Excerpt & Giveaway: Charley Descoteaux – The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds

All he ever wanted was to be a normal guy….

Phil Brask spends his days in the basement of his mentor’s Victorian home, converting legal documents into electronic format. When the pipe feeding the water heater bursts, Lee Redding arrives in the plumber’s truck and draws Phil away from the narrow focus of his computer and camera lens. Lee gives Phil hope for a life beyond the walls he’s constructed using the nesting habits of migratory birds and dense legal files, a guided tour through a world filled with romance and music…maybe even family. But there’s a reason Phil retreated behind those walls, why he panics at a simple touch.

Lee has a good life—working with his uncle and on his mother’s farm, playing bass in a horrible metal band, and hooking up when he pleases—but he’s always suspected something was missing. When he meets the hot photographer with the icy-blue eyes, he knows exactly what that something is. Phil isn’t like other guys, but neither is Lee beneath his carefree exterior. Maybe Lee’s the perfect guy to show Phil that everything doesn’t have to be done the hard way and “home” isn’t a four-letter word.

Excerpt:

LEE CALLED early Sunday morning. Phil was still in bed while he listened to Lee say his Uncle Lenny called him in to work—at double time—on an emergency job in a church basement.

“Do you have any plans for next weekend?”

Phil smiled. He didn’t even have any plans for breakfast. “No.”

“How about if I pick you up and we head out to my mom’s place?”

Phil’s stomach shivered. Meet his mom? Phil barely remembered his own mother. Among the things that had survived the sixteen years since he’d last seen her were that she had red hair and called him Phillip Anthony.

A car door slammed in Phil’s ear and brought his mind back to the present. He had no idea what Lee expected him to say and panic licked at his heels.

“Um, I kind of wanted to ask you a favor.” Lee’s car started, the familiar rattling of the engine helped Phil relax.

“O-okay.”

“Don’t you want to know what it is first?”

Phil shrugged but then remembered Lee couldn’t see. It didn’t really matter, though. Whatever it was, he wanted to do it. “O-okay.”

“Well, two of the restaurants she sells herbs to have closed in the past few weeks. She thinks she doesn’t need to advertise, but I think if you could get some good pictures of the herbs and her place, then Heidi could design some flyers or ads or whatever.”

Traffic sounds and honking disturbed Phil’s enjoyment of listening to Lee’s voice while he lounged in bed. Sunshine streamed though they wouldn’t be spending the day together—Lee had thought of him. The day was off to a good start.

“S-sure, just let me know what time. You need to hang up now before you get in an accident. Jerry doesn’t handle p-personal injury cases, so you’d be left to the whims of f-fate.”

Lee chuckled and Phil’s lips tingled in response.

“I’ll call you later. Have a good day, Phil.”

“Y-you too. Lee.”

Phil dropped his phone and hugged his pillow. He had plans for next weekend. With Lee. He’d never been to a farm before—he’d seen them alongside Highway 26, but it still seemed like farms belonged to another era. Still, the prospect of taking pictures in a completely new place—for Lee—wiped away all but the tiniest bit of his fear that Lee’s mom would hate the idea of some strange guy messing around on her property, taking pictures of her plants.

That would take even longer than the heron-watching expedition. And it would probably be chaste. It was his mom’s place, and he had a little sister who lived there, so they wouldn’t be alone. Phil was surprised to realize he was disappointed.

Buy The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5271

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Nesting-Habits-Strange-Birds-ebook/dp/B00MMEGIC6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1407899087&sr=1-1

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thenestinghabitsofstrangebirds-1592772-149.html

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they let her sleep once in a while. Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear. As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.

Rattle Charley’s cages–she’d love to hear from you!

Blog: http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/blog/

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/CharleyDescoteauxAuthor

Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/aqe7g7r

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/

e-mail: c.descoteauxwrites@gmail.com

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TH2014Giveaway
Charley is giving one lucky winner a backlist title of their choice. Simply leave a comment for a chance to win! Giveaway ends 8pm PST on Thursday Sept 18th.

Lex Chase – Americana Fairy Tale (Fairy Tales of the Open Road #1) Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

Americana Fairy Tale 

(Fairy Tales of the Open Road #1)
by 
Lex Chase
 

Blurb:

Modern fairy-tale princess Taylor Hatfield has problems. One: He’s a guy. Two: His perfect brother Atticus is the reincarnation of Snow White. Three: Taylor has no idea which princess he is supposed to be. Four: Taylor just left his prince (a girl) at the altar. Despite his enchanted lineage, Taylor is desperate to find his Happily Ever After away from magic, witches, and stuffy traditions. Regrettably, destiny has other plans for him. Dammit.

 

When word reaches Taylor that Idi the Witchking has captured Atticus, Taylor is determined to save his brother. He enlists the help of rakish and insufferable Corentin Devereaux, likewise of enchanted lineage. A malicious spell sends Taylor and Corentin on a road trip through the kitschy nostalgia of roadside Americana. To save Atticus, they must solve the puzzles put forth by Idi the Witchking. As they struggle, Taylor and Corentin’s volatile partnership sparks a flash of something more. But princesses have many enemies, and Taylor must keep his wits about him because there’s nothing worse than losing your heart… or your head.

 

 

Available to purchase

 

Excerpt

 

 

“I’m getting a shower,” Taylor said and quickly shuffled into the
bathroom. In the silence, Taylor pressed his back to the door and slid to the
floor. He clamped both hands around the crotch of his shorts and hissed through
clenched teeth, “Stop, stop, stop, please, stop.”
He had to stop thinking
about his dream. And thinking about Corentin in that way. Corentin wasn’t even
his type! And Corentin’s type was clearly
not a raging homo-sheckshual. By all of Taylor’s understanding, Corentin’s breed
of redneck was of the misogynistic racist variety. Taylor paused. Was he just
telling himself that? Taylor mentally felt around the edges of the dream. He
flinched with the dirty feeling.
Shower. He needed a shower. Now.
He picked himself up off the floor, then staggered to the tub. The
enamel had seen better days, with that lovely rusty ring around it. The shower
curtain seemed to be a repository for all assorted natures of DNA. Taylor
gingerly touched it in an effort to move it just out of the way enough to turn
the faucet. Scuffed up and mottled with rust, even the faucet made him wince.
He ripped off a sheaf of cheap toilet paper to use to turn the faucet on. First
the water belched into the tub, then after a few rude bubbling gurgles, ran in
a steady stream. It wasn’t particularly warm, however. Taylor surmised he
didn’t really need a hot shower anyway.
He disrobed, dropping his clothes in a heap on the floor. But on
second consideration, he didn’t have anything else to change into. What he had
on his back was it. Like his cum-stained cargo shorts. Yuck. He scooped his clothes off the floor and hung up his shirt on
the towel rack. He’d have to do something about his shorts, because they’d
smell and get uncomfortably crusty. He chuckled. He would never have predicted
how contentious he’d become about cleanliness until he only had one change of
clothes for the foreseeable future.
As the tub faucet ran to get some marginable level of lukewarm, he
cranked the faucet in the sink. He let the water run over the crotch of his new
shorts and scrubbed them as best he could with the questionable cracked soap
bar.
Corentin knocked once on the door. “Come on, man. Gotta pee.”
“Hold your horses,” Taylor huffed. “Let me get in the shower first.
Great Storyteller Almighty.”
Taylor hustled and wrung out his shorts. He hung them also on the
towel rack and finally hopped into the shower before poor pitiful Corentin
could have an accident on the floor. Some self-reliant huntsman he was.
Couldn’t he go out back and take a piss on a tree? Of course, there would
likely need to be some nature of tree on the premises.
Taylor jerked the curtain across the tub for privacy and instantly
regretted taking a fistful of it in such haste. “Okay! It’s safe.”
“I heard princesses were prissy, but I didn’t think it applied to
male princesses,” Corentin said as he walked in.
Taylor could see the outline of his body through the haze of the
shower curtain. He pushed himself back against the far wall to gain some
distance. A small gap remained between the curtain and the shower wall, and he
carefully peeked. With a familiar clanking of a belt buckle followed by a
zipper, Taylor instead sent his gaze upward to Corentin’s face and his bare
shoulders. Corentin had done away with his shirt, and Taylor’s face heated with
the view. Corentin was lean, like a panther, his tattooed skin pulled tight
over his biceps and hard abs. He finished, flushed, and turned away to zip his
pants. Taylor pressed his fingers to his lips at the sight of the rise of Corentin’s
tight rear as he shifted to the sink and washed his hands.
He studied himself in the mirror while Taylor stared through the
shower curtain.
Corentin swung open the door and called behind him, “Don’t use all
the hot water.”
“O-oh-okay,” Taylor croaked, his face hot from gawking.
The door shut with a click, and Taylor sighed with the relief. He looked down at himself in
disappointment. Taylor was filthy from dirt, sweat, and whatever else was
lurking in Corentin’s disgusting truck. He turned, reaching for the cracked
soap bar. The blacked grooves in the soap made him reconsider. He reached for
the mini Johnson & Johnson shampoo bottle and uncapped it. After a careful
sniff, he tried to make sure it wasn’t rancid and questioned if it was possible
for shampoo to go rancid. Figuring he would chance it, he scrubbed himself down
with the terrible No More Tears formula.
He breathed one more time, trying to cope with the lukewarm water,
and then decided it was time to face the reality of a nasty motel room with a
man he didn’t trust who made him blush. He shut off the water and carefully
maneuvered out of the shower without touching the petri dish that served as a
curtain.
Taylor considered his clothes. His shirt could use airing out, and
his shorts were a definite no. His only option was a towel around the waist. He
didn’t even like that option in high
school
, let alone in the middle of nowhere with the current company. Ringo
was there, though. That made it better. Ringo would save him.
Covering himself, Taylor took a breath. On a mental count of three,
he turned the doorknob.
And the chill of the overworked window unit hit him square in the
bare chest.
Fuck,” Taylor gasped and
scuttled to the bed. He immediately wrapped himself in the threadbare blanket,
which didn’t help at all. He had a string of curses on his tongue when he
finally glanced up and saw Corentin.
More specifically, saw Corentin’s tattooed torso.
Corentin, on the other hand, busied himself with making notes in
his monstrosity of a book. His brow would furrow every time he underlined
something with a determined gesture across the page. He seemed not to notice
Taylor’s open staring at the intricate black ink of an oak tree drawn in the
style of Gustave Doré. The trunk of the tree was a full sleeve with the roots
growing from Corentin’s left wrist, and at his shoulder, the branches twisted
in a windblown manner across his collarbone, shoulder blade, and a few branches
even curled at the base of his neck.
Taylor swallowed. At least it explained why Corentin was so covered
up for June weather. But something was strange about the tattoo. There were
seven boughs, but only one had leaves.
Corentin kept making notes and didn’t look up. His brow furrowed
into an even angrier contortion, and he wrote faster. When he apparently ran
out of space, he flipped his book to sit horizontally and wrote in tiny print
in the margins. He hesitated, tapping his pen on the paper.
Taylor pulled the blanket higher on his shoulders. The steam from
his body captured under the blanket helped in making the chill of the room
bearable.
Corentin scribbled again in his book. He frowned and scribbled in a
repeated gesture. He shook his pen with a flick of the wrist and tried again.
He grunted and threw the pen. “Fuck,” he said and went fishing in his messenger
bag. He feverishly reached around, looked in, and then reached around again. He
puffed a sigh and upturned the bag onto the carpet.
A palm sized bottle of liquid bounced across the floor and Corentin
scrambled to snatch it midtumble. He glanced at Taylor and offered a smile.
“Hand sanitizer. Can’t go anywhere without it.” He quickly shoved the bottle
into a side pocket of his bag.
Taylor said nothing, merely watching the bizarre display as
Corentin poked through the crumpled receipts, hair ties, old cracker wrappers,
and various unidentifiable crumbs and wadded-up trash. He also flipped through a
collection of condoms in shiny magenta wrappers and printed with hearts and
lips. Taylor tightened his grip on the comforter and his face heated. Well, at
least they were cherry flavored or something?
Corentin shook the bag again, and Taylor remained silent.
As a roll of duct tape tumbled out.
And then zip ties.
Taylor’s eyes snapped wide. Corentin had fucking huntsman death
tools on him at all times. He shivered and scooted back on the bed. He judged
the distance from the bed to the door in case he needed to run at a moment’s
notice. Obviously a naked guy running down the interstate would get some
attention. But he hadn’t seen any cars on the interstate since they ended up
here. He nibbled at his lip. Maybe if he stole Corentin’s truck? That seemed
like a good idea.
“Ah!” Corentin said, clearly relieved he apparently found a pen,
and ignored the zip ties and duct tape. He resumed his furious scribbling.

 


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 too. 

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and 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 now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle. 

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

You can find Lex at

               



Giveaway

 

Presented By

Zee Kensington – Finally Home Blog Tour & Giveaway!

FinallyHome_blog_tour_banner

Thank you for having me for tea today, Charlie! It’s lovely to be here. I thought since my new novel, Finally Home, is about travel, I’d talk a bit about writing the cities that my characters visit.

I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to visit some of the biggest cities in the world. As a child, I was dazzled by Mexico City’s Christmas lights and rooted for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their home ball park. As an adult, I navigated New York City’s labyrinthine subway system, walked Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, and drifted on a long-tail boat through the heart of Bangkok.

LA smogI treasure all these memories, and writing about locations I’ve visited before is a way for me to go back again. Not only to experience the sights and smells, but the thrill of exploring a new place for the first time.

That’s how my short story, Krung Thep, City of Angels, was created. I had recently returned from two amazing weeks in Southeast Asia—my first trip off the North America continent—and I was eager to relive the adventure and excitement.

I’d remembered a photo exhibit I’d seen in Bangkok comparing it to Los Angeles (since both cities are known in their respective cultures as “The City of Angels”) and I thought it’d be poetic to write a story about an LA native lost in Bangkok. Hence, Marco, my novice backpacker, was born.

Now he needed a romantic interest. I have a bit of an obsession with New York City, and Manhattan seemed the natural choice as a hometown for the more worldly character, culinary travel writer Chris.

So, Marco and Chris meet in Bangkok, and relive some of my own favorite adventures—visiting the Grand Palace, taking a long-tail boat ride, and gazing down at Bangkok by night from the top of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel (though I didn’t do what they did up there).

It was a little more challenging when continuing their story in Finally Home. Where Krung Thep was all about two Americans connecting abroad, Finally Home is about, well, coming home, which for Marco and Chris were Los Angeles and New York respectively.

I’d spent my childhood in the LA area, Marco’s hometown and the first location of Finally Home. However, “Los Angeles” is a big area, more of an identity shared by numerous of cities spanning across hundreds of miles. Someone in Santa Monica would have a completely different experience than someone in East LA.

Upper_East_Side_2I pulled on my childhood memories and recollections of a more recent visit to capture the feel of LA suburbia–the ordered grid-work of city blocks, the gorgeous orange sunsets shining in the smog-choked sky, the working- and middle-class folks that had never seen a movie star in the flesh. These memories helped me hone in on Marco’s experience as a suburban kid from Culver City, a city west of downtown Los Angeles (and not unlike the area I grew up in).

New York posed its own set of challenges. My experiences there were more recent, but fleeting. Where I once was a resident of the Los Angeles area, I’d always approached New York as visitor. Which made Marco’s perspective as an outsider easy to write, but how to get into the headspace of Chris, the native?

I remembered my day walking through Manhattan’s Upper East Side: the way the cool October light cut between the towering, knife-gray buildings, the manicured perfection of the “ladies who lunch” as they strolled between boutiques, the relentless flow of 5th Avenue foot traffic that didn’t slow down for anything, even a big-budget movie shoot clogging up an entire block.  I tried to image what it would be like for Chris—who had spent four years bouncing between third-world countries and existing on street food—to return to that sharp, relentless way of living.  It’d be pretty damn disorienting. That I could certainly write.

It was a lot of fun revisiting some of my favorite cities, and it only encourages me to keep traveling to find more fodder for my stories.

How about you?  Have any places you’ve visited inspired your stories? If not, what are some of your favorite places to visit by book?

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TH2014Blurb
After one night in Bangkok turned into ten days trekking together, novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways thinking they’d never see each other again. Three months later, Marco still can’t forget the greatest adventure of his life—or the gorgeous guy he shared it with. Too afraid to come out to his family, Marco is suffocating in his suburban Southern California life, until Chris announces he’s coming to LA.

Chris has spent the past four years wandering alone, rebuilding himself from the ashes of a failed journalism career. He arrives in Los Angeles eager to eat, write, and resume the sexy, casual fun he had enjoyed with Marco. But when Chris finds his friend is a terrified closet-case at home, he’s determined to help Marco confront his fears.

Priorities change when Chris’s father suffers a stroke, and Chris rushes to New York City to face a harsh homecoming with the family he abandoned. When Marco defies his parents to be at Chris’s side, Chris begins to realize there may be more to their relationship than just work and play, and that Marco may be the one to show Chris what it means to finally be home.

Purchase Links
Dreamspinner Press eBook | Dreamspinner Press paperback

 

TH2014Author
Zee Kensington discovered a passion for writing erotica in her freshman year of college, and has been crafting sweet and sexy stories ever since. Inspired by her years working and playing in San Francisco’s LGBT community, she is especially drawn to tales that explore the joys and challenges of queer identities.

An almost-native Californian and a card-carrying geek, she currently lives in the SF Bay Area with her husband and toddler. When she’s not writing or catching up on her sleep she enjoys watching films, playing video games, experimenting in her kitchen, and dreaming of the day her son is old enough to travel the world with her.

connectwiththeauthor

Blog: http://zeekensington.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://facebook.com/zee.kensington
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZeeKensington
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4563478.Zee_Kensington

 

TH2014Giveaway

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Join me on my blog tour (August 29-September 12) and enter to win an autographed book bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise!

Enter Here via Rafflecopter!