Blog Tour, Guest Post, and Giveaway – Some Assembly Required by Lex Chase and Bru Baker


Hi, Charlie, thanks for having me here today! Lex Chase and I are promoting our new release, Some Assembly Required, the paranormal purgatory meet-cute in a chain home goods store you never knew you needed in your life until now.

Benji’s favorite store is CASA, but he never imagined it would be where he would spend his afterlife. But it’s where he’ll be stuck, surrounded by particle board furniture and affordable kitchenware, until he figures out a way to move on. Purgatory is a bit like the laminated particle board dresser you bought because it was an unbelievable deal, but then found out it had roughly 500 pieces and instructions that offer about as much guidance as a Rorschach blot. It’s not an impossible task, but it’s a daunting one.

I’ve had to turn to my kids for help assembling bookshelves and other cheap furniture here in the Baker household, since I’m not a visual thinker. Instructions that are entirely pictorial don’t do me a lot of good. Luckily, both The Boy and The Girl get a kick out of allen wrenches and cam bolts, and for the low, low price of my dignity as they mock me for my ineptitude I can outsource the work to them. A lifetime of LEGO addiction has to be good for something, right? Especially since more often than not whatever I’m trying to assemble is for the express purpose of storing said LEGOs.


The Girl Reading Instructions

I’d say I felt shame asking my 5-year-old to decipher these bench assembly instructions, but that would be a lie.


The Girl Assembling Bench

Tiny allen wrenches meant for tight spaces are practically forcing you to outsource to child labor. #justsaying

Benji doesn’t have any help when he assembles his CASA-furnished living room to replace the furniture his ex took with him when he moved out. He’s inordinately proud of all of the bookcases and other pieces he’s lovingly built in it. Of course, it’s one of those bookcases that lands him in CASA purgatory.

Anyone who dies because of a CASA product—either because it was faulty or because they were just unlucky—finds themselves haunting the humongous home goods store until they can save someone else from dying in the same way. But Benji’s in no hurry to move on, since CASA is kind of his idea of heaven on Earth.

I do have to agree with him on that. Stores like CASA reel you in with aisle after aisle of gleaming surfaces and displays that make you actually believe that the path to enlightenment involves pendant lamps gently illuminating slickly laminated bookcases, minimalist sofas with storage ottomans, and plastic Eames knock-off chairs that manage to be both hipster-chic and reminiscent of elementary school.

And then you get home, unload the car, and realize you’ve just condemned yourself to the hell of hours of furniture assembly.

That’s life, though. Some Assembly Required.

Have you ever done a DIY? Or assembled something yourself? Tell us your story!

And don’t forget to record your entry in the giveaway widget!

 Contemporary Paranormal Comedy
Length: Novel
Published: February 8, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63476-810-8
Buy: DSPAReAmazonBarnes and Noble


Everyone wishes they were dead when wandering the purgatory of a home furnishings store, but these guys actually are.

Benji Goss is the quintessential good guy. When his boyfriend dumps him and moves out, Benji obligingly keeps the cat—even though he’s allergic—because his ex’s new place doesn’t accept pets. He’s always joked the cat would be the death of him, but not in a way he expects when a feline mishap crushes him under a DEL TORO bookcase.

Snarky loner Patrick Bryant is in such a rut he barely remembers the life he used to lead. The last thing he recalls is being decapitated by a DEL TORO bookcase in a freak accident. As a spiritual CASA resident, he haunts the aisles of affordable Italian furniture, assisting fellow spirits in moving on to their final destinations.

When Benji appears in the CASA café, Patrick considers the naïve spirit just the man to cure his boredom. Benji’s relentless optimism chips away at Patrick’s sarcasm, making him question if there’s something beyond what he can see. But the heart is like CASA furniture—there’s always some assembly required.

About the Authors:


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.” Now she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.

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

Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and she unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.


Bru Baker got her first taste of life as a writer at the tender age of four when she started publishing a weekly newspaper for her family. What they called nosiness she called a nose for news, and no one was surprised when she ended up with degrees in journalism and political science and started a career in journalism.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now works in reference and readers’ advisory in a Midwestern library, though she still finds it hard to believe someone’s willing to pay her to talk about books all day. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.


We’re giving away two $25 USD Amazon Gift Cards to two lucky winners! Will it be you? Click on the graphic to enter!

Have you ever done a DIY? Or assembled something yourself? Tell us your story!

Blog Tour Stops:

2/8 – The Novel Approach and Release Day!

2/9 – Gay List Book Reviews

2/9 – My Fiction Nook

2/10 – Love Bytes Reviews

2/10 – Divine Magazine

2/11 – Charlie Cochet’s Purple Rose Tea House

2/11 – Open Skye Book Reviews

2/11 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

2/14 – Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

2/17 – Joyfully Jay

Blog Tour and Giveaway – Souls For Sale by Asta Idonea


Title: Hell To Pay & 21st Century Demon
Author: Asta Idonea
Series: Souls For Sale
Genre: Gay Romance, Paranormal
Length: Long Novella/Short Story
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Hell To Pay Synopsis

The contract was destroyed and Tom’s soul saved from Hell.

Or so they thought.

Demon deal-maker, Saul, and his mortal lover, Thomas Ives, find themselves on the run when the other demons take none too kindly to Saul’s bending of the rules. With the denizens of Hell on their heels, Saul and Tom must fight to stay one step ahead, knowing that if they’re caught there’s only one direction they’re headed: down.

When Heaven decides to get involved, Saul’s actions are no longer a mere bureaucratic misdemeanour but the basis of a factional confrontation. And now only one question remains: to whom does Tom’s soul truly belong?


21st Century Demon Synopsis

It should have been an easy job: a contract signed and a new soul earmarked for Hell. But when suave demon deal-maker Saul chooses nerdy Thomas Ives as his next target, events take an unexpected turn. The lines between business transaction and pleasure blur, and Saul must decide whether he cares more for his professional reputation or the soul he just condemned to eternal damnation.


Buy Links

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About the author

NICKI J. MARKUS was born in England in 1982, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Nicki launched her writing career in 2011. She published works through Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing before both companies closed their doors. She is now self-publishing some of her works, including the novella Time Keepers and the fantasy novel The Ragnarök Chronicles.

Nicki also writes M/M fiction under the alternate pen name of ASTA IDONEA and has had several short stories published by Wayward Ink Publishing. She is currently working on her first M/M novella.

Nicki works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys: music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, and cross stitch. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.

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Guest Post – Tracefinder: Contact by Kaje Harper, When is Happy-For-Now Enough?

Ah, romance. At the end of the classic story, two lovers ride off into the sunset— or drive away from the chapel in their limo— for a lifetime of joy, together forever. Like many readers, I love stories like that. I adore believing that two people have found their soulmate, someone they will love in good times and in bad, for as long as they live (or longer, if they’re vampires.) 

But I also like Happy-For-Now endings— the hard-won moment of peace that still has to keep working to achieve a future. After all, no realistic ending is so solid that it can’t be shaken by fate. In real life, the best we ever get is Happy-For-Now. Then again, sometimes that’s why we read— to find a sweetness in fiction that life doesn’t give us, including Happy-Ever-Afters. 

So are you an HEA-only reader? Do you want to close each book with a completely satisfied sigh and not worry about whether life will push two beloved characters apart? Is romance reading an escape from the uncertainties of the real world? 

Or are you okay with HFN? As long as the two men get a temporary break from fighting for every inch of happiness, do you like watching a story unfold in increments through a series? Can you take each subsequent book and really enjoy it, content with the renewed promise of slowly building HFN endings?

And what about a stand-alone HFN, where that bright future will happen only in your own imagination? Can you close that book with pleasure? What about true cliff-hangers? Do you gleefully wait with bated breath for what comes next, as our guys are now separated or in peril? Or do you have to restrain yourself from flinging your Kindle across the room, and vowing not to buy any more of those until the series is finished? 

Every reader is different. And every writer also decides where we’re comfortable leaving our guys at the end of a book. Some of us are too attached, or too slow at writing, to leave the main characters hanging. Others are capable of writing tense cliff-hangers or even serial stories, with each installment ending in a moment of stress. Our writing choices may depend on how fast we write, how many series we’re working on, our own tolerance for anxiety, and whether we plan a multi-book arc ahead or just let it happen. 

It’s no secret that if you write M/M, the solid Happy-Ever-After ending is the least controversial. Those books tend to sell well, and get fewer complaints. They leave most readers content.

But sometimes, getting there in one book requires tying a bow on loose ends that, realistically, should still dangle. Sometimes, for an author, trying for a simple HEA brings with it the temptation to fall back on drama— OMG, you almost died— to skip development, or reconcile feuding families quickly. And in a series, finishing the first book with what looks like a solid HEA can make readers feel betrayed, if the main characters develop relationship problems in the next volume. So it’s not a simple choice. 

I write a lot of Happy-For-Now endings. Mostly, that’s a side effect of my drive for realism. My goal is to create guys you could meet in the bar down the street, or in the house next door. Even my werewolves and sorcerers are meant to seem like real people under the supernatural trappings. So an HEA—  the total, unshakable romance wrap-up— is hard for my guys to achieve, especially in a single book.

I have done it. At the end of books like Into Deep Waters or Like the Taste of Summer, or a series like Life Lessons, my two men stand united, bruised by life but not shaken out of their love or faith in each other and their relationship. Never again to be shaken.

Getting there is sometimes a tentative journey, though. I do try, with every book, to leave the reader with a warm, contented sigh at the end. Because that’s what works for me. I write multiple stand-alones and series, and I don’t want to walk away from my own guys until I feel they’re temporarily safe in each other’s arms, whatever may still be coming down the pike at them.

Many readers seem content with the HFNs in my stories; a few aren’t. At the end of the first Life Lessons book, despite the moment of sweet warmth, some readers felt that Mac and Tony weren’t solid enough to leave off at that point. (Hopefully by the end of four novels and three short stories, everyone was satisfied.)

I approached my new book, Tracefinder: Contact, the same way. I have other writing to finish before I can tackle the second in the Tracefinder series. And I love Nick and Brian (as I do all the guys who’ve lived in my head). I needed to end their first book with the guys together enough that life was better for them— warmer, more secure— than when the story began. I feel like I did that.

Some readers will disagree, as they always do. Nick and Brian are complex characters, perhaps the most atypical heroes I’ve written. Brian has mental health issues and it’s not clear how deep they run, even at the end of the book. Hell, it’s not yet clear to Brian how deep they run. When Nick holds him, is that safety? Does Nick really see him as strong and capable, as an equal?

Nick has a temper, and a law-enforcement job that says he should sacrifice bystanders to get the bad guys. But Brian was alone, and vulnerable, and their attraction was definitely two-sided. So now, when Brian touches him, is that sweet comfort fair to both of them? Can it last? Will his cop duties let him be free to fall in love?

There are a lot of questions left at the end of the book. This is a series, and I plan at least two more novels, to watch how Nick and Brian deal with their challenges as they move forward, together. Since this is mystery/romance (and I’m not sadistic) the “together” is definitely part of the long story arc.

At the end of this first installment, you see these guys in a quiet moment, not in immediate peril, and looking forward to more. But their future holds a lot of uncertainty. To me, that’s Happy-Enough-For-Now. What about you?

How solid does Happy-For-Now have to be, to please you? Do you need to be able to envision this temporary peace lasting for a day? A week? A year? Is it all right to see possible relationship setbacks ahead, as long as the guys make it through eventually? Or do you need to be sure the men are so solid together that nothing will shake them apart, and every future plot challenge will now be met as a couple?

I read a lot of books, and write reviews, and look at other people’s reviews of the same stories. I find it fascinating how small details, and main-character personality traits, can reassure one reviewer that a book’s ending is solid, while another feels too uncertain for comfort. What looks like character strength to one reader may feel like cool distance to another. The reading rainbow— that array of preferences which means every book will get both five-star reviews and one-stars— is nowhere more evident than in the discussion of what it takes to make an acceptable romantic “Happy-Enough” ending.

I look forward to seeing how Tracefinder: Contact works out for readers, as I develop book two for Nick and Brian.


2015NewAbout the Book

What could an undercover cop and a drug lord’s pet psychic have in common?

Brian Kerr has spent years hiding behind a facade of mental slowness. His brother and sister got all three of them off the streets and into a cushy life, under the protection of a dangerous criminal. But to keep that safety, Brian has to use his Finding talent to track down the boss’s enemies. Although he pretends not to know what he’s really doing, each Find takes its toll, and he’s trapped in a life he hates, losing touch with his true self.

Nick Rugo’s job is to protect and serve the people of Minneapolis as an undercover cop. He isn’t closeted, but he isn’t out at work, and there’s a wild, angry side to him that he’s managed to keep hidden until now. When he’s assigned to bring Brian’s boss to justice, he intends to use anything and anyone it takes to do that.

Nick initially sees Brian as a pawn to be played in his case, but he keeps getting glimpses of a different man behind the slow, simpleminded mask. As the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear they share secrets, some of which might get them both killed.

Purchase Links
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Smashwords –

2015NewAbout the author

Kaje Harper grew up in Montreal, and spent her teen years writing, filling binders with stories. But as life got busy, the stories began to just live in her head. The characters grew, met, endured, and loved, in any quiet moment, but the stories rarely made it to paper. Her time was taken up by work in psychology, teaching, and a biomedical career, and the fun of raising children.

Eventually the kids became more independent and her husband gave her a computer she didn’t have to share. She started putting words down in print again, just for fun. Hours of fun. Lots of hours of fun. The stories began piling up, and her husband suggested if she was going to spend that much time on the keyboard she ought to try to publish one. MLR Press accepted her first submission, the M/M mystery Life Lessons, which came out in May 2011. Kaje now has many novels and short stories published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year, and a selection of free short stories and novels in a variety of gay romance genres, available on Smashwords and elsewhere. She currently lives in Minnesota with a creative teenager, a crazy omnivorous little white dog, and a remarkably patient spouse.




Goodreads Author page: