Love Holiday Stories? Check Out Mischief Corner Books”Escape From the Holidays” Collection (Guest Post from Gregory Norris and giveaway)

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Escape from the Holidays collection - Mischief Corner Books

Escape from the Holidays Collection

For the second year in a row, Mischief Corner Books is putting out a winter holiday collection – Escape from the Holidays – ten stories revolving around various December holidays:

The end of year holidays can get overwhelming for anyone. Things to do. People to see. Last minute work obligations to take care of. Sometimes it’s just easier to escape from it all, running away from the responsibilities and expectations, or ignore the underlying disappointment from relatives who don’t see eye-to-eye with you.

Because escaping the holiday grind can lead to new, unexpected paths, and breathe new life into one that’s been stuck in a rut. Giving something to run to instead.

Sometimes, getting away from it all lets you know what you really have. Sometimes, taking a chance on the unknown leads to what you really want.

Thanksgiving – Gregory Norris

I grew up enjoying the best Thanksgivings with family thanks to my maternal grandmother, Rachel, and grandfather, Wallace, in a big, mysterious house on Foster’s Pond in Massachusetts that no longer exists. My grandmother cooked everything from scratch. We played board games, walked in the snowy woods, and stuffed ourselves on the incredible feast. It was a glimpse of Heaven.

The year my grandfather passed away, the Thanksgiving tradition ended. At the age of fifteen, having newly discovered my love for writing, I began a new one—penning a complete story as a way to show thanks for the permission I’d been given into that vast universe.

My parents divorced. Thanksgivings ended for me. Years later I met Bruce, and we decided we’d celebrate holidays again. We began holding an annual Thanksgiving open house, and I cooked everything from scratch like my Grandmother Rachel, including her recipe for cranberry sauce, a reliable hit among diners. We invited friends from our writers’ group and others who didn’t have family to spend the holiday with. Bruce made four pies—pecan, pumpkin, and two blueberry pies (my favorite).

Then he was diagnosed with a vicious cousin of Parkinson’s Disease and, with his health failing, in 2017 we were left with no other choice but to cancel our Thanksgiving open house. But almost every year since 1980, I’ve kept with the tradition of penning a complete short story on Thanksgiving Day.

Early this past October, Bruce saw a new neurologist. She treated the late, great actor Kathryn Hepburn. In fact, Hepburn lived with her for a year and blurbed the doctor’s book. She promised she could help us and delivered by putting my husband on a low dose of a medicine used for treating coma patients. The results were nearly instantaneous and borderline miraculous. So much so that a version of my husband is back, coherent, present.

We missed having our home, Xanadu, filled with cherished writers’ group friends, the family we’ve chosen, and put out the invitation for this year’s open house on Thanksgiving Day. Which means I’ll be up super early to start the meal—and also begin work on my annual Thanksgiving Day story. This year’s literary offering will either be a hockey-themed mystery or a fiery ‘pyromance’, to be determined that morning.


Giveaway

Mischief Corner Books is giving away a $25 Mischief Corner Books gift card with this tour. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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About the Books:

COVER - Stay Awhile

Stay Awhile

Author: Kassandra Lea
Release Date: 11/28/18
Word Count: 5K
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair
Genres: Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Pairings: M/M

Tropes: second chance
Keywords: Thanksgiving, Asexual, Romance

The holidays are usually a whirlwind of busy activity for Anson—decorating, baking for friends—but this year, his heart isn’t in it. He’d hoped coming out to Daly as asexual would be the right thing to do. Since then, he hasn’t heard a word from the handsome photographer.

Now Daly’s suddenly shown up at his front door, asking Anson to trust him, to come with him. He doesn’t dare hope in case this is just another build up to a bigger heartbreak.

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

I have my mom to thank for so much. First of all, she fostered a love of reading. According to her I’ve been reading since I could hold a book and I got my first library card at age 3. Growing up I used to read 100 books a year, but of course, that doesn’t happen as often since there’s writing to do and a day job.

Secondly, I have to thank her for always pushing me to keep chasing my dream of being an author. Who else am I going to bounce ideas off of, and she helps me when I get stuck. Suppose you could say she’s my biggest fan.

When I’m not writing I enjoy time with my dog, tending my garden, baking sweet treats, walking through crunchy fall leaves and blankets of cold snow, playing video games, and reading! I’ve a fondness for horses and blankets (is it possible to own too many?)

And yes, some days I still wish I was Batman.

For more information about Kassandra’s work, please visit:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cheddarsgal
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369580.Kassandra_Lea
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leakassie/


COVER - Burning Down the House

Burning Down the House

Author: Gregory Norris
Release Date: 12/1/18
Word Count: 11K
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair
Genres: Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Pairings: M/M
Tropes: Family, Reluctant Suitor
Keywords: Thanksgiving, Romance

Leo’s quiet vacation in Vermont is cut short by news that his beloved grandmother’s in the hospital because she tried to burn down her own house. Feeling low and depressed that she might be falling victim to dementia, Leo takes comfort in a man he meets in the hospital’s Quiet Room. The encounter’s supposed to be a one-night stand, one and done, no strings attached, but Leo’s surprised when he wants more.

The problem is that Aaron comes with strings and complications—ones Leo isn’t sure he wants to deal with on top of his own problems. Leo’s going to have to reach deep if he wants more than superficial, but he’s determined to try if the universe will just cooperate.

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Gregory L. Norris is a full-time professional writer, with work appearing in numerous short story anthologies, national magazines, novels, the occasional TV episode, and, so far, one produced feature film (Brutal Colors, which debuted on Amazon Prime last January). A former feature writer and columnist at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), he once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager.

Two of his paranormal novels (written under his rom-de-plume, Jo Atkinson) were published by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape With Romance” line — the first time HSN has offered novels to their global customer base. Norris judged the 2012 Lambda Awards in the SF/F/H category. Three times now, his short stories have notched Honorable Mentions by Ellen Datlow. He won Honorable Mention in the 2016 Roswell Awards in Short SF for his short story ‘Mandered’. Norris lives and writes in the outer limits of New Hampshire with his husband, their small pride of rescue cats, and his emerald-eyed muse. Follow his literary adventures on Facebook, or at http://www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com

For more information about Gregory’s work, please visit:

Website: https://gregorylnorris.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gregory.norris.10
Email: gregorynorris@gmail.com


COVER - The Holiday Spirit

The Holiday Spirit

Author: Carole Cummings
Release Date: 12/5/18
Word Count: 5K
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair
Genres: Fantasy, Holiday, Humor, Romance
Pairings: M/M
Tropes: Office Romance
Keywords: Christmas, North Pole, Elves

It’s hard being the PA for the Holiday Spirit.

Julian is more dedicated than most, and knows the job inside and out. But that doesn’t mean he’ll still have a job when the new Holiday Spirit is elected. It also doesn’t mean he’s immune to the *cough* charms of the office, but that’s a whole other problem.

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Carole lives with her husband and family in Pennsylvania, USA, where she spends her time trying to find time to write. Recipient of various amateur and professional writing awards, several of her short stories have been translated into Spanish, German, Chinese and Polish.

Author of the Aisling and Wolf’s-own series, Carole is currently in the process of developing several other works, including more short stories than anyone will ever want to read, and novels that turn into series when she’s not looking.

Carole is an avid reader of just about anything that’s written well and has good characters. She is a lifelong writer of the ‘movies’ that run constantly in her head. Surprisingly, she does manage sleep in there somewhere, and though she is rumored to live on coffee and Pixy Stix™, no one has as yet suggested she might be more comfortable in a padded room.

…Well. Not to her face.

For more information about Carole’s work, please visit:

Website: http://www.carolecummings.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carole.cummings.9
Page: https://www.facebook.com/Carole-Cummings-129381137086663/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CummingsCarole
Email: carole@carolecummings.com


COVER - Slow Thaw

Slow Thaw

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Release Date: 12/8/18
Word Count: 22K
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair
Genres: Contemporary, Near Future SF, Holiday, Romance
Pairings: M/M
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Workplace Romance
Keywords: scientists, isolated setting, Antarctic

Javier Fernandez is a climate scientist living in a research station near the South Pole. Since his husband was killed in a car crash, he’s preferred to be alone, and is less than thrilled to have a junior scientist thrust upon him by his rich patron.

Col Steele is a trans man fleeing a bad break-up. He is ready for the next step in his career, and eager to spend Christmas anywhere but at home.

When a crack in the ice separates the two men from safety, they are forced to come to terms with their own losses and each other.

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Scott is the admin for the Queer Sci Fi site. He has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

For more information about Scott’s work, please visit:

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/


COVER - Celebrations in the Seasons of Long Nights

Celebrations In The Season Of Long Nights

Author: Mere Rain
Release Date: 12/12/18
Word Count: 12K
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair
Genres: Paranormal, Holiday, Romance
Pairings: M/M
Tropes: Protector, Anticipating Abandonment
Keywords: Demon hunter, holiday

Having escaped his abusive family by winning a scholarship to college, Shahin promised himself he would never go back. So when his plans for winter break fall through and he’s left homeless for a month, he decides he’d rather camp in the park than go home. But he doesn’t realize it’s the solstice, the longest night of the year, the start of the season when the supernatural is at its strongest.

Yima is a demon-hunter, a duty passed down through his family. He doesn’t resent it, but it does get lonely, especially since his work is at its most difficult and dangerous when everyone else is celebrating with family. After he rescues Shahin from a demon attack and finds that he has nowhere safe to stay, he takes him back to his flat.

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Mere Rain is an international nonentity of mystery whose library resides in California.

Mere likes reading, travel, food, art, and you.

For more information about Mere’s work, please visit:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mere.rain.54/
Email: mererainwriting@gmail.com


COVER - The Holiday Home Hotel

The Holiday Home Hotel

Author: Lou Sylvre
Release Date: 12/15/18
Word Count: 30K
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair
Genres: Magical Realism, Paranormal, Holiday, Interracial, Romance
Pairings: M/M
Tropes: second chances, divine interference
Keywords: singer, drag, hotel, gods

Daren Novak and Gunny Schuler have known each other since freshmen days at the University of Washington, where they’d started a romance Daren assumed would last. But at the start of winter break, Gunny bowed to the dictates of his lifelong religion and his overbearing father and left UW never to return.

After a failed marriage, Gunny built a quiet life embracing his gay identity, and left his North Dakota home, his marriage, and his father’s business for a forestry and teaching career in Oregon. Meanwhile, Daren has built up his own life around managing a unique holiday venue, the Holiday Home Hotel, and performing for the guests in drag as “Dare.”

A decade has passed since they last saw each other, but now winter’s harsh weather brings them face to face—helped along by a minor goddess and powerful forest spirit. Too much hurt might lie between them now to fix things, but interfering supernatural beings are determined to force them to try.

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Lou Sylvre loves romance with all its ups and downs, and she likes to conjure it into books. The sweethearts on her pages are men who end up loving each other, and sometimes saving each other from unspeakable danger. It’s all pretty crazy and very sexy.

As if you’d want to know more, she’ll happily tell you that she is a proudly bisexual woman, a mother, grandmother, lover of languages, and cat-herder. She works closely with lead cat and writing assistant, the (male) Queen of Budapest, Boudreau St. Clair.

She is the author of the six well-loved books of the Vasquez and James Series and a holiday favorite, Falling Snow on Snow. She teamed up with Kiwi author Anne Barwell to write Sunset at Pencarrow, an adventurous tale of New Zealand romance.

For more information about Lou’s work, please visit:

Website: http://www.rainbow-gate.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouSylvre/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sylvre
Blog: http://www.sylvre.rainbow-gate.com
Email: lou.sylvre@gmail.com


COVER - Something to Celebrate

Something to Celebrate

Author: Evelyn Benvie
Release Date: 12/19/18
Word Count: 21K
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair
Genres: Paranormal, Holiday, Romance, Interracial
Pairings: M/NB
Tropes: Mysterious stranger, culture clash
Keywords: holiday, yokai, Japanese myth, demisexual, nonbinary

Niko doesn’t hate the holidays; that would require too much commitment. He just doesn’t care about them anymore. He’s a demi, disillusioned mess and he doesn’t care about much at all. That is, until an enticing stranger blows into his life this Christmas and catches his attention–and his heart.

Fan is lost and lonely, a winter spirit adrift in a human world that has all but forgotten them. And then they meet Niko, a young man with the ability to see them, and they remember what it means to stay somewhere. To want someone.

Chance brings them together. But is chance enough to build a relationship on?

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Evelyn Benvie is a wooly jumper from a family of black sheep and has always wanted to be a writer. She was raised on a steady diet of classic fantasy and science fiction but grew dissatisfied with the way people and relationships were often portrayed in mainstream books. Like, why does the princess have to get married at all? Why are aliens gender-coded? Why is every single person straight?

So she dreamed of writing sensible books with sensible characters who better reflected her own experiences as a queer woman. It’s taken a while, and fiction has gotten a lot more diverse since then (even as her own characters have gotten a whole lot less sensible), but it’s all good. “Something To Celebrate” is her first major publication; please continue to support the author in the future!

For more information about Evelyn’s work, please visit:

Website: http://www.evelynbenvie.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/EvelynBenvie


COVER - Holiday Hijinks

Holiday Hijinks

Author: Toni Griffin
Release Date: 12/22/18
Word Count: 22K
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genres: Paranormal, Holiday
Pairings: M/M
Tropes: family, comedy of errors
Keywords: hellhound, demons, holiday, Christmas

This year the holidays seem to be rubbing Archie the wrong way. He can’t stand that damn happy music blasting in the stores and all over the radio. The decorations went up far too early—and don’t even get Archie started on how cheery everyone is.

Seeing the holidays cause Archie to slip back into a depression, Adze decides to take matters into his own hands. The one thing his mate has always wanted is to see the Tudor houses in England. Besides, it’s the perfect time to escape the humdrum heat in Melbourne. Adze can’t think of anything better than curling up in front of a roaring fire with his mate while snow falls outside.

Of course, life would never be that easy. Baby demon stowaways and Christmas Krampuses hell-bent on doing good leave the pair wondering just where things went wrong.

Buy Links Coming Soon

Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia’s capital cities. Born and raised in the state she’s a Territorian through and through. Growing up Toni hated English with a passion (as her editors can probably attest to) and found her strength lies with numbers.

Now, though, she loves escaping to the worlds she creates and hopes to continue to do so for many years to come. She’s a single mother of one and works full time. When she’s not writing you can just about guarantee that she will be reading one of the many MM authors she loves.

Feel free to drop her a line at info@tonigriffin.net anytime.

For more information about Toni’s work, please visit:

Website: http://tonigriffin.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/toni.griffin.author


COVER - Yule Planet

Yule Planet

Author: Angel Martinez
Release Date: 12/26/18
Word Count: 15K
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Genres: Science Fiction, Humor, Romance
Pairings: F/F
Tropes: enemies to lovers, displaced person
Keywords: alien planet, snow, Yule, resort, shipwrecked

Sofia Cancino is tired of her mundane life, her artificial environment and her large, boisterous family descending every holiday season. She’s promised herself this year will be different and books a stay on the exclusive—and expensive–holiday-themed resort, Yule Planet. She looks forward to being pampered while reconnecting with Old Earth traditions steeped in the magic and mysticism of nature. Everything will be perfect and she’ll leave as a more authentic human, better connected to her roots.

Naturally, things go horribly wrong. Sofia’s landing pod goes off course and instead of stepping out on the landing pad at the resort, she finds herself in the snow-swept perpetual winter of the planet’s hinterlands. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s “rescued” by a band of criminals on work release who run deliveries to the resort from far-flung shuttle delivery sites. They refuse to take her, a paying customer, to the resort and insist on dragging her along on their parcel run. Riding giant monsters. In frigid weather. Not to mention, Marta, who handles the monsters, obviously hates her.

If Sofia survives her vacation, she’s definitely yelling at someone’s supervisor until she gets a refund.

Buy Links Coming Soon

While Angel Martinez is the adult fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of queer fiction – Science Fiction and Fantasy. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

For more information on Angel’s work, please visit:

Website: https://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Angel.Martinez.author
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1010469.Angel_Martinez
Email: angelmartinezauthor@gmail.com


COVER - Waiting on the Rain

Waiting on the Rain

Author: Freddy MacKay
Release Date: 12/29/18
Word Count: 25K
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair
Genres: Paranormal, Holiday, Romance
Pairings: M/M

One young man desperate to make things right for the monks who raised him. Another looking to escape the limelight. The two best friends stuck in time because of promises.

A couple looking to make a bigger unconventional family—one young woman who wants to help the world become a more beautiful place, one transwoman looking to put down roots for the both of them.

Love isn’t always easy, but the good kind is worth fighting for, even when others don’t understand it. The story of what becomes of their love is what will be passed down into legend. Because stories like this, people remember.

When Jira, Boon, Areeya and Fon come together to celebrate Yee Peng and Loy Krathong, sparks fly and dreams coalesce. But that’s only the beginning…

Buy Links Coming Soon

Freddy grew up in the Midwest, playing sports and running around outside. And honestly, that much has not changed since Freddy was small and throwing worms at other kids, except worm throwing has been replaced with a healthy geocaching addiction. Freddy enjoys traveling and holds the view a person should continually to learn about new things and people whenever possible.

Freddy’s contemporary LGBTQ book, Incubation: Finding Peace 2, won 3rd Place – Best Gay Erotic Fiction in the 2012 Rainbow Awards. In 2013, Freddy’s story, Internment, tied for 3rd Place – Best Gay Fantasy in the Rainbow Awards. Freddy’s steampunk/SF story, Feel Me, was a Finalist and honorable mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards for SF. And in 2015, Freddy’s urban fantasy Snow on Spirit Bridge was also a Finalist and honorable mention.

For more information on Freddy’s work, please visit or email:

Website: https://freddysstereograph.weebly.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FreddyMacKay
Email: freddy.m.mackay@gmail.com

Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell on Writing, Characters, and their story ‘Sunset at Pencarrow’ (author interview and giveaway)

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Sunset at Pencarrow (World of Love) by Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Buy Links:

 (Discount code PENCARROW from 5/31-6/30, 30% off, DSP store only.)

Amazon |  Barnes and Noble |  Google Books | iTunesKobo

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Anne Barwell and Lou Sylvre here today talking about writing, characters and their latest story, Sunset at Pencarrow.  Welcome, Anne and Lou!

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Lou: Before we get started answering questions, Anne and I just want to say thanks—first to readers, but equally to STARW for hosting us on our Sunset at Pencarrow blog tour. A heads-up: We have a Rafflecopter giveaway going on so don’t forget to enter early and often!

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How much of yourself goes into a character? 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?

Lou: The answer to that question depends on how I look at it. In the most literal sense, plunking myself down in a fictional situation and writing about what I would do there, never ever. On the other hand, I’m sure many readers have heard it said that characters are all different versions of the author, and I believe there is some truth to that. I mean, how can we write characters with integrity—real reactions, responses, interactions, and inner workings unless they somehow come from inside ourselves? But so much goes into making up all the hidden parts of ourselves, not just our experiences and so forth, but our empathy, not to mention those characteristics that are part of us and we would never be able to say why. When I write a character, I definitely draw on that resource. Sometimes, it’s just little bits of gut knowledge or subtle reaction. Sometimes, though, it’s extreme—for instance when I write a “bad guy,” what they’re made of are my own honest responses exaggerated and twisted.

So the process goes something like this: Imagine a character vastly different from me, then write as if I am him (or her). Use my own honest emotions, reactions, responses, etc., to drive him along his trajectory toward whatever it is he wants or needs.

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

Anne: I don’t really choose the genres I write—they choose me. I enjoy researching, but I also love the challenge of making up my own worlds and cultures. I’ve written a few historicals and writing those always entails lot of research, and I always learn something new with each book. I work at a library so I tend to refer to a mix of print and electronic materials when I need information. Although I don’t have to worry so much about every little details being as accurate as possible when writing fantasy, I still want consistency in my world building and to ensure that whatever magic system I’m using makes sense. So… instead of a lot of research in the traditional sense, I’m still spending the time I’d usually research in making up a new world.

Lou: I don’t see that as an either/or question. Every novel takes place in a fictional world, even if it is contemporary romance set in a real city, with real buildings and streets and even events—because your characters don’t live in that real city and their story isn’t happening there. And even the most far-flung paranormal, sci-fi, or fantasy has to have elements of realism, because if it didn’t, it would make little sense to readers, and because to hold such a story together the question of “how” is at least as important as “what.” I do enjoy research a great deal regardless of the kind of story I’m writing. That was one of the bonuses of writing Sunset at Pencarrow; it required quite a good bit of research for me, never having been to New Zealand, not having a Vietnamese Buddhist mother, not having been familiar with the places fighting might have occurred in Afghanistan, etc. Anne and I do have another work in process which would fall, genre-wise, somewhere between fantasy and magical realism, but it’s worked around a real series of events in historical Scotland. Lots of research needed there, too—interesting, and one of the fun parts of the writer’s job.

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

Lou: As a teen, I loved fantasy, sci-fi, and suspense/thriller fiction. I veered away from that in my thirties and forties, reading a lot of Native American literature, women’s literature, lesbian fiction, and mainstream novels and short stories (though I never really stopped reading fantasy and sci-fi). Sometime in the last two decades, I’ve come back around, and now read genre fiction almost exclusively, especially fantasy and (with or without the suspense) romance—the latter mostly M/M. Not surprisingly, those are also the things I like to write nowadays.

Anne: Definitely. I grew up on a reading diet of mostly SF/fantasy and comic books, with the odd historical and mystery detective thrown in. I loved—and still do—Susan Cooper, Madeleine L’Engle, Robert Heinlein, Rosemary Sutcliff, and Andre Norton, to name just a few. If a book looked interesting, I’d read it, which is still my criteria for picking up one today.

My writing, like my reading, covers a range of genres, and sometimes a book will ‘misbehave’ and not stick to one genre. I’ve written historical (WWI and II so far), fantasy (contemporary, high, and urban), SF (time travel), and contemporary romance. There’s a touch of mystery detective through several of those too.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Lou: Either can be satisfying to me, but I do want one or the other if I’m reading romance. I don’t particularly care for endings that are essentially cliffhangers (unless the next book picks up where the last left off in a series), or endings that just leave too much to the reader to decide what happened, in any genre. To me, however, the very worst kind of ending is the one that tidies everything up too neatly, with no room for me to imagine a future for the characters in my own reader mind.

Anne: I don’t mind whether characters get a HFN or HEA, as long as they don’t go through a lot of strife for nothing. In some situations, such as an historical, a HEA isn’t going to happen, but that’s fine. Sometimes, the story is a slice of someone’s life, and like real life, I’d prefer not to know what happens in the future. As long as they’re happy now, I’m happy.

Sometimes characters aren’t going to get either, but there needs to be a good reason for that, depending on the story. If there isn’t a good reason though, I get annoyed. I read a series a couple of years ago, and devoured all three tome sized books, only to have the author kill one of the main characters in the second to last chapter of the final book and then have something happen that undid everything the characters had worked for. And yes, I’m still muttering about that one.

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

Anne: I didn’t read any romance stories until I was an adult, although some of the stories I read had some romance in them, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I’ve always enjoyed stories that are more character driven and as romance is a part of life, it makes sense that I’d be drawn towards reading the genre. I read across a lot of genres, and my romance reading tends to be more MM rather than MF, although I do enjoy a good MF romance too.

Lou: I didn’t really start reading romances until I was in my twenties, unless you count things like Jane Eyre, which I read as a young teen. In the 1970s, I read authors like Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and Johanna Lindsey—that was the infamous bodice-ripper era. I stopped reading them for a while except Lesbian romance. For the past decade or so, I’ve been reading mostly (but not exclusively) M/M when I read romance.

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

Anne: I read both ebooks and hardcopy, but given the choice I prefer the feel of a hardcopy book. However, if it wasn’t for ebooks, I wouldn’t have been able to read many books that I’ve enjoyed. There are more novellas available now than there used to be, as most of those aren’t in print, and also being in New Zealand, books and postage to here are very expensive, so many books I want to read would be out of my reach in hardcopy.

I think there’s a place for both ebooks and hardcopy for that reason. Each has their pros and cons, and readers who prefer one of the other, so I’m hoping we’ll continue to be able to have the option to read whichever way we want for.

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

Lou: I’ve been lucky enough to work with Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink, their YA imprint. More so than some publishers, they allow the author to have a good deal of input about what goes on the cover, but it’s the assigned artist who interprets that. They provide mock-ups to choose from, and also accept suggestions for changes. So I don’t have to just accept a cover as a done deal, but I also don’t have to create one or go shopping for one. When I choose from the mocks and offer possible tweaks, I’m looking to evoke a feeling or atmosphere that gets at the heart of the book. I am more than pleased with the covers I have, and honestly I’m delighted with the cover Anne and I got from Reese Dante for Sunset at Pencarrow.

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

Lou: I’m going to take the liberty of changing the question slightly. Since Sunset at Pencarrow is my current love, I’m going to choose my favorite among my other books. It’s not easy, but I’d have to choose Because of Jade, the final book in my Vasquez and James series. Through five previous stories, I put those men through hell. They faced unspeakable terrors, they grew as individuals, and they grew in their love for each other. At the end of each book, they had a happy ending, but never quite complete. In BOJ, they are finally mature, and though they face problems and scares, the main focus is the way they grow their love outward, as they adopt a little girl and make a family. I love the men the characters grew into, I love the world they make for themselves in this book, and I love their little girl. More than that, it makes my heart sing a little that I finally got to give them a true happy ever after, which they so richly deserved.

Anne: Choosing a favorite story is like choosing a favorite child, but one of my favorites would have to be my Echoes Rising series. This series has been a part of my life for well over a decade, and when I started writing the first book—Shadowboxing—it was the first time I knew that what I was working on was a novel. It actually turned out to be three novels, but these books and their characters will always have a soft spot in my heart.

What’s next for you as an author?

Anne: Comes a Horseman, which is the 3rd and final book of my WWII Echoes Rising series releases from DSP Publications on 1st August. After that, One Word, which is book 3 of my contemporary fantasy series Hidden Places is being published by Dreamspinner Press in November/December this year. Writing wise, I’m finishing up Prelude to Love which is a contemporary romance set in New Zealand. After that I’m heading into another co-written book with Lou called The Harp and the Sea, which is a historical set in 17th century Scotland with a touch of magic realism. While she’s working on her side of that, I’ll be writing A Sword to Rule, the 2nd and final book of my fantasy series Dragons of Austria.

Lou: I’m re-working the first two books and writing the third in a series that spun off from Vasquez and James, and making some decisions about the series future. Anne and I have a novel in progress (the Scottish historical/fantasy mentioned above), and I’ve got a couple of novellas in the early stages. So, I’m busy, and hopefully will have more specific news soon. Thanks for asking!

___________________

Lou and Anne: Thank you again, readers. We’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment (and get another giveaway entry in the process). We also hope to see you along the way throughout the tour.  

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Blurb:

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Book info:

Novella
Pages: 129
Words: 48,703
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf
ISBN-13 978-1-63533-520-0
ASIN: B071LHK72M

About the Authors

Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She works in a library, is an avid reader and watcher across genres, and is constantly on the lookout for more hours in her day. Music often plays a part in her stories, and although she denies being a romantic at heart, the men in her books definitely are.  Anne has written in several genres—contemporary, fantasy, historical, and SF— and believes in making her characters work for their happy endings.

Lou Sylvre

Lou Sylvre loves romance with all its ups and downs, and likes to conjure it into books. The romantics on her pages are men who fall hard for each other, end up deeply in love, and often save each other from unspeakable danger. It’s all pretty crazy and very sexy. Among other things, Lou is the creator of the popular Vasquez and James series​, which can be found at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and many other online vendors.

Contact links:

Anne:

Lou:

Lou and Anne’s shared Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/

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In Our Holiday Spotlight: Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre (exclusive excerpt/guest blog and giveaway)

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Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre
D
reamspinner Press
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Release Date: December 23, 2016

Available for Purchase at

      
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About Falling Snow on Snow

Beck Justice knows holiday sparkle and snappy carols only mask December’s cruel, black heart. He learned that lesson even before he landed on the streets eight years ago, and his recent step up to a tiny apartment and a busker’s permit for Seattle’s Pike Place Market has done nothing to change his mind. But one day in the market, Oleg Abramov joins his ethereal voice to Beck’s guitar, and Beck glimpses light in his bleak, dark winter.

Oleg, lucky to have a large and loving family, believes Beck could be the man to fill the void that nevertheless remains in his life. The two men step out on a path toward love, but it proves as slippery as Seattle’s icy streets. Just when they get close, a misunderstanding shatters their hopes. Light and harmony are still within reach, but only if they choose to believe, risk their hearts, and trust.

Exclusive Excerpt

Lonely.

Most of the time, Oleg didn’t like to think that’s what he was. He was a lucky guy; he knew that. He had a big, loving, accepting family, and all of them had more to be thankful for than many. They’d come from cold, hungry, Russia in the 1990s, and unlike most refugees they had what were called by the welfare people they’d had to depend on when they first arrived, “marketable skills.”

What the family had was music, and it had opened so many doors for them. Now they had made their name in early music circles, had regular bookings for concerts and special appearances as a group and individually, and they had a home. Warm, large, but not so much so that it ever felt too spacious. Never empty. Air rich with the smells of stroganoff, borscht, shashik, or honeycake. Ready laughter, flash-in-the-pan tempers, small favors asked or done. And behind it all, in the Abramov home, always the music: scales ad infinitum, students repeating sixteen measures over and over slow to fast and finally tumbling into the following passage. Sometimes, too, whole beautifully sculpted pieces, perilous to the listening—or performing—heart.

Home, for Oleg Andreyevich Abramov was a luck-laden word indeed. For in Russia, beloved though the country might be in some ways, the family had endured cold and hunger and hate—the former because of political and economic collapse, the latter mostly because Andrei, Oleg’s father, was Jewish. Oleg, youngest by nine years, had only faint memories of the old country. A grandmother sang “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.” A tiny room held only a bed, where a faded and frayed diamond quilt of velvet, silk, and wool warded Oleg and his brothers against winter. Snowdrifts loomed taller than a little boy. His mother’s hands gamboled over the keys of a scratched piano. His uncle spun him in circles, smelling of bow rosin and lavender.

But distant and dim as those memories might be, they remained very much a part of Oleg, because the Abramovs had brought the old country with them to Seattle. The mild climate had done nothing to dispel the sense that a family huddled tight together would weather any storm.

One might have expected such a family to resent a child—the youngest and all but a straggler—who was different. But when Oleg had told his mother he was gay, she’d accepted it.

“Yes, I believe I already knew,” she said, her gently accented speech conveying as always a love of life’s surprises. “Or at least I should have.” She laughed and hugged him and set the tone of acceptance for the family. It persisted even now, after her death. He remained their Olejka, a precious member of the family.

Yes, his life was full of home—meaning love and warmth and acceptance.

But that didn’t eliminate the longing. Maybe it changed the shape of the emptiness, made it even harder to fill. Because Oleg wanted more of what he already had.

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About the Author

Lou Sylvre lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State, penning mostly suspense/romance novels because she can’t resist giving her characters hard times but good love. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow, and he makes a point of letting her know when she’s taken a plot tangent too far. Apparently an English major, he helps a lot, but Lou refuses to put his name on the byline. (Boudreau invites readers to give their feedback as well!) When Lou isn’t writing, she’s reading fiction from nearly every genre, romance in all its tints and shades, and the occasional book about history, physics, or police procedure. Not zombies, though—she avoids zombies like the plague unless they have a great sense of humor. She plays guitar (mostly where people can’t hear her) and she loves to sing. She’s most often smiling and laughs too much, some say. Among other things and in no particular order, she loves her family, her friends, the aforementioned Boudreau, his sister George, and their little brother Nibbles, a chihuahua named Joe, a dachshund named Chloe, and a slew of chihuahua/dachshund puppies. She takes pleasure in coffee, chocolate, sunshine, gardens, wild roses, and every beautiful thing in the world.

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