Guest Post & Giveaway with JR Loveless

New Year’s Resolutions: We all make them, but how many of us actually keep them?

Happy New Year’s, everyone! 2015 is nothing like they said it would be in the movies back in the 80’s! They all thought we’d be in flying cars, and have all kinds of sci-fi-esque equipment, although I guess in a way we do have a lot of advancements that they would consider to be so, but nothing close to what they depicted in movies like Back to the Future! Maybe we will in 2025?!

back to the future

New Year’s is always the time for us to reflect on what we did with our lives the year before. How much money did we save? Did we get the job, the car, the boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, house, etc. that we wanted? Did we accomplish the goals and resolutions we set for ourselves at the beginning of that year? If any one of you are like me, I’d say most of us would say we didn’t keep our resolutions. Usually it’s, “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to save xxx.xx amount of money” or “I’m going to quit smoking”. The money thing is usually because something unexpected comes up where you can’t save the money, of course, but it all works out to the same in the end.

Previous New Years

This year, 2015, I set several resolutions in place for myself because I realized that I’m in a stagnant place. I’m not really going forward. I’m just… here. I go to work, come home, eat, walk the dog, sleep, rinse, repeat. Same routine. I’ve also spent almost my entire life, since the age of twelve at least, being overweight. 2014 showed me just how negatively that can impact my life because of health issues with my knees, my back, and more. Oh, I’ve made the typical New Year’s resolutions, join a gym, lose weight, blah, blah, blah, but I’ve never stuck to it. I’ve always let myself get sidetracked by this or that, or made this excuse or given that excuse. But after going through the multitude of doctor’s visits and the tests and seeing all these pills I have to take now, I have reached a level of determination I never had before.

2015 is the year I go forward, I no longer will stagnate. I am going to get myself organized, write more,  get my financial situation in order, and the biggest challenge, lose weight. Previously, I would make the resolution, wait until the Monday following New Year’s to go on the diet and then a couple months later, fall off and start stumbling before completely giving up. I would get discouraged, let anything set me back, just because it was hard. But anything worth having is hard! If everyone gave up because something was difficult, nothing would ever have been accomplished and our society today would not exist! So instead of waiting for the Monday following New Year’s, I began my lifestyle change on New Year’s day. I spent the day eating healthier and working on organizing things in my home so that I would be destined to spend my year in the same fashion. Or at least that’s supposedly the rule of thumb, however you spend the New Year is how you will spend the entire year. So make sure to spend New Year’s Day doing what you want to do the rest of the year! Anyway, it is now 26 days into the New Year and as of the day I am writing this blog post I am down 15lbs and going strong! Encouragement from friends and using an app/website called My Fitness Pal has helped tremendously. Anyone interested in joining me in the fight, look me up. ;) I am on there as JrLoveless!

which step

How many of you made a resolution this year on New Year’s Day? What was it? Have you been keeping it? After reading my post, are you going to work harder on keeping it? LOL. I don’t know if you are aware, but my second True Mates novel Forgiving Thayne was released in October of last year. I haven’t really spent a whole lot of time doing any blog tours or posts about, or rather any blog tours or posts about it. So today, as a way to ring in the New Year, I am giving away a free e-book copy to a random commenter on my post. Winner will be chosen on 1/27/2015, so comment below, with the answer to my questions to enter!  :) 

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Dreamspinner press Buy Link 

Amazon.com Buy Link

Good Luck to those entering and Keep Moving Forward with your New Year’s Resolutions, everyone! Don’t give in to the temptation of the easy path! It’s easy to stray, believe me I know. Happy New Year and may it be a safe, happy, and prosperous one for all of you!

~Kisses~

J.R.

Website: http://www.jrloveless.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorjrloveless

Blog: http://jrloveless.blogspot.com

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Welcoming 2015 by Jaime Reese

First and foremost, thank you for inviting me!  And thanks to all the readers who are taking the time read my post.

In January, people often reflect on the past year and set resolutions, goals and milestones to target for the upcoming months. I’m a huge lover of lists, I have one for just about everything. And sadly, I’m a slave to my calendar. Juggling both cover art and writing is a challenge. (I design cover art under the name Reese Dante). Throw into the mix organizing the annual GRL Retreat, and it can be rather chaotic. Oh yeah, and let’s sprinkle in something of a personal life. It can get difficult, and sometimes, it feels impossible. But in the end, I’ve learned to take things one day at a time. I am my own worst critic and I can easily set a personal goal that is so unattainable, I can feel like giving in. I’m persistent, many would say I’m hard-headed. But I don’t like to do things halfway. If I do something, I have to believe it is the best I can do for whatever it is I am doing.

So, do I have New Year’s resolutions? Not really. Other than the traditional eat better and exercise more (um…yeah, right), for me, it’s tough to outline an entire year. So I sort my lists into two groups – things I must do, and things I really hope to do.

Website updates

For both of my personalities (yes, I do love to complicate my lists LOL) – I must update my websites. As a cover artist, a portfolio is key when potential clients seek you out. I haven’t updated mine in quite some time. *hangs head*  So that’s a “must” goal for me this year. Another important item on my list is to redesign the site. Maybe I should move this to the ‘things I really hope to do’ before I shoot myself in the foot?  :)

As an author, I’m a horrible blogger so I won’t even attempt to add this little nugget onto my list. Not to mention always having that dreaded question hovering over me – ‘what do I blog about?’. Kudos to people who can blog at the drop of a hat. Sadly, I can’t. So I try to focus the time on my writing. However, I do have my site lacking on updates for my character pages, review pages and such. So that’s something I definitely “must” update soon. Either by the time I release my next book or soon after. *adds star to item on list*

Must:

  • Reese: Update portfolio
  • Jaime: Update character pages and other site pages

Hope:

  • Reese: Redesign cover art site.

Finding a way to capture a little more time in the day

I’m fairly good at juggling tasks (as good as can be expected) but I want to try setting a few time frames so I can focus a little more on my writing. I tend to ‘squeeze’ in my writing time but I often crave more time to spend with my stories. I find writing to be a relaxer for me so I cherish it. I cringe at the thought of having to wake up earlier each day, but I’ve been slowly trying this to see if it works for me. It’s a good thing my hubby makes the expresso shots at home, otherwise, I’d break the bank with all the trips for the needed caffeine jolts.

So I’ve added this to my ‘hope to do’ list.

Hope:

  • Find a way to capture more time in my day to write

Publishing

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I plan to continue writing in The Men of Halfway House series. Right now, I have at least two additional books mapped out in my mind after the next one.  They aren’t finished (one isn’t started at all), but I hope to dedicate more time to my writing so I can release them with smaller windows of time in between. I’m not as prolific as other authors in the genre, but I’d love to be able to release books with less than a year in between. This is also on my ‘hope to do’ list.

Hope:

  • Release books with smaller in between time windows.

So, I’ve set a few short-term and long-term goals for myself. Nothing unattainable but still requires some degree of dedication to achieve. Now I just need the stars to align and help me make them happen. :)

That is my disorganized way of planning. Have you set any goals for 2015? Do you make resolutions or set goals and track them?

Before I hand off the baton, I wanted to share the blurb for my upcoming book titled A Restored Man. It’s the third book in The Men of Halfway House series and is scheduled for release on February 17, 2015.

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A Restored Man

Series: The Men of Halfway House

No. in series: 3

Word Count: ~118,000

Expected Release Date:  February 17, 2015

Book link on website: http://jaimereese.com/a-restored-man/

BLURB:

Cole Renzo thinks his greatest challenge is to behave for the remainder of his term at Halfway House. Until he meets his new boss, Ty Calloway, a man who ticks off every box on Cole’s list of interests.

A sought-after restorer and customizer of exotic and collectible cars, Ty had enough confidence to command what he wanted in life, until one fateful night changed everything. Almost two years later, he’s slowly rebuilding his life with great control. He’s defied the odds and works tirelessly to be the man he once was—but he still feels broken.

Cole’s candor and unfiltered personality awaken Ty’s barely-remembered desire to greet each new day with a smile, while Ty’s unwavering acceptance of Cole’s quirks and brash humor makes Cole feel as if he fits in for the first time in far too long. When a nemesis threatens Ty’s personal restoration and the things he holds dear, Cole is determined to protect their relationship, even if that means sacrificing everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ty will have to let his guard down, surrender control, and admit he needs Cole first, even if that puts himself at risk of breaking beyond repair.

Author Bio:

Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.

~ Jaime Reese ~

———

~ Reese Dante ~

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Guest Post & Giveaway with Dan Skinner

We’re thrilled to welcome Dan Skinner today, and his words of wisdom. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom for a chance to win one of his 5 books!

Be Fearless.. It’s All An Adventure

I’ve had a number of people ask me what resolutions I made for the New year and I had to honestly say that, after the last two years, I was pretty much resolution-ed out. I’d already become a better person through adversity, stayed calm during the most tumultuous times of my life, and found peace when my heart was filled with anger. I’d spent the last two years getting in shape, becoming a vegetarian and abstaining from alcohol. So there just wasn’t a lot more on the list for me to do. Now I’d like to say that I am telling this not in a boastful way because all of this was simply what I knew I had to do to make it through what had happened to me and stay sane. So my resolutions were requirements rather than the things I thought I needed to do to make myself a better person. In this instance saying sane and out of prison made me the better person. However, I did learn something else that I’d like to share with everyone. I hope it gives everyone I know and don’t know some encouragement.

No matter what you are going through, no matter the pain or heartache or stress and anxiety you feel for what is thrown at you unjustly or by surprise, it is survivable. You will get through. You will be okay. You will learn. You can walk away either physically or mentally from something that feels like it may destroy you to live and tell the tale.  You will.

Life is not a fairytale. It doesn’t guarantee us happy endings, but it does promise us it will be unpredictable. To me that means it is an adventure. Long ago I had a friend who was an avid mountain climber who told me that looking at an impossible climb was not just a test of what they could do physically, but how they approached it. He chose to look at the mountain with excitement rather than dread. So that treacherous climb became a challenge and every step up it was a success. It was tough. It hurt. It tested. But he made it to the top, and on the way back he knew one thing in his heart that was greater than the climb itself. That was.. he could do it and did it..and lived to tell the tale.

I feel like I have done the same. And now on the other side of that mountain I learned some things about myself that really changed everything for me. No matter what… do not ever give up; do not ever give in. Give no one else control of you. Let nothing make you doubt yourself. Do not stop. Stand on your own. Speak loud to be heard. Do not respond in anger. Make friends. Love yourself.

Be fearless. Life is an adventure…

Author Bio:

I took my first professional photo as a teenager. I had been in photography for many years, shooting covers for hetero romances when I had an epiphany: shooting gay romance covers was a definite possibility. I then set out to make cover photos of two men as acceptable and mainstream as hetero ones. It was a big risk and many people warned against it. Their thoughts were that it might not be profitable, and could quite possibly ruin my reputation. I was tired of seeing the proliferation of covers featuring a man and woman, the cologne and perfume ads featuring a man and a woman… every ad under the sun – featuring a man and a woman, knowing that the straight side of life was being spoon fed to us as the only acceptable aspiration and ideal. It made me angry, crazy, and determined to do something to change it. We were here… didn’t anyone see us?!!

I had several things working against me. The m/m fiction genre was just beginning to come into its own, but television and the entertainment industry were slowly allowing gay and lesbian characters to be depicted as folks who existed right alongside everyone else.  I knew the popularity of gay literature was going to eventually grow as well. Will and Grace on TV and Brokeback Mountain in theaters helped with that. So I had hope. I crossed my fingers and I made what I thought was a good and conscientious choice. Finding guys in the Bible belt of the country, the Midwest, was going to be the tough part. But I did it. And as my reputation as a professional spread, the models started coming to me.

While spending the largest portion of my career behind a camera, I picked up a pen and began putting down some of my own stories. Yes, I said pen. I always start out writing longhand and then eventually type it up. When I began exercising regularly, I found that the creative part of my brain, the part where the stories lived, came alive. As I ran, or did cardio, the stories grew and developed until they screamed to be told. I finished the first one about ten years ago, but just recently polished it enough to try to publish it. With the encouragement of a dear friend, I released my first novel, Memorizing You in 2013.

I have always been a Midwestern boy. A recent move from the country back into the city has opened my eyes to the endless potential for location shoots everywhere around me. As always, I strive to grow and change as a photographer and a writer. Each story I tell through photos or book I write is completely different from anything else I have written. No “Write By Numbers” for me. I am looking forward to the future… the possibilities are limitless.

I can be found online here: http://danthedanimal.deviantart.com/

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Ringing in the New Year by Z.A. Maxfield

Ringing in the New Year!

January. How did it come to this! Another year, done and dusted. Another holiday season over. I’m ashamed to say my Christmas things aren’t put away yet, but honestly, if that’s the worst of my sins let the word ring forth… I’m a sloth.

I love January for a lot of reasons, not the least of which are the three children in my family who have January birthdays. (Two on the first, one on the fifth). While that makes for an extended holiday season and an exhaustive holiday spending total, it also makes for enforced creativity: for example, I got so sick of package wrapping presents, I established the birthday treasure hunt, where we hid unwrapped birthday presents and yelled “hot or cold” until the children found them.

Doesn’t every family do that? *Blushes*

My laziness has turned this into a cherished family tradition with the bonus that I got to turn the present-hiding over to the kids themselves. Each year, they get even more devious.

I love January because it’s a do-over. Not in the trite, New Years’ Resolution sense, because everyone knows those last about three days, but in the lasting sense. January is when you get to take stock. You look around and decide what’s working and what’s not. You have the doldrums of winter to think about whether you want things to be the same when spring comes or if you need a little course correction.

Last year I’m ashamed to say I missed some important deadlines. I had some things going on in my life, and I failed to put first things first. I’ve never allowed that to happen in my writing career, and I am struggling with how to make sure I never let it happen again.

On the other hand, I put out books I’m really proud of. I got into better physical shape. I have reconnected with my family and friends and I have plans to continue that trend—plans, not resolutions. These things are all continuation of work I began early last year. They’re lasting goals, not momentary ideas, not wishes. They’re destinations, not desires.

There are a lot of reasons to find comfort in the depth and quiet of the winter season. However there are those who feel blue and need a pick me up. If—unlike me, lucky California girl that I am—you’re suffering from lack of sunlight or you find your energy low and your spirit sagging, you might want to consider purchasing one of those Verilux natural spectrum lights. They’re a great way to get a little sun with no harmful UV rays and get back on track.

The good thing is, whatever you choose to focus on today can shape the whole rest of the year. 2015 stretches out ahead of us. It’s a blank canvas, waiting to be painted. What are you going to do with your New Year?

About the Author

Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back.  Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.

If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”

Readers can visit ZAM at her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.

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Guest Post by Kim Fielding

Thanks so much for letting me visit today, Lissa! I’m Kim Fielding, here to talk about not making resolutions.

Today is January 12, and do you know what that means? Lots of people have already broken their New Year resolutions. You know the drill. We begin on the 1st with all good intentions. This year I will lose weight! Eat healthier! Get more exercise! Be nicer to people! Save more money! Learn Sanskrit! And then about a week in, we’re tempted by chocolate or the weather’s too cruddy to take that run or someone at work really asks to be strangled. And then we figure, Well, there’s that resolution down the drain, and that’s the end of that until the next January 1.

I don’t know about you, but this cycle leaves me with nothing but guilt.

So instead, I say forget about resolutions. Set goals instead. Here are some of mine for 2015:

  1. Write 3 novels
  2. Write 2 novellas
  3. Write 2 short stories
  4. Walk 10K steps at least 5 days/week
  5. Update my blog 3 times/week
  6. Spend 15 minutes/day doing yoga with my younger daughter, at least 3 times per week
  7. Plan a European trip for the Fall
  8. Remember not to strangle anyone at the day job

I have more, but that’s a good start. There are a couple of advantages to my system, I think. For one thing, my goals are nice and specific, so I know whether I’ve met them (and feel smug when I’ve exceeded them). For another, they’re realistic, based on my past performance, yet give me something to strive for. But most important, I can screw up. I can miss a day of walking or be a little slow with my writing, and yet not feel like I’ve “broken” anything. That means I don’t give up in disgust. And even if I don’t meet all my goals, I’ll still have accomplished something by the end of 2015.

So how am I doing so far? Well, I’m putting the finishing touches on a novel (I cheated–I started it in December). I’ve been walking almost every day and doing yoga occasionally. And I’m thinking Croatia (my second home) plus somewhere else. Malta? Greece? Germany? UK?

What are your goals for this year?

You can track Kim’s writing goal progress and see what else she’s up to on her website: http://kfieldingwrites.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @KFieldingWrites and Facebook at http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites.

Author Bio:

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

Kim’s novel Brute was the 2013 Rainbow Award Winner for Best Gay Fantasy and tied for fourth place for Best Gay Novel.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

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Spoilers by Amy Lane

I am the worst at spoilers.

I have this weird sort of world view. I assume that I am so incredibly backward in my own reading/television/movie habits, that if I’ve seen it, the entire rest of the world has seen it.  Given this assumption, I just sort of drop spoiler bombs all over the place when I’m talking about books and literature.

And it’s not just vague stuff, either—like, “Hey, do you remember at the end of Crash ‘em, Blow ‘em Up, Everybody Dies?  Where Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone crashed shit, blew shit up, and everybody died?”  No—because that would be too easy.

I’m like, “Hey, do you remember how the clown died of a broken heart during the animated scene of surrealistic sky diving after giving up his dream of curing children of cancer and losing the love of the beautiful blind girl at the end of Dreams End and We Copiously Weep?

And people I’m talking to are like, “Well, now I do.  And I’ve never even heard of that movie!”

My family is used to it by now.  My oldest daughter doesn’t even bat an eyelash.  She’s like, “Yeah, mom. If I ever do see this movie, I’ll keep that in mind.”

Mate’s like, “It’s a good thing we’ve seen every movie together for the last twenty-seven years or I’d be terribly disappointed.”

My parents are like, “Don’t even talk about the movie—we want to see it!”

And see, that last attitude is the one I can’t understand.

I need to know how it ends—either happy or sad—before I walk into the movie.

(BTW—these examples all include ***SPOILERS*** so read at your own risk!)

I knew who was dead at the end of Brokeback Mountain before I walked in.  I knew the old lady was Rose and she died in her bed in Titanic. I knew the twist at the end of The Sixth Sense, and that MaCauley Culkin didn’t make it in My Girl.  Hell, I even knew the secret phrase in Babe.  (Bah-Ram-Ewe… to your sheep, your herd, yourself be true.)  I was very aware of the ending before I ever thought of buying my ticket.

(***SPOILERS*** all done. You may go back to your regularly scheduled reading now.)

But then, with the exception of the secret phrase at the end of Babe, most of us knew those spoilers in our stomach after the first ten minutes of the movie.

And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

When I taught English, we used to “spoil” the stories all the frickin’ time.  In fact, some gloriously gifted storytellers did it for us—and it was a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

One of the things that people tell me—both kids and adults—is that they love Shakespeare’s plots but that they have difficulty with the language.  In fact, people wonder how the peasants, on the floor of the theater with the bear baiting and the whores, could even concentrate on what was being said.

The logical—and true—answer was that they didn’t have to know what was being said.

Shakespeare used readily available, well-known stories for his time.  So did Ben Johnson and Kit Marlowe.  The audience walked in to the play knowing the story—even knowing the political bias in the story, in the case of Hamlet and Macbeth. There were no surprises.  That’s not why people came.

People came for the moment. 

Even knowing how Brokeback Mountain ends couldn’t prepare me for the look on Ennis’s face and the haunting final line for me.  Even knowing that Romeo and Juliet both died at the end didn’t dim the anguish of the terrible irony for Shakespeare’s audience.

So when I was teaching Shakespeare, (or Pride and Prejudice, or Crime & Punishment) it was common practice to have the students read an adaptation or watch the movie before they wrestled with the text.  There were entire volumes of lyrically written Shakespearean stories that seemed to be written for just this purpose—and the kids didn’t mind at all.  In fact, once they knew the plot, they paid special attention to the stuff that interested them the most during the play.  “I wanted to hear that part read—it was really powerful.”

The idea of “spoiling” the plot didn’t bother them at all.

And the fact is, the more literature you read—of any type—the less spoilers matter.

There are, in fact, only a limited number of tropes and a limited number of endings available in the human drama.  What matters, in the end, is the execution. Are the characters likable? Is the message something we understand and approve of?  Is there hope for people as a whole at the end?

And with a romance book, it’s that last one that matters most.

Yes—most romance readers prefer the HEA, the Happy Ever After, the joyous couple wrapped up in a bow, but even that isn’t a requirement for the end of a romance book.

Romance readers will accept the death of a protagonist—or even both of them.  They’ll accept joyous sexual romp.  They’ll accept two zombie killers locking hands and marching into the jaws of hell.

Romance readers will accept damn near any twist of the plot a writer can dish out, and not bat an eyelash, no ***SPOILER*** warnings needed, heeded, or even paid attention to, as long as a book does one thing.

A romance reader wants one thing and one thing only from the end of a book:

Hope.

There needs to be hope that love somehow made it better.  That life, or unlife, or trials or tribulations or magic or horrible death or whatever the book has dished out to them is survivable, and that love was worth all that followed.

Hope is the ultimate ending in a romance book.  It’s the thing we all know is coming.  It’s the reason we picked up the book, and it’s the one thing we need for the book to be considered worth our time.

So yes—I do drop spoilers left and right, and if any of you are ever a victim of this, I apologize ahead of time.  But that’s because the ultimate spoiler—the hope for humans and the human heart—is the only one that really matters to me.

If we get to the end of a book and I can hope, that’s all I need to know.

Amy Lane can be found at:

Author Bio:

1362508306I am creative, distracted, and terribly weird. I love my children to distraction, and I love my hobbies even when they piss me off. I come from a double line of extremely creative, intelligent people who hated authority so much they dodged higher education, and I married a wonderful man who is quiet, conservative, devestatingly funny, and perfect. Our children are constant reminders that God and Goddess have a profound sense of humor, and that all of the things you dislike most about yourself but pretend don’t exist really do come back on the karmic wheel to kick your ass when you least expect it. My family keeps me young and humble and I try every day to make them proud. I’ve written a LOT of books–I can’t even count anymore, most of them for Dreamspinner Press and Riptide Press, but some of them published on my own. I write to placate the voices in my head, profanity is the element I swim in, and knitting socks at stoplights has become my twitch.
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Dirty Rings Guerilla Post by Rhys Ford

Dirty_Ring_BannerSo a funny thing happened on the way to a tweet, Greg Tremblay, the fantastic narrator of my Dirty series, texted me and said… hey, you should giveaway a custom ringtone. Or something to that effect. There was some discussion. A few emails and then well, long story short—there may have been some pixilated shots of whiskey and banter but a plan was formed. A plan so cunning I could have stuck a tail on it and called it a weasel.

Mostly, it involved Greg. And your phone. But it was still a plan!

After a furious, intense process of queries, eliminations, debating on who said what, we came up with a set of phrases from Cole, Bobby, Jae, Claudia, Scarlet and one from Maddy then Greg went to work. And returned to me with a brilliant sound bites forged by a narrative master—in the style of the characters’ voices.

So dear reader, as a thank you for everything you’ve done for Greg and me, I’d like to present the entire set of ringtones—twenty one in total—FREE, as a gift to you.

Available in Android (MP3) and iPhone (formats for Android and Apple phones, Greg has also graciously included the WAV files if that’s your thing. Download links to the zipped files are provided below.*

A great humongous thank you to all of the blogs who helped me with this guerilla gifting. This swirled up on Tuesday and Greg just MADE it happen. He is the voice of the series and I am forever grateful for his talent.

Love you all, and really, Thank You.

Rhys Ford

Dirty Rings Android MP3

Dirty Rings Apple M4a

Dirty Rings Apple M4r

Dirty Rings Wav

If you’ve not tried out Greg Tremblay’s narrations, please do so. He makes audiobooks fun and damn, he brings Cole and the others to life.

Greg Tremblay’s body of work can be found here—and yes, the Dirty series is there but so are many other lovely audio books. I highly recommend one of Greg’s audiobooks, a comfy chair, a pair of headphones and a nice hot cup of coffee… or tea… with or without whisky.

* These are copyrighted and available free for individual use. The files included in the zip cannot be sold by third parties nor can they be altered in anyway as to destroy the integrity of the original work. Animals were test subjects for these sound files and while the cat could not have given less of a shit, the dog seemed mighty interested. Please note, neither own nor use a phone or a computer so results may vary.

In case the full links are needed:

Dirty Rings Android MP3 ~ https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUbUpkdENoMlZDaDhUQw

Dirty Rings Apple M4a ~ https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUbUpkdENoMlZjR01UQw

Dirty Rings Apple M4r ~ https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUbUpkdENvQnU5TE5Vag

Dirty Rings Wav ~ https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUbUpkdENvQnNsYzhUQw

Greg Tremblay link: http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_1_srNarr?searchNarrator=Greg+Tremblay&qid=1420696618&sr=1-1

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Guest Post by Andrea Speed

I’ve never been a New Year’s resolution sort of person, and I do wonder if it’s a personal failing of mine.

I mean, it isn’t like there’s a ton of stuff I could or should do at any point in time. But my opinion on the matter is, if I didn’t care to make this resolution during the rest of the year, why would I do it now? So I thought why not ask my characters if they have any resolutions for the new year. They’re a more lively bunch anyways.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

Roan McKichan (Infected series): I don’t do that. But I suppose I could say I resolve to not curse so fucking much.

Dylan Harlow (Infected series): I make the same one every year. I strive to spread peace and acceptance throughout my life and the lives of others. The fact that I make it every year probably tells you how it’s going.

Holden Krause (Infected series): I vow to stop lying so much. But I could be lying.

Fiona Sutton (Infected series): I’m gonna get super hard core into hacking again, so I can doxx some of those fuckrag GamerGaters.

Darinda “Dropkick” Murphy: I’m finally going to find out what the Dropkick Murphys sound like.

Grey Williams (Infected series): I’m gonna learn to cook this year. I mean, I can do the simple things, like fried eggs and spaghetti, but I want to learn how to genuinely cook. It’s a lot easier to take control of your diet and healthy food intake if you actually put things together for yourself. And besides, it’s kind of fun. That’s kind of a boring answer, isn’t it? Maybe Scott will have a more exciting answer.

Scott Murray (Infected series): I’m going to win a goddamn Stanley Cup this year. But, short of that, I just might steal Tank’s Stanley Cup ring.

Tank Beauvais (Infected series): I’m going to torment Scott with my ring until he explodes in jealousy.

Randi Kim (Infected series): I’m gonna finally figure out how Roan gets such hot guys, and make that work for me. Short of a sex change operation.

Hunter Burrows (City of Monsters): Find a way to get rid of my haunted blender. Maybe I can get some sucker to buy it, so it’ll stop bothering me about having a frappe.

Sakari Karim (City of Monsters): I want to travel the world, and document it. For whom I have no idea, but it should be done.

The Blender (City of Monsters): I want endless amounts of fruit, so I can make drinks for everyone. Want a frappe?

Josh Caplan (Josh of the Damned series): Umm, maybe not eat so much junk food. It’s really easy on the job. (N.B.: Josh is the overnight clerk at a convenience store beside a hell dimension.) I mean, despite what the movies nowadays tell you, zombies don’t shamble that fast, and it can take an absurd amount of time for them to go get their frozen burrito and stagger up to the counter. I once ate a whole bag of chips just waiting for one guy. So I hafta stop doing that, or I’m gonna have to invest in more sweatpants.

Doug Oyama (Josh of the Damned series): Finally finish Bioshock: Infinite.

Colin (Josh of the Damned): I resolve to write a best selling YA novel about a sexy vampire meeting the yeti love of his life. You have yetis in this dimension, right? What about weresquirrels?

**

Andrea Speed likes to make up her bio, as she feels few people genuinely read them. So she’s safe revealing she’s actually a fifth dimensional being from the planet Zholthan sent to measure humanity’s sodium content and determine if they’ll make adequate mulch for our quark gardens. In her spare time she likes to make vests for voles, and build spice racks that look like three boards haphazardly nailed together. She lives in Washington State, but somehow isn’t stoned.

Website: andreaspeed.com

Facebook: facebook.com/andrea.speed.3

Twitter: @aspeed

Google+: https://plus.google.com/109420358312270961913/posts

Goodreads: goodreads.com/andreaspeed

infected-epitath

Buy links for the latest book, Infected: Epitaph. http://www.dsppublications.com/books/infected-epitaph-by-andrea-speed-22-b

Blurb: In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective solving crimes involving other infecteds.

Tiger strain infections start showing up all over Seattle, much to Roan’s dismay, and worse yet, they may have a personal connection. Meanwhile, Roan gets hired to look into the puzzling death of Dee’s former lover. Then the FBI wants him to investigate a new apocalypse cult of infecteds pushing for a violent revolution against normals. All around Roan, events are spiraling out of control.

Just when his singular abilities are needed most, Roan develops new symptoms that might signify dire consequences if he doesn’t stop shifting at will. Roan finds himself at a crossroads and must make a difficult decision about his future.

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Guest Post by K-lee Klein

happy-new-year-2015-greetings

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015 and thanks so much for stopping by. What can I say about 2014? I’m sure most people can relate when I ponder that it had its ups and downs, highs and lows, goods, bads, and uglies.

Some of the highs included attending Rainbow Con and meeting some people I just know I’ll call friends for years to come, keeping my foot in the publishing world with four books and one free story, seeing Adam Lambert & Queen live (Woot!), and finding the physical strength to go to Calgary Expo three days in a row (on crutches) so I could meet one of my favorite actors (& favorite dwarf from The Hobbit – Fili, aka Dean O’Gorman – you have no idea how special this was to me – see pic below, he’s on the far left – squeal)

The biggest low of 2014 for me was my health, more precisely going from crutches to a walker after injuring my “good” knee then my bad one again. This involved a nine week hospital stay that was just this side of brutal, followed by the realization I had to cancel a trip to New York & Chicago and therefore miss GayRomLit for the first time since it started. Being mobility-challenged has affected my self-confidence, my independence, and my mood. But…

2015 is here!

I don’t make resolutions but I do have some goals for the new year. Health-wise, rather than the old standard of losing weight (that’s always failed me anyhow), I’m going to increase my exercise as much as my knees will allow. I bought a recumbent elliptical trainer after getting out of hospital, and I intend to use the damn thing instead of letting it gather dust.

My other health goal isn’t quite as attainable on my own – walking without assistance again after three years. So, I’ve knocked that one down to at least trying to get something done about the issues I have and lobbying a little harder for what I need from the specialists that so far, I haven’t met yet.

In terms of writing, there’s that little goal of giving myself a break when the words just aren’t coming. I tend to chastise myself far too much which just adds more unneeded stress. I’ve proven I can write over 50,000 words in a month when my muse cooperates and when I’m under deadline (I do seem to work better under pressure) so having days of non-inspiration are okay once and a while. And if you know me at all, you’ll know I use that downtime to research a whole lot of beautiful inspiration anyhow.

I’m going out in a limb by saying, I think 2015 should be a good year for me as a writer – if all the planets align and the moon shines down on me just the right way. I completed the third in my Family of Misfits series over the summer, but because Manny’s Heart clocked in at a whopping 150,000 words, it won’t be out until someone in the spring. I’m pretty proud of what I wrote for Manny and it was a very intense experience overall. I can’t wait for Misfits fans to read it.

As for other releases, I have at least 8 books of various lengths planned starting with Tender is the Knight in January (this is the first cover reveal by the way). I predict 2015 is going to be a wild ride, and luckily, I seem to work best under pressure.

So happy holidays and all the best for 2015 to everyone. See you soon. Cheers.

 

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Bio

K-lee Klein has lived in one part of Western Canada or another for her entire life. She’s a doting mother of three now-grown kids, and has had characters and plots running around her head for as long as she can remember. Her days consist of planning her next tattoo design for her growing collection, and fighting off an abundance of fabulous gay men, large and small, bouncing off the walls of her skull, competing for their turns to tell their stories.

Among her favorite sub-genres to read and write are rock stars, cowboys, shifters, and opposites-attract relationships. But to be honest, she’s open to almost anything if it involves messing around in the heads of her characters. She’s also big on series—because she has a hard time letting her characters go—and is usually working on a handful of stories in various stages of completion all at the same time.

Places to find K-lee.

Website – kleeklein.com

Blog – http://chaosinthemoonlight.blogspot.ca

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Klee_Klein

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kleemoon

Facebook author/reader group https://www.facebook.com/groups/812548795471921/

Ali_Lucius_swag-1 TenderKnight

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Looking Back at 2014 by Charlie Cochet

Here we are at the end of another year, and what a year it’s been! As I look back, I’m still amazed at everything that’s happened. Join me as I look back at 2014. At the end of 2013, I submitted Hell & High Water, the first THIRDS book, a book almost two years in the making between world building and writing. By this point, I decided to put everything into the THIRDS series. Every other story I’d been working on was put on hold. The first six months of 2014, I had nothing published as I worked away on this series.

While I was working on the THIRDS, I was also designing all the graphics, putting together the THIRDS HQ website, putting together a marketing plan. I had no idea if I should be doing what I was doing, but a little voice in my head kept telling me, “Go big, or go home.” If I was going to do this, if this was going to be my first venture as a full-time author, then I’d have to give it my all and then some.

THIRDS logo190pxJanuary 2014: I received a contract for Hell & High Water. I was excited and nervous. This was it. Book one. I’d never written anything like this. Like any author starting a new series or venture, there was doubt, and then I told that myself to stop worrying so much. I was really excited about this series. I was allowed to be excited. I always have fun writing my stories, but this was the most fun I’d ever had with my characters. I hoped readers would love them as much as I did.

February 2014: I did my first ever video interview/chat with Amy Lane and Rhys Ford. I chatted a little about the THIRDS. I was super nervous, but it was something I needed to do. It was one of my goals. I had such a great time with it.

DSPCon200April 2014: I attended RainbowCon where I signed up to do panels for the very first time. I talked a little about the THIRDS world in one of my panels. Once I was up there, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be.

I received a contract for Blood & Thunder, the second THIRDS book. I also attended the Dreamspinner Press author conference for the first time and it was awesome getting to hang out with all my fellow DSP authors.

May 2014: I received a contract for Rack & Ruin, book three in the THIRDS. I had written three books in a new series, received contracts for them, and not one had been released yet. Now I was really nervous.

What if the first book fell flat? What if readers wouldn’t be as excited about this series as I was? The series had its own website. I’d spent hours on original artwork, on putting together a cast list, playlists, and lots of other fun extras. I had specific goals in mind while I was writing these books. It’s one of the questions I get asked most often. What gave me the idea for the THIRDS? There are quite a few answers to this, but I’ll tell you the one that most impacted this journey.

As a comic book movie and TV show nerd immersed in several fandoms, I loved the idea of creating this exciting and fun world with all these different characters and potential couples. I wanted readers to have their favorite pairings, to get excited about these guys, to feel a connection to them for who they were inside. I wanted over the top action, romance, hot sex, friendship, family, high drama, explosions, comedy, cheesy music, and tender moments.  Then edits started on Hell & High Water.

I had received great feedback from my betas, proofreaders, and editors. I was so happy they’d enjoyed it, thought it was different to what was out there. Between edits, I started to chat online about the THIRDS series, sharing some of this world with folks.

THIRDSwebBannerMain500June 2014: I launched THIRDS HQ, home to the THIRDS. It’s filled with all kinds of extras from cast lists, playlists, quizzes, world building facts, links to fan art, flash fiction, and more.

I went big with the cover reveal for Hell & High Water. Preorders went better than I could have imagined. Then it was time for the ARC to go out to reviewers.  I don’t drink wine, but if I did, I would have been breaking out a bottle or two. I had coffee and tea. Lots and lots of coffee and tea. The release day countdown started. Hell & High Water would be released in mere days. Oh dear God, what have I gotten myself into???

My first ever THIRDS review was from Susan at The Blogger Girls. It was a fabulous review. I was super excited. And then I saw this:

“Wake up, people, there is an awesome new series out, and I already know this is going to be one that is talked about, have groups made of it, and will be on everyone’s to-read or wish-list once they see just how much love this series is going to get. Seriously, it is that good.”

My jaw hit the floor. I flailed around the room like a loon. I knew she was taking a big risk on this. What if she was wrong? What if she just happened to really enjoy the book and that was the end of it? More pre-release reviews started coming out. I was floating high and scared witless at the same time.

Hell&HighWaterHiRes150July 2014: Everything changed. After two years of working my little Charlie butt off, it finally sank in. Maybe I was going to do okay at this writing thing after all. My inbox imploded. Hell & High Water made it into the top 10 on Amazon’s Bestseller’s list. I’d never had a book on Amazon’s Bestseller’s list before. I was contacted by some amazing readers who asked if they could start groups on Goodreads and Facebook for the THIRDS. The THIRDS Nerds was officially a thing. There was fan art and fan fiction. I wanted the THIRDS series to have a fandom feel. I never expected it to actually become a fandom.  Through the groups, I’ve met the most amazing folks. I don’t know where the series would be without them. Their love and enthusiasm for this series both humbles and amazes me.

SinfullySexyBookReviewsReading300August 2014: Blood & Thunder was released. The THIRDS crazy train continued full speed ahead. I did my first video excerpt reading over at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews. I’d put it off for a long time, but I figured I needed to work my way up to doing a live reading in front of folks, so this would be a good place to start. Rise & Fall, the fourth THIRDS book was contracted.

Charlie Cochet GRL 2014 by Christine Toles300pxOctober 2014: I attended GayRomLit as a Featured Author for the first time. I was blown away by the number of folks who came up to me to tell me how much they loved the series. I swear I walked around with a smile on my face the entire time I was there. I signed paperbacks of my books for the first time, had my first GRL panel with the amazing Jordan L. Hawk and Kate McMurray.

My first book on audio was released by Dreamspinner Press. Hell & High Water was narrated by Mark Westfield, and I’m so happy with it. His Dex and Sloane are especially awesome, and I love how he gave each and every character their own distinct voice, which I imagine was no easy feat considering how many characters there are in the series, and that a good portion are male. Later that month, Blood & Thunder was released on audiobook.

Favorite All Time Series 2014 250pxNovember 2014: Rack & Ruin was released and the audiobook contracted. I admit, I freaked out about this a little. We authors get told off a lot about cliffhangers, how folks hate cliffhangers. Rack & Ruin has a cliffhanger. A pretty big emotional one.  Originally it didn’t end that way because of the ‘no cliffhangers!’, but it never felt right. I knew how I wanted it to end. I had it all in my head. I decided the hell with it. Do what’s right for the story, for the development of the characters, for the series. Cliffhanger it is. By December, I felt like I should have had a T-shirt made up with the words, “Why, Charlie??? Why???” printed on it (I was tempted).  For the most part, by the time Rack & Ruin was released, the majority of readers trusted I wouldn’t do them wrong, that I wouldn’t hurt their babies too much. It would all turn out okay.

I was flabbergasted to discover I’d received 13 nominations in the  Goodreads M/M Romance Group 2014 Member’s Choice Awards. 10 of them for the THIRDS.

Runner-UpMD240December 2014: Hell & High Water received 4th place in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, another first for me.

All in all, it’s been a pretty epic ride this year. I had five releases between July and December of 2014. So thank you, to everyone who’s helped make this year so memorable. Who’s supported me, emailed me, messaged me, retweeted me, encouraged me, and friended me. To all the amazing readers who took a chance on a new-to-them author. Who took a chance on the fellas and have shown them a world of love.

Looking ahead: So what’s in store for 2015? It’ll be my first year with a full release schedule. Rise & Fall, the fourth THIRDS book is out January 2nd, 2015. The second book in the Little Bite of Love series is set to release a couple of months or so after that. If all goes well, there should be three more THIRDS novels released, the third book in the Auspicious series, my first contemporary romance, and the fourth story in the North Pole City Tales series. Who knows what 2015 has in store?

What was your most memorable moment of 2014? What are you looking forward to most in 2015?

New Years 2015

About the Author

Charlie_Cochet_by_madison_parker150Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | Blog |  Facebook | Twitter | THIRDS HQ | Tumblr | Pinterest
Email: charlie@charliecochet.com

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