Friday, November 27, 2015

The Post-Thanksgiving, Post-NaNo Conundrum...

There are so many things to be thankful for, serious and important things, and I'm thankful for all of those: my family, good health, having a home and food, being able to express my views freely.

There's a lighter side to life, though, and I'd like to take a moment to be thankful for some wonderfully silly things. I'm thankful for making my NaNo word count.I'm thankful for leftovers when I'm still not quite over the delicious but slightly stressful dinner preparations yesterday. I'm thankful for light-hearted challenges that let me take a step back from that NaNo novel, also known as the Mess That Ate My Brain, and write something frivolous, just for the sheer fun of it.

Sometimes I think we need to step back and, in the face of the often overwhelming seriousness of our lives, just take the time to have fun. We take fun for granted, but it's actually essential. I can't recharge those creative batteries when stressed, but if I've had a good laugh, I can find the energy to rethink a plotline, or get past something that's been blocking the flow of a story.

So let me be thankful for silliness, for belly laughs that make me cry, for the ability to laugh at myself.

Why I am not a good writer...

Hello, everyone! 

I did NaNoWriMo again this year. This was my sixth consecutive year, and I'm happy to say that I've managed to make my word count every one of those years. But this year, I realized that I'm really not a good writer.

Oh, what I write is fine. I'm not churning out deathless prose that will be analyzed extensively and taught to freshmen in universities everywhere. But my work is readable, and often even enjoyable, or so I'm told. Some of it is even pretty good, if I do say so myself. Nothing like patting one's self on the back every now and then.

No, the reason I'm not a good writer is that everything is so very distracting. You see, I like to research when I write, because even when I'm writing a fantasy world, I like things to be plausible. So, I go online and I look around. Before you know it, I'm off in some obscure corner of the Internet, looking at things that have absolutely no relation to what I was researching. Granted, they might be interesting, and once or twice, even serving as inspiration for a new project, but for pity's sake! I've lost entire afternoons of writing time to these excursions.

In the bad old days, before PCs and the Internet, I went to libraries to research things. It took more time, because I had to actually go out to the physical location, and find the books I wanted, and grumble about not being allowed to take ten books at a time ("Other people need to look things up, too, young lady!"). I'd sit, and make notes until my hand cramped and my stomach announced that I needed sustenance, but boy, did I research. There weren't cats,or corgis, or news updates, or music videos with songs I'd forgotten how much I liked.

And yet, I can't quite bring myself to regret my lost afternoons. After all, how else would I have learned who was buried in Trinity Cemetery, or how to use those annoying but inedible horse chestnuts to make a quite nice exfoliating soap? I may not be a good writer, but I'm certainly happy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Little known things about Tucker

So, Tucker is a man of many talents. (Tor would add a couple of things to the list that I'm not going to post here, but you can imagine.) Here are a few little-known facts about him.

1. Favorite ice cream: Rocky Road.

2. He, much like Jake, has a fondness for cooking. His style is more southern, though, so not quite as healthy. Once he discovered Tor liked biscuits, he's been making them often.

3. He prefers gimme caps to cowboy hats, although he has both. It's very rare to see him without a backwards John Deere trucker hat on.
4. He can change his own oil, brake pads, and do minor engine repairs on his truck.

5. It took a while, but he definitely thinks that 2+2=4.

Thanks for hanging out with us today! You can buy Never Too Early: Full Circle HERE, and you can get it for 25% off if you use the code THANKFUL2015.

Jake has things, too.

One of the little known bits about Jake is that at some point he became fascinated with cooking. It certainly wasn't the case during Bareback and Natural Disaster, but when he was feeding Jacob he somehow got a few skills and it sparked an interest.

One of his favourite things to cook is Greek, both because he enjoys the process and the taste, but also because Chance loves to eat it.

Here are a few of his faves:



Stuffed Grape Leaves

Tzatziki (which is his go to dip for EVERYTHING)

And of course Baklava.  Fantastic.  Now I'm hungry....

He cooks a little in the books -- check 'em out. :D  They're on special.


Author Extra: Thicker Than Bone By Matthew J. Metzger

Thicker Than Bone
By Matthew J. Metzger

If you could save someone's life, would you? Anyone's?
Ali's older brother has a swastika tattooed on his knuckles, a prison ID number for nearly beating a man to death for the crime of being Middle Eastern, and spent his teenage years ruthlessly persecuting Ali for being gay.

Blood may be thicker than water, but Ali has spent most of his life desperate to prove that he is nothing like Tony. A committed vegetarian, charity-supporter, and blood donor, Ali would do anything for anyone, and is frequently teased by his partner, Yazid, for being too soft-hearted. Ali may share parentage with Tony, but he is determined not to share anything else if he can help it.

So when Tony contracts leukaemia, and Ali is the only match for the urgently-needed bone marrow transplant, Ali is caught between two equally awful choices: to refuse, and condemn a man to death, or to donate.

And in donating, save the life of the man who nearly murdered Ali's Iraq-born boyfriend?

Author Extra:

7th February 2009


Ali's day was going badly.


Firstly, the blood donation had been unusually painful, and Ali's arm was still throbbing an hour and a half later. Secondly, the nurse had been like a total vampire, 'cause Ali swore he was missing two pints, not one. He still felt woozy, for God's sake. And thirdly, it was chucking it down, making the usually pleasant wander across Leeds city centre for the bus home...well, kind of crap, actually.


Hurting, dizzy, and wet. Not Ali's three favourite feelings, it had to be admitted. And a thirty-minute bus journey before he could get home and just relax...urgh. He needed, like, a bucket of coffee for this.


He hitched his collar up as he headed for Kirkgate Market. Coffee. And there was only one decent place to get coffee, in Ali's opinion. The fact that was a clear jog right across the pouring city centre wasn't a bonus point, nor was the small issue of Ali being too dizzy to come anywhere close to jog, but the cafe was always steaming hot. He could drink it inside, for once, dry off, then jog for the bus at the nearby station once he'd topped up his sugar levels, right?


And then...


God knew what then. Ali had been at a loose end lately. He'd moved out recently, finally fed up with the family home, but living on your own wasn't so great, really. And now he had some freedom from his totally awful family, maybe it was time to try dating again — only therein lay the problem. Ali was out of practice. His older brother had put paid to any idea of dating before Ali had moved out, and in the last few months, Ali had discovered he really had no idea how to--


"Watch it!"


Out of the rain and the gloomy rush of Ali's thoughts, a man appeared. Or more specifically, a man's hand, clutching a steaming cup of coffee. And then the man's chest followed, in rapid succession, hard and unyielding — Ali slammed into him at full dizzy pelt, knocking both the stranger and the cup flying. There was a flurry of cloth and noise, then a roaring in Ali's ears, and —

"Whoa, hey, you okay?"

There was a hand on his back, bending Ali's neck down. A dry hand, despite the rain, and a voice that wrapped around his ears like an affectionate cat, warm and comfortable, and Ali struggled to inhale and blink back the spinning, dark dots.

"Head between your knees. Come on, I've got you, just sit down a sec--"

"I'm fine, I'm fine," Ali mumbled, reaching out. He grasped the stranger's elbow, and found his jacket to be hot and wet. "Oh my God, did I—"

"Ah, it's alright. Not the first coffee shower I've had," the stranger said.

Ali blinked, focused and —

Paused. The world paused, too. "Ali," he mumbled stupidly, and the stranger's face — that perfect face, dark-skinned and darker-eyed, with a mouth that twitched at one corner and showed off startlingly white teeth and an unholy, all-too-kissable dimple — furrowed in a light frown.


"I'm...oh God, I'm sorry," Ali said, clearing his head and straightening up. The stranger was slim, long legs in drenched jeans. His jacket had mostly fended off the coffee that had been upended over him, and that bright smile glimmered out of his rain-dampened face like a lighthouse off a stormy sea. And Ali knew he was staring, and he knew this was going to ruin an already well-ruined day, because the stranger was simply beautiful, dark and exotic and probably Turkish or something similar, and every man Ali had ever liked had been Turkish-or-something-similar, and—

"Look," the stranger said, "you can buy me a coffee to replace that one, and you sit with me for a bit, yeah? Only you don't look very well, and—"

"Okay," Ali's mouth said, seizing on the chance that his brain knew would be a bad idea. "Um. I mean—"

The man laughed, and stuck out a hand for Ali to shake. "It's a date, then?" he said. "Come on. It's just up the street here. Ali, was it?"

"I — yes. Alasdair. Um, Barraclough," Ali added, his tongue clumsy and unwieldy in his mouth. The laugh had been devestating. The way the man ducked his head before his smile broadened was nothing short of stunning, and —

"Yazid," the man said, seized Ali's limp hand, and shook it firmly. "Al-Batari. No 'um.' And I could ask after the coffee, but I might as well try my luck now, while your defences seem down, so — would I have a chance of getting your phone number at some point?"

And just like that, Ali's day was going fine.

Finally Release Day!

Good morning from the west coast of the US! I'm Tory, and my co-host/co-author is Chris Owen. We'll both be here on and off throughout the day to celebrate the release of the final book in the Never Too Early series. Be sure and check back now and then to see fun tidbits about the books and the boys.

And speaking of the boys, let me start by showing you several of the places that Chance has traveled to for the sole purpose of surfing. He loves his beaches, that one.

He's been to Indonesia; specifically, the island of Bali. No resort hotel for Chance, though. He sleeps on the beach whenever possible.

Oaxaca, Mexico. Another favorite of his. This is one trip that Tucker will always go on, for three reasons only. (1) The food. (2) The beer. (3) Chance.

A spot that has great conditions is Honolua Bay in Maui, although Chance finds the crowds there difficult to take. He prefers his water to be less populated. That hasn't stopped him from going there three times, though.

And finally, Tavarua, Fiji. Cloudbreak surf spot has been ranked as one of the ten most challenging in the world. Chance, naturally, needed to determine this for himself, so he went about three years ago to check it out. He agrees with the ranking.

Fun fact: that is actually Kelly Slater in the last picture at Cloudbreak. Kelly Slater is the only famous person to ever catch Chance's eye. Meaning: major crush.


Don't tell Chance I told you.

Today is the day, Gentle Readers, and we are overfull of delight.

I'm Chris, she's Tory, and we'll both be in and out today, linking you up with our new release and sharing some bonus goodies.  Today the third book in our series, Never Too Early, is out! It's the completion of our cowboys-and-medics-romance-of-epicness (totally a word) and it's our joy to finally share it with you.

Plus, LOOK AT THAT COVER. Big props to the artist, Kris Norris.

So pretty. All three of the new covers are so pretty! 

Speaking of pretty... well, no. Speaking of images. I want to share with you a few things today, and the first is a photo spread of Tor's favourite things, aside from Jake, Tucker and Chance.