Behind the scenes

Welcome to my dilemma, already in progress. I have a free story called When We Were Strangers, which is part of a series that already had around five books when I wrote it. So I think of it as a prequel because I wrote it later and it comes first chronologically. But I feel weird calling it a prequel because its listed first since it’s free and serves as an intro to the series. Being a writer is hard.

For three out of the four stories in this pre-story, I based them on anecdotes from the series. Which I had a lot of fun with. Ryan’s story is called ‘The Most Embarrassing Moment of Ryan’s Life (so far)” and it comes from One Little Problem. The gang is playing Never Have I Ever, and Ryan has to put a finger down.

~

Luke

“Never have I ever gone streaking,” she said instead.

Ryan put a finger down.

“Up is down, black is white,” I deadpanned. “My whole life is a lie, nothing makes sense.” I focused on teasing him so I wouldn’t imagine him naked.

“Not a big deal,” he started.

“Don’t sell yourself short, babe,” I teased.

“As cute as this is,” Zach said, though his voice implied it wasn’t very cute. “Let’s not build this story up as if it’s anything other than a series of increasingly zany situations that ended with Ryan losing his clothes, getting locked out of somewhere, and running around like a chicken with its head cut off, until he found clothes or a sheet or a big leaf.”

Ryan pouted at Zach, so it was totally something like that. “This was, like, the one thing I got to put my finger down for! You took all the fun out of it.”

~

Zach’s version of events is pretty close to the real thing. Here’s a scene.

Ryan

When I fell into the water trough, the day was going great. Since most of my thoughts trended sarcastic, I should be clear. That wasn’t sarcasm, it was a true statement. Falling into barn animal water was excellent, because even as I heard the splash and my mouth flooded with gross water, I understood there were much worse things on this farm I could have fallen into.

Then some normal stuff happened. Like taking a shower to get clean. The owners of the farm had really fancy soap in their bathroom. My skin was so soft and smelled like daffodils! Not the manliest scent but a ton better than animal spit.

When putting on clothes after my shower, I ran into an unexpected obstacle… there weren’t any clothes where I was told there would be clothes. Then things got less normal and more terrible. I went to search for clothes, clad in only a towel, part of which was stuck in the bathroom door. I just didn’t know the last thing until I heard voices, the bathroom door wouldn’t open, and I ran to hide in the opposite direction of where the voices came from. During this, I lost the towel.

There was some panic, a lot of panic, and somehow I ended up outside. Who could say who was to blame for this development? I couldn’t say for certain it was my fault because I had no clue how I ended up here. It all happened so fast! The door I exited locked behind me. I planned to try a different door—

OH MY GOD. PEOPLE WERE COMING OUTSIDE. And then I was hiding in a barn.

~

When We Were Strangers

For my One More Thing series, I wrote a free prequel called When We Were Strangers as an introduction to the characters. I don’t think I promoted it much on social media, so I’m finally doing that. Even though it technically takes place during the summer and this is the winter. I’m really selling this, aren’t I? I hope you have enjoyed this summary of everything I did wrong, now here is the book!

Okay, this is a scene from Ryan’s story, and I would explain, but it’s pretty self explanatory.

Ryan

Have you ever found yourself standing buck naked in a wheatfield in broad daylight? Only there wasn’t any wheat. Or if there was, it was in seed form, so you were basically out in the open where anyone could see you. Has this ever happened to anyone else? Of course it has. It probably happened all the time and was so relatable.

Man, if only I could say it wasn’t every day I ended up locked out while wearing no clothes, but it occurred way more than I was comfortable with. Once. It happened once times. This time, in fact. And it was once more time than I ever wanted.

Ha-ha. Just kidding. I wasn’t naked. Nope. Not at all. Who was naked? Me?!?! No way. I wasn’t naked, you were naked! Oh my god, don’t panic. RYAN, STAY CALM. DON’T PANIC. PLEASE SAVE ME BATMAN, SUPERMAN, OR RYAN REYNOLDS. HEY, HE STOLE MY NAME. No, he had it first since he was older than me.

Ahem. Okay. As I wasn’t in the best headspace for narration, I would come back later. Hopefully when I was calmer and wearing pants.

–the rest of the story is available here for free.

Three festive books, plus two summer reads

For the November LGBT Romance giveaway, there’s three gay romance reads that look promising if you’re in the mood to make the most of the winter season. And two that might be right if you want to live in denial. This giveaway isn’t seasonal, I’m just making it that way because I want to. While the title says November, these offers only last until Nov. 14, so make sure to grab your free copies before then. There’s some other good M/M books too, but I tried to select ones I hadn’t mentioned before. And there’s also lots of W/W titles.

Old friends start a holiday fling that could turn into more in this story about a solider and struggling actor.



A Christmas Chance by Louisa Masters

A romance blossoms in Paris, but the closer it gets to Christmas the closer it gets to the end of their relationship.


Smoking Out by Ashton Cade

Best friends to more in this story of a screw up who must come out of the closet to have a chance with a sexy firefighter in Alaska.


My Fake Billionaire by Ana Ashley

Fake relationship between a billionaire and a librarian on a tropical island. This all sounds good to me, and I’m definitely one of those people who wants summer to last forever.



Summer of Hush by R.L. Merrill

While on a summer tour, two people in the world of metal music begin to fall for each other in this tale of rock stars and romance.

If you want more summer in the winter, Summer Romance is a free book from me that is available in a different giveaway here.

Cemetery Boys and other queer indie books

Here is a super easy trivia question. Do you know the first trans book written by a trans author to make the NYT bestseller list in fiction? Yes, it’s Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. There’s an article about it here, which includes some context and facts and some celebrating.

Since I am Latina and queer, I probably appreciate those aspects of the book the most. An honorable mention however, goes to the description ‘ghost-story-turned-gay-rom-com.’ If every ghost story turned into a gay rom-com, I would be able to watch and read ghost stories without recoiling in terror.

Cemetery Boys isn’t completely alone as there are multiple popular YA books featuring queer POCs. Though it’s probably very unlikely you would make it to my little corner of the world without knowing these titles, I’m going to mention them here anyway.

YA Books about LGBT+ Characters of Color

Sweet and salty, a winning combo

When a night out gets cancelled early due to a drunk friend, two boyfriends discuss what to do next in this scene.

~

Ryan

The drive had been close to an hour both ways. We hadn’t spent that much time in the club, not even close. Only a few songs. Lydia would have to learn to pace herself. I didn’t give that advice in the silence of the ride back home. There was just the radio playing softly and soothing noises from Alicia.

Our first double date wasn’t a huge success. But that was the good thing about having first experiences: it took away the nerves and things could only get better.

Despite very little quality time with my boyfriend and too much time with an annoying drunk girl, I was optimistic. Alicia was fine to drive when we got back to Luke’s house, and we said goodbye and then Luke and I headed inside to change while we discussed ways to salvage our night.

“Ice cream?” he suggested.

That wasn’t a terrible idea and we already ate earlier, but I only asked, “You think I’m a cheap date?”

“That French place we went to before?” he suggested. Oh god.

“Don’t even joke about that,” I warned.

“You started it.”

“Okay, ice cream is fine.” Was this night better or worse than the French food date? They were both bad in different ways.

Luke saw me thinking unpleasant thoughts. “Hey, it’s not that bad,” he told me gently. I sent him a very unimpressed look. “Alright,” he amended. “It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t you and me that ruined anything. It’s totally Lydia’s fault.”

I thought about that. “Yeah, that makes me feel better.”

He shook his head. “Because you’re a terrible person.”

“I am getting all the toppings and three scoops,” I told him seriously.

Luke scoffed. “You won’t even eat that.”

“That’s not the ice cream I’m getting to eat.” I smiled sweetly. “It’s the one I’m getting to spite you.”

“Okay, now you’re the one ruining it,” he said but with a smile.

-This is an outtake from One Little Lie

LGBTQ+ Giveaway

There’s an LGBTQ+ giveaway happening until Oct. 29, which means there are free books available here. With the exception of two books, the rest of them are of the gay (M/M) variety. Here’s some of the titles that caught my eye.

Always for You

Is it too early for Christmas? If commercialism in America has taught me anything, the answer is never. And this works regardless, since it’s a ‘Christmas in July’ story. All I really needed to know anyway was there’s a dog and it’s by Becca Seymour.

From the blurb: Join the residents of Kirkby for celebrations, romance, and just a little mayhem. It’s the perfect chance to get to know outgoing and loveable bar owner Ted, and his grumbly younger husbutt, Jason.

Kissing the Lizard

As I’m getting elements of horror from this novella, maybe the tagline is supposed to be scary? I thought it was hilarious, and it’s what grabbed my interest. Of course, maybe that’s intentional too as this is supposed to be a dark comedy. Also, I have never heard the description ‘creepy coming-of-age’ story before and I love it.

From the blurb: When Jamie meets Matthew in Soho, he’s drawn to his new-age charms. But when he follows his new friend across the planet to a remote earth-ship in Taos, bizarre incidents begin unfolding and Matthew’s real nature reveals itself

Cosmic Tea

The cover is simple and pretty, and I like the space part at the top, which I didn’t notice at first. And as the tagline explains, this is a “Coffee shop romance in space. Because everything’s better in space.” I find that very hard to argue with. If I did want to argue for some reason, the other part that wins me over is “a series of shorts following two dumbasses in space and their relationship.”

From the blurb: Doran Scott keeps things light. It’s the only way of dealing with the things he’s seen serving in the military — and the tragic past that led him to sign up in the first place. When Doran’s ship lands on Iulia after a skirmish and he walks into Doug’s, there are immediate sparks, but they both know this can only be a one-night stand. Right?

All about love and gay books

‘All About Love’ is both accurate in a metaphorical sense and the name of this group right here. My favorite part of this promotion, aside from that all titles are LGBTQ+ romance, is that I know all the novels are LGBTQ+ romance, so I don’t have to try to figure out how many of them are queer by myself. Because the answer: they’re all queer! Hooray.

It looks like this group is mostly contemporary romance and supernatural romance. The promo runs until Sept. 19. And I’m not saying that the coffee shop gay romance I included in the group is actually also available for free, but I’m strongly alluding to the possibility. Or saying it outright after all because it’s free here. 

Here are some of the titles that caught my eye.

Hidden in the Shadows by Gwen Martin

This is also a coffee shop romance so that’s cool. And also means I have told you relevant information, so now I can go on to gush about how freaking cool this cover is. It’s good as hell. Even the tagline is good, and the cover is so pretty and so is the pretty boy on the cover.

The Alpha Highwayman by Colbie Dunbar

Why not? This isn’t something I typically write about or rec. Curve-ball! I enjoy how the cover screams ‘classic bodice ripper.’

To Have and To Hold by Inge Mayhem

I mentioned this author in a newsletter recently. From what I know of the series, there’s multiple gay characters generally acting in terrible but dramatically interesting ways.

Time for Goodbyes by Jay Argent

Hey, Jay Argent also writes young adult books like I do. This is one that’s on my list of books to read.

Reading, Reviewing, and I’m out of ‘R’ words

As a lack of a better introduction escapes me at the moment, I will just say… hi. What’s up? Yeah, I nailed it. (Hey, have you seen the show called Nailed It on Netflix? It’s amazing. My mom thinks the host is too loud even though my mother is one of the loudest people ever invented.)

Fall is the time for curling up with a good book while you drink tea and leaves fall from the trees. How professional sounding, and a good segue. Here are some books available for reading while drinking tea. Also, I hate tea. Sometimes it smells really good, but it never tastes like anything, which is especially annoying when the smell is so tempting.

So the thing I just linked is a fall review dealio where the book is free if you’re interested in leaving a review. Personally, on a scale of ‘there is no way in hell I’m reviewing’ to ‘I’m already reviewing right now’, I like a level of interest anywhere above the first one. Though I think Story Origin wants slightly more commitment, because I believe they keep track of the books you’ve grabbed and reviewed. But take a look, perhaps one will speak to you. Metaphorically. (I only said ‘speak to you’ because I didn’t want to say ‘interest’ again and couldn’t think of a different word.)

Queer Books

There seems to be a roughly equal amount of LGBT and hetero books available. Many of the gayer ones are WLW, but here are some that aren’t  because I write M/M. (The second one is definitely M/M, I think the first is.)

long paradise

Long Paradise

An ancient mystery has returned.

Everyone wants to survive. Everyone wants answers.

***

The Outer Layer is an enigma to its residents. Representatives from countless races and civilisations wander the many territories, hoping to unlock the secrets and progress further into its depths.

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Ending Altered

Euan has spent most of his life running from the Altered. He’s forgotten what it feels like not to be afraid. To not be hunted like an animal for the prize that runs in his veins.

Humanity has unlocked secrets they should have left well alone. Now Euan and his kind find themselves at the heart of a war over death itself.

When Euan arrives at the isolated Settlement, he dares to believe that perhaps this time, they are safe from their enemies. That maybe this time his nightmares won’t follow him when he wakes. And if he were really dreaming? He might even consider doing more than just stealing glances at Kye everytime the guy crosses his path.

More Stuff

There are some other promotions and giveaways this month. Hopefully, I will discuss them later but I’m going to put them here anyway in case I forget. I mean, because of sensible reasons.

LGBTQ+ Book Giveaway

All About Love

Bestsellers on Kindle Unlimited

Suck us in Serials

 

Books!

Sometimes authors get together to promote their books. Authors like me. The trick for me is finding other LGBT authors. I generally search for other gay romances and I’m not sure if I should be more specific, but even being vague doesn’t always work. I recently joined one group specifically designed for YA LGBT stories and I thought ‘perfect, this is exactly right for my books’ and then mine was the only queer story.

The moral of the story, I guess, is that life is hard and I try my best. I succeeded with this promotion for books available in Kindle Unlimited. Actually, I double succeeded because I totally thought this would be ending today but I figured better extremely late than never, but this promotion lasts until Sept. 18.

Most of these novels seem to be contemporary romance or supernatural and M/M or M/F. However, Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue does have some lesbian romances.  Here are a few of the gay romances available.

The Bastille Sphere: a penal colony being developed by Harmony Inc. Entry is one way only, with no way out. It’s supposed to be for habitual reoffenders and the worst violent offenders.

The prize: A fight to the death with the winner gaining his parole. He couldn’t leave Bastille, but would gain a modicum of freedom, including his own home behind the walls of the Compound outside of the prison grounds, and be gifted with a mate. It was a win/win as far he was concerned. Leyland would either be freed by death at last, or he’d win and gain as normal a life as Bastille offered.

If only it was that easy.

Sol’s Solstice

Can Seth help Sol find his way back from the darkness?

Cults and other weirdness

Do you ever get a weird song stuck in your head? If you are a human being, the answer is probably. And if the human being is me, then I have a song stuck in my head right now. I guess it’s just the subject matter that’s weird, because the song is oddly catchy. The subject is cults.

 

Speaking of weirdos, I write a series about a giant loser and his boyfriend. This is a cut part from One Little Lie where Ryan and Luke are hanging out in Ryan’s room being cute. They can’t be as on top of each other as they want to be because Ryan’s dad is home, they are teenagers, and Ryan’s father possibly owns a firearm. Okay, you are caught up.

~

Luke

“As much as I like your dad, you should probably open the door, so he doesn’t come back.”

“I don’t wanna get up.” Ryan groaned and buried his face in my chest. “Carry me.”

“Yeah, like that would work.”

Ryan was taller than me, though it was hard to tell when we were lying on the bed and he was clinging onto me like an octopus. I poked him in the side with a finger and he squirmed, so I did it again. He clung onto me tighter in retaliation, but I didn’t mind him being pressed up close to me in the first place, so I let him.

“Are you calling me fat?” he asked in a mock scandalized tone but didn’t pull away.

“I’m calling you a giant.” I wrapped my arms around him instead of pushing him away like I was supposed to. This wasn’t cuddling or something girly like that. It was just… a lying down hug. Okay, that didn’t sound any better.

He pulled his head back enough to glare. “You’re ruining the mood.”

“Think your dad did that,” I pointed out.

“Yeah, he’s good at that,” Ryan sighed before pulling away and getting up and opening the door.

“Too bad,” I continued. “I’m sure you were looking forward to doing that yourself.” Ryan was a smartass and could be kinda awkward, so he wasn’t the smoothest guy I’d ever dated. Well, no, he was, because he was the only guy I ever dated. Somehow, he made being weird seem attractive.

He came back and sat on the bed, hitting me in the stomach with a hand. “How dare you,” he protested. “I am romantic and sexy and errrrrotic.” He dragged the ‘r’ sound out while waggling his eyebrows at me.

Okay, sometimes he made being weird attractive and sometimes he was just weird. But still, it was cute coming from him. Even if I didn’t tell him that. “See that right there?” I asked smugly. “Ruining the mood.”