“Open Hearts” – Stealing Hearts #3 (a.k.a. omg, I finished a book)

Open Hearts Book Cover 2020

In March of this year, I made plans for a new addition to the Stealing Hearts series, a Pride-themed story that I tentatively titled Open Hearts and set in the same universe as the Thief of Hearts and Healing Hearts novellas. I outlined and took notes (like a good Virgo), began writing, and even had a plan to release in June. And then, of course, a whole truckload of stuff happened that I couldn’t have imagined if I’d tried.

I had a negative beta reader experience. One of my writing relationships changed in a way that I did not expect with no timetable to re-form. And, of course, COVID-19 happened to us all.

Overnight, my family’s world shrank to a two-bedroom apartment. My day job in IT became (and remains) very, very hectic. And I had to make what felt like very significant edits to a book that was already scheduled for release, an exercise that sapped my self-confidence almost completely.

I freaked. And I didn’t feel able or safe to discuss the full extent of my freaking out with anyone.

Happily, positive things happened in the middle of the mess. My family has remained healthy and gainfully employed. My day job has been unbelievably fulfilling (even as it tries to kill me). A project team I led at that day job was awarded one of the company’s highest annual achievement recognitions. I learned to bake bread! My brother and his girlfriend had a baby!! And, thank all the holy things, I was still writing. A LOT more slowly, thanks to the damned day job, but words were happening.

A full three months after my original planned release, the one-time novella Open Hearts is now a novel with a shiny new September(ish) release date. The characters, Jae and Emmett, surprised and guided me in ways I’d never have expected that made writing their May-December romance a true hard-won pleasure.

And if I’m still putting my self-confidence back together, that’s okay. I’m happy and feel good and I am definitely ready to move forward with all the new projects my heart and head can handle.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk (I totally mean that, by the way).

Keep an eye out for Open Hearts, Stealing Hearts #3, this September!

Summary:

Some hearts are made to be opened.

Jae-seong Bak has never been in love. He prefers to let his personal life take a backseat to his career as a nurse, especially since no-strings hook ups with men he’s glad to call friends have always felt like more than enough.

After years of moving around the United States, Jae takes a job in his home city of Boston, arriving just in time to celebrate his brother Ty’s engagement. In reconnecting with friends and family, Jae befriends Emmett McNeil, a young chef and Ty’s future brother-in-law, whose own bad luck with love hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for life.

As the summer passes and Jae and Emmett help their families plan the wedding, the spark between the two men ignites, though each agrees to keep their hook ups under wraps in order to prevent potential drama. Taken off guard by the depth of his feelings, Jae backs away, only to find that going back to being just friends with Emmett is much harder than he ever could have predicted.

Now, standing with Emmett as their siblings make their vows, Jae must decide if he’s really content to hold the man he loves at arm’s-length or if taking a chance on more is in the cards.

“Straight Up,” Speakeasy 4, is live!

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In 2017, Brigham Vaughn and I began The Speakeasy series, a spinoff of the world we’d created in the Tidal duology, Wake and Calm. We sketched out an outline for four books, but I certainly couldn’t picture reaching that final story. With the release of Straight Up, the fourth and final book in the series, we’re each feeling delight and nostalgia in equal measures.

These books and their characters have come to mean a great deal to me and I’ll dearly miss writing them. If you’ve been on this journey with us, thank you so much for your words of encouragement and the love you’ve shared with us over the last two years. I’ve truly treasured every moment.

Blog Tour:

Be sure to follow the blog tour through June 14. There will be interviews and blog posts, and you’ll have a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Love, served straight up.

Summary

Malcolm Elliott has been keeping secrets. Helping his mom through a financial crisis has nearly emptied his bank account and his kitchen cupboards, despite his thriving career with Corporate Equality Campaign. Malcolm is also bothered by his inability to tell the most important people in his life that he identifies as gray ace.

Stuart Morgan has a secret of his own. Though years have passed since the tattooed chef fled the Mormon church in Utah for New York, he’s never truly come to terms with the fetish that ruined that rigid but outwardly perfect life. Experience has also taught Stuart that keeping his love of lacy things under wraps is safer than telling the truth.

After Malcom’s boss, Carter, hires Stuart’s restaurant to cater a gala fundraising event, the strait-laced Malcolm is thrown together with badass biker Stuart. Despite their differences and a couple of false starts, the men discover they work well together and a friendship quickly forms.

As Malcolm’s feelings for Stuart deepen, his sexuality awakens, but he remains tight-lipped about his problems. And though Stuart grows more and more attached to Malcolm, he remains fearful of confessing his fetish.

When both of their secrets are finally exposed, they find themselves at a crossroads in which they must choose between playing it safe or finally coming clean to the person they love.

General Release Date: 9th June 2020

Buy Straight Up from your favorite retailer:

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Or from Pride Publishing:

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Add on Goodreads

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“Working Stiffs” is live!

92345085_1099445370415892_356702359692247040_oEarlier this year, I joined a group of authors to create Working Stiffs, an M/M Vampire Romance Charity Anthology. 

We’re truly excited to share these thirteen stories and donate all proceeds to World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Pick up your copy now for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!

And, enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card here in our Rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d153e5f22/?

 

Blurb:

Sometimes, work sucks in a good way.

Not all vampires are idly rich. Some of them have day jobs. Er, night jobs.

In a world struggling to come to grips with the existence of vampires, where reactions range from excitement to fear to determined disbelief, these vampires are just trying to make ends meet. Some of them do mundane work—like waiting tables or driving a cab. Others have more prestigious careers in medicine and crime prevention. But what all their jobs have in common is people. Unpredictable, interesting, frustrating, hostile, helpless, tasty people.

Whether they’re pouring drinks, answering phones, hacking into a computer system, or serving up the perfect food/wine pairing, these working stiffs are too busy to fall in love. Or are they?

This International Workers Day, celebrate by sinking your teeth into thirteen awesome stories about vampires at work. Because even the undead have to earn a living.

Proceeds benefit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Story List

Bad Blood by Lyra Evans
Bad Decision by H.L Day
Call My Number by Megs Pritchard
Dial a Vamp by Roberta Blablanski
Fangs for the Memories by Sadie Jay
Fire and Ice Cold Skin by Mel Gough
How To Keep an Author (Alive) by AJ Sherwood
Graveyard Cops by Crystel Greene
Life Hacks by Eliott Griffen
Long Haul by Tanya Chris
Off the Menu by R.J. Sorrento
Overexposed by K. Evan Coles
Quality Assured by Edie Montreux

Buy your copy or read through Kindle Unlimited at Amazon

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Add on Goodreads

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Cover Reveal: “Working Stiffs”

92345085_1099445370415892_356702359692247040_oEarlier this year, I joined in with a group of authors to create Working Stiffs, an M/M Vampire Romance Charity Anthology. It’d been a while since I’d written any kind of vampire story and I had a blast working on this project and meeting new writers.

We’re excited to share these thirteen stories on May 1st and donate all proceeds to World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Pre-order your copy now!

Blurb:

Sometimes, work sucks in a good way.

Not all vampires are idly rich. Some of them have day jobs. Er, night jobs.

In a world struggling to come to grips with the existence of vampires, where reactions range from excitement to fear to determined disbelief, these vampires are just trying to make ends meet. Some of them do mundane work—like waiting tables or driving a cab. Others have more prestigious careers in medicine and crime prevention. But what all their jobs have in common is people. Unpredictable, interesting, frustrating, hostile, helpless, tasty people.

Whether they’re pouring drinks, answering phones, hacking into a computer system, or serving up the perfect food/wine pairing, these working stiffs are too busy to fall in love. Or are they?

This International Workers Day, celebrate by sinking your teeth into thirteen awesome stories about vampires at work. Because even the undead have to earn a living.

Proceeds benefit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Story List

Bad Blood by Lyra Evans
Bad Decision by H.L Day
Call My Number by Megs Pritchard
Dial a Vamp by Roberta Blablanski
Fangs for the Memories by Sadie Jay
Fire and Ice Cold Skin by Mel Gough
How To Keep an Author (Alive) by AJ Sherwood
Graveyard Cops by Crystel Greene
Life Hacks by Eliott Griffen
Long Haul by Tanya Chris
Off the Menu by R.J. Sorrento
Overexposed by K. Evan Coles
Quality Assured by Edie Montreux

Pre-order at Amazon

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Add on Goodreads

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Add on BookBub

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Autism Awareness Month : Blog Hop, Food Talk, and a Giveaway

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Autism fact: There is no known scientific link
currently between vaccines and autism.

I’m honored participate in RJ Scott’s autism blog hop again this year along with 30 authors, each of whom will share an autism fact each day. There are giveaways too, including one from me at the bottom of this post.

Food is the theme this year, and it’s a subject near and dear to so many people including me. I find baking very comforting and love to cook and bake for my family, as well as make and give food as gifts.

Because of my own habits, food frequently creeps into my books. In doing a mental count just now, I’ve realized that three of my most recent projects have included a chef or baker as a main character. Healing Hearts, my holiday novella, and Straight Up, book four in The Speakeasy series I wrote with Brigham Vaughn, each include a chef, and a story I wrote for an upcoming anthology titled Working Stiffs features a baker.

Like so many in the world right now, my family is living in a locked down community. I’m still working my day job and helping my twelve-year-old son through his school-from-home routine, and I look for ways to unwind at the end of each weird day. Baking is just one of those ways and I thought I’d share a really delicious recipe for banana bread that has been a big hit in my house.


Recipe adapted from Garden & Table

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Ingredients

For the bread:

  • 3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up

  • 1/3 cup melted butter

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 Tsp vanilla

  • 1 Tsp baking soda

  • Dash of salt

  • 1 1/2 cups flour

For the swirl:

  • 1 and 1/2 Tbs sugar

  • 1 and 1/2 Tbs brown sugar

  • 1 Tbs cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and four a loaf pan. Mine was 9 x 5, but you could use any sort. Just keep a close eye on it in the oven, and adjust the time as needed.
  2. Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. Sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!
  3. In a small dish, mix together the sugar and brown sugar with the cinnamon.
  4. Add 1/2 of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter to the pan, spreading gently to cover the cinnamon-sugar layer, then sprinkle the last of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, but remember, if you’re using a different-sized loaf pan, be careful and keep a close eyeball on it!

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For my giveaway, I’d love to gift someone a $10 Amazon gift card. Just comment below and tell me about your favorite books that feature food or feel free to leave me a recipe! I’ll choose a name at the end of the blog hop.

Be well, everyone, and make sure you visit all of the blogs on the Hop!

Also, if you’re looking for some new reads, I and a lot of authors at Pride Publishing/Totally Entwined Group are offering books for free or reduced prices (make sure you click on the book you’re interested in because sometimes the reduced price doesn’t show in the preview). Check out my blog post about four free titles from Brigham Vaughn and myself!

Free Titles Through Pride Publishing/Totally Entwined Group

Things have changed radically for so many of us in a matter of weeks and it’s no wonder scores of people have resorted to reading to find a little peace. Brigham Vaughn, my co-writer, and I are very happy to work with our friends at Pride Publishing/Totally Entwined Group to make some of our books available for free.

In less than six hours, the TEG Team pulled together an amazing giveaway at First For Romance with hundreds of books available, including two that Brigham and I wrote together and two solo books. All four of our books are free. They should also be free on Amazon and other platforms sometime in the next few days.

Please make sure you look after yourself and your loved ones and stay healthy and safe. We’ll get through this together.

“Third Times the Charm” – Boston Seasons Book 1

“Wake” – Tidal Series Book 1

“The Soldier Next Door”

“With a Twist: – The Speakeasy Series Book 1

2019: Looking Back While Looking Forward

Book Cover Instagram Post 2019

2019 proved to be intense in more ways than one and surprisingly productive. My schedule at the day job hit new highs and the drama in my family new lows, but I made time to write and, honestly, I think that act saved me from going under emotionally and mentally.

I loved the stories I wrote. I started two new series, Boston Seasons and Stealing Hearts, and added two books to the The Speakeasy series that I co-write with Brigham Vaughn. I also attended my first GRL Retreat which proved to be fun and rewarding in ways I never could have predicted.

As I look forward to the next year, I have two books already more than half-way written (Boston Seasons #2 and The Speakeasy #4 for those of you who are interested) and plans for so many more. So thank you to everyone who made this year productive and full, including my co-writer, Brigham Vaughn, and the beta readers and editors who polish my words until they shine: Shelli, Kaye, Jayme, Shelly, Allison, Becca, Sally, Tracy, Rebecca, and Helena—your encouragement and patience make so many things possible.

And my immense thanks to those of you who read my words. I am more thankful and honored than I can express.

Healing Hearts – Stealing Hearts #2, a holiday novella

Healing Hearts Book CoverEarlier this year, I released Thief of Hearts, a novella for Valentine’s Day. I enjoyed the world I’d built so much, I decided to revisit it for the winter holiday season and wrote Healing Hearts, book two in the Stealing Hearts series, a sexy, hurt-comfort novella featuring a May-December romance.

Summary:

Some hearts are made to be mended.

Zac Alvarez never expected to start his life over at forty-five, but his recent divorce means doing just that. Luckily, his career as a nurse in Boston keeps him busy and he has friends who understand Zac’s need to be as careful with his heart as he is with his diet.

Acting on a whim one fall afternoon, Zac buys lunch from a food truck and meets Aiden Marinelli, a bold young chef who is taking the city’s food scene in new directions. Aiden is only thirty, a fact that doesn’t sit well with Zac, but both the chef and his food prove impossible to resist.

An attachment forms between the two men and, as the winter holidays draw near, Zac begins to emerge from the protective shell he’s built around himself. A chance encounter with his ex-husband shakes Zac’s newfound confidence, however, and he pushes Aiden away, unaware how deeply the act will hurt them both until it is too late.

Healing Hearts, Stealing Hearts #2, is available for 99c on Amazon
or to read for free through Kindle Unlimited.

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Add on Goodreads 

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Prolific Works Giveaway from GRL 2019 Authors

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I’m attending Gay Lit Rom this year for the first time ever! As everyone gears up, some of the registered authors are participating in a giveaway at Prolific Works so grab your free stories from now through the end of October. Discover new authors, new books, and new series, and find new favorites!

For a full list of GRL 2019 authors, check www.gayromlit.com.