Carrie Ann Ryan’s Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop!!

C

It’s a Happy Holiday from your favorite Authors and Bloggers. While we know everyone celebrates a different way, we wanted to make sure that you guys knew how much we treasure you all. So from Dec 14th to Dec 17th, all 200 or so of us will be blogging about the holidays and what they mean to us. We may talk about our favorite holiday traditions, recipes, gifts, reads, heroes, and so much more. We want to hear about what you do for the holidays, what you read, and who you’ll spend it with. We hope to see you here and happy hopping!

And while we do that, we are EACH doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 200 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.

But that’s not all….

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

Sharing the love is what holiday Romances are all about, so that’s what I’m going to do. Everyone who comments and includes their e-mail address will be entered to win one of four $5 Amazon gift cards. Follow my blog for another entry! (Be sure to tell me in your comment so I don’t miss you on the list!)

That’s not quite enough, though, so everyone who enters my giveaway will get a copy of my short story “Coping Mechanism”, featuring my two horny heroes from Comfort and Joy, Sam and Charlie!

To make it a little more fun, in your comment tell us your favorite thing that’s special about the holidays. Is it a dish you only cook (or eat!) once a year, or do you look forward to singing and dancing along with Snow Miser?

When I was a kid my Grammie would ride all the way across the country on a Greyhound bus to spend the holidays with us, from her rural town in Upstate New York to the San Francisco Bay Area. She was a professional cook, and some of her favorites became mine. I especially love Parker House Rolls. I only make them twice a year, but they’re delicious little butter-bombs so my daughter and I have no trouble polishing them off! (Even when they don’t turn out perfectly, which is most of the time!) I don’t make as many as Grammie did—she was used to cooking for an entire lumberjack camp or restaurant—but I do make them from scratch.

I love kneading dough. It’s one of the most satisfying things I think I’ve ever done (yes, I do get extra sentimental over the holidays! :)). When my daughter was growing up I made most of our bread, and the rhythm of kneading inspired me to daydream about stories and characters (one of these was Sam’s mother).

Parker House Dough before first rise

I use the recipe in Joy of Cooking (because my math is terrible and I never could convert Grammie’s recipe to feed less than a small army) and would definitely recommend it! It’ll tell you to place the little rolls on cookie sheets for the second rise, but I use a 9” X 13” pan. When Grammie made them she put so many on each cookie sheet that they may as well have been in a pan, and they come out so light and fluffy this way.

Finished rolls in pan

I love Holiday Romances because it doesn’t matter what time of year it is or where I happen to be sitting, reading a Romance set against a backdrop of snow and decorations, or where families (blood or chosen) get together to celebrate helps me recapture the magic of the season.

Now that I’ve made you hungry with pictures of food, here’s a little taste of my erotic holiday Romance novella, Comfort and Joy, now available on Amazon and All Romance eBooks!

CharleyDescoteaux_ComfortandJoy_200x300How much love does it take to heal the wounds of hate?

Sam and Charlie have been together over a decade, and their commitment to each other has only grown stronger through the years. But love isn’t always easy, and eighteen months after a violent assault, their fairy-tale relationship is still struggling. Charlie can’t shake the lingering fear of attracting more violence by displaying affection, and he’s angry at himself for not getting past it. Sam would do anything to help Charlie feel better—if only he knew what that was.

The century-old farmhouse in Northwest Oregon is the perfect place to spend the holidays with Sam’s family, but it was their refuge after the attack, and it still holds painful memories of those difficult first months. Christmas should be a joyful time, but even being surrounded by people who love him isn’t enough to make Charlie feel safe. He could try to keep to himself, but even if Sam agreed to give him the space he needs, Sam’s warm and loving family might not. And even though they agreed not to exchange gifts, Sam has a surprise up his sleeve that he hopes will make everything merry and bright. But he may end up more surprised than Charlie before the week is out…

Excerpt:

Sam continued up the stairs, considering how to go about putting Charlie’s perfect ass on a piano bench became entangled with the unfortunate fact that as long as they slept upstairs they would be showering separately. He gave Charlie first chance at the hot water and then sped through his shower as fast as he could. Sam stopped just inside the bedroom door and closed it quietly. He towelled his hair and let his gaze linger on Charlie, lying still on top of the quilt, bare feet on the floor, partially covered with a green towel. A slice of moonlight filtered through the curtain on the opposite wall and across Charlie’s body, which was a work of art even when not bathed in romantic mood-lighting. After a few moments Sam realized Charlie was also watching him.

Charlie flipped the towel up and away from his body and Sam felt as though someone had just grabbed him by the throat. After barely a heartbeat’s hesitation he strode to the foot of the bed and leaned over Charlie to kiss him. Sam’s free hand caressed his slender chest and shoulders. When he felt goose bumps Sam lowered himself over Charlie but kept all his weight on both knees and one hand.

Sam moaned softly and moved his dark hand over the fair skin on Charlie’s abs. He hadn’t regained any of the bulk he’d lost but made up for it with dizzying definition and a solidity he hadn’t had before.

“Vanilla ice cream.” Sam began to kiss his way down Charlie’s chest and felt a cool hand on his head exerting a gentle pressure, urging him lower.

“You’re lactose intolerant.”

Sam looked up and grinned for a short moment, then slipped down even farther. “I’ll just have to lick you instead.”

Thank you for visiting my stop on Carrie Ann’s Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop!
Don’t forget to leave a comment with your e-mail address for a chance at all the fabulous prizes & then click the picture below to return to the list & hop on!!!

C

Christmas Wishes Blog Hop!

Christmas Wishes

Welcome to my first-ever blog hop, and the cover reveal for my debut M/M Erotic Holiday Romance novella, Comfort and Joy!

This wonderful hop features over 150 blogs and is being hosted by three awesome touring companies: Book & Trailer Showcase, Full Moon Bites, and Coffee Beans and Love Scenes!

Of course there are great prizes!

Grand Prizes:

A Kindle Paperwhite

A Nook Glow

One $90 giftcard for either Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Both Tablets will come with a book bundle!

I’ll also be hosting my own giveaway!

Comment with an e-mail address for a chance to win one of two $10 gift cards to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner’s choice!

Everyone who leaves me their e-mail will get a copy of my short story “Coping Mechanism”, featuring my two horny heroes from Comfort and Joy, Sam and Charlie!

Don’t forget to click the link at the bottom of my post to hop back to the list of bloggers.  The more you visit, the more chances to win prizes!!

Follow the Rafflecopter link at the end of my post back to the Grand Prize giveaway on the BTS web site!

CharleyDescoteaux_ComfortandJoy_200x300Comfort and Joy, by Charley Descoteaux

How much love does it take to heal the wounds of hate?

Sam and Charlie have been together over a decade, and their commitment to each other has only grown stronger through the years. But love isn’t always easy, and eighteen months after a violent assault, their fairy-tale relationship is still struggling. Charlie can’t shake the lingering fear of attracting more violence by displaying affection, and he’s angry at himself for not getting past it. Sam would do anything to help Charlie feel better—if only he knew what that was.

The century-old farmhouse in Northwest Oregon is the perfect place to spend the holidays with Sam’s family, but it was their refuge after the attack, and it still holds painful memories of those difficult first months. Christmas should be a joyful time, but even being surrounded by people who love him isn’t enough to make Charlie feel safe. He could try to keep to himself, but even if Sam agreed to give him the space he needs, Sam’s warm and loving family might not. And even though they agreed not to exchange gifts, Sam has a surprise up his sleeve that he hopes will make everything merry and bright. But he may end up more surprised than Charlie before the week is out…

Comfort and Joy will be released on December 14, by Etopia Press, but you can meet Sam and Charlie a little sooner.  Leave a comment with your e-mail address to receive a free short story, and be in the drawing for two $10 gift cards!

I hope you enjoyed my entry in the Christmas Wishes Blog Hop.  Click the happy little frog and hop on to the next blog!
The Grand Prizes will be given away via Rafflecopter on the BTS web site:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Holidays!

Comfort and Joy on Six Sentence Sunday

6SentenceSunday

This is my first 6Sentence Sunday!  I’m happy to be participating alongside all the great authors I’ve been enjoying every week, and sharing the very first excerpt of my M/M Erotic Holiday Romance novella soon to be released by Etopia Press, Comfort and Joy.

Sam stopped just inside the bedroom door and closed it quietly.  He toweled his hair and let his gaze linger on Charlie, lying still on top of the quilt, bare feet on the floor, partially covered with a green towel.  A slice of moonlight filtered through the curtain on the opposite wall and across Charlie’s body, which was a work of art even when not bathed in romantic mood-lighting.  After a few moments Sam realized Charlie was also watching him. 

Charlie flipped the towel up and away from his body and Sam felt as though someone had just grabbed him by the throat.  After barely a heartbeat’s hesitation he strode to the foot of the bed and leaned over Charlie to kiss him. 

Find out what happens next on December 14th!

Check back throughout the month of December for blog hops, giveaways and other fun holiday things!

Thanks for reading!  You can find the whole SixSunday list here.

The Next Big Thing

The lovely Shehanne Moore tagged me for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, a fun little meme allowing authors to spotlight a book or project they’re working on.  Since I’m waiting for my Thanksgiving rolls to get through their second rise, here’s my entry!
What is your working title of your book?

Coping Mechanisms
Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s a short that I pulled out of my 2010 NaNo manuscript to help promote my Christmas story, COMFORT AND JOY.  I wanted to write about when Sam and Charlie first met and their early romance, and this is part of that story.
What genre does your book fall under?

M/M Erotica.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Charlie is easy.  Before I got to know him well, I pictured him as Nathan-ish (from the British version of Queer as Folk), but a little older.  I still think Charlie Hunnam would be the one to play Charlie Price (except my Charlie would be clean-shaven).

[Redacted]

Sam is harder.  I did a lot of searching for actors I’d want to play him (yeah, it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it!), but haven’t found anyone who’d be perfect.  Sam is built like a tight end, something like Jared Padalecki.

[Redacted]

But my Sam has beautiful dark brown skin with brick red undertones and shiny black hair (kind of styled like Padalecki wears his to play Sam Winchester, now that I think about it) so for now I’m going with him.  Plus, I really like this picture.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

 

A hot young man bothered by circumstances beyond his control tests his theory that the cure is to take charge of something he can control.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Actually, I’ll be giving it away on blog hops and other appearances.  I thought it’d be fun to offer a free short in the lead-up to the release of COMFORT AND JOY since it’s Christmas (and nobody has ever read my writing before :)) and my wonderful editor agreed!  She’s graciously offered to help me polish it up and format it for easy-reading.  So stay tuned and I’ll be sure and give everyone who’s interested a chance at the freebie!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Since it was part of a NaNo manuscript, the official answer is one month.  But I wrote so many sex scenes that month I couldn’t say how long it took to write this one.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

If I say that you’ll just go out and buy that book!  (Which is to say that I don’t really know of any offhand.  :))
Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve known Sam since before he was born (my first published short story was about his mother!).  He left for college and basically dropped off the family radar for a while.  All I really knew for a long time was that he stayed in Chicago after college and was with a pianist named Charlie.  Originally I thought Charlie was a girl, but nope!  He’s a pretty blond boy with blue eyes and mad musical skills.  The first time I saw them together it was obvious they have one of those timeless loves every Romance junkie wants to read about, so I had to write it and see for myself!
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s short, only about three thousand words, but has a nice bit of submission (and character development too, if you like that kind of thing).  Oh, and it’s free!

The rules want me to tag five authors, but I’m late to this party so almost every author I know has already done this.

I’m tagging these authors:

KC Shaw

Dan-Lyn Alexander

Alix Bekins

Just to be official, here are the rules:

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

I Can Haz Scatterbrain!

I’ve been spending so much time getting ready to promote my book—entering blog hops and contacting bloggers about interviews and writing the next one—that I haven’t had much time (or brain power!) left over to think about this space.  I have done some re-decorating, though, check out my fancy new buttons on the side bar.

All the preparation has given me a ginormous dose of Christmas spirit much earlier than usual.  Since my release date for Comfort and Joy is the 14th of December I have events and topics galore to choose from, it’s all very fortuitous.  Don’t know why I never wrote a holiday story before, because this is fun.

The only problem is, every time I think about blog post subjects (or class assignments) my mind runs right back to the holidays!  No matter what subject I started on this past week, a few hundred words later I’m talking about my favorite holiday movie or staring off into space wondering if I should just make a Top Ten List of my favorite Christmas songs since so many are wonderful.

Back to holiday spirit.  I’m the person who wonders why the whole “kindness to your fellow man” deal has to disappear after the holidays anyway; I open doors for people all year long and often give presents for no reason other than the idea came to me and it sounded like a good one.  I still hope I won’t run out of Christmasy feelings by the time late December rolls around.  By then I’ll have finished my term and taken finals, Comfort and Joy will have been released (and hopefully one or more of my current WIPs will be close to finished) and I’ll understand what a Blog Hop entails from the other side!  Plus I may do some of my usual holiday stuff, like baking and decorating.  Hopefully I won’t be too exhausted to enjoy it!

Oh, and in addition to hops, I have two interviews set up already:  Cup O Porn will be hosting me on their prettypretty blog on December 13th, and my world will collide with Shehanne Moore’s on a December date TBD (and I’m just getting started!).

Right now, one of my guys is asking to get onstage.  He’s been knocking on the door all day, poor guy.  And even though he told me that something I’ve always wanted to include in a story just can’t happen in this one, I’ll give him a few hours in the spotlight.  I only wish he hadn’t started telling me that during my test this morning!

The Joy of Editing

I sent my First Edits back to my wonderful editor last night!  It’s official!  Comfort and Joy has a release date of December 14,,2012!

Working on edits reminded me of my first publication, a mainstream short in a print literary journal out of Maine in the late 1990s.  (Why yes, I did choose this journal because it was published in Stephen King’s neighborhood!)  I submitted via snail mail and waited three months for the response.  Within the next month I received galley proofs via FedEx overnight and returned them two days later.  I found a few typing errors and corrected them on the hard copy—with a pen!  New typing errors showed up in the print edition, but nothing I haven’t seen come out of NY (proof that we’re all only human).  That thin literary journal sits on my bookshelf beside some of my favorite signed Firsts, to remind me not to give up.

Those editors didn’t ask for any edits, which was shocking.  I expected them to ask me to change something, anything, but they only asked if I wanted to change anything (and for a snail mail list of marketing leads on peel-and-stick labels, which were printed using a dot matrix printer).  I suppose the truly shocking thing is that I can go back and read that story and still love it—maybe even more than I did back then.

That first experience wasn’t the norm, just about every other piece I’ve had published has gone through editing passes and come out stronger for them.  Comfort and Joy is no exception.  The changes have only made me love this story harder.  Hopefully my editor will like them too.  If not, I’ll have to visit Sam and Charlie’s world again until I have it nailed.

This is such a cool process—I’m literally having the time of my life with this (don’t tell my kid!).  I’m glad I got over the fear of letting my erotic M/M fiction go out into the world to seek its fortune.  No matter what that fortune ends up looking like I owe my guys a debt of gratitude for sticking with me to the HEAs.  They have to work for theirs, so I don’t mind working for mine.

Word of the Week: Prurient

I’ve seen this word around but don’t think I’ve ever used it before.  It’s a good word, especially for someone like me hoping to get somewhere in the ERom world.  And I do.  The more I read and write in various Erotic Romance genres the happier I become, and the more driven to do more and to do it better.

I’ve been writing a long time and have had some mainstream fiction published, which was very satisfying, but it’s very difficult to get short stories published when you’re as far left of center as I am.  (To paraphrase Joey Tribbiani, the middle of the road is a dot to me.)  In fact, one prestigious New York literary agent came out and said so after she read a full novel manuscript she’d requested, she said it was too far left of center to be marketable.

That rejection felt like a kick in the stomach, even though I knew the story was a little out there for NY.  So I took a little time to cool down and stopped submitting that manuscript.  (I almost just pulled it up to take a look, but am not feeling brave enough to peek at a years-old story just now.  :P).

Fast forward a few years and I found myself with time on my hands and a maudlin attitude that just didn’t feel right.  So I decided to cure two ailments in one stroke (or many strokes, as the case may be) by writing happy stories.  Being no stranger to sex scenes in general I started with a familiar couple and went for it.  This story turned out to be “Comfort and Joy” and will be my first published work with Etopia Press.  My first published ERom story.  I’m much happier these days.

And I owe it all to my prurience.  Don’t waste my time with waves crashing on the beach or a bedroom door softly clicking shut—I want to see what happens when there’s nothing for a character to hide behind, not even clothes.  Especially not clothes.  Yes, I’m shamelessly prurient, which is only to say that I’m just as horny as anyone else but have a slightly larger vocabulary than some.   I’m in good company.

The usual info on definitions and origins follows, thanks to Dictionary.com (but confirmed by yours truly via multiple sources just because that’s how I am).

May all of your restless desires be fulfilled.  Have a lovely week!

prurient; adjective

1. having, inclined to have, or characterized by lascivious or lustful thoughts, desires, etc.

2. causing lasciviousness or lust.

3. having a restless desire or longing.

Origin:
1630–40;  < Latin prūrient-  (stem of prūriēns ), present participle of prūrīre  to itch

Word of the Week: prodigy


When I was a kid I worried I wasn’t right in the head.  People who didn’t exist would walk in, flop down onto a beanbag chair and start telling me their stories.  By my early twenties the party room in my head had morphed into a kitchen and the characters pulled up a chair and sat at the table to talk.  I’ve come to embrace my own brand of insanity, thanks in part to one character who wouldn’t leave.  Thanks to Sunny and her family, I’ve reached a few of my writing goals since my first publication in the late 90s.

Two years ago, before I worked up the courage to submit any ERom, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and ended up with a nice (and hot) story about a man in his late twenties re-connecting with his family.  The man is one of Sunny’s sons, and before that I wasn’t sure what had happened to him.  For years, just about all I knew was that he went away to college in Chicago and basically dropped off the family radar.  Once in a while someone would mention him, so I knew he stayed on the music track and was with a pianist named Charlie.  I thought Charlie was a woman, but it turns out Charlie is a beautiful blond boy with blue eyes and mad piano skills.

By the time I reached the end of that NaNo draft I realized I didn’t know Charlie well enough to write that story.  He felt like a cardboard character, but I could see glimmers of a more interesting guy in there somewhere.  Of course there’s only one way to remedy something like that—through more writing.  After a few months of peeling that onion I had a draft I called The Prequel, and a much clearer picture of the early years of one of my favorite couples (who happen to be the main characters in my Christmas story that’s forthcoming from Etopia Press):  Sam and Charlie.

Sometime during the writing of The Prequel I checked into lesser-known meanings for the word prodigy and was surprised to find it also means “something abnormal or monstrous”.  I suppose it’s possible for a gifted child to seem scary—just like some current technology would probably freak-out someone living in the Middle Ages.  Depending on his mood, Charlie would either agree with this assessment or launch into a scathing soliloquy aimed at anyone daring to say a gift (or a child) could be monstrous.

Here’s the usual info about this week’s word.  I hope you all have an extraordinary week!

Prodigy [prod-i-jee]

noun, plural prod·i·gies.

1. a person, especially a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or ability: a musical prodigy.

2. a marvelous example (usually followed by of ).

3. something wonderful or marvelous; a wonder.

4. something abnormal or monstrous.

5. Archaic . something extraordinary regarded as of prophetic significance.

Origin:
1425–75; late Middle English prodig < Latin prōdigium  prophetic sign

Word of the Week: mutt

Today as I left class I saw this old, and most likely long-retired, fire truck sitting in a field on the edge of campus and even though I was thinking about homework and errands, one of my characters popped up and really wanted to go check it out.  So, since I love my guys, I let him.

Sam White is one of the main characters in my Christmas story, “Comfort and Joy”, that’s forthcoming from Etopia Press.  I’ve known him and his family for a long time (in fact, my first two published short stories were about his mom).  Sam’s a professional musician but if he didn’t have music he’d want to fight fires and rescue folks from burning buildings.  Over the years I’ve written a few of his stories so I know he calls himself a mutt even though he doesn’t look like one.  He’s a mix ancestry-wise:  French Canadian, Mohawk, German and Dutch on his dad’s side and Irish and Swedish on his mom’s, but he has his dad’s brown skin and shiny black hair.

I’m always curious about the lesser-known meanings of commonly-used words, and the etymology of everything, so I looked up “mutt” and found something I didn’t already know:  it’s short for muttonhead.

mutt

noun. Slang.

1.  a dog, especially a mongrel.

2.  a stupid or foolish person; simpleton.

1901, “stupid or foolish person,” probably a shortening of muttonhead (1803); meaning “a dog,” especially “a mongrel” is from 1904, originally simply a term of contempt.

I seriously doubt Sam would use the word to describe himself if he knew this!  As he once told his mom, he’s never been accused of placing too low a value on himself.   A mongrel is one thing but foolish (even if sometimes it’s all too applicable) just wouldn’t fly.

Uh-oh, now I hear Charlie snickering in my head.

My favorite part of the plan!

Yesterday I received the kind of e-mail all writers love—an acceptance!  My Christmas story, “Comfort and Joy”, is forthcoming from Etopia Press!  I don’t have a release date yet but I have homework to do so it’s definitely real.

It pays to get a story right back out there, even if optimism doesn’t rule that particular day.  I wasn’t expecting much, but within three days Etopia sent an offer.  So you never know.

My previous publications (except one) have been in print anthologies, the kind that pay a flat fee or copies for the rights they’re using.  (Twice I even received hard copy galleys that were FedEx’ed across the country and back!  But that’s a subject for another time.  When I’m feeling Retro.) This will be my first experience with royalties, and with cover art that I don’t have to share.  Etopia’s covers are gorgeous, so I’m looking forward to that!

I’m planning to post about the whole process,  hopefully it’ll be entertaining!