A MelanieM Review: Christmas in His Heart by Havan Fellows and, Lee Brazil

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

beacon hill at night  Xander Leahman wasn’t happy with the corporate life so when his best friend called and asked his help to find a manager for her craft store, he jumped at the chance for a change in scenery and time with his bestie.  But Xander wasn’t prepared for the attraction he felt when he saw the grumpy but gorgeous owner of the restaurant next door to Craft Time.  On impulse, Xander found himself agreeing to take the job and relocate on the chance that his heart knew what it was doing.

For Dermot Alasdair the twinkling lights and jolly holiday decorations bring nothing but pain.  While others are celebrating and enjoying the company of friends, family, and lovers, Dermot remains alone, isolated by secret and memories he has never divulged to a single soul.  By now, Dermot has almost convinced himself that all he needs is his restaurant and solitude to be content, if not happy. Then the arrival of Xander Leahman at the neighboring craft store throws his carefully laid out life into chaos.

Xander’s a happy, exuberant person who loves Christmas and can’t understand why the man he is so attracted to lacks the Christmas spirit.  Now more than ever Xander is determined that he will find a way to open Dermot’s heart to Christmas and to a forever love….with Xander, of course!

The holidays are almost upon us and what better way to bring Christmas cheer into home and heart than with holiday stories of celebration and romance.  Havan Fellows and Lee Brazil collaborated in this lively holiday tale of a man whose past robbed him of more than just the Christmas spirit and the fellow who’s determined to bring it back, along with a major dose of romance and love.

The authors certainly relay the historic charm and community of Parkersburg, the town where the story  takes place.  We are plopped into the “grinch like” mind set of one Dermot Alasdair making his way through the cobble streets of town to his restaurant.  Immediately its clear that the holidays and the Christmas decorations are his personal Kryptonite.  And when he is not mentally complaining about the inconvenience of bell ringers and such, he is focused on the financial health of his restaurant, always a precarious thing in the food business.  The last thing Dermot expects is the intrusion into his life of Xander Leahman, a change will he only reluctantly welcome.

Fellows and Brazil make it plain that Dermot is a character that has more pain in his heart than anyone in his situation should, and that, clearly, there are dark reasons behind his bah humbug behavior.  He is buttoned up, clinched in, and as tight as they come to pull in all the old chestnuts, all of which brings out our sympathy and compassion for this sad man.

Xander is more Santa’s helper than corporate desk jockey.  His typical ebullient frame of mind is perfect for Craft Time and his presence is just what his best friend needs.  Xander’s arrival touches off a set of small emotional explosions in all around him, but mostly in Dermot and surprisingly in Xander himself.

I thought the story moved along smartly, in fact, it’s narrative pace was almost too fast.  Xander fell a little too hard too quickly as did Dermot.  And the hot relationship, or hot and cold relationship that springs up could have done with some simmering time instead of heating up to a boil from the start.  But that aside, their relationship is hot, sexy, and sometimes quite funny, which is needed to offset the pain and poignancy to come.

I throughly enjoyed Christmas In His Heart by Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows.  It’s a wonderful way to crank up that holiday cheer!  So deck the halls, light up the Kindles, and put some music on.  Love is in the air and Christmas is winding its way into our hearts!  Put Christmas In His Heart on your holiday reading list today!

 Cover Artist:  Laura Harner.  Love the cover, filled me with holiday cheer!

Sales Links:    All Romance (ARe)       amazon        buy it here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 119 pages
Published December 4th 2014 by Lime Time Press
ASINB00QEB3GGY
edition languageEnglish

For Your Holiday Reading Enjoyment…Lee Brazil’s and Havan Fellows’ Christmas In His Heart (book tour and contest)

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Book Name: Christmas In His Heart
Release Date: December 4th, 2014
Author Name: Lee Brazil & Havan Fellows

Two favorite authors are here with their latest story, Christmas In His Heart.  Did I have  some questions for them both?  Why, yes I did and here is my holiday conversation with Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows:

A holiday story should be like opening a Christmas or Chanukah present. What elements about your story had you both smiling with delight?

Lee: I just loved all the bright, cheerful banter between the leads. I may never see another sausage without chuckling. 

Havan: Oh my god they were a hot fun mess when those two started talking. lmao Plus I loved the strong secondary characters and how they all genuinely cared.

Favorite holiday story for each of you?

Oh… White Christmas is one, but also… I just love It’s A Wonderful Life. The story of how one person’s life affects so many others, of how one missing soul can change the world really speaks to me. We’re taught these days that life is about everyone, that its society and the greater good that we ought to be concerned with. Sometimes we forget how valuable the individual is. It’s A Wonderful Life proves the value of the individual. 

The Polar Express has always been a favorite in my family, but believe it or not I’ve never watched the movie. I guess some books I just can’t bring myself to watch the movie version no matter how good people claim they are.

I love the Holiday Movies, from Hallmark to It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown.  What movies or specials do you look forward to if any?

Um… Clearly I misinterpreted the previous question. Sorry about that. My favorite Christmas cartoon was the one with the burgermeister. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. I was terrified of the Winter Warlock as a child, but the magic of the season just came alive for me.

I love the “claymation duo” as my family calls it: Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, oh and Frosty the Snowman is also enjoyed. But our favorite holiday movie is Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. We watch it every year on Christmas Eve, never fails.

You both have been so busy with the Pulp Friction 2014 outstanding series, why no holiday stories involving those couples?  Or is there?

Well, that would be telling! The stories are sequential, timeline-wise. The finale takes place in December, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some seasonal elements crept into the finale. 

*zips lips…sits on hands*

Do you both have any holiday traditions passed down from generation to generation?  And have they ever made it into a story?

My family has a lot of traditions, and many of them I have foisted upon my SO. Stockings hung on Christmas Eve, presents opened Christmas morning, turkey dinner with stuffing and cranberries…

When my siblings and I grew up and had our own families we developed new traditions…but the bottom line is that all extensions of the family get together on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is dedicated to spending it with our individual broods. That way we get the best of both worlds, because no matter how much I love my whole family, I cherish those Christmas mornings with my kiddos.

What is the hardest thing about writing with a partner?

Waiting. The hardest part was waiting. Havan works an EDJ, and I wrote while she was working, so many times I’d have to wait for her feedback, and it was just finger itching.

*hugs* Lee never had to worry about my feedback – you’ve read his writing, you know how good he is at it. 🙂 But yeah…my EDJ was especially evil to me. We’d be chatting back and forth while I was at work and I’d get this brilliant amazing idea (well aren’t all my ideas brilliant and amazing? lol) but I’d be stuck at my desk for another two hours before I could run home and put it to paper and see if Lee liked it as well…and I suffer from youngest child syndrome, you know what I mean? The Now-now-now syndrome…I wanted to write the scene now now now so Lee could read it now now now. Not to be confused with the youngest child syndrome Mine-mine-mine which is a totally different thing…lmao

What is the easiest thing about writing with a partner?

Writing with Havan made writing easier. Her energy and creativity were just like a spark for me. The story flowed with an ease I seldom see.

That goes both ways I would say. He’d knock the WIP (work in process) over to me and I’d be so stoked to get my wordage in and kick it back to him…and within seconds (or it felt like seconds – do not insert ex-boyfriend joke here…lmao) he’d have it back to me. It was like we fed on each other’s excitement about this story and our guys. It was more addicting than any drug…um…not that I’d know about those types of things…can you see my halo from there?

What message or overall feeling would you like readers to take away from Christmas In His Heart?

There’s a magic to the holiday season, people are the best they can be, kindness flows, and love… well it just makes everything alright.

All of the above…and a smile can do wonders in any situation. I do like smiling…I count it toward my daily exercise goal. 🙂 

What’s next for you both?

Pulp Friction 2014 Finale, and then… Pulp Friction 2015. Are you ready for New Orleans?

Let the beads start flying! *big huge grins*

Thank you Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having us…you know this is one of our fave places to hang out!

My thanks to you both!  Now back to our authors and story…

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Author Bio:

LEE BRAZIL:

Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it’s nevertheless one hundred percent true.

Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.

   Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don’t belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don’t fit?

Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

If I hadn’t learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.

HAVAN FELLOWS:

I annoy, love, respect, scare, seduce, hurt, anger, infatuate, frustrate, flatter, envy, amuse and tolerate everyone. I just do it better in writing thanks to a little thing called…edits.

Okay no, seriously…I’m a simpleminded person who enjoys the escape from real life through a book. I write with the group Story Orgy and hope to continue doing so for a long time. I also am privileged to be with the Pulp Friction writers, creating intermingling books in a world all our own. And just like every other red-blooded human—I love hearing from people. So feel free to drop me a line—whether it’s a comment on my blog, an email, a tweet, or you track me down on FaceBook or Google +…it’s easy to catch someone who wants to be caught.

Authors Contacts:

Publisher: Lime Time Press
Cover Artist: Laura Harner

Sales Links:  amazon     All Romance (ARe)

Blurb:beacon hill at night  

Christmastime brings joy to hearts everywhere. Between snow angels, festive clothing, holiday decorations, and of course, all the beautiful lights, it’s hard not to partake in the season.

Unless you no longer have Christmas in your heart.

Dermot Alasdair has never shared the horrific memories that keep him from celebrating the happiest time of the year, nor does he ever plan to. He’s fine being alone and shut off from everyone; he has his restaurant and that’s all he needs. He believes that, too…until the craft store next door from his eatery hires a perpetually smiling annoyance. Really, it isn’t normal for someone to be that happy all the time.

Xander Leahman didn’t know what he was getting into when he accepted an invitation to visit his best friend and help her interview people for the newly created position of manager at Craft Time. When a surly man bumps into him and then walks away with an enticing sway to his hips, Xander decides the position—and Dermot—are perfect for him. Now all he can think of is finding ways to get Dermot out of his clothes. Well that, and how to open this grinch’s heart to the Christmas season and, hopefully, love.
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance, Holiday

Excerpt:

“Hey! Good morning!”

The cheerful greeting broke through his concentration, and Dermot looked up to see the new manager of the Craft Time craft store sweeping the sidewalk in front of the shop. “Hey,” he muttered sourly. Xander Leahman made his head ache. Just one glance and he wanted to snap at the man to comb his hair, put on a heavier jacket, and for Christ sakes why wasn’t he wearing gloves outside in this weather?

Dermot wasn’t going to stop. He had no plans stop and talk to the smiling man. Xander bubbled more than a bottle of shaken soda water. Dermot didn’t have time for his chatter, and he didn’t have time for the strange, compelling not-quite-nausea he seemed prone to in Xander’s company.

Maybe he was allergic to the man’s cologne, or deodorant, or shampoo. Dermot leaned forward and sniffed surreptitiously, but he couldn’t smell anything other than cinnamon and vanilla. An overwhelming urge to bake overcame him, and he jerked himself upright.

He was an executive chef, not a pastry chef. He didn’t bake, and especially not something as…plebeian as oatmeal raisin cookies, which was what Xander smelled like.

“Excuse me.” He deliberately stepped around Xander, who put out a hand and caught his arm.

“I saw you coming down the street.” Xander set the broom aside and picked up a steaming mug from the windowsill. “It’s not as good as Prudence’s coffee, but I made it fresh this morning.”

Blinking in astonishment, Dermot stared from the mug to the hand on his arm. He could really… “Thanks.” He accepted the mug and inhaled the rich aroma of good coffee, scented with cinnamon and…yeah, vanilla. And he’d thought it was Xander who smelled so good? He didn’t know whether to be relieved or embarrassed. “I needed this. That walk feels longer every day that the temperature drops.” The first sip exploded on his tongue with soothing heat and delicious flavor and he bit back a moan of appreciation.

Words: 35,562

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

TheBellsOfTimesSquare_500x750What does it say about a story when I admit that I started to cry as I was reading the blurb? Knowing that my favorite “Queen of Angst” was likely to pull out all stops on this one, I went into it with a box of tissues in hand. And I was not disappointed. And yes, the tissues were needed. This story is a beautiful, poignant, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and bittersweet look at a romance that transcends time.

Nate Meyer, a nice, sweet, young Jewish man decides to enlist in the Air Force in World War II, in part because he knows he’s a disappointment to his father, a fact more evident after his brother passed away at a young age. His brother was the one who got all the pride and affection his father could give out, and Nate just feels that it’s time to get away from the stifling environment. The son of a clockworker, he’s surprised to find that his knowledge of cameras and photography are not only appreciated, but needed for the war effort. He’s promoted to Second Lieutenant and together with his pilot, assigned the role of taking photos of potential targets during night missions over France and Germany. On one such mission, he spots a suspicious series of smokestacks and they move in to get a closer look, but the flare he and his pilot use to light the area for the photos is seen by Messerschmitt pilots who give chase. Their plane crashes in a wooded area over Nazi-occupied France, and though the pilot is killed, Nate survives.

He’s rescued by Walter, a diminutive redhead from Iowa who is an escaped POW, and fortunately for Nate, a medic as well. Walter has been living in an abandoned cottage in the woods for several months. He’s resourceful and self-sufficient and the cutest little man Nate has ever had the pleasure of seeing. However, at this point in our history, it’s extremely dangerous to reveal any attraction to another man so Nate hides it until one day when Walter is bathing his extremities and “Little Nate” is too obvious for Walter to ignore.

They confess their mutual attraction and act out on it slowly, engaging mostly in kissing, handjobs, blowjobs, and frottage. Nate doesn’t consider himself deeply religious, nevertheless, he knows that committing the act of mishkav zakhar, “the one act between men that was considered unforgivable”, will guarantee that he won’t find his way to heaven. But when the time comes for them to prepare to leave their nest in the woods, they finally do have sex, and Nate forgets his worries about heaven. Though they don’t verbalize the words “I love you”, they do make the promise to meet at Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve after the war is over, with or without the church bells ringing. They know they’ll be separated as soon as they are rescued since Walter is an enlisted man and Nate is an officer, and they have no choice about leaving their cottage, because a Nazi soldier has been using it for a tryst with a local Frenchwoman and they’re fortunate they haven’t been discovered yet. What the Nazi doesn’t know is that the Frenchwoman is working with the resistance and plans to help the men escape.

Circumstances never go according to plan, however, and ….(spoilers) click for hidden paragraph that contains spoilers for the ending of the story.

I have chills right now as I write this review. Amy Lane is an excellent author, her grammar and punctuation are perfect, but what really makes her books stand out among the rest is her ability as a storyteller. I am in awe. This story should have more than 5 stars. Superb is a mild word. By all means, do not miss the chance to read this book. And if you love historical romances, consider it a bonus. I think I may go hide out for a while and reread this story right now. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how amazing this outstanding story is. Don’t hesitate to buy it.

Cover Art by Reese Dante. At first sight, the cover appears to be a faded collection of random objects, however, it actually tells the story contained within the book. Representations of the plane, the photography equipment, the clock at Times Square are all present and the brown-white rotogravure effect is reminiscent of the early days of photography in the 20th century. Beautifully done.

Sales LInks:  Preorder at Riptide Publishing    amazon    buy it here

Book Details:

Author: Amy Lane
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-185-4
eBook release: Dec 15, 2014
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-186-1
Print release: Dec 15, 2014
Word count: 65,300, Page count: 236
Type: Standalone

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In the Book Spotlight: Hitting Black Ice by Heloise West (book tour and contest)

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Book Name: Hitting Black Ice
Author Name: Heloise West

Heloise West is here with a contest, blurb and excerpt from her latest book, Hitting Black Ice.  The author also took a turn in our author’s interview chair.  Check it out below:

Q. Hitting Black Ice is a great title. Where did you get the inspiration for it?

If I said in a dream, would you believe me? Well, it was a two-for dream; I was trying to think of a title for story for a member of our writing group, and they both came to me just as I was starting to wake up. You know, in that middle state between dreaming and not quite awake, the hypnagogic state. I wanted something active and punchy, and I think that did the trick.

Q. What is the first idea you want the reader to imagine when they read that title?

Danger, unexpected and spinning you out of control…but if you can keep your head, you can get yourself out of it…

Q. This book has plenty of exciting elements….murder, mystery, a man on the run..how do you find a right balance for all these threads in your story?

The romance helped keep it all tied together, I think.

Q. Suspense and action are terrific elements for keeping a reader on their seats, but how do you bring the romance into it without losing that tautness of plot?

I don’t think I ever made it easy for Hunter and Shawn–even when there was a lull in the present action, the past was a threat, too. So basically, the answer is subplots that shadow and echo the main plot.

Q. What was your muse for this story?

Since the main POV character was Hunter, I listened to later Decemberists for that undercurrent of sadness. Since he’s really a country boy in the city, the folk aspect of the Decemberists worked for me, too. It’s not really a playlist. It’s the same two albums on an endless loop. The music shoves me deeper emotionally into the character.

Q. If you love to write mysteries, do you also like to read them?

I do love to write mysteries. I love to read mysteries, too, especially historical mysteries.

Q. If so, which author is a favorite of yours or is there a favorite fictional detective/sleuth character?

I can never answer “most favorite” questions or “desert island” questions (unless the answer is Matt Damon).
My favorite sleuths is a great question: (can’t answer with one 😉
Gordianus the Finder (Steven’s Saylor’s Sub Rosa series), Feste (12th century jester/spy by Alan Gordon), Adrien English, of course, and Kit and JX. Ariana Franklin’s Adelia from the Mistress of the Art of Death series; Mary, Sherlock Holmes’ young wife in Laurie King’s s

eries. Those are off the top of my head, the auto-buys, though a few of these series have ended.

Q. What’s next for Heloise West?

I’m working on a sequel to Hitting Black Ice and a Renaissance era romance/mystery suspense is on submission.

Thanks for having me here today!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Author Bio:

Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of 10 years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.

Author Contact:

Publisher: Loose IDHeloiseWest_HittingBlackIce_coverin
Cover Artist: Syneca Featherstone
Sales:  Loose id    All Romance (ARe)   amazon

Hitting Black Ice Blurb:

ER physician’s assistant Hunter guards his heart carefully, but that doesn’t stop him from falling for Shawn, the front desk clerk. He keeps his distance from relationships for a reason, but just can’t help himself when it comes to Shawn.

Shawn is on the run from the law and love to protect himself and anyone else involved. One man is dead because of him, and his life now is simple and easily thrown into a bag at any hint of danger. Until he meets Hunter, and he no longer wants to run.

Forced into a hostage situation, buried passion explodes in the aftermath, and sex in the supply closet brings their hearts back to life. Tentatively, step by step, they begin to explore a relationship together until the past catches up with Shawn.

FBI agent Nick Truman has finally found his man, but when Shawn escapes, he focuses his attention on Hunter. Shawn returns, even though it means sacrificing himself to save Hunter from the man who framed him for murder.
Categories: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Romance

Excerpt:

It was nine o’clock. They’d long lost the reservation. Hunter turned away from the warm lights of the restaurant, heart heavy. Shawn was too good to be true. For all he knew, he had a problem like Jerry’s, who’d often left him waiting, wondering, and ultimately fearing as dinner sat cold on the table. He gave in and took a step toward home.

“Hunter!”

He whipped around.

Shawn rushed toward him. He slipped on the snowy sidewalk, nearly going down, but Hunter ran at him, and they crashed together so hard his teeth clicked. Shawn’s arms went around him and his around Shawn, and they managed to hold each other up.

“I’m sorry,” were the first words out of Shawn’s mouth.

“All you deserve is pizza crusts,” Hunter mock-growled and kissed him, unconsciously trying to taste booze on his breath. Like Jerry and too many broken promises. Relieved it was only peppermint mouthwash, he didn’t stop kissing him.

When Hunter let him speak, Shawn said, “I’m starving, I’ll take it.” He pushed Hunter a little away from him. “Jesus. You’re freezing.”

“And starving. There’s a Greek pizza place down this way, come on—”

“I’ll make it up to you,” he said, taking Hunter’s hand.

 

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Virtual Tour: Two Alone In Dublin by Lucy Carey (contest and book tour)

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Lucy Carey is here on her Two Alone In Dublin tour to introduce her book to our readers. Check out the blurb and excerpts below, along with my interview with the author towards the end.

Here’s Lucy Carey and Two Alone In Dublin!

 

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Contest: Lucy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the Rafflecopter link provided to enter and for all additional contest details.

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__________________

Two Alone in Dublin

by Lucy Carey

BLURB:

Surrounded by one million people in Dublin city, two women feel very alone. One a university student from a small town in the Irish countryside, the other an adventurous spirit from a city in Brazil, they’ve both been searching for the other among the irritations and noise of everyday life…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt:Cover_Two Alone in Dublin

Mariana hadn’t worn this shade of lipstick in an age. She painted the brash, bright-red gloss around her full lips, rubbed her lips together and pouted. This was her going-out colour, a colour guaranteed to make her feel sexy and confident and womanly.

Had it really been so long since she had been on a date? she wondered. Despite this being her go-to colour for dates, it had been buried in the bottom of her makeup bag.

She checked her teeth for lipstick and, finding none, stepped back to look at her full reflection in the mirror.

She had chosen a form-fitting dress in a colour to match the shade of her lipstick and she adjusted the cups of her bra, to push her cleavage higher in its V-neck.

This, she thought to herself, must be what Susie had described as “putting your best foot forward.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lucy Carey, Lesbian and Bisexual Romance and Erotic-Fiction Writer

I am a 30-year-old bisexual author who writes the kind of fiction I think other LGBTQ women want to read.

As someone born and raised in Ireland, let me assure you: our country is beautiful…and so are its women.VBT_TwoAloneInDublin_CoverBanner

I aim to introduce you to the best of both—the stunning scenery of the Emerald Isle and its funny, complex, gorgeous, lesbian and bisexual women. I hope you enjoy it.  Contact me at:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8565141.Lucy_Carey

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lucy-Carey/1432435577012573

http://www.amazon.com/Two-Alone-Dublin-Lesbian-Story-ebook/dp/B00NKQEZ3Y

 

 My Interview with Lucy Carey

 

Q. What was your inspiration for the story?

It was almost a typical “girl meet girl” story. I regularly attended a coffee shop where this beautiful barista, who was Central or South American, worked. She was very warm and always happy to chat. We had a bit of a connection—she flirted a little and I flirted back—but I was too nervous to do anything about it.

I haven’t seen her in years but in my head, I’ve built a whole story around her—where’s she’s from, what might have happened if I’d made a move, etc. That backstory helped to lay the groundwork for Mariana, the Brazilian woman in my story, “Two Alone in Dublin,” who encounters a stressed-out, lonely college student named Susie who she feels an instant connection to…

Q. Do you have a muse?

I’d love if I did! No, sadly, it’s just me plugging away at my writing, no special inspiration involved. I’m not sure if I believe in the idea of “the muse” anyway; it seems to me that to rely on something outside yourself for inspiration is to give control of your story away. But I may be overthinking that!

Q. Do you work on one project at a time or many?

I wish I could work on one at a time! My biggest issue as a writer is forcing myself to focus on one story when I have so many different stories I’d like to read and write. Also, my day job involves some drier writing, so by necessity, I write the paycheck stuff in the daytime and the passion projects at night.

Q. Hero or Antihero? Who would you chose and why?

Give me a good antihero over a sappy, boy/girl scout hero any day! The antihero always seems to be having more fun—or at least, they seem like more fun to be around. As a former chain-smoking, often truant teenager, I identify more with the antihero, I think. In my head, I’m a badass. In reality, I’m in bed by eleven and never break the speed limit these days…

Q. People say write what you know. Do you think that is right or even important?

I think that piece of advice has been repeated so often as to be completely useless by now. Sure, it’s good to draw on your own experiences and emotions, as I did with Mariana for “Two Alone in Dublin”—but eventually only writing what you know will severely limit what you can write. I find writing about what you don’t know a better exercise sometimes. By that I mean that your characters should not always act in a way you’re used to or have the experiences you’ve had. Otherwise, nothing of any imagination would ever get written.

Q. What is the first book you read that really meant something to you?

I really loved “Little Women” when I was a little girl, not just because it focused primarily on female relationships but because I identified with Jo—headstrong, tomboyish, and occasionally putting my foot in my mouth with my sense of humor. She is an especially enjoyable and impressive character given the year that she was written.

Q. What do you find sexy in a man/woman?

I love a dirty sense of humor and a twinkle in someone’s eye—that applies to women and men (I am bisexual). I also like very individual people with their own sense of style: be that vintage, rockabilly, tidy, scruffy0 or whatever. As long as someone’s working it with confidence, I’m interested.

Q. What’s next up for you?

I have a couple of projects on the go (I’m trying to focus on one at a time, I swear!). I’m currently writing a longer lesbian romance that will be novel length (as opposed to a novella). Additionally, I’m working on some short, erotic pieces—a world away from the gentle romance of my current book.