any order, but for the best reading experience, we recommend reading them all, as the characters make cameo appearances in the other books. 😀

To save his bookstore from closing, Mark Werner realizes it’s going to take a miracle—like getting reclusive, best-selling author Shepherd Knight to agree to appear for a signing.

After their disastrous last encounter, Mark doesn’t hold up much hope Shepherd will agree. Shepherd’s never made a single public appearance. In fact, Mark wouldn’t even know what he looks like had he not accidentally discovered the sexy stranger he’d been flirting with for months, aka “Tall-Dark-and-Grumpy,” was also his fanboy obsession.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. If Mark can convince Shepherd, it’ll be a major coup in the book world and might just save Bookmarked from sinking. Too bad Shepherd won’t reply to his e-mails. Yet Mark didn’t earn the reputation of having a “sunshine-and-rainbow-fart” personality for nothing. He’ll do whatever it takes to get his man… and hopefully not make a fool of himself in the process.

~*~

Heartsville 

Welcome to the gayborhood! In the cozy town of Heartsville, the streets are lined with trees, the shops are full of friendly faces, and happily ever after is just around the corner. Come get to know the boys next door—naughty, nice, and everything in between.

Pre-order now!
Bookmarked by Piper Vaughn – Oct. 26
Buy links: Amazon, ARe, Kobo (B&N coming soon.)
Unscripted by Nico Jaye – Oct. 27
Buy links: Amazon, ARe
Another Shot by J.H. Knight – Oct. 28
Buy links: Amazon, ARe
Clique by Jayden Brooks – Oct. 29
Buy links: Amazon, Kobo, ARe
Bloom Box by Cate Ashwood – Oct. 30
Buy links: Amazon, ARe

See all the books in the Heartsville series on Goodreads.

Mother Nature’s Cruelest Predator (A Prickly Business Ficlet)

In the grand scheme of things, Avery Babineaux didn’t have very many secrets from his friends, or his mate. Especially Dylan. Sharing a house, living together day in and day out—it was hard to keep secrets under those circumstances unless you made a real effort at deception. But there was one thing Avery hid. One thing he’d never live down if Dylan or his friends found out.

Occasionally, when no one else was around, he liked to shift into his hedgehog form and play. Not the sort of playing he did with Dylan and his buddies when they ran the forest in shifted form, and Avery investigated scents in rocky crevices or hollow logs, snuffled at the leaves and the soft, loamy earth, or drank from the cool, rushing creek. That sort of behavior was expected from shifters.

This… well, this was the sort of playing domesticated animals did. Cats with their catnip-stuffed mice, dogs with their tennis balls, hamsters with their wheels… and hedgehogs with their toilet paper rolls. And sometimes dinosaurs.

See, every once in a while, he needed to be mindless and Zen, like when he filled the bathtub, went spiny, and floated around in mellow circles for an hour or so. Other times, he needed to be silly. To scurry and burrow through tunnels and chew on crunchy cardboard. That’s when toilet paper rolls came in handy.

He waited for his days off when Dylan was at work. Then he dug his toys from the trunk in his den, stripped naked, and shifted into his hedgehog form.

Nose quivering, he pounced on the plastic stegosaurus and chomped down on one of its back plates. He shook his head and sent the thing flying, taking unholy pleasure in the clatter it made as it skidded across the hardwood floor. If hedgies could smile, he’d be doing it now. But the joy of trouncing the toy dinosaur was nothing compared to his love of empty toilet paper rolls. He gnawed on the edge of one, enjoying the squish of cardboard between his tiny teeth. Then he stuck his head inside and peered around the room, viewing his bookshelves and record player through tunnel vision before shaking the tube off and nudging it in a circle with his snout.

This went on for a while and never lost its appeal… until he stuck his head into one of the tubes and then couldn’t get it back out again. He scrabbled at it with his paws, which ended with him losing his balance and tipping over backward. He tried to pry it off by rubbing against the couch—only to succeed in wedging it on further. He pressed the end of the tube to the floor, hoping to pop it free. Nothing.

Hissing in displeasure, Avery tried once again to use his paws. The problem was, his legs weren’t very long. He could catch the edge of the tube with his claws, but mostly he scraped ineffectually at the cardboard and rolled from his side to his back. The tube didn’t budge and the sensation of being trapped intensified.

Lost in his distress, he didn’t think to try to shift. He forgot that the thin tube would shred apart the moment he started growing. And he totally missed the sound of the den door swinging open. Until a startled laugh froze him in place.

Dylan.

Dylan was home, and Avery was caught, his shameful secret revealed.

Avery plopped onto his stomach and huffed as Dylan kept laughing. All he could see through the narrow tube were Dylan’s motorcycle boots.

He heard the camera click of a picture being taken. There Avery was, trapped and pathetic, and Dylan was using the moment as a photo op?

Avery hissed in annoyance and sprang to his feet. If Dylan posted it on Facebook, he’d be one sorry wolf. A sorry wolf who would be living without blowjobs for a month. No, a year! That would teach him.

Finally, the laughter died down to a chuckle and Dylan pulled the tube free. Avery shook his head and sneezed at the sensation of cardboard tugging his spines in the wrong direction.

Dylan knelt beside him, a huge grin on his face. “Something you want to tell me?”

Avery sniffed and pointedly turned away. He wanted an explanation for why Dylan was home early, but he didn’t want to shift back to ask. Not yet.

Dylan’s big hand appeared in front of him as he set the toy stegosaurus on the floor. Avery’s entire body heated. In human form, he’d be blushing bright red. Oh, the shame. Dylan was never supposed to find out about his little pastime. Not even Jaden knew. Avery could only imagine the ribbing he’d get from Dylan’s friends if Dylan shared the picture with them. Lucas would mock him for the rest of eternity.

Avery bolted toward the couch, intending to curl up and hide underneath, but Dylan caught him before he made it very far. He lifted Avery and turned him so they were face-to-face. Despite his grin, Dylan’s eyes were soft. He was laughing at Avery, sure, but without any malice. Just good-natured teasing and… fondness? Yeah, that was it.

“I’m not going to post it anywhere,” Dylan said. Because, naturally, he would guess Avery’s worry. “It’s for me.” He leaned forward and touched his nose to Avery’s snout. “I think it’s adorable,” he added with a chuckle.

Avery huffed. He wasn’t adorable. He was Mother Nature’s cruelest predator. Hadn’t Dylan seen that “True Facts About Hedgehogs” video on YouTube? He was fearsome and deadly… to insects and other tiny creatures. So what if he’d just gotten his head stuck in a toilet paper roll? It happened to the best of hedgehogs.

Dylan’s grin widened. “But don’t think I won’t use it for blackmail.”

Avery snorted. Of course he would. But two could play at that game. He’d get something on Dylan eventually.

Dylan laughed as if he’d read Avery’s thoughts. “Come on, brat. I forgot my wallet in my jeans from last night. Let’s go grab lunch before I head back to the shop.”

He set Avery gently on the ground and Avery shifted to his human form. He took a moment to gather himself, dizzy from the change, as usual. Then he grabbed Dylan’s proffered hand and got to his feet.

Dylan slapped him on the bare ass. “Go get dressed. But stay away from the toilet paper. Don’t want you getting stuck again.”

“Haha. Laugh it up, big guy.” Avery huffed and spun away so Dylan wouldn’t see his smile. It really was funny. If it had happened to anyone else, he’d have found it hilarious. And maybe he would’ve even shown the picture to their friends.

But Dylan didn’t need to know that.

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Want more of Avery and Dylan? Buy Prickly Business now! 

Dreamspinner (ebook) ~*~ Dreamspinner (paperback)
Amazon (ebook) ~*~ Amazon (paperback)
ARe
Kobo
Barnes & Noble

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Audiobook Giveaway: Hook, Line, & Sinker #audiobook #gayromance #giveaway

Hey, all! In case you missed it, Hook, Line, & Sinker just came out in audiobook on June 12th! It’s now available at Audible (Amazon and iTunes coming soon). Click the Audible link to check out a sample. 

Want a chance to win a free copy? Check out the details on how to enter below. 🙂

HLSaudiobook

Blurb:

When they were teens, Castor McCormick was the bane of Blake Kowalski’s existence. Their mutual animosity led to summers filled with rivalry. Now, nearly two decades later, Cas is moving back into the neighborhood to live in his grandmother’s old house. Blake tells himself he isn’t interested in seeing how snarky little Cas grew up, but when his mother dupes him into visiting his former nemesis, he finds out “pretty” can evolve into “sexy as hell” on the right man.

Cas didn’t think he wanted to see Blake again. No one has ever pushed his buttons like the arrogant boy he remembers from their youth. Turns out, the adult version of Blake still gets him hot under the collar—and everywhere else. With Blake on leave from work to nurse an injured leg and Cas taking time to move and unpack, they form a tentative friendship that turns into a sexual affair neither man can deny. But when Cas’s job sends him out of state to deal with a difficult client, their new relationship will be tested, and if they fail, Blake’s broken leg might not be the only thing to end up scarred.

~*~*~

To enter, simply comment on this post. (Be sure to list your email address in the appropriate box when commenting so I have a way to reach you!)

Closes: Monday, June 22 @ 11PM CDT

Optional: 

For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following:

-Spread the word about this contest (tweet, reblog, put it on Facebook, put it on Tumblr). Just leave a link to said post about it in your comment.

-Like my official Facebook author page (But be sure I know what name you “liked” it under.)

-Follow me on Twitter and/or add me as a favorite on Goodreads.

~*~

Disclaimer: This contest is open to adults age 18 and up. Your comment confirms that you are of legal age. Prize will be gifted on Audible.com. You must have an account there to download the audiobook.

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