Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - T.A. Moore


Author T.A. Moore is here today with a mind-blowing fic. So, without further ado...


PAYING THE PIPER


People think magic is hard. They make up stories of scholomances and dark apprenticeships, of long years of study and old, wise mages who know when not to use a spell.

That’s all bollocks.

You don’t need any of that. All you need is that cold, effervescent moment when you want something—revenge, love, money—so much that you forgot nothing came for free. That got you that first, mercurial spill of power that wrung out your soul like an orgasm wrung out your body.

Of course, what some people wanted wasn’t always...good.

Lachlan cocked his head to the side and peered down at the dead man in the bath. The last sighting of him had been two hours ago, in a bar with a pretty boy who had a sharp smile and a sleeve of intricate tattoos that glowed subtly in the neon lights. From the state of him it should have been a year ago, his body rendered down to congealed fat and thick broth in the stagnant water.

“Jesus,” one of the cops muttered as the smell made them recoil out of the room. “What the hell happened?”

Lachlan snorted and snapped latex gloves on over his hands. The familiar, powdered itch of them against his fingers focused his mind on the job. He was here. That should have been enough to give the local plods a starting point for speculation. What wasn’t the question that needed answered. It was who.

“Francis Graves,” a familiar voice said behind him, the rough scrape of something ruined under the calm delivery. “He was a convicted sex offender, but he had friends in low places. The word is that he did the accounts for half the crooks in the city, and they didn’t want him out of commission for tax season. He got two years, probation. It looks like someone wanted their own justice.”

Old lust itched down Lachlan’s spine—a memory of something he’d wasted—and it should have been easy to ignore. There was a man boiled down to soup in his own tub, if the sight of it wasn’t enough to turn his stomach the odd sweet reek of it should have been. Somehow though, that just made it easier to let his mind wander. It scraped up that one fevered hour and picked it apart to spin it out into something with a bit more staying power.

“You sound like you approve,” Lachlan said.

“Someone got him off the streets,” one of the uniform’s on scene muttered. “We should thank them.”

There was a pause and then Ross cleared his throat with quiet disapproval.

“It’s not justice, and it’s not the law, but I’m not shedding any tears.”

Lach glanced over his shoulder. He kept waiting for Ross to get a stye in his eye or to mouth something hateful. Anything that would make the ridiculously perfect man just a little less...desirable. Nothing yet. Detective Ross McEntire rolled out of bed in the morning ready to serve and protect, and he looked good doing it.

So did Lach, of course, but he cheated.

“Don’t be too ready to give them a medal just yet,” he said dryly. “This wasn’t the work of some wronged victim. Not anymore anyhow.”

He spread his head wide over the bathtub. The sickly heat of it felt like a clammy grip against his palm. A muttered word under his breath made the tattooed lines on his arms splutter to life, a mute glow that stained his white shirt blue and glowed through thin material of the gloves.

After a second the thick stew in the bath gurgled and spat like a pot on the stove. The thick layer of rancid grease congealed around the edges of the tub spluttered to sullen, yellowish light.

“It wasn’t murder,” he said. “It was shopping.”

The tincture that someone had turned Graves into had already been tapped. Most of the magic had been collected, stoppered, taken away—but there was always a little left.

“The kid at the bar?” Ross asked. He should have learned from the case that ruined his throat, but he still sounded sceptical. “He can’t be more than 20.”

“Do you know what I did when I was twenty?” Lach asked.

It was rhetorical. Everyone did. They got the rundown on his record the day before they met him, just to make sure they remembered why not to take his cuffs off. Ross knew better than most. That had been the case that ruined his throat, and why Lach should have been ashamed to imagine him naked.

“So what next?” Ross asked after an awkward pause. “Do we need to put protection details on all the perverts who got off with a slap on the wrist?”

He’d do it too, despite the distaste in his voice. The same way he worked with Lachlan, despite everything. Ross didn’t let his own feelings get in the way of his job.

“That would be too easy,” Lach said as he stepped back from the bath. There was nothing here for him, no passion or spillover of compulsion. The only thing the killer had left behind was a mild, satisfied feeling, like a housewife who’d found the spice mix she needed. “It’s a recipe, Detective. I’ve seen how you cook, but most people add more than one ingredient to their dinner.”

He heard it in his voice, the same way everyone else in the room did. An off-putting hint of professional admiration that got away from him before he could strangle it.

Magic was easy. Magic was cheap. Just like the first hit of crack from your dealer. It was only once you were hooked that the price went up.

So creative, right? We unicorns thank T.A. for helping to make our 5th anniversary special!

Author Bio: 


TA Moore -
TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide. As her grandmother always said, ‘she’d laugh at a bad thing that one’, mind you, that was the pot calling the kettle black. TA Moore studied History, Irish mythology, English at University, mostly because she has always loved a good story. She has worked as a journalist, a finance manager, and in the arts sectors before she finally gave in to a lifelong desire to write.

Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.

Twitter: @tammy_moore



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Enter to win a $20 DSP gift card from author T.A. Moore. The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST) 11/21/18. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/18!

Review: Introducing Mr. Winterbourne by Joanna Chambers

Lysander Winterbourne appears to lead a charmed life. Handsome, amiable, and a renowned sportsman, he is the darling of London society. As far as Adam Freeman is concerned though, Lysander is just another spoiled aristocrat.

A wealthy mill owner, Adam has no time for the frivolous world of the ton, but when his younger brother becomes engaged to Althea Winterbourne, he reluctantly agrees to be introduced to society–with the Winterbourne clan’s golden boy as his guide.

Resigning himself to a few days of boredom, Adam is surprised to learn that there is much more to Lysander than his perfect surface. But will Adam have the courage to introduce Lysander Winterbourne to his own secret self?



Simply Delightful!

This little story put a smile on my face with the first curricle mention. There's just something about this era that appeals to me, all that buttoned up stodgyness just begging to be ripped open like a kid a Christmas. *shivers* I love it. I also have an age difference kink and there is a slight one here. Plus, if it gets your motor running, Lysander is a virgin.

In my opinion, few others can deliver the Regency goods like Joanna Chambers and she did with this little dumpling. 

Adam and Lysander have an enemies vibe initially, though it's more like animosity on Adam's part since he's been shunned by the aristocracy for being a commoner. A commoner with enviable wealth, to be certain, but a commoner nonetheless. He assumes Lysander is another in a long line who've looked down their noses at him.

Lysander quickly dispels that notion and over the course of a day the two form a connection. The evolution happened right before my very eyes! Every moment they spent together was economic in the relationship development sense and along the way both of their personalities emerged through the dual perspectives as did their attraction to each other. 


Though they only know each other a day, I completely bought into their connection and loved every minute with them whether it be fencing, sharing a meal or dancing in the moonlight, I wanted more, more of the Lysander's sweet shyness and more of Adam's grouchiness and more of them finding common ground and becoming more comfortable as they discover they are cut from the same cloth. Some may naysay the speed of the sexytimes but CARPE DIEM, I say!

Through language and knowledge of the era Joanna Chambers created an atmosphere that immediately transported me to this world and I look forward to re-entering it with "Mr. Winterbourne's Christmas" soon.

Recommend to historical romance fans who like their enemies to lovers trope on the lite side.



A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - C.S. Poe


C.S. Poe is joining in the fun today and she's talking about the evolution of her 2017 Advent holiday short, "New Game, Start". She's also offering 3 ecopies of it! Take it away, C.S.!


Hello, friends! I’m C.S. Poe—mystery, romance, and paranormal author. I’m here today to help celebrate Boy Meets Boy’s blogversary with some “deleted scenes!”

I’ve been asked before about my writing process, and that would be: I don’t do drafts. The product I write is the first and only version sent to my publisher. (This method involves a lot of staring at the wall.) I tend to completely delete projects anywhere from the first paragraph to the fiftieth page, depending upon when I realize the story simply isn’t right. And because I’m a deleter, not a saver, I rarely have outtakes to share because in my mind, I deleted for good reason.

However, I did recently stumble across saved files of the first versions of my 2017 short holiday story, New Game, Start. Those cast aside beginnings actually weren’t that bad, they simply didn’t have the oomph I was looking for. But I decided these were pieces I was comfortable sharing, so here is the progression of Walter and Edgar’s romance and characterizations! The first attempt had them in an established relationship, but I hadn’t a clue who Edgar was. The second was much more interesting but wasn’t cooperating with the prompt I had to follow as part of the anthology. Ultimately, the third version was what was published.


First Take:
“Walter!” I called, bursting into our tiny apartment like an out-of-control freight train. The heat instantly warmed my flushed skin and fogged my thick glasses. I juggled my thermos and dropped a book as I tried to close the door behind me. “Walter, are you home?” I tried again.
I heard a creak from the loft and then steps descending the steep stairs.
I crouched to retrieve my text book, in turn spilling some papers that needed grading. “The bodega downstairs has the most perfect, stumpy little Christmas tree for sale! It’ll fit into the corner of the room, and it doesn’t even look like something Charlie Brown would own!” I continued, picking up my mess.
“Edgar.”
Still on my knees, I raised my head and shoved my glasses up my nose. As the fog dissipated, I saw Walter was standing beside his wheeled suitcase, holding his passport in one hand. And just like that— the mirth was gone. I dropped my belongings onto the floor again.
“Ed,” he murmured.
“You’re leaving?”
Walter tapped his passport against the palm of his hand. “One of the senior advisors backed out of the trip at the last minute and chose me to go in her place.”
“You’ve worked overseas every year.”
“I can’t not go,” Walter continued.
“But—Christmas,” I murmured.
“This sort of opportunity is what leads to promotions,” Walter answered. “Then I’ll have the power to turn down trips during the holidays.”
“The stumpy tree,” I tried.
Pumpkin….”
The strap of my messenger bag slid off my shoulder and it toppled to the floor beside me.


Second Take:
“Get him a nice sweater.”
“A sweater does not say, I love you,” I answered.
“It does if it’s cashmere.”
I shoved my sliding glasses back up the bridge of my nose and stared at fellow grad student, Owen Michaels. “It just sounds like you’re telling me what you want for Christmas.”
“I wear a medium.”
“In your dreams.” I stuffed as many books and papers to grade as I could into my messenger bag, but still had a small mountain sitting on the table. I took everything back out and started another game of Tetris to get it all inside. “Walter pays for everything. I’m not going to use his money to buy you a sweater.”
Owen sighed and leaned his elbows on the table. “I need to get myself a rich, financial advisor boyfriend.”
“He’s not rich.”
“Edgar, everyone is rich when you compare them to a couple of astronomy grads surviving on nothing but dreams of working for NASA and a cupboard full of ramen noodles.”
“I guess so.”
But Owen was right. I’d met my boyfriend, Walter Armstrong, when I was an undergrad at Columbia University. I had been a fulltime student and waiter, barely scraping by in New York City. And at exactly 2:43 p.m. on November 13th, I’d tripped and spilled a bowl full of pasta on Walter’s lap during a lunch meeting of his with a client. At 6:21 p.m. that same day, we were on our first date.
Fast forward— I was now working toward obtaining my PhD in astronomy. I still studied fulltime, but now on top of working as a lab assistant and teacher as means of paying back the fellowship supporting my housing, books, and tuition. There was no way I could have managed an additional job outside of the college when I’d otherwise have needed it. It literally would have worked me to death. That’s when Walter offered to move us in together and pay for anything I needed so I could focus on my grades.
So yeah. I was definitely a poor college kid with nothing but a fellowship and my NASA dream. But at least I ate better than Owen.


Final Take:
There was this guy…. Shit. That was how it always started, right?
Walter Chase.
He was better known by his online gaming persona, Waldere, which was actually the name of the fragments of an otherwise long-lost Old English epic poem about the legendary Walter of Aquitaine. I didn’t think Walter’s typical fans realized that, but I had a PhD in medieval studies and languages, so the fact that Walter Chase had even a rudimentary knowledge of Waldere made him even more endearing to me.
Here was the thing, though.
Walter Chase didn’t even know I existed.
Because I was only one of his subscribers out of millions—just another adoring fan of his mad video-game skills, hilarious commentary, and humble personality. Walter was also an out-and-proud gay man. He was completely unapologetic and shut down homophobia on his channel quicker than the Addams Family could snap in unison. It was empowering to watch him succeed and be respected.
But seriously, I had no chance. I wasn’t some famous video gamer. I didn’t even play much beyond what would be considered casual gaming. I only watched playthroughs because I found them relaxing. I was a horribly insecure scholar and freelance translator, getting by in the big, bad city of New York, and pining after a gorgeous, wonderful, amazing stranger who had guys a thousand times hotter than myself asking in the comment threads of his videos to hook up at conventions.
So there was this guy… and I guess you could say it was pretty one-sided.



New Game, Start blurb:
Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.
He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.


Author bio: 


C.S. Poe is a Lambda Literary and EPIC award finalist author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.
She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited-edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.
​She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued two cats—Milo and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.
C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers organization.
Her debut novel, The Mystery of Nevermore, was published by DSP Publications, 2016.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win an ecopy of "New Game, Start". 3 Winners will be chosen. The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST) 11/21/18. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/18!

Blog Tour: Borrowed Boy by Gene Gant

 

Please welcome author Gene Gant to Boy  Meets Boy Reviews on the Borrowed Boy blog tour! Gene not only gives a reality check, the author also shares an exclusive from the new Harmony Ink Press release. Learn more below!

Take it away, Gene


     I think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of guy. This is a fairly dark period, not just in the USA but around the world. We Americans have a president and a political party that is using racism, lies, insane conspiracy theories and fear as tools to hold on to power, creating an environment that promotes violence against critics and political opponents, encourages white supremacists, demonizes the press, and curtails the rights of non-whites and people on the LGBTQ spectrum. People fleeing poverty, persecution and criminal gangs in their own countries are being denied asylum and turned away in European countries and the USA because of their skin color or the religion they practice. The rich are growing obscenely richer, with the world’s wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, while poverty is on a sharp upswing. The steady streams of filth we pour into the air and oceans is creating an environment unsuitable for life as we’ve known it. Dark times indeed. 

     But even when things seem their darkest, there is always a ray of hope. The characters in my stories usually face bleak and/or dire circumstances and, as in real life, things don’t always turn out the way they want. But in those awful situations they find reasons for hope, joy, gratitude. The following except from
Borrowed Boy is illustrative of this. Here the main character, Zavier Beckham, finds himself in the middle of a legal battle between his adoptive and birth parents. Frightened and frustrated, he’s trying to blow off steam by taking a walk through the neighborhood with his best friend, Cole. Their conversation forces Zavier to take another look at himself. 

     Thanks for reading!



Blurb:

An entire life can be snatched away in an instant.

Thirteen-year-old Zavier Beckham is an average teen living in Memphis. He has great parents and a quirky best friend named Cole. He’s happy, and he thinks his life is totally normal… until an FBI agent shows up and informs Zavier he was stolen as an infant and sold to an adoption agency.

Now his biological parents want him back.

Forced to confront his distant past, Zavier faces an uncertain future. He may be taken from the only home he’s known by parents who are strangers living in Chicago. He may have to deal with a brother who hates and torments him. He meets Brendan, an older boy who offers him friendship and wakens a strong, unsettling attraction in Zavier. Brendan has secrets of his own, and he’ll either be the one ray of light in Zavier’s tense situation or the last straw that breaks Zavier under the pressure.

Buy Links:

https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/borrowed-boy-by-gene-gant-567-b


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GNDYH93/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07GNDYH93&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2



Exclusive Excerpt

Fear had been hanging over my head for more than two weeks, a cloud that suddenly began to pour rain. I stuffed my hands in my pockets, ducking my head and hunching my shoulders as if to ward off a blow.
Cole trailed behind me as we went. He was a background sort of guy around his parents and when we hung out with a group of friends, so quiet at times that you’d almost forget he was there. But he wasn’t usually like that when it was just the two of us, and it was odd that he was hanging back now. I looked over my shoulder at him. “Hey. You okay?”
“Yeah,” he sighed.
“No, something’s bugging you. I know it.”
His forehead was glistening with sweat. He swiped a hand over his face. “I always thought of you as lucky.”
“Cole, I’m feeling anything but lucky now.”
“I get that, but still, I’m kinda jealous of you—”
I spun on him. “Jealous? That’s dumb, Cole. Stupid. You saying you want your life to be as big a mess as mine? Nobody wants what I got. Nobody wants to feel the way I do. I hate when you say crazy stuff.” Two seconds after I finished talking, I felt like kicking myself. Cole just stood there, blinking patiently at me. “Sorry,” I added. “I shouldn’t have said that to you.”
He shrugged. “It’s okay. You blow up when you’re mad and you’re scared. I can take it. Let’s keep walking. We’ll dry up like raisins if we stand still in this sun.” He started walking again, and I fell in step beside him. “What I meant, Zay, is that I’m jealous of what you have with your parents. Even finding out about the whole adoption thing didn’t change that. Being adopted means your mom and dad really wanted you. And now you’ve got two sets of parents fighting over who wants you most. That’s better than just being an accident, like me.”
“An accident?”
“A few months ago, I found a baby scrapbook my mom and dad made for Lolo. It has everything in it, from the first little announcement they sent out after Mom’s doctor told her she was pregnant to a chunk of the blanket Lolo was wrapped in when they brought her home from the hospital. Just looking at that scrapbook, you can tell how excited they were to have her. And that got me wondering, where was my baby scrapbook. My mom and dad never gave me a straight answer, so I asked Lolo.”
“And what did she tell you?”
“That Mom and Dad weren’t planning to have any more children after they had her. One kid was all they ever wanted. I was a surprise four years after Lolo. An accident that wasn’t supposed to happen.”
“Cole, you know how Lolo is. She probably made that up to prank you.”
“She didn’t make it up. She read it in a bunch of old emails she found on the computer, sent between Mom and our grandma. She showed them to me, and I read them myself. And it makes sense, because being an accident is exactly the way my mom and dad treat me most of the time. Lolo gets all of their attention, and I’m just an afterthought. Lolo got a baby scrapbook. I got squat. Lolo got a paintball party when she turned twelve. You know what I got when I turned twelve? Squat. Lolo got a car for Christmas last year. And I got… say it with me now… squat!”
“You got that new PlayStation last Christmas.”
“Uh-huh. Like a PlayStation is on the same level as a car.”
“You can’t even drive. And none of this means your parents don’t care. They wouldn’t feed you and keep you in the house if they didn’t want you. Remember when we both decided we wanted dreads? Your mom let you grow them. I begged like crazy, but my mom wouldn’t even think about it.”
“Because she believes dreads will make you look wild. Your mom doesn’t want you looking wild. My mom doesn’t give a fig what I look like.”
“Come on, Cole. You know your parents love you.”
“But I was just something that happened to them. I wasn’t a choice, like you were to your parents. I’m just saying… you don’t have to be so mad. You’ve got a lot of good things in your life, including a wicked smart and very good-looking best friend who doesn’t want you moving off to Chicago.”

Author bio:

Gene Gant grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. After living for a time in Missouri and Illinois, he now makes his home on a quiet country lane outside Memphis.

See our 4.5 ❤ Review of Borrowed Boy HERE.

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert


Annabeth Albert and A Novel Take PR visit today on the holiday romance blog tour for Better Not Pout! Not only does the author share her top ten seasonal foods but she hosts a giveaway! Enter for a chance to win 1 of 2 e-copies of any OUT OF UNIFORM series book or a finished Paperback copy of BETTER NOT POUT!

“Annabeth Albert delivers another charmer with Better Not Pout. A sweet and sexy holiday read that finds a grumpy St. Nick charmed by a do-gooder elf and his snowy town. Better Not Pout will warm your heart and soul this holiday season.”
— Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whiskey and Trouble Brewing series

Better Not Pout was charming, sweet, and sexy all at once! I love everything Annabeth Albert writes and this was no exception.” — Cat Sebastian, author of The Soldier's Scoundrel, The Ruin of a Rake, and The Regency Imposters series

Better Not Pout is a heartwarming read full of true love, holiday magic, steamy romance, and nuanced interactions between characters. Old fans and new readers alike will love everything about this book!” — Anna Zabo, author of the Takeover and Twisted Wishes series

Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

Publisher:
Carina Press (Harlequin)

Release Date (Print & Ebook):
Ebook: Monday November 12, 2018
Print (mmp): Tuesday November 27, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook):
Ebook: 288
Print (mmp): 288

Subgenre:
Contemporary Romance, Male/Male Romance, Holiday Romance, Military Romance

Order at:
Carina Press:
https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488038686_better-not-pout.html

Barnes & Noble (mmp): https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/better-not-pout-annabeth-albert/1128809456?ean=9781335924841

Barnes & Noble (ebook): https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/better-not-pout-annabeth-albert/1128809456?ean=9781488038686

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Better-Not-Pout-Annabeth-Albert-ebook/dp/B07DCT4BQB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535554732&sr=8-1&keywords=better+not+pout+by+annabeth+albert&dpID=51UflJbbq3L&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

Book Synopsis:

One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.



***

Hi! I’m so excited to be here! I’m Annabeth Albert, and I’m here celebrating my latest release, BETTER NOT POUT, which stars a cranky soldier about to leave the service and a much-younger man intent on giving him a good holiday. This May/December romance stands completely alone, so if you’ve been waiting to try my military romances, this is the perfect time to try! And this is also the perfect time of year to try new recipes and rediscover old favorites!

Writing BETTER NOT POUT made me so hungry! From the hot chocolate Teddy serves Nick when they are snowbound to a overflowing table at a large family Thanksgiving to sweet treats and warming soups, the book really does contain so much of what I love about the season. And rather than sharing one particular recipe, I wanted to share with you my list of my ten favorite seasonal foods!
  • Peppermint Mochas. I’m a well-known coffee addict, and even in the winter, I still mainly drink it iced. An iced or hot peppermint mocha is my drink of choice all season long!
  • Eggnog. Now, I could order an eggnog latte
    at one of my favorite coffee places, but I prefer my eggnog straight up, fresh nutmeg grated on top. My favorite brand is Horizon Organic, and I only spike it with good rum on Christmas eve.
  • Brussel Sprouts. I may be the only person who cheers when the little trees of fresh Brussel sprouts appear in the store. Storing them is a pain as is slicing them off, but they just look so adorable. My favorite way to make them is with bacon and plenty of salt and pepper in a large cast iron skillet.
  • Turkey breast. In my house, almost no one likes dark meat Turkey, so I love doing a large breast or if we have a crowd, I’ll do breasts side by side. I use a butter, garlic, and fresh herb rub on them.
  • Eggnog Log Cookies. This classic cookie takes all my favorite flavors of eggnog and puts it in a cookie. I love making these for New Year’s.
  • Cranberry Sauce. My mom makes the best fresh cranberry sauce in the world. She uses apple and orange to flavor it, and it is so rich and good!
  • Beef Stew. I’ve got a December birthday, and this has been my request for my birthday dinner several times. I love my mom’s classic stew with seasoned meat, carrots, potatoes, celery, tomatoes in a thickened broth, but I also love newer versions too.
  • Chicken and dumplings. I’ve been trying a lot of recipes this Fall in my Instant Pot, and I love how easy it’s made one of my all-time favorite fall foods. There’s nothing like a bowl of rich Chicken and Dumplings. (Fellow gluten-free people—yes! Use King Arthur GF flour or similar in a traditional recipe and you too can have dumplings!)
  • Gingerbread Men. My grandma made them for us. I made them for my family as one of the first cookies I learned to bake as a teen. I’m pretty sure they were one of my kids’ first cookies. I adore the flavors of gingerbread in all sorts of shapes. I’m still in search of the perfect gluten-free version, but I haven’t given up testing!
  • Mashed Potatoes with Leeks. Ever since I discovered this variation, my family demands it every big holiday dinner!
Do you have favorite holiday foods? Share! And I hope you check out BETTER NOT POUT and enjoy Teddy’s and Nick’s journey. And all the food! Thanks so much for having me!


***
Annabeth Albert says that, “BETTER NOT POUT is a male/male holiday romance featuring endearing characters with a fun, flirty plot that will remind readers of their favorite holiday rom-coms.”

About Annabeth Albert:
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Connect with Annabeth Albert:
Website: http://annabethalbert.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annabethalbert?lang=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbertauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv
Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/


Giveaway: Win 1 of 2 e-copies of any OUT OF UNIFORM series book or a finished Paperback copy of BETTER NOT POUT!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Tanya Chris


Fans of the kink, gather round. Tanya Chris is here today with some recs so get your notepads and pencils ready. You'll want to write these down!




I was a reader long before I was a writer, and a fan of BDSM stories before I became a fan of M/M. Though not an active practitioner myself, BDSM calls to something deep in my psyche (not to mention other places). Here are some of my favorite M/M BDSM reads, along with a note or two about how each one has informed my own writing.

For Real by Alexis Hall

I have to start with the gold standard: For Real by Alexis Hall. I imagine you’ve already read it, but if you haven’t, you should. This book is more than a hot, romantic tale of two kinky guys finding each other and falling in love. It’s a literary masterpiece—an absolute manual on how to write distinct voices—that transcends the genre with its cultural and literary references.

As a BDSM story, its uniqueness lies in its steadfast refusal to fall into stereotypes. Toby, the Dom in this story, is smaller, younger, and less experienced—both sexually and in terms of kink. He also bottoms.

I’ll admit that my ideas about dominance and submission were so firmly entrenched prior to reading this book that I thought Laurie was being indulgent in the first few chapters. I totally failed to pick up on his genuine attraction to Toby because I couldn’t imagine it—the mature, experienced sub feeling the pull of dominance from a callow man-boy. Future readings (and there have been many future readings) have shown me that Hall lays down the necessary groundwork here. It was my own prejudice that kept me from seeing it.

What has lingered most resolutely about For Real in my mind, though, is the specificity of Toby and Laurie’s kink. These two are doing BDSM their way, including Laurie’s disinterest in using conventional safewords. This wouldn’t work for every couple, but Hall shows it how it works for them when Toby gets cornered into playing with Laurie publicly. The resulting scene, in which no safeword is ever used, is one of the most moving safeword scenes I’ve ever read.

As a result, I always consider how the couples in my BDSM stories use safewords. In Deep Under, for example, Jack and Maddox’s use of the standard stoplight terms (red/yellow/green) evolves as a metaphor for their deepening relationship, to the point that Jack says green instead of I do at the altar.

Finding Eden by Kele Moon

Some of the language is Finding Eden is gorgeous, and the sex scenes are smoking, but what really stands out for me are the characters. Danny and Paul are three-dimensional, having complicated relationships with each other and their kink. They’ve loved each other for a long time, but in different ways.

Paul is pain slut who also enjoys submission and erotic humiliation. Danny’s a natural leader with a cruel streak who’s just learning that his innate personality might make him Paul’s perfect top. Danny’s had a romantic attachment to Paul since their teen years, so this should be an easy HEA. There’s just one catch: Paul’s straight.

Paul’s also already got a soulmate, a true love, the one who got away. And it’s not Danny. While Danny tortures Paul’s body, Paul is torturing Danny’s heart, as Danny is constantly reminded that he’s not the one Paul really wants.

In too many romances, both BDSM and vanilla, the main characters have no significant romantic past. Whatever might be back there, it’s forgettable and forgotten. In real life,  how many of us don’t have past loves and losses we bring into every new relationship? In the case of Danny and Paul, the ghost becomes living flesh again in book three, making their journey to a relationship that’s as mutually fulfilling out of the bedroom as in the bedroom even more complicated.

In my book, Aftershock, Syed’s lost love doesn’t turn up again (he’s dead, not just gone), but Jamie plays a major role in the story, both in terms of Syed needing to reconcile his new feelings for Dashiell with his ongoing love of Jamie, and also in the way Dashiell negatively compares his own intolerance for pain to Jamie’s high tolerance, thinking, like Danny does about Paul, that he can never be what Syed truly wants.

But as Danny and Paul show us in Finding Eden, a new partner might also mean a new power dynamic. Paul’s demand for kink would never have been satisfied by his lost love, regardless of how much he loved her, and Syed’s experiences in the aftermath of Jamie’s murder have changed the way he looks at violence. No, we can’t recapture the past, but do we really want to?

Benched by Misha Horne

I call Misha Horne “the Queen of Spanking,” and my favorite of her M/M spanking stories is definitely Benched, a series which plays out over several installments, aka “innings.” Benched tells the story of Kyle, a hotshot college baseball player who needs to be taken down a peg, learning that he loves to be spanked and humiliated. The series starts with scenes in which Kyle is spanked by an authority figure in a dubcon situation (Kyle’s coach, for disciplinary reasons) but as the story progresses, Kyle transitions to a consensual discipline-based relationship with a peer.

All of Misha’s stories emphasize communication. Her characters learn about their kinks and how to express them in healthy ways. But I’ll admit that I also enjoyed the less-healthy scenes that started this series. (Kyle enjoys them as much as I do.)

Misha has released a few more books since I first came across the Benched series, but it was wishing she’d turn out more, faster that had me writing my own spanking stories. In fact, there are definite parallels between the plot of Benched and the plot of my first spanking story, Owned (initial kink discovery coming from a dubcon incident with an authority figure, moving towards a mutual understanding with a peer), but Misha wins for sweetness and communication.

Another thing Misha does well is make being kinky OK. The love and care with which she treats new kinksters is beautiful. No kink shaming here, even when humiliation is part of the kink. Her insistence that whatever you want is fine—let’s just talk about it—informed a key moment in my second spanking book, Pledged. Of course there’s room for all approaches (sometimes people get off on being told they shouldn’t get off on what they’re getting off on) but I particularly appreciate Misha’s.

His Boy Next Door by RJ Moray

At first glance, His Boy Next Door is your average serialized erotica, better written than most. That was certainly how I approached the first few episodes, and if that’s all you’re looking for, you’ll get it in spades. But as the kink sucks you in and keeps you reading one episode after another, behind the kink a romance starts to bloom.

Channing, the young sub new to BDSM, falls hard and fast for his Sir. Not surprising. He’s young and easily influenced, where Jack is powerful and urbane. Channing is experiencing new feelings, opening up to both his sexuality and his kink, and Jack is the one taking him there. The power imbalance is huge, and in the wrong hands might become too concerning to enjoy.

But Moray handles it deftly, firstly by acknowledging it. Jack himself, with additional prompting from his friend Nate, keeps “the campsite rule” as Dan Savage calls it (leave it better than you found it) in mind as he starts arranging Channing’s life, both sexually and otherwise. And then Jack starts to fall in love. And we get to watch that unfold in slow, real time. At the end of Season Three, I’d go as far as to say that Jack’s now more besotted with Channing than the other way around.

Another special aspect of His Boy Next Door, similar to For Real, is that the author has put a lot of thought into what aspects, specifically, of BDSM her characters enjoy. It’s not one-size-fits-all. Channon wants to please Jack. Aside from that, he physically enjoys a lot of what they do. But not all of it. Jack’s more of a sadist than Channon is a masochist, and Moray shows us how that difference in their interests is negotiated—how Channon enjoys submitting to pain because it pleases Jack, and how Jack tempers his sadism to please Channon.

When I wrote about Derek, the sub in Mine who’s much more of a submissive than a masochist, and his unfolding relationship to Amanda who’s a definite sadist, I faced a similar challenge. Derek wants to take all of what Amanda needs to give, because he doesn’t want her turning to another sub and because it’s Amanda who’s handing it out, but Amanda has a harder time reconciling herself to hurting someone who isn’t getting a sexual charge from the pain itself but rather from his submission to it.

However an individual Dom and sub negotiate their respective kinks, seeing it negotiated on the page is far more satisfying to me than a standard kneel/Sir/cuff/whip/fuck scene.

Takeover by Anna Zabo

The opening seduction scene of Takeover is perhaps one of the hottest BDSM scenes I’ve ever read without there being a lot of explicit BDSM play. There’s some minor bondage and a hand spanking. That’s it. The heat comes from dialogue, attitude, character, and tension. It’s a great counterpoint to stories that up the kink level by upping the damage. Sometimes all it takes is a simple command, given and heard.

After the opening scene, which takes place during vacation at an island resort, Takeover transitions back to real life, as must we all. The rest of the book is a more complicated negotiation of real life identities.

As mentioned above with respect to safewords and pain play, BDSM isn’t one-size-fits-all, and one aspect of the lifestyle that needs to be agreed on between the players involved is how far out of the bedroom power play extends. In Takeover, the Dom reports to the sub at work. Sam is a high-powered executive with a job to do. Michael’s no slouch either, but he’s not Sam’s boss in any sense of the word outside of their sex life.

Sam is all masochist with very little submissive. He’ll obey sexually, but mostly because that gets him what he wants, which is the pain Michael can deliver. Michael doesn’t mind doling it out—not at all—but he also has a strong need to take care of Sam. The service in this relationship goes mostly in the direction of Michael serving Sam.

As a person who has an understanding of how pain can feel like pleasure but no desire to call anyone the boss of me, I relate to subs like Sam. Most especially, I want to see submissives who know their own strengths and when to use them. I also love Doms of both stripes—the kind that get sadistic enjoyment from ruling with an iron fist and the type who mostly want to make their sub happy.

In my book Aftercare, for instance, Garrett is an attorney—Aayan’s brother’s attorney, to be specific. When Aayan tries to dictate how Garrett will handle his brother’s case, that’s a firm no from Garrett. Aayan might occasionally want to control Garrett’s behavior outside the bedroom, but inside the bedroom, he’s there first and foremost to serve Garrett, to take away whatever pressures have Garrett bound up and replace them with peace, just like Michael does for Sam.

Grif’s Toy by Joseph Lance Tonlet

So, wow, Grif’s Toy is dirty and hot and wrong and delicious. If emotional sadism isn’t your kink, you’re not going to like this one, because the Dom likes making his sub cry—not just from pain, but for real. And the way he does it is through a lot of SPH.

Which stands for Small Penis Humiliation for those of you not familiar with that particular kink. Which I’m going to admit isn’t really my thing.

And yet, this book is amazing—both sexually and emotionally. Talk about two people perfectly complimenting each other’s kinks. SPH might not be my thing, but it’s absolutely their thing, and the communication surrounding their play allowed me to feel comfortable watching them enjoy it.

In book two, the SPH leads to long term chastity, wherein I discovered a kink I didn’t know I had. That book led me down a rabbit hole of discovery into the twisted world of chastity Tumblr. Grif and Wes get off on Wes teasing Grif about the size of his instrument, but also on denying Grif any use of it. Through their story, I learned that while SPH itself might not be my thing, extreme denial very much was.

And thus Locked, my chastity story, was born. As with Grif’s Toy, Locked will only to appeal to those who are interested in going pretty deep into kink, but as Wes and Grif show us, all kinks are fine when consensually agreed to. Grif’s Toy is an excellent example of how something that many of us might consider a nightmare can paradoxically be a source of pleasure and the basis for a happy, committed relationship. Couples who kink together stay together!

About Tanya Chris

Tanya writes romance, including both vanilla romances and romances with a range of BDSM elements, under the name Tanya Chris. She also writes kink-heavy erotica under the name T. M. Chris. Here are links to the titles mentioned above:

Mine (F/m)




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tanya is offering up anyone one of the ebooks she's recommended. Winner's Choice! The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST)11/20/18. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!


Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/18!