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Force Play Tea

My latest novel ‘Force Play’ will be available November 9 from Dreamspinner Press. So of course I’ve blended a tea especially for the book. This tea is perfect for summer, taken hot or iced. Assam–an elevated basic black–with berry and rose essences, and a burst of colorful sprinkles for fun. Like fireworks after the home team wins the game!

forceplay_tea

Find it at Adagio fine teas.

And to go with it, here’s a TEAser!


Chapter One

IT WAS the mother of all hangovers. The grandmother. Harmon was aware of precious few things and willed each to disappear: the acidic dryness of his eyes, the intense pounding in his head, and the burning knot at his core, making him feel like he was going to vomit.

He whined and tried to figure out what was going on, where he was, and what had disturbed his misery.

Harmon discovered if he pressed his forehead down and in, the roaring in his ears muffled to dull instead of clanging. He breathed in as deeply as he dared, then held it, and heard pounding that wasn’t coming from his head or heaving guts.

“Go away,” he slurred, lying face-planted in what he’d determined was carpet.

But the knocking persisted, here and there punctuated by the doorbell, until Harmon forced himself onto his palms, then staggered to his feet. He sealed the back of his hand over his mouth and lurched into a wall. Then he decided to stay there as dizziness assailed him and the rancid sourness in his stomach climbed his throat.

“Kiel? Kiel! I know you’re in there! Open the damn door!”

Harmon winced. The angry voice sounded like his agent, but he had no clue why Trent would be here. It was the All-Star Break, and Harmon was most definitely on break. He hadn’t been voted to the team and he told himself he didn’t care. He was in a nosedive midway through the season. But he was also bound to a contract with a high-profile, high-priced team, so it wasn’t like Trent would come calling to talk to him about potential trade options.

Propped up by the wall, he slid his way to the door. He’d figured out by now he was at home—his luxury high-rise apartment secured by a mint contract in the Bigs a year ago. That was when he was still a top-ranked prospect who played a mean third base and hit for power. Last season he’d stormed into the majors and made a name for himself.

He had an explosive, showy rookie year playing. He was explosive and showy too, and so long as his performance on the field matched his antics, the fans ate up every bit of his show. These days the home crowd booed his plate appearances and yapped about him in sports blog comment sections.

This was his sophomore season, and he scuffled, watching his batting average drop and drop while his playing time on the field followed. Media outlets started calling him a fluke, a cancer in the clubhouse, and his teammates resented him for being a huge paycheck with nothing to back it. He felt acute shame and inexplicable powerlessness because he couldn’t pinpoint or fix his decline. Instead he hid his anxieties with arrogance.

Harmon was lean and strong, a physical powerhouse thanks to endless hours running drills and lifting weights. Sensitive and eager to please, he was also quick-witted and could be easily likeable. The sensitivity had been drummed out of him as he was molded into a prototypical baseball superstar, the eagerness to please manipulated into results. For years he cranked through drills and training—from T-ball to Little League to the only freshman on high school varsity. He picked a college most likely to be scouted from, and as soon as he had a contract offer, moved onto the majors. Now he was an enigma of known talent and skills he couldn’t deliver on and a guarded personality no one enjoyed.

He jammed his shoulder against the doorframe and unlocked the condo’s door. Trent burst in past him and slammed it shut again.

“Just what on God’s pretty green earth were you thinking, Harmon?” Trent’s skin was an awful puce color under his spray-on tan, his high temper and nerves showing in every agitated movement. He raked a glance up and down Harmon—blood-shot eyes, two days’ worth of stubble, unsteadily leaning against the wall—then huffed and stalked across the room.

Trent threw the curtains open and midday light flooded in. Harmon shielded his eyes, grumbled as he detoured through his gleaming, never-used kitchen for an energy drink, and then dropped onto his couch. It was uncomfortable and incredibly stylish. Trent stood there fuming.

Harmon shook his head and drank half the can in one long, sloppy swallow. He had no idea why Trent was here, never mind what would have his agent so pissed off. His subpar play shouldn’t even matter to Trent. Payday would come, regardless of his recent backslide into painful mediocrity.

“You could have at least answered your damn phone.”

“Don’t know where it is,” Harmon offered and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. He peered at his shirt and remembered putting it on for dinner. He thought that was most probably last night. He had no memory of the meal and what happened after—how he’d gotten back and why he’d been passed out, dead to the world in his living room. There was no explanation in mind for why his agent, of all people, should be here looking ready to throttle him.

Trent squeezed the bridge of his nose, then rooted around a messy side table, found the remote, and turned on the TV. It blared, and Trent flipped to one of the all-sports networks. When the advertisements ended, one of the anchors hosting a roundtable talk show nodded.

“Stay tuned for our picks to win the Home Run Derby and a pitching breakdown from both sides of the league, but first, more on our top story of the day. This has taken not only the baseball world by storm, but has sent ripples of surprise and speculation throughout professional sports and beyond.

“All season we’ve been wondering: what is wrong with rookie phenom Harmon ‘Hawk’ Kiel? New revelations about the controversial star infielder might finally give us some insight. It would appear that not only is Kiel out for the All-Star Break, he decided to be out in a big way! After bumping and grinding at a local hotspot, he turned up at ManCover, an upscale gay bar infamous in the city. That’s when this happened and these pictures, uploaded to a fellow reveler’s Twitter account, went viral.”

Images flashed on the television, and Harmon’s entire existence narrowed down to a fine, tenuous point. He stopped hearing the pounding in his head, the television, and Trent’s continued tirade. His hands went numb, and his whole body became weightless and cold.

The pictures were blurry, and he was unkempt, but it was unmistakably him. His dark hair, usually slicked and styled, was an unruly mop. The stare of his usually sharp and quick brown eyes was unfocused. His cheeks, usually high with color from mischief or exertion, were blotchy and sweaty. Interested onlookers with cell phones made the most of his drunken inhibitions, his who-even-cares attitude, and the undeniable draw of his celebrity. His shirt hung unbuttoned, and his pants were clinging low on his hips. In one picture he grinned and pointed with a lazy hand at the back of some guy’s head buried in his exposed lap; in another he was kissing a man he didn’t recognize while getting a good handful of ass.

There were more pictures, accompanied by captions from the citizen photographers, but those went past without Harmon seeing. None were X-rated, but it was undeniably more than a rowdy good time being had. Harmon blinked and suffocated wordlessly. He could hear his strangled breath, the way it echoed in his chest, and the hitch that stuttered as his pulse sped while his insides churned. He swallowed several times and began to turn inside out.

Harmon let his drink fall and ran to his nearest bathroom, puked, and didn’t stop.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Jacob Flores. Thanks, Jacob.

To know more about Jacob Flores, you can follow his musings on his blog, at his website dedicated to the Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge or become a part of his social media network by visiting Facebook and Twitter. Also find him on PinterestGoodreads, and connect via GooglePlus.

BloodTiedFS-2


1) Is there a movie you always have to watch if you flip past it on TV?

OMG. I have so many movies I do this for. Alien, Shawshank Redemption, The Color Purple, and Gone With the Wind are just some of my must-watch movies. Whenever they’re on, I stop whatever it was I was doing to watch. Alien remains my all-time favorite though. It still gives me goosebumps when Ripley realizes she’s the only one left alive on the ship. Of course now that I’ve talked about it, I’m gonna have to go watch it.

2) On a road trip, do you stop and see all the sights or is it pedal to the metal?

It’s pedal to the metal for me. I don’t like stopping at all. The problem is I am in love with a man with a bladder the size of a peanut. He has to stop every thirty minutes it seems. Our drive from San Antonio to San Diego took forever, but I wouldn’t want to make that drive with everyone else. He’s so lucky I love him and his small bladder.

3) Band camp or space camp?

Space camp! I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to go to space camp when I was a kid. Do they even still offer it? If they did, I’d sign up. Going into space has always been a dream of mine.

4) What is your favorite word?

Turgid. Hahaha! Sorry. I just had to go there, partially because I know so many in our community hate that word, none more than Lynn West, our wonderful Editor-In-Chief at Dreamspinner. I’ve teased her that I’m going to write a novel titled A Turgid Man is Good to Find.

Seriously though, it’s hard for me to choose one word, but if I had to choose one it would be munchkin because that’s what I call my daughter. She’s the most important person in my life, so any word associated with her is my absolute favorite.

5) Do you have any hidden talent that’s come to the rescue in unexpected ways?

Well, yes. I won’t go into too much detail, but I’ll tell you this: I can do some pretty amazing tricks with my tongue that have served me well over the years.


Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. Tharp-Flores--(1179)__06_12_13At 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.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Clare London. Thanks, Clare.

To know more about Clare London, check out clarelondon.com or see what she’s up to on Twitter and Facebook. Among her literary triumphs is Dancing Days, available here.

DancingDaysLG


1) Are there any commercial jingles from your childhood you still sing?

For mash, get Smash. It’s that bit in the advert where the little aliens say “then they smash them all to bits!” Cracks me up every time. Will anyone know what I’m talking about? LOL

2) Sun worshiper or shade seeker?

Shade seeker. I’ve never managed to build a sexy tan! I just burn within seconds like a French fry, go scarlet and painful, then fade to less white.

3) Penguins or Golden Crunch Creams?

I thought you meant the birds Penguin for a moment LOL.Golden Crunch creams, definitely. The combination of crunch and soft filling… yum.
penguins

4) What is your favorite word?

Indefatigable.

5) If you had a wand that could only cast one spell, what would it be?

I’d love to ask for world peace or tolerance across all of humankind, I’m just not sure how it’d roll out logistically, human nature being what it is. Does that sound defeatist?! Let’s go for it, regardless! Or I may just have a shamefully selfish day, and ask for a Lottery win LOL.


Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fueled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant. clarelondonheadshotShe’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing, while friends say she’s just fickle. But as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters. Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fueled family home.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guests are Kieran and Theo. Thanks, guys.

To know more about Kieran and Theo, get Put A Ring On It by K.A. Mitchell, available from Dreamspinner Press. You can find out more about K.A.–and her other books–on her website and Twitter.

PutARingOnIt


1) Are you going to adopt… a pet?

Kieran raises a brow, and Theo tries to control a shudder at the idea. Kieran gets a mischievous smile. “What about a snake? I think they’re clean. And you don’t have to feed them often.”
Theo says, “They eat and don’t use a toilet. And they shed.”

2) Most comfortable: Preppy or grunge?

Kieran jerks a thumb at Theo. “This guy? Are you looking at him?”
Theo pulls his slacks at the knee. “Because you own so very much flannel?”

3) Champagne brunch or diner breakfast?

Theo says, “Cover your ears, Kieran.” He leans in to say confidentially, “Kieran would think it’s champagne for me, diner for him. But the truth is, now that he’s had it he loves good champagne. And I don’t like to drink in the morning. There’s something incredibly comforting in a diner breakfast.”
Kieran says, “You don’t whisper very well, Theo. The truth is,” he and Theo exchange a look, “he’s right.”

4) What is your favorite word to say to each other?

Simultaneously they say, “Shower?” and then laugh.

5) Where are you going to spend your golden anniversary?

“Take it, baby,” Theo says.
Kieran looks a little embarassed. “Hawaii,” he admits at last.
Theo leans over and kisses him for a long time.

Um, guys? Is it warm in here or is it me?


Kieran Delaney-Schwartz — adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed-slacker IT guy — lives his under-the-radar life by ringthe motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet, until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via an NYC Times Square flash mob. Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! Today’s guest is Lynn West. Thanks, Lynn.

Lynn West is an actual living and breathing person. You can find proof on Facebook. She is Editor in Chief at Dreamspinner Press and its imprints Harmony Ink Press and DSP Publications.

Dreamspinner Press


1) As a kid, what did you fantasize as your dream job?

I wanted to be an archaeologist. One of my first “research projects”—if you can call it that—in grade school was on a job, and that’s the one I drew out of a hat. I immediately fell in love with Egyptian mythology, pyramids, mummies, the whole nine yards. That love expanded out into any world mythologies I could find material on. Aside from the science fiction books I read at home, this fed my love for reading stories, especially love stories. Lots of love stories in mythology, ever noticed?

2) Macaroons or macarons?

Macaron. I am allergic to coconut, so most macaroons are a bad idea, and in my head, ROON = BAD. But I adore cookie sandwiches, and Elizabeth knows better than to let me go into a bakery in Europe. I guess I didn’t have a good foreign baking education, because I didn’t even know “macarons” were a thing until a few years ago when I visited London. I particularly like jam-filled.

3) Do you believe more in fate or coincidence?

Alas, to the woe of many friends, I am far too pragmatic to believe in fate and thus find myself resigned to a somewhat suspicious acceptance of coincidence. I suppose that makes my life in romantic fiction quite ironic, doesn’t it? Star-crossed lovers and all that. Perhaps that’s what makes me a better editor. I can focus on the story itself and not get caught up in the swell of violins, consuming humid heat, twinkling stars, and gasping lovers… no, not really. I’m still just as fascinated and entertained by stories about fate. But in real life, I definitely lean toward believing more in coincidence—or the fact that people twist coincidence in their favor.

4) What is your favorite word?

Unfortunately, I really can’t answer that one. I’ve had a love affair with words in multiple languages my entire life, and there’s no way I can pick one. (Although cafuné comes close. It’s Brazilian Portuguese for “tenderly stroking someone’s hair.”) But I can absolutely answer the opposite: What is your most hated word? And this really is a thing: my editors all know. I seriously—very seriously—considered outlawing use of the word totally in any Dreamspinner Press publication. Luckily, it’s not very popular in gay romance and has mostly been relegated to the realm of purple prose, although you can bet anytime one of my senior editors finds it, they bring it up during department meetings, just to taunt me with it. Curious yet?

Turgid.

5) Which Wonder of the Ancient World would you visit in its prime?

Top of my list would have to be The Great Pyramid of Giza, to feed my eternal love for anything ancient Egyptian. The artwork, the tombs, the poems and stories and epics written on the walls, no wonder the Egyptians believed some souls would stay entombed there forever to watch over the dead. Plenty to read!


Lynn West is one of the founders of Dreamspinner Press and was one of the first two editors employLynn Wested by the press in January 2007. She was named Editor in Chief in January 2009. She has edited the work of more than a hundred authors, including many of the bestsellers in Dreamspinner’s catalog. Before and during the early years of Dreamspinner, Lynn worked as a professional editor in fiction, nonfiction, journalism, and technical writing and was a fiction and nonfiction author, a public relations writer, and an award-winning print journalist before that, thus racking up twenty years of publishing experience as of January 2014. She holds a bachelor’s degree in modern languages and a master’s degree in management, as well as a variety of advanced educational and training certifications.  All that boring stuff aside, Lynn’s love of reading and writing comes thanks to a dissolute youth spent devouring Science Fiction Book Club tomes from her dad’s bookshelves. Her nickname is the Wicked Witch West, though her flying monkeys (staff) insist that “wicked” is a good thing in gay romance.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guests are Ryan and Zavier. Thanks, guys.

To know more about Ryan and Zavier, nab Demon of Mine by Rayna Vause, available from Dreamspinner Press. You can find Rayna–with more of Ryan and Zavier, and her other projects–on Twitter and Facebook.

DemonOfMine


Ryan: Ok Zav, just a few more questions to answer.
Zavier *holding up a hand to stop Ryan*: I’ve already answered questions. No more.
Ryan *sitting next to Zavier whacking his thigh*: Come on, it will be fun. There’s only 5. Besides we already agreed to do it.
Zavier: You mean we were volunteered?
Ryan *glaring*: Zavier.
Zavier *sighing*: Ok let do this.

Ryan: Question one, ‘What’s the best part of the day?’ Hmm… Dinner time. No matter how busy we get, Zav and I try to eat dinner together as much as possible.
Zavier *nodding*: I can agree with that. I love having that time near the end of the day just to sit and eat and be us.
Ryan *smiling*: Sometimes you’re so sweet.

Zavier *hunching*: Moving along. ‘What is the first thing you notice: Eyes or smile?’ Oh, this one is easy. *smiling at Ryan* It was your beautiful green eyes.
Ryan *smirking*: I thought it was my body.
Zavier *shrugs*: Well this time it was, but body wasn’t an option.

Ryan: Question three, ‘Morning bird or night owl.’ I like morning, but you’re a night owl.
Zavier: Byproduct of my job as a demon. Most of my business got done in the middle of the night. You get into a pattern.
Ryan: Makes sense.
Zavier: I do that on occasion.
Ryan *nudging Zavier with his elbow*: A very rare occasion.
Zavier *snorts*: Watch it buddy. What’s the next question?

Ryan: ‘One word to describe you current relationship.’ I’d have to go with Happy.
Zavier: Good word, I’d agree. *linking hands with Ryan*

Ryan *smiling*: Last question. ‘What would you do with a no strings attached second wish?’ That’s a tough one all things considered, I’m a little leery about wishes.
Zavier: Well I know what I’d do. I’d get a phone with teleportation capabilities. I miss teleportation. I miss it so much.
Ryan *rolling eyes*: You need to get over that. Flying is not that bad.
Zavier: It sucks large and it’s so slow.
Ryan: Alright you. Let’s go get you a little cheese to go with that whine.
Zavier: Just so long as it’s not soy cheese. *wandering off toward the kitchen*
Ryan *sighing*
Zavier. *shakes his head*

Thanks Elle for having us today! It’s been a blast.


Climbing the corporate ladder can be hell… DemonofMineAs a collections demon, Zavier grants his “clients” one wish in exchange for their souls. His job sucks, but once you make a deal with Corporate South, they own you. The trouble is, Zavier’s not a very good collections demon, with his tendencies to spurn authority and find loopholes to help deserving clients out of their contracts. He’s under scrutiny from the head of his department, who would quite literally like to see him burn. He just needs to close a simple deal to get upper management off his back. Instead, he meets Ryan. Ryan is desperately searching for a way to save his dying sister. He doesn’t believe in magic and demons, but he’s out of options. Zavier’s not what he expects in a demon, and even more unexpected is the strong sense of familiarity—very intimate familiarity. While trying to free Ryan from his contract, Zavier discovers secrets unscrupulous even by South standards. Exposing them could cost Zavier everything, but it might be Ryan’s only hope. [Amazon || Barnes&Noble || All Romance eBooks]

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Damon Suede. Thanks, Damon.

To know more about Damon Suede, check out damonsuede.com or see what he’s up to on Twitter (@damonsuede) and Facebook. His anticipated upcoming release is the romantic suspense Pent Up, and will be available fall 2015. Damon’s other titles are all available here.

BadIdea


1) Which mystery of the world (Stonehenge, Voynich Manuscript, Amelia Earhart, etc) do you want the explanation for?

Fabulous question! Actually, I love a good impenetrable mystery because solutions tend to leech all the magic and irony out of a paradoxical situation. Subjects like Jack the Ripper, the Pyramid complex at Giza, the Knights Templar, the Man in the Iron Mask… much as I’d like to know the dirt, I’d hate to snuff out the wild, weird suppositions they’ve inspired.

So, my answer probably isn’t very sexy, but it’s the truth: what I’d love to know is the fate of Aristotle’s POETICS II, especially if that explanation could put a copy in my hands. A historical and literary mystery with practical application. LOL

THE POETICS give Aristotle’s thoughts on Tragedy (aka stories with sad endings), which basically established the form of pop culture in the west for a couple thousand years, but we have less than fragments hinting at his discussion of Comedy (stories with happy endings). Scholars have theorized and attempted  to extrapolate, but that one book would have (and could still) change the course of world literature. And made my job easier. 🙂

2) Malta or Gozo?

Gozo, definitely. I have a friend from Sicily that raves about it. BY all accounts, a beautiful place with a crazy history although a bit warmer than I prefer as far as a vacay spot. Maybe I could just doze all day and live nocturnally.

Hell, if it was good enough for Calypso it’s good enough for me.

3) Bread and butter or toast and jam?

Bread and butter. Oddly enough, growing up down south I HATED butter. But while I was living in Europe, My then-bf had a flat in Vienna and used to get the freshest butter. I’d never tasted anything like that. That’s when I realized how nasty most processed US food can be. And the Austrians take their bread seriously.

Once I knew how bread and butter was supposed to taste, I obsessed about it with the zeal of the converted. Jam is great, but usually too sweet. I was one of those weird kids who scraped the icing off my cake. To this day, when I’m in a rural area or anywhere near fresh dairy, real bread and butter is a must.

4) What is your favorite word?

Eek. Tough. No way to narrow it to one. As you well know, I’m kind of a freak about language. How about three?

Slumber. Porphyry. Connotation.

For me the meanings and the sounds of words get tangled up. For those three, I love the meaning and the sound because of the way they reinforce each other.

5) What one object/work from The Met would you take to have as your own?

A Tiffany painting called “On the Way between Old and New Cairo, Citadel Mosque of Mohammed Ali, and Tombs of the Mamelukes.” At the moment, I think it’s on loan to the Brooklyn Museum, but it’s a real stunner…a beautiful, complicated, lush landscape that I’d love to be able to look at every day. I love that period of Gilded Age orientalism, when oils have just about reached the outer limit of realism and fantasy. It’s so big and over the top, I’d have to build an enormous Second Empire room just to hold it. Note to self: buy Gilded Age mansion, stat.

1024px-Louis_Comfort_Tiffany_-_On_the_Way_between_Old_and_New_Cairo,_Cit...


Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. DamonThough new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! Please enjoy this Best of Friday Fun Five post featuring B.G. Thomas, Mary Calmes, Lyla Bellatas, Heather K, and lyric apted. Thanks, everyone!

fff


1) B.G., are there any words you always misspell when you’re writing?

“Mispell” (misspell). No seriously. And “experiance” (experience). I don’t know what the problem is with the word but I can’t get it.  And I type “jsut” (just) almost every single time! Arrrrgnhhhhh!

2) Mary: sweet or unsweet iced tea?

It depends on the restaurant I’m in. If they serve flavored tea, raspberry, mango, peach, then I would probably get that but as a rule, unsweetened is what I chose 9 times out of 10. It’s funny though, now that I live in the South, I’m spoiled with tea as an option. When I was in Orlando for the DSP workshop back in March, I asked for tea at a restaurant and nope, they had none. That’s crazy. I’m so used to my options being sweet or unsweet that I take it for granted.

3) Lyla: Hostess or Drake’s Cakes?

Drakes except I haven’t had one since I was in elementary school. I used to love Ring Dings and those CoffeeCakes. Unwrapping a Ring Ding was such a sensual act. All that chocolatey goodness in a compact tin foil wrapped package that was surprisingly weighty. Yum.

4) What is your favorite word, Heather?

That’s a tough one. I have the mouth of a church lady (a Jewish church lady??), so I never curse. I just feels wrong to me! My favorite word would probably be… love? I like “love.”

5) lyric, you have developed the ability to talk to animals but only one species. Which?

I want to say something horribly interesting, but in fact I’d have to say house cats. I live alone with my beloved Isabella and it would be nice if we could have an actual conversation. Though I fear it would consist a lot of her asking why I wasn’t feeding her Right Now and me apologizing.


friday fun five teaFriday Fun Five is a weekly feature hosted by Elle Brownlee where she poses a different batch of five fun questions to various people in the writing world.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! Please enjoy this Best of Friday Fun Five post featuring Taylor V. Donovan, Katana Collins, Joyfully Jay, Amy Lane, and Hayley Peterson. Thanks, everyone!

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1) Taylor, what food do you make that’s your specialty?

I actually have two specialties. The first one is lasagna. The second is yellow rice with honey barbecue pork ribs and potato salad, Puerto Rican style. Our recipe includes apples, which is something I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s delicious!

2) Katana: Tom Waits or Tom Jones?

I feel like Tom Waits would be the “cooler” answer, but I really love me some Tom Jones!

3) Jay: Art or science museum?

Science. I am lucky enough to live outside of Washington, DC where I have access to the many fabulous free museums.  I am a huge fan of the Air & Space museum and Natural History. I even like those discovery hands-on kind of places for the kids. When I travel to new cities, I always try to hit a museum there as well. I recently had a great time at the Field museum in Chicago. While I can appreciate art, I have never really been a big fan of art museums.

4) What is your favorite word, Amy?

Any combination of swearwords is all win for me!

5) Dreams come true in less than ideal settings sometimes–awkward time or awkward place, for example–has this happened to you, Hayley?

Absolutely! This is actually my favorite story to tell because it makes me so happy. I moved to Manchester, UK from Vancouver, Canada a couple years ago to try my hand at working in theatre production (stage management, sound design, etc.) and was working in a restaurant to pay the bills while working a few theatre gigs. While I had some good times and friends at the restaurant, the environment was less than pleasant at times and not exactly what I wanted to do as a career.  In addition, after working a bit of theatre, I was beginning to realize that I didn’t want to make a career out of it as I thought I had so I was feeling a bit stuck.

One evening I was working my usual dinner shift when Elizabeth North, Ariel Tachna, and all of the lovely DSP badasses walk in for a table after a long day at the UK Fiction Meet. I ended up serving them and we seemed to hit it off. They ended up coming back 2 days later and I was able to serve them again. Things ended up going so well that in the end, Elizabeth offered me a job with DSP. I learned 2 things that night. 1. Dreams come true when you don’t even expect it. For example, this job. And 2. Giving nice customers extra Sticky Toffee Pudding always pays off.


friday fun five teaFriday Fun Five is a weekly feature hosted by Elle Brownlee where she poses a different batch of five fun questions to various people in the writing world.