Guest Post: The Dragons Inside Us by D. Jackson Leigh and giveaway

Happy Friday!

Bold Strokes Books author D. Jackson Leigh is here.

She’s giving away a copy of her latest fantasy novel Seer and the Shield and Swelter, a romance, to one lucky winner. More details are below.

Please welcome D. Jackson Leigh.

The Dragons Inside Us

It’s not the destination, but the journey that’s important.

It’s been said a hundred different ways by dozens of authors, philosophers, poets, scholars, and writers of both songs and speeches. No matter how you pen it, I now believe it to be truth.

“Seer and the Shield, Book III of the Dragon Horse War” was released this month by Bold Strokes Books – the completion of a six-year journey for me.  It began with a weird convergence of inexplicable dreams about dragons and my concern over society’s growing lack of civility and emerging “me first” culture.

Fantasy has often been used as a vehicle for social commentary, and the Dragon Horse War trilogy began as my sermon about the righteous intolerance of religions – no matter what your beliefs. Each proclaims to hold the only truth, and focuses on a glorious reward when your destination is reached. Yet too many of their believers stray far in their journey from the intent of their teachings.

In my imaginary world, the great religions had gone to war and wiped out each other.  Society had been reborn with one world government that ensured every citizen received basic sustenance, health care and education.  People still worked for luxury credits, and crimes were still committed because humans were still flawed by jealousy and gluttony.  Still, no citizen was hungry or ignorant or medical care. The population came together The Collective belief that celebrates diversity because it takes different many different interlocking pieces to complete life’s puzzle.

I felt righteous in my crusade when I began to type out that first book, “The Calling.”

Then a funny thing began to happen.

To fully develop characters, you have to slip into the minds and perspective of each. You have to see the world, the scene from their point of view. And, a good novel must have conflict – internal and external – to explore and resolve. The puzzle of conflict keeps the plot moving and the reader engaged. Often, it keeps the writer engaged, too. When you step into the shoes of these different characters, you try to understand their motivation. Why do they feel this way? What do they see that the opposite character doesn’t?

The noble First Warrior Jael, a pyro and prime telepath, is all about finding and incinerating the guy instigating an uprising that is threatening to end to more than a hundred years of world peace.  Advocate Alyssa, who turns out to be a powerful empath, doesn’t believe an act of violence can restore peace.  Their journey, ordered by The Collective’s Council of Elders, is to work together to restore world peace.  To do this, each must come to understand how the other views the world.

Fantasy is about good versus evil.  The good guys wear white, the bad guys are in black. But as Jael’s heart opened to more than duty and battle and Alyssa began to understand that you can’t reason with madmen, the lines began to gray.

By the time I’d finished “The Calling,” I knew I had to throw out my original outline for the subsequent books. The characters had hijacked my story, or maybe I’d just taken my eyes off the destination and finally let my characters lead me on a personal journey.

That journey held lessons for the good guys as much as the bad guys. The Dragon Horse War trilogy is about love, honor, and respect for another’s right to hold beliefs different from yours.

What did my three-book journey teach me, personally?

I discovered I should listen more and rant less. I began with the intention of pointing out the dragons in other people, only to discover my own hidden deep inside. My grandmother always said “sweep around your own doorstep before you point to someone else’s.” Several religious texts allude to something about removing the plank from your own eye before taking the splinter from another’s. Good advice.

I learned a few other things, too.

Creating worlds and remembering the details from book to book, over a six-year period is really hard unless you organize meticulous notes. Which I didn’t.

Also, after spending most of my free time flying dragons and moving armies around, I discovered fantasy doesn’t sell as well as romance because it has a smaller audience.  Much smaller.

But, being a pyro warrior is way cool, and dragon horses are a lot of fun.

And – saving the best for last – sex between a telepath and an empath is amazingly intense, but sex with a warrior whose dragon horse is in season is hotter than dragon breath.

Afterword

Answering some questions/comments I received from early readers:

  • I supervised a night copy desk for ten years during the time Xena was popular, so I’ve only seen a few episodes since realizing there was a reason for so many lesbian stories with a tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed character and a short blonde with green eyes. But those episodes seemed sort of campy to me – like the original Star Trek series would seem to someone who wasn’t around when it originally aired and wouldn’t recognize how groundbreaking it was at the time. So, Xena didn’t influence this trilogy.
  • Although I’m thoroughly in love with Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, I never watched a single episode of The Game of Thrones until I had turned in the last edits on book three and listened to the GoTH audiobooks in December,  then binge-watched all seven seasons this month.  Otherwise, my dragon horses might have been more dragon than horses.  I want a dragon. I also want a pet pig, but my homeowners association forbids pigs, so I’m sure they won’t let me keep a dragon.
  • I won’t deny that I was a fan of Anne McCaffrey’s dragons of Pern and still have several of her books on my shelves. I haven’t read them in thirty years, but it is possible that my unconscious brain still remembers.

 

SEER AND THE SHIELD
Dragon Horse War Book 3

E-book $9.99
Paperback $16.95
Release date: January 16, 2018
Romance / Fantasy

When The Natural Order’s focus shifts from evangelism to a grab for world dominance, the outcome of the Dragon Horse War depends on two unlikely heroines—an anti-social quartermaster and a reticent seer.

Lt. Antonia only trusts a neat row of figures or a complete inventory list. So when she suddenly finds herself responsible for a group of hostages kidnapped by the dangerous cult, she’s reluctant to give any credence to the visions of Maya, a beautiful seer. The two women struggle to trust in each other’s abilities, but still are inexplicably drawn together by an attraction that burns hotter than dragon breath.

Bold Strokes Books / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AUS

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

D. Jackson Leigh grew up barefoot and happy, swimming in farm ponds and riding rude ponies in rural south Georgia. She is a career journalist, but has found her real passion in writing sultry lesbian romances laced with her trademark Southern humor and affection for horses.

She has published 10 novels and one collection of short stories with Bold Strokes Books, winning a 2010 Alice B. Lavender Award for Noteworthy Accomplishment, and three Golden Crown Literary Society awards in paranormal, romance and fantasy categories. She also was a finalist for three more GCLS awards, and in the romance category of the 2014 Lambda Literary Society Awards.

 

CONNECT WITH D. JACKSON LEIGH

Facebook / Twitter / Website

 

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for a chance to win two books by

D. JACKSON LEIGH

 

All you need to do is fill in your email, check the box confirming you aren’t a robot, and hit enter.

Read more about it here.

 

Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.

Have a great weekend!

 

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Guest Post: Sensitivity Training by Kris Bryant

Bold Strokes Books author Kris Bryant is here. She recently released Touch, which I hear is sexy and steamy. I’m adding it to my TBR.

Kris is giving away 1 copy of Touch to a very lucky winner. More details are below.

Please welcome Kris Bryant.

Sensitivity Training

When I’m not wearing my writer’s cape, I work Monday through Friday as a Project Manager for an engineering company. From eight to five, I’m expected to be unemotional, give only facts and numbers, and ensure that my projects run smoothly. Sometimes that hardness is difficult to turn off when I go home for the day. As a relatively new writer with many new writers friends, I’ve learned that being direct with them like I am at work isn’t always what they want when they ask for my opinion on their manuscripts. One of my first and best writer friends won’t allow me to beta read her work anymore because I was a little too honest with my suggestions. I don’t like to make anybody cry unless it’s something I’ve written and published for all of the right reasons, not something I’ve scribbled in the margins of pages my writer friends have asked me to proof or review.

Criticism hurts, even the constructive kind. To give and to receive it. I don’t want to hurt feelings. I want writers to be successful and rake in the readers and royalties. I don’t have the answers, but I know what I like to read and if something odd or unbelievable jumps out at me, I’m going to point it out. If I cock my head to the side and stare up at the wall as my brain processes something I’ve just read, that’s not a good sign. I realized that I needed to change my delivery when they stopped asking for my help.

I just finished a collaboration with two other writers. We all wrote one book together. Yes, that’s right. Three writers, three points of view, one single book. The great news is that we are still friends and survived our project. And we are all pleased with it. Because of my lack of sensitivity and the fact that I still want them as friends, I begged for a tough editor – my own.  Flashback – my first book, Jolt. I turned in a hot mess of a manuscript, and Bold Strokes Books accepted it. I received my first round of pre-edits a few months after I signed the contract. It was an assessment of the book. After reading only the first page, I walked away from my computer for ten days, I was that upset. I kept hearing Pink sing “you’ll be a pop star, all you have to change is everything you are.” One of the last suggestions on the fourth page (single spaced, of course!) of initial editing notes was – “maybe you should try writing this in first person.” I had three weeks to convert a novel from third to first. That changed the whole novel and as much as I cursed my editor, it was the best idea for my story. I trust my editor 100% to help me write the best that I can. She is brutal. She is honest. She is fantastic. I love her and I hate her (side note: she should come work here at the engineering firm). I’ve written five novels, two novellas, and a short with her so far. I figured everybody was tough in this industry and could handle straightforward suggestions, but I was wrong.

Writers are very vulnerable. We open ourselves up and tell stories that are nestled deep within our hearts and hope that people like them. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. My advice, one I now heed myself, is don’t read something that you know ahead of time you won’t like. I have certain types of books I love, and ones I *wet noodle* on. ‘No, please don’t ask me to read that.’ For example, I’m not a sci-fi fan. I can’t make different universes work for me unless they are very simple and the same rules and names apply in outer space that are here on Earth. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi and I’m not going to force myself to read it. I know going in, that it already has two strikes against it and it’s going to show in my review/beta read of it.

When I read my own reviews, if I think the criticism is constructive and valid, I will keep it in mind for future books. I did this between Taste and Forget Me Not. I give readers the benefit of the doubt. They read a lot of books by a lot of different writers. They know something. They are involved in this small niche of literature. I have thick skin up to a certain point. A lot of writers don’t. I won’t even get into my background and why I’m tough, but I can become emotionless within the blink of an eye.

So now I’m taking baby steps back to beta reading with the friends who have given me a second chance. I’m not going to like everything I read, but I’m also not going to berate a writer for picking a topic or subject that doesn’t appeal to me. My job is to review the story that is in front of me; not what I think should have been written. As a reviewer, a book might not be your cup of tea, but don’t try and rewrite the story the way you want it to be in your review of it. That’s not constructive. That’s destructive. Writing a book isn’t easy. Start to finish is a demanding process. This is the life I chose. This has been my dream since I was a little girl. I have to remind myself that my writer friends have the same dreams I do. I need to be more sensitive when I give feedback. I didn’t write it. It’s not mine to pick apart. I need to point out when things aren’t consistent, or have a flow problem. I will tell my friends if something is believable, if it tugs at my heartstrings, or if I don’t think a particular phrase or situation belongs where she’s tucked it. I take a deep breath when I grab my red pen and think ‘be sensitive. This is a part of her – a part of her heart, a part of her life for the last several months.’

Here’s the strange part. I cry at everything. Movies, commercials, videos. Facebook posts that say “I’m not crying, you’re crying” I completely avoid. My body cannot produce enough tears. I’m a sap. I’m a hopeless, yet hopeful romantic. I watch Hallmark movies all of the time because they are sweet with very little angst (side note B: Lifetime movies are creepy and scary sometimes).

So at 5 p.m. when I climb into Bambi to head home, I’m going to find relaxing music to listen to, I’m going to snuggle with Molly for at least an hour, eat dinner, and then, only when I feel completely at peace, will I reach for a book or manuscript to give a writer my opinion. ‘Be sensitive, Kris. Use the other side of your brain and definitely use your heart.’

 

TOUCH

E-book $9.99
Paperback $16.95
Release date: January 16, 2018
Romance

As the go-to therapist at Elite Therapy, Dr. Hayley Sims is the best in her field. It’s exactly why she’s just been assigned her most challenging patient yet, hockey player Elizabeth Stone. Not because Stone’s injury is complicated, but because she is intense to work with and needs someone to keep her in check. When Hayley’s personal life starts unraveling and she realizes she might be developing feelings for her patient, she’s torn between finishing her assignment and walking away to protect herself. Can Hayley get Stone back on the ice in one piece while keeping her heart from breaking?

Bold Strokes Books / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AUS

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Kris Bryant grew up a military brat living in several different countries before her family settled down in the Midwest when she was twelve. Books were her only form of entertainment overseas, and she read anything and everything within her reach. Reading eventually turned into writing when she decided she didn’t like the way some of the novels ended and wanted to give the characters she fell in love with the endings she thought they so deserved.

Earning a BA in English from the University of Missouri, Kris focused on poetry, and eventually decided to write her own happily ever after books.

Her debut novel, Jolt, was short-listed for a Lambda Literary Award. Her second novel, Whirlwind Romance, was a Rainbow Award finalist.

 

CONNECT WITH KRIS BRYANT

Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for a chance to win a copy of

TOUCH

All you need to do is fill in your email, check the box confirming you aren’t a robot, and hit enter.

Read more about it here.

 

Thanks so much Kris for stopping by today.

Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.

 

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Interview with Tracey Richardson and giveaway

Happy Monday!

Bella Books author Tracey Richardson is here.

Tracey is giving away one copy of Heartsick to one lucky winner. More details are below.

Please welcome Tracey Richardson.

Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.

Most writers I know LOVE to talk about their writing, or any writing, or books in general for that matter. So it’s my absolute pleasure, thank you so much for suggesting it!

You first began to dabble in lesbian fiction after a tonsillectomy. How did the tonsillectomy lead to writing?

It’s kind of an odd little fact about me… okay, let’s go with unique instead of odd, haha! I was in my late 20s at the time and it was the mid-1990s. I’d never actually read a lesbian novel up to this point and didn’t even realize they existed. A good friend gave me a couple of lesbian novels to read while I was recovering (one was a Katherine V. Forrest novel) and I was immediately intrigued (and entranced)! It was a life changing moment for me, because I could identify and connect with these characters’ world in a way I couldn’t in mainstream fiction. So I sought out more lesbian novels after I devoured those first ones and it quickly began to dawn on me that I should try writing one.

How long did it take for you to publish your first novel? What were the biggest roadblocks you had to overcome?

I was extremely lucky. I wrote the first draft of my first novel in probably about three or four months. I sent it off to Naiad Press, which was really the only publisher of quality lesbian books at the time (or at least the only one that mattered). My idol Katherine Forrest was working for them as their senior editor at the time, so it was a thrill that she got to read my manuscript and comment on it. She was very encouraging, and after a couple of rewrites, Naiad Press agreed to publish me. (Oh and it was extra cool to also discover that Katherine Forrest was born in the same city as me!)

I was fortunate not to have many roadblocks with my fiction writing, though after Naiad was sold (four of my books having been published by them), I took a hiatus for a few years. I just sort of lost my desire to write fiction for some inexplicable reason, until about 2007 and “The Candidate” was born. So I would say my biggest roadblock was my own head.

You used to be a journalist. What’s your opinion on the state of newspapers today and the whole debate about Fake News?

That’s correct, I worked in the daily newspaper business, both as a reporter and as an editor, for about 27 years. And boy do I have some opinions about the business! It’s terrible, the state newspapers have fallen into. Everyone wants their news for free off the internet, which means there’s no money to pay reporters and editors to produce “real” news anymore. Newsrooms around the world have been absolutely gutted, and this scares me. We need professional reporters to bring us unbiased, factual news. In fact it’s crucial to the survival of our democracies as well as to be able to live productive and happy, healthy lives.

For myself, I left the business because I was no longer given the time or resources to do the kind of quality work that made me feel good about myself and my job. As an example, when I started working at my final destination newspaper, there were 27 full time employees in the newsroom alone. By the time I left two decades later, there were just six!

How has your background in journalism helped your fiction career? How has your training hindered writing fiction?

Oh I love this question! For me, journalism has been an excellent partner to fiction writing. Journalism teaches you many things. It teaches you how to talk to absolutely anybody…from a homeless person to a heart surgeon to the prime minister of Canada (I’ve interviewed all three!). You get to interview people at their best and their worst, you get a front row seat to history in the making, as well a backstage pass to people usually inaccessible to the general public. Most helpful of all is that by interviewing so many different people, you get to see what makes them tick. It’s a really neat window into their world. This has really helped me build fictional characters in my writing.

The other important thing journalism has taught me is that if you’re a professional writer, you’re a professional writer, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. That means missing deadlines is forbidden (I once had a newspaper editor stand over me as I wrote a story, counting down how many seconds I had left to finish it because we were right on deadline!). It also means that if you sit down to write, you write. You don’t get to not write because you don’t feel like it or because you have writer’s block or some other excuse. As a professional writer, you sit in your chair and you get to work!

You’re learning how to play the guitar. How are the lessons going and do you have visions of joining a band?

I have to admit I’ve let the guitar lessons slide of late, but I still play, and I’ve retained enough of my lessons to be able to play a dozen or more songs quite comfortably, and I have enough of a base now to teach myself more songs. It was very cool learning how to play because I feel like it brought me a bit closer to the characters I was writing at the time (from my novel, “The Song In My Heart”). I can’t sing worth a crap though, so no bands for me, but I’ve joined a large drumming ensemble that gets together once a week and plays some songs together.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, do you have certain types you listen to help set the mood for scenes? Any examples?  

I do sometimes, yes, but it really depends on the scene I’m writing. If it’s an intense scene that takes all of my concentration, then I do not listen to music. But if it’s a fun scene, or a love scene, I will definitely throw some mood music on.

Music really can be a writer’s best friend. A couple of years ago I was working on a 5,000-word short story for an anthology that was set in the Second World War. I made up a playlist of songs from that era (songs like As Time Goes By, Pennies From Heaven, Come Rain or Come Shine, Stormy Weather) and it really really helped transport me back to that era. I also have a couple of antique typewriters in my workspace, one from 1924 and the other from 1937, that also helped put me in the mood. I found that if I felt like it was 1943, then hopefully my readers would feel it too.

My next romance novel with Bella Books, which I’m currently working on, has a strong Motown theme woven through it. I grew up in the cradle of Motown music in the late 1960s and the 1970s, so I’m having some fun with this one. And I’ve definitely been listening to Motown music as I write this novel.

Your partner has asked you to plan a romantic date. What would you arrange to dazzle her?

Since it’s winter, one of the things my partner and I like to do as a romantic winter date is to go snowshoeing around the vineyards of a local winery. Then we go inside the winery, sit by the fireplace, drink a couple of really nice glasses of red wine and share a cheese plate. After that it’s home to our two chocolate Labrador retrievers, who always get a bit jealous if we do outdoor things without them! J

Thanks so much for chatting today.

Thank you so much again, I really enjoyed this! And happy winter everyone. Enjoy some good books by a nice warming fire somewhere!

HEARTSICK

E-book $9.99
Paperback $16.95
Release date: January 12, 2018
Romance

An ER physician and a paramedic must heal the most painful affliction of their lives—their own broken hearts.

A seasoned paramedic and former soldier, Angie Cullen has spent many years helping to put people back together again. But her battle-tested heart is no match for the devastation of discovering that her partner has been cheating on her with the wife of ER physician Dr. Victoria Turner. When a car crash exposes the infidelity one evening in the ER, Angie and Vic find themselves unlikely and wary allies as they attempt to pick up the broken pieces of their lives. While each holds the remedy to the other’s broken heart, can Angie and Vic trust enough to love again?

Bella / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AUS

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Tracey is the author of eleven romance novels with Bella Books since 2008, including the popular By Mutual Consent, The Song In My Heart, The Candidate and The Campaign. Her most recent is Heartsick (December, 2017). She has been a Lambda Literary finalist for No Rules of Engagement and for Last Salute, and has been a finalist several times over for the Golden Crown Literary Society. In 2010, Tracey’s novel Side Order of Love won a first-place Rainbow Romance Award of Excellence by Rainbow Writers of America for contemporary romance. In 2017, Tracey won 2nd place in the Word By Word short fiction contest for her story So This Is How It Ends.

Tracey worked as a daily newspaper journalist for 27 years and now enjoys life as a novelist, a fiction writing teacher and paid proofreader. She was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and lives with her partner in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario.

In her spare time, Tracey loves playing hockey and guitar and is a voracious reader.

 

CONNECT WITH TRACEY RICHARDSON

Facebook / Twitter / Website / Instagram

 

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for a chance to win a copy of

HEARTSICK

All you need to do is fill in your email, check the box confirming you aren’t a robot, and hit enter.

Read more about it here.

 

Thanks so much Tracey for stopping by today.

Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.

 

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Guest post: The Scoop by VK Powell and giveaway

Happy Friday!

Bold Strokes Books author VK Powell is here today. Woot!

VK is giving away 1 copy of Captain’s Choice to one lucky winner.

Please welcome VK Powell.

The Scoop

Last month my twelfth novel from Bold Strokes Books, Captain’s Choice, hit the stands. This one has special significance for a couple of reasons. It’s my first series work, the Fairview Station Series, and the story was inspired by an event in my career. I enjoy hearing how an author comes up with an idea for a story, so I hope you enjoy reading about my spark.

During year one as an assistant chief of police, I was assigned to assist in the renovation of a space for the department’s first district substation. For several years as a district captain, my lieutenants and I managed the affairs of our quadrant of the city from a corner of one floor of the municipal building (which also housed approximately thirty other offices) and then from the basement of a shopping mall. So, planning and watching our new home come to life was one of the highlights of my career.

The reno space was the lower floor of a functional textile plant. Company employees still required access to the top floor without entering the secure police facility. Our space had to be configured into a functional police station consisting of: a squad line-up room, sergeants’ cubicles, administrative offices, records, public meeting area, evidence and weapon storage, holding cells, interview rooms, lockers, toilets, snack area, a sally port for prisoner entry/exit, and a quiet spot for dictating reports. In addition, some interior doors needed added security from the public and others required additional security from officers, i.e. weapons and evidence.

Few police officers have experience drawing blueprints or designing buildings, and I was no exception. Seriously, I’d never even built a Lego structure. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes, but it’s true. The challenge of organizing the square footage into a facility that accommodated the officers’ needs efficiently and safely was daunting. My saviors were a talented group of city employees and…wait for it…a tiny Lego model that I reorganized often. I’m a visual person, so it worked. No judging, please. The final product was, and still is, a compliment to the community.

So…as writers often do, I asked myself, What if? What if this project brought together two women who had known each other as teenagers? What if they’d been close, possibly even fumbling lovers, but were torn apart? What happens when they meet again on a project that has career-changing potential for both their careers? And what if one woman is the police captain overseeing the project, and the other is the architect, and their ideas constantly clash? And finally, what if they struggle with egos, corruption, and their rekindled love?

Writing this book allowed me to revisit one of the most rewarding times of my career and to add a bit of spice that was missing from the original version. 🙂  I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed recreating it.

As always, thank you for reading.

 

CAPTAIN’S CHOICE

E-book $9.99
Paperback: $16.95
Release date: December 12, 2017
Romance

Newly promoted police captain Bennett Carlyle considers being project manager for the new district substation the way to prove her worth in the male-dominated upper ranks of the department. But when the first girl she loved returns as the architect with little understanding of the operational needs of a police station, Bennett’s career and her heart could face permanent damage.

Architect Kerstin Anthony believes the new police substation will be the springboard to her own firm and the necessary resources to care for her mother. When she confronts the girl she kissed in high school, now a tantalizing police officer with unrealistic expectations about the new facility, Kerstin’s path to success becomes littered with unexpected hurdles. Along with tight deadlines, budget restraints, and architectural challenges, she has to battle both past and present feelings for the woman she was torn away from years ago.

Bold Strokes Books / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AUS

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

A thirty-year veteran of a midsized police department, VK was a police officer by necessity and a writer by desire. Her career spanned numerous positions including beat officer, homicide detective, vice/narcotics lieutenant, captain, and assistant chief of police. Now retired, she devotes her time to writing, traveling, and volunteering. 

 

CONNECT WITH VK POWELL

Facebook / Twitter 

 

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for a chance to win a copy of

CAPTAIN’S CHOICE

All you need to do is fill in your email, check the box confirming you aren’t a robot, and hit enter.

Read more about it here.

 

Thanks so much VK for stopping by today.

Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.

Have a fab weekend!

 

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Interview with Fiona Zedde and giveaway

Today Fiona Zedde is here for a chat. Her latest, Insatiable Appetites will be released on January 30th.

Fiona is giving away 3 e-copies of Insatiable Appetites to 3 lucky winners. More details are below.

Please welcome Fiona Zedde.

Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.

Thanks for having me over! I appreciate you making the time for me.

You’re from Jamaica, but now live in the US. How old were you when you moved to the US and was it difficult to make the transition?

Yes, I am from that beautiful island! I moved from there when I was twelve or thirteen. Those are usually difficult years anyway and I remember being a big ball of tension most of the time. It was a bit of a challenge dealing with a changing body, awareness of a “different” type of sexuality while doing my best to dodge the kids intent on bullying me because of my accent.

The transition was definitely a hard one.

Do you visit Jamaica often? What do you miss the most?

Not often. My last visit was about three or four years ago (I think). That was the first time I went there as a tourist instead of just visiting to see my family and friends.

Honestly, I miss the food a lot (I LOVE to eat). But I also miss the relationships I lost when I moved away. Connections break with distance. Which sucks.

When were you first struck by the writing bug and how long did it take you to publish?

That crazy bug bit me in the butt when I was kid, maybe at five or six years old.
But I didn’t think seriously about publishing until I was in high school. There, I put my work out there and got third place in a county-wide competition. My first international publication was five years later when my short story “Tattoo” (about a girl I briefly dated, of course) was published in Best Lesbian Erotica. I got my first book deal about five more years after that.

You write novels about love and desire. How do you balance developing characters, the storyline, and desire?

Sometimes it can be a difficult balancing act. In the beginning, I just wrote the stories as they came and didn’t worry about whether or not I was being ‘too much.’ It all fell together well – I think. These days, though, I’m more conscious of creating the “right” balance. More story, more conflict, and sex that moves toward advancing those things instead of just being there simply for sex’s sake.

For me, the story ultimately feels right and complete when I’ve fleshed out the women and their stories enough so that the reader is interested in their evolution as people or part of a couple versus flipping the pages for the next time they end up naked together.

You and Lee Winter have penned an installment for the Superheroine series. How did this collaboration come about and will other authors join in?

The “collaboration” was purely accidental. When Lee’s publisher (Ylva) put out a call for writers to contribute a novella, I jumped on it right away. I love super heroes and had always wanted to write a queer super human’s story.

More Superheroines will definitely be coming soon. Look out for Alex K. Thorne’s Chasing Stars next.

Is it difficult to craft stories in different genres? Is there a genre you haven’t tackled yet, but want to?

The only difficult part for me has been dealing with the uncertainty of how the readers will react to something new. I love stretching my writing into new genres, but I know not all my readers will follow me on the journey, no matter how much they enjoy my previous book.

So far, I’ve written contemporary erotic romance, paranormal romance (with vampires), historical paranormal, superhero paranormal, and a semi-literary novel exploring the relationship of a bi-sexual triad. There’s still a ton I haven’t tried, but if you twisted my arm, I’d say that I’d love to write a gangster novel next.

Which authors have influenced you the most and why?

My most powerful influence is Michelle Cliff. She was the first Jamaican, lesbian writer I ever heard of. Finding out about her and her work made me realize it was possible for me to not only write but to write about being Jamaican and queer. She was an amazing woman.

Tell us about your latest release?

Of course! I thought you’d never ask :).

My latest novel is called Insatiable Appetites. It’s the 3rd full length novel of my How Sweet It Is series featuring lesbians and bi-girls in Miami. In the book, kinky and polyamorous lovers, Sage and Phil, swear they’ll be together forever, but a shattering secret threatens to implode the life they’ve carefully created.

Open up the book and take a peek. These wild and crazy girls will take you on a ride you’ll never forget.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on a novel tentatively called Femme for Femme. It’s a sort of sequel to my short story “Magical Femme” and was reader requested. The novel is all about girly love in Atlanta and the troubles that can come with it.

If you were planning a romantic getaway, where would you go and why?

I would go to the south of Spain. The Arab-influenced small towns near the coast are absolutely beautiful and the water is swimmable practically year round.

Thanks so much for chatting today.

You are very welcome! Thank YOU for inviting me to come gab a bit with you. Have a fabulous and love-filled 2018.

 

INSATIABLE APPETITES
How Sweet It Is Series

E-book $4.99
Release date: January 30, 2018
Romance

Every woman has secrets. But Sage never thought the lover she’d shared her life with for years had one big enough to blow their entire world apart.

With one shocking revelation, the pleasures she’d taken for granted—decadent threesomes under the Miami moonlight, lazy afternoons with the woman who knew her best, complete and safe surrender to her deepest desires—are taken away. Left adrift and in pain, Sage begins to rebuild her life one piece at a time.

As she struggles to make sense of things again, her parents arrive from Jamaica for an unexpected visit and her own secrets threaten to destroy the little she has left. Can Sage find redemption in the one woman she turned her back on, or will she allow pride and her own self-destructive nature to ruin any chance at future happiness?

Number 4 in the How Sweet It Is series by the Lambda Literary Award finalist author of Bliss and Every Dark Desire.

Start from the beginning with A Taste of Sin, Hungry for It, then Return to Me (a short sequel to Hungry for It). All (except for Return to Me) are standalone, full-length novels featuring different couples in the group of Miami-based friends.

Preorder your copy now:

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Jamaican-born Fiona Zedde is the author of several novels, including the Lambda Literary Award finalists, Bliss and Every Dark Desire. She loves French pastries, English cars, Jamaican food, and writes a lot. Find out more at www.FionaZedde.com.

 

 

CONNECT WITH FIONA ZEDDE

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

GIVEAWAY

 

Enter here for a chance to win a copy of

INSATIABLE APPETITES

All you need to do is fill in your email, check the box confirming you aren’t a robot, and hit enter.

Read more about it here.

 

Thanks so much Fiona for stopping by today.

Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.

 

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Interview with Gill McKnight and giveaway

Dirt Road Books author Gill McKnight is here to chat about Ireland, Greece, Wally, and writing. She’s giving away 2 e-copies of Little Dip to two lucky winners. More details are below.

Please welcome Gill McKnight.

Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.

I’m very happy to be invited along to IHeartLesfic, so thank you.

Where in Ireland are you from and has it had an influence on your writing? 

I’m from the North, near Belfast, and I’ve always been a story teller and a creative person. The Irish connection will play a big part in my next release Queen of the Glens. I enjoy writing about places where I’ve lived. All I am doing is condensing them into workable backdrops for my stories.

For instance, working in the south of England resulted in the Wallops series. I also have an early romcom set in Greece, called Erosistible, and I intend to write about Lesbos again next year. I’ve also lived in Chicago for a while.

How and when did you decide to move to Greece?

Slowly. It took over eight years as I was always busy with my IT contracting job. I’d work for several months then take the rest of the year off and go to Lesbos where I had a holiday home. It wasn’t until I was offered a job where I could work from home that I decided ‘home’ would be Greece permanently.

Do you have a preference: Ireland or Greece? Why?

Ireland holds my kith and kin, so it will always be special. But Greece is where I decided to put down my roots. I see myself here for the long term.

Tell us about your dog. Does he travel with you?

Wally goes everywhere with me. He’s scuttled across Europe in a camper van on many an occasion and loved it. (He has a Greek passport). My parents adore him. They’re more excited about him coming to visit than me!

I found him as a pup shivering with fright and hunger in a car park when he was about 6-7 weeks old. It took ages to lure him out from under the car he was hiding beneath. As the local dog sanctuary was full I was asked if I could foster him for a wee while until space freed up. (I was suckered). Turns out he was a keeper. I love him to bits.

It became clear very quickly that I couldn’t maintain my old working lifestyle and keep Wally, so I made some very major decisions that involved a life change. But, in truth the time as right and I was ready for it. The Universe has bizarre ways of looking out for you – Wally was my wakeup call to living a happier life.

 

How many different careers have you had before settling into writing and Dirt Road Books?

I studied Art and Deign at Uni, but as the job situation was so depressed during The Troubles I was unemployed for long stretches, so I moved into IT as it was the only sector showing any growth.

In 2005 I was working away from home for months at a time and living out of hotels. It was around then I discovered the Xenaverse and began writing fanfic as I was so bored in the evenings.

I was lucky, and Bold Stokes Books signed me up in 2006. Back then I always looked on writing as a paying hobby. Now I’ve got the chance to write and publish full time and I’m excited by what I see up ahead.

Tell us about Dirt Road Books. How it came into being and how it’s different from other publishers?

DRB is a collective. It’s run by myself and five other authors who all have separate skillsets. Between us we can do everything necessary to produce and market our own books. We started out because we wanted to manage our own careers, look after our own marketing, contracts, schedules, the lot. We’re coming to the end of our first year, and so far, it’s been very successful.

Recently you released Little Dip, book five in the Garoul series. What is the series about and what was the inspiration behind it?

The Garoul series is a lesbian paranormal romance series about a werewolf family. I like the scope it gives me. I can write anything from scary to farcical and it all fits in. It’s a good wring tool for me in that way.

You have another series called The Wallops. Where is the story set and what are the characters like?

The Wallops is a make-believe valley in Sussex, England where we get to see village life as a humorous microcosm. I look at the love lives of a small group of women who live there and are, in their own ways, the backbone of the community.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I’m a weird one. I usually work on several manuscripts at a time, so if I dry up on one I can simply drop into another mss and no writing time is lost. It also allows my head to free up from whatever was blocking it before. Creativity is like water, don’t dam it up into one project, let it flow freely and it will make its own way around any obstacle.

On the planning side, I have my main protagonists and a few key scenes mapped out and simply fill in the rest as I go along. I keep a notebook with me at all times as I’m always jotting down new ideas.

At the moment I’m working on Borage (an urban fantasy about witches set in the UK), Queen of the Glens, (a contemporary romcom set in Ireland), and South Paw (the 6th Garoul book). And I’m planning out my Greek story for the following year, along with a few other ideas that need rounding out.

If you were planning your ideal day, what would it involve?

Most days are ideal. (Sorry, I’m not bragging it’s a fact, when you live exactly where and how you want your days are all more or less good). I start around 6.30 -7.00a.m. as I’m an early riser. Read my emails and catchup on world news over fresh coffee. Then I work through to lunch when I wander off to meet friends at a taverna for a beer and a bite to eat.

The afternoon is usually social. I hang out with friends, walk Wally, or maybe do some gardening or work around my house. The evening is whatever I fancy it to be, dinner with more friends, stay at home with a glass of wine and a book, or maybe do more writing if I’m in the mood. In the summer its busier as I live near a lesbian resort and have lots of mates holidaying over the course of the summer. The winter time is slower and cozier with wood burners and woolly hats.

Thanks so much for chatting today.

It was a pleasure. Thank you again for the invitation, it’s been fun talking incessantly about myself. You’ve given Wally’s ears a rest.

 

LITTLE DIP
Garoul Series Book 5

E-book $9.99
Release date: December 2, 2017
Paranormal Romance

It’s 1977, and Connie Fortune has an easy, freewheeling life as a wildlife photographer and illustrator. A new contract brings her to the Little Dip valley in Oregon to track down a rare bird, but a clash with Sylvie Garoul, the valley’s owner and matriarch of the mysterious Garoul family, and her daughter, the haughty, frustrating, but somehow bewitching Marie Garoul, ruins the deal.

The following year Connie tries again, but this time, things have changed. The residents of nearby Lost Creek are up in arms about strange goings-on in the valley, with blame swirling around the Garouls. Connie is unsure whose side she is on, even as she’s drawn deeper into Little Dip.

Dirt Road BooksAmazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AUS

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Gill McKnight is Irish but spends as much time as possible in Lesbos, Greece, which she considers home. She can often be found traveling back and forth between Greece and Ireland in a rusty old camper van with her rusty wee dog. Gill enjoys writing, gardening, and, by necessity, some easy DIY.

 

 

CONNECT WITH GILL MCKNIGHT

  Website

 

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for a chance to win a copy of

LITTLE DIP

All you need to do is fill in your email, check the box confirming you aren’t a robot, and hit enter.

 

Thanks so much Gill for stopping by today.

Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Finding fresh fiction by stepping outside the box by Katie Mettner

Coming out can be terrifying. Some lose friends and family members. But not all experiences have drastic consequences. When Katie Mettner’s daughter came out to her, Katie reacted positively. But, I’ll let Katie tell her story.

Please welcome Katie Mettner.

Finding fresh fiction by stepping outside the box

My name is Katie Mettner and I’m a romance and romantic suspense author from Northern Wisconsin. I’ve been writing since 2011, and have written thirty books to date. Back in 2014, my daughter came out to us, and told me she struggled to find LGBTQ romance books that weren’t either all sex, or completely unrealistic, so I set about writing one. That was three LGBTQ books ago, now. The first book was about a pansexual named Crow, the second was about two women from opposite sides of the tracks who fall in love one summer on Lake Superior, and the third, Finding Susan, is my newest and biggest challenge in this genre.

Finding Susan is based on a real life love story, and it was the first book I’ve written based on a real event. When my friend, Renee, told me about her experiences online with a catfisher, she wondered if I would be interested in writing the story, and going on to make sure the main character finds real and lasting love, as she too was still searching for it in life. Always up for a challenge, I accepted and asked her to put together some information for me about her experiences with the catfisher, her experiences with love and the LGBTQ community, and her life experiences. Somehow, I had to take this mish mash of information and build characters readers could relate to, and tell a story that would keep their interest, give them hope, and teach them something about a world they may never have experienced before.

You’ll meet Renay, a woman who was catfished by someone using the name Susan as her moniker online. Renay nearly falls for the scam, but like my real friend Renee, she catches on just in the nick of time. However, she has fallen for the picture of this woman the catfisher had sent her, and she sets out to find the real Susan. Surprisingly, she does find her, but her name isn’t Susan, it’s Olga, and she’s not in some foreign land already married to the love of her life. She’s in Renay’s own backyard and she’s struggling with coming out of the closet about her sexuality to her extremely religious parents. At twenty-five, Olga has already missed out on so much in life by staying in the closet, and she lets Renay teach her about life and the experiences they can have together. They go on adventures, right some wrongs, teach each other about love, share their spiritual journey, as Renay is Native American, and help foster a young girl’s confidence in herself and who she is. In doing that, they find a path to a love they’ve both been searching for. The story isn’t all rainbows and Skittles, as I like to say. There’s plenty of heartache, typical life issues, and issues specific to the LGBTQ community, but they forge a life for themselves together nonetheless. As I wrote the story, I was pleased to find out the real Renee had met someone new! By the time I published the story, Renee and Jodi, had found their own happiness together, much the same way as Renay and Olga had. Sure, they had issues and life circumstances to work out, but their devotion to each other was worth it.

When I’m asked what Finding Susan is about it would be easy to summarize the book’s plot and move on, but instead I always focus on what the underlying message is. Hope wins. Passion wins. Truth wins. Trust wins. Love wins.

FINDING SUSAN

E-book $2.99
Paperback $10.00
Also available in Kindle Unlimited
Release date: October 26, 2107
Romance

A real life story of deceit, acceptance, and the quest to find true love, while staying true to yourself.

The last thing Renay Skovgaard expected was to find herself a victim of a catfisher. No stranger to online dating, Renay didn’t see it coming until it was too late, and she’d already lost her heart. Months after the catfisher had faded away, and time had healed the wound, Renay was finally able to grasp the truth behind the encounter. She was in love with the woman in the image she carried around in her back pocket, not the person behind the screen. Her hazel eyes were the same pair she’d seen since childhood, and she was ready to find the woman she knew only as, Susan Walters.

The last thing Olga Weber expected her first night at Oktoberfest was to come-to-face with the woman she couldn’t live without. Her kindness, humor, and easy going way of making her feel safe drew her to the woman like a moth to a flame. Olga knew the game she played was dangerous, because a woman like Renay could destroy the make-believe life she’s worked for years to build. After one chance meeting she could feel the walls of her closet crumbling around her, and she knew her life was about to change…forever.

Olga and Renay find themselves falling in love; one woman comfortable with her sexuality, the other uncomfortable in her own skin. A bottle of wine and a sweet, languid kiss told Olga the time had come to decide if Renay was worth fighting for, and if true love could conquer all.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AUS

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Katie Mettner writes romantic tales from a little house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She lives with her soulmate, whom she met online at Thanksgiving and married in April seventeen years ago. Their romantic tale was a true case of instalove. Finding Susan is Katie’s third LGBTQ novel, and her twenty-seventh novel in her writing career. When not busy being a band mom to her three teenage children, Katie has a slight addiction to Twitter and blogging, with a lessening aversion to Pinterest now that she quit trying to make the things she pinned.

 

CONNECT WITH KATIE METTNER

Facebook / Twitter / Website

 

Thanks so much Katie for stopping by today.

Have a fab weekend!

 

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