Thursday, October 22, 2015

GRL 2015 San Diego Recap

Normally I don't do a recap of conferences. How can I fit so many wonderful things and folks in one itty bitty post? But, what the heck, thought I try this time.

Things kicked off right when I landed in Houston for my layover and found Jessica Canoto, Alissa Steele, and Gina Gutierrez waiting at the same gate. Woohoo! Party starts here and carried onto the flight to CA. Hugs and love to Laurie Peterson for being so gracious in gathering some lonely lost souls from the plane, including me. Your hubby is adorable too!

The Bahia Resort is gorgeous and easier to navigate than the crazy honeycomb maze of Chicago (tho I still laugh everytime I remember all of us getting lost and turned around so many times). Started seeing most of our crowd in and around the lobby. There was my beloved pal and roomie – Rebecca Johnson – and got our long-awaited hugs! While waiting for room to get ready, I wandered into the cafĂ© for food and met Atom Yang, Caraway Carter, and others who enjoyed the writer's workshop where Kris Jacen, my beloved awesome editor, used my Walk Me Trilogy and others to help show series arcs. Walk down to dinner with Juli-Anna Dobson – you know I can never get thru a GRL without finding you – and we got lovely eye-candy (runner in white shorts – Hello!) as a treat. Enjoyed some of the Pre-Retreat Meet and Greet along with Swag Room set-up to get a gander at what everyone created. Enjoyed the gorgeous beach-bay view from my room's sliders and took pics.


Next day started out with a bang – Starbucks run and bumping into more folks and got to Swag Room. Then it was time for the Supporting Author booksigning – My turn at the signing table. Talked to anyone who stopped by to see me or visit Pip n Skip, enjoyed talking to folks about Southern Charm, Walk Me Trilogy and other ideas coming down the pike. Loved meeting new readers when I signed the special Stories/Excerpts Anthology – From San Diego with Love – thank you Cate Ashwood for creating this for everyone. Hugs and love to AKM Miles for her love and support of Following the Law and pics. Fangirled the sweet Cody Kennedy (sorry for the pounce).


Then all the spotlights started – first was the Storyteller Spotlight – KC Burn, Lynn Lorenz and Belinda McBride talking about all the characters we love and adore. Followed up by another Storyteller spotlight with Mary Calmes (really gotta pick up some of your books!!), Andrew Grey (you know I adore you) and Jaime Reese (you always have a spot in my heart since Tennessee!). Rushed up to Mission Ballroom for a packed house (standing room only!) to listen to Charlie Cochet (Dex and THIRDS – utter total fangirl!), Rhys Ford (Miki love!), and Lisa Henry (a new one to me but adore). We had our very own THIRDS Agent - Regina Franchi, you were so damn cool in cosplay of Dex – unforgettable! So happy to meet you!

Luau time! Gathered all my special goody bags, talked with one of my favorite besties, Rj Scott, and laughed at Brandon Witt with his unforgettable flamingo hat. We got leid and stepped out to cheers and applause from you awesome readers. Went to Table 6 and got utter cheers and had NO clue what I got myself into when I saw colorful tentacles raised by the Kraken Team of Prism Book Alliance. Things got louder when Tj Klune joined us. Tj and I laughed the entire night by the ladies antics and helped by Kraken Juice and Hula Twerking. (I will not make mention of my issue with the chair - nope nope) Best table evah! May I request this table next year? Spent some time at the after party, but not long.


Crawled outta bed next morning – but sat with SJD Peterson and SA McCauley and roomie, Rebecca Johnson, for an awesome breakfast chat. Thank you ladies for letting us join you. Luckily Dreamspinner provided more caffeine and sustenance for all the bleary eyed folks. Jumped right back into spotlights – Q&A with Alexis Duran, Jordan L. Hawk (total utter fangirl squeal whenever I see her and David and highlights of W&G and Spectre) and Felice Stevens. Took a few minutes to speak with Nicki and Claire at the Pride Publishing table about ideas for Southern Charm series (still in the works – but news of competition will hopefully be announced – stay tuned for news!!) and rushed to tail end of Wheel of Destiny – Poppy Dennison, Wade Kelly, and SJD Peterson. Before lunch and lounge, I stayed to listen to Turning Up the Heat with SE Jakes, Silvia Violet and LA Witt. Went to my Lounge Session, not too many visitors, but loves listening and joining in on conversations plus more bunny love. Listened and joined in the wonderful and informative session Role Players in Sex with Tj Klune, SA McAuley and Abigail Roux where we ventured into the rest of the rainbow spectrum – beyond the Gay. Thank you three so much for opening these mostly unknown sexualities and supporting others – including me (Ace and proud of it) and one of my newest heroes, Beau Courtenay – a Gay Asexual.

Time for the Fun Fair! I joined in on the Win, Lose, Draw or Discover game as a Supporting Author. Big thanks once more to LA Witt and Anna Zabo for giving the Supporting Authors time to shine. The game was Pictionary and full of tropes. Yes, penises and MPreg were involved. Lots! Joined LA, Anna, Carrie Anne, and so many others on the patio for a truly epic game of Cards Against Humanity. Man, most of us were sober, but boy some of you were so naughty. Naughty!

Last full day – Booo! – but more caffeine to kick off the morning. Morning spotlight – Blue Collar Hero with Amber Kell, Rj Scott and Marie Sexton (with her ever awesome shoe choices!). Randy Gresham came to the rescue with microphones. Even this early, laughs were abound – NO, I wasn't sleeping in Rj's pic of the room, bad timing. Why would I sleep? It was topped off by Rj's fabulous hubby reading a steamy scene from Texas Heat. Come on – steamy scene and British accent – can't miss combo! Finished with the last spotlight – Why Quirk is our Kink – Tara Lain (so sweet and kind), Amy Lane (fangirl – I can never miss any time with Amy) and ZA Maxfield (Love you and gotta catch up on your books too).


On to the big event – Featured Author Booksigning. Hot, loud, and crowded so I couldn't quite stay for long but got the signatures I desired and yes, I got extra books. Hugs and love to everyone for taking the time to sign stuff. Even Rj, tho she sent me to the back of the line. Love ya anyway, Rj!

Got to watch my last sunset in San Diego...

Rebecca and I hung out before the Hollywood Costume Extravaganza with some lovely folks – Juli-Anna, Jessica, Laurie, and Nancy. Chit-chatted, laughed, and dressed for the party. Pulled my last minute costume together, but it worked. My roomie rocked it as Kim Kardashian – full on attitude and everything. You go, girl! Juli-Anna wore a gorgeous Tardis costume while Jessica and Laurie were sexy Snow White and the Evil Queen – complete with an apple.

OMG – the costumes were beyond awesome this year. It kicked off with the Fashion Police and Fan Girls on the Red Carpet reporting live from GRL. From Hollywood glam, to a full set of Batman and his villians, black and white characters – especially Charlie Chaplin (hi Cody!), the Spice Girls – Zathyn, you rocked the look!, and Her Majesty, the Queen of Unconventional Happy Endings, with a full Royal entrance. Kris tried to whip me into obedience – don't know if it worked. I ended up part of a Marvel Crew – Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, Black Widow and Winter Soldier (K-lee, you rocked the look). Jim Morrison came back to visit us – way sexy, Jared Rachler. Finn and Jake from Adventure Time took photos.

Last morning – mega booo! – was the Farewell Brunch. Last goodbyes to all my friends – long-time and new. Lots of hugs. Even some first-time hellos as others catch sight of one another for first time throughout conference – never fails. Promises to find one another at next year – Kansas City.

GRL didn't quite end right away – got to spend more time with others at San Diego. Shared a flight out with Amy DiMartino.

Hugs and love to the organizers and everything you do to make GRL Retreat one of the best places to get together. Hugs and kisses to everyone!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Walk Me 3 - Walk Me Through the Darkness Release

While I was enjoying GRL, a funny little thing happen... Walk Me 3 - Walk Me Through the Darkness released with MLR Press!

 Basil Wallstatt, former USMC sniper, is fighting to regain control of his body, emotions and life. After surviving a helicopter crash, he spent years in recovery. When he broke down and read the packet of letters from home, he knows its time to return to Montana. He needs to repair the broken bonds within his family. Even lost in the darkness of his past, he wonders if he can find the path back to the light.

Sound technician for Midnight Twang, Thomas Bellamy isn't on stage, but dresses with flash and style to cover the rest of the band. He's happy to be their 'peacock' and work in the ranch's kitchen instead of riding a horse. One of the first to see the mysterious newcomer, he can't believe he's looking upon his childhood crush that lasted through his life. With all of Basil's barriers, he's determine to not let him disappear again. He wasn't the only one who loves a Wallstatt sibling.

And it became a Bestseller at All Romance Ebooks!!
Here are some inspirational images for Walk Me Through the Darkness

This is Basil and adorable Stryker


This is the 'peacock' and sound tech for Midnight Twang - Thomas

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Southern Charm Short: Dorian's Birthday Moment

Dorian's Birthday Moment
From the Southern Charm Series

Even in the middle of construction and chaos, Dorian Stewart could see the promise of what the beautiful old Southern plantation-style B&B would become when finished. The Southern Charm was always filled with grace and beauty from the time he came here as a child to enjoy a meal with his mother. From the first time stepping in the doors, Dorian told his mom he would work here one day. It was in the style of any determined kid who wanted to figure out what he would become as a grown-up. His mom laughed, but encouraged him to join her in the kitchen. He learned the basics of cooking and creating from her, but taught more under the studious careful hands and mentoring by head chef Dakota Mitchell and sous chef Malcolm Bissete. Mal became his best friend over the years.

Walking up the back porch, the new 'entrance' during construction, and entering the side hall of the restaurant. Dorian looked around, seeing new signs of construction, but no one was around.
"Hello? Anyone here?"

Turning a corner, Dorian pushed through the doors.


Dorian jumped and screeched at the thundering sound of all the voices screaming together at him.

"Happy Birthday, Dorian!"

Pressing a hand to his chest, Dorian learned how to breathe again. "Holy crap."

"Oops. I think we were a little over enthusiastic," Mal said as he pushed forward through the crowd.

"Ya think?"

Mal cracked up laughing. He wrapped his arms and hugged Dorian off his feet. "Happy birthday, buddy." He patted Dorian's back several times.

"Wasn't expecting all of this," Dorian said.

"Did you think we would forget about your day?"

Dorian shrugged.

"Silly guy," Mal said. "Come on. We have a day planned for you. With a special surprise…"

"What surprise?"

"Me, son, I'm your surprise," someone said with a soft voice.

Dorian turned and saw his mother, Penelope Stewart, appearing from the crowd. Curled in her wheelchair, she had a blanket wrapped around her legs. Most of her body was useless from the ravaging effects of the multiple sclerosis, but her eyes were bright and full of love. He looked from his mom's face to Dakota, who pushed the chair for her.

"Mom, what are you doing here? How…" Dorian crouched in front of her. He kissed her soft cheek, smooth and unwrinkled.

"I wanted to be here and Dakota helped the nurse and I leave the house. There's no way my son would spend his 20th birthday without me."

"Thank you for being here, Mom, but you're not strong enough."

"I'm strong enough for today," Penelope said.

"Come on, Dorian, it's a celebration," Mal said, tugging Dorian away to the gathering crowd.

Hours passed with the celebration, no work, no arguments, and fun. Dorian and his mother enjoyed everything from the music, to the guests, the delicious food, and large cake created for the party.

As the day wore on, Dorian and others could see his mother start to fade. Her energy and health wasn't good. He didn't know how much longer he would have her in his life. This made the celebration even more special. His mother was with him. He would cherish whatever time they had together.

This made this birthday the best he'll have in his life.

See more about Dorian and the others who live and work around the Southern Charm in my series with Pride Publishing:
Book 1: Rules of the Chef – Available now!
Book 2: By the Numbers – Available now!
Book 3: On the Green – Available now!
Book 4: When in Bloom – Available now!
Book 5: Following the Law – Available now!
Book 6: According to Design – Coming Soon in 2016!
Book 7: Beach Wedding – Coming Soon in 2016!

Book 8: Unexpected in the End (Dorian's story) – Coming Soon in 2016!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Excerpt: Following the Law

To help celebrate the general release of Southern Charm 5: Following the Law, I hope you enjoy this excerpt:

Purchase Links:

**Note: This scene takes place during Robin's surprise visit to Beau's home to check on a disturbance, but finds Beau instead.**

As he talked, Beau returned to putting away groceries, pushing stuff over to Robin, pointing to the pantry as he took care of the fresh and frozen items. He left several items out, an idea for a quick dinner coming together in his head.

Robin stopped when he discovered the stash of brightly colored boxes. “Froot Loops? Lucky Charms?” He shook the boxes as he raised an eyebrow in question. “Got a sweet tooth?”

“Yes, is there a problem with a grown man eating kids’ sugary cereal?”

“No. No. Out of the box or in a bowl with milk?”

“Both. Depends on what I need.”

Robin laughed. “Interesting breakfast choice.” He lifted another box. “Oh damn, you have Cocoa Puffs! I love these things. They give you chocolate milk.”

“Do you want breakfast for dinner or dinner-dinner?”

“Food. All I want is food.”

“Dinner it is.”

With the groceries put away, Beau rolled his sleeves to his elbows and washed his hands. Robin perched on a stool at the kitchen bar.

“Do you want beef or chicken?”

“What’s faster and easier for you?”

“About the same since they’re going to be cut into thin strips.”


“I figured you for a beef man, but you got it.” Beau placed the package of beef in the freezer. “Want to help?”

“Did I mention I live on freezer meals? They’re there for a reason. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to either end up burnt or blown-up. I have all the local restaurants on my phone for emergencies,” Robin said with a chuckle.

“Wash your hands and I’ll give you a few tips.”

“Okay. I warned you.” Robin slid off the stool and moved around to wash his hands.

“I’ll be here to stop things from going too far.”

After drying his hands on a paper towel, Robin held it wadded in one hand. “Now what?”

“Go ahead and take a seat. You can work on the bar.” Beau placed a cutting board and knife on the counter. He opened a package of thick sliced bacon and pulled out half of the strips. He located the pot and skillet. He set water to boil and placed a package of lo mein noodles next to it.


“Everything is better with bacon,” Beau said.

“Hell yeah!”

Beau laid the bacon slices on the board. “I need you to dice these.” He demonstrated how he wanted the bacon chopped. “Got it? Can you do this without nicking a finger?”

“Yup. I can handle this,” Robin said and made a few cuts under Beau’s scrutiny.

“All the slices need to end up like them.”

While Robin made painstaking process, Beau sliced his way through carrots, an onion, mushrooms, fresh ginger root, scallions and snow peas. He located a can of water chestnuts, cut through the top then drained the excess water. He cleaned and dried the chicken strips while letting the skillet heat.

Robin looked up from his accomplishment and saw Beau’s pile. “Shit…”

“No. No. You’re fine.” Beau poured the noodles into the water. He scooped the bacon and tossed it in the skillet.

“So. What are you making?”

“A bacon and chicken lo mein dish. A bit of Chinese. A bit of American. My own version of lo mein.” Beau pushed the crisping bacon around. “Can you fold a couple of paper towels on a plate? The plates are there.” He pointed to a cabinet.

“Sure,” Robin said.

Beau scooped the bacon onto the towel. He got another towel and wiped out some of the fat, but kept some for flavor. He added the chicken to the skillet, and listened as it sizzled. Robin snitched a few pieces of crisped hot bacon. Beau slapped Robin’s fingers when he tried again.

“Ow,” Robin said.

“Do I need to banish you to the living room?”

“I’m hungry.”

“When did you eat last?”

Robin stayed silent.

Beau lifted an eyebrow. “Don’t you remember?”

Robin shook his head.

“Keep an eye on the chicken. If you see smoke, yell for me.”

“Umm. Okay?”

“Just a minute. I promise.” Beau moved to the fridge, pulled out a container of hummus, a bag of baby carrots and crackers from the pantry. He made a quick plate and set it on the counter by Robin along with a glass of iced tea. “Here. Snack on this before you crash.” He hip bumped Robin away and pointed toward the stool.

“You didn’t need…”

“Eat, Robin,” Beau said.

“This is rather different from your sugary snacks.”

“A well-balanced diet.”

Robin smacked a kiss on Beau’s cheek. “Thanks…”

“What the hell is he doing here?”

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fresh Fiction Post

To help celebrate the General Release of Following the Law, I was invited to Fresh Fiction.

Thanks to Robin's helplessness in the kitchen and Beau's ability to whip up something to feed the poor Sheriff, I thought I give you the recipe of their first meal together.

I hope you enjoy it!

Fresh Fiction

The 'Dirty Dozen' blog hop | *12 Authors * 12 Days * 12 question Q&A * 12 e-book giveaway | Let's say hello to @Carter_Quinn

"Dirty Dozen" 
blog hop

12 GRL Authors | 12 Question Q&A | 12 book Giveaway

Thank you all for stopping by, today I am hosting Author Carter Quinn for the 'Dirty Dozen' blog hop, Q&A and Giveaway! 

About the Author 

Carter Quinn was born and raised in a very small Western Kansas town where cattle vastly outnumber humans. In the 90s he read enough depressing gay fiction to give up on it. He discovered M/M in 2010 and started writing again. Now he's told Corporate America to kiss his books. Carter recently left the Denver area, meaning he is entirely too far from his beloved Colorado Avalanche.

Author Links:www | facebook | twitter | goodreads 

It's only been three weeks since Henry woke up to discover his husband, Tom, had vanished. He's still struggling to come to terms with his new reality when he receives a haunting phone call: “Henry. Help me.” It’s Tom's voice, but Henry is afraid to believe. His world has already come crashing down around him twice in the last six months. Is Tom really alive, or is Henry losing his grip on reality again?

Buy Link: Amazon

Dirty Dozen Q&A with Carter Quinn

1)Do you fully outline a book? Or do you sit and let the thoughts flow as you type?
CQ: It depends. Usually I’ll outline just the first half so I have a bit of direction. The last two have been fully outlined—and they’ve changed from what I initially put down. That’s okay. It’s part of the process.

2)Describe your writing style in five words and what about that style sets you apart from other authors in your genre(s)?
CQ: My tagline is: “More Than Just Friction Fiction.” I’m not interested in providing one-handed stories. I want to make readers feel—laugh, cry, hate, love—and think. I don’t think that sets me apart, but I believe it’s essential to my writing.

3)What are you currently working on, and what can we expect from you in 2016?
CQ: I’m writing a book about the presidential election right now. It’s fun and difficult. Hopefully, you’ll see two novels and two short stories from me in 2016, including a full novel for Trick and Nate.

4)What's the answer to the one question no interviewer has ever asked? 
CQ: I should have asked an easier question! Like, what is the one question you never want to see in an interview again? (Uhm, this one?) The answer is, quite obviously, 42. How’s that?

5)When you're stuck on a story, what do you do to get the words flowing again?
CQ: I get on the phone and brainstorm with my bestie in Florida. We always come up with the best stories. Trouble is, neither of us writes them down so it sort of defeats the purpose. But a lot of creativity results from those conversations.

6)What's your favorite scene from your own work, and the one that's lingered longest from someone else's? 
CQ: That’s tough. One of my favorites of mine is when Avery gets angry at Noah. That’s a huge thing for Avery—to allow himself to feel anger and then to act out. I don’t really have specific scenes from other people’s books that stick out in my memory. It’s more an impression of the book as a whole. Imagica by Clive Barker was life-changing at the time, but I couldn’t give you details of a specific scene.

7)What is your favorite genre to read? Least favorite?
CQ: I’m the history and biography reader, although I haven’t done much of that lately. I’ve read a ton of M/M in the last 5 years. I don’t do horror well. I don’t like to scare myself. There are some energies I think we just need to leave alone until we understand them better.

8)Tell us about your writing environment and where your writing time fits into your daily or weekly schedule?
CQ: I have a small writing desk under a window that looks out onto miles and miles of nothingness. The tranquility of it calms my mind and opens it to possibilities. When I lived in the city, I looked out into a courtyard that was always full of activity that distracted me. This is much better. I try to write Monday-Friday, from 9 or 10 until I hit my word count. Could be noon, could be 4 o’clock or later.

9)How do you manage all of your new plot bunnies and what is your process to work on one?
CQ: Most of mine come at the least opportune time—in the shower, when I’m driving, as a dream, on a phone call. I’m never able to write them down right away, so then I struggle to remember them. I start with impressions and a general feel, then I’ll sketch a scene if one came to me. The Vanished trilogy came from this: “What would it feel like to wake up one morning and your spouse isn’t there? Is he dead? Alive? Did he ever exist at all?”

10)What keeps you focused when writing?
CQ: Music and frequent breaks. They’re both essential. I need to have the background noise, but it can’t be new music or I’ll focus more on that than writing. The breaks allow my mind to regroup. Before I incorporated the breaks, I could sit all day and get 700 words done. Now I can do 800-1200 in a 35-minute sprint and know I’ll have a break when that’s done.

11)In a perfect world, would you write full time? If so, would it ll be mm/LGBT or would there be some mf in there too? 
CQ: Definitely. It’s a million times better than slaving away for Corporate America. I have no desire to write het or ff. I’d love to write an incredible, strong heroine, but I don’t have the story for her—yet.

12)What influenced your decision to write in this genre?
CQ: I’m a gay man. My brain has always put two men together. When I came out, I started reading gay histories and biographies (And the Band Played On, The Mayor of Castro Street) to learn about my people. That led me to incredible fiction (Armistead Maupin, Sandra Scoppettone, Michael Nava, Felice Picano, etc.). It was hard to find gay voices in the early 1990s. And then it became impossible to find any happy gay voices, so I moved back to general histories and biographies. I found a couple of m/m titles once in a desperate search for something gay to read, and I fell in love. A year later, Jessewave was having a contest for readers to submit a short story, so I thought why not? “In the Crease” was the first piece I’d ever let myself finish (if I didn’t finish, I couldn’t fail). By the time the contest was cancelled for lack of participants, I’d already started on what would be The Way Back. The rest, as they say, is history.

Follow the tour 
{You can leave comments at each stop for additional entries}

September 24th | AE Via is hosting Wade Kelly
September 25th | Aisling Mancy is hosting Tempeste O'Riley
September 28th | Alexa Land is hosting TM Smith
September 29th | Carter Quinn is hosting Nicole Dennis
September 30th | Jeff Adams is hosting Nic Starr
October 1st | LE Franks is hosting Morticia Knight
October 2nd | Morticia Knight is hosting LE Franks
October 5th | Nic Starr is hosting Jeff Adams
October 6th | Nicole Dennis is hosting Carter Quinn
October 7th | TM Smith is hosting Alexa Land
October 8th | Tempeste O'Riley is hosting Aisling Mancy
October 9th | Wade Kelly is hosting AE Via

"Dirty Dozen" e-book extravaganza giveaway... 

ONE lucky winner will receive an e-book from each Author on the hop. Most Author's have submitted winner's choice from their backlist, but a few have listed a specific title.

AE Via: Winner’s choice, one book from the Nothing Special series

Aisling Mancy: Joyeaux Noel by Aisling Mancy (adult) or Safe by C. Kennedy (young adult)

Alexa Land: One ebook copy from the  'Coming Home' series, or Winner's choice from my backlist.

Carter Quinn: Winner’s choice, one book from Carter's backlist

Jeff Adams: Winner’s choice, one book from Jeff's backlist

LE Frank: Winner's choice, copy of 6 Days to Valentine or Can This be Real

Morticia Knight: Winner’s choice, one book from Morticia's backlist

Nic Starr: Winner's choice, copy of Andrew's Promise or More Than a Friend

Nicole Dennis: Winner’s choice, one book from Nicole's backlist

TM Smith: Winner’s choice, one book from TM's backlist

Tempeste O'Riley: Winner’s choice, one book from Tempeste's backlist

Wade Kelly: Winner’s choice, one book from Wade's backlist

Just think, you could have every book you see pictured above on your e-reader. That should keep you busy for a while! 

Be sure to follow the hop and see how all 12 questions might be the same, but the answers will be wildly different. And show your support by sharing each days post on your social media accounts!

Good luck everyone, see you in San Diego!!

**** to enter the giveaway leave a comment below - you can visit EACH stop on the hop via the links above by their name, and leave a comment at EACH stop for additional entries. At the end of the hop I will put EVERY comment from EACH stop into a hat and draw ONE lucky winner ****