Author Interview – In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish

Hello all! Please welcome the fabulous Roan Parrish who’s here today to answer a few questions on writing, guilty pleasures, pets, and more!

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What was the most challenging part of writing this story?

Stopping. As a reader, I really like long books, and I love series. (Also, I think being a longtime sci-fi and fantasy reader really primed me for length.) I love knowing tons of details about everything and will happily read pages-long descriptions of what someone’s house looks like. It’s just part of the incredible joy of getting to inhabit a world other than my own. But, of course, not everyone’s quite so keen on such things—and, no, there are no such descriptions in my book. So I kept having to tell myself not to write another scene of Rex and Daniel talking over dinner or not to describe Ginger’s tattoo shop in even more detail. As it stands, I guess In the Middle of Somewhere is a bit long for the genre, maybe? But not for me. Give me 500 pages of great character development, descriptions of stuff I’m interested in, and a little smooching, and I’m basically in heaven. J

Is there a genre you haven’t written in that you would love to write?

Oh, totally: mystery. I really enjoy mysteries but find the prospect of writing one pretty daunting. When I watch mysteries in the form of movies or TV, I definitely do the whole look for clues and try to solve the mystery thing. Strangely, though, when I’m reading mysteries, I don’t do that. I don’t try to solve the mystery at all, really. I think perhaps it’s just different training for those different media. Watching a movie is pure consumption, so I have lots of mental energy left to put the puzzle together. With reading, I kind of luxuriate in all the bits that have nothing to do with the mystery—prose style and characters’ thoughts and all—because that’s what I’m used to doing as a reader. For that reason, writing a mystery seems really difficult because I’m not trained to read that way. Of course, I say this, but I am actually writing a series that is sort of . . . mystery-adjacent? I think I’m refusing to say they’re mysteries to try and trick myself into not stressing about it.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Gymnastics movies. Well, okay, I’m not actually guilty about it but people always seem slightly embarrassed for me when I bring up. I have no real interest in sports, but I do like sports narratives a lot. They are intrinsically dramatic, have ensemble casts, follow a built-in structure of episodes with escalating stakes. Good stuff. But gymnastics has the added delight of being both an individual and a team sport, so there’s this tricky desire to both beat your teammates and collaborate with them. And gymnastics movies usually revolve around some major competition so there are heroes and villains and . . . sparkly outfits! Besides, gymnastics is such a psychological sport that inevitably the characters are attempting to work through personal issues alongside their gymnastics issues. Delightful. What’s that? My favorite one? It’s a tie between a movie and a TV show.

Movie: definitely Stick It. This movie is legit wacky, with weird almost absurdist bits of humor, strange music video-esque graphics sequences, and Jeff Bridges. There are a few truly cringe-worthy moments, but it has lines like, “It’s not called gym-nice-tics,” and there is a political action against the gymnastics federation that attempts to control the gymnasts, so there you go. If anyone needs to borrow it, I definitely do not own the DVD (which has great bonus features).

TV show: Make It or Break It. Y’all. This show. It got cancelled midway through the third season, I think perhaps in a panic because the real Olympics were about to collide with the fictional Olympics in the show? Not sure. This show is terribly dramatic, includes a character who is evil incarnate, and also features Candace Cameron (strangely, she is not the evil incarnate).

Do you have any pets? If not, and you were given the choice to have any pet (fictional or real), what type of pet would you choose and why?

Oh, jeez, an invitation to talk about my cat? *Grabs it with both hands and hugs it!* I do: I have a lovely cat called Dorian Gray. She is very large and very gray and extremely soft and fluffy. I actually was never an animal person growing up. I didn’t hate them or anything, I was just indifferent. Then, during grad school (yes, I blame the intellectual alienation of grad school for turning me into a softie), all my friends had cats, somehow, and I got very jealous. I was really apprehensive about getting one, since I had no experience with pets, really, and was concerned I might hate sharing my space with this weird little thing that just wandered around touching all my stuff. But then I went to the shelter and all the other cats were either playing or trying to get my attention, but this one cat was just . . . kind of sitting there watching. I now know that Dorian’s just chill; at the time, though, I was convinced that she’d, like, given up all hope of finding a home and was resigned to eternal loneliness, so . . . I adopted her. 

Coffee or tea?

COFFEE! Nuf said. Okay, actually, one more thing to say. In addition to drinking coffee, I love love love cooking with coffee. Recently, I’ve been making a rub of unbrewed coffee grounds, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper for salmon and it’s pretty awesome.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the third book in the In the Middle of Somewhere series right now.

I’m also writing a series that’s linked to Edgar Allan Poe’s detective stories. It’s set in 19th century New York and features a Poe expert who gets caught up in the investigation of a murder that the police think might be Poe-related. The Poe expert and the detective in charge of the case are simultaneously irritated by and attracted to each other, and they have some adventures, romantic and otherwise. So, yeah, as I mentioned above: mystery-adjacent.

Why did you decide to write M/M Romance?

My favorite part of reading has always been, uh, having feelings, I guess? And falling in all kinds of love with all kinds of characters. And romance, as a genre or a frame, unapologetically puts characters and feelings in the foreground of the story. So, even when it intersects with another genre—mystery or horror—the focus on characters and feelings is still there rather than being viewed as something that detracts from the work. I think I wanted to write under that banner because of this focus. So that, even if I write a series of Edgar Allan Poe-related mysteries (er, mysteries-adjacent), a reader will know that the characters and their feelingzzz will be featured, rather than incidental. I mean, romance novels are often dismissed for precisely this focus—as happens with nearly any media form that gets culturally associated with women—but for those of us who are all about characters and feelings, declaring something a romance serves as a kind of beacon for the reader that assures them they can have their horror or mystery stories and retain their romance too.

What did you enjoy most about writing this story?

Well, my favorite part about writing in general is that there’s always a story going on that I get to participate in. So, if I’m walking around or on the subway or eating a bagel, there are always bits that make me think about my story, or bits that make their way into the story. It’s like getting to live in two worlds at once.

In terms of this story in particular, I think in terms of pure enjoyment the conversations between Daniel and Ginger (his best friend) were up there. As a reader, I really like a strong cast of secondary characters—both for themselves and for the way they make the main characters prismatic—so those were super fun to write.

What are you finding to be the most challenging part of being a published author?

Gosh, well, I know I’m the nine-millionth person to say this, but the hardest thing is the moment when the potential energy of the book kind of transmutes into kinetic energy and I don’t have control over it anymore. Of course, that’s also the really cool part—especially when it means hearing from people who’ve really enjoyed the book or to whom it’s meant something. Oh, and social media. Social media is hard.

Which of your characters is most like you?

Well, at the risk of sounding like a raging egomaniac I think all of the major characters have elements of me in them. I mean, okay, Daniel from In the Middle of Somewhere and I share certain . . . propensities. Toward over-thinking and over-analysis, for example. Toward expecting the worst and being suspicious of anything that isn’t. Being bad at accepting help. And, of course, Rex and I share our superhero physiques. J

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BOOK DETAILS

Title: In the Middle of Somewhere (In the Middle of Somewhere, #1)
Author: Roan Parrish
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: July 10, 2015
Word Count: 138,000 words

Purchase Links
Dreamspinner ebookDreamspinner paperbackAmazon ebookBarnes & Noble ebookAllRomance ebook | KoboGoogle play ebook 

2015NewAbout the Book

DANIEL MULLIGAN is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.

REX VALE clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.

When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.

Can a scrappy professor, an intense carpenter, and a stray dog make a go of it in their cabin in the woods? Sometimes, you have to go to the middle of nowhere to end up exactly where you want to be.

Author Roan Parrish

About the Author:

ROAN PARRISH grew up in Michigan and lives in Philadelphia, but is always a few minutes away from deciding to move. A former academic, she’s used to writing things that no one reads. She still loves to geek out about books, movies, TV, and music—now, though, she’s excited to be writing the kind of romantic, angsty stories that she loves to escape into.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, wandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and cheese. But mostly cheese.

connectwiththeauthor
website: roanparrish.com
twitter: @RoanParrish  |  twitter.com/@RoanParrish
facebook: roanparrish  |  facebook.com/roanparrish
instagram: @roanparrish  |  instagram.com/roanparrish
goodreads book page: http://bit.ly/1QIoRjm

Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, & Giveaway – Family Jewels by M.J. O’Shea

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About the Book

 

FamilyJewelsLGTitle: Family Jewels

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Length: 200 Pages

Release Date: 27th April, 2015

Blurb: Corbin Ford, aka the Nightwatchman, named for the antique pocket watches he leaves behind at jobs, has been in the cat-burgling business for years. His father was. His grandfather was. His mother is still one of the most renowned thieves. Corbin likes his high-profile heists, priceless paintings from private collections, artifacts from museums, but his favorite? Jewels. Sparkly, beautiful jewels. If they’re famous, better yet.

Interpol agent Luke Eldridge has one goal and one goal only: to catch the Nightwatchman. Luke’s been after him for months, but getting the slip time and again is getting embarrassing. Luke has never even laid eyes on the bastard, but he’d happily strangle him. And then arrest him.

When Luke meets Corbin, the man of his dreams, he falls hard and fast… only to catch Corbin red-handed with his hand in a jewelry case at the scene of the highest-profile murder that’s rocked the international world in years.

Excerpt

 

London, March.

“We’ve got something you need to see, Luke. You’d better get over here now.”

Luke Eldridge sighed into his phone. He glanced at the slices of pizza he’d just picked up from a food cart down on the Camden Lock. Looked like there was more cold pizza in his future. Typical. Irritating, but typical.

“Where are you?” Luke asked. He dragged himself off his soft leather couch. It made a disgusting squelching sound. Luke turned and halfheartedly wiped the seat off. He was tired from the run he’d forced himself to take, wet, and starting to chill as heat escaped through his damp T-shirt. The last thing he wanted to do was get back into a suit and go out in the cold he’d just escaped from.

Rob, one of his oldest friends from his days in the FBI academy, rattled off a very upper crust Kensington address.

“Jesus. Is this one going to make the morning press?” Luke asked. People who lived at addresses like that tended to make the news. His job was always harder when he had a ton of panicking socialites breathing down his neck guarding their beloved possessions. He didn’t need them or the news vans outside his crime scene.

“Probably. I’ll try to put it off as long as I can, but you know how it works. Just get your ass over here. Waterman’s on my dick already.”

“Sounds unpleasant.” Luke chuckled under his breath. “Does that surprise you?”

“Not really.”

Didn’t surprise Luke either. Their division chief within Interpol Art Crimes was all about the high profile cases. Art, jewelry, anyone with a Lord or Lady attached to their name. Even the odd Sir here and there. Cases like that were good press for the agency, he always said. Probably more like good for getting his face on the camera. Waterman was a media whore extraordinaire. Usually Luke didn’t care, but when they were in the middle of trying to open a case, it kind of pissed him off.

Luke felt it would be better to deal with the press after they had some solid leads, or, you know, someone in custody, but far be it for him to correct Waterman. He’d spent the last eight years trying to overcome the hereditary American-ness Waterman deemed a deep character flaw. If he started correcting the guy now, he might as well sign his own pink slip.

“I can be there in fifteen minutes. Waterman won’t even be done fixing his hair for the cameras,” Luke told Rob. He was already in his suit pants and shaking out his dress shirt. It felt a little stale from a long day, but he wasn’t going to put on a new one for a late evening call. If all went well, Luke would be back in his sweats and on his couch in less than an hour.

“Try to make it ten. I’m not in the mood to get my skin pulled off a strip at a time.”

He sounded like his typical sarcastic self, but the tone of his friend’s voice was different. Worried, maybe. “What’s going on, Rob? What are you leaving out?”

“There’s something weird about this one. Might cause us a lot of shit in the near future if I’m right.”

“Are you going to tell me or play guessing games?” Luke wasn’t in the mood to play anything. All he wanted to do was eat some still-warm pizza, crawl into bed, and sleep for days—or at least until his alarm went off at six. He’d gotten way too little sleep lately. He hadn’t gotten enough sleep in years.

Rob cleared his throat nervously. “You need to see this for yourself. Just get here, man.”

Luke disconnected the call. He finished dressing, shoved one piece of his pizza on a paper towel, and grabbed his keys. He could eat it on the way without ruining his suit. Even if he spilled, fuck it. Luke wasn’t going to sacrifice one more decent dinner to the cause.

It had rained earlier, and the London streets were still slick and dark, half frozen in the early spring chill, but at least it was quiet. The air was close to freezing, too. Unseasonably low temps, but sadly not by much. After all the years he’d been in London, the winters still got to him, cold and wet, the kind that seemed to creep all the way into the center of his chest—nothing like his childhood home in South Carolina or even Virginia, where he’d lived and worked his first few years out of the academy. Sometimes Luke missed the old optimistic years at Quantico. These days it seemed like the cold was impossible to shake. It seeped into his bones and camped out until nothing he did could warm him through.

I’m getting old.

The stone row houses slipped past, nestled together, dark on the outside like everything else, interiors shining and cheery against the insidious, creeping chill. Everyone who knew better was inside somewhere, enjoying dinner, relaxing with the people they loved. They didn’t look alone. He’d figured long ago his hopes for being one of them had probably passed. Luke loved his job, it was his life, but some nights he wouldn’t mind a break. Luke bypassed their unit’s Westminster offices in favor of going straight to the scene. He didn’t need anything but what he had on him. Hopefully he’d be in and out in time for the late news.

Buy Links

DSP Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6318

About the Author

Author PicI’m Mj O’Shea :) I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state and while I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.

I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then.

When I’m not writing, I love to play the piano, dance, cook, paint pictures, and of course read! I like sparkly girly girl things, own at least twenty different colored headbands, and I have two little dogs who sit with me when I write. Sometimes they comes up with ideas for me too…when they’re not busy napping.

Website: http://mjoshea.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mj.oshea.5

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjosheaseattle

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3512511.M_J_O_Shea

Instagram: http://instagram.com/mjosheaseattle

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mjoshea5

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/M.J.-OShea/e/B003XERT7M/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1427433101&sr=8-2-ent

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Tour Schedule

April 28: Cherry Mischievous || Because Two Men Are Better Than One

April 29: Nessa’s Book Reviews || Nic Starr

April 30: RJ Scott || Love Bytes Reviews

May 1: MM Good Book Reviews || Sue Brown

May 4: A Celebration of Books || Divine Magazine

May 5: Diverse Reader || Drops of Ink

May 6: Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words || Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

May 7: Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews || Lisa Worrall

May 8: Man2ManTastic || My Fiction Nook

May 11: Prism Book Alliance || BFD Book Blog

May 12: Bike Book Reviews || Bayou Book Junkie

May 13: Hearts on Fire || Wordsmith Wednesday

May 14: The Novel Approach || Gay.Guy.Reading And Friends

May 15: The Purple Rose Tea House || Cia’s Stories

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Guest Post: The Series vs the Single Title – by Karen Stivali

I’ve been a published author for four years and in that time I’ve written seventeen novels and novellas  that have ranged from 18k words (approximately 45 pages) to 100k words (400 standard paperback-size pages). Some of these were solo titles and when that one story was done, I didn’t write more about the characters. Others, although they were complete stories with a beginning, a middle and an end, had characters who had more story that needed to be told. For those, I wrote sequels (or have them on my to-be-written list).

The MOMENTS IN TIME series is a series of novellas and the first three books, MOMENT OF IMPACT, MOMENT OF TRUTH and MOMENT OF CLARITY are all about the same couple—Collin and Tanner, college roommates who discover they’re interested in each other as more than friends in book one and embark on their first serious relationship, together.

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MOMENT OF IMPACT, the first book in the series, is a coming of age/coming out story. It explores the struggles the point of view character, Collin, has as he confronts his identity and his desires for the first time.

When I finished writing MOMENT OF IMPACT and sent it off to publishers I was happy with where I’d left Collin and Tanner. They were in a good place together, with a hopeful future. I write romance because I’m a sucker for a happy ending. In real life I can’t guarantee that the people I care about will live happily ever after, but in my books, with my characters, I can absolutely guarantee it. They may encounter lots of hardship along the way, but every story I write ends happily.

No matter how happy my characters are when I finish a story, they keep right on living in my mind. In the case of Collin and Tanner, Collin kept right on chattering too. That’s how MOMENT OF TRUTH and MOMENT OF CLARITY were born.

At the end of book one, Collin has come to terms with his sexuality, but he’s still mostly closeted. He and Tanner attend a very conservative college and Collin’s family is very religious. In MOMENT OF TRUTH they escape that environment for the summer by moving to Fire Island (where Tanner has worked the past few summers). The environment on the island is much more relaxed and accepting and, for the first time since they became a couple, they can be publicly known as boyfriends. This is a huge step for Collin and for their relationship, but with freedom comes challenges, and trust and jealousy are things they both need to learn to deal with if they’re going to stay together.

When the summer ends, Collin and Tanner are in a good place as a couple (happy endings, like I said, gotta have them), but they’re headed back to their ultra-conservative college for their senior year. MOMENT OF CLARITY begins on move-in day, and right off the bat they’ve got problems—namely that the dorm they were supposed to live in has had a bit of a fire and they’re temporarily displaced while the building is being fixed. They wind up staying with Collin’s brother, Sean, and his kids, which brings along its own set of challenges and some unfortunate drama.

What I loved about writing these three books was that it gave me the opportunity to explore Collin and Tanner’s feelings during three very different stages of their relationships. I’m often asked why this wasn’t just one long novel instead of three novellas. The answer is it’s not one story. It’s three distinct stories, each with a beginning, middle and end. It’s meant to be read in order, but it’s not one long book that was chopped into three parts. It’s three stories about the same loving couple as they experience their lives together. I’m delighted that Dreamspinner Press gave me the opportunity to tell all three stories. And I’m even more thrilled that they bundled them together into a hefty paperback so people can buy the whole trilogy in one collected volume. The down side of writing novellas is they don’t go to print so you don’t get to hold them in your hand as a physical book. I love that all three of these novellas are now a paper book sitting on my shelf.

While this trilogy takes the reader along for Collin and Tanner’s journey, there are several secondary characters introduced along the way. I’m super excited that I can finally announce that I’ve contracted two more books in the MOMENTS IN TIME series. MOMENT OF SILENCE will star Quinn (Collin’s oldest brother) and Jason (one of Collin’s co-workers from Fire Island) and MOMENT OF FATE is Bryan’s story (he’s a musician and photography student who was one of the housemates in MOMENT OF TRUTH). I can’t wait to share these characters’ stories…and I’m really glad they give me a chance to check in with Collin and Tanner and see how they’re doing.

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2015NewAbout the Book

Moments In Time: Books 1-3

Moment of Impact
Beyond Collin Fitzpatrick’s dorm room, the students of his conservative college think he’s straight, as does his Catholic family, who’d disown him if they learned the truth. Inside, he’s safe with his sexy roommate Tanner D’Amico. Tanner wants to show the world how much he loves Collin, but Collin’s not sure he’s ready for the impact stepping outside will make.

Moment of Truth
Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, and for the first time, he and Tanner can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being “out” takes some getting used to, and doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness. Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

Moment of Clarity
Spending the summer on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, new challenges confront them.

When Collin’s relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brother’s custody battle and Tanner struggles with feelings for his heartbroken friend Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone would be better off without him. In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear his love for Collin is all that matters.

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner Press

2015NewAbout the author

Karen’s lifelong fascination with people has led her to careers ranging from hand-drawn animator, to party planner, to marriage and family counselor, but writing has always been her passion. Karen enjoys nothing more than following her characters on their journey toward love. Whether the couples are m/f or m/m, it’s guaranteed that Karen’s novels are filled with food, friendship, love, and smoking hot sex—all the best things in life.

When Karen isn’t writing (and often when she is), she can be found on Twitter attempting witty banter and detailing the antics of her fruit-loving cat, BadKitteh. She loves to hear from readers (and other writers), so don’t hesitate to contact/follow/like her at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenstivali
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenStivaliAuthor
Website: http://karenstivali.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/karenstivali
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/KarenStivali
E-mail: karenstivali@gmail.com

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