This is a short but sweet giveaway. Pick any book you’d like to try that’s been mentioned on the blog this month to enter the draw. Leave the name of the book, the author’s name, which post it was from, and your email. I will pick the winner at 9am British Summer Time tomorrow morning.
Did you attend the UK GBLT Fiction meet? If not, hop over to Reviews by Jessewave and let Josephine Myles guide you through what you missed and why you should (yes, you must) go next year.
Spotlight on Britain is a new series highlighting parts of the UK beloved by authors. I admit to asking K.C. Wells specifically to kick us off with an area which is much beloved by me, the Isle of Wight.The Isle of… Where? and Isle of Wishes originated from one short holiday on the Isle of Wight, and led to making a brand new friend in K.C. In case you’re wondering, the photo above was taken on that short holiday. Please let us know of any other gay romance books with a connection to the Isle of Wight.
I count myself very lucky. I live on the Isle of Wight.
My ex-students wouldn’t agree with me. Most of them were desperate to get off the island. It’s far too quiet, they say. Not enough going on, they say. Not enough shops, they say.
Funny… those were most of the reasons that decided us that we wanted to live here.
Sigh. Youth is wasted on the young.
The island constantly inspires me. It’s a beautiful place with a lot of sunshine and plenty of beaches where you can go for a walk and not bump into hoards of people.
Most of the year, that it.
Summer is a different animal. During the summer months I avoid the roads along the eastern side of the island because they tend to get clogged up with a lot of holiday traffic. We call it the Sandown Crawl. The population doubles. The supermarkets have a lot more shoppers.
I still love it here.
As a writer, it’s inspiring. Anyone who reads my blogs or my posts on Facebook knows that I have a ‘writing room’. It’s actually a beach café down in Steephill Cove to the south of the island. I love it for three reasons – well, maybe four. There’s no Internet. (This is crucial – I can’t tell you how many times I get distracted by Facebook and…other things.) The phone signal is virtually none existent. (Okay, so that can be a pain sometimes, but people can leave a message, can’t they?) They make a wonderful cup of tea. (VERY important. Okay, so I’m English… mock not the importance of tea)
The fourth reason for going down there is the most important. It’s the sound. All I can hear is the waves crashing on the rocks below the café at high tide, or else the gentle ripples as the tide goes out.
When I decided to venture out into the world of self-publishing, I started with a stand alone story set in London. And then I had an idea. Why not write a series of stories set on the island? And thus Island Tales was born.
The first one, Waiting for a Prince, comes out next week. It was inspired by a visit to my hairdresser. (This is why the notebook goes with me EVERYWHERE). I caught sight of a cute young man in the mirror. When I asked the lovely Sonia, who does my hair, about him, I was told his name was Mark and he was fairly new. And that he was gay. All of a sudden I had this vision in my head of a couple coming into the salon, and the guy is ticking all of Mark’s boxes. Too bad he had a girlfriend….
The next Tale, which will be out in September, was inspired by Steephill Cove itself. There’s a beautiful white building that looks like a little lighthouse, which is for holiday lets. So there I was, drinking my tea and looking across the bay at the Lighthouse…and I got thinking. In my head there is now an American writer who’s suffering from writer’s block and is forced to come to the island for some R&R. Three guesses where he ends up staying?
The number of people who read my stories and say, “You make me want to visit the island.” My best friend who is American would love to live in the lighthouse. How many more stories are there? How long is a piece of string? Answer: I don’t know. I just had the idea for another… but that’s for another day.
As long as I can look out of my window and see the hills, and know that if I walk to the end of that field, I’ll be looking down at the sea… Yeah, I’ll be happy. And inspired.
Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C.Wells always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way.
K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings – writing about men in love was even hotter…
The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please.
K.C. can be reached via email (email@example.com), on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/KCWellsWorld), on Twitter (www.twitter.com/kcwellsworld) or through comments at the K.C.Wells website (http://www.kcwellsworld.com ) K.C. loves to hear from readers
Blurb for Waiting for a Prince:
When trainee hairdresser Mark sees Sam for the first time in the salon, it’s lust at first sight. Sam is Mark’s living, breathing fantasy guy. He couldn’t be more perfect. Of course, there’s the tiny, insignificant detail that Sam has a girlfriend. Hell….. A chance meeting on Mark’s favourite beach brings the two men together, and Mark finds himself with a new friend. As they spend more time together, Mark grows to see Sam less as an object for his lust and more as someone who just… fits. But falling in love with your new best friend—especially when he’s straight—is bound to bring heartache in the end.
Sam likes Mark. As in, he really likes him. And he’d like to get to know him even better. But Sam has secrets. There are things going on in his life that he can’t bring himself to tell Mark about, because the shame Sam feels is too much to bear, and not something he ever wants to share with another living soul. And if Mark ever finds out how Sam really feels about him, and the fact that he’s lied to him…. Sam can’t take that chance.
Then one drunken night in the pub changes everything….
“I really feel sorry for that poor bloke.”
Mark paused momentarily in his task of dyeing the new hair extension pieces. “Which bloke?” He was engrossed. Marie had already given him the evil eye twice that morning, and if he didn’t get this finished, there was every possibility that she’d start with the ‘there are loads of wannabe hairdressers out there just clamoring to get into your shoes’ talk—again. He gave a cursory glance around the salon. “What are you talking about?” he muttered under his breath to Wendy. “We haven’t got any male customers in here at the moment.” He went back to his task, irritated that she’d spoiled his concentration. Hopefully she’d take the hint and leave him to it.
No such luck. Wendy huffed. “He’s not a customer, silly.” She nudged his arm and almost sent the bowl containing the hair dye into a dive over the unit. She made a noise of insincere apology. Mark scowled and ignored her as he carefully sponged the dye over each tress, taking extra pains to ensure it got even coverage.
“Look over there,” she hissed. “On the couch in the window.”
Oh, for God’s sake, woman, leave me alone. Mark dropped the sponge into the bowl and straightened, about to tell Wendy where to go, when he felt the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. He twisted around. Yeah, Marie was there all right, her gaze boring into him. Oh hell, that was all he needed. He winced, preparing himself for the inevitable request for ‘a word, please, Mark.’ Christ, he was hearing that more and more these days.
“Mark, can you come over here a minute please, sweetie?”
Sonia’s melodic voice carried above the chatter and the low, unobtrusive music playing in the background. Mark could have kissed her, except for the fact that she had totally the wrong equipment. Avoiding Marie’s steely gaze, he hung up the hairpiece and crossed the salon floor to where Sonia had just finished speaking with her customer.
“Mark, would you make my lady a cup of tea, please?” Sonia’s eyes twinkled. Yeah, she knew exactly what she was doing. It was sweet of her, stepping into the fray like that, but Mark knew Marie would still have her pound of flesh at the end of the day. Sonia leaned lower to speak to her customer. “Milk and sugar?”
The woman in the chair gave a bored nod. “Just milk, please.” Mark met her gaze in the mirror and smiled politely. She rolled her eyes and gave her attention to the celebrity magazine on her lap while Sonia readied the shiny strips of foil required for the hair color. Mark studied the woman, who seemed to be in her early twenties. He estimated that she would have been quite pretty, but for the hard lines around her mouth and that crease between her eyes. Her lips were thin, not a sign of a happy person in Mark’s experience. He couldn’t tell what she was wearing due to the black salon cape which pretty much covered her entirely, but he glanced down at her feet. Expensive-looking shoes. Aha. Comes from money and treats everyone like they’re a turd she’s just stepped in. Mark didn’t recall seeing her in the salon before. Most of Hair Today’s clientele were down-to-earth ladies who always had a kind word and a smile for the staff. And they certainly didn’t come with a ton of attitude like this one.
Sonia moved to the red leather sofa which sat in the window. Mark followed her movement and his heart gave a jolt. Oh yeah, baby… The man reclining there somewhat awkwardly was tall, maybe over six feet, which was just perfect, thank you very much. Mark bit his lip as he took in the earrings, diamond studs and a gold ring. His gaze traveled lower and he caught his breath at the sight of the man’s nipple rings, pressed against his white long-sleeved shirt. Not to mention the dark swirls of a tattoo hidden from view, but visible nonetheless. Mark’s dick stiffened. Oh honey, you are my idea of heaven. Tending toward the skinny side of lean, with short brown hair, just how Mark liked them.
“Would you like a cup of tea?” Sonia offered, kindly. “While you’re waiting?”
Mark’s future husband opened his mouth to speak but the woman cut him off.
“He doesn’t want a drink.” The harsh quality of her voice made Mark wince. She swiveled in her chair. “Do you, Sam?” That crease deepened as she glared at the man. God, she could give Marie a run for her money in the bitch stakes. He watched as Sam sagged even lower into the couch. “In fact, I’m not even sure why you’re still here.” Her eyes narrowed. “Surely you have something else you can be doing.” She looked down her sharp little nose at him.
Sam dropped his gaze to the floor. Mark could understand that reaction. “No, everything’s done for the day.” God, even his voice was dreamy. “I’ll just sit here, if that’s okay, and wait till you’re done.” A pair of blue eyes came into view and Mark felt his knees go weak. “But actually, I would like a cup of tea, if it’s no trouble. Milk with two sugars.”
It took a second or two for it to register that Sam was addressing Mark. Flustered, Mark gave a quick nod, knowing full well his cheeks were already heating up. Why the hell did he always have to blush so easily? He escaped thankfully into the little room behind the reception desk and set about making two cups of tea. While he waited for the kettle to boil, he had a surreptitious glance through the open door at the gorgeous specimen. Christ, he has long legs. They were encased in a sinfully tight pair of fashionably worn jeans. Mark couldn’t help taking a sneaky peek at Sam’s package. He let out a quiet whimper. And he’s hung. For a moment Mark allowed himself the luxury of imagining those long, lean legs wrapped around his waist as he fucked Sam through the mattress, those blue eyes staring wildly up at him as Mark nailed him repeatedly, that sexy voice begging Mark not to stop, to fuck him deeper. Then reality bit hard. It’s not gonna happen, babe. One, the guy is straight, and two, even if he were gay by some miracle, Please God, no way would that Adonis be a bottom. Mark shook his head. Reality really sucked.
And because it would be stupid not to advertise my own stories based partially on the Isle of Wight 🙂
I am thrilled to welcome Garrett Leigh to UK Gay Romance. She has been incredibly supportive of our venture. We have an exclusive first glimpse of her cover art for Slide, to be published by Dreamspinner, and Garrett is offering a giveaway of Gypsy Rain, listed as a favourite book on the blog. Have you been to any of the places mentioned in Garrett’s interview? Leave a comment below to be entered into the draw.
Hmm, where to start? I live in a small commuter town just north of London with my husband, two kids, a dog with half a brain, and a cat with a chip on her shoulder. I’m 29, and now I’ve reached that milestone, I intend to stay here for the foreseeable future.
I’ve been writing just about my whole life, but it’s been about three years since I decided to take it seriously. It got to the stage where I either had to give the men in my head a voice, or have myself committed.
Angst. I can’t write a word without it. I’ve tried, I really have, but my protagonists will always, always, be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.
I’m contracted at Dreamspinner Press and Extasy books. I’m also a freelance cover artist at Dreamspinner Press, and I do my very best to produce all my own cover art. The covers you will see below are all mine. I go indie style as well for those who self-publish, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
How did I come to MM?
I began writing MM long before I ever read much of it. Whenever I sat down to write, I opened my laptop and a bunch of tortured beardy men came out. Every time. Over and over I tried to write from the POV of a woman, to insert a wonderful, emotive heroine, but I couldn’t do it. It didn’t work. It didn’t sound right. It didn’t feel right.
So I gave in and wrote my darkly troubled boys, and over time, it just became natural to weave them together. Of course, I never looked back. Who would in a genre of such scope and beauty?
That being said, I adore the women in my books, and in the books of other who manage to write them far better than I ever could. Women are strong, maternal, warm and wonderful beings, and the wounded MC’s I create couldn’t survive without them.
I just can’t get into their heads enough to give them a book of their own. Or maybe I can, and that’s the problem. It’s not escapist enough, because writing is a cathartic exercise for me. In all my books, you will find traces of my own personal demons, my own private battles. For me, it’s the very essence of what I write.
Where do I base my books?
You’ve picked a very good time to ask me that question. If you’d asked me a year ago, I would’ve said America all the way. At the time, I was writing the Roads series, which is set in Chicago.
As I’ve said above, I put a lot of myself into my writing, and with Slide and its accompanying books, it was the characters who caught the short straw and took on much of my own personality, traits and experiences. I’d walked in Ash’s shoes (to a certain degree), but I knew next to nothing about Chicago, and it was research that allowed me to explore the wonderful city he’d made his first ever real home.
Fast forward a year and I began writing Gypsy Rain, and later, its sequel, Gypsy Storm (more about that later). I based the books in the UK…Cornwall to begin with, and later, London.
Writing that series was a very different process to Roads. This time, my characters were people I didn’t really know. I hadn’t lived their lives, or felt the things they’d felt, but because of where the stories were set, I had been where they’d been, and it was a wonderful experience to take them on a journey through the electric streets of Dalston and Stoke Newington…Camden and Tottenham. Places where I’d lived a heady and briefly exotic life of my own. Dex’s soul was, and still is, very much a mystery to me, but I could taste the air he was breathing, hear the rumble of the London buses, and feel his apprehension as he stepped onto the tube for the very first time.
Also, it was refreshing to let my Brit side go wild. I’d experimented recently with creating a British character in my wounded war vet novel, Only Love, and I loved it. It was refreshing to write without restraint, and without having to think ‘would an American really say that?’ You would not believe how liberating it was to write the phrase ‘…bloody hell, you daft twat…’ and know it was truly in the right place!
Little things, I know, but banded together they mean everything.
What’s next, and what am I writing at the moment?
At the moment, I’m fully engrossed in Gypsy Storm, the sequel for the teeny tiny novella Gypsy Rain.
When I released Gypsy Rain, many people asked for Dex’s story. I didn’t want to write it at first. Poor Dex has a terrible story to tell, but of course, once I started, I couldn’t stop. Gypsy Storm is a much longer, darker book, and pretty brutal, but one I felt I had to write. Not sure when it will be done, but probably around September, and then I need to make a decision what to do with it.
After that, who knows?
Cornish fudge maker Seb Wright is anticipating and dreading the upcoming tourist season with equal measure. The cash injection is more than welcome, the long hours in the sticky, vanilla scented kitchen less so.
A few days into the first tentative sparks of summer a shadowy Good Samaritan catches his eye. Vagrant Dex is a new face in town…a beautiful, sullen enigma, and yet with each busy day that passes, Seb finds himself becoming more and more attracted to the mysterious, young man.
A young man who seems destined to become the heartbeat of a summer he’ll never forget.
He was on his third trip between the cottage and the shop when the heavens opened. Briefly, he couldn’t believe his rotten luck, until he spotted Dex shuffling up the street, once again soaked to the skin.
For a moment, he stared. The bruises on Dex’s face had faded to a dull shade of greenish yellow, and from a distance, they could hardly be seen.The image of him huddled in the doorway of the beachwear shop flashed into his mind, and he found himself suddenly, irrationally, angry.
Were they really still there? Really still in a place where Dex was hiding from a summer storm with nowhere to go? Still in a place where he went home to his comfortable bed every night with no clue where Dex laid his head?
Something inside him snapped. He propped the heavy cooling slab he carried against a dry stone wall, pulled his hood up, and started down the road. Paying the rain no heed, Dex was walking with his eyes down, so he didn’t notice Seb until he was practically on top of him.
“Come home with me.”
Dex raised his head, blinking in surprise. “What?”
“Come home with me. You can’t sleep out in this.”
The defiance in his eyes broke Seb’s heart. Dex had never admitted that he had no place to call home, and it seemed he never would. “Says me,” he said shortly. “I’m working at home tonight, and you’re coming with me.”
Dex stared at him, his face inscrutable, and the silence stretched on and on, punctuated only by a brutal clap of thunder. “What do you want from me?”
Seb stepped closer and lightly touched the fading marks on Dex’s face. “I want you to be safe and dry, even if it’s only for one night. I can’t… fuck. I can’t leave you out here. Please don’t make me.”
Watch out for Gypsy Storm sometime next year!
Slide (Roads #1)
Slide is the first of the four part Roads series being released by Dreamspinner Press. It will be followed by Marked, Rare and Freed.
Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…
Shy, tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.
Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love and strength…all the things Ash never knew he could have…never knew he wanted until Pete showed him a different way to live.
But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress and when nightmares collide with the present their tentatively built world comes crashing down.
Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until too late that Ash has slipped away from him. Betrayal, secrets and lies unfold and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, he must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.
More than Life
More than Life is a novella set in Kosovo, coming out with Extasy Books sometime, the details are still pretty vague, but here’s the working blurb.
An extraordinary bond forged in war, shattered by death and saved by love.
Set in the Kosovan war, Mikail a young ethnic Albanian catholic, fights in the underground resistance, smuggling intelligence and precious cargo out of war torn Pristina. Isa, an enigmatic CIA operative becomes an unlikely ally, and when a secret mission brings them together, heat, passion and a love they’ve never known consumes them. They forge a deep bond, but the war around them continues to rage, and as Serbian forces close in on Pristina, Isa makes the ultimate sacrifice to save his young lover.
Four years later, Mik lives in the shadow of the Albanian mountains, trying to rebuild his life with what remains of his family. His grief for Isa weighs heavily on his young shoulders until one day a lone man appears in the forest. Is the broken stranger the love Mik believed was gone forever, or is he just a dream?
Only Love, my wounded solider novel, is under review right now. I’m hoping it’s contracted, but I’m at that horrible waiting stage where I’m utterly convinced it won’t be. Ask me again in September!
I also have a series of dirty novellas under review at certain publishing house. Bullet will be the first book from the Blue Boy Studio series, but I’m still not sure who will be releasing them. Again, ask me in a month or two!
Edit: Garrett asked me to include the fantastic news that the Blue Boy Studio series was signed by Loose ID last night
To sum up…
So yeah, that’s me. I’m relatively new on the scene, but I’m hoping that will change in the next year or so. I’ve got a lot going on, and a lot coming up. I’ve met some wonderful people in the genre already, and I hope to meet many, many more.
Thanks for having me,
Internet links (Social Media)
Cover Art: email@example.com
We are promised rain and thunderstorms in the UK this weekend, breaking our heatwave. Rain and the summer holidays for the kids always arrive at the same time.
We’ve had an amazing week on the blog and some of this week’s content is based on the wonderful giveaway we had, where we asked you to tell us your favourite book based in the UK.
I’ll be doing a series of posts promoting those books as I discovered many that needed to be added to my TBR right now pile.
Saturday 27th – Your Favourite Books Part 1
Sunday 28th – an interview and giveaway with author, Garrett Leigh.
Monday 29th – Your Favourite Books Part 2
Tuesday 30th – Spotlight on Britain – this week K.C. Wells discusses where she sets her books. I have a certain fondness for her particular place, as you will discover.
Wednesday 31st – Giveaway based on the books promoted in July. Watch this space!
Thursday 1st August – What this book means to me – a new series starting off with me (Sue Brown) talking about my favourite book, Stolen Summer by S.A. Meade.
Friday – 2nd August – Reviews