KC Burn on Writing, Characters and ‘Just Add Argyle’ + Giveaway (author interview)

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Just Add Argyle (Fabric Hearts, #3)  by K.C. Burn
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Available for preorder at: Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host K.C. Burn here today. Welcome, K.C. and tell us about yourself!

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Hello! I’m KC Burn and I’m so happy to be here to talk about writing, inspiration, and my new release, Just Add Argyle, the third in my Fabric Hearts series.

1. How much of yourself goes into your characters?

That’s a difficult question. All of my books feature one of two themes: betrayal or fish out of water, or sometimes both. I think those are the biggest parts of me – I’m very sensitive to the concept of betrayal, which I think stems from having an emotionally and verbally abusive mother. I also have gone through much of my life trying to figure out where I fit in, so I often feel a bit like a fish out of water. These deeply internalized issues significantly colour my writing, and therefore all of my characters. Aside from that, a character who likes board games, and movies, and reading… these are all bits of me.

There’s only one character, though, that I would say is absolutely based on me. In my Christmas themed novella, Three Dates of Christmas, one of the guys is a grouchy Christmas-hater, primarily because he’s grown up in foster care and has spent his entire adult life working in retail. Although I had two parents, there were a number of times where I felt like I was alone with no support system at all, and I also spent 14 years working in retail. Let me tell you, both things can sort of sour you on the holidays, and to this day, I don’t get into the holidays although I certainly appreciate the sentiment behind it all.

2. Does research play a role in which genre you write?

Haha! Sort of. Just about any book requires looking up a lot of random factoids as you go, no matter which genre. And I’ve changed a character’s profession once because I was on deadline and didn’t have the time to research what I’d need to make him believable. But it doesn’t necessarily guide which genre I choose to write in. I get inspirations for story ideas from many sources: dreams, music, movies, people watching. Usually it’s the plot that guides the genre, not whether or not I’ll have to do research. I do write some sci-fi, but I sort of gloss over the techy/super science-y bits because I’m not really interested in the research part of it. But the creation of aliens and their customs and things – those are fun to play with, and I can at least apply some of the knowledge I gleaned from my Physical Anthropology degree, with respect to evolution to sentient beings and their respective cultures. Certainly it’s about the only use I’ve gotten out of that degree!

3. Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your choices for writing?

Huh. Yes and no. I started reading epic fantasy very early. I’d read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at ten and loved it. My dad then started me on The Belgariad by David Eddings. The first book of that series cemented my desire to write books for a living. However, I don’t write fantasy (yet). I also started reading mysteries early, since both my parents did. I’ve added some mystery elements to a couple of my books, but I wouldn’t say I write mysteries. My books are all romances, but I didn’t start reading romance until I was about twenty. But, when I was a teenager I read the Last Herald Mage series by Mercedes Lackey. It featured a gay protagonist with some of the most heartbreaking, gut wrenching, but ultimately heart warming romantic scenes I’d ever read. And after several re-reads and almost thirty years, my opinion on that has not changed. Whether or not I succeed, my goal is always to put my characters and my readers through the wringer like that.

4. Do you like HFN or HEA and why?

LOL – this is a point of contention. I’ve been accused more than once of having endings that are too happy, too sweet. I definitely like the HEA. As to why… I don’t know. I like the completion of it all. I hate cliff hangers, and sometimes HFN feels a lot like a cliffhanger. Also, when I write, I don’t usually write more than one book with the same couple as main characters, so I like to wrap up all the loose ends.

5. Do you read romances as a teenager and as an adult?

I did not read romances as a teen. While I was in university, I worked in a pharmacy. One night, I was working until close, and I was sure I wanted to go home and read afterward. But the bookstores would be closed before I could leave work, and since this was in the days before ebooks, my only option was to buy a book from work. The selection was slim, and I’d read all the available thriller/mystery/fantasy books, which left me with Harlequins or single title romances. I ended up choosing a Johanna Lindsey, simply based on the bare-chested Fabio cover – Gentle Rogue. And she hooked me but good. I read all sorts of genres, but romance makes up the majority of my reading these days.

6. Who is your major influence as a writer?

I have a ton of influences. Because of David Eddings I wanted to become a writer. We can blame Agatha Christie for my tendency to combine my naturally coarse language with rather formal proper language. Mercedes Lackey probably had a lot to do with finding my way to gay romance. Johanna Lindsey who provided my gateway to romance. And then there are numerous incredible authors in my genre of gay romance, that I am so humbled to be able call peers and friends – all of whom are inspiring. Authors like ZA Maxfield, B.a. Tortuga, Julia Talbot, Tara Lain, Amy Lane, Mary Calmes, Lex Valentine, Sean Michael, Kiernan Kelly, Poppy Dennison, Charlie Cochet… this list could go on forever, and all of them have influenced me in one way or another.

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

Yes, I do. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do. Unfortunately, they’re not ones that resonate with most readers so I’m not sure exactly why I love ‘em so much and no one else does. Illusion of Life (formerly Trompe L’oeil) is one of those. It’s about an artist who ends up trapped in a cursed painting in the 30s. He and his love interest, a modern day history professor, need to fall in love with each other without interacting with each other for almost ¾ of the book. It was such a fantastical challenge and I love that book to pieces. Pen Name – Doctor Chicken was my sort of stab at romantic comedy. I guess my sense of humour doesn’t jibe with other people’s because that one didn’t go over all that well. But the main character, Stratford, who goes by the pen name Doctor Chicken for a series of children’s books is so endearingly broken (in my humble opinion) that he’s one of my favourite characters, and it’s one of my favourite stories.

8. What’s next for you as an author?

Right now, I’m working on a rock star meets professor story – it’s early stages yet, but I’m excited about that one. I’ve also got a sequel to my paranormal mystery, North on Drummond, started – I’ll probably get back to that manuscript in a few months. And I’ve got a romantic mystery call Tea or Consequences heading into edits, and it should be out later this year.

Thank you again for having me here!

Blurb

Tate Buchanan is a troublemaker who can’t keep a job, no matter how many times his lucky argyle sweater gets him hired. Add to that a learning disability and an impetuous nature that sends him into altercations to protect the defenseless, and he hardly manages to make friends, let alone find a man who’s interested in him for more than one night.

Most people think EMT Jaime Escobar is a player, but the truth is he wants a serious partner—he just can’t justify wasting time on guys he knows aren’t a match. But when he treats a gorgeous redhead after a fight, he finds the spark he’s spent so many years looking for.

Jaime wants to take the next step with Tate, but it’s clear Tate’s not going to curb his impulsive behavior—his next fight sends him to the hospital. Jaime’s relationship with a near criminal isn’t something his family is ready to accept, not any more than Tate is willing to be kept a secret. Jaime will need a lot of understanding—and some luck of his own—to keep them both. But this is one fight he’s going to see through to the end.

About the Author

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds).  After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published.  After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does. 

Visit KC at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, or find out about new releases by signing up for her newsletter.

Giveaway

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Plaid versus Paisley (Fabric Hearts #2) by K.C. Burn

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Will Dawson is working himself to death. Totally paranoid and freaked out that his boss at Idyll Fling will hire help for him—workers who might be better than he is or who could possibly usurp his position as IT Manager—he refuses help, and instead, works both on the job and at home to keep his company’s technology running. He lost his last management job to a beautiful, but apparently devious, young man and if not for being offered this one, he might never have kept his self-respect. Working for a porn studio might seem down and dirty to some people, but Will knows better and has the utmost respect for his boss, Stefan. He also helps his best friend, Raven, with the IT for his new company, Tartan Candy (see book one in this series). So there’s not much time left in his day for any kind of social life.

Enter Dallas Greene, hired by Stefan to assist Will—without Will’s knowledge or agreement! It shocks Will when he spies the same gorgeous young man who was responsible for Will losing his last job. The dirty usurper of his position has followed him to Florida! At least that’s what Will thinks. The reality is that Dallas is Stefan’s brother and is here because his company folded after Dallas, who was at that point their only IT staff person, was hospitalized for migraine headaches and a perforated ulcer.

Not knowing Dallas is Stefan’s brother, Will tries everything he can think of to get Dallas fired, including withholding important work—for which Dallas is eminently qualified—that Will wants to keep to himself. Dallas is surprised to be met by such a hostile work environment since he’s totally unaware of Will’s resentments, and as it happens, those resentments are unfounded.

A true enemies-to-lovers story, I thoroughly enjoyed the battles played out both intellectually, and eventually, between the sheets. A slow-burn romance that once lit becomes an out-of-control fire.

Readers who enjoyed Tartan Candy will also appreciate the revisits with both Raven and Caleb and will get to know Raven’s cousin Jamie who will apparently be the featured MC in Just Add Argyle, the next book in the series.

I have to admit I was beginning to get ready to find a way to sneak in between the pages to smack Will in the head for being so stubborn and obtuse about his attraction to Dallas and for continuing his resentment, even after he admitted his attraction to the sweet young man. Fortunately, the author redeemed him, but he remains one of those characters I loved to hate. Dallas, on the other hand, is really a sweetie. Charming, open, honest, and gorgeous, he sees the best in people, and I’m so glad he got his heart’s desire by the end of the story. It was a long haul to get there, but so worth it. This book is definitely one I will recommend to all my friends.

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The cover by L.C. Chase features a handsome man in a conservative, well-fitted dark suit wearing a paisley tie—Dallas—against a plaid background—representing Will. Very attractive and totally fits the story.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Published December 12th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitlePlaid versus Paisley
ISBN 1634778960 (ISBN13: 9781634778961)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesFabric Hearts #2

In Our New Release Spotlight: Plaid versus Paisley (Fabric Hearts #2) by K.C. Burn (author interview)

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Plaid versus Paisley (Fabric Hearts #2) by K.C. Burn
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reamspinner Press
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at

        

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Hello! I’m KC Burn and I’m thrilled to be here, chatting about me and my writing process, as well as a bit about my new release, Plaid versus Paisley, the second in my Fabric Hearts series.

  •  Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?

I find inspiration in a number of places. I sometimes get inspired from dreams – my first sci-fi book, Spice ‘n’ Solace, were inspired by a dream. The second book in my Toronto Tales series, Cover Up, arose the route I used to drive on the way visit a friend. She lives in an area where a lot of college students rent housing, and one of the houses always had a cop car parked there, because, presumably, a cop lived there. I started wondering how hard it would be for a cop to live in a place where – perhaps – he’d have to deal with a roommate engaging in illegal acts. From there, the idea just grew. New stories often trigger ideas, and sometimes just the simple of act of writing inspires. I don’t do a lot of planning, so often the secondary characters in my book will give me ideas about how they could have their own happy ever after.

  •  Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And why?

I’m absolutely a pantzer! I do very little planning. One time I tried, I ended up with a scene description that said “and then something happened” – and that’s a direct quote! I wrote a book with a bit of a mystery (North on Drummond) which is 99K words. I didn’t know until 70K who done it! Plaid versus Paisley wasn’t supposed to have any paisley at all – it was supposed to be all plaid! But once I realized how antagonistic Dallas and Will were going to be initially, the paisley just sort of happened organically and I went with it. As to why I’m a pantzer? I don’t know. Honestly, I think it’s just that I’m not very good at planning. Books, anyway. I can plan a vacation down to the minute!

  •  Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else? Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

All of them! Actually I was surprised about how much I like writing contemporary because I tend to prefer supernatural, sci-fi, or mystery/thriller elements in my personal reading. But there’s something challenging about writing a book that has to fly on the merits of your characters and their everyday life. And hopefully I manage it.

  • Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

I don’t know if I can speak for other authors but I definitely have favourite characters that I’ve written. Rick, who is featured in Cast Off, Stratford from Pen Name: Doctor Chicken, and Tate in the sequel to Plaid versus Paisley (which is in edits now) are so dear to my heart. I think it’s partly because they’re a little broken, or a lot broken, depending on your perspective, and yet they keep surviving. They keep fighting. Rick and Stratford aren’t, I don’t think, universally loved by my readers, but that’s okay. I still love them!

  •  If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?

Oh so many! In no particular order, I’d probably include: James Rollins, Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, Mary Calmes, Amy Lane, Megan Derr, Douglas Adams, Kristin Higgins… I know I’m missing more. I’m away from home as I write this, and can’t see my bookshelves for reminders!

  • How early in your life did you begin writing?

I knew when I was 10 years old I wanted to be a writer. After reading The Lord of the Rings, my dad got me a book called Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings. I really liked Tolkien, but I adored Pawn of Prophecy. That book cemented the idea that I wanted to write books. Although I started a number of books from there on out, I didn’t actually finish my first book until I was in university. It sucked pretty hard and will likely never see the light of day.

  •  Were you an early reader or were you read to  and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?

My parents read to me as a kid, and I was also an early reader. I do recall a number of books that stuck with me when I was young, in addition to Pawn of Prophecy that I mentioned above. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling – I can still remember my third grade teacher reading that to the class, in her proper British accent. To this day, I still love that book. The Hardy Boys series – I adored those, and they kept me busy on long road trips. They also might have had something to do with my love of mysteries. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – I loved the way it expanded my mind. That was definitely a stunning book, just thinking so far beyond myself, about the greater universe.

Thank you again for having me here!

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Blurb

Two years after his life fell apart, Will Dawson moved to Florida to start over. His job in the tech department of Idyll Fling, a gay porn studio, is ideal for him. When his boss forces him to take on a new hire, the last person he expects is Dallas Greene—the man who cost him his job and his boyfriend back in Connecticut. He doesn’t know what’s on Dallas’s agenda, but he won’t be blindsided by a wolf masquerading as a runway model. Not again.

Dallas might have thrown himself on his brother’s mercy, but his skills are needed at Idyll Fling. Working with Will is a bonus, since Dallas has never forgotten the man. A good working relationship is only the beginning of what Dallas wants with Will.

But Dallas doesn’t realize how deep Will’s distrust runs, and Will doesn’t know that the man he’s torn between loving and hating is the boss’s brother. When all truths are revealed, how can a relationship built on lies still stand?

Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, All Romance eBooks.

About the Author

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds).  After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published.  After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does. 

Visit KC at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, or find out about new releases by signing up for her newsletter.

A BJ Review: Cop Out (Toronto Tales #1) by K.C. Burn

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Cop Out CoverWhen Detective Kurt O’Donnell’s partner is killed in the line of duty, he discovers that his rather quiet partner was keeping lots of secrets, including that he was married… to another man. Kurt struggles to come to terms with the realization that his partner didn’t trust him enough to tell him the truth, but he decides to do the right thing. When the his partner’s widower, Davy, has no one to turn to except a pregnant sister who has problems of her own, Kurt steps in to help the mourning man get back on his feet. Before long, Davy becomes a friend, one he’s beginning to find himself increasingly attracted to.

To be with Davy, Kurt must face the prospect of coming out, but his job and his relationship with his Catholic family are on the line. Can he risk destroying his life for the uncertain possibility of a relationship with a newly widowed man? As Kurt begins to reevaluate his sexuality, something happens that confuses him even further and sends him into a downward spiral.

I found this to be a well-written and very realistic feeling story. I always enjoy this author’s stories. Just wanted to make that clear up front! Because I really enjoyed everything about this story except that I hated one of the main characters. Davy.

Davy’s deceased lover, Ben was a totally closeted and controlling asshat from what little we get to know about him. Since he died at the start and Davy himself didn’t share too much about him, we only get small small bits and nothing of what made him what he was. Taking that into account, while I didn’t like Davy much even at the beginning, I was trying to understand him and make the effort to like him. That ended, abruptly and finally. And Davy did ZERO to win me back over to his camp before the close of the story. So back to that in a minute.

On the other hand, I adored Kurt. He was just so very sweet to Davy, helping him from the start when he was alone and needy and totally checked out. Even though Kurt himself is just recovering from his own injuries. He’s so patient and kind and generous. After they are friends for a while, Kurt starts to have stronger feelings but is confused as he’s never had them before. When he faces them is able to accept them when he sees Davy kiss another guy, he reacts and then tries to talk to Davy about feelings he doesn’t really fully understand BUT rather than talk it out, Davy’s reaction just flat out made me see red. I absolutely wanted to kick the man in the nuts, throw him under a bus, etc. Only one other book has given me have such a strong hate reaction towards a character. Davy’s actions were wrong on so many levels. But I can’t really list them without describing the scene, which would be a spoiler. That said, if you want to read my full rant in all its furious glory with spoilers, see my review on Goodreads.) But here I will just say that Davy never redeem himself to my mind. Not even freaking close.

Davy’s relationship with Ben turned him pretty much into a hermit due to Ben’s attempts to conceal that the was gay. Davy could have left Ben, he wasn’t a prisoner, yet he didn’t. He stayed with him and he obviously loved him. He was totally broken up with grief when Ben died. It seems as if it was a very unhealthy relationship, but I don’t feel it excuses Davy’s actions. I just don’t.

Davy assumed that Kurt was just another Ben. Assumed things about Kurt. Didn’t bother to let Kurt talk or to talk to Kurt. Didn’t even have the courtesy to treat him like a friend, let alone someone he had feelings for. I hate when characters make assumptions instead of talking, but then to ignore him and hurt him for so long when one simple communication might have meant so much.

Months later when something else happens, Davy finally deigns to come when he’s called and gives lame excuses for his prior behavior. It’s not okay for Davy to have taken his suppressed or repressed feelings about Ben out on Kurt, who had been nothing but a good friend. Yeah, I hate Davy.

Kurt so deserved someone better. No idea what he saw in Davy anyway as he came across to me as kind of a snarky smartass once Kurt helped him get over his depression

I considered briefly that maybe if Davy had been a POV character that I might have gotten a better insight into his motivations and had a different feeling towards him, but based on his lame explanations & assumptions, I tend to think not.

I still give it 4 stars, because I so totally loved Kurt and his family and his story, and I do enjoy this author’s writing style.

I found the cover by artist Reese Dante appealing and representative of the story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press |  All Romance (ARe)  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, First Edition, 173 pages
Also available in audiobook and paperback
Published November 2011 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish
seriesToronto Tales #1