Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Yesterday by Mickie B. Ashling

Tour Banner Yesterday

I’d like to thank fellow author Charlie Cochet for giving me the opportunity to appear on her blog once again to share an exclusive excerpt of my latest release, Yesterday. This novel is a standalone, a period piece set during the final days of the Pahlavi dynasty. The time and place aren’t conducive to romance, especially between two men, but love and logic aren’t always compatible as Kamran and Grady soon find out. Can a chance meeting alter one’s destiny? The answers are revealed within the pages of Yesterday.

The striking cover was designed by multitalented author and cover artist Catt Ford. Aside from the giveaways, which are listed on the Rafflecopter widget, I bring an exclusive excerpt. I hope you enjoy the sneak peek.

YesterdayLG

2015NewAbout the Book

In June of 1978 Grady Ormond, eighteen-year-old son of diplomat Peter Ormond, accompanies his father to his new posting as US Ambassador to Pakistan. Neighboring Iran is on the brink of a civil war, with the monarchy in danger of being overthrown.

Grady will be leaving for New York City in late August to study cinematography and has been warned to keep his homosexual orientation tightly under wraps while on vacation. Repercussions in the predominantly Islamic region could be severe.

On their first night in Karachi, his father hosts a cocktail party to meet the local dignitaries. Grady is introduced to His Highness Prince Kamran Izadi, nephew of the Shah of Iran. Twenty-three-year-old Kamran has recently returned from the UK, where he spent eleven years, first as a student, and then as a financial analyst.

The attraction is immediate—unforeseen and dangerously powerful—but neither one dares to make a move. Odds are so stacked against them it’s futile to even entertain a friendship, but they do, and their world tilts precariously.

With his country in turmoil and Grady about to leave for college, Kamran makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

2015NewExcerpt

The cool air blowing out of the air-conditioning vents in the Land Rover was such a wonderful contrast to the squelching heat we’d just escaped. I could have happily stayed in the car for the rest of the day. All too soon, we were bumping up a long dirt driveway toward a white stone edifice sitting on a rise. I was no farmer, but I recognized oranges and lemons and, in addition, several much larger trees with thick limbs weighed down by fat golden mangoes. There were also palm, banana, and other large varieties of vegetation I didn’t recognize bordering the edifice and acting like a natural canopy against the harsh sun.

A pair of sleek black-and-white dogs ran up to the car the minute it rolled to a stop. They looked like greyhounds—deep chested and long legged—but covered with feathery fur on their ears and curved tails. When Kamran stepped out of the vehicle, they ran up to him, tails wagging happily. He got down on his haunches and rubbed each one behind the ears, speaking to them softly in his language. He stood and gestured for me to come close.

“Put out your hand so they can smell you,” he said. “They’re normally docile but have been known to snap at strangers.”

I did as I was told and watched in wary silence as the animals slowly approached. “What are their names?”

“Zena and Sher.”

Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was Sonny and Cher, who were all the rage a few years back. The animals’ large eyes, long, narrow heads, and silky hair hanging down their droopy ears, framing their faces, reminded me a lot of the iconic diva, a favorite among so many of my friends. In the weeks to come, I’d refer to Zena as Sonny because it flowed so much better with Sher. After a while, Kamran stopped correcting me.

As soon as we walked into the house, I was enchanted. The difference between the nondescript exterior and jewellike interior was unexpected. Colorful mosaic tiles were painstakingly laid out on walls and ceilings, and the floors were covered with large tiles that looked, to my untrained eye, like creamy marble. I supposed that given the opulence of the rest of the place, it wasn’t too farfetched. The house was built around a courtyard with open arches on one side of the walkway and closed rooms on the other. The materials were most likely chosen to withstand the rain that supposedly fell in pummeling sheets once monsoon season started. A small fountain in the center of the courtyard provided the soothing sounds of running water as it cycled through a pair of dolphins that appeared to be leaping out of its depths.

There were several iron birdcages strategically placed along the walls of the room with different varieties of exotic birds. One cage in particular caught my attention. A pair of birds in varying shades of green with deep garnet markings on their sides watched us as we approached.

“Are they parrots?” I asked curiously. They looked like them only smaller. As soon as they heard me talk, they began to screech loudly, swaying back and forth, long claws tightly gripping the wooded perches. They had large reddish-orange beaks that would probably do some serious damage to a finger if provoked.

“They’re Alexandrine parakeets,” Kamran informed me. “Named after Alexander the Great, who’s credited with bringing them to this region.”

“Do they bite?”

“Absolutely,” he said. “Don’t try petting them, or you’ll regret it.” Despite the warning, he opened the cage, stuck his hand inside, and one of the birds hopped right onto his outstretched forefinger. Slowly, he took him out, all the while crooning to the creature in Farsi.

“He’s obviously trainable,” I commented, watching in fascination as Kamran and the bird communicated mysteriously. “Does he have a name?”

“Xandar,” he said with a quirk to his lip. “And the female is named Rhoxana.”

“Naturally,” I said. “I should have guessed.”

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner Press eBook | Dreamspinner Press Paperback | All Romance eBooks | Amazon

2015NewAbout the author

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Mickie currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

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Email | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Blog | Goodreads & Ask the Author

2015NewGiveaway

Three winners will win an ebook copy of Yesterday, a signed print copy of Yesterday, or a Dreamspinner gift certificate. Contest open internationally. Must be 18 or older to enter.

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2015NewTour Info

Jan. 20 – Hearts On Fire

Jan. 21 – The Novel Approach

Jan. 22 – Diverse Reader

Jan. 22 – Multitaskingmommas

Jan. 25 – Charlie Cochet

Jan. 26 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews

Jan. 27 – Love Bytes

Jan. 28 – Prism Book Alliance

Jan. 29 – MM Good Book Reviews

Feb. 1 – Rainbow Gold Reviews

Feb. 2 – Sinfully

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Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Acts of Passion by Sedonia Guillone

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AboutTheBook

Acts of PassionTITLE: Acts of Passion

AUTHOR: Sedonia Guillone

COVER ARTIST: Louca Matheo

LENGTH: 186 Pages

GENRE: LGBT; Gay Romance; Mystery and Detective; Romantic Suspense

RELEASE DATE: January 15, 2016

BLURB: When a man is found in his apartment, appearing to have committed hara kiri with a samurai sword, Boston Homicide Detective Jack Cade suspects more is going on than what it appears. The department’s criminal profiler has left and a new guy is taking his place. At first, Cade is skeptical of Dr. Michael Di Santo. Di Santo seems so absent-minded and too neurotic to be effective. But he is brilliant and hot and Cade finds himself falling hard and fast, both in lust and in love. The attraction is mutual, although Michael’s past demons haunt him, keeping him from getting too close. Together, they begin to unravel Michael’s emotional knots even as they close in on a killer, another brilliant, wily person whose sights are now set on Michael.

Excerpt

Studying the front area of the building, he wandered down the flower box lined stone walk of the apartment building and turned to face it. Crime lab workers and patrol officers moved around on either side of the yellow crime tape, keeping the building cordoned off until Jack gave instructions to clear out and retain only the apartment as the crime scene.

Jack stepped aside to let someone go past him and bump! Smacked into something.

He turned. “Excuse me, I’m—” Or rather, he’d bumped into someone.

The man was adjusting the glasses Jack had apparently knocked off his face. “You’re in a crime scene,” Jack said.

“Yes, I know.” Almond-shaped brown eyes seemed to study Jack from behind round lenses. He looked Asian, yet sort of…not Asian at the same time. His dark brown hair was styled in a conventional way, parted on the side in short layers. The crumpled navy suit he wore, complete with diagonally striped tie against a light blue dress shirt made him appear as if his mother had dressed him for a spelling bee at school even though he was probably about Jack’s age. Forty.

Jack blinked. He was taking absolutely too long to find out who this man was. Then light dawned. Of course. “Dr. Di Santo?”

“Detective Cade?”

“That’s me. Hope I didn’t break your glasses.”

Di Santo touched them on each side as if to check. “No, they’re fine.”

Jack watched the man’s hands as he gingerly adjusted the frames. Nicely shaped fingers. Clean, trimmed nails. “Sorry I bumped you that way.”

“No problem.” Di Santo cleared his throat. “I hope I can be of help to you.”

Jack started. “Me too. This way.” He led Di Santo into the building and up to the apartment. “As I told you on the phone, I’m not so sure this was a suicide.” He let Di Santo precede him into the apartment and followed him, observing the way the slim man took in the surroundings on his way over to the victim.

Jack explained his suspicions and then let the man work. For what seemed a long time, Di Santo wandered about then stood in the center of the room, his gaze on the coffee table. His hand disappeared into his jacket pocket and pulled something out, which he popped into his mouth.

Jack watched him. Watched the man’s cheek bulge on the side while he sucked on whatever it was in his mouth, his gaze intent on the coffee table and victim. He then approached Jack and Jack heard the click of hard candy against the guy’s teeth. Finally Di Santo turned and knelt by the body.

Jack saw the professor’s eyes widen, especially on the hilt of the knife. “What is it?”

Di Santo seemed to ignore his question, staring at the knife. “Were his hands on the hilt of the knife or over his face when you found him?”

“Over his face.”

“Okay. Please open the robe so I can see the wound,” he said to Murphy.

Murphy did as he asked and Di Santo gazed for what seemed five straight minutes at the vicious cross-shaped cut in the centre of the wound.

“Jumonji giri,” he said, nearly in a whisper.

“What?” Jack looked between the knife wound and Di Santo.

The hot-yet-nerdy man was still staring down, seeming to ignore him. The candy in his mouth clicked several times against his teeth.

“Dr. Di Santo?”

Michael Di Santo looked up, his eyes seemingly far away yet intent at the same time. “What kind of movies did this man watch?”

BuyLinks

Kindle USPaperbackAllRomance ebooksKobo Nook Google Play

AuthorBio

Award-winning, multi-published author of erotic romance, Sedonia Guillone spends her days writing deliciously naughty romances—when she’s not cuddling with the man she loves or watching kung fu and samurai films and eating chocolate.

Sedonia welcomes comments from readers. You can find her website and email address on her author bio page at www.sedoniaguillone.com.

:: Website :: Blog :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Google+ ::

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Winner’s Prize: Print copy of Acts of Passion

Runner Up’s Prize: 3 Sedonia Guillone e-books of your choice

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TourSchedule

January 15: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words :: Frosty’s Book Corner

January 16: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings :: The Purple Rose Tea House

January 17: Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews :: Louise Lyons

January 18: Divine Magazine :: Love Bytes Reviews

January 19: Jessie G Books :: Drops of Ink

January 20: A Celebration of Books :: Diverse Reader

January 21: RJ Scott :: MM Good Book Reviews

January 22: Kathy Mac Reviews :: Gay Media Reviews

January 23: Bayou Book Junkie :: Alpha Book Club

January 24: Man2ManTastic :: Shey’s Book Cave

 

Blog Tour, Guest Post, and Giveaway – The Boys of Summer by Sarah Madison

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AboutTheBook

BoysofSummer[The]LGTITLE: The Boys of Summer

AUTHOR: Sarah Madison

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante

LENGTH: 200 Pages

RELEASE DATE: December 21, 2015

BLURB: 2nd Edition

David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film-company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches… and Rick Sutton, the hot, ex-Air Force pilot who is flying him around.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries and a lack of food and water mean David has to step up to the plate and play hero. While his days are spent fighting for survival, and his nights are filled with worrying about Rick, the two men grow closer. David’s research for his next movie becomes intertwined with his worst fears, and events on the island result in a vivid dream about the Battle of Britain. On waking, David realizes Rick is more than just a pilot to him. The obstacles that prevented a happy ending in 1940 aren’t present today, and David vows that if they survive this stranding, he will tell Rick how he feels.

GuestPost

Most people who follow me on Facebook or on my website know I’m a huge Frozen fan. I’ve written several blog posts on the subject, most particularly why a Disney movie could speak so strongly to a middle-aged woman. I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that many of us live lives like Elsa, hiding our inner powers because we’ve been taught to conform, to fit it, to ‘be the good girl you always have to be.’ That we followed the rules, worked hard, did what we were told, and frequently got bupkis for our efforts. In that post, I listed a number of things I needed to let go of in order to stop binding myself to the same narrative in my life.

But I forgot one important thing.

I forgot to let go of the notion of perfection.

I think perfectionism goes hand in hand with the mindset I’ve described above, of always trying to be the Good Girl, the Perfect Girl, the one our parents urged us to be. I could make this blog post all about the pros and cons of trying to instill certain traits in our children, but that’s not what this is about. No, what I’m talking about now is how perfectionism is the deadly enemy of creativity.

In any other era, I’d probably still be an unpublished author, but the digital age has been kind to me. I’d been writing fanfiction for years when a friend encouraged me to write and submit original fiction for publication. To my surprise, my stories were accepted! I dashed off three or four more stories that were all accepted as well before it suddenly hit me. Oh crap. I was a published author. Did I even know what I was doing?

A lot of well-meaning friends gifted me with books on writing, and I adore them for encouraging me in my dream, but the more I read, the more I discovered I was doing it all wrong. Mortified, I took online courses, read more books, and found a great critique group. I continued to write, but I was no longer pumping out a novella a month. I began to doubt my ability, and I cringed when I re-read older works. Worse, I developed a Critical Voice in my head that made it nearly impossible to read anything without automatically correcting it, even beloved stories I’d re-read time and time again.

I wanted each story to be better than the last, which is a laudable goal, but it can stymie you when you are trying to write a scene for the first time. I thought I was producing better stories, only to have them shredded by editors who found fault with things I’d accepted as appropriate styles my entire life. For the last eight months, I’ve been re-writing the same five chapters in a new-for-me genre because it is so very important to me to get the main character right. And yet all I’m doing is smudging the paper with my erasures and re-writing of words until I have nothing but a grubby, pedantic mess on my hands. I need to either finish it or kill it. Either way, I need to move on.

The main problem is I forgot some of the basic tenants of writing.

  1. Let it Go Part 1: Write for yourself first. Write the story you want to tell. Write the story you’d want to read. Have fun with it. Stop expecting each new story to be THE story, the breakout novel that will rocket you to the bestseller list and solve your financial woes. If you’re not having fun with the story, no one else will either. This is not to say writing isn’t hard work; just that the end product should be something you enjoy.
  2. Let it Go Part 2: You want to throw every ridiculous trope into the story? Rainbow-colored Ninja Kittens with hearts of gold shooting fireballs with their eyes as they save the day? Go for it. Chances are, you won’t keep that first incarnation, but it might just morph into a less-impossible character that everyone will love. Most of my stories begin as hopelessly Harlequinesque sappy stories that I gradually mold into something less improbable. Why? Because we love tropes for a reason. Don’t be afraid to put the things you love into a story. Chances are, someone else will love it too.
  3. Let it Go Part 3: Ignore the Critical Voice that tells you this sentence isn’t perfect and tries to hold you in place before letting you move on. Words are like Doritos—you can make more! You aren’t limited to a set number and you’re allowed to cut, paste, delete, alter, and add on in the next draft. First drafts ARE rubbish. No one expects them to be otherwise. If you think typing The End on a first draft means you can breathe a sigh of relief and mark your job as done, you are wrong. You’ve just reached a stopping point where you can camp for a while and catch your breath.
  4. Let it Go Part 4: After you’ve sent your draft to beta readers, after you’ve cleaned it up to the best of your ability, stop polishing that gem and send it off to your editor. I don’t care if you’re self-published or not, you need a good editor. I personally do not think anyone should edit their own work. I don’t think you can be objective enough. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made as an author was thinking that my best story was good enough as it stood. It wasn’t. You need someone who is going to make you ruthlessly trim and prune until your story is the best it can possibly be. The hard truth is that’s NOT you, or your BBF’s, or your beta readers. Let the editor do his or her job. Don’t try to anticipate the editing process while you’re writing the story. That’s not the time to do it. The truth is, the more you do this, the better you’ll get. But it’s a little like the Force. You have to let it flow through you.
  5. Let it Go Part 5: Stop comparing yourself to others. On any given day, someone among my Facebook acquaintances appears to be receiving outstanding recognition for their efforts. They’re winning awards, or topping the charts, or they’ve been mentioned in glowing terms by some prestigious reviewer. It makes you feel small, doesn’t it? Like nothing you do matters. The truth of the matter is that whether you know it or not, someone is looking at YOUR achievements and wishing they had your luck, your talent, your ability. Be happy for the successes of others and remember it doesn’t affect your odds of the same. Self-doubt and self-sabotage are our biggest enemies. And perfectionism masks itself as something to strive for while in reality, it kills your story from within.

Give yourself permission not to be perfect. You’ll be astonished at how freeing this can be, not just in your writing, but in life as well.

Excerpt

“I don’t think we’ve got much choice.” Sutton’s voice was grim. “We’re lucky to have that much. Hold on, these trees are coming up faster than I’d like.”

Still fighting to keep the nose of the plane up, Sutton guided the recalcitrant aircraft toward the so-called clearing, the ground rising up to meet them far faster than was comfortable. David found himself leaning back in his seat, bracing his hands on the console as the tops of trees scraped the underside of the plane. Branches swiped at the windshield, and David had the sudden impression of being in a car wash scene as written by Stephen King.

“Duck your head!” Sutton barked. “Wrap your arms around your legs!”

“And kiss my ass goodbye?” David shouted, raising his voice over the increasing noise as he obeyed Sutton’s orders.

Incredibly, Sutton laughed. It was an oddly comforting sound. Like everything was somehow going to be all right because Sutton was at the controls.

The moment of humor was gone in a flash. The plane screamed with the sound of tearing metal and the sharp, explosive crack of tree limbs and breaking glass. David kept his head down and his eyes closed, praying to a God he was pretty sure had more important things to do than to keep up with the well-being of one David McIntyre. Despite being strapped in his seat, his head and shoulder thumped painfully against the passenger side door as the plane thrashed wildly. There was a moment of eerie, blessed silence, and for an instant, the assault on the plane seemed as though it had lifted. Eye of the storm, David thought, just before the plane hit the ground.

Someone had left the window open and it was raining on him. How incredibly annoying. He shifted, intent on reaching for the offending window, when a jolt of pain ran through his shoulder and he gasped. When he opened his eyes, nothing made any sense at first. Then he remembered the crash, and realized that his side of the plane was pointing up at the sky. The rain was coming down in a steady stream through the broken windshield. The sound of the rain on the metal hull of the plane was nearly deafening.

He winced at the pain in his neck when he turned to look over at the pilot’s seat. Sutton was slumped to one side in his chair, unmoving. His sunglasses were hanging off one ear.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God,” David murmured, hastily undoing his seatbelt so he could reach across to Sutton. His skin was cold and damp where David touched it, and adrenaline pounded through David’s veins as though he could jumpstart Sutton’s heart by sending his own pulse beating through his fingertips. “Sutton! Rick!”

David fought to free himself of his seat, twisting for greater access to the other side of the cockpit. When the seatbelt came open, he fell half across Sutton. Sprawled practically in his lap, David could now see the nasty cut on the left side of Sutton’s temple. The pilot’s side of the plane had taken a lot of damage, and David yelped as he encountered a sliver of glass. Bits of the windshield and console were scattered like confetti over Sutton’s jacket. “Sutton!” The lack of response was unnerving. He tossed aside the sunglasses and worked a hand down into Sutton’s collar, feeling frantically for a pulse.

He could have kissed the man when Sutton suddenly groaned.

BuyLinks

Dreamspinner Press (eBook)

Dreamspinner Press (Paperback)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

All Romance eBooks

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AuthorBio

Sarah Madison is a veterinarian with a large dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she’s not out hiking with the dog or down at the stables, she’s at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.

Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and is the winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.

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Winner’s Prize: E-copy of The Boys of Summer

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TourSchedule

January 4: The Novel Approach :: Gay Media Reviews

January 5: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings

January 6: Louise Lyons

January 7: Diverse Reader

January 8: Prism Book Alliance :: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

January 9: Susan Mac Nicol

January 10: Loving Without Limits

January 11: Kathy Mac Reviews :: Love Bytes Reviews

January 12: Divine Magazine

January 13: BFD Book Blog

January 14: The Purple Rose Tea House :: Man2ManTastic

January 15: Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

January 16: TTC Books and More :: Sue Brown

January 17: Bayou Book Junkie

January 18: Drops of Ink