Sunday, 24 May 2015

FREE READ: TIME TO SAY GOODBYE

I found this little short on an old USB, and thought I'd share it here...


Mack stood at the window and gazed across the field. The sun had broken through the clouds and cast an almost angelic glow upon the waving grass. He wished he had his camera with him so he could capture the moment forever, but it had been broken three weeks ago when—
“Hey.”
He turned and his heart skipped a beat as Aaron walked into the room. Even after all this time the mere sight of him still made Mack’s pulse quicken and his breath hitch in his throat.
“Hey yourself,” Mack replied softly, watching as Aaron lowered his muscled frame into the chair, his gaze downcast, avoiding looking directly at Mack.
He knew this was hard for Aaron. How could it not be? It wasn’t exactly easy for him either. But there was no other choice. The decision had already been made—this was the only way it could end.
“I'm sorry about last night,” Aaron's mumbled, lips curved in a rueful smile. “You always said I was the mature one—not. I guess I’ve proved you right in more ways than one over the last few weeks.”
“Aaron—”
“This is so hard, man.” Aaron cut him off. “I wish you’d just tell me what I'm supposed to say.” He ran a hand through his hair, which looked as though it could do with a wash and Mack frowned as he noted Aaron still wore yesterday's clothes. Not that he would say anything. After all, wasn’t he the cause of Aaron’s pain?
“We both know this is the right thing, the only thing to do,” Mack murmured. He wanted to kiss him so badly but knew he couldn't, not now.
Aaron clasped his hands together between his knees and his hazel eyes filled with tears. His voice cracked when he began to speak and the sound of it broke Mack’s heart.
“I know this is the right thing, I do,” Aaron said, throat thick with emotion he could no longer hold back. “But I thought we were gonna make it, you know? We were supposed to be together forever.”
“Me too,” Mack whispered. “But we can't… not now.” Mack laid his cheek against the top of Aaron's head and his heart swelled as Aaron leaned into his touch. They stayed like that for a few minutes then Mack took a deep breath and moved away, back to the window.
“Come on, Al,” Mack urged. “It’s all on you now. You can do this.”
The tears ran freely down Aaron’s face but Mack felt a surge of pride as Aaron stood up and squared his shoulders before he closed the distance between them.
Oh God. This is it. We're really gonna do this. It was hard to swallow past the lump in his own throat at Aaron’s approach.
“I will always love you.”Aaron took his hand and bent to press a tender kiss to Mack’s lips.
“And I you,” Mack whispered, blinking back the tears.
He watched the scene from the window as Aaron sank back onto the plastic hospital chair, his shoulders shaking with the force of his grief. Mack watched as his and Aaron's families filed slowly into the room, the doctor close behind them.
Mack stared at himself in the bed—wishing he could feel Aaron's fingers on his as the doctor turned off the machine that had kept his heart pumping since the accident three weeks ago. When it was done the doctor silenced the continuous beep and Mack’s stomach tightened at the weight of the hand on his shoulder. But his fear was short-lived when he was soothed by the gentle voice and soft smile of the elderly woman beside him as she took his hand. He cast one more glance at Aaron and felt their love wash through him.

One day they’d meet again, but now it was his time to say goodbye.

Friday, 15 May 2015

MM Romance Meeting - Italy 2015


Saturday 9 May was the first MM Romance Meeting in Italy and my bestie, Sue Brown and I were very lucky to experience it first hand. The event was put together by Barbara Cinelli, owner of Triskell Edzioni and Emanuela Piasentini of Dreamspinner Italia. They did a beautiful job and I know there will be many more to come.

I've been to conventions before but this was an altogether different experience. The warmth and passion of the readers was overwhelming. And I met some Facebook friends face to face - it was lovely. The response to our stories left us both speechless and in total awe. We even managed to pull off a panel with the help of the lovely Emanuela handling the translation of the questions and answers. And when one of the attendees thanked us for writing because our stories for her were like breathing, I was just stunned. For me, to know what I do has touched someone in that way... well, it's everything.

I think my favourite answer of the con has got to be when one of the lovely attendees in response to the question we get asked the most, "Why do you read MM romance?" said, "I like chocolate and I don't have to justify it - and I like MM romance, so why should I justify that?"

We were also able to meet some uber-talented Italian authors.
Cristina Bruni, who was the sweetest person I've ever met. Amarilli Settantatre Moro and Valerio la Martire.
It was so nice to meet other authors from our genre whom we wouldn't have met if it were not for the meeting. And I don't think I'm alone in saying it would be wonderful to see their work translated into English, just as ours is being translated into Italian!













Also on the guest list was the lovely Elisa Rolle LGBT couples through the ages and I know it's been a labour of love for her. And you can get your copy HERE!

Her passion and commitment to the genre is amazing. And she is one of the coolest people I know.

She is a steadfast supporter of the LGBT community and also runs the annual Rainbow Awards.



We also met Francesco D'Alessio and Matteo Rocchi, the due behind the Italian G&T Webseries headed a brilliant panel.

They're obviously incredibly passionate about their art and have sunk every penny they have into it, writing, directing, filming etc by themselves.

I have watched the first season since I got home and I loved it! Please do the clicky thing on the link and check it out. You won't regret it - and there are subtitles!



They have also filmed a fabulous spot for marriage equality which you can find on YouTube! 

It was a fantastic day and I am so glad I was able to be a part of it!

Needless to say, we couldn't leave Venice without doing the tourist bit, including the waterbus, San Marco and The Basilica. The artwork and architecture was breathtaking and I can't wait to go back!

So, a big thank you again to everyone who made us feel so welcome and to Barbara for inviting us - it was a weekend I'll never forget.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

BLOG TOUR: FAMILY JEWELS BY M J O'SHEA!



A big welcome to M J O'Shea who is stopping by on her wonderful blog tour for her new release, Family Jewels! Before we start, I asked M J a few questions....

1.            Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Definitely a plotter! There’s always room for changes and improvements on the original plot, but I find half the fun is sitting there with a blank sheet of paper mapping out what’s going to happen.

2.            Where do you get your titles from?

All over, really. Sometimes I think of a fun title and then make up a story to go with it, sometimes the book is done and I’m STILL trying to think of a title that will fit it perfectly. There are a few titles I’ve never been 100% happy with. I think that happens with any job though.

With Corkscrewed, Family Jewels, and the third one X Marks the Spot, I wanted them to have funny, light titles to reflect the light banter-y nature of the books. The titles came before the plots on those ones, I just knew I wanted it to be a con job on a vineyard, a book about a jewel thief, and a classic treasure hunt:)

3.            Who is your favourite character in your new release, and why?

Actually, lol, I really really like Corbin’s mother. She’s nagging and in his business and wants the best for him, just like a lot of mothers would, but she also happens to be incredibly smart and one of the best thieves in the world. She’s never in scene, most of her role comes in the form of phone calls, but I loved writing her and Corbin’s dialogue.

4.            Do you listen to music while you write? If so, do you find different bands work better for
               different types of scenes, and who do you listen to the most?

I actually can’t. haha. I couldn’t even have music on if I was doing something like this. I spent so many years as a music student and musician that I’m very well trained to pay the most attention to that if it’s available for me to pay attention to. I’ll make playlists to listen to while I’m thinking about the book and plotting in my head, and that’s very effective, but other than that it has to be off.

5.            Have you always wanted to be a writer? Or was there another profession you wanted to
               follow while you were growing up?

Yes, and yes:) I have definitely always wanted to be a writer, but I also wanted to be a professional pianist (nearly went that direction), an archaeologist, a muralist, and a dancer (got WAY too tall for that lol). I also wanted to be Peter Pan, lol. Sometimes I feel sorry for my mother…

6.            If you could visit any country in the world, which one would you choose?

Oh, MAN. I suppose my top answer is easy. Ireland! A lot of my family at the grandparents level was from there and I’ve never been still. Other than Ireland, my next answer is pretty much everywhere. Or Bora Bora. It looks incredibly beautiful.

7.            How do you overcome writer’s block?

The best way for me is to push it and make myself write something. I might chuck every single word I wrote, but it gets the juices flowing again.

8.            Do you have a set writing timetable for yourself?

No, unfortunately. I probably should but I’ve never been very good with schedules. Probably why I enjoy this career so much. I tend to write at night and do more of the other things like blogging and accounting etc during the day.

9.            What advice would you give to a writer just starting out? And was there a particular piece of
               advice you were given yourself that has stuck with you?

I was on my own at first. When I wrote my first book, I didn’t even know this whole community existed. Everything was quite a bit smaller back in 2010 than it is now. I would say get to know people! Obviously writing is the most important part of being a writer, but everything is more fun and interesting if you have people to bounce ideas off of and talk to.

10.          Finally... if you could have a dinner party and invite five people, living or dead, who would
               they be?

Hmmm let’s see. I think Jane Austen is a given. I love her sarcasm and dry wit. Probably Danny Elfman because I’d love to talk about music with him. Neil Gaiman, Drew Barrymore, and Nathan Fillion because they all seem to have great personalities.

Thank you so much for having me stop by! 




Title: Family Jewels

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Length: 200 Pages

Release Date: 27th April, 2015

Blurb: Corbin Ford, aka the Nightwatchman, named for the antique pocket watches he leaves behind at jobs, has been in the cat-burgling business for years. His father was. His grandfather was. His mother is still one of the most renowned thieves. Corbin likes his high-profile heists, priceless paintings from private collections, artifacts from museums, but his favorite? Jewels. Sparkly, beautiful jewels. If they’re famous, better yet.

Interpol agent Luke Eldridge has one goal and one goal only: to catch the Nightwatchman. Luke’s been after him for months, but getting the slip time and again is getting embarrassing. Luke has never even laid eyes on the bastard, but he’d happily strangle him. And then arrest him.

When Luke meets Corbin, the man of his dreams, he falls hard and fast… only to catch Corbin red-handed with his hand in a jewelry case at the scene of the highest-profile murder that’s rocked the international world in years.




London, March.

“We’ve got something you need to see, Luke. You’d better get over here now.”

Luke Eldridge sighed into his phone. He glanced at the slices of pizza he’d just picked up from a food cart down on the Camden Lock. Looked like there was more cold pizza in his future. Typical. Irritating, but typical.

“Where are you?” Luke asked. He dragged himself off his soft leather couch. It made a disgusting squelching sound. Luke turned and halfheartedly wiped the seat off. He was tired from the run he’d forced himself to take, wet, and starting to chill as heat escaped through his damp T-shirt. The last thing he wanted to do was get back into a suit and go out in the cold he’d just escaped from.

Rob, one of his oldest friends from his days in the FBI academy, rattled off a very upper crust Kensington address.

“Jesus. Is this one going to make the morning press?” Luke asked. People who lived at addresses like that tended to make the news. His job was always harder when he had a ton of panicking socialites breathing down his neck guarding their beloved possessions. He didn’t need them or the news vans outside his crime scene.

“Probably. I’ll try to put it off as long as I can, but you know how it works. Just get your ass over here. Waterman’s on my dick already.”

“Sounds unpleasant.” Luke chuckled under his breath. “Does that surprise you?”

“Not really.”

Didn’t surprise Luke either. Their division chief within Interpol Art Crimes was all about the high profile cases. Art, jewelry, anyone with a Lord or Lady attached to their name. Even the odd Sir here and there. Cases like that were good press for the agency, he always said. Probably more like good for getting his face on the camera. Waterman was a media whore extraordinaire. Usually Luke didn’t care, but when they were in the middle of trying to open a case, it kind of pissed him off.

Luke felt it would be better to deal with the press after they had some solid leads, or, you know, someone in custody, but far be it for him to correct Waterman. He’d spent the last eight years trying to overcome the hereditary American-ness Waterman deemed a deep character flaw. If he started correcting the guy now, he might as well sign his own pink slip.

“I can be there in fifteen minutes. Waterman won’t even be done fixing his hair for the cameras,” Luke told Rob. He was already in his suit pants and shaking out his dress shirt. It felt a little stale from a long day, but he wasn’t going to put on a new one for a late evening call. If all went well, Luke would be back in his sweats and on his couch in less than an hour.

“Try to make it ten. I’m not in the mood to get my skin pulled off a strip at a time.”

He sounded like his typical sarcastic self, but the tone of his friend’s voice was different. Worried, maybe. “What’s going on, Rob? What are you leaving out?”

“There’s something weird about this one. Might cause us a lot of shit in the near future if I’m right.”

“Are you going to tell me or play guessing games?” Luke wasn’t in the mood to play anything. All he wanted to do was eat some still-warm pizza, crawl into bed, and sleep for days—or at least until his alarm went off at six. He’d gotten way too little sleep lately. He hadn’t gotten enough sleep in years.

Rob cleared his throat nervously. “You need to see this for yourself. Just get here, man.”

Luke disconnected the call. He finished dressing, shoved one piece of his pizza on a paper towel, and grabbed his keys. He could eat it on the way without ruining his suit. Even if he spilled, fuck it. Luke wasn’t going to sacrifice one more decent dinner to the cause.

It had rained earlier, and the London streets were still slick and dark, half frozen in the early spring chill, but at least it was quiet. The air was close to freezing, too. Unseasonably low temps, but sadly not by much. After all the years he’d been in London, the winters still got to him, cold and wet, the kind that seemed to creep all the way into the center of his chest—nothing like his childhood home in South Carolina or even Virginia, where he’d lived and worked his first few years out of the academy. Sometimes Luke missed the old optimistic years at Quantico. These days it seemed like the cold was impossible to shake. It seeped into his bones and camped out until nothing he did could warm him through.

I’m getting old.

The stone row houses slipped past, nestled together, dark on the outside like everything else, interiors shining and cheery against the insidious, creeping chill. Everyone who knew better was inside somewhere, enjoying dinner, relaxing with the people they loved. They didn’t look alone. He’d figured long ago his hopes for being one of them had probably passed. Luke loved his job, it was his life, but some nights he wouldn’t mind a break. Luke bypassed their unit’s Westminster offices in favor of going straight to the scene. He didn’t need anything but what he had on him. Hopefully he’d be in and out in time for the late news.



DSP Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6318





I’m Mj O’Shea:) I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state and while I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.

I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then.

When I’m not writing, I love to play the piano, dance, cook, paint pictures, and of course read! I like sparkly girly girl things, own at least twenty different colored headbands, and I have two little dogs who sit with me when I write. Sometimes they comes up with ideas for me too…when they’re not busy napping.








Newsletter --
Sign up for MJ O'Shea's newsletter for updates, exclusive contests, excerpts and more...




Get a chance to win a PAPERBACK of Family Jewels by M.J. O’Shea! 

5 Runners Up get an e-copy each from the author’s backlist. Enter the Rafflecopter NOW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway















May 15: The Purple Rose Tea House || Cia’s Stories

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Saturday, 21 March 2015

HOPE GIVEAWAY



Ash Watts ha esattamente la vita che vuole: una fiorente carriera, uno splendido ragazzo e un appartamento con una vista favolosa su Los Angeles. Ma il suo mondo perfetto crolla quando apprende della morte prematura della sua unica sorella. Quando atterra a Freedom, in Alabama, non trova solo una piccola città ad attenderlo, ma anche segreti che potrebbero cambiargli per sempre la vita. 

Kaleb Gibson, cowboy nato e cresciuto a Freedom, aveva trovato la sua migliore amica in Annie Watts dal momento in cui era arrivata in città. La sua morte ha lasciato un buco nel suo cuore e, nonostante il fratello di Annie abbia i suoi stessi capelli scuri e i suoi stessi occhi verdi, Kaleb non riesce a perdonarlo per aver trascurato la sorella quando lei aveva bisogno di lui più. 

Alcune rivelazioni contenute nel testamento di Annie uniranno Kaleb e Ash in modi che non avrebbero mai immaginato. Sarà in grado Kaleb di rispettare le ultime volontà di Annie senza uccidere il suo amato fratello e senza rivelare un segreto del proprio passato che potrebbe distruggere tutto? E Ash resterà abbastanza a lungo da capire che Freedom potrebbe regalargli una vita ancora più perfetta? 



“Buongiorno, miei cari. Ho deciso di regalare una copia cartacea di “Hope”, grazie alla cortesia della Triskell Edizioni.

Tutto ciò che dovete fare è lasciare un commento con il vostro indirizzo email e il nome del cowboy che vi è piaciuto di più tra quelli incontrati nei libri.

La mia stilosa assistente sceglierà un vincitore il prossimo fine settimana.

Divertitevi e grazie per la partecipazione!”

P.S. Grazie a Barbara per la traduzione

Sunday, 1 February 2015

What did you just say?

Tammy Wynette was right. Kids do say the darndest things. Those of us with the wonderful little soul-sucking parasites will know the unbridled laughter that comes with some of the random stuff our rugrats spew forth.

I post a lot of my random conversations with my children on my Facebook wall, and my friend, Mary, is always telling me I should write them down and make an altogether different book from the one I usually write. The biggest difference of all being that you really can't make this shit up!

Let's start off with the time when Alex was very young and playing on his toy phone. I was in the kitchen when I heard him throw the phone down and declare, "Blucking phone!" I knew what he meant to say, which beggared the question of how many times I'd sworn on the phone, so I admonished him for saying a bad word. His response? "But, Mummy, I only said blucking I didn't say barst'd."

Then, of course, one particularly difficult bedtime, in the attempt to get maybe just sixty more seconds out of me, he got up for the umpteenth time to inform me that he didn't want to get up, he was just coming in to tell me his hair was growing. I must confess, that is one of my favourites. Along with watching him put his Teddy on the naughty square for a time out and instructing him that while he was there he should think about why he was there.

Of course, it didn't end there. When he entered year four he told me he was excited because they were going to be playing with giblets in class. My first thought was, I hope they'll be wearing gloves, followed by, what the hell are they doing with the inside of a chicken? So I asked him. "What are you doing with giblets, Al?" "Well," he said. "We're going to feed them and clean their cage and hold them." After staring blankly at him for several moments I realised what he was talking about. "Do you mean gerbils?" "Yes. That's what I said." No, love, it really wasn't.

Oh and when we got our new car and were deciding whether to give it a boy's name or a girl's name. Alex suggested it would be a good idea if we waited until we went to get petrol and then had a look underneath to see which sex it was.... and yes... he was deadly serious.

Gracie is just as bad, if not worse. She's the more practical and caustic of my sproglets. There are beautiful Kodak moments such as the time when she turned 9 and asked me not to stop singing her special song to her. I of course replied, "Not even when you're 99." To which she said sleepily, "I love you mummy.... but you do know you'll be dead when I'm 99 don't you?" Kodak moment gone.

And this week's classic when she found out I didn't breast feed her. "Thank God. I wouldn't like the taste of breast food. Boobs are for lying on, not eating on."

Which was followed by an even better one by Alex... "Mum why do cannonballs eat people?" He meant cannibals and was most miffed with me when I nearly laughed up a lung.

There are so many I couldn't possibly remember them all, so I suppose I should start writing 'em down. Even if it's just for them to look back on in year's to come.

What about your mini-me's? What are the little conversations that have stuck in your mind?


Sunday, 25 January 2015

JUST JACK BY MEREDITH RUSSELL


My new release, Just Jack, is out now. At heart I am a big softy, so writing Just Jack was a way to bring together some of my favourite things – the magic of winter and snow, fairy tales, fantasy, and romance.

Blurb

When the line between fairy tales and magic, and the real world become blurred, can love really conquer anything?

Leo Marsh is having a bad day. He just caught his boyfriend cheating on him, and not for the first time, then he falls, quite literally, for a man who has to be too good to be true.

When Leo slips and falls on some ice in front of Jack, Jack sees something all too familiar in Leo's eyes. For over fifty years, Jack has existed in a solitary life of ice and bitterness. Just like Leo, he was betrayed by a man he loved, and swore no one would ever break his heart again: he gave up on love, and it seemed love had given up on him.

But if by fate or magic, Jack and Leo find their paths crossing for a second time, and with a little guidance from friends, dare to take a chance on each other. The problem is, Jack isn't the charming and uncomplicated guy Leo thinks he is. When Jack gave away his ability to love, he became something else, someone cold and unloving. He became Jack Frost.

As Jack and Leo get closer, Jack is left torn and confused. Jack yearns for anything that reminds him of his humanity, but the truth is, he feels nothing, not warmth, not love, and he knows he might never be able to love Leo the way he deserves to be loved.

Buy Links





Excerpt

It was seven in the morning, barely light. The early risers heading for work were up and out in their driveways, complaining about the cold as they defrosted their cars. The sidewalk was covered in fresh snow, which glistened beneath the man-made lights and was, as yet, undisturbed by human feet, just a spattering of prints from birds and what was possibly a cat. Jack loved the cold, and he smiled as a chilling breeze circled him, carrying with it the fresh scent of the day and the crisp brown leaves that had fallen from the trees. The prickle of cold against his skin was one of his favorite feelings, like a thousand icy fingers pinching at his arms and face. God, how he loved it.

Opening the top button of his jacket, he savored the cold against his chest and gently traced his fingertips over his chilled skin. He breathed deeply, content with his icy touch and the feel of the cool air whipping up around him. What he wouldn’t give to be wrapped up in a blanket of cold. To slip inside the deliciously chilled wind and zip it up as if it were a sleeping bag made just for him.

Holding out his hand in front of him, Jack encouraged the breeze into a spiral that wrapped around his arm and caused a delightful shiver to pass through him. The air glowed the most beautiful shade of blue as it danced around Jack, and his chest ached from the knowledge this beauty was only for him—and those like him—to see. Anyone watching would think he was mad. They wouldn’t see the dance of blue and silver, nor would they hear the wind’s angelic song reverberating in the air.

Jack stroked the breeze as it snaked through his fingers, gently drawing moisture from it and into the palm of his hand. He rotated his fingers, spinning the moisture into a sphere, and then gently teased it with his icy breath until the sphere hardened. The size of a tennis ball, the sphere became a ball of ice, and Jack flicked it into the air and caught it.

“Perfect,” he said.

The ball was smooth, flawless, and transparent. He reached out his other hand and dragged his fingers over the hedge he passed. The leaves of the hedge crackled and curled in on themselves beneath his touch, which left them coated in wintry white frost. All he needed now was someone to have a little fun with. He grinned at the thought.

A dog barked, and Jack looked ahead. “Perfect,” he said again and teased the ball between his finger and thumb.

Giveaway

Love Lane Books are running a competition to celebrate the release of Just Jack. There is a chance to win a $15 gift card for Amazon/Are and 2 e-books. You can enter via Rafflecopter  HERE


About Meredith

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.