Today I’m hosting Grace R. Duncan for her upcoming release, Healing, which is the second story in her post-pandemic world! I really love this piece, and had the privilege of beta reading early drafts. Read on for the blurb, an excerpt, and a Rafflecopter giveaway! Make sure to click the Rafflecopter link for the giveaway, as just leaving a comment alone doesn’t enter you into it!
In a world that’s gone to hell, will you let old fears keep you from the chance at more than just survival?
When Duncan stumbles into a pharmacy in search of something to fix his broken leg, he’s surprised to find someone else there. Like the rest of the post-pandemic world, it appeared empty. Instead, he discovers Mark, a former nurse who walked away from his profession after losing too many patients to the virus. Despite swearing he’d never practice medicine again, Mark patches Duncan up over Duncan’s protests. He even finds an abandoned house in the tiny town, and they settle in until Duncan heals enough to look out for himself. Much to the chagrin of both, they find themselves caring for each other.
Duncan welcomes it, thrilled at finding someone he can trust. However, he’s well aware of the shadows in Mark’s eyes and understands Mark’s reticence as he learns the story. But as he’s starting to do things for himself again, Duncan realizes he doesn’t want Mark to leave. He’s not sure if can get Mark to let go of his fears so they can stay together and love. But Duncan’s damned sure going to try.
AllRomance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-healing-1656462-145.html
He should have known better. Under normal circumstances, it was a stupid move, but right here, right now, “stupid” didn’t begin to cover it.
Duncan glared at his leg for another moment, then leaned his head back against the wall. He needed to keep moving. It hurt like hell, but he had to keep going. It wasn’t going to get better on its own. The gash needed to be cleaned and bandaged, and even if the break wasn’t bad, it should at least be braced. And it wasn’t like he could call an ambulance. Or even go into an emergency room.
Well, he supposed he could go into an emergency room, if he was in the city. But like a lot of other people, he avoided the cities whenever possible. And when it wasn’t, he stayed as far on the edge as he could. But even there, it was a dangerous risk. As corrupt as the cities were now, the price of anything was higher than most could pay. He’d heard rumors that, in some of the worst cities, people simply got shot if they couldn’t pay what the thugs in power wanted. It was all rumor, but rumor he wasn’t about to ignore.
So he did his damnedest to stay away.
He’d been stupid to jump off the ledge. Even at only a couple of feet higher than he was tall, the risk hadn’t been worth it. He’d have thought, after nearly three years, he’d learned how to be more careful and not take those kinds of risks. It wasn’t the first time he’d fallen and hurt himself—though, thankfully, the last one hadn’t involved a broken bone. Maybe it should have; he might have learned his lesson then.
“Really fucking stupid, Dun.”
Duncan steeled himself and pulled to his feet, grimacing when the sharp pain shot up his ankle and through his leg. “Fuck,” he muttered, breathing hard through his nose. When he finally focused past the pain, he looked up and noted the position of the sun, the only real indication he had for the time, and figured he had another good hour or two of light. If he was right about where he was, he wouldn’t need all of it. He tucked the stick he’d found under his arm, grimaced when it dug into the soft flesh, but then leaned on it and hobbled along again.
Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.
A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.
As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.
Grace’s website: http://www.grace-duncan.com
Enter to win an Amazon.com $25 gift card!
Don’t forget to follow the tour for more chances to win! Every comment on the tour is another entry into the Rafflecopter grand prize giveaway!
Thanks for stopping by!
Please welcome Jamie Lynn Miller to the blog today! She’s talking about her new m/m sci-fi release, An Endless Sea of Stars and her relationship with science fiction. There’s an excerpt from the novella, too, and all the info you need on where to get your own copy and follow Jamie online. Check it out!
Romance Among the Stars
Many thanks to Sara for having me here today to talk about my new novella, An Endless Sea of Stars. I’ve been a sci-fi fan since 1977, the year that a little film called Star Wars hit the movie screens. I was only six years old back then. While my friends wanted to go see Bambi I was begging my dad to take me to Star Wars. My mother thought I was nuts and refused to go, saying my dad was just wasting his money because I wouldn’t understand the movie. Seven days later and seven consecutive trips to the movies with my dad and she had to admit she’d made a mistake. 🙂
To this day Star Wars remains a big part of my life. My home is filled with about a thousand pieces of memorabilia and photos of myself with many of the actors. I also love shows like the original Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Firefly, Buck Rogers, Babylon 5, Fringe, Doctor Who and Alien Nation. I also read sci-fi novels voraciously.
So why it’s taken me to this day to write my first m/m sci-fi novella I have no idea! LOL! But inspiration finally hit and An Endless Sea of Stars was born.
This is Book One of the Genesis Project series, which follows the lives of a test pilot and an engineer as Earth strives to build a starship that will take them beyond the Milky Way and into deep space. My friend Gina calls the book a “futuristic romance” and I love that description. While it has sci-fi elements to it, the story takes place entirely on Earth with its focus on the love story between Toby and Cade.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
The year is 2121. While Earth has conquered exploration of the Milky Way, we have yet to develop an interstellar engine to take us beyond our own galaxy. Thus the Intergalactic Exploration Alliance and the Gemini Project were formed.
Lieutenant Tobias Dekker is fresh out of the IEA academy and determined to be assigned to the Gemini engineering team. Putting career above all else. He knows from experience that relationships have no place in the Alliance. Commander Caden Flynn is equally determined to see the Gemini prototype take flight to uncharted space. The engine is his late father’s design and he wants nothing more than to be the test pilot that breaks the next light speed barrier.
Two men dreaming of a sea of stars find that it’s instead an ocean here on Earth that brings them together. Can Cade convince Toby to open up his heart and take a chance on love and explore the universe with him, side by side?
Toby rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. “Anyone ever tell you you’re a smartass?”
At that Cade finally let loose with his suppressed laughter. “I had you going there, though, didn’t I?” he smirked.
Toby waved his hand in dismissal. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll have you know that’s never happened to me before. I would’ve gotten us outta there. I just needed another minute…or two,” he finished with an embarrassed grin.
“You know, I really should report this to Hank,” Cade quipped as he finished removing his wetsuit. “But!” he held up his hand before Toby could say anything. “We can forget about the entire thing if…” he trailed off for a second and rummaged in his duffle bag, pulling out a bottle of Kentucky bourbon and showing it to Toby. “…you have a drink with me.” He shrugged one of his shoulders. “Since I couldn’t get you to a bar with me I thought I’d bring the bar to you.”
Toby paused. Alone, in the dark, sharing a few drinks. This wasn’t a good idea. He should politely decline and say they needed to start heading back. But his mouth was apparently not listening to his brain, because before he could stop himself…
A very pleased smile crossed Cade’s face and he reached over and squeezed Toby’s bare shoulder before turning back to the duffel bag and producing two plastic cups. A few minutes later they had donned their t-shirts and shorts and were relaxing on the bow, sitting close enough that their shoulders were almost touching. The clouds had dissipated, revealing millions of stars twinkling in the clear sky and a full moon reflecting on the water.
Cade took a swallow of bourbon and turned his head toward Toby. “I can’t get over what an amazing feeling it was, being down in those caves tonight.”
Toby took a drink as well. “Been through those caves ‘bout a hundred times. But like I said earlier, there’s something different every time. It never gets boring.”
Cade looked up toward the sky. “It’s like being out in the stars. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.”
Toby couldn’t help his wistful, and envious, sigh. “Closest I’m probably ever gonna get to the stars is in one of the flight simulators.”
“From what I hear you’ve made some fabulous improvements to those simulators,” Cade said. “I wish I’d had you building and programming them when I was in flight school.”
Toby turned to look at him. “How did you know I was on the simulator team?”
Cade shrugged, took another drink. “After we met I took the liberty of looking into your Academy history.” He grinned. “I was curious as to who was going to be teaching me.” Cade shifted so that he was turned more fully toward Toby. “And I was damn impressed at what I read. You need to stop selling yourself short when it comes to your dream of working on the Gemini project. You’re in the top two percent of your class, Toby. Alliance Command is not going to overlook that when they hand out assignments next month.”
Toby shook his head. “Don’t you think they’d want someone older, more experienced, working on something as monumentally important as Earth’s first hyperdrive engine?”
“Just because you haven’t been in space doesn’t mean you’re not qualified to work on a starship engine. It’s about technical expertise, not flight time.”
Toby now turned to face Cade, a tinge of excitement in his voice. “Tell me about that. What’s it like up there? I’ve gotta admit that as much as I want to experience it for myself, it makes me kinda nervous, too.”
“It’s a lot like scuba diving, actually,” Cade began, then tipped his head up toward the sky, his voice gone quiet. “Surrounded by an endless sea of stars instead of water. It’s beautiful. And so serene. But there’s so much more out there to explore than in just our galaxy.”
Toby couldn’t help but smile at the passion and wonder in Cade’s voice. “You said we’re close to breaking barrier three?”
Cade nodded and finished off his drink, poured himself another and topped off Toby’s. “The engine tests we’ve been running are really promising. Captain Hoffman’s team is burning the midnight oil.”
“From what you told me last month it sounds like you are, too.”
Cade blew out a breath. “You know how badly you want in the Gemini program? That’s how badly I want to pilot that next barrier flight. It’s going to come down to myself, Logan Ramsey, Kenji Tran or Padma Singh. And they’re all damn good test pilots.”
“Well let me give you some sage advice that a friend of mine gave me,” Toby said with a grin. “Don’t sell yourself short.”
Cade gave him a look. “Now who’s the smartass?”
Toby just laughed and knocked his cup against Cade’s. He settled back to look up at the stars, and Cade did the same. They let the quiet of the open ocean surround them for several minutes, nothing but the sound of gentle waves against the hull.
“Does this place have a name?” Cade asked quietly.
“Not that I know of,” Toby answered.
“Then I think we should call it Dekker’s Cove.” He once again turned his head to look at Toby. “Thanks again for taking me out here. This is your spot and you didn’t have to share it with me.”
Toby turned his head to look back at Cade, his voice sincere. “I wanted to. I knew you’d appreciate how special it was.”
Cade pinned him with a gaze full of hope and desire. “There are a lot of things I’m finding are special down here.”
Toby’s breath caught in his throat. It would be so damn easy to give in to Cade’s flirtations. To say the hell with it and just reach over and touch him. Because Toby knew that’s all it would take. One touch. But then what? A summer fling, like they were teenagers away at camp? Toby just wasn’t wired like that, for one-time hook ups. Especially with someone like Cade. He knew he’d want more and he knew it’d never work. He just needed to keep reminding himself that it was Cade’s friendship that was most important, what he really wanted, was the only thing that would work between them. But it was getting harder and harder to do with each passing day he spent with Cade. His heart was warring with his head. And he honestly didn’t know which was going to win.
The moment stretched on between them, Toby knowing Cade was waiting for something from Toby, but he didn’t trust himself to speak.
Cade glanced away, then back. “Toby, I…”
And Toby’s stomach somersaulted, certain of what Cade was going to say next. He wasn’t ready for this…
“…I have to leave tomorrow.”
Toby blinked and released a breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding. “Wh-what?” he stuttered, completely caught off guard by Cade’s words, so far from what he had been expecting.
Cade sighed. “I’m needed back at Alliance HQ. I found out this morning but was putting off telling you.”
“That – that’s okay. I understand,” Toby replied, trying to hide his disappointment.
“I even brought a holo vid of a rugby match I was hoping to show you tomorrow,” Cade grinned and Toby chuckled. “Next month, okay?”
Toby nodded. “Next month.”
Next month. One last chance for Toby to sort out his feelings for Cade. And be able to live with that decision with no regrets. He had a sneaking suspicion that was going to be easier said than done.
LuLu (Paperback and epub): http://tinyurl.com/qe5oeal
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/ow92qj2
Also available at the iBookstore
Jamie Lynn Miller
Jamie Lynn Miller has been writing fiction since childhood and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008, finding to her amazement that people truly enjoyed her love stories. She’s a romantic at heart, and her tales reflect the desire we all have to find “the one,” persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending.
Jamie has a degree in fine arts and has spent the last twenty years working as a graphic designer, though she’d much rather be writing. She was born in Chicago and still lives there today with her husband and their two furry, four-footed children, er… cats.
If she’s not brainstorming story ideas, you can find Jamie at a sci-fi convention, in front of a furnace doing glass blowing, or on a mat twisted into a yoga pose.
Today I’m pleased to host Cyma Rizwaan Khan! Her new M/M story A Gift of Time: An Old Russian Fairytale will be out October 31st. Cyma’s been kind enough to offer a giveaway on this post for a free copy of the novella. Depending on how many people comment, there may be more than just one free copy up for grabs, so please read on to learn about the book and how you can win a copy or purchase it if you don’t win! I’m looking forward to reading this story, as it sounds right up my alley. Fairytales + historical fiction + technology theme + romance = intrigued Sara!
In nineteenth century Moscow, Nikolai is nothing but a slave but when he ends up falling for a Russian Prince named Alexander Shcherbatsky, things start to look up for once. Only the Prince knows that Nikolai is no ordinary serf. He is inventing a machine that has the potential to change the course of humanity. But when Alex’s family finds out that Alex and Nikolai are in love and have plans of eloping, they want to make sure that never happens.
Nikolai was hungry. No, starving would be the appropriate word for a hunger such as this. He had been silly enough to spend the last of his savings on some apparatus he needed for the device—he hadn’t figured out a name for it yet, and sacrificing a meal for that purpose hadn’t seemed like a bad idea when his stomach was filled with all the rich food Alexander had treated him to, but now with his hammer hand trembling, and the tapping sounds of the train wheels grating on his brain, an entire day of hard work behind him and a lot more ahead, he was hungry.
Still, Nikolai tried to focus on the work at hand, tapping the long hammer at the iron, listening to the sound carefully, because his one mistake sure could result in an accident. He smiled when the Station Master approached him but the man didn’t even return the greeting, just passed him by without a word. A Station Master must know that he was better than some serf slaving away at his job, so why would he care enough to smile back? Soon, Nikolai told himself. Soon, he will be an inventor. The device might be unnamed as yet but names weren’t important. The world would have to recognize his true potential, just like Alexander did.
A moment of passion that had passed between them last night made way into his mind, replacing everything else and the memory of Alexander’s body on top of his own, passionate and warm in a cold as horrible as this, a small slice of heaven, right here on earth, it made the day and everything that still lay ahead, seem a little less dreadful. A smile broke out on his lips, as the memory of Alexander’s dirty words crept into his ears. Prince Alexander Shcherbatsky fucking a young serf in the middle of the night and speaking those words—if only the world had seen such a sight they would understand why Nikolai loved Alexander so much.
And then, as if being pushed off the pulpit right when he was about to receive an accolade, the awareness of the fact crept into the sensible side of his brain that what they were doing was truly against all laws of mankind, as well as religion, and that the world wouldn’t waste a single breathe in murdering them both if they ever found out of such a transgression, and it made him angry and it frightened him, made him feel like a firefly trapped in a jar on some faraway shelf that no one could reach. He almost wanted to cry and the need to see Alexander, to be with him and to just let it all out in front of him, became so persistent he felt his gut tighten.
But hours of work still lay ahead of him and he couldn’t even think about seeing Alexander for at least another day, because Alexander was preparing to leave. He tried not to think about the fact that Alex would be away for the next six months. And before these thoughts and the impossibility of seeing the love of his life started to eat at him, he started to think about how he could still go home and work on his device, and hopefully come up with a name.
Preorder Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ODXS8YA
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23356693-a-gift-of-time
We’ll keep it simple: leave a comment on this post with your email address so I can pass it along to Cyma to send you a free copy if you’re a winner! I’ll leave the giveaway open until next Monday at 11PM EST so that plenty of people will have time to enter for the chance to win. Good luck!
It’s my pleasure to host Lily Blunt here on the release day of her latest book, Paint the Sky! We’ve got lots of fun goodies for you readers today – along with the typical blurb, buy links, author bio, and an excerpt, Lily agreed to sit down to an interview. First, let’s take a look at the lovely cover:
Sara Testarossa: Hello Lily! Congratulations on your new release of Paint the Sky. Thank you for being the first guest on my blog. Please make yourself comfortable! *gestures to a variety of chairs, couches, and pillows around the room* May I offer you something to drink? *sips water from a giant bottle* We have pretty much anything you could want.
Lily Blunt: Hello, Sara! Many thanks for inviting me to your blog. I’m honored to be your first!
I’m a fellow water drinker, so I’m happy with that. Perhaps I’ll have a nice cuppa when we’ve finished.
Right… I’m sitting comfortably. Shall we begin?
Sara: Yes! Let’s talk about your new book, Paint the Sky. It prominently features the beautiful Van Gogh painting Starry Night on the cover, and in the scene you’ve shared as an excerpt. Starry Night is one of my favorite pieces by one of my favorite artists, by the way. What made you choose this artist and this painting for Vinnie and Ben?
Lily: I used to teach art to the 9-11 age range and would always feature a collection of Van Gogh’s paintings over several lessons. The children reproduced them in a range of media – from paints to pastels. Many of them chose Starry Night and it subsequently became a favorite painting of mine too. Vinnie in Paint the Sky is named after Vincent Van Gogh and he paints in a similar style. The night sky is an important link in the story. Sorry – I don’t want to give too much away. It brings the boys together, but it also tears them apart. Plus some of the lines from Don McLean’s Vincent inspired a few of the scenes as well.
Sara: Ah, very interesting. It’s great how so many aspects of life can influence a story! I look forward to seeing the links between the story and the Don McLean song, Vincent Van Gogh, and Starry Night when I read the novel.
Speaking of the painting, the cover of this book is gorgeous. Could you tell the readers about who created it and how?
Lily: The wonderful Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design worked with me on this. I told her what I wanted and she painted something herself to replicate Van Gogh’s Starry Night as we couldn’t use the original. She applied her painting to various photographs of hot men using Photoshop, I believe.
Sara: Very nice. She did a great job making your vision come to life!
Switching tracks a bit for the next question… writing emotional upheaval takes a toll on some authors’ own emotions. Without giving away specific plot details that aren’t mentioned in the blurb, can you share if there were any parts of this book that were more challenging to write than others, for that reason or another?
Lily: Anyone who knows me and has read some of my stories will know I like to write angst-filled scenes. So yes, my poor boys have a few chapters where things are not good shall we say! I made a couple of my beta readers cry or tear up, which I take as a compliment.
Sara: I know what you’re talking about! I tend to put my men through angst as well, as do some of my favorite authors. And I have cried when beta reading for someone, myself.
So, what have you found to be the most rewarding and/or fun aspects of your writing career so far?
Lily: Most rewarding – Seeing my book in print and on sale, people saying how much they enjoy reading my stories, and being called the queen of m/m sex scenes by two people. Plus I have some fabulous friends who I’ve met through my writing, on Facebook as well as in publishing. I enjoy writing, and despite all the hard work, it is fun. Better than teaching, that’s for sure.
Sara: Those are definitely great things! I’ve also found that there are so many wonderful people in the community of writers and readers.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! I’m looking forward to reading Paint the Sky, and will let the readers know how to get a copy. Feel free to finish your drink, and say hi to the cat and dog before you go, if you’d like!
Lily: Many thanks, Sara. It’s been fun talking to you. I’d love to hear what you think of Paint the Sky. Feel free to visit me and we can have a chat about it. Aww… your pets are cute. They’d love my Sheltie.
Actually, I’m quite comfy. I think I’ll stay here for a bit, if that’s okay.
Sara: Please, be my guest! Next time we visit, we can get all the animals together, too!
Paint the Sky
Lily G. Blunt
Genre: M/M, Contemporary Romance and Erotica
Length: 65,000 Words/230 pages
Release Date: August 30, 2014
A love of art…
A mutual interest in art draws two shy university students together. Ben admires Vinnie’s painting of the university building, so Vinnie invites him to an exhibition of his artwork. From a wealthy family, Ben purchases some of Vinnie’s art and arranges for the artist to personally hang the paintings in his apartment.
Starry, starry night…
Ben commissions Vinnie to paint his portrait, in order to spend more time with the artist. On the night of the sitting, Vinnie fingerpaints the starry night on Ben’s chest… and they kiss. They begin a relationship beneath the night sky, God’s own canvas.
But every relationship has its ups and downs and so it is with theirs. When Ben thinks Vinnie spends too much time with a fellow artist, his jealousy drives a wedge between them and forces Vinnie into the very thing Ben dreads.
Hold tight to your dreams…
Ben and Vinnie will have to walk through fire before they can find one another again. But if they believe, and if they keep their faith in the night sky and each other, just maybe they can make their dreams of love come true.
Vinnie led me across the room, pulling me by the shirt. “Lie back on the sofa for me and I’ll paint you.”
As if in a dream, I settled my head against one arm of the sofa, my legs dangling over the other end, scarcely breathing now. Vinnie knelt on the floor beside me with an open pot of paint in his hand.
Teasingly, he dipped his index finger into the dark blue paint as if it were cream he would lick off. His finger connected with my skin and he made short strokes across my chest, the coldness of the paint making me shiver.
Mesmerised by the closeness of his beautiful face, the view of the night sky through the window, and the picture forming upon my chest, I watched as dab after dab and stroke after stroke he built up a mix of shades, until a dark night sky with the moon and stars were there to be seen—a masterpiece, drying on the warmth of my blazing skin, a transient thing of beauty. His fingers skimmed my skin causing gooseflesh to ripple in waves down my arms and thighs. My nipples pebbled in response to his touch.
And when he was done, his lips met mine in a languid kiss; how our first kiss should have been—sweet, innocent, and full of promise. He pulled away, smiling down at me.
This was the beginning of something special.
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MSYA1JQ
LILY G. BLUNT’S BIO:
Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance and erotica. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men’s feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page—there never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing!
Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/m romance novels four years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work.
Lily has several self-published stories available on Amazon. She is also published with Torquere Press and Wayward Ink Publishing.
Easily distracted from her writing, Lily makes videos using clips from gay-themed movies and posts gorgeous pictures of men kissing or making out on her tumblr and Facebook pages. Lily is also an avid supporter of GLBTQ rights and advocates equality for all.
Lily lives in central England with her rather bemused husband, two twenty-something children, and a ‘mad as a bag of frogs’ Shetland Sheepdog.
LILY G. BLUNT’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/LilyGBlunt
FB Profile: http://www.facebook.com/lily.blunt.75