Prompting SJD Peterson

SJD Peterson has been on my TBR wishlist for a while so I was definitely looking forward to her week in the schedule. Not knowing what to expect, I opted for the stand alone title which also happened to be a theme I like very much – military. I was blown away by Battle Buddy and immediately downloaded the freebie Beyond Duty.

Here is Jo to talk about how Beyond Duty came to be.

So I really had no idea what to write about for my week on MANtastic. I’m in awe of those following this challenge and a little envious. I wish I had more time to read. So, with that being said, I don’t want to make your challenge all the more challenging by suggesting you read Lorcan’s Desire. It’s the first in a series of 5 books. The last one Jess’s Journey will be coming out just in time for GRL (October 8th) So how about a short freebie??

I recently was honored to be part of the Goodread’s M/M Romance group event called “Love is Always Write” The premise is, someone sends in a photo and a story prompt and members can pick and choose from the available ones and write a story. Here is the photo and “Dear Author” letter I chose.

Dear Author,

He’s been in my life for two decades. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ended too late for us as we were months from retirement. We spent so much of our lives in the closet, hiding our love that I worry if we can hold it together when we’re out. I’m scared of losing him. For me, he’s the hottest thing I’ve ever seen still and I know he could get guys half my age without trying hard. Why would he stick with me now? But he always knows…he knows when I need him to center me—to remind me of what we have. We’re in it together to the end.

If an author selects this…I LOVE BDSM. Please, please…

Edited to clarify: I see the man facing forward as a sub and the other man as his dom. They’ve had stolen moments over the years but never the time and privacy to truly explore their D/s needs at the level they have desired. Now they do since they have retired. I enjoy a little angst (no cheating) but definitely want a HEA. Moderate BDSM would work great. Author, up to you if you take this mind. Ultimately, author, if you pick this one I’ll be pleased no matter what you do to give my guys a story!


Available for Free to download at:
All Romance Ebooks | Goodreads

While I have no plans to continue with Mac & Gunny’s story at the moment. If you enjoyed their story and once your challenge is over, may I suggest my short story Battle Buddy available from Silver Publishing. It’s the first book in the “Rough Ranger’s Series” While it’s not Marines, it is Army Rangers and will follow much of the same things Mac & Gunny had to face during their career under Don’t Ask Don’t’ Tell. The second in the series Tuck & Cover will be available early in 2013.

Good Luck with your Challenge

See you at GayRomLit


Army boot camp can push an individual to their limits, both physically as well as mentally. However, for those who pursue the coveted black and gold medal of an Army Ranger, boot camp is a walk in the park compared to the harrowing ordeals experienced during this elite training. It is by far, the toughest and most demanding and by the end, the trainees are left exhausted and emaciated.

For Shane Tucker, a young man with a secret, trying to escape life in a small town, boot camp and Ranger school was the easy part. Being constantly paired up with the gorgeous and cocky Owen Bradford, who had no concept of personal space, was hell on earth.

Buy Link: Silver Publishing

Blurb: John Price and Conner Burnett have been part of the Whispering Pines Ranch for the past thirty-seven years. A loving couple who have overcome every obstacle thrown at them, John and Conner are a testament to the strength of true love. But now John is in the hospital with a diagnosis of cancer, fighting for his very life.

As his lover struggles, Conner looks back on when they first met. The early seventies wasn’t an easy time to be a gay man, especially in a small country town. Considering John’s pride, Conner’s need to be himself, shame, bitterness, and two stubborn natures, their love story almost wasn’t written. But they beat the odds, and Conner will be damned if he’ll let anyone take John from him now. He had the courage to stand up for what he wanted in 1974. If need be, he’ll go toe to toe with God himself to keep the man he fought so hard to love.

Authors Note:
Please note that I am a firm believer in safe sex practices. However, this novel was set in 1974 with no AIDS in sight, and most venereal diseases treated with a simple shot, it was “The golden age of Gay sexuality.”

Buy Link: Dreamspinner

In honor of her August 3rd release day, Jo is offering up a digital copy of Conner’s Courage. To enter, comment below about how many author freebie’s are making up your reading challenge list.

Open until Thursday, August 2nd at 11:59 pm (PST)

Jo has added a print copy of Jess’s Journey to our GRL Reading Challenge Grand Prize. Remember to post your list for your chance to enter.

LA Witt’s Crowded Brain

I know how irritating it can be when I get a song stuck in my head … or some random thing that I just can’t let go of. I can’t imagine creating an entire world and having all the characters clamoring all at once. Or, in some cases … multiple universes.

Here is author, LA Witt, to talk about how she handles it.

They Never Shut Up

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but didn’t find my niche – erotic romance – until late 2008, and that was when I started to really connect with my characters. Though I’ve always gone through life with one foot in a fantasy world, some part of my brain always thinking about this or that story, it was my romance characters who started demanding more than just a little spot in the back of my brain. These days, it’s a safe bet that if I’m not actively engaged in something, I’m thinking about my story. It’s probably a safe bet even if I am engaged in something.

I plotted out most of Something New Under the Sun (the sequel to A Chip In His Shoulder) while driving through the desert. I’ve outlined and written countless stories on planes, in waiting rooms, even in an ER with an IV hooked to my arm. My brain is always in storyland.

The only problem is, this doesn’t stop when I sleep. Or rather, when I try to sleep. I’ve been an insomniac for as long as I can remember, and somewhere along the line, I got into the habit of, when sleeplessness led to boredom, letting my mind wander. No better time to think than while lying in the darkness with nothing else to do. And if a story has really grabbed my attention, I’ll spend hours on end thinking about it when I should be sleeping. Which means, of course, now I sleep even less. Go figure, right?

But seriously, it didn’t take long to figure out that the less a story lets me sleep, the better it probably is. Most of the stories I consider to be my best resulted in days on end of ridiculous amounts of insomnia. I’ve even been known to back burner a story if it couldn’t hold my attention enough to keep me awake.

And right now? Right now I’ve got two stories that refuse to shut up. One contemporary (From Out in the Cold), one futuristic sci-fi (Wireless). Does this mean they’ll be good? Not necessarily. Still have to actually, you know, write them. But the characters certainly have me by the throat and refuse to let go long enough to let me sleep, so fingers crossed that they’re worth the circles under my eyes and the risk of faceplanting on the breakfast table and drowning in my Lucky Charms.

It’s not entirely a bad thing, though. Lying awake at night is a great time to sort out plot issues. The entire climax of Cover Me came to me while I was trying and failing to sleep. It just means I’m consuming massive quantities of caffeine in the daylight so I can stay conscious enough to, like, write it down.

But you know, it beats the hell out of those years when work-related anxiety – did I remember to give those papers to my boss? Did I fax that thing to the customer? Did that shipment go out? I did make it next day air, didn’t I? Oh God, I screwed up that order, I am in so much trouble tomorrow – that used to keep me awake. I mean if I’m going to spend the entire night staring at the ceiling, I’d rather be trying to figure out how my two characters resolve their insane relationship problems than working myself into a panic over who’s going to yell at me tomorrow, you know?

So there you have it: further proof that I am insane.

Oh, and strangely enough, even though I do dream, I never dream about my stories. Go figure, right?

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who, after three years in Okinawa, Japan, has recently relocated to Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a three-headed clairvoyant parakeet named Fred. There is some speculation that this move was not actually because of her husband’s military orders, but to help L. A. close in on her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who has also recently transferred to Omaha. So, don’t anyone tell Lauren. She’s not getting away this time…

Twitter: @GallagherWitt


LA has added a print book to our GRL Reading Challenge Grand Prize. Remember to post your list for your chance to enter.

JM Cartwright Hopes

It’s very hard to make sense of anything during a tragedy. I think it says a lot about a person in how they deal such pressure, surprise, outrage and sadness. For author JM Cartwright, it is very telling that JM’s first instinct is to help, heal and hope.

As I write this, America – and Aurora, Colorado in particular – is reeling from the mass shooting at the premiere of the new Batman movie. It’s hard to even begin to comprehend the measure of evil it takes to perpetrate such an event. I’m finishing edits on my latest book but it sure doesn’t seem important right now.

I watched the coverage continually for the first few hours, but I find now that I can’t tune into it for long. The sadness and horror are more than I want to deal with. But the families and friends of those killed and hurt in Aurora don’t have that luxury, so I feel selfish and callous when I think of them.

There are plenty of folks throwing down opinions in a knee-jerk fashion, and plenty speculating what’s going on in the investigation and what’s in the mind of this killer. Me? I think of those who are in mourning, or hoping their family-members and friends are going to be okay. And once again, we lose more of our innocence.

Now, who’s going to go into a theatre without thinking twice about it? The price of a free society is the risk that goes along with it. We cannot prevent every attack, but at the same time, I wonder what we can do that doesn’t change who we essentially are as a people. How do we protect ourselves yet balance that with living free? It’s a catch-22, one that will go on and be argued endlessly.

In the meantime, my heart goes out to those attacked by this killer; and him I hate with a passion. I want him to receive swift justice and at the same time the death of a thousand cuts. Swift closure will not be granted to the victims. They will suffer the pains of loss and fear, over and over. Their lives are forever changed.

It’s hard to see the beauty and love around us when we experience a horrific event like the shooting in Aurora. I remind myself that life is bigger than the narrow scope of this murderous event, that we will move on and heal. But I hope we will remember, and think of the people in Aurora.

Let us resolve to do something positive to make a difference, to help someone in need, to bring a smile to someone’s face. How else can we begin to shift the balance back to the good? When you see a stranger, say hello. Reach out to someone at work or in the neighborhood you haven’t spoken to before. Make a difference.

Do one thing to make the world a better place.

A little bit of info…

I’ve been a mix of a dreamer and a doer for pretty much my whole life. The doer part is usually in charge. But I think it’s the dreamer that adds the spice, the panache and the zest.

My stories come from both sides – the doer helps me get the damned things done while the dreamer lets me express my creative, artistic side. My day job of running a small business appreciates both parts and I’ve learned to be more patient, more thoughtful as I go through the day-to-day tasks and interact with people. I’ve learned to appreciate a lot more things about my life since I started seriously writing, and I’ve had an entire world opened up to me from the day I was brave enough to click send and submit my manuscript.

I sold A Change Of Tune (which was actually the third book in the Change series that I wrote) first. I felt it was the strongest, which at the time I think was fairly accurate. By working with an incredible editor (Kate, I adore you) the other two got stronger, held a little more depth. I believe that each book I pen reflects my growth as a writer and I’m grateful to those in the business who are helping me, teaching me, letting me virtually hang around and absorb smartness.

The community of writers is an interesting place. Like all industries, it has its quirks, its absolutely riveting drama and its uplifting, triumphant events. I’m really glad to be accepted into it and I hope to broaden the readership for LGBT books.

I grew up in and live in America’s Second City. It’s an exciting place to be and offers lots of professional challenges and opportunities. I do have a hankering for the mountains, though. I love tall trees, water, green spaces and critters. I’m lucky enough to live surrounded by some of that, and my gardens are my pride and joy.

I hope you’ll let me know what you think of my writing, so feel free to drop me a line. Please consider joining my mailing list and I’ll keep you updated on what’s happening in my neck of the woods.

What I’m working on now:

I’ve finished Brainy And The Beast, have it in for edits and plan to submit to a publisher by September. If accepted, I’m hoping it will be out within six months. That frees me up to work on Antonio Diaz’ story. Antonio had a small but pivotal role in The Trouble With Angel, and his story is clamoring to be told.

More from JM Cartwright: WEBSITE | TORQUERE

Trina Lane Shares

If authors take the advice “write what you know” then it stands to reason that we may know a lot about some of our favorite authors than we realize. Here is Trina Lane to talk about the little nuggets of herself that have made it in her work.

Hey everyone!

I’m Trina Lane and I thought I’d pop in to share a little bit about how my fictional stories and real life are sometimes much closer than you may think. Every author has their own process when it comes to developing stories. As some of you read a couple of weeks ago, Ally Blue frequently finds inspiration while doing errands, and Scotty Cade apparently has friends with some golden property in Colorado. Personally I’ve always found it difficult to write a story and get the emotions and relationships to be meaningful if I have no experience in the subject matter or plot. Which is one reason why I don’t write fantasy.

However on the flip side of that, I am a relatively introverted person. More likely to hug the wall in big groups than be the one dancing on the bar. So the prospect of putting all my personal experiences out there to the masses is a little unnerving. The solution I’ve found to be most effective to find a good balance between reality and fiction with each story.

Take for instance Capturing Perfection, book three in my Perfect Love series, in my everyday job I work quite closely with many veterans and active duty service members. I have often heard them tell stories about their combat experiences. Many of my patients deal with PTSD and its effects at varying degrees. I wanted to tell a story that honored their service and give them a voice while at the same time give my character a happy ending that unfortunately many veterans will not have in real life. The concept of working in Logan’s sudden hearing loss and how that type of situation affects friends and family members is also part of my everyday job, so for a few months I literally took my work home with me.

Another example of how my real life and my fictional writing have crossed paths is when I write characters such as Niall, from Simply Perfection, and Phil, from In Dreams He Came. The arts have been a major part of my life from a very young age. I participated in numerous semi-professional choirs and chambers groups for the better part of twenty-five years. In high school I also started to develop an interest in fine art photography. If you were at GRL in New Orleans last year you may have seen me wandering the streets of the French Quarter with a backpack strapped on, full of camera equipment. Part of writing interesting characters, for me anyway, is to develop individuals with full personalities. This of course would include hobbies and interests. Consequently my first instinct is to draw from personal knowledge. Like any good researched I’m always looking for new experiences to spice things up. Cooking classes, drag racing, white water rafting. Hmmm…maybe I’ll write about a character who loves sky-diving. I’ve always wanted to give it a try. Whether or not I’ll use all my experiences in a story is questionable, but the research is always interesting.

In my most recent releases I’ve branched out into the paranormal genre. My Phantom River series is about a wolf pack in northwestern Montana. While it’s true that I don’t know any sexy wolf shifters personally-bummer-I have become very close to these characters. And, if you look hard enough you’ll see several aspects of my personality as well as those of my friends and family. In fact as a bonus to this little spotlight I’m giving away a copy of the third book in this series The Taste of Devotion. The book will be available for purchase from Total-E-Bound on July 30th. Here’s a quick blurb to wet your appetites.

Cooper Tessen, enforcer for the Phantom River Pack and Sheriff of Stonepass, has watched each of his two best friends enjoy their mated bliss. He’s thrilled they’ve found happiness, however, he feels a distance growing between him and his blood brothers because he has no experience of the connection between a shifter and his mate. Cooper fills the hours of his lonely days by spending as much time as possible working at the station to protect his town, and, secretly, off on dangerous missions for the government. Burning the candle at both ends gives him little time to focus on his longing to have a mate of his own.

Darren Caisil is on the run. Accused of a murder he didn’t commit, it’s either become a lone wolf or be killed by the very pack he’d spent his life trying to serve. He hits rock bottom when he finds himself lost, alone, hungry, and freezing in nowhere Montana during the dead of winter. His last semi—conscious thought as he succumbs to the inevitable is that an angel is lifting him towards heaven. When he wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings, he finds it wasn’t an angel after all, but a man. And not any man, but another wolf shifter…one who claims to be Darren’s mate.

As they explore their mating bond, Cooper tries to get Darren to open up about his past but the man refuses to share his secrets. Frustrated, Cooper decides to do a little digging on his own. Unfortunately, it seems Cooper’s investigation may have stirred up a hornet’s nest when it draws the attention of some of Darren’s former pack members who are bent on revenge…

As to how my life will affect my future writings, we’ll have to see. I’m taking this opportunity to announce to all my readers and internet friends that my husband and I are expecting our first child. We are completely thrilled as this baby has been eight long years in the making. At least we’ve gotten to have some fun with all the practice.  So don’t be surprised to find a character at some point in the future who’s having a friendly debate with their partner on color choices for the nursery, and why their child will not be named Woody.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I’ve had fun sharing, and happy reading in the future!

Trina Lane

Congratulations Trina!! Here’s wishing you and your husband all the best 🙂

Trina is offering up a digital copy of The Taste of Devotion. To enter, comment below about what in your real life (hobby, experience, interest) you would like to see in a book.

Open until Wednesday, August 1st at 11:59 pm (PST)