Author Interview & Excerpt – Caleb’s Avenger by Sydney Lain

Hello all! Grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee and please welcome the fab Sydney Lain who’s here to answer a few questions! 

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What did you enjoy most about writing this story?
I loved the character interaction. Caleb can’t read people and Laird tells a lot a lies. He doesn’t trust anyone. When Laird pushes Caleb away with lies, Caleb doesn’t always see it. That interaction was a lot of fun to write.

What’s a typical writing day like for you?
I wake up between 3:00 A.M. to 3:30 A.M to write before work; I get home between 5:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, so on some evenings I write. Sunday is my best writing day. My weekly goal is 5,000 words, which is higher than I usually achieve.

Do you have a designated writing area at home? What’s it like?
I’m all over the place. Sometimes I sit on the couch. Sometimes I sit at the dining room table. My cats likes to help the writing process by being there for me, so occasionally, I’m running from room to room to avoid them.

What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter, a pantser, or both?
I started off as a panster. It took a lot longer finish a book. I had a lot of rewrites and more rough drafts, but I wouldn’t label my writing as a plotter. I’m leaning more towards that than a panster.

I start a Google doc. There I summarize each chapter. Not long summaries. About two sentences each. I don’t finish all the chapter summaries, but the beginning is always completed before I write the beginning and so on. I work on a three hundred-word description, too. That’s started before I start writing. I like to use a Google doc because it’s always with me. I can read and edit it from anywhere— on the grocery line, during lunch, at the car mechanic.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I read and listen to audio books.  I also like nature photography.

Coffee or tea?
I never drink coffee. Hate the taste. Every morning, I start off my day with a cup of Green Tea.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on book 11 in the Space Warriors series. The main character is unlike the other warriors in the series. He’s tough, but scarred and a little more jaded.

What are you finding to be the most challenging part of being a published author?
I’m not good at networking. I’m introverted, so social networking was never my thing. I wasn’t on Facebook, but had a twitter account that I never used. At times, I feel like I’m fumbling through it.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author looking to get published?
Write everyday. Don’t give up. It’s hard to sit at a blank screen. I write through it.

What are your plans for the future? What more can we look forward to from you?
I want to write a story that deals with first love, losing that and then getting second chance. I write Paranormal and sci-fi, M/M romances. Elements of those will be mixed in. I’m outlining a holiday story, so I plan to start that soon.

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2015NewAbout the Book

Caleb’s Avenger (Space Warriors 8)

Laird watched his family die. The tragic event turned him into a man obsessed with revenge. Determined to reach beneath the surface, Caleb tries to learn Laird’s secrets, but he ends up in mess after mess after Laird leaves him in the middle of different disasters. Will Caleb see through Laird’s lies in time to save his life?

2015NewExcerpt
“How about we go somewhere and talk about your hobby?” Mixed within the words was a promise for something more than a conversation.

Standing on the street and being shocked by the turn of events almost had Laird nodding, then following behind the warrior like some pet shop whore. The confusion wore off and he remembered the reason he was waiting.

“No. I don’t go anywhere with strangers.” This time he forced a glare. Laird just needed to keep reminding both of them that they were nothing more than strangers.

The stranger nodded in approval, which only annoyed him more. Like he needed this man’s approval for anything, but that’s not what bothered him. Laird had liked receiving it. How long had it been since someone complimented him?

“I’m Lieutenant Caleb Crestforth, the Defiant’s first officer.” He held out a hand. “And you are?”

The hand edged closer. He cringed back, acting like the approaching arm was a flaming torch that wanted to set his body on fire.

“Someone not interested in exchanging names with you.” His response met another of Caleb’s nods of approval.

“Good. Not a pushover.” Caleb gave him a half smile.

Now he was even more annoyed, not something he thought possible. “Look here. Others might appreciate your approval, but not me.”

Muscles flexed before Caleb folded both arms over his chest. Laird took a step back and waited for the fist, ready to drop to the ground to avoid it before running away.

“You think I’m going to hit you?”

He rolled his eyes. “I put nothing past you, stranger.” He let the word stranger roll slowly off his tongue. Laird might know this man’s name, but that wasn’t enough to make him anything more than a stranger.

Just before Caleb could reply, heavy footsteps stopped him.

“We found you.”

Laird froze. He recognized the cruelty without having to see the man’s face. He’d been so preoccupied with Caleb that he forgot to watch for the real bad guys. Three men approached from behind, and with Caleb blocking his front, Laird felt trapped.

This was all Caleb’s fault. He shook the blame away. Thinking like that wouldn’t help him. Besides, this stranger was a warrior and most likely Warsarian. Unlike Laird, if it came down to a fight, Caleb could take care of himself. Warsarians had a reputation of cold ruthlessness. They were the deadliest warriors in the universe. That gave him a wicked idea, but his survival always came first. He had two important reasons to get out of this mess alive and, hopefully, unharmed.

“Boss, they found us,” Laird said as he turned to face Caleb. He batted his eyelashes at the Warsarian. The shocked expression on the warrior’s face made him a little more devilish. He gave the warrior a mischievous wink before turning to the men that worked for Taurus.

“Go away before my boss”—not sure if the men were as stupid as all of Taurus’s lackeys, he pointed his thumb at the man behind him—“Caleb Crestforth gets angry. You don’t want to see him angry,” he warned, knowing full well that these men would be drawn in by his words and not chased away by the threat of death. Some people had no survival skills. Caleb was a fierce warrior. His mere physical appearance would’ve sent smart men running away.

The men stared at his “boss.” Their eyes narrowed as they ignored him and surrounded Caleb. Laird took a step back and placed Caleb between him and his would-be attackers. Men this stupid couldn’t see the dangerous warrior ready to rip heads off. Laird slowly backed away. He never wanted to face Caleb’s anger, and right now, he was the only one that Caleb should be angry with. Rather than wait for the warrior to figure that out, Laird continued backing up.

“What are you planning?” Caleb asked.

He gave Caleb a sad smile, but the warrior only had eyes for the threat looming closer. Laird liked the handsome, overfriendly stranger, but Caleb needed to learn not to talk to strangers. The world was full of men that would screw a man over like he’d just done.

“I’ll head back to our ship.” Then he added a larger nail to Caleb’s coffin. “The Defiant has everything onboard. Take your time and play.”

Caleb turned briefly to glare at him, but Laird wasn’t sure what made the warrior angrier. It could’ve been the way Laird tossed him to Taurus’s goons without explaining the situation, or perhaps it was giving away the name of Caleb’s ship.

Since the Warsarians had arrived with the Elvarian king, warships floated in space, orbiting above the atmosphere, and docked on the planet. Taurus’s men would look for the Defiant, but they had to search through a lot of areas to find it. If their attackers managed to escape, they’d go after Caleb’s ship. No matter the outcome, these men would spend more time trying to get the better of each other while Laird focused on fixing his ship and destroying Taurus.

Laird slowly backed up. He met Caleb’s glare and smiled. He mouthed the words thank you. The warrior rolled his eyes and nodded. Caleb wasn’t angry. He seemed to want him far away from the fighting. Now, he wanted to stay. Under normal circumstances, he might have done just that, but his two reasons for getting away were more important than anyone or anything else. As Laird turned the corner, Caleb, strong and magnificent, readied for battle. Taurus’s men didn’t stand a chance.

Purchase Links SirenBookstrand
http://www.bookstrand.com/calebs-avenger

2015NewAbout the authorSydney was born and raised in the Northeast of the United States. She loves to read fantasy, contemporary, and paranormal romance novels. After years of devouring book after book, Sydney started writing her own stories. She enjoys creating complex characters and throwing them together and letting the story write itself.

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Guest Post & Excerpt – I’ll Still Be There by Keelan Ellis

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I’d like to talk about two of the minor characters in I’ll Still Be There. The women in a m/m romance can sometimes seem like afterthoughts. In this book, which is about two different pairs of men, it could have been a challenge to write in any substantial female characters. Yet, all of them seemed to suggest themselves very naturally throughout the story. They are minor characters, but not unimportant.

Cassie is the most major woman character. She is the lifelong best friend of Jess and Eli. As children, their friendship started with the boys defending her against bullies. As adults, she takes on the protective role, helping Eli face the truth about his feelings for Jess, and ultimately forgiving Jess for a serious betrayal. She loves them unconditionally.

Then there is Ruth, and older woman who befriends Clay. She is there when he doesn’t have anyone in the world to turn to. She helps him get his business started, and later she runs an illicit gay club out of her bar, at great risk to herself and her business. She takes on the role of mother hen to Clay and Silas and the boys who work for them, but she’s as tough as they come.

These women are instrumental in the lives of the men this story is about, but they also have lives of their own. Ruth had a lifetime of experiences before she ever met Clay, and those experiences informed her outlook on the world. Cassie’s life has been intertwined with those of Jess and Eli, but she is probably the most sensible and responsible of the three of them. She’s the one who I think is most likely to survive on her own, if she has to. Though these women aren’t the focus of the story, it was important to me to make them as solid as possible, and never to use them as props.

About the Book

Title: I’ll Still Be There

Author: Keelan Ellis

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Length: 200 Pages/63,879 words

Release Date: 1st June, 2015

Blurb: The summer after high school, Eli Dunn and Jess Early explore an abandoned brothel in the rural Florida Panhandle. They’ve always kept their mutual attraction unspoken, but in an upstairs room at the end of the hall, everything changes. Suddenly, all the longing Eli and Jess have tried so hard to conceal bursts free, and passion like they’ve never experienced comes to light, along with the ghosts of Clay Bailey and Silas Denton, murdered owners of the brothel. And Clay and Silas have no problem possessing Eli and Jess in order to express their love for each other, without thought for the living.

Deeply disturbed by the experience, Eli and Jess part and try to get on with life as best they can. But after several years, Eli returns to Florida, only to find that Jess has made some questionable choices. These eventually lead him back to the abandoned house and a confrontation with Eli. Old scores are settled and Eli and Jess reunite. But Clay and Silas’s ghosts aren’t finished yet, for they’ve always believed in the power of open and honest love.

Excerpt

CoverArtOne of them, the dark one, looked up at him in alarm. “Elijah,” the man said, but that wasn’t his name, so he shook it off like it bothered him.

“It’s not right, it’s not decent, and you can’t have this.” His body was shaking, but he held the gun steady on the men in the bed. The part of him he couldn’t recognize anymore was clamoring at him, trying to remind him of something, but he couldn’t listen and didn’t want to. He was just too angry.

The other one—Clay, his name was—moved in front of the dark one and pushed him back. “Get the hell out of here, Brown,” he shouted. From behind him, the dark man…. Silas, cursed in surprise and pulled Clay back again, whispered something in his ear.

“It’s not fucking right!” he said again, and then with a pathetic sob, which made him sick, he said, “It’s not fair.”

“No,” Silas told him in a placating tone. “It’s not fair at all, but Clay and Silas didn’t make it like that. They didn’t do that to you.”

He couldn’t understand why he would say it like that, why he was talking about them like they were separate people, like they weren’t both sitting there in front of him, half-naked. “You shouldn’t get to do that!” he cried. “No one should. It’s sick. It’s terrible.”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you didn’t have love in your life. Everyone should have that. Clay and Silas, they just got lucky, and you didn’t. That’s—that’s not their fault.” He was sitting very still, his hand resting on Clay’s arm so he wouldn’t push forward again.

He still did not lower his weapon, though he could feel his mind faltering. He was no longer clear on who he wanted to kill, who he was angry with. Then he heard it again. “Elijah.” It was spoken very softly by the dark-haired man. He frowned at the men on the bed, who looked different now. He shook his head again, less sure now.

“Listen to me Elijah. I know you can hear me. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for ever bringing you here. It ruined everything, and I know it hurt you. It hurt me too, so much. I should have just told you that I… cared for you—that I wanted you. I know now that it would have been all right. I didn’t know it then. I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.”

Eli felt himself coming back, but the anger wasn’t dissipating. He was still staring at Jess, he could see it was Jess now, but the rage was still there. He did not lower the gun.

“I’m sorry for everything. I never, ever wanted to hurt you. Remember who you are, Elijah. Try to see me like you used to, when we were kids.”

Eli blinked a few times and then looked at his hand, holding the gun. He looked at Jess, and Shawn Kinney, on the tarp covering the filthy bed. His face went blank with horror, and he lowered the gun to his side, all of him shaking, unable to get a grip.

Jess got up and went to him, reaching down to gently pull the gun from his hand. He drew him in close, and Eli went, even though Shawn was right there, and even though things were still fucked up between them. He just needed it, and he knew Jess did too.

Shawn had gotten up and walked over to them. He put his hand on Jess’s arm. “Si?” he said, his face confused. He reached up and put a hand to Jess’s cheek.

Jess took hold of his hand and smiled softly at him. “No. I ain’t him anymore,” he said. “Go on, now.”

Shawn looked disappointed for a second, and then his eyes cleared. All at once he looked mortified, and quickly pulled his hand away from Jess’s face. Jess was still touching Eli on the waist and standing very close, and it occurred to him that they might want to cease any more physical contact until they were out of this room.

“Let’s go. We shouldn’t be here,” Jess said. He moved away from Eli and started pulling on his clothes, then glanced at Shawn, maybe to make sure he was with it enough to do the same. The boy looked nearly catatonic, but he began to mechanically get dressed after Jess handed him his jeans.

Buy Links

DSP Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6448

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Still-There-Keelan-Ellis-ebook/dp/B00Y7I78II

ARe Link: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-i039llstillbethere-1803717-145.html

About the Author

IMG_3609Keelan Ellis is a true crime enthusiast, a political junkie, and a comedy fan. Despite a compulsion to sometimes wallow in the depths of humanity’s corruption and sadness, she considers herself a romantic at heart. The stories she really connects with are about love that’s been twisted into hatred, and she believes that with honesty and forgiveness, love can overcome. Keelan loves good bourbon and classic country music, great television and well-prepared food, especially shared with like-minded people. She’s not a fan of parties and large groups of people, but there’s nothing she loves more than a long conversation with friends. Her favorite part of the writing process is the collaborative stage, hashing out plot and characters with smart and talented friends. It’s where she truly comes to understand the people she’s writing about, and often falls in love with them. With the support and encouragement–as well as some serious editing help–Keelan has found the writing niche she’s always searched for.

Author Links –

Website: http://keelanellis.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/keelanellisauthor

Twitter: @KeelanEllisAuth

Tumblr: http://keelan-ellis.tumblr.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/43093604-keelan-ellis

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Tour Schedule

June 1: Queer Sci-Fi || Tempeste O’Riley

June 2: Garrett Leigh || Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

June 3: The Purple Rose Tea House || JP Barnaby

June 4: Drops of Ink || LeAnn’s Book Reviews

June 5: Evelyn Shepherd || Diverse Reader

June 8: Because Two Men Are Better Than One || Cherry Mischievous

June 9: My Fiction Nook || MM Good Book Reviews

June 10: A Celebration of Books || Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

June 11: Divine Magazine

June 12: BFD Book Blog || Sid Love Writes

June 15: Cate Ashwood’s Blog

June 16: Hearts on Fire

June 17: Love Bytes Reviews || Bayou Book Junkie

June 18: Emotion in Motion || Bike Book Reviews

June 19: Nessa’s Book Reviews || Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews

Video Excerpt – Spell Bound by Jacob Z. Flores

Hi, everyone! I’m thrilled to be here with the always-fabulous Charlie Cochet. I’m such a fan of her THIRDS series that I may fan girl for a bit when this is over, so if you hear a high-pitched squeal that would be me.

Before I lose my cool (not that I ever had it before), I want to thank Charlie for letting me invade her lovely tearoom. It’s quite posh, and I do enjoy a good spot of tea. And cucumber sandwiches? YUM!

I’ll be sharing a short 2-3 minute video reading from my upcoming release Spell Bound.

I hope you enjoy this small glimpse into this world of magic and men I have created.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MmNwZGAk4o

SpellBoundFS

2015NewAbout the Book

Mason Blackmoor just can’t compete with his brothers, much less his father. They represent the epitome of black magic, strong, dark, and wicked, and though Mason tries to live up to his respected lineage, most of the spells he casts go awry. To make matters worse, his active power has yet to kick in. While his brothers wield lightning and harness the cold, Mason sits on the sidelines, waiting for the moment when he can finally enter the magical game.

When a dead body is discovered on the football field of his high school, Mason meets Drake Carpenter, the new kid in town. Drake’s confident demeanor and quick wit rub Mason the wrong way. Drake is far too self-assured for someone without an ounce of magical blood in his body, and Mason aims to teach him a lesson—like turn him into a roach. And if he’s lucky, maybe this time Mason won’t be the one turned into an insect.

Not surprisingly, the dislike is mutual and Drake does nothing to dispel Mason’s suspicion that the sexy boy with a southern drawl is somehow connected to the murder.

If only Mason didn’t find himself inexplicably spellbound whenever they are together, they might actually find out what danger hides in the shadows.

Purchase LinksDreamspinner Press

Tharp-Flores--200Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. At night and during his summer vacation, he loosens the tie and tosses aside the trendy sports coat to write man on man fiction, where the hard ass assessor of freshmen level composition turns his attention to the firm posteriors and other rigid appendages of the characters in his fictional world.

Summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, provide Jacob with inspiration for his fiction. The abundance of barely clothed man flesh and daily debauchery stimulates his personal muse.

When he isn’t stroking the keyboard, Jacob spends time with his daughter. They both represent a bright blue blip in an otherwise predominantly red swath in south Texas.

You can follow Jacob’s musings on his blog at http://jacobzflores.com or become a part of his social media network by visiting http://www.facebook.com/jacob.flores2 or http://twitter.com/#!/JacobZFlores.

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