My Books

Everything About: Two For Trust

My latest book is out! Purchase Two For Trust at all the usual book-getting places.

Find out more!

  • My SuperRomance Origin Story. The inspiration for Two For Trust: why I wrote a very sweet, very tropey, very old-school Harlequin category. With delight and glee, and for my romance hero Betty Neels.
  • Cover reveal and some book deets.

Fun extras!

My Books

My SuperRomance Origin Story

When I learned Dreamspinner Press was launching a category line, I launched. Zinged giddily at the idea–ohmygosh old-school tropey gay romances? yes please!–and at the chance to write my own old-school tropey gay romance.

Way back in mumblemumble, I fell into reading romance thanks to literally tripping over it. More precisely, two old grocery boxes full of vintage Harlequins. The books were pristine, packed two layers deep, the boxes left on the ground next to a construction dumpster I was diving in for scrap material (small college theater programs–poor but making it work!). We managed a good haul for the production: plywood, lengths of 2×4, metal flashing, and a container of weird’n’creepy baby doll parts. I nabbed the books. Part not able to stand the thought of leaving them there, part burning curiosity.

I didn’t grow up as or into a romance reader. There were none in my house, not quite verboten, but never mentioned or encouraged. I also didn’t have a grandma with walls of bookshelves or a friend’s basement stuffed full of old romances to inhale when no one was looking. But I always had the idea I wanted to read romance–I wanted to know about them even if I wasn’t destined to become a fan–but never had the immediate chance. Finding those two boxes were my romance gateway; a treasure trove, a cherished secret I could savor, an array of brightly colored tempting sweets like a heart-shaped Valentine.

Jane Arbor. Margaret Way. Rebecca Stratton. Margaret Malcolm. Jane Donnelly. Katrina Britt. Charlotte Lamb. Elizabeth Ashton. Claudia Jameson. Margaret Rome. Betty Neels.

Are these Titans of Harlequin ringing a bell with anyone else?

I can easily picture their oil painted and color block covers. Can easily recall the emotions the final ten-some pages delivered as climax, resolution, and HEA came in quick succession. I picked up on the formula and pattern of the books pretty quickly, but didn’t mind. The books were “sweet,” a term I didn’t know yet, but the lack of heat didn’t bother me either. Even the throwback (regressive) Guiding Hand or Domineering Male gender dynamic didn’t get under my modern skin. I never felt manipulated by their neat and tidy package, because under the shiny newness and my less than discriminating appetite for more, they worked. On a elemental level, they worked. Romantic, happily ever after, oh hooray. I devoured them, reading one or two in a sitting between classes and homework sessions.

I still have those Harlequins. On occasion I pluck one or two out and read those key, final ten-some pages, where everything happens. They live, sorted by author, year, color, in two much nicer boxes tucked away in my closet. Those authors and their books ushered me into the world of romance–with enthusiastic thanks from a huge fan–and I never looked back. But I also moved forward, and after blazing through them, sought more complex stories and characters arcs (and nothing more from those authors’ catalogues).

Except for Betty.

Something about Betty was special. Resonated in me. Hit my just-right place. Compelled me to find all her other books after savoring the few from the treasure trove. Her books felt familiar and comforting, but with all the right heartclench and swoopy feelings in all the right places, and always left me replete. The Promise of Happiness was the first Betty I read–the second I selected from the boxes–and remains my very favorite. Of hers, of those gateway Harlequins, of romance.

As a reader, Betty is my go-to comfort read. As an author, she’s my writing hero.

After retiring from nursing at 60, Betty agreed with an overheard complaint that there just weren’t enough good romances to read, and set out to write her own. 30 years and 134 books later, she certainly had.

That alone is inspiring. I mean, wow. But add in how her books make me feel, how many readers’ hearts her books have touched, and it’s beyond wow. It’s awesome and glorious and every writer’s dream.

Betty only really wrote iterations of two stalwart plot types, but she made them hers and made them work. She created the necessity for two more boxes in my closet, only all Bettys, sorted to my own system–Greater Betty, Lesser Betty–because even non-faves still hit that sweet spot. They’re still A Betty Book.

And Betty Books are a thing unto themselves. Wonderful, old-fashioned even for the time they were published, an acquired taste. They’re somewhat ridiculous, and wholly a delight. Dogs and cats and faithful family retainers abound, as do RDDs (Rich Dutch Doctor heroes). The heroine often traipses around on a travelogue or hop-scotches from thankless task to thankless task, while the vastly proportioned RDD plays close to the vest, bides his time, and guilds them to a quiet, and quietly earned, HEA. Not everyone clicks with Betty–that’s just how books+readers go–but if you do, oh you do, and welcome to the land of TGB (The Great Betty) and being a Betty Devotee.

I have friends across the globe thanks to Betty. As a reader, I have a sure place of escapism that provides long, aching or satisfied sighs, and dreamy interludes. As an author, I have the spark of all she achieved in my mind, and heart.

Two For Trust is my ode, my homage, my love letter to Betty. It’s not quite a missing title from her canon, but I wrote it to fit cozily on the bookshelf alongside hers. I owe her that much, and am elated to have the opportunity. If, like me, you love the old, tropey, vintage Harlequins–see the names above, Betty especially–Two For Trust is my love letter to you, too.

Enjoy. <3

Two For Trust is a sweet, Bettyesque, contemporary category. Available May 15 from Dreamspinner Press @ all the usual book-buying outlets.

My Books

One Month Left

Only one month before my latest book is out! I’m so pleased to share the perfect & amazing cover that artist Bree Archer created for me:

A fairy-tale vacation—if he can get the ending right.

American nurse Finch Mason steps beyond the comfort of his orderly life and takes a dream trip to England, complete with a National Trust Pass so he can visit numerous historical sites. At the first one on his list, he’s warmly welcomed—and told he bought a pass good for two.

Finch doesn’t hesitate to offer the pass to Benedict, a handsome Brit also there on an outing. They spend a magical week touring the countryside, and while it’s too soon to get attached, Finch wishes their time together would never end.

Then Finch finds himself stuck abroad with no money, and he has no one to turn to but Benedict. Benedict is happy to help, but he also owes Finch some answers—such as who he really is and why he was at the estate where they first met.


Two For Trust is a contemporary, sweet category romance for Dreamspinner Press’ Dreamspun Desires line. Snap it up May 15.

My Books

Everything About: Drawn

My latest book is out! Purchase DRAWN at all the usual book-getting places.

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Find out more!

Fun extras!

friday fun five

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! Today’s guest is Macky from Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews. Thanks, Macky!

To know more about Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews, check out their blog or see what they are up to on Twitter (@Sinfully_MMBlog). Their ongoing triumph is running Sinfully Gay Romance, a review site dedicated to bringing you the best in reviews, news, new releases & more in all things LGBTQ Romance. Sinfully Gay Romance can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.

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1) Is there any one thing you simply can’t travel without?

Well, the first thought that comes to mind is clothes (haha) but if we’re talking gadgets then as an avid reader, it’s got to be my preciousssssssss Kindle: “Sophie”, named in memory of my favourite fur baby who is now sadly in pussy cat heaven.  Holidays, car journeys, shopping, doctors, dentist…the loo…where I go, she goes.

2) White water rafting or lake pontoon float?

I’ll go for the less turbulent lake pontoon float… White water rafting sounds exciting but I don’t think they do life jackets for Kindles do they?  *Grins*

3) Around the house: fresh cut flowers in vases or tons of potted plants?

Oh definitely fresh cut, although I much prefer to see flowers thriving in their natural habitat. Unfortunately when it comes to anything growing in soil,  my thumbs are more ‘black death’ (*gulp*) than the proverbial green so I tend to admire potted plants from afar…and I mean afar! Too close and I can wilt a plant just by breathing on it!

4) What is your favorite word?

Actually I have two—Harrumph and Pshaw! Lol, granted you don’t see them used much, and I’ve yet to hear anybody actually utter those exact words, but somehow when you see them written down in the right context, they do seem to perfectly express what they’re meant to portray. Personally I don’t think we Harrumph or Pshaw enough nowadays! 😉

5) If you had unlimited access to any ancient monument, where would you explore?

Definitely somewhere mystical and spiritual like Stonehenge. I can only imagine how amazing it must feel, visiting and exploring somewhere so ancient. Steeped in mythology and lore, the atmosphere must be palpable in a place as mysterious as that. Although knowing my luck I’d probably anger the spirits of the Druids and end up unleashing the pagan god of a thousand pustulating pimples! So perhaps not! Disneyland’s been around a long time hasn’t it? Perhaps I’d be safer exploring there! Lol.

friday fun five

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! Today’s guest is Debra from Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews. Thanks, Debra!

To know more about Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews, check out their blog or see what they are up to on Twitter (@Sinfully_MMBlog). Their ongoing triumph is running Sinfully Gay Romance, a review site dedicated to bringing you the best in reviews, news, new releases & more in all things LGBTQ Romance. Sinfully Gay Romance can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.

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1) If you could safely have any animal as a pet what critter companion would you choose?

I’m a cat person so if I could I would have a big cat like a tiger or maybe a jaguar.

2) Rocking dance club or cozy little pub?

I love to dance and have done my share of clubbing, but these days it’s definitely a cozy pub, preferably with some live music and a good beer selection.

3) Sunrises: Get up early or stay up late to see them?

Before I was a mom it would probably have been stay up late, but with my daughter’s school schedule it’s get up early whether I want to or not!  If I had a choice though most days I’d be sleeping through it.

4) What is your favorite word?

What does it say about me that my favorite word is a curse word?  Since this is a classy blog and I’m a classy lady I’ll default to enigma.

5) This is a Leap Year–how will you commemorate/celebrate Leap Day?

Leap Day will probably be spent trying to catch up on all the things I didn’t do the day before!  Maybe I’ll get to sneak in another book – do you have any recommendations? 🙂


Debra started reading gay romance in 2012 and hasn’t stopped since!  tardisShe has a TBR that can’t possibly be conquered in her lifetime, but that doesn’t stop her from adding new books daily.  She couldn’t be happier to be sharing her love of the genre as a member of the Sinfully blog team along with Monique, Mark and Macky.

friday fun five

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Shae Connor. Thanks, Shae.

To know more about Shae Connor, check out her website, shaeconnorwrites.com, or see what she’s up to on Twitter (@shaeconnor). Her latest literary triumph, Nobody’s Son is available here.

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 1) Are you good with needles (knitting, cross-stitch, embroidery that is).

My first thought was hypodermic needles, and the answer there would be a big no, LOL! I used to do a lot of cross-stitch, but I haven’t picked up a needle in years. I sewed some when I was younger, too, but I’ve never picked up a knitting needle.

2) Christmas Music: before Thanksgiving, only after Thanksgiving, or never at all?

My family has a tradition of listening to Christmas music on November 1, so we can hear it at home before we hear it in stores. Other than that, though, I don’t start listening to it on purpose until after Santa appears at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That’s my “official” start of the holiday season!

3) Eggnog or mulled wine?

Eggnog, especially in a latte and/or spiked with Buttershots.

4) What is your favorite word?

Recalcitrant. I just love the way it rolls off the tongue. Eclectic is another favorite. 🙂

5) With a limitless budget to spend the winter holidays in any other country, where will you go and what will you do?

Ireland. I’ve always wanted to go, and being there during the holidays would be extra special. I’d hit the usual tourist spots: Dublin, Waterford, Galway, the Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle—as many as I can fit in. My family traces back to the southwestern part of the country, so I’d want to spend as much time there as possible.


Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisicalShaeConnor_Pic2 government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching baseball, and reading voraciously, and she’s an annual volunteer for the Dragon Con on-site publication, the Daily Dragon. You can email her at shaeconnorwrites@gmail.com.

friday fun five

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Skylar M Cates. Thanks, Skylar.

To know more about Skylar M Cates, find her on Facebook and Twitter. Her latest literary triumph is A Guy’s Thanksgiving, available here.

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1) Do you make sure to follow any superstitious practices about anything–just in case?

Just telling my family I love them before we part for the day.

2) Hot mulled cider or cold hard cider?

Hot mulled cider (even though I live in Florida, drinking the hot stuff lets me imagine some cold weather).

3) Tons of fluffy pillows or one flat pillow only?

Fluffy (although my dog might steal them!).

4) What is your favorite word?

This one is too hard for me to select. I used to like decadent and loquacious for their sound. For meaning? Love!

5) If you could live for one day as a famous person from the past, who would you be?

Walt Whitman


Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. skylarSkylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.

friday fun five

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is DeAnna C Zankich. Thanks, DeAnna.

To know more about DeAnna C Zankich, follow her blog or see what she’s up to on Pinterest and Facebook. Her most recent literary triumph is Honey in the Rock, the first in her Arabesque series, available here.

Arabesque

1) Is there a song you will always rewind to hear again once it’s played?

I’m a child of the ‘70’s and one song that reminds of happy times as a kid is “Follow You Follow Me” by Genesis. It would be worn out on my iPod if it were possible to do that. And lately, I’ve been obsessing over the theme song for the Starz series ‘Outlander’. The composer, Bear McCreary, rearranged a Celtic folk song into something purely magical. It evokes not only Scotland (which has always called my soul and person), but also the deep wanderlust at the core of all explorers. I play that song to death.

2) Live for a year in the Elizabethan Age or the Gilded Age?

Definitely Elizabethan. The history of the time was exhilarating and I just know I would rock those dresses.

3) Soup or sandwich?

Soup that eats like a sandwich.

4) What is your favorite word?

Detritus. Come on, it’s a great word.

5) Which Greek God fascinates you the most?

Demeter. I’ve played with her traditional description as the goddess of the harvest in my book series. Where the original intent of her worship was about agriculture, I tweak that meaning into referencing the harvest of one’s personal growth.  There’s a secret sexual society in my story who are on a mutual path of self-discovery; they use Demeter as their emblem.


DeAnna wrote her first story when she was nine about an evil stray cat who liked to shred laundry.deanna zankich From there, she experimented with acting, singing, journalism and modern dance, but always came back to her first passion–writing. She’s written three novels but the first one will likely be the last published. She’s a TV nerd and a reluctant, fidgety reader, but once a book hooks her, she plows through ravenously. Her literary heroes are Fitzgerald, Hemingway, McInerney, Tartt and King — she loves ghost stories but fears the dark. DeAnna is a long time resident of West Hollywood, California who really wishes she had freckles. She has a BA in Creative Writing/Novel from CSU Long Beach, and studied writing at Cambridge University in the UK. That’s probably where she became such an incurable Anglophile. Arabesque and its cast chose her as their storyteller almost fifteen years ago and the project has been a labor of love ever since.

Uncategorized

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Raine O’Tierney. Thanks, Raine.

To know more about Raine O’Tierney, check out raineotierney.com or see what she’s up to on twitter (@Raineotierney). Her latest literary triumph is the TOTALLY FREE Sing Me Your Love Song and is available here.

SingMeYourLoveSong-PDF


1) Do you check your horoscope on a regular basis?

I don’t, but I *love* my sign–Pisces. We’re supposedly creative folk! I’d like to believe it’s true. We might just be fishy. (Baddup-pssh!)

2) Transcontinental railroad trip or cruise around the Cape of Good Hope?

Transcontinental railroad trip! One of my most exciting adventures was taking the train for the first time in Japan. I’ve actually never been on a train in the U.S. but as long as I have somewhere to place my Chromebook, I think I would be quite happy riding the rails for days on end.

3) Christmas décor: simple and rustic or decked out to the nines?

Okay, I adore Christmas decorations–I do! But I sometimes feel like they are meant for people who are not quite as, erm, lazy as I am. We have a two foot tree. Fold out branches. It comes with lights attached. And yet there are years I can’t be bothered to get it out of the box and put it on the table.

4) What is your favorite word?

Lionheart.

5) How would you spend one Saturday/overnight/Sunday in Las Vegas?

Researching! Gambling (for research), seeing shows (for research), eating and drinking (for research), talking to the hookers? (For research!) I actually have no idea. I’m really more of a ‘Go to the movies’ than ‘Go to Vegas’ sort of gal. 😉


Raine O’Tierney wants to change the world… one sweet story at a time. Known as “The Queen of the Sweetness” Raine_OTierney(well, a few people have said it anyway!) Raine loves writing sweet, character-driven stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and… friskiness? In addition to her solo works, she’s one half of a collaborative team with author Debbie McGowan. When she’s not writing, Raine is either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. She believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or discussing which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!