Bru Baker on Celebrity Chefs, Characters, and her new release Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1)

Standard

Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1) by Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Google Play

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Bru Baker here today talking about her new series, a followup to the popular Camp H.O.W.L. series we loved so much.  Welcome, Bru!

🐾

If you’ve read any of my books you’ll know that food is featured in pretty much everything I write. Sometimes it’s center stage, like in Talk Turkey and King of the Kitchen, but even when it’s not a huge part of the book, it’s there. I love it when my characters cook together or share a romantic meal.

I’m a big foodie myself, and I love watching celebrity chefs. There’s something so soothing about watching the magic of television cooking, where nothing takes more than a few seconds to cook and you can see an entire complicated recipe come together from beginning to end in under thirty minutes.

One of my favorite celebrity chefs gets a cameo in my latest book, Stealing His Heart. Food has been part of every Camp H.O.W.L. book, from food fights in the camp mess to romantic picnics and home-cooked meals. This is the fourth book in that universe, and it’s no different–though it’s not exactly our heroes who are doing the cooking.

Most of the characters in the Connoll Pack series, which is a spin-off of Camp H.O.W.L. set in New York, are some sort of Supernatural being. You’ll have to read the book to find out if our celebrity chef is one, too.

Blurb:

Stealing His Heart

A Camp H.O.W.L. Novel

Connoll Pack series 1


Love sneaks in like a thief in the night.

Danny’s parents raised him to believe his wolf was a curse. He’s part of the wealthy and powerful Connoll Pack, but only nominally. He abandoned that world to volunteer with supernatural kids, and he isn’t looking for a mate….

Max is a shifter who is also a detective. He’s working a case that could make or break his career. Danny’s caught up in the case he’s on, and he’s also irresistible. They’re a bad match—Max, an Alpha having trouble with his new powers and Danny, who trusts Alphas as far as he could throw one. But they can’t get enough of each other, and they might bond before they even see it coming.

They could be amazing together, but they have to get past a few obstacles—especially since someone close to Danny might be involved in the thefts Max is investigating.

Excerpt

Stealing His Heart, by Bru Baker

“You might get hungry later,” Ina said, pressing a box full of Tupperware containers into Max’s hands.

He didn’t see how that was possible. Her clambake fed two hundred, and no one went hungry. Max had eaten his fill and then some. Ina rented dozens of picnic tables and covered them all in huge sheets of parchment, and the easy atmosphere meant Max didn’t have to worry about eating his lobster the right way. Danny, Sloane, and Ina had all circulated, helping the Janus Foundation kids who’d never seen a clambake before. It hadn’t been like any of the fundraisers Max had attended with the Cresswells.

For starters, everyone had been wearing tacky plastic bibs with lobsters on them—and they’d loved it. Mrs. Cresswell hired a band, and the entire afternoon had been full of food, music, and yard games. The kids loved it, and so did Max.

“I don’t know if we have room for all this on the boat,” Max said, eyeing the box.

Ina waved off his concern. “Three shifters, two Weres, and a teenage selkie? You’ll eat it before you go to bed tonight.”

That was probably true. Ray and Tori were coming to spend the night, and Max and Danny were taking Joss out for a weekend sail after they left in the morning. Well, the captain was taking the boat for a sail. Max knew nothing about sailing, but the Cresswells’ yacht had a full crew.

“There’s an extra serving of pavlova in there too,” Ina said with a wink. “Something for you and Danny to nibble on as a midnight snack. I remember how insatiable new mates are. Did you know my husband is a werewolf? Back when we bonded, J—”

Max bent down and kissed her on the cheek to cut her off. He liked her husband, and he wanted to continue to be able to look him in the eye.

“Thank you for everything, Ina. Next time you’re in the city, you should come by. The Torres family lumpia recipe is the best you’ll ever taste. We’d love to have you.”

Ina clapped her hands together. “That sounds fantastic.”

Sloane shouted for him from the car, and Max apologized as he rushed out the door. Tori raised an eyebrow when she saw the box but obligingly took it and rested it on her knees while he climbed in.

“Finally,” Sloane said as Ray started the SUV. “I adore Ina, but she’s a talker.”

“She’s lovely,” Tori said. “And the food was amazing.”

“It always is,” Danny said from the passenger seat where he was squeezed in with Joss. “Remember the time we spent Thanksgiving there, Sloane?”

“Everything had at least two sticks of butter in it and tasted like angel tears and unicorns,” she said dreamily.

Dreamspinner Press, release date March 5, 2019

About the Author

Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Bru Baker on Getting to know Tate, Werewolf camp counselor and her release Camp H.O.W.L. (author guest blog)

Standard

Camp H.O.W.L. by Bru Baker

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Release date: Nov. 1, 2017

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Bru Baker here on her Camp H.O.W.L. tour.  Welcome, Bru.

 

Getting to know Tate, werewolf camp counselor by day, hermit by night

Hi, I’m Bru Baker, and I’m continuing my release tour for Camp H.O.W.L. here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. Thanks for joining me, and thanks to Melanie, Stella, and the rest of the review crew here for having me here today.

I introduced everyone to brand  new werewolf (affectionately labeled fail!wolf in my  notes because he’s a late bloomer and in denial at first) Adrian yesterday on Love Bytes, so today I’m going to talk about Tate, the werewolf psychologist/camp counselor to troubled werewolf teens who Adrian ends up accidentally bonded to.

Tate went into psychology to help ensure that no wolfling had to deal with the same kinds of trauma and neglect he was raised in as part of a remote pack of werewolf supremacists who shunned human society and lived ruled by their baser instincts. It was no place for a reserved, thoughtful guy like Tate, and he escaped as soon as he was old enough to board a bus on his own and set out for college.

He’s been at Camp H.O.W.L. for years, and while he does have friends on the staff, Tate uses the camp as a crutch to help him avoid relationships. He spends his days surrounded by teenagers in the middle of the forest–it’s safe to say Tate isn’t known for putting himself out there with other adults. In the excerpt I’m sharing today, we see Tate trying to talk himself out of his attraction to Adrian, but his friend and mentor at the camp isn’t having any of it.

Blurb

Moonmates exist, but getting together is going to be a beast….

When Adrian Rothschild skipped his “werewolf puberty,” he assumed he was, somehow, human. But he was wrong, and he’s about to go through his Turn with a country between him and his Pack—scared, alone, and eight years late.

Dr. Tate Lewis’s werewolf supremacist father made his Turn miserable, and now Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L. to ease the transition for young werewolves. He isn’t expecting to offer guidance to a grown man—or find his moonmate in Adrian. Tate doesn’t even believe in the legendary bond; after all, his polygamist father claimed five. But it’s clear Adrian needs him, and if Tate can let his guard down, he might discover he needs Adrian too.

A moonmate is a wolf’s missing piece, and Tate is missing a lot of pieces. But is Adrian up to the challenge?

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 238 pages
Tags: Gay; M/M; werewolves; Dreamspun Beyond

Excerpt

 

 

He’d expected living with Adrian to be difficult, but it wasn’t. And that upset him more than the thought of sharing space with someone who inconvenienced him. Adrian didn’t inconvenience him. Not in the least. Tate liked having him there. They’d been living in each other’s pockets for two weeks, and by all rights Tate should be climbing the walls—but he wasn’t. He looked forward to coming back to the cabin and having someone there to talk to. The way their scents had mingled in the shared spaces was maddening, but also comforting. For the first time he could remember, the cabin felt cozy and welcoming.

They were on the same page almost across the board—when they liked to eat, what they did in their free time, balancing quiet time with time spent hanging out. Adrian had slipped into Tate’s daily routine seamlessly. He was the ideal roommate, which should have been a good thing.

It wasn’t. Not by a long shot. Because along with the inside jokes and comfortable companionship came smoldering looks and flirty banter that made Tate’s inner wolf sing—and the rest of him shy away.

“Tell me again how it annoys you that he puts the cap back on the toothpaste,” Kenya drawled, and Tate scowled at her from his place on the floor.

“Don’t make it sound childish,” he snapped, aware he was being incredibly juvenile even as he said it.

“It sounds to me like you’re just looking for reasons the two of you aren’t a good match,” she said, and he threw the balled-up sock he had in one hand at her.

She caught it deftly, unfurled it, and examined it. “I was looking for that one!” she said triumphantly, matching it to one in her basket and folding them together.

“Remind me again why I agreed to help you fold your laundry?” Tate asked as he sought out more socks from the pile.

“Because you’re having an existential crisis, and I told you I couldn’t counsel you officially because the existential crisis is about one of my patients?”

Tate threw the unmatched socks back on the pile and lay back down, spreading out on her carpet. “It’s not an existential crisis.”

“It isn’t,” she agreed. “It’s not a crisis at all. It’s a good thing, and you don’t know how to deal with that. You, Tate Lewis, actually don’t know a good thing when it bites you in the ass, and that’s partly my fault. I should have made you go out and do more things before you installed yourself here as the camp hermit.”

He rolled up to his side and glared at her. “I am not the camp hermit.”

“You never leave the grounds. That makes this your hermitage.” She frowned. “Is that a word? Hermitude? No, that would be your hermit-y attitude. Hermitage, I’m sticking with that. We’ll get you a plaque made to put outside your cabin. Tate’s Hermitage.”

He groaned and rubbed his hands over his face. “And you can’t make me do anything, anyway. I’m my own man.”

“Sure you are, sugar,” she said sweetly. He didn’t doubt that if they’d been close enough, she would have patted his hand. “So be your own man on this and man up and make a move!”

Camp H.O.W.L. by Bru Baker

About the Author

Bru Baker spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Bru Baker on Writing, Books, and her latest release ‘Tall, Dark, and Deported’ (author interview)

Standard

Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker
Release date: April 1, 2017

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Bru Baker here today talking about her latest novel, Tall, Dark, and Deported! Welcome, Bru!

✒︎

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Honestly, I draw a lot more from the people around me than I do myself. It’s not even a conscious thing, but after I’ve formed a character I might realize I’ve incorporated mannerisms, speech patterns, and personality quirks from people I know. I do my best not to base a character on a real person, but there are often bits and pieces of a few people influencing things.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

There’s definitely a line there that we as authors have to skirt. That said, I often use my own experiences in books because I’m able to give a scene more depth if I know how a situation or event feels firsthand. Actually, the entire premise for Tall, Dark, and Deported came about from an experience I had coming home from GRL in 2015. I found myself stranded after my connecting flight home from Chicago was cancelled. The ticket counters were overwhelmed and no flights were available. They offered me a solution that would get me home thirty-six hours later–and Chicago is only a three-hour drive from my home in Indianapolis! So I started talking with two strangers who’d also been scheduled for that flight and we hatched a plan to rent a car and drive. Granted, I just used the experience as a jumping-off point. I certainly didn’t find myself crossing an international border and engaging in a Green card marriage like Mateus and Crawford. (My husband would have something to say about that, I’m sure. *g*)

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I’m a former journalist and I work in the reference department of a library–it’s safe to say I adore research. I have so much respect for authors who can craft a world out of the ether, but I’m not one of them. I tend to blend research with make believe. I’ve driven from Seattle to Vancouver along the road Mateus and Crawford take in Tall, Dark, and Deported, but the hotel they spend is plucked from my imagination. And of course, I’ve taken a lot of liberties with immigration policies.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m a fan of HFN, mostly because I have an overactive imagination and leaving a couple at the HFN give me the chance to fill in the blank for them myself as a reader. As a writer, I don’t like to tie up all the loose ends in a pretty bow because that’s rarely how life works. I want to leave my characters in a place where they’re happy and clearly meant to be together forever but without spelling out every action they’ll take.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I was a horror and classic literature fan as a teenager. My favorite authors in high school were Daphne DuMaurier, Emily Bronte, Robin Cook, Stephen King, and Michael Crichton. It’s an interesting mix. They’re still my go-to comfort reads, especially Rebecca and Wuthering Heights. As an adult I read a broad spectrum of things as part of my job as a librarian, but my favorites at the moment are cozy mysteries and quirky romances.

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

I know most authors would say they couldn’t choose because they love them all, just like parents are supposed to say that when you ask them which of their children they love the most. But I do have favorites, both among my books and my kids. (I joke, I joke. Most days both kids annoy me equally. No favoritism!) Playing House is hands-down my favorite of the books I’ve written, and I think it’s because it was the hardest to write. Writing is almost always sheer joy for me. I’m pretty sure I smiled maniacally all the way through writing King of the Kitchen, and writing Talk Turkey actually made me laugh out loud. But Playing House came from a very painful place for me–imagining what kind of emotional bonds someone with autism could forge as an adult, and whether or not they could successfully navigate marriage and parenthood. My son is on the spectrum, and there just isn’t a lot of positive representation of people with ASD in books and movies. So Playing House was me challenging myself to write a character who could make the average reader fall in love with a character who is flawed in a way that wasn’t quirky or eccentric, but real. I’ve had readers message me after reading the book and tell me they see themselves or their partners in the main character and that it encouraged them to seek help or a diagnosis, sometimes for the first time ever. And that’s amazing.

What’s next for you as an author?

Right now I’m working on a submission for Dreamspinner Press’s Advent Calendar Anthology. I absolutely love fluffy holiday romance, and I have a really soft spot in my heart for the Advent anthology in particular because it gave me my break into publishing in the 2012 calendar with my short story, Traditions from the Heart. I’m also in edits right now on a release that’s coming out toward the end of the year with Dreamspinner as part of the Dreamspun Beyond line–it’s about werewolves! True to my style, of course, one of them turns out to be a pretty big failure as a werewolf. So big, in face, that he has to go to a camp to learn how to werewolf. Enter hilarity, a little angst, and, of course, romance.

Blurb

Crossing the border into love.

Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.

Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works—except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.

Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 236 pages

Tags: Gay; M/M; Dreamspun Desires

About the Author

Bru Baker spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.