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Gay Amish men fight for love and a new life


 

One week until release day for A Way Home, my contemporary gay Amish romance about young men who want to build a life together.

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I’m excited and nervous for y’all to read the final part of the trilogy. Here’s a brand new excerpt to whet your whistle in the meantime.

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“Are you sure you’re up for this?” Aaron pulled into the Byler’s muddy driveway and put the rental car into park. “It’s been a long day of travel. And a long night before that. You look like you could use some rest.”

“I can’t wait. I need to see Isaac.” The sun was setting, splashing pink over the gray spring sky. When he and June had made it to the hospital only to be told Isaac had gone home with his parents, David had wanted to race after him. Even now he fought the urge to barge into the Byler’s house and take Isaac away.

As if he could read his mind, Aaron quietly said, “He’s not going to stay.”

David gripped the door handle. “I know.” He breathed in and out. “But I know he’s been dying to see Katie and the boys again.”

Aaron stared down the drive, as though he could see beyond the curve to the house and barn and his lost family. “I’ve never even met the little ones.”

“Maybe…if you ask, your parents might…”

Gaze still distant, Aaron shook his head. “They won’t. It wouldn’t be fair anyway. I knew what I was losing when I chose to leave.”

He’d never seen Aaron so withdrawn, and he hoped Jen wouldn’t be delayed. She’d texted to ask if David was okay and if the breathing exercises were helping. Her concern made him want to smile even when there was such little to smile about.

“Part of me wishes I could do that.” Aaron nodded in the direction of the house. “Put on my old Amish clothes so I could see them.”

As hard as it was for him and Isaac to come back, David could only imagine what it was like to be shunned. The ache of it rang through him like a bell. “I’m sorry.” He shifted in his old clothing. “You could borrow something if you wanted. My clothes would fit you fine.”

Aaron’s jaw tightened, “No. When I left Red Hills I swore it was for good. I wasn’t going to be one of those runners who couldn’t make it stick. I promised myself I’d never put on those clothes again.”

“I understand.”

He sighed. “But thank you for offering. I appreciate it.” He stared at the muddy laneway.

“I never lived here, but it still feels like coming to a home I’ll never have again. Stupid, I know.”

“Not stupid.” David paused. “I know why Isaac and I left. But why did you?”

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Awesome organizational tool for writers


 

Okay, so I’m a little late jumping on the Evernote bandwagon. When I mentioned to a friend the other day that I’d discovered this great organization app, her reaction was something like this:

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She added that it was like saying I’d recently discovered Facebook, but what can I say? I’ve never paid attention to organization apps before. My bad!

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I constantly screencap web pages and whatnot on my iPhone if I see something I want to remember. I subscribe to several writer discussion groups, and it’s so easy to lose handy information in endless email digests. I’d cap an email about Amazon publishing tips, and then have to hunt through my camera roll to find it when I needed it. Needless to say, this was not a good system.

I read a blog post about this new-fangled app, and downloaded it. I almost immediately upgraded to the premium version of Evernote for way more storage, and I’m thrilled with it. $65 CAD/year well spent. Now I have book research, promo info, writing tips and everything I need neatly organized and tagged in Evernote notebooks. It synchs to my laptop and is so handy. I’ve also organized my online recipes, and everything is so easy to find.

I can’t recommend Evernote more to writers and everyone out there who needs to organize their digital information. (And next week I’ll be telling you about this amazing new thing called “Google.” It’s going to rock your world!)

Do you use Evernote? Any tips? Or do you have another organization method? Let me know!

March madness—romance style with #DABWAHA. Vote now!


 

I was delighted that A Forbidden Rumspringa was nominated for a DABWAHA (Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors)!

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It was nominated in the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements Category, along with some amazing other authors including Sarah Waters. That’s pretty damn wonderful. Thank you to Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

My Amish boys are up against Ilona Andrews (my evil twin sister no relation) in my bracket. She is a Goliath of an awesome opponent, so please vote for David and Isaac!

What happens when Jack meets a sexy man atop that beanstalk?


 

I’m very excited to say that Leta Blake and I have a new release! Well, an old new release. We’re in the process of getting our rights back on three M/M fairy tales from Ellora’s Cave, and we’ve gotten the first. These fairy tale retellings were honestly never a good fit for EC for various reasons, and we’re very excited to revise and expand them.

We’d always planned on these books having one-word titles, and first up is Rise, our sexy twist on Jack and the Beanstalk. We’re putting it into KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited for three months as an experiment, so you can buy it at Amazon or borrow if you’re a KU member.

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What happens when Jack meets a sexy man atop that beanstalk?

Rumors of treasure have long sent fortune hunters clambering up a magic beanstalk to a mysterious castle in the clouds. Survivors told of an evil giant who guards the gold and glittering jewels with savage strength. No sane man would dare risk the climb—but Jack has nothing left to lose. Shunned for his evil red hair and abandoned by his cruel lover, he’s desperate to escape his life.

Rion isn’t a giant, only a man bearing the burden of protecting his family’s legacy. It’s a lonely existence, but he’s duty bound. Then Jack appears, and Rion’s world is turned upside down. After a blazing confrontation, undeniable lust sparks. Isolated in the clouds, Jack and Rion give in to their desire and growing connection. But do they have the courage to let go of the past and follow their dreams?

Soon they must protect the treasure—and each other—from a new threat. And they have everything to lose.

Buy now at Amazon!

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We’re crossing our fingers we can get back the rights to our other books this year. What’s your favourite fairy tale that you’d like to see made erotic? Let me know in the comments!

100 Modern Erotic Classics You’ve Never Heard Of


 

March 5 is Erotic World Book Day, and I’m thrilled to have been selected for the list of erotic classics you’ve never heard of. Both A Forbidden Rumspringa and Semper Fi made the list, which makes me feel thusly:

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Not to mention:

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There are several other M/M romances and LGBTQ titles on the list as well, and my TBR (to be read) list is getting longer and longer as I check out the other recommended books in a variety of genres. I hope you’ll have a look and find something new and sexy to read!

Can two gay Amish men find a home together? Win a free copy!


 

I’m at Joyfully Jay’s with a cover reveal for A Way Home, the third book in my gay Amish romance trilogy. Check out the cover and the very first excerpt, and you can also enter to win one of three free ARCs (advanced reading copies). Easy peasy!

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Contemporay M/M romance A Way Home will be available April 8, 2015. Here’s a bit more about the final chapter in Isaac and David’s journey:

Will returning to their Amish roots renew their faith in each other?

Isaac and David never thought they’d go back to the Amish world. But when Isaac’s younger brother is stricken with cancer, they don’t hesitate to return. Their relationship is on the rocks after insecurity and fear drove a wedge between them in San Francisco, and David is determined to make things right. Yet if they thought navigating “English” life was confusing, being back in Zebulon is even more complicated.

Their families are desperate to bring them back into the fold, and pressure from the community builds. Isaac and David yearn for a future together, but each day it becomes harder to hide the truth about who they really are. They’re caught between two worlds, and if they’re not careful it could tear them further apart.

Can Isaac and David make their way back to each other—and find a place to call home?

Find out on April 8 at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and other ebook sites!

You never forget your first! Which romance novel was yours?


 

As a kid, I inhaled my older sister’s bodice rippers. The first I ever read was Virginia Henley’s The Hawk and the Dove. This was the copy we had, which my sis had picked up at a used bookstore:

The Hawk and the Dove

I remember so well his hand on her thigh, and her red hair and heaving bosum. I haven’t read it since I was 13, so I’m not sure what I’d make of the story and characters today, but back then?

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This was me regarding the definition of “oral sex” before I devoured Virginia Henley’s ouevre:

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And after:

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So it wasn’t just French kissing! Romance novels were hella educational. Then in the 2000s, thanks to a little TV show called Queer as Folk I started reading and writing fanfic featuring two men in love. Oh, Brian and Justin. We had some good times.

Brian and Justin promIn 2005, my friend Tory Temple published Heat, the tale of a firefighter and paramedic who fall in love. It was officially my very first gay romance novel.

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Later that year I was laid off my day job and wrote my own book, Love Match. And I suppose the rest is history! From Henley to Heat and onward, I’ve read a ton of romances, and my love for the genre only grows.

How about you? What was your first romance?

 

Can two Amish boys in love make it in the big city?


 

Release day for A Clean Break is finally here!

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This is the sequel to A Forbidden Rumspringa, and thank you so much to all the folks who’ve been excited for this book. I mean, someone took the day off work so she could read it immediately. I just…wow. How amazing is that? I have the best readers.

Kristen-Bell-Blushing-OMG-GifSequels are always nerve-wracking, but I hope book two will live up to expectations. I’m hard at work on book three, A Way Home, for an April release. I didn’t want y’all to have to wait too long to find out how David and Isaac’s journey ends. This first trilogy will be complete, but I’m already planning more books for them down the road. These boys just keep telling me stories!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the second book in their journey.

a clean break-200-300They’ve escaped to the outside world—but can they really be free?

David and Isaac have found happiness in each other’s arms. In faraway San Francisco, Isaac’s brother Aaron helps them explore confusing “English” life and move beyond the looming shadow of their Amish roots. For the first time, David and Isaac can be openly gay, yet they struggle to reconcile their sexuality with their faith. At least they don’t have to hide their relationship, which should make everything easier. Right?

But while Isaac thrives at school and makes new friends, David wrestles to come to terms with the reality of the outside world. Haunted by guilt at leaving his mother and sisters behind in Zebulon, he’s overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city as he works to get his carpentry business off the ground.

While David and Isaac finally sleep side by side each night, fear and insecurity could drive them miles apart.

Buy now:
All Romance eBooks | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

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Gay Amish romance bonus scene


 

I can’t believe A Clean Break is coming out next Tuesday! Time really flies. How’s your winter going? Mine can be summed up thusly:

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So I’m very excited to have a release to brighten things up a little around here! A few weeks ago I shared an extra little scene featuring Isaac and David in my newsletter. I’ve received requests to post this story from folks who signed up too late, so I’ve added it to the free reads section here on my site. Back in my fandom days when I wrote fanfiction, this was what we called a “gapfiller,” a snippet that came before or after another scene. In this case it comes after A Forbidden Rumspringa and before A Clean Break.

I hope you like this bonus peek at the boys before the sequel, which is from David’s POV. We’re still in Isaac’s head here (and the third book in the trilogy will feature both POVs). Enjoy!

Read this free bonus scene: The Amish Boys on the Bus

p.s. Sign up for my monthly newsletter to get first dibs at this kind of free extra content. Plus you’re automatically entered to win my monthly giveaway!

 

Adventures in Amazon algorithms part deux


 

As the author of a gay Amish romance series, here’s the problem with the term “Amish romance.” To most of the world–and most vitally to Amazon–an Amish romance is automatically Christian/inspirational. I have nothing against Christian romances, but that’s not what I write. For starters, I think most Amish romances have approximately 100% less sweaty mansex than my books do.

While some of my characters might be religious, I am not. There’s no Biblical moralizing in A Forbidden Rumspringa or A Clean Break. The characters struggle with issues of faith, but these are not inspirational Christian books where we’re all going to learn a Very Important Lesson from Jesus.

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A few months ago I struggled to get book #1 into the correct Amazon categories. The key issue here is Amazon’s mysterious algorithms, and making sure my work finds the right readers. Even though I purposefully hadn’t chosen the “Amish” category, my book ended up there. Eventually I honestly just gave up because Amazon could not seem to figure it out.

Here we go again

For the past month, I’ve been trying to get Amazon to put both my books in the correct categories that I chose for them when I uploaded the files. They belong in Gay Romance, not Christian Books and Bibles. And it’s not that Amazon is arguing that fact, but it took WEEKS for their “technical team” to fix the problem. Naturally they fixed it on book #2 only, so I had to reply to remind them I needed the categories corrected on both books.

This part of the journey shines a spotlight on the biggest weakness in Amazon’s customer service, which is always courteous and usually timely: the inability to reply directly to the CSR who’s helping you. I received a polite response from another rep telling me their technical team would look into having the categories fixed on book #1. I replied (fruitlessly, I know) that this famed technical team had JUST FIGURED OUT THIS PROBLEM AND PLEASE GO ASK THE OTHER CSR I’M BEGGING YOU OMG.

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But no, instead of the left hand talking to the right, it took two more weeks for book #1 to also be removed from the Amish category. I’m not sure exactly why it’s so difficult and technical to override the system and get a book into the correct categories, but apparently it is. Amazon also provided this info:

Please be aware that the incorrect category path reflected for your book, due to the series title, “Gay Amish Romance”. In future, if you are publishing a new book in the same series, please make sure that remove the word “Amish” from the series title, to avoid the “Amish” category.

So even though I choose Gay Romance and Gay Fiction as my categories (you chose two primary categories for each book), having the word “Amish” in the series name overrides that and automatically throws the book into the Amish category, which segments it into Christian Books and Bibles, and Inspirational Romance.

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Now, it’s a little late to be changing my series name. In this day and age of SEO, I chose the series name because it tells readers in a glance what these books are about. It may not sing, but it gets the job done. There’s a reason a Harlequin book that in the past would have been called something like Tuscan Seduction is now The Italian’s Inexperienced Mistress

Well, I guess the technical team will be getting another workout trying to corral the system in a couple months when I release book #3. I imagine it going something like this:

Have you had any struggles with Amazon categories? I’m all ears.