Recent Reads – Take Two by Shira Anthony

RecentReads

Hello, all! This week I had the pleasure of reading Shira Anthony‘s Take Two, a sweet story about second chances. I’m a sucker for a good romcom, and this played out in my head a la Hollywood movie style. I could see it up on the screen, the kind of movie where you’d get cozy with your fuzzy socks, super soft throw blanket, and your favorite beverage. Take Two tells the story of two men very much in love, but just like in real life, they’ve discovered that love alone is not enough to sustain a relationship or a marriage. Wesley and Sam have been married for ten years, getting together back before both their careers took off. Wesley is a professor, and Sam is a Hollywood star.

One of the things I love about this story is the way the author weaves in scenes of the couple throughout their relationship so you really start to see why Wesley filed for divorce, and your heart breaks for him. The way he just hung on, waiting for Sam, his heart clinging on to the moments he could spend with Sam, always being patient and understanding. I also loved that it wasn’t just a matter of getting back together. Things had to change.

On the outside, Sam appears to be perfect. A sinfully handsome man who’s charming, talented, and a true romantic, but the more we got to know Sam, the more we could see his flaws. Watching Wesley and Sam both grow, and learn, seeing them rediscover each other was just wonderful. Oh, and drunk Wesley is the best thing ever. Just saying. If you enjoy sweet romance, second chances, swashbuckling, humor, and suspense, I think you’ll enjoy Take Two.

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take-twoLights, camera, action! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be ex, movie star Sander Carson.

Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life. Sam lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel.

Convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than Sam’s apologies and reminders of good times past. If Sam wants Wesley back, he’ll have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together—a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe | B&N

Check out the Take Two Video Tour here.

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RWA “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing Event!

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Hello all! Next week I’ll be in San Diego for the Romance Writer’s of America 36th Annual Conference, and I’ll be signing copies of Forgive and Forget at the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing Event on Wednesday, July 13, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Pacific Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina in San Diego, California. I’ll also have a few swag items with me to give away.

This event is open to the public and free of charge, and no registration is necessary. As this is a fundraiser event, attendees will not be allowed to bring books from home to the event.

For more info, check out the RWA event page here: https://www.rwa.org/literacy

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Brita’s Birthday Treasure Hunt!

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Hello all! To celebrate her birthday, the fabulous Brita Addams is hosting a treasure hunt starting January 17th! To join the fun, you need to register for the hunt by midnight on Jan 16th. Check out all the amazing prizes being given away, one of which is an ebook from my backlist!

Find the list of prizes along with details of the hunt over on Brita’s website:

http://www.britaaddams.net/

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Different Tracks – Part 8

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Hello all! I’ve joined some fab authors in writing a round robin story called Different Tracks. The authors are Sophie Bonaste, Brynn Stein, Grace Duncan, Suki Fleet, Elizabeth Noble, Kim Fielding, and Lane Hayes. A new chapter will be posted every Monday and Thursday, so make sure to check the sidebar for the schedule and links. As the story grows, I might move it to it’s own section.

Here are the links to the current chapters:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7


Peter woke up with a sappy smile on his face. Last night had been amazing, evident by the way his body ached as he stretched. His ass was especially sore. Memories of last night warmed him all over despite the air conditioning cooling his bare skin. A small moan escaped him when he thought of Xander’s hands all over him, the way Xander’s teeth had nipped at his skin, the feel of Xander’s soft lips against his, and the taste of his mouth. Peter couldn’t remember the last time he’d been fucked so good. With a grin on his face, Peter blinked open his eyes. His smile promptly faded.

Xander was gone.

Peter sat up and sighed. Xander’s absence wasn’t a surprise. However, the feeling of disappointment flooding through Peter was. What the hell had gotten into him? He’d never done anything so bold. Casual hookups weren’t his thing. Neither was coming onto a guy he barely knew. He’d tried his best to ignore Xander in the car as he sat there beside Peter, dripping wet, but then Xander had gone and taken off his shirt, and Peter had been mesmerized by Xander’s inked skin. His fingers had itched to touch, to run over every inch of smooth surface, over every curve and dip.

“I’m such an idiot.” He got out of bed and headed for the bathroom to brush his teeth and wash up. What was it about Xander that made him feel so reckless? Did he really want to find out? It was obvious Xander wasn’t interested in anything more than what they had last night, and as great as it was, Peter wasn’t looking to become any guy’s occasional lay. His head was telling him it was better this way. Why try to pursue someone who didn’t want to be pursued?

After finishing up in the bathroom, Peter got dressed and headed for the kitchen to make breakfast. As he did, he realized he didn’t even have Xander’s number. Speaking of phone, his cell rang and he checked the screen. It was Jo. He was tempted to ignore it, but he knew better. Jo had a way of getting information out of him one way or another.

“Hey.” He braced himself.

“So… where were you two last night? Mr. J said you guys didn’t make it because of the weather.”

“Yeah, it was getting pretty bad out there, so I told Xander it would be okay if we didn’t go.”

There was a pause then a sigh. “Are you really going to make me drag it out of you? Because you know I will.”

Peter worried his bottom lip. He knew he could trust Jo not to say a word, and considering how he had no idea what his next course of action should be, confiding in her might help. Jo always seemed so confident, like she knew exactly what she wanted all the time and how to get it. Maybe he was overthinking this. “We slept together.” There was a high-pitched squeal at the other end and Peter chuckled. “I’m glad you approve.”

“Was it amazing?”

“Better than.” Something in his voice must have given him away, because Jo’s tone when she next spoke reflected her concern.

“He didn’t stick around.”

“No,” Peter sighed. He carried his mug of coffee to his kitchen table and took a seat. “He was gone when I woke up. Guess that’s that then.”

“That’s that? You had amazing sex with a hot guy who you really like, and that’s that?”

Peter arched an eyebrow despite the fact Jo couldn’t see him. “I’m not exactly sure what it is you think I can and should do. The guy left before I woke up. He didn’t even want to see me. I don’t know what he was expecting. It’s not like I was going to propose or anything. Either way, I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. It was one night.”

“Uh-huh. And when you see him on Saturday?”

If I see him. Then again, Peter doubted Xander would go against a court order just to avoid some guy he’d had a one night stand with. “I’ll play it by ear, see how he reacts. I don’t want things to be awkward.”

“A little late for that.”

“Thanks,” Peter muttered.

Jo let out a soft laugh. “Look, just talk to the guy. It’ll be fine.”

“Thanks.” They exchanged a few more pleasantries before Peter hung up. He wished it could be that easy. What was he supposed to say? He let his head fall against the table with a groan. Six more days until he saw Xander again. The wait would either help him clear his head or drive him crazy. Knowing him, it would most likely be the latter.


Check in with Sophie on Monday for Part 9!

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Round Robin Story Fun

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Hello all! I’ve joined some fabulous authors in a game of Round Robin for a free read. What’s a Round Robin story? It’s a type of collaborative storytelling in which each other writes a piece of the story, continuing where the last author left off.  You can find the story schedule below of when the posts are going up. Since there are a good number of authors, there’s two posts going up a week, and I get to end the story. OMG, no pressure, right?  The story is called Different Tracks and it’s a straight up contemporary, a first for me, so should be fun!

I’ve also added the schedule and links to the sidebar so readers can easily find them. Happy reading!

Part 1: Jan 5 – Sophie Bonaste
Part 2: Jan 8 – Brynn Stein
Part 3: Jan 12 – Grace Duncan
Part 4: Jan 15 – Suki Fleet
Part 5: Jan 19 – Elizabeth Noble
Part 6: Jan 22 – Kim Fielding
Part 7: Jan 26 – Lane Hayes
Part 8: Jan 29 – Charlie Cochet

 

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Join me tonight at 7pm EST(6pm CDT) in the Rainbow Gold Reviews chat room for some shenanigans, chatting, and a giveaway!

small__8129080389Hello all! Tonight at 7 pm Easter time (6 pm Central Time) I’ll be over at the Rainbow Gold Reviews chat room with some other fab authors for one hour. Drop by and join the fun, ask questions, or just chat! It’s especially easy to sign in if you have a Twitter account.

Chat room: http://tlk.io/rgr


photo credit: Malingering via photopin cc

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TM Smith is at the Tea House with for an Appearances pre-release blog hop, sneak peak and giveaway!

Hello all! The fabulous TM Smith is my guest today at the Tea House sharing a sneak peek into her upcoming release Appearances! Drop by and check out the sexy preview. Plus there’s a giveaway and an all day celebration over on Facebook which I’m happily a part of!

http://purpleroseteahouse.charliecochet.com/tm-smith-appearances-pre-release-blog-hop-sneak-peak-and-giveaway/

From 11am-12noon, I’ll be chatting, answering reader questions, and hosting a giveaway over at the Facebook event page! Drop by to join in, ask a question, or just say hello! You can find me here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1427778534171836/

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Lex Chase – Chasing Sunrise Pre-order for a great cause!

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Hello all! The fabulous Lex chase has an epic new Fantasy series called the Darkmore Saga heading our way. The first book is Chasing Sunrise and to celebrate, Lex is currently on tour sharing all kinds of fascinating info on this amazing new world. Plus, if you pre order the book, you’ll be helping out a great cause. 100% of the presale royalties will go to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Domestic Violence Service. You can pre order the book here. Want to know more about the book? Check out the info below. And isn’t that cover gorgeous! I can’t wait to read about Sevon and Jack!

Lex will also be stopping by my guest blog: Purple Rose Tea House on Aug 8th, but before then, we’ll be taking over the DSP twitter feed on July 29th!

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Genre: Vampires, Werewolves/Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy
Series: The Darkmore Saga: Book One
Length: Novel
Published: July 25, 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-62798-776-9
Pre-order: Paperback or eBook 

Blurb: Chasing Sunrise The Darkmore Saga: Book One

On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, Sevon possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner. 

100% OF THE PRESALE ROYALTIES OF THIS BOOK WILL GO TO LOS ANGELES GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER’S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE.

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About the Author: Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure, epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.

Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine residing in the ’burbs of Northwest Florida where it could be 80F and she’d be a popsicle.

She is grateful and humbled for all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.

You can find her on those social media things at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LXChase
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lex_Chase
Tumblr: http://lexiconofkittens.tumblr.com
Find her blog at http://lexchase.com or drop her an e-mail at lex.a.chase@gmail.com


Chasing Sunrise Tour stops: 

7/13 – Chris T. Kat
7/17 – 
Michael Rupured
7/19 – 
Lily Velden
7/20 – Jaime Samms
7/22 – 
Aidee Ladnier
7/24 – 
Grace Duncan
7/26 – 
Shira Anthony
7/25 – 
Chasing Sunrise Release Day!
7/29 – 
Dreamspinner Twitter Takeover with Charlie Cochet
7/30 – 
Live Your Life, Buy The Book
8/2 – 
Chat at the Dreamspinner Press Facebook Page
8/8 – 
Charlie Cochet
8/13 – 
Gay List Book Reviews
8/16 – 
Tali Spencer

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Book of the Week: What Can Brown Do For You?

CCochetBooksI love short stories. They’re also especially difficult to write. Trying to tell a complete story with character development, plot, and romance in a span of just a few pages can be harder than writing a  novel. Which is why it’s always a treat to come across one I really enjoy. Hunter Frost’s debut story is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what she gives us next.

I admit, I love romance stories with geeks, seeing that I’m one myself. I might not play world of WoW, but I’m definitely geeky in other ways. I loved Sean. He was sweet, funny, and oh so awkward. I could certainly relate to his plight. And then we have the sexy UPS guy who’s more than what he seems.

In 33 pages, we get everything a short story should have, and by the end, I wish there was more, so much more. But it’s a short story and I accept that. The characters are well rounded, and Ms. Frost has a fabulous way of letting you know plenty about each man through his actions and reactions. We get description, plot, humor, romance, and some hotness. You might never look at the UPS guy the same way again. A very well written and thoroughly entertaining story. Highly recommended.

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miu-whatcanbrowndoforyou400What Can Brown Do for You? by Hunter Frost
Genre: Gay Romance Contemporary
Pages: 33
Publisher: Torquere Press
ISBN: 9876543210754
Part of the Men In Uniform anthology, but available for purchase on its own.

Blurb

IT geek Sean Barlow lusts after the dreamy UPS guy who charms the ladies in his office with his roguish smile and sinful brown shorts. The delivery guy couldn’t be more out of Sean’s league, even if by some miracle he was gay. But when a freak power outage finds Sean trapped in the elevator with his uniformed hunk, he learns first-hand that you can’t judge a UPS guy by the size of his package.

Available from from Torquere Press | AmazonAll Romance eBooks

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Visit Hunter Frost at: http://hunterfrost.net/

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Building Your Author Website – Part 1: Getting Started

website building1Hello all! When I decided to blog about author websites and blogs, I realized there was no way I could fit everything into one post. Not if I wanted to go into detail. So I decided to turn it into a series. Today is part one and we’re talking about getting started.

I’ve been creating my own websites since the 90s. Anyone remember Geocities, Tripod, Angelfire? Yep, I used them all. Back then, I created everything in Dreamweaver and uploaded via ftp. Keep in mind, I knew next to nothing about html. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. I played around with site building on and off, creating graphics, trying new styles and platforms.

And then came the time to put those skills to use. I had just signed my first contract with a publisher and I needed an author platform. Before I could think about Facebook or any other social media, I had to establish an author homebase.

At the time, I had no idea what a blog was or what it entailed. A friend told me about Blogger, so I shopped around a little and went with Blogger. Slowly I started customizing, looking for themes outside of what was offered which would fit my needs. After that, I started playing with widgets and html. Google became my best bud. Anything I wanted to do but didn’t know how, I Googled. Everything I did with Blogger prepared me for the upgrade to WordPress, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

With today’s technology, building your own website is much easier than it used to be, with website builders doing most, if not all, the coding for you. You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands on a website. I know I certainly couldn’t afford to pay someone to build a site for me, and as I was just starting out, I couldn’t justify the expense. Though it’s far less expensive these days to get a really nice site designed for you. But this series is for authors who want to do it themselves.

Tip: It’s never too early to start your author platform.

Once you get published, you’re going to be busy with a billion other things: edits, galleys, production forms, marketing, promotion, and everything else. The more you have already done, the more you can concentrate on your release and your writing. It’s much easier to update your website once you’re published, than it is to build it up from scratch.  There’s a great deal of information you can include regarding your work in progress, your journey as an unpublished author, etc.

So where do you start? There are plenty of free website builders out there. I highly recommend having a website with a built in blog. If you already have a blog, let’s say with blogger, and you’re going to build your website in WordPress, I would recommend linking your blog to your WordPress site via your menu. I’ll be getting into that when we get to the design portion of the series.

When I decided to move on from Blogger to a website builder that was both easy to use and allowed me the freedom I wanted to customize, I tried out a few different builders: Weebly, Winx, Web.com, and a few others I can’t remember at the moment. They weren’t the right fit for me. Don’t be afraid to sign up with these free web builders and play around with the building tools. If they don’t work for you, delete or close the account.  Obviously you don’t want to link a domain name or start sharing links before you’ve decided whether the builder you chose is right for you.

worspressAfter trying several builders, I went with WordPress. Now, there’s a big difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is rather limited in what you can customize, but again it depends on what you need and how much you want to change or be in control of. With WordPress.com, if it’s not available in the theme you choose, there’s not much you can do, and certain types of coding won’t be permitted in your widgets. It also doesn’t allow plug-ins.

WordPress.org allows you to upload plug-ins, customize html, and use scripts in your widgets. It’s not self-hosted like WordPress.com which means you’ll have to have web host. If you go this route, make sure you do a good deal of research before choosing your host. The problem with cheap web-hosting is that the space is shared (unless you opt for the more expensive dedicated servers), so if your site uses up a lot of memory and causes spikes in their CPU, it will be shut down until you sort it out, and let me tell you, your blood pressure will skyrocket while you try to sort it out. With the amount of websites growing, companies providing shared web-hosting are overselling space on their servers. You don’t want to have the constant hassle of your site going down, so ask around and find a trusted web host. I’ve been told Dreamhost, Hawkhost, and Stablehost are good places to start.

Next Monday: Author branding. I’ll also list those free online image editors, since it’s relevant to coming up with your author/website brand.

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Have any questions? Just leave them in the comment box below. 

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photo credit: NathanaelB via photopin cc
photo credit: ghwpix via photopin cc

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