Blog Tour for Never (The Pennymaker Tales #4) by Tara Lain (excerpt and giveaway)

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When your dreams come to life, do you fall in love — or send them back to Neverland?
Never

(The Pennymaker Tales, #4)
By Tara Lain

Blurb:
Wendell “Wen” Darling lives in a world of shoulds and musts. Left to care for his brother and sister by his dull drudge of a father and wacko irresponsible mother, he suppresses his creativity, slaving in an ad agency seventy hours a week, letting his no-talent supervisor take the credit.

Then his bosses blow the campaign for their biggest client and Wen gets a chance to shine—but only if he can find the artist who painted a wild, glorious wall of graffiti in the subway. Hiding behind a pillar at 2:00 a.m., Wen comes face-to-face with the scarlet-haired, elven-faced embodiment of his divergent opposite—Peter Panachek, the flighty, live-for-today painter, singer, and leader of the rock group the Lost Boys. Everything Wen takes seriously, Peter laughs off, but opposites attract, even if their kisses always lead to battles. Peter’s devil-may-care persona hides a world of secrets, self-protection, and hidden fears, until the day a drug dealer, Vadon Hooker, threatens everything Wen holds dear. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Pennymaker, Peter has to choose between facing responsibility or burrowing even deeper into Neverland.

Available to order at
Excerpt

He sighed loudly as he pulled a green T-shirt over his head with his back turned to Tink. The T-shirt was just like the others except it proclaimed in brilliant sparkles Underthrow the Overground. He stared in the wavy mirror on the back of the closet door. She’s right. Wen upsets me. Why the fuck can’t I stay away from him? “Let’s just go play music, okay?”

He retraced his steps out the dressing room door and went to drown himself in lyrics.

Two hours later he knew it wasn’t working. All he could see was Wen’s face. John’s face. I don’t want to see them. He snorted. I don’t want to want to see them. That’s different.

When they took their break, Wen walked off the stage straight into Mr. Pennymaker. Somehow he’d changed to a black jacket with floral collar and cuffs. Seriously? And somehow he’d gotten past the guards to hang out backstage. He pressed his hands together. “Splendid, Peter.”

“You kidding?” Peter frowned. “I can barely get my head out of my ass.”

“Yes, but sometimes that’s precisely the view we need.”

Peter spewed a laugh. “What do you want with me, really?”

“Why must I want something?”

“Because people don’t usually bother with people unless they want things.”

He rubbed his chin with two fingers. “All right. I want you to be happy.”

“Why me, for God’s sake? You don’t even know me.”

He smiled softly. “I want everyone to be happy, Peter. I just happen to be speaking with you.”

“Jesus!” Peter wiped a hand over the back of his neck. “You’re too smart for me, old man.”

“Not at all. I simply want you to be smart for you.”

“What does that look like?”

“Getting your head out of your ass and paying attention to what you want instead of what you think you should want.” He yawned behind his hand. “I’m a bit tired, so I’ll say good night. Thank all the Lost Boys for such a splendid show.”

Mr. Pennymaker turned, walked out through the stage door, and was gone.

Peter’s mouth hung open. Hit by a five-foot-one-inch truck.

 

The Pennymaker Tales Series
Sinders and Ash
(The Pennymaker Tales Series, #1)
by Tara Lain
Available for order at
Kindle | Audible | Nook | Kobo | iTunes | Dreamspinner Press
Driven Snow
(The Pennymaker Tales, #2)
by Tara Lain


Available for purchase at

Beauty, Inc.
(The Pennymaker Tales #3) 

 

Available for purchase at
Want to get these lovelies in paperback? Sinders and Ash and Beauty, Inc. (Pennymaker Tales)

Available for purchase at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

 

About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain
 
 
Giveaway
Presented By

Tara Lain on ‘Writing an Ugly Beautiful Boy of Romance’ – Beauty, Inc Tour (excerpt and giveaway)

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Beauty, Inc.
(The Pennymaker Tales #3) 
by Tara Lain

Writing an Ugly Beautiful Boy of Romance

Hi. I’m Tara Lain and I’m delighted to be here today to help launch my new fairy tale romance, BEAUTY, INC. I often say i write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. My readers feed that back to me by talking about my beautiful boys. So who are these guys? Tara Lain’s Beautiful Boys are a little hard to describe, but people say they know them when they see them. Are they really “boys”? Not truly. Yes, my heroes are generally young, most under 30, max 35, but they’re still men, even the college students. They’re boys in the sense that we think of them affectionately, want to give them hugs — or more than that if they weren’t all gay!  LOL. Are they beautiful? YES! On the inside, at the very least. Even my quirky, funny heroes have beautiful qualities that make them memorable and lovable. Frequently, they’re also physically beautiful, sometimes almost supernaturally so.

So boys in the sense of huggable, beautiful on many levels — what else? Charismatic. Even in my ménage series in which heroines play key roles, my heroes stand out for their uniqueness and memorability. Readers say there are no other guys quite like them. They almost always have faults and quirks that make them human and relatable. They also have great strengths that they sometimes only come to realize in the course of the stories.

Famously, many of my beautiful boys are flamboyant. When i started writing at the beginning of 2011, it was rare to see gay male characters that acted –well, gay. Gay heroes at the time tended to be “straight guys who happened to have sex with men”. Not that all gay men are flamboyant or over the top, but some are. It’s a quality I happen to value and love to write, so I’d say close to a third of my heroes have a queenly edge.

Quite important, almost all my heroes are driven to live an authentic life — sometimes from the beginning of the book, or at least before the end.  Authenticity appears to be my underlying theme that drives most of my stories.

In my new book, BEAUTY, INC., which is a contemporary romance based on a Beauty and the Beast theme, I introduce my first ugly Beautiful Boy. Magnus Strong is seriously scarred and, for reasons no one knows at the beginning of the book, he’s never attempted to get his scars fixed. Just as in the original story, it was my challenge to make this ugly, scarred man worthy of the love of my beautiful Belle Belleterre – and the beta readers of my books say it’s a success. They love Magnus and consider him one of the most beautiful of my Beautiful Boys of Romance. I hope you’ll love him too.

Do you have any thoughts on the Beautiful Boys of Romance? Who do you think they are?

 
Blurb:
Is beauty only skin deep?
Chemist Dr. Robert “Belle” Belleterre loves flowers, green trees, his best friend Judy, and “his baby”: the new face cream he developed to help put his father’s small cosmetics company on the map. Sadly he gets no help from his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father who loses Belle in a poker game to Magnus Strong, the CEO of Beauty, Inc. the largest American cosmetics company—a man infamous for his scarred ugliness.
Belle finds himself uprooted from his home, living in a wildly crazy apartment in New York owned by Mr. Pennymaker, and completely unprepared for his mad attraction to the charismatic Strong. Feeling like a traitor, Belle fights his passion only to see more and more of the goodness and humility hidden by Strong’s ugly face. But when Belle’s family starts manipulating his life again, the odds turn against happiness for beautiful Belle and his beloved beast.
Available for purchase at
            
Excerpt 

Chapter One

 

BELLE HELD his breath and released a small amount of cream from the new container into his gloved hand. It just looked like a pretty bottle, but its airtight cap and unique double-walled design reduced oxygen impact on the contents—he hoped! His family’s future depended on a hunk of plastic.

Two weeks his cream formulation had been stored in this new packaging—enough time for it to degrade and discolor like so many high-end cosmetics did, the kiss of death with discriminating buyers. He stared at the cream under the brilliant light on the laboratory table. No change of tint. No yellowing. His heart pounded. He sniffed. Fresh as the day it was packaged. Finally he dabbed a finger into the cream and slicked it between thumb and middle finger. No alteration of texture. Silky, smooth, and rich. The smile spread across his face like the cream itself. Rich. Just like this new product would make his father.

“Tell me it works!”

Dr. Robert Belleterre—Belle—stared up at Colin, the head of the chemistry lab at Bella Terra Cosmetics, and suppressed the urge to jump up and down. “All the tests indicate it works perfectly. You’ll have samples of the formulation in the new containers by the end of the week. I want to put this under the microscope to be sure there’s been no change of chemical structure, but it sure as shit looks good!” He laughed.

Colin smiled. “In time for Cosmetique?”

Belle nodded. “They can take a few samples to Las Vegas to show to select customers.”

“Jesus, man, you did it!” He grabbed Belle in a tight, one-armed guy hug and held up his fingers as he ticked off the benefits. “Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, no parabens or artificial preservatives, and the cream holds up in the packaging. This is going to set a new standard, and no other company will be able to meet it. Not even Beauty, Inc.”

Belle extricated himself gently. “I wish we could afford to do the testing to prove the product claims. It would go to market faster.”

Colin shrugged. “Your dad swears we can’t afford it. But seriously, when women try it, they’ll love it and we’ll have the best evidence in the world. Right on their faces. I can’t believe what you’ve done in less than a year.”

“Thanks, Colin.” He’d quit sleeping and meals had become optional, but he’d given everything to keep Bella Terra, his father’s company, viable—tough duty for a small manufacturer in a field of giants. But now he had a cream so beyond just a mere cosmetic that it could change the face of the industry—literally.

“Belle.”

Belle glanced over his shoulder toward the door to the lab, where his father peeked in. That was usually the only body part of his father’s that ever made it into the laboratories these days. Since Belle had finished his PhD the previous summer, Ron Belleterre hadn’t looked at a color or emollient. Just a lot of poker chips and booze. “Yes, Father?”

“Can I speak to you, please?”

Belle turned to Colin. “Take a look under the microscope. I’ll do the same when I get back.” He pulled off his lab coat, hung it on the hook by the door, and followed his father into the hall.

Tall, fair, and handsome, Rondell Belleterre radiated energy, most of it nervous. His moments of rest and peace seemed to get fewer and fewer. Hard not to worry about him. “Yes, sir?”

“Come to the office.” His father took off at a good clip, and Belle fell in beside him. Ron glanced at him. “How’s the new packaging?”

“It’s testing well. I think we’ve got it this time.”

“I’ll be frank, Belle. You have to have it this time, because this whole project is costing me a fucking fortune. Expensive ingredients, bank-busting antioxidants, and now these damned containers that make Fort Knox look like easy access. Shit, I’m not made of money.”

Belle controlled his sigh. “It will open a whole new market to us. There are a lot of women who simply won’t use a cream on their face that contains parabens. With the new product, they’ll flock to Bella Terra.”

His father scowled. “They’d better. I’d like to see some red on the competitor’s sales radar for a change.” He sighed. “I doubt Beauty, Inc. is worried about us.” He powered through his office door and stopped in front of Hester, the secretary he still insisted he needed. “Would you have Rusty and Rick come in, please?”

“I think they went to lunch, sir.”

Ron frowned. “It’s ten forty-five.”

She gazed at him, but deep down her eyes said, “Duh.”

“Forget it.” Inside his inner office, Ron sat in his giant desk chair and pointed at one of the leather guest chairs. “Sit.”

A drawing of the Bella Terra booth at the upcoming Cosmetique Conference in Las Vegas lay on his father’s desk. Belle nodded toward the graphic. “Are you ready for the conference?”

“That’s what I want to talk to you about.”

“We can have a limited amount of demonstration units for your private showings.” He had to gulp a breath to contain his excitement. “This is it, Father. We’ll outstrip any single product Magnus Strong at Beauty, Inc. has got.”

“If the ugly bastard even notices.”

“I’m sure Strong didn’t get to the top of the beauty industry by ignoring highly successful competitors. We’re not going to top Beauty, Inc. They’re huge. But we can replace them as the number one wrinkle cream.”

His father’s eyes lit up. Belle softly sighed. Ron hadn’t always been so greedy. The addictions took their toll. Poor Father.

“I want you to come to Cosmetique.”

“What?” Belle shook his head. “No, sir. You know I hate those big events. I’m needed here in the lab.”

“We’re unveiling your new product to our best customers. No one knows it like you do.”

Belle frowned. “Rusty’s in charge of marketing. It’s his job to understand our products.”

“He’s not you. Plus you have the passion. We need you. Colin can handle the lab. It’s settled.” His father shoved a copy of Forbes across his desk, featuring a close-up photo of Magnus Strong—the face the cosmetics magnate wore like a badge of honor. A deep scar ran across his eyebrow, missed his eye, but still distorted the lid so it drooped slightly. Another dissecting slash had marred his cheek, deformed his top lip into a permanent sneer, and left a stripe across the bottom lip, while his scarred, broken nose gave him the look of a has-been prizefighter. Ugliness that created beauty. His father laughed. “If anybody can tame the beast, it’s you.”

Belle frowned.

 

 

The Pennymaker Tales Series
Sinders and Ash
(The Pennymaker Tales Series, #1)
by Tara Lain
Available for order at
           

 

Driven Snow

 

(The Pennymaker Tales, #2)
by Tara Lain


Available for purchase at
            

 

About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at
               
Giveaway
Presented By

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Beauty, Inc. (The Pennymaker Tales #3) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Beauty, Inc.My all-time favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast, so I knew I would either love this story or hate it. The good news is I loved it!

As the story opens, Robert “Belle” Belleterre, who holds a doctorate degree in chemistry, is perfecting the packaging for his new skin care formula. He’s finally perfected a paraben-free formula for his father’s cosmetics company, but he needs to make sure the packaging keeps the product stable. Happy in his own little world of chemical formulas and lab work, and enjoying the nature and beauty of the Portand area, Belle suddenly finds himself being sent to work for his company’s competitor in dirty, crowded, bustling New York City.

Why? Because his father drinks too much, and his brothers care more for their bank accounts and flashy cars than they do for him. His father’s gambling addiction, fueled by alcohol, caused him to lose most of his company stock in a card game. The winner, Magnus Strong, CEO of Beauty, Inc. won it. But in exchange for letting his father keep the company, Magnus wants Belle, and he’s willing to give him the freedom to work on any projects that interest him at Beauty, Inc.

Magnus is not a typical romance character. In fact, in appearance, he’s downright homely, but his heart is as big as the great outdoors, and he’s smart and knows what he wants. He’s wanted Belle from the moment he first saw him, but knowing how ugly he is, he knew beautiful, sweet Belle would be repulsed, so he’s content to watch him from a distance.

What Magnus doesn’t know is that Belle was attracted to Magnus from the moment he saw him. Belle doesn’t see his flaws, and the more he gets to know just how caring and concerned Magnus is—not only in words, but in deeds—the more he wants to get close to the man. However, being a shy, awkward, socially inept chemist has its drawbacks, and Belle doesn’t know how to let Magnus know how he feels.

The cast of supporting characters in this story includes Mr. Pennymaker, the sprightly elf-like matchmaker we’ve met in past stories in this series; as well as Leroy, Belle’s gregarious driver; Judy, his devoted BFF; and both a household and a company full of characters that provide support to Belle, and ultimately to both Belle and Magnus, as they finally get past their fears and begin a romantic relationship. Of course, Belle’s dysfunctional family interferes once again as they try to bind Belle to their own company by lies and deceit during a time when Magnus is most vulnerable.

All in all, this story is definitely worthy of comparison to the original fairy tale. To borrow a term from a program I watched as a child, these stories created by the very sweet Tara Lain are “fractured fairy tales.” They show a nice twist on the old tales, but with modern MM romance characters—characters who are amazingly interesting and quite unforgettable. My favorite so far in the Pennymaker series, I highly recommend this one.

Cover art by Reese Dante.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 121 pages
Expected publication: June 8th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1623808901 (ISBN13: 9781623808907)
Edition Language English

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review:Driven Snow (The Pennymaker Tales #2) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Driven Snow coverAnother fairy tale for grownups featuring the elfin Mr Pennymaker who returns in this one dressed just as flamboyantly as the last time.

First and foremost, this must be treated as a fairytale, otherwise much of what happens will not make sense. There’s no logic here, just magically occurring coincidences and happy endings.

Snowden “Snow” Reynaldi is a physics major at NorCal. He’s also a world champion master at chess and is set to compete in a world championship in several weeks. When Riley Prince, gorgeous, blond and built, and star quarterback for the football team needs a tutor, Snow volunteers to help. All other attempts at teaching him have failed, yet Snow knows that Riley is capable of learning—after all, Snow has seen him apply the principles of quantum physics while quarterbacking a game, so it might just be a matter of how he’s taught.

Snow’s tutoring works, and when Riley outs himself to Snow and tells him how much he admires not only his beauty, but his brains, Snow is astounded. The two begin a relationship, and Riley decides he’s going to come out to his football team so that he can take Snow to the Homecoming Dance. In the meantime, Snow’s chess coach, Professor Kingsley, has fallen head-over-heels for a woman who scares Snow. She’s beautiful and smart, but strikes Snow as being devious and deceptive, and when the professor becomes ill and is hospitalized, Snow sets out to find out why.

There’s much intrigue in this story, including Snow’s bare miss from being killed and his heartbreaking loss of Riley’s love and support due to a deception manufactured by Kingsley’s fiancé, Anitra. I kept wondering what the poor guy would have to face next, but little did I know even greater disaster was awaiting him.

I enjoyed this story despite how crazy unbelievable it was, mostly because of the characters and their (sometimes loose) parallel to the original tale. The group who were my favorite characters were the seven frat brothers who saved Snow’s life and then later helped Mr. Pennymaker prepare him for his chess tournament. And, of course, Mr. Pennymaker was as wild and crazy and adorably elfin as he was in the previous story, Sinders and Ash. Add to that, Riley’s landlady Mrs. Wishus, and the nasty witch-like character of Anitra and we have a host of well-known characters come to life in 2015.

I remember watching a show called Fractured Fairytales with my kids, and that’s the best term I can think of to describe this story. It’s loosely based on a fairytale and is complex and sweet and crazy at times but ultimately leads to Snow and his prince getting their happily ever after.

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Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts a beautiful young man with short, curly dark-brown hair, a slender build and a startled expression. He’s the perfect depiction of Snow.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Expected publication: November 25th 2015 by Dreampsinner Press
ISBN 1634762673 (ISBN13: 9781634762670)
edition languageEnglish

seriesThe Pennymaker Tales

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Sinders and Ash (The Pennymaker Tales #1) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sinders and Ash coverA fairy tale for the grownups, this story is so sweet it will definitely leave a warm and fuzzy feeling in your heart.

Mark Sintorella, aka Sinders as he’s known among the housekeeping staff at the resort hotel where he works doing all the dirty janitorial work no one else wants to do, has a secret dream to go to school to formalize his training in fashion design. His couture designs are amazing, considering the fact that he’s never had formal training, but the only person he has available to model them is himself.

When he meets Carstairs Pennymaker, a cute little elf-like man who seems to take an inordinate interest in Mark and his designs, Carstairs convinces Mark to model his clothes as they stroll through the grounds of the hotel since there are many fashion designers and wealthy patrons present this week. But Mark will need to disguise himself as a woman and be introduced as Pennymaker’s niece, Mariel.

Ashford Armitage is about to turn twenty-five and his grandfather’s will, from which he stands to inherit millions of dollars, is hanging over his head like an axe. If he marries before age twenty-five, he will have the money; if he doesn’t, he’ll be left penniless. Ash is gay and doesn’t want to marry anyone, but he shows up at this luxury resort to scan the potential brides one more time before giving up. He spots a young woman he may be able to marry. She’s witty and banters beautifully with him, plus she doesn’t really want to marry either. Bitsy is sweet and if he has to pick someone, he’ll hold out for her. But when he spots Mariel, aka Mark, across the room, his heart is lost.

Thankfully, he doesn’t realize this is the same young man he had saved from an attack earlier that day. One of the young housekeeping staff was nearly raped by the lecherous sous chef until Mark intervened. He thought the guy, Mark, was a sweetheart, and the two hit it off really well, though Ash didn’t reveal his secret fully, just allowed some passionate embraces with Mark to speak for him.

There’s plenty of intrigue here, including a F/F romantic subplot, as the couples finally come to terms with who they are and what they want. But it’s not until the ball at the end of the weekend, where Mark’s family is hoping to meet his chosen bride, that things turn truly magical.

I really enjoyed this story. I know it’s not realistic, but I don’t care. It’s an adult fairy tale, and the beautiful young man dressed as a princess gets his HEA with his handsome young “prince.” It’s the fun of what happens along the way, watching the way they overcome their problems, enjoying the interference of Mr. Pennymaker, and appreciating the beauty and magic of the finale that will leave you with a wide smile on your face and a warm place in your heart. I highly recommend this to all of fans of fairy tale romance with a capital R.
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Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts a gorgeous young man with long brown hair and a beautiful countenance. He’s exactly the way I would picture Sinders to look.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, Re-Release
Published October 14th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press(first published March 31st 2012)
original titleSinders and Ash
edition languageEnglish
url http://taralain.com/
seriesThe Pennymaker Tales #1
charactersMark “Sinders” Sintorella, Ashton “Ash” Armitage, Carstairs Pennymaker