Monday, 22 December 2014

Three More Sleeps To Christmas


Christmas is almost here, and I'm super excited. It's that time of year where I get to act like a big kid, eat too much, and feel all warm and fuzzy curled up on the couch watching TV.

I thought I'd share with you a few things that I enjoy about Christmas and what I'm up to this year.


I love my tree. I've decorated in red and gold for years.
Maybe I'll change it one year. Maybe.
1. Decorations - I love to get my baubles out :) It's become a rule that on the first weekend in December hubby gets himself up in the roof and finds out the Christmas decorations. He kind of shuns all responsibility after that and it's over to me to throw tinsel over everything, decorate the tree, hang up the fairy light, and line up the cuddly toys. Hubby really loves the ones that dance and sing. No, he doesn't. And what has been somewhat of a tradition, every year in the sales, I buy a new tree decoration for the following year. Luckily, there's still plenty of branches on the tree just yet :)
Fairy lights around my fireplace.
Just a few of my cuddly toys.
I think it's an addiction.

2. Wrapping presents - the last few days my living room has looked like an elf threw up everywhere. There was wrapping paper, bows and gift bags all over the place, and it was again time for the great Christmas Sellotape hunt. Seriously, where does that stuff go? I love buying gifts and wrapping them up, taping up every opening, and adding ribbons, bows and tags. It really does make me feel ready for Christmas.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Guest Post - Lillian Francis - When Love Flue In

More? You want more?

Thanks to Meredith for hosting me today. I’m here to talk about my new release ‘When Love Flue In’ and additional content.

~*~

There are few words that can strike fear into an author’s heart like these from your publisher. “If you could just write an extra scene, nothing huge, 500 words or so.”

Nothing huge? Just a completely new scene for a story you thought you’d put to bed months ago. Characters you’d consigned to a little box marked Done, unless sequel strikes. And because we carry on writing while we wait patiently for that yes from a publisher, these characters have been superseded by others.

But you stuck it up because you want this to be the best story you can produce and if your editor thinks the reader will benefit from seeing the rest of that scene from the other characters point of view then that is what they will get.

“Sure. Which scene?” You send back the question, praying you don’t get the answer you’re anticipating.

But getting it regardless. “The sex scene.” No!!!

Yes, those are the actual words that strike fear into my author heart. Especially when coupled with “and I need it back in three days”. Sex scenes take me forever to write unlike some of my friends who write them with relish and gusto whenever the words won’t come or the story is blocked.

Don’t believe me?


And




Yep, my friend Therese Woodson confirming she can


But, I hear you cry, you write gay romance, of course you need sex scenes.

Why?

I don't write erotica, so why does the fact that the protagonists in the relationships in my stories are both two men automatically mean that I need to up the heat rating.

In truth, I don't. There are plenty of gay romance stories where the sex happens off the page, or where the romance is sweet and sexy but not sexually explicit. But for some reason people not actively involved in our community—and as a genre we are still small enough to be classed as such—cannot see the distinction between gay romance and erotica, to the extent that some publishers can struggle to place a gay romance with non explicit content.

But I digress. (And to be honest I don’t wish to give that publisher any airtime at all.)

Once I settled down to write the required scene I realised that my editor had got it spot on. The story needed those extra 1400+ words (yes, yes I know, longer than needed, story of my writing career, yada yada) and I just needed someone to point me in the right direction to make it happen.

So when you see the following information
Publisher's Note: This book was previously released by another publisher. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound Publishing.
Know that in this case it is a statement not made lightly and hopefully the story is all the stronger for it.



Blurb

A soot-haired chimney sweep, an exploding flue and an uncooked turkey. It’s an unholy trinity that may make all of Dominic’s Christmas wishes come true.

Dominic is celebrating his first Christmas since his divorce, and although he’s spending it on his own, he’s determined to have a traditional Christmas morning, including a roaring fire. Unfortunately, Dominic’s chimney is blocked, which is why Reagan, a soot-haired chimney sweep, is head and shoulders up Dominic’s flue. Dominic is just lucky the man had a cancellation on Christmas Eve.

Unable to take his eyes off Reagan’s low-slung jeans and enticing arse while Reagan sets about the hearth with rods and brushes, Dominic knows five years is a long time to be obsessed with the man who sweeps his chimney every Christmas. This year there’s nothing to stop Dominic from acting on his desires—except his own insecurities.

An exploding flue provides the opportunity for more than just polite conversation and could be the catalyst for a perfect Christmas. But Dominic will need to stop hiding who he really is before a special sweep can light a fire in his heart.

Publisher's Note: This book was previously released by another publisher. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound Publishing.

Buy Links

Totally Bound
All Romance ebooks
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Kobo

About the author
An avid reader, Lillian Francis was always determined she wanted to write, but a 'proper' job and raising a family distracted her for over a decade. Over the years and thanks to the charms of the Internet, Lillian realized she’d been writing at least one of her characters in the wrong gender. Ever since, she’s been happily letting her ‘boys’ run her writing life.

Lillian now divides her time between family, a job and the numerous men in her head all clamouring for 'their' story to be told.

Lillian lives in an imposing castle on a wind-swept desolate moor or in an elaborate ‘shack’ on the edge of a beach somewhere depending on her mood, with the heroes of her stories either chained up in the dungeon or wandering the shack serving drinks in nothing but skimpy barista aprons.

In reality, she would love to own a camper van and to live by the sea.

Find Lillian at
Website/Blog: http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.com/
Twitter: LillianFrancis_
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Lillian_Francis


At the end of the blog tour Lillian will pose a question with the chance to win a copy of the ebook - for details check out the master tour post here http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/announcing-mini-blog-tour-and-chance-to.html





Christmas Short Story Tour ~ Jamie and Edward from Under The Sun

RJ Scott loves Christmas and she certainly isn't alone. Christmas is awesome! This year, she has invited authors to visit pairings from their previous books and write a short story about them set around Christmas/Winter. A link to her main blog post containing links to other authors' short stories is at the bottom of this post.
 
I hope you enjoy revisiting Jamie and Edward, or if you are new to the series, I hope you enjoy meeting our British wedding planner and his ex-Marine boyfriend.
 
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Jamie and Edward spend Christmas Eve with Edward's parents.


"Christ, get off me," Jamie complained.

Edward scrutinized Jamie's appearance as they stood beside the car on the snowy driveway. "You want to make a good first impression, correct?" Something just didn't feel right. What was wrong with his otherwise gorgeous boyfriend?

Jamie sighed and batted Edward's hand away. "It'll be fine. We'll all be fine." He gave Edward a firm look. "We didn't fly a million miles to have a terrible Christmas. It'll be fun."

"A million?" Jamie's comment teased a smile at the corner of Edward's mouth.

"Okay, maybe two million." Jamie looked at Edward with his beautiful, green eyes, and, as always, Edward relaxed. Just a little.

"Yeah. You're right. It'll be fun." Drinks with his parents on Christmas Eve, what could possibly be more fun than that? Everything would be fine. He had been on edge all damn day. This was the first time his parents were meeting Jamie, the first time Jamie was meeting them, and Edward just wanted everything to go smoothly. He glanced at Jamie. His parents would adore Jamie, because who wouldn't? Jamie was sweet, and kind, and bloody perfect. Edward chewed on his lip as he considered what was waiting for them inside. It was easy to imagine the worst. He expected his mother would end up having one too many sherries, and being the merry flirt that she was would be draped over Jamie by the end of the evening, his father would be on fine form reeling off awkward dad jokes, and his dry and sarcastic sense of humor would go straight over the top of Jamie's head, and then there was his brother who mostly communicated in grunts and back slapping.

We're doomed.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Cover reveal and blurb ~ Just Jack

Coming January 2015, Just Jack with Love Lane Books.
 
A contemporary romance with a supernatural twist.

Cover art by Bittergrace Art

Blurb

Leo Marsh is having a bad day. He just caught his boyfriend cheating on him, and not for the first time, then he falls, quite literally, for a man who has to be too good to be true.

When Leo slips and falls on some ice in front of Jack, Jack sees something all too familiar in Leo's eyes. For over fifty years, Jack has existed in a solitary life of ice and bitterness. Just like Leo, he was betrayed by a man he loved, and swore no one would ever break his heart again: he gave up on love, and it seemed love had given up on him.

But if by fate or magic, Jack and Leo find their paths crossing for a second time, and with a little guidance from friends, dare to take a chance on each other. The problem is, Jack isn't the charming and uncomplicated guy Leo thinks he is. When Jack gave away his ability to love, he became something else, someone cold and unloving. He became Jack Frost.

As Jack and Leo get closer, Jack is left torn and confused. Jack yearns for anything that reminds him of his humanity, but the truth is, he feels nothing, not warmth, not love, and he knows he might never be able to love Leo the way he deserves to be loved.

When the lines between fairy tales and magic, and the real world become blurred, can love really conquer anything?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Spiced Apple and Cinnamon ~ Christmas Short Story

This story was previously published as part of the free anthology Christmas Delights (Christmas 2013). The complete anthology is available from Love Lane Books and All Romance
 


Keegan Jones sat in the window of his Victorian terrace and eyed the layer of snow on the back lawn. Pulling the sleeve of the jumper he wore down over his hand, he rubbed at the condensation on the window so he could see outside more clearly. He looked at the gate sitting at the end of the long garden, then checked his watch. It was a little after nine in the morning. The sun was still waking and cast an eerie glow across the world as it shone from behind cotton-white clouds. Keegan checked the gate again, willing it to open and for him to be reunited with his love.

It was Christmas morning, but Keegan didn’t feel all that Christmassy. Pulling his legs up to balance his feet on the edge of the window seat, Keegan lowered his face and slipped his chin beneath the soft material of the jumper. The timer on the heating had clicked off an hour ago, and already a cool chill had settled over the room. A smile crept over his face as he breathed in the warming aroma of his lover’s clothes. Alex was strong and muscular, his shoulders broader and his chest wider than Keegan’s slight frame. Alex was always complaining about Keegan wearing his clothes, but Keegan couldn’t help it. If he ever felt low or poorly, he wrapped himself up in Alex’s jumpers. They were so comfy and smelled damn good. Distracting himself, he inspected his feet and wiggled his toes inside the overly fluffy slipper socks. He smiled as the small bells stitched to them jingled and the red pompom standing in for Rudolph’s nose twitched. He was sure he’d grow tired of the sound at some point, but for now it was kind of comforting and the only gift he’d been given permission to open without Alex that morning.

Come home soon, Alex.

Keegan didn’t think he’d ever woken alone on Christmas morning before. He’d always been at home with his parents and brothers growing up. Then three years ago, after dating for five, he’d finally taken the plunge and moved in with Alex. The last two Christmases they’d woken together, spent a lazy morning in bed opening each other’s gifts, and then ventured out to family for lunch and present swapping. But this year was different. This year Alex’s side of the bed was empty and cold when Keegan had awoken. Alex had a job and Keegan understood that it wasn’t one that just stopped because it was Christmas, because there was a wreath on the door or a tree in the front room. Alex was a firefighter and this year he had been put on the first of the Christmas shifts—six pm Christmas Eve through to nine am Christmas Day.

God, how incredibly large their bed had felt last night. Keegan had fallen asleep after tossing and turning more than he cared to remember. Sure he worried about Alex any time he was out on calls, but this was Christmas and he couldn’t bear the thought of something bad happening on what was supposed to be one of the happiest and most hopeful days of the year. Hell, Keegan’s heart had stuttered in his chest any time the phone had rung since Alex had left for the station.

At eight pm, Alex’s mother had called asking what vegetables Keegan would like for his Christmas dinner, at eleven, Keegan’s youngest brother had phoned, wishing him an early Happy Christmas from Australia, and then this morning his mother rang to send him hugs and best wishes for a good morning and to tell him that she and Dad looked forward to seeing them both after tea time.

The sound of something hitting wood outside drew Keegan’s attention, but he was left disappointed as he watched next door’s cat walk the length of the garden fence. With a sigh, he spun in his seat and lowered his legs so his feet were on the floor. He surveyed the room. He loved Christmas and as soon as he’d woken on the first day of December he had pestered Alex about going up into the loft and getting down the decorations. In the corner of the room sat a six-foot fake tree. It had been his parents’, and though it was a little on the tired side, when covered in strings of beads and tinsel and a few dozen tree ornaments, it was good enough.

Screwing up his mouth, he checked his watch. It had only been two minutes since he looked at it last. He got to his feet and ambled across the room. He stopped beside the coffee table and picked up the scented candle sitting in the centre of the table. Taking a deep breath, he smelled the candle—spiced apple and cinnamon.

So good.

Keegan headed for the sideboard and opened the top drawer. He pursed his lips as he rummaged through its contents—old bank statements, cheque books, batteries, scissors. Eventually, he found the lighter. Neither of them smoked and he’d had it since before he met Alex. For some reason it was in a goodie bag at the Fresher’s Fair he’d attended when he’d started university. He pushed the drawer shut and went to sit on the couch. Pulling his thumb across the top of the lighter, he managed to create a flame, then lit the candle. He waited for the wick to catch light, then placed the lighter on the table and cupped the glass bowl of the scented candle in his hands. He watched the flame and the orange glow it created against his palms.

Carefully, he placed the candle on a coaster and sat back. He checked around the room and wondered if he’d forgotten anything. He’d put his presents for Alex under the tree as Alex had done last night before he headed out to work, and he’d made plans to make breakfast when Alex got home—nothing said I love you more than a bacon and fried egg sandwich.

Where are you?

He hated waiting and not knowing. What if something had happened? No. He wouldn’t think like that. With a sigh, he leaned back and took a deep breath. Cinnamon filled his nostrils and he closed his eyes. He loved the smell. It was a very warming scent and he relaxed. Opening his eyes, he stretched and pulled a blanket towards him. Settling in the corner of the couch, he picked up the TV remote and turned on the television. He flicked through the channels. He passed a few Christmas movies, a carol service, a cookery programme and eventually settled for one of the music channels and its countdown of the top fifty Christmas songs. He watched as East 17 somberly spun around in heavy white fur-lined coats. As the song neared its end, information popped up on the screen.

Nineteen-ninety-nine. Christ, I feel old.

Leaning forward, he slid the remote onto the table, then cuddled back beneath the blanket. As much as he loved the space the old house gave them, the place seemed to lose the heat really quickly. He eyed the fire on the wall. He hated the smell of it. All gas and dust. The heating wasn’t set to come on again until that evening, and it was pointless putting it back on now as by the time the house warmed back up, they’d be heading out for a day of food and family—Alex’s parents for lunch, his for tea.

The sound of his mobile phone ringing drew Keegan’s attention to the arm of the couch. Freeing his hand from the blanket, he grabbed his phone. Alex’s name was on the screen.

“Hello?”

“Hey. You decent?” Alex answered and Keegan relaxed. “I could do with a hand.”