Eli Easton on Writing, Future Stories and her latest novel Desperately Seeking Santa (author interview, and giveaway)

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Interview With Eli Easton
 

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? 

Yeah, that’s something I’ve learned writing romance. I think especially these days, a writer has to be so cautious about making a character unsympathetic, whether they say or do something assholeish, check out another guy, say something non PC, or whatever. It’s often bemoaned by other authors I know that you can’t make a character “real” or the audience complains. And I think that’s true. On the other hand, to me the thing I love about romance is that it’s a fairy tale that gives me hope and good feels. I’m not a fan of reading about a millionaire asshole or a cheater myself. In sum: you need to give a character a few faults to feel “real”, but you have to be very careful what those are. There’re a lot of no nos in romance.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I’m a very quiet person myself, but I admire people who can be the life of the party, always joking and witty. I can write that for a character on paper, but that’s far from who I am IRL. 😊

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work? Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it? Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

I’ve had ideas I’ve shelved because I had other commitments or just didn’t quite have the whole thing settled in my head. A few examples. I wanted to write about a younger gay man who cooks for an older, widowed farmer, and they fall in love over these dinners. That eventually became “A Second Harvest”. And I also had on my idea list to write a “injured hands, bros help each other get off” fic at some point. That eventually became “Five Dares”. I do have some thriller novels partially completed on my hard drive, but not sure they will ever get done.

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story? Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I do often put my real life issues and worries into stories. Not necessarily to work out a solution, but just because that’s what’s on my mind. For example, I’ve thought about opening a farm sanctuary and my character, Eddie, is doing that in “Tender Mercies”. And I put on the poor guy my own worries about whether I could actually succeed at something like that. Usually my characters are luckier than I am at working out their problems. Ha. IRL we aren’t guaranteed a happy ending. So there’s something cathartic about that.

What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

Hmm. There’s a massage at a sex therapy clinic in “The Trouble with Tony” which is pretty out there and hot. It’s got a medical kink angle. 😊 And in “Merry Christmas Mr. Miggles”, there’s a sex-in-a-library scene which was in my head before I started the book.

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.

I’m not sure I’ve ever written anything drunk. I’m not a big drinker. I have one glass of wine and I’m snoring on the couch. So drinking and writing do not mix for me.

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

I’d go for a snowy mountain cabin with fireplace and amazing views. Give me that any day over a beach setting. There’s something about inclement weather that makes it cozy to stay in and write. If it’s too nice outside, I’m distracted.

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

Well, first, to pay the bills. Lol. But I love the escapism of romance, both for myself and for my readers. Our politics are so heavy right now, and all the natural disasters, and people who want to take away other people’s rights. There’s so much hate an intolerance out there. So yeah, I hope my work gives readers a sense of hope and a way out of that reality for a while. But also, I’m proud to promote values that I care about in my work like diversity, inclusivism, basic kindness, and unconditional love.

What’s next for you as a writer?

In 2018 I plan to do only three Eli Easton romance books (I had 5 out this year) and I want to write a thriller under my other name, Jane Jensen. The romance books will include a Christmas book, another Mad Creek book, and then the 3rd is up in the air still.

Thank you so much for inviting me to the blog!

og!

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 50,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
Blurb

Journalism student Gabe Martin gets his first professional assignment—to write about a Christmas charity dinner that benefits a children’s home. It sounds like a total snooze-fest until Gabe learns that the event’s Santa is a mystery man. He shows up in costume and no one has a clue who he is. Uncovering Santa’s identity sounds like the perfect angle to turn a fluff piece into serious journalism.

Mack “The Mountain” McDonall, at 6’10”, is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enormous star wrestler. When Gabe first claps eyes on him at a wrestling match, it’s lust at first sight. Gabe’s friend, Jordan, sets up the pair on a date. But when Gabe chatters on about his plans for outing Santa, Mack goes cold, and their first meeting becomes an epic fail.

As Gabe researches the children’s home, he learns that Mack has secrets a guy famous for being a brute wouldn’t want the world to know. Can Gabe find his holiday spirit, write a killer article, win the heart of a surly giant, and give everyone a very merry Christmas?

 

 

November 22 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
November 24 – Diverse Reader
November 27 – The Novel Approach
November 29 – Alpha Book Club

 
Author Bio
 

Eli Easton has been at various times and under different names a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a long-distance walker. She began writing m/m romance in 2013 and has published 27 books since then. She hopes to write many more.

As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

Giveaway

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Eli Easton on Tender Mercies (with an Exclusive Excerpt)

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Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County #2) by Eli Easton
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

Release date: Oct 27, 2017

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Eli Easton here today on her Tender Mercies tour.  Welcome, Eli.

Exclusive Excerpt: Samuel comes out to Eddie

By Eli Easton

I’m celebrating the release of TENDER MERCIES, a romance set on a farm very much like the one I live on with my family. It’s the second book in the “Men of Lancaster County” series, though it features a new couple and can be read as a stand-alone. What each book in this series has in common is being set in Lancaster County, a rural area of Pennsylvania where there are a lot of Amish and Mennonite.

The protagonists in TENDER MERCIES are Eddie, a city guy who moved to the country to start a farm sanctuary,  and Samuel, a young Amish man kicked out of his community for being gay. Samuel, having nowhere else to go, finds a job as a farmhand on Eddie’s farm.

I’ve long wanted to write an Amish protagonist. Growing up myself as the daughter of a conservative minister in the Midwest, I can relate to the frustrations and perils of growing up in a very restrictive, limited environment. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be for a young boy who knows he’s gay.

Below is one of my favorite Samuel scenes in the book, in which, for the first time in his life, he comes out to another person.

EXCERPT – Samuel comes out to Eddie

Samuel became very absorbed by books. He and Eddie read in the evenings, letting the cards languish on the dining room table. Samuel would read a book that wasn’t embarrassing when he was sitting in the living room with Eddie, and Eddie would read on his Kindle. It was sure good to have company, even if they didn’t talk a whole lot. It was like there was an extra stove in the room, this one thawing some cold and neglected piece of Samuel’s heart. Sometimes Eddie would laugh and then read something out loud to Samuel. Sometimes he made popcorn.

But no matter how nice it was to read in the same room as Eddie, Samuel would go to bed early, and there he would read a book he’d snuck from the right wall section of office shelves—the romances. There was no way he could be in the same room as Eddie and read those! If his blush didn’t give him away, other parts of him would.

He read a romance about a woman and a pirate, which was very, very dirty. It had crazy names for body parts like “manhood” and “cave” and “the milk of love.”

Then he read one about a woman who owned a big sports team. He found the information about the sports teams almost as interesting as the sex in that one. Almost.

Then Samuel found the other books. They were on the bottom three shelves of that right wall section. When Samuel pulled the first one, he saw two men on the cover. He pulled another and another. He read the back of the books. They were all about two men who met and…. Surely not. It couldn’t be what it looked like.

Eddie was in the kitchen making dinner when Samuel found those books. Heart pounding and half-afraid of getting caught, Samuel quickly picked one book and put back the rest. He went up and hid the book in his room. That night he went to bed real early, consumed by curiosity, and he read it.

In the story one man played ice hockey and he was famous. No one knew this man was gay because hockey players weren’t supposed to be that way, and he’d lose his job if they found out. The other man was a reporter, and his family and friends knew he liked other men, and they didn’t care. The reporter met the hockey player, and they started having sex and fell in love. It was a tough situation because they had to keep it secret and couldn’t be seen out together and such like.

Samuel didn’t touch himself when he read this book. He cried. He cried so hard he had to bury his face in the pillow because he was afraid Eddie would hear him all the way on the other side of the house.

He was overwhelmed by thoughts and images. Someone wrote a book about it, about men who like other men. And in the book, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. It was a thing some people didn’t accept, but the men in the book were still characters worth writing about. Their story was worth telling. They were not terrible people or sinful or perverted or abominations. They were handsome and nice, and they tried to do the right thing. It was all right there on the page, that was what was so amazing. It was printed there as if the story of two men who loved each other had just as much right to be written and made into a book and printed on good paper as Beauty or Treasure Island.

That meant so much to Samuel his body couldn’t contain the feeling of muchness. So he cried.

For two days Samuel thought about that book as he went about his chores. He didn’t even want to read any more books right then; he just wanted to think about that one book and what it meant. He thought about what it meant that Eddie had the book, and a bunch more like it, in his library. He thought about how it might be connected to the fact that Eddie was not married and had no children, even though he said he was twenty-eight years old.

Those thoughts made Samuel feel itchy and twisted up inside. He liked Eddie and respected him. He respected Eddie’s kindness and his principles when it came to other creatures, he really did. Even if Eddie’s sensitivity about animals seemed excessive to Samuel, he could admit such compassion was more Christlike than many of the things Samuel witnessed growing up. But if Eddie turned out to be like that, gay, Samuel wasn’t sure how he’d feel about it.

He always believed “being gay,” as the romances called it, was something to be ashamed of, and he didn’t want to lose respect for Eddie. But the books also made him think his father, his church, had been wrong. It didn’t have to be a sinful, degenerate thing done in the cover of night as if hiding from God. Two men loving each other could have a normal life just like any other couple, just like in his fantasy of Green Valley. For real.

And if Eddie were gay, then….

Then.

Those what-if thoughts lurked hungrily on the edges of his mind, but they were too audacious to think directly. Samuel felt skittery and guilty anytime he started to think about them. As if Eddie would know somehow.

No. Those ideas were too big to dwell upon. It hurt too much to want like that. And it wasn’t right by Eddie. The man deserved more respect than to become a figure in Samuel’s sexy dreams.

But Samuel was curious about why Eddie had the books. Maybe it was just because he liked all sorts of things. Eddie wasn’t a pirate, after all. Maybe all English had such books. Curiosity started to eat Samuel up. He figured it was best to just come out and ask so he could stop fretting about it one way or the other.

So on the third night after he found the gay romances, when Eddie was putting supper on the kitchen island, Samuel slipped upstairs and got the book. When he sat down, he did what Eddie had done all those weeks ago with that towel. He put it on the counter facing Eddie. Then he picked up his fork.

Dinner that night was spaghetti with a tomato sauce and a salad. Samuel focused on his food and refused to be put off by nerves. He was hungry.

He’d finished half his meal before he looked up to find Eddie watching him warily.

“Are you asking me about the book? Or do you have something to say about it?” Eddie asked in his most careful voice.

Samuel thought about that. “Did you read it?”

“Yes.”

“What did you think of it?”

Eddie still looked wary. “What did I think about it? Hmm. Well. It’s not my favorite gay romance, but I liked it. I thought the relationship development was well done.” He paused for a moment, then gave what looked to Samuel like a forced smile. “The hockey player was hot.”

Samuel felt a wave of embarrassment and looked down at his spaghetti. He felt himself blushing. He ate a few bites, chewing and swallowing more slowly than usual. Samuel thought the hockey player was “hot” too. But if Eddie thought so, did that mean he was gay? For sure?

All of a sudden, Samuel wished he hadn’t brought it up. Because he wasn’t sure he could not make a fool out of himself over the answer. It felt too important. He felt a little nauseous, truth be told. He put down his fork and twisted his hands in his lap, stared out the window.

“That’s not really what you wanted to ask me about, is it?” Eddie said. “You want to know why I have gay romance in the house. You want to know if I’m gay.”

Samuel’s heart thudded thick and heavy in his chest. “Ain’t none of my business.” He suddenly didn’t think he could stand knowing, one way or the other. It would be too much.

“Well. I am. I’m a gay man. I was in a relationship for a long time, but, well, now I’m not. Is that going to be a problem for you?”

Samuel felt faint. Was that relief he felt? Or shock? He hadn’t thought Eddie was gay, much less expected him to admit it so easily. How had he not guessed? Samuel felt ignorant and unworldly, one of those moments where the gap between his knowledge of the world, and Eddie’s, felt so broad it was a wonder they could talk to each other at all.

Samuel’s ears were ringing, and he was lost in his thoughts. He suddenly realized Eddie was still talking to him.

“Samuel? Can you please answer me? Is it going to make you uncomfortable living here now?”

“What?” Samuel jerked his head around to look at Eddie. Eddie’s face was guarded, and Samuel felt terrible.

“No, I don’t mind. I mean, I’m not uncomfortable.” Lord, he was so uncomfortable. “What I mean is….” He hesitated.

Eddie frowned at him, his face guarded as if prepared for Samuel to say something mean.

“I am too!” Samuel said abruptly, then he cringed. He thought he might throw up. “That is to say, I always felt that way. That’s why my da beat me with the switch that one day. And told me to get out. So it don’t matter to me none if you are.” He closed his eyes and clenched his fists on the counter. He couldn’t sound any stupider if he tried.

Eddie’s hand closed loosely over Samuel’s fist. His voice was soft. “That’s why your dad beat you? That’s inexcusable, Sam. You know that, right?”

Samuel opened his eyes, startled at the touch. But before he could even really feel it, Eddie pulled his hand away.

Eddie was glowering. He rubbed at the center of his chest. “First of all, you can’t help being gay. It’s something you’re born with, like brown eyes. And there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s certainly nothing you should be punished for. I’m sorry your father did that to you. God, that makes me so mad!”

Samuel had no idea what to say. He picked up his fork and twirled it in the spaghetti and chewed it, not hardly tasting a thing. Eddie’s words rolled around in his head like marbles. There’s nothing wrong with it. Eddie sure came from a different world. Samuel liked that world. The longing for it was sharp, a desperate ache. He wanted to be a part of it.

Then he realized that maybe he already was.

“You’re the first person I ever told,” he admitted.

Eddie smiled. “Yeah? How does it feel?”

Samuel considered it. “Like I’m about to have a heart attack.”

I hope you enjoy the rest of TENDER MERCIES.

Eli Easton

About TENDER MERCIES – Eli Easton (Men of Lancaster County #2)

Eddie Graber’s dream of a sanctuary for rescued farm animals was about to come true when his partner backed out at the last minute. Now Eddie risks losing the twenty-five acre property in Lancaster County—and all the hopes he held for it—before the project even gets off the ground. He needs help, he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to rediscover the belief in a higher purpose that brought him here in the first place.

Samuel Miller worked hard to fit into his Amish community despite his club foot. But when his father learns Samuel is gay, he is whipped and shunned. With just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals, no clue how to run his small farm, and a gentle heart.

Samuel isn’t the only lost soul to serendipitously find his way to Meadow Lake Farm. There’s Fred and Ginger, two cows who’d been living in a garage, a gang of sheep, and a little black pig named Benedict who might be the key to life, love, money—and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.

NOTE: This title is set in the same region as book #1 but features a new couple. It can be read as a stand-alone.

About the Author

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author. 

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story.  She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time.  She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens.  All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35076747-tender-mercies?from_search=true

In Our Spotlight: Five Dares by Eli Easton (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)

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Five Dares by Eli Easton
Riptide Publishing
Cover art by Natasha Snow

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here at Riptide Publishing

 

Love contemporary Romance?  Check out the latest from Eli Easton and Riptide Publishing and don’t forget to enter the contest too!

About Five Dares

Andy Tyler has been the class daredevil since middle school. Over the years, he’s convinced his best friend, Jake Masterson, to perform some dangerous-looking stunts with him. But the dare they attempt on the night of their college graduation goes sideways. The firecrackers explode too soon and both of them end up with badly burned palms.

But hey, nothing gets the “terrible two-o” down for long, and they recuperate in style at Andy’s family cottage in Cape Cod. As the weeks go by, both Andy and Jake grow frustrated over the inability to use their hands for all sorts of daily activities—including getting off. So Andy begins a new series of dares that don’t just cross the friendship line, they obliterate it.

But what might be mere sexual relief to Andy is serious business to Jake, who only recently got over years of secret pining for his straight best friend. Inevitably, the burns heal, summer ends, and hearts are broken. To fix things, Andy will have to face the greatest dare of all.

Now available from Riptide Publishing! 

About Eli Easton

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, an author of paranormal thrillers, a fan-fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a profound sleeper, Eli Easton is happy these days writing love stories.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with her husband, three bulldogs, two cows, a cat, and a potbellied pig. She enjoys reading in all genres and, when she can be pried away from her iPad, hiking and biking.

Eli Easton has published 24 books in m/m romance since 2013. She won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary Romance in 2014 (The Mating of Michael) and in 2016 (A Second Harvest). Her Howl at the Moon series of humorous dog shifter romances have become fan favorites and placed in the Rainbow Awards and the Goodreads M/M Group Reader’s Choice awards. She is best known for romances with humor and a lot of heart.

Connect with Eli:

Website: www.elieaston.com

Facebook

Twitter: @EliEaston

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Five Dares, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 7, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

 

Review Tour for Eli Easton’s How To Save A Life (Howl at The Moon #4)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Length: 80,000 words
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
Howl At The Moon Series
 
How To Howl At The Moon (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Walk Like A Man (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Wish Upon A Star (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb


Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.

Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.

Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?

Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5-star Rating Review here.

August 30 – OMG Reads, RJ Scott
September 4 – Hoards Jumble
September 8 – V’s Reads
Author Bio


Eli Easton has been at various times and under different names a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a long-distance walker. She began writing m/m romance in 2013 and has published 27 books since then. She hopes to write many more.

As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.



Website: www.elieaston.com
Twitter: @EliEaston
Email: eli@elieaston.com

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