A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review:Warren’s Peace by Emjay Haze

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

The holidays are a time for second chances.

Warren Blessing lost his wife (two years ago), and his kids decide he’s been alone too long. They send him on a holiday singles cruise so he can meet someone new.

On the flight from Chicago to Miami, he sits next to an attractive man, but when the flight’s over, he doesn’t think he’ll see him again.

Fletcher Hammond is a professional mystery shopper for vacation destinations and travel. After a split from his unfaithful fiancé, he’s embarking on a singles cruise. He meets a lovely gentleman on the flight, whose conversation and cocktails help Fletcher through his fear of takeoffs, but he doesn’t expect to see him again.

As if by fate, a meeting in the ship’s dining room renews their mutual attraction. But can they build a relationship with distance and baggage working against them? Or will they part ways when they return to port?

Warren’s Peace by Emjay Haze has a number of familiar elements to it, two strangers on a plane are attracted to each other, deplane expecting never to see each other again only to find that very thing happens at the next destination.  Here it’s a single’s cruise at Christmas time. Warren is there because his grown children have booked it for him.  He’s lonely after the long illness and death of his wife and wants to move forward.  Fletcher is there because of his job.

This is really a sweet, no angst story.  Warren was aware he was gay before he got married as did his wife, but he fell in love with her and got married. As his preferences has been only men before her, he’s ready date men again. When he meets Fletcher on the ship again, he  makes it plain he’s ready to mingle with men, not women.  The two develop an onboard relationship which turns into something more once the cruise is over.  Haze works hard to turn an instant love into a believable HEA and for the most part it works.  Both men are at the right stages of their  lives and seem perfect for each other in every way.

If I had one issue here, its Warren is calling himself first gay, then bisexual.  Warren had only dated men, then fell in love with the person that was his  wife but there sex life for him was unsatisfactory. He loved her and their kids without a doubt, but his attraction remained to men.  I think if the author is going to make Warren  bisexual or even pansexual then you should go for a layered portrait.  But 51 pages is not enough to interpret or untangle the sexual sort of mess that is Warren Blessing.  And now with Fletcher Hammond in the picture, he doesn’t have to. Nor does the author.

.If none of that bothers you, then you might adore this.  It’s sweet and has a HEA which is perfect for the holidays.

Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde Media.  Didn’t do anything for me. The guy is gorgeous but where are the other elements?  Tells me nothing about the story and the characters are older.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 51 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 21st 2016)
ISBN 139781644050439
Edition Language English

Emjay Haze on Writing, Romance and her new release ‘Home is Where You Are’ (author interview and giveaway)

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Home is Where You Are (States of Love) by Emjay Haze
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Release Date: 1/26/18

Available now for Sale at:  DreamSpinner Press |  Amazon  

Thank you for visiting my blog tour at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. I’m Emjay Haze, author of Contemporary m/m romance. Home is Where You Are is my first book with DreamSpinner Press and I’m excited to share it with you on release day.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Emjay Haze, author of Home is Where You Are

 

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think my traits tend to pop up in more of my minor characters, since the main characters are both men usually in their twenties/thirties and I’m a fifty-plus year old woman, lol. I love writing strong-willed characters and I think that comes from me.  I also like to write them a little quirky and feisty and that’s definitely me.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

When I was growing up, my mom introduced me to romance novels, but a lot of times, they didn’t really have a HEA, the way I wanted them, anyway. As I got older, I really got into Robert Ludlum books and other spy and mystery-type novels, and totally went away from romance. I didn’t even like watching rom-coms.  Then, in 2009, I discovered m/m romance in the form of online fanfiction and fell in love with the genre. I started writing stories around my favorite music artist and then eventually moved to original characters and writing short stories and novels.  I realized I didn’t hate romance at all, I was just reading the wrong kind.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I love happy endings, and I think everyone deserves one. That’s why I love this genre.  If I had to pick one, I’d have to say HEA. I want my two lovebirds to ride off into the sunset together and be happy forever.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I love e-books, because I have a kindle and subscribe to kindle unlimited, so it’s easy to download and read books.  I can start on my kindle at work, and then move it to my phone or tablet on the weekend.

It’s a shame that so many bookstores have closed over the years, but I don’t see them going away all together.  I think there are enough people that still want to read a book and not an electronic device. My last novel came out in both e-book and paper book and it was thrilling when I got to hold it in my hands, and I was able to give signed copies to friends. You can’t do that with an electronic version.

I see e-book formats expanding as the technology grows, and less books coming out in hard or paperback.

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

For all of my published works, I’ve had a publisher who provides the artist for the cover and I’ve never been disappointed. For Home is Where You Are, I had given her some general info on the settings, characters, etc, and my artist came back with three great covers to choose from.  Sometimes I have sort of an idea, and the artists have all taken my ramblings and turned them into something really beautiful.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

That’s a “who’s your favorite child” question, so the answer is no, of course not, lol.  I love all of my characters and it’s really hard to choose just one. So far, they’ve all been pretty different, so it’s impossible to pick a favorite.  I do really adore a few of my minor characters, though. The best friend in my new novel coming later this year is awesome. Her name is Andrea, and she’s a hoot, feisty and outspoken and a great friend.  I also wrote a social worker character who took care of my foster kid main character for a very long fan-fiction story that I wrote years ago, and I absolutely loved her strength and character and the way she stood up for my protagonist.  But main characters, nope, I can’t pick one.

  • If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I have more trouble flawing my characters, lol.  I love them and want them to be perfect, but it’s way more interesting to read about someone with flaws who grows in a story.  My family and I were watching a horror movie the other day and none of us couldn stand the protagonist at first. She was a real bitch. But, as the film progressed she started to grow through all of the difficulties she was having. I liked it and understood her, but my twenty-year-old could never get past not liking the character at the beginning. So, yes, I believe that they have to have redeemable qualities, but a few flaws make them deeper characters, but not so many that you can’t forgive them.

  •  Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

Haha.  Drunk? No, but I used to write a lot of fan-fiction and those sexy scenes are written much better with a few beers in the system—more uninhibited and the scene flows better. Of course, you have to edit, but I’ve never had one that I had to completely rewrite because it was a mess.

 

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

I have a vision of having a house on the beach or a lake (where it’s warm) and having my laptop outside on a large wooden round table with a large umbrella overlooking the water while I’m wearing a tank-top and shorts and bare feet, sipping on a cool drink.

Right now, I sit at a very warped card table at the end of our family room with the big-screen TV and family watching to the right of me.

  •  With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

If I had to pick one, it would be to get away.  I write because I have so many stories in my head that need to get out. I have distraction issues, but when I’m writing, I can totally immerse myself into the story and ignore everything else. I love developing characters and building a story and seeing it come to life.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I have full-length novel coming out with NineStar Press sometime in April called After Hours. It’s the first of a three-book series. I’m working on the second book now. I really love writing m/m romance, and I think I will always write in that genre, but at some point I may try something new like a spy novel.   

Blurb:

For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.

Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.

A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place….

Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Pages: 95
Part of the States of Love Series by DreamSpinner Press

Giveaway

I have a rafflecopter giveaway of 3 e-copies of Home is Where you Are, and a Grand prize of the e-book and a gift pack of Vermont maple syrup and maple candy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Emjay Haze is a Pennsylvania girl living in a Virginia world, growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs and moving to Northern Virginia to follow her now husband of twenty-plus years. She has two kids in college, a year-old puppy named Max, a black-and-white cat named Tux, a gecko named Rex, a yellow tang called Reggie, and we hear the eels are coming this week.

The family pastime is baseball, specifically the Nationals. She’s also a huge Redskins fans and loves classic rock. Emjay graduated with a degree in Creative Writing in 2015 after realizing it was the only thing she really wanted to do.

She has a wide and diverse work history in the fields of travel, hotel management, high-tech communications, web development, real estate, and the nonprofit health care industry where she has held positions such as travel agent, hotel concierge, web programmer, Realtor, account manager, and many, many others, giving her a varied and unique set of experiences that she draws upon in her stories and characters.

Emjay fell in love with the m/m romance genre after discovering the world of fanfiction several years ago and hasn’t looked back. Her family keeps asking when she’ll write something they can read, but she’s still having too much fun with her boys. Her goal is to broaden the minds of those who might not normally pick up a gay romance because it’s more about the person than the sexuality. She’ll take you on a roller-coaster journey, but you’ll always get a happy ending.

Website: http://www.mjhauthor.com/emjayhaze

Twitter: @emjayhaze

Facebook: www.facebook.com/emjayhaze

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14254769.Emjay_Haze

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Home is Where You Are ( States of Love ) by Emjay Haze

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.

Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.

A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place….

Home is Where You Are ( States of Love ) by Emjay Haze is a sweet friends to lovers romance.  It has as a framework one of my favorite subjects, maple sugaring’ and orchards, a subject I actually know quite a bit about as I used to give demonstrations to the public and tap  trees myself.  So I’m always keen to read stories wrapped around this topic in one way or another.

Here it’s a man, just come to the realization that the relationship he thought he’s been in has been one side all this time and his “roommate” is leaving him.  Combine that with a family emergency and it’s time to return home to the farm and town he thought he’d left behind for good.

Haze has Eric returning to the farm and small town he left after high school because of the bullying and more he endured during high school.  We later  find out what the “and more” entailed and why Eric has stayed away from family and farm.  I’ll say parts of this aspect of the story never added up for me, especially the father’s role.  And because it felt a little fragmented, so did that event.

Phil, the younger boy, and now a man, waits for Eric at the farm upon Eric’s return.  Phil has always had a crush on Eric, one that flares right up when they meet again.  They meet and the attraction is hot, even if Eric is a little resentful over the inclusion of Phil into his family.

I wish I could have gotten into the Phil/Eric romance more.  I didn’t really feel the spark the author intended me to.  Perhaps because it felt more of being talked at…there’s a lot of that here…than actual connecting.  Anyhow for me…I was far more invested in the farm’s future than theirs.

Home is Where You Are is but 95 pages and the author has a lot to fit in.  If you are just looking for a sweet romance, than this one filled with mapley goodness is one for you.  However, if you want more of character development and relationship dynamics, search for a longer story that’s able to go into the depths this one is not given the length.

Haze did a great job with the maple sugaring element .  Kudos!

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht. Love the cover with all the sugar maples and the character of Phil on the cover.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 95 pages
Published January 26th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640800908
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series States of Love Vermont