One Pulse Anthology and a Interview with Jon Keys, author of A Single Night

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one-pulse-anthology

One Pulse (A Dreamspinner Press Anthology)

Release Date September 17
Purchase Links

Stories drive life. Sometimes life is good; sometimes life is bad. But it’s the nature of our community that in the aftermath of an act of hatred, we respond with love. Because darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Cruelty cannot stand against compassion. Negativity will never overcome hope.

To show our support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we celebrate the triumph of love over every obstacle.

Jon Keys—A Single Night
Alicia Nordwell—About Best Friends & Boyfriends
Mickie B. Ashling—Adíos
M.T. Aspen —Asking for Trouble
M.A. Church—Chasing Tyme
Caitlin Ricci—Coming Out
George Seaton—Cucurrucucú
Jayce Ellis—Dance
Bree Cariad—Everyday Miracles
Chrissy Munder—Everything I Need
Ellis Carrington—For the First Time
Felicitas Ivey—Get Me to the Church Town Hall on Time
John Amory—Happy Pride
Grace R. Duncan—Hope
John Goode—Let Them Eat Cake
J. C. Long—Magical Boys Just Wanna Have Fun
Elizabeth Noble—Magicicada
Renee Stevens—More Than a Pact
Troy Storm—One Big Happy… Bunch
Connie Bailey—One Heart at a Time
Dev Bentham—Perfection
Andrea Speed—Pride
Laura Lascarso—Pull
Lila Leigh Hunter—Raffled Kiss
Emery C. Walters—Ranch Dressing
C.C. Dado—Read My Lips
Sera Kane—The Stag’s Bane
KC Burn—The Tithe
Vicktor Alexander—The Wooing of the Marqués de Sierra de Outes
Edmond Manning—They Danced

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is proud to help host Dreamspinner Press’s release week for its One Pulse Anthology, a collection of stories written in the aftermath of the horror of the shootings in Orlando.  Here today, is Jon Keys, author of the wonderful Obsidian series and the story, A Single Night. Welcome, Jon, to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

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A Single Night by Jon Keys from the One Pulse Anthology

Interview

  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?Good question! For me it can be from almost anything: a random comment; a location I’ve never been to before, or a familiar one I revisit. I’ve written a few stories based on fairy tales. Many of the contemporary novels begin as a “what if” story. For example, a novel I’m writing now is built from the question of what would happen if a college professor fell for his mechanic. From there I’ve added twists and turns to take it beyond the obvious.
  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And  why?Both. I start out planning the important elements of the novel. Lately I’ve been mapping stories out to get their flow. But once I begin writing, all kinds of twists and turns happen that I hadn’t foreseen. When they do I usually let them run their course.
  • 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?Well the reading side is easier, so lets start there. Science fiction and fantasy are big time favorites. I enjoy the peek at another world or another time. All of those situations appeal to me as a reader. So far as other genre that are in the mix; some murder mysteries will fall in from time to time. I enjoy solving the puzzles and figuring out the who done it. Contemporary is also in the combination. Nothing scratches an itch sometimes quite like a good love story. But even then I want to know about their life, where they live and other background. I guess that element comes through on both my reading and writing. I want them to have a feeling of place.Writing follows some of the same lines of thought, but the emphasis has been different. Most of my writing has focused around contemporary, or at least the first handful of stories was firmly rooted in the here and now. They also had a strong rural/cowboy flavor to them.  But over the last several stories the focus is on fantasy. Whether it was the retelling of a classic fairy tale or the worlds of high fantasy, I’ve found writing these created worlds very satisfying. I love creating worlds and the animals and people who populate them. But in my next novel set to be released early in 2017 I’m back firmly in the contemporary world, telling cowboy stories again. I seem to have somewhat of a split writing personality!
  • If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?The characters I’d probably want most to redo would be some of the antagonists, particularly Peter’s ex from Home Grown. He’d be much more multilayered now, more ominous. Yeah, he would be the character I could change more than most others.
  • Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?Sure! I think authors can definitely have favorites. Some characters come out with so much personality and personal growth that you can’t help but cheer them on and want them to win. Terja from Obsidian Sun was one of those. He grew and changed so much through the course of the books.
  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snowstorm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?Oh jeez, I always go back to these later and can think of a dozen more. My test of a good read is how many times I’ve reread them. Some authors who have made it on my reread list: Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar world, Allen Dean Foster, and for humor I love Robert Aspirin; the MYTH series, Phule’s Company and the Dragon Series. Yeah, that would be the short list, at least for now.
  • How early in your life did you begin writing?.I’m not one of the child prodigies I’m afraid. I never considered writing until a few years ago and I thought, “I can do that” and gave it a try. Now? Well it’s become quite an addiction for me.
  • 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?I read a lot of books, but don’t remember too many of the early ones. Actually the oldest book that I remember was Mother Goose. I had people read that book to me until I could ‘read’ the book out loud. Oddly enough the novel I remember from elementary school was Farmer Boy and yes, I was an adult before I realized it was part of the Little House on the Prairie series. But I could identify with Alfonzo. Later I found more science fiction and fantasy books. Of course I had the classic collection of all the comic books I could afford. I’d never heard of a graphic novel in those days.
  • If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?Oh wow, hard question. I agonize over titles. I really like for them to work on a number of levels. Maybe “Here we go again.”

Blurb:

The aftermath of tragedy calls for more than just physical healing, but Devon and Logan may find it with family—and with each other.

Author Bio

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

Buy links:

eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/one-pulse-7577-b

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Excerpt:

Logan couldn’t help but notice Devon’s limp was more pronounced than normal. The wear and tear on his husband was visible tonight when Devon grabbed the back of the sofa. His fingers dug into the thick padding as he sighed.

“Sit down, please. I’ll call Michelle and Doug and reschedule. They’ll understand,” Logan said.

“I’m fine. Watch.” Devon winked at Logan, then vaulted over the back of the heavy piece of furniture to land with a bounce on the dense cushions.

A slight rattle and a stifled groan of pain made Logan cringe. “Would you behave, Devon! You’ll mess something up.”

Devon wrapped his meaty arms around Logan and worked to pull him on top. But Logan grabbed his face and planted a kiss on his forehead.

“Knock it off. It’s your sister who’s on her way,” Logan said.

But Devon ignored the protest, pulled Logan close, and pressed their lips together. The tingle in the pit of Logan’s stomach was the same he’d gotten the night they met. In the years since, it had only gotten stronger. Logan took a deep breath and filled his senses with Devon’s masculine scent, letting himself melt against the muscular chest and feel safe. His thoughts became fuzzy and his crotch tight as their closeness sent delicious jolts through Logan. He realized this wasn’t going like it should when they had guests arriving. Logan pushed away, wet his lips, and grinned.

“I have to cook supper before they get here. Go change into something comfortable. And hang up your dress clothes, because I’m the one who has to iron your crap.”

When Devon made an attempt to stand and his breath hissed through his teeth. Logan stepped over to help, but Devon waved him away. “When I can’t get my fat ass off the sofa, I’ll let you know.”

Logan rolled his eyes but stepped back. The effort took several tries before Devon stood. He shot Logan a wink and a smile. “See, told you I didn’t need help.”

Logan’s lips formed a tight line, and he started toward the kitchen. “You’re a stubborn jackass. Now go change.” He pulled out ingredients for dinner and within a few minutes had food strewn across the counters. He had the ingredients for the first course ready when Devon reappeared, still wearing his clothes from work.

“What do you want me to do?” Devon asked.

Logan glanced over and sighed. “Just once you could listen. Sit. Rest. They’ll want to play games until late.”

“I’ll help. I can make a pasta dish.”

Logan studied him for a minute before lifting an eyebrow. “Yeah, pasta would be good. What did you have in mind?”

Devon smirked as he made his way to the refrigerator while Logan worked on getting the entrée ready. He was preparing steaks and fresh vegetables from their garden for grilling. Logan spread them over two trays, seasoned them, and then coated everything with good olive oil they’d discovered on their trip to Italy. It was one of the little indulgences they allowed themselves. Devon was still working his way through the contents of the fridge when Logan stepped out onto their patio to get the grill ready.

While it heated, he looked around the yard and enjoyed the spring flowers he and Devon cared for with meticulous attention. They’d remodeled the deck last year and put in a Jacuzzi. He’d paid for it as part of Devon’s fortieth birthday gift. But he’d also hoped it would help keep the scar tissue on Devon’s leg a little more flexible. Whether it did or didn’t, they enjoyed having the little oasis to escape into each evening. Devon’s job as a victims’ advocate became stressful at times, and Logan wanted him to have a place to unwind.

Logan turned his attention to the barbecue, decided everything was fine, and slipped into the house. He glanced over at Devon and froze. A second later, he started laughing.

Devon turned to him and lifted an eyebrow. “Something wrong?”

“Nope. Not at all. I was just wondering if you’d left anything in the fridge.”

“You questioning my ability to make pasta salad?”

Logan held up both hands in surrender. “No, no. Nothing like that.”

Devon turned to his cutting board and diced peppers with the chef knife Logan bought him last Christmas. The mix of ingredients was unique, but Devon seemed satisfied with his hoard, so Logan didn’t care. No one’s crying, no one’s bleeding, then it isn’t a big deal. They worked together in the kitchen with practiced ease. Logan decided to make shot glass desserts for a treat. Devon was putting his salad in the fridge as Logan sprinkled pecans into the last dessert glass.

Devon was up to something; he was smirking too much over making pasta salad. Logan waited a minute before checking to see what was happening. He wasn’t surprised to discover the source of Devon’s amusement about the dish he’d made.

He frowned at the penis-shaped pasta filling the bowl. “Really? Another porn pasta creation? And for your sister?”

By this time Devon was cackling. “She’ll think it’s great, and Doug will turn a nice shade of red. It’ll all be good.”

Logan sighed and glanced at his watch. “Fine, keep your cock pasta. Your sister will be here soon. We need to shower.” He looked at Devon and lifted one brow. “And taking off your tie doesn’t mean you got relaxed.” Logan stood with an expression he hoped looked appropriately stern.

“If you ask me if I need help, I swear I’ll beat you with a wet noodle.”

Logan chuckled and waved him away. “Go shower. I’ll set the table. If you behave, I’ll come wash your back.”

“If you put out later, maybe I’ll let you,” Devon said with a laugh.

Coffee Sip and Book Break with Devon & Levi VS Real Life Wyomans from Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens (excerpt and giveaway)

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AboutTheBook

 

o-wide-open-spacesFSTITLE: Wide Open Spaces

AUTHOR: Renee Stevens

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

COVER ARTIST: Maria Fanning

LENGTH: 35,632 words

RELEASE DATE: August 31, 2016

Devon & Levi VS Real Life Wyomans

Wyoman is just one nickname for people from Wyoming. A couple others are Wyomingite and Wyomingan. For the purpose of this blog post, we’re going to use Wyoman.

In my experience, there are two main types of Wyomans. First you have the ones who can’t imagine living anywhere else, and then you have the ones who can’t escape fast enough. Sure, there’s a middle ground, but the majority fall into these two categories. But here’s the thing, many of those who fall into that first category leave, many times by joining the military, and then return after experiencing life elsewhere.

I personally know at least a dozen close friends I went to school with who fit category one, and every one of them joined the military. Out of those dozen, all but maybe four have returned. Having lived elsewhere myself, I think the reason is simple: culture shock. It’s tough going from a small town, where it seems like everyone knows everyone else, there’s little to no traffic, and not very many people (the entire state only has about 500,000 people) to a big city like Seattle, New York, San Diego, Salt Lake City, etc. It’s like there’s two completely different worlds.

So, why am I bringing this up? Easy. Devon and Levi represent these exact groups. Devon was in group number one. No sooner had he graduated then he packed up and left. He wanted to go somewhere he was just another face in the crowd. He succeeded for a few years but then had to admit what many of us learn. He was a small town guy in the big city, and, above all, Wyoming is home. Once he’d come to that realization, he returned.

Levi on the other hand, was in category two. He loved living in Wyoming. Sure, there were problems, but rather than run away like Devon did, Levi stayed. He went to college in Laramie and went right back to his hometown. He weathered the difficulties he faced and didn’t pretend he was someone he’s not just to fit in with the crowd. That’s lucky for Devon, since it means Levi was still there when he came back and maybe they could have a second chance.

BLURB

 Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Excerpt

 

Devon dug his keys out of his pocket and headed for the door. He’d get something to eat and then maybe stop at the store to pick up a few staples. Paper plates, sandwich fixings, some chips, and he’d be good for a couple of days. At least it would give him time to get a few things—like pots and pans—unpacked. Then he could do a full grocery shop.

An hour later he was comfortably full from a greasy burger, fries, and a shake. He’d never eaten a lot of fast food, but he had few other options. He headed to Walmart, determined to stick to his list of sandwich stuff and maybe some eggs. Surely he could dig out some pans before the food expired. He headed to the chips first and scanned for the familiar bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. They were his all-time favorite, though he also knew he’d want something else after a day or two. So he grabbed a couple of other bags and headed for the eggs and then the freezer aisle.

Sandwiches and chips would get old fast. He found some frozen breakfast sandwiches he could microwave, tossed them in the cart, and moved on. Frozen lasagna quickly joined the few other items in his cart, followed by some potpies, a few TV dinners, and a bag of chimichangas. So what if he wasn’t sticking to his mental list?

He was more focused on getting groceries for the next few days than on the people around him.

“Devon.”

He froze when a familiar voice spoke his name. He closed his eyes briefly, ducked his head, and steeled himself. He knew it would happen eventually, when he found out Levi still lived there. He thought he’d have more time to prepare. He swallowed—hard—and turned to face the man who had at one time meant everything to him. The man he’d risked being found out for. He lifted his head and gazed into the moss-colored eyes.

“Levi.” He hadn’t changed much. The goatee was new, but the shaggy black hair was the same. Devon kept his gaze squarely on Levi’s face, despite wanting to look him over completely. Not that he needed to. Levi had always been his exact opposite when it came to looks. Green eyes to his blue. Black hair to his blond. Slender and toned where he was more stocky and muscular. The only similarity was their height. Devon was no giant, but he was a little taller than average, and Levi was only slightly shorter than him.

“I wasn’t sure it was you at first.” Levi smiled, but Devon could still see the same hurt in his eyes as the day he left. “I thought you were never coming back here. At least that’s what you said when you left.”

There was no accusation in Levi’s voice, but Devon winced just the same.

“I never planned to.” He forced himself to shrug like it didn’t matter. “I tried to stay away, but the city is nothing like here. Too many people, too much traffic, and you have to drive quite a ways to be able to see the stars.” Devon shifted from foot to foot, and he opened and closed his hands at his side. “We don’t have to do this.” He motioned from Levi to himself and back. “In fact I’d understand if you hate me and want nothing to do with me.”

“I never hated you.” Levi sighed. “I understood why you left. Even if I wished you didn’t feel the need to.” Levi scanned him from head to toe. He smiled, but there was a sad quality to it. “You look good. When did you get back?”

“A few days ago.” Somebody reached around him, and he realized he was blocking the burrito section. He moved out of the way and motioned with his head for Levi to follow him. He wasn’t sure if he was happy or not when Levi complied. He headed to the fruit and vegetable department, knowing there was a spot near the bananas where they could talk without being in anyone’s way. He stopped by the display and turned back to Levi. “I wasn’t sure if you’d still be here.”

“You know me.” Levi glanced away for a second and then turned back. “This is home. Are you back for good?”

“Yeah. I learned I’m truly a country boy at heart.” He chuckled. “Guess I should have listened when you told me I’d hate the city.”

“You never were very good at listening.” Levi shook his head. “I should let you go before both of our groceries start thawing.”

Devon wanted to stop him but wasn’t sure it was a good idea. He’d never completely gotten over Levi. Devon studied his ex as he walked away. He was still slender, but he had more muscle tone than he had at eighteen. Levi stopped and looked back.

“Maybe we could get together sometime. Catch up over a few beers?” Levi’s voice was barely more than a whisper, like he wasn’t sure he was doing the right thing, but Devon heard him. “I’m sure we have a lot to talk about.”

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AuthorBio

 

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties.  Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal.  When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can be usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of admin and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters.  Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works. When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts.

When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors.  She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby.  Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

:: Website :: Facebook Page :: Twitter :: GR Page ::

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TourSchedule

August 31: Rick R. Reed :: Bayou Book Junkie :: Rainbow Book Reviews :: Diverse Reader

September 1: Author Dean Frech

September 2: The Day Before You Came :: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words :: Lustful Literature

September 5: Tempeste O’Riley :: Love Bytes Reviews

September 6: Nessa’s Book Reviews

September 7: BFD Book Blog

September 8: MM Book Escape

September 9: Louise Lyons

September 12: The Purple Rose Tea House :: Wicked Faeries Tales And Reviews

September 13: Loving Without Limits :: Alpha Book Club

September 14: Prism Book Alliance

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Wide Open Spaces (States of Love) by Renee Stevens

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Wide Open Spaces by Renee StevensDevon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.

This was a sweet story, but almost too sweet.  Devon returns to his small hometown in Wyoming because life in the big city no longer appeals to him. He left home after high school six years before, and he left behind his first love, Levi.  Once he’s back, he quickly learns Levi completed college and now works rescuing wild mustangs, and he came out a few years before when he brought home his boyfriend on a college break. 

Devon would love to see Levi, but he’s afraid his high school jock friends and his new employer, a mining operation, would make his life hell if they determined he was gay too. He is, and he was out for the past six years in Washington, but doesn’t want to be out here.  When he meets up with Levi, it’s evident that their chemistry is still there, so he plans to take it slowly as he gets to know the man he always loved.

They do take things slowly, but Devon is such a jerk about staying in the closet that eventually Levi clues in to the fact that they never go out in public, and he gives Devon an ultimatum (thank God!).  Devon is still a wuss, even when he finally determines that there’s nothing he’d do to hurt Levi and wins him back.  To be honest, I couldn’t believe how juvenile his behavior was, especially given the fact that he’s been out for six years.  And Levi was way too nice to the jerk. Really? He should have put his foot down from the beginning.  Also, there was no real angst surrounding the fact that Devon ran off six years before. They smoothly transitioned back together, even though there had been no contact during that time.

Overall, although I somewhat liked the story, mostly my “like” was centered around Levi and around the early parts of the story before I realized what a jerk Devon was.  Also, it felt a little too juvenile, and the resolution didn’t come until the end. And then it just ended—there should have been a bit more of a resolution toward their future as a couple.  So, I have to give it 2.5 stars because I thought it was a minimum of “okay” with a little bit of “like” as a booster.

The cover by Maria Fanning is okay, featuring a close-up of a muscular man’s chest with another (less than sexy and unappealing man) in the background and both superimposed over a scene of grazing horses.

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Book Details:

ebook, 98 pages
Expected publication: August 31st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634777026 (ISBN13: 9781634777025)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesStates of Love settingWyoming (United States)