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So excited to see a new release from one of my fave authors! Here are the details.

Second Helpings

Blurb: Stuart Collins’s life might as well have ended a year ago when his partner died in a car crash. Even Stuart’s widowed father has found new love with an old friend, Isabel Franklin, so why can’t Stuart be bothered to try?

Then he gets a phone call from Isabel’s son, Paul, who wants to check out whether or not Mr. Collins is good enough for his mother. During dinner together, though, they end up checking out each other. Trouble is, Paul’s got a boyfriend—or maybe he doesn’t, since the boyfriend’s supposedly giving Paul the push by ignoring him. Or maybe Paul just wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Honesty with each other is the only way to move forward. But maybe honesty with themselves is what they really need.

Buy here from Riptide Publishing

Oh good grief

I can generally put my hands on things if I need them. I’m also a bit anxious about old things and much inclined to wrap them in acid free tissue and keep them forever, to the detriment of the tidiness of the house. But I think this is the first time something has turned up that we didn’t even know we had.

Look what we just found in a shed.


Luckily it’s a nice dry shed and they were well wrapped up so the moth hadn’t got into them.

It’s a uniform edition of Shakespeare bound in marbled calf with marbled end papers and it’s got PICTURES.

The big surprise was the date.

So 215 years old! And – AND – I know where they came from.

“H Godwin, Bookseller, No. 19 Milsom Street, Bath” in that copy while others are at No. 24.

So I Googled him and found this:

It is estimated that by the turn of the nineteenth century there were at least ten circulating libraries in Bath. The most exclusive one was undoubtedly Marshall’s at 23, Milsom Street, which opened in 1787. Originally it was jointly owned by Samuel Jackson Pratt and James Marshall, but by 1793 Marshall was the sole proprietor. The list of his subscribers read like a Who’s Who:
two princes (the Prince of Wales and Frederick, Prince of Orange), five dukes, four duchesses, seven earls, fourteen countesses, many other nobles and forty-three knights. Professional customers were three admirals, four generals and many service officers down to twenty-six majors and seventy-one captains, and also ecclesiastics: one archbishop, six bishops and 114 clerics.
Phyllis May Hembry, The English spa, 1560-1815: a social history (1990, p. 150)
Marshall’s library flourished between 1793 and 1799 but the rise in the price of books -up to 100%- was a serious threat to the business in general. Marshall increased his rates by 25% but ultimately even that didn’t save him from being declared bankrupt in 1800 as the number of subscribers declined. His son joined him that year and together they managed to revive the library, stocking up to 25,000 books, until it was bought by Henry Godwin in 1808.

{From the Painted Signs and Mosaics Blog which is well worth an explore.}

Google Earth informs me that 19, Milsom Street is still there:

Now housing the local branch of Austin Reed. I don’t suppose the upper stories have changed substantially since Jane Austen’s day.

I’m scared to look in the rest of the shed.

Readers, help me out. A reviewer for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association concluded that my Joe Harding series is “A welcome addition to romance and military fiction collections, Captain Harding belongs in any adult fiction collection.” “Captain Harding’s Six-Day War,” the first book in what turned out to be a trilogy, was voted Best Romance by readers in the TLA Gaybies poll and named best book of 2011 by the historical romance blog, Speak Its Name. “Only Make Believe,” the second in my Florida-veterans series, was named Best Gay Mystery / Thriller of 2012 in the international Rainbow Awards competition, with an honorable mention ranking of number eight among almost 500 entries. I could go on.

“Welcome Home, Captain Harding,” the final novel in the trilogy, seems to have failed to find an audience or to have drawn much notice. To date, there are only three reviews (two five-star, the third very critical) on Amazon.com. Reviews on other platforms were similarly sparse. I don’t know why this is, and I’m hoping readers will give me some feedback. If the truth hurts, so be it. In my former life, I was the restaurant critic on a big-city daily. I can take it. I’m tough.

To kick off the discussion, let me list several possibilities that come to mind.

First, my novels are novels, not strictly one genre or another. “Only Make Believe,” my first, was a finalist for the Lambda Foundation Mystery Award. Katharine V. Forrest, the eminent editor and author of the Kate Delafield lesbian mystery series, told me later that it did not win because it is “not really a mystery.” That’s right, it’s as much romance and why-dunnit as it is who-dunnit. There’s more sex than sleuthing. It’s been in print, off and on for more than a decade. More than one reader has told me it’s on their desert-island list or that he or she has read it multiple times. What’s not to like?

“Welcome Home, Captain Harding” is similarly composed of elements of romance, adventure, well-behaved erotica and mystery. That’s how I write. I’ve seen a lot of the world and have stories to tell. Most of them don’t fit the tropes and conventions of typical romances, mysteries or thrillers. To paraphrase my publisher, Steve Berman, “If Elliott was writing heterosexual fiction, no one would try to shoehorn his books into one genre or another. They’re novels.”

Second, unlike my other five novels published by Lethe, there are no human beings on the cover of “Welcome Home, Captain Harding.” This was, in part, the result of my mistaken impression that I’m better at thinking up cover images than some of the very talented and skilled people I’m lucky enough to work with. I certainly won’t say that every character-driven novel needs sexy models on the cover. Quite often, however, it doesn’t hurt.

Third, I’m a trained historian. Probably ninety percent of the military and government action in the Harding novels is based on verifiable, well-documented incidents. Each of the three novels contains at least one spectacular plane crash, criminal interference by the CIA and high-level misbehavior by senior officers who should know better. The fatal incident in “Welcome Home” was captured on video and resulted in a major investigation by the Department of the Air Force. A commanding officer pleaded guilty to charges of dereliction of duty. Before, and while writing the novel, I watched the footage and read the damning reports numerous times. B-52 bombers (which I worked around in a minor way when I was in uniform) are highly complex machines, their maintenance and operation equally multifaceted. It may be that I ended up giving the reader too much technical information.

Fourth, maybe we shouldn’t have noted that “Welcome Home” is the final novel in the series. Several readers who contacted me or posted on line were unhappy about it. More than one suggested a later-in-Joe’s-life continuation. That could happen but it’s not on my mind right now.

Finally, and avoiding spoilers as much as possible, Joe’s emotional and romantic arrangements at the end of the book are unconventional, even by the standards of popular fiction. I didn’t plan it that way, honest. When I’m writing, to some extent I’m taking dictation. The characters are there–talking, joking or making love, and I’m typing as fast as I can. This time, the characters took over the narrative toward the end of the story and I had to let them have their way. Rewrites to make it fit with earlier incidents in the book? Sure, required. That’s why a book is also called a “work.” It’s what I do, and what I’ve just finished doing in polishing a third novel in the Florida-veterans series, tentatively titled “Sunset Island,” to be published by Lethe later this year.

OK, readers, I’m ready. Hit me up.

~~~

Elin: Welcome Home Captain Harding is a terrific book, and rounds off the series in a very satisfying way. Can’t WAIT for the new Florida-veterans offering! Roll on September.

I’ve been trying to tidy up my hard drive in a vain attempt to get my laptop to run a bit more smoothly and I’m astonished by just how many stories I’ve got on it. One is finished – contemp romance, co-written with a friend that we decided needed beefing up a bit and never finished the beefing – but there are masses of others that are languishing there doing nothing in particular but take up space.

I’m wondering if I should try to finish one as a blog project. Maybe 300 words a week because that’s doable but 300 words a week more than I’ve been averaging over the past few months. But which project to pick? And which day of the week to post it? I’m undecided because most of them are awful – as stories tend to be if nobody but the writer is supposed to read them – and I need to pick a day so I can guilt myself into actually doing it! Jeez, it comes to something when you’ve reached such a low ebb you have to bully yourself into writing. But it has to be done because it’s a lot of fun and I’m missing it like fury.

For the moment, here’s a snippet of a medieval fantasy story concerning the adventures of one Carlito Enrique Esposito d’Urbino, lutenist, mountebank, actor [and spy for the Pazzi banking house] that I started in – oh my gawd – 2006. Here Carlito catches up with Yacoub, aka Jack, an ex partner and currently controller of a small travelling circus, at a tournament. See, I said it doesn’t have to make much sense if you’re writing for yourself.

Carlito entered Yacoub’s tent and smiled to see his old friend seated on the cushions with a coffee pot steaming beside him.

He shed his shoes and went across, Jack standing to greet him then the tall man spread his arms and drew him into a tight hug.

“We DID look for you,” Jack said, “when we heard that Jacopo had let you go. But by the time we got to Venice you were long gone.”

Carlito hugged him back then stepped back with a sigh. “They put me on a boat to Ravenna. At one point I thought they’d drop me overboard but no they just robbed me blind. I’ve been all right, Jack. What about you? Where’d you get all this from?” His gesture took in the tent, the hangings and the coffee pot that was at least partly silver.

“Found the circus down on its luck near Salerno,” Jack said. “The manager didn’t speak good Italian and he was being robbed blind too. So after I married his daughter,” he grinned at Carlito, flashing a gold tooth, “he retired and I took over. We’re doing really well. People like a bit of exotic.”

They were seated by then and Jack reached for the coffee to pour it. He passed Carlito the tiny cup with a formal nod of the head and Carlito leaned forward to add the sugar and spice he preferred.

“You’re certainly that,” he said. “Are all four of those girls yours?”

“Officially no,” Jack laughed, “because more than one wife is frowned upon, unofficially they are under my protection. Speaking of which,” he added, “where did you find the swordsman? I was watching that last bout. He’s good.”

“Bruges,” Carlito said. “He was heading south and so were we. We needed an extra man, he needed to earn and wasn’t in a hurry. It’s worked out well.”

“So he’s just a guard then,” Jack said and sipped his coffee. “Bearing in mind that he’s fighting here.”

Carlito snorted indignantly. “No,” he said. “He’s a genuine man at arms. He’d be a knight if – well – if it was allowed. That means the big tourneys, where the real money is, are closed to him, but I doubt there’s a man alive who could stand against him with either sword, no matter his pedigree.”

“Oh hush,” Jack said. “I meant no slur.” He laughed and turned a little, leaning closer as he put his cup back on the table to allow the grounds to settle. When he turned back he propped on one arm and set his other hand on Carlito’s thigh, fingers squeezing a little.

Carlito flushed and shifted but Jack’s hand tightened and he caught his gaze. “Has he tried you yet?” he asked. Then shook his head as Carlito flushed and scowled.

“Don’t try to lie to me,” he warned. “I saw his face when I touched you. For a moment I thought he’d have my hand off – so – maybe not yet. And that puzzles me, Carlito because what could be easier? A walk in the evening – a secluded spot – maybe the excuse of needing to bathe – a convenient stream.”

His fingers flexed and Carlito looked down at them, remembering just such another occasion and remembering their strength and gentleness.

“So,” Jack said quietly, “how long have you been in love?”

Carlito gave a desolate sob. “Since the moment I first saw him,” he groaned.

“Shit,” Jack said and put his hand on his own leg. “Well then mate, looks like we’ll have to get drunk together instead.”

55c46-1868508OMG folks. I have read SO much over the past couple of weeks that filled me with glee. All you writers are producing such GOOD work, or maybe I’ve been picky or lucky?

I dunno. But this week I decided to pick something completely different from last weeks rec – Joanna Chamber’s excellent Regency forensic romance – by going with a contemporary story that is part financial thriller, part psychological drama, part an examination of the dehumanising effects of power and just a little bit angsty romance, with one of the most disturbing openings I’ve seen for a while that made me go “whoa Bessie” and read through my fingers for a few pages.

Whatever the eventual order of my Favourite Reads of 2014, I’m sure that Return of Investment by Aleksandr Voinov will be very close to the top of the list.

Omg I just called Aleksandr Voinov Bessie. Don’t sppose he’ll care.

Where to start with this book? Just look at that cover – he looks about 15! It’s all there. The sharp suit, even sharper haircut, a watch that tells the time in 5 different timezones 10 feet underwater – the trappings of those young whizzkids who can work out 5% compound interest over 15 years without a calculator, minus their annual commission. Frighteningly intelligent, but still a little naive, Martin David, our protagonist works in the City, that part of London where the financial transactions are made and where telephone numbers < mortgage repayments. Martin is hungry – for success, to prove himself, to acquire the things he needs to be SEEN as a success, but most of all for the approval of his boss. In order to get these things Martin is prepared to do pretty much anything it takes. You have to spend in order to earn – whether it's getting in a personal trainer and Savile Row tailoring to look the part, or sharing his body with an older more savvy man who can give him pointers in how to succeed in business. That he is emotionally invested in his unattainable boss, Francis de Bracey, is unfortunate, but he uses the hero worship that is sliding helplessly into love to power his determination to succeed. I loved Martin for his innocence and regretted each loss as it occurred.

Francis is an amazing character – distant, capable of great viciousness, with an ego the size of Pluto but with an old fashioned idea of duty and honour. I wasn't sure what to make of him at first. All readers bring their own experiences to a book and I know the De Braceys as a subdivision of the De Braose family who once invited all their neighbours to dinner then slaughtered the lot of them. I was prepared to loathe him and had cast him as the villain so was surprised at the sympathy that I developed for him as all the double dealing, back stabbing and nastiness began to take effect.

Radix malorum est cupiditas – money is the root of all evil – and this book reflects that while showing how easy it was to fall into the traps that wiped out livelihoods and ruined portfolios. I found the financial aspects as fascinating as the plot concerning the shifting allegiances within the financial community.

No, this ISN'T a romance in the usual sense. If I had to categorise it, it would be as a coming of age story as Martin matures and decides what is REALLY important to him. Absolutely a Five Star Read. I loved it!

I’m really pleased to be hosting S. A. Garcia today, in honour of her latest release, Canes and Scales, an exciting steampunk fantasy from Dreamspinner Press.

~~~

Fantastical Nightmares

Nightmares are terrible things. I know many people claim they don’t remember their dreams, but I bet everyone remembers their nightmares, especially the dangerous ones.

Nightmares render us helpless. How many times have you tried to break free from a horrible dream but the damned thing just keeps grinding along? Nightmares are the sub consciousness’s toxic waste. No one enjoys them, unless you’re into abuse and torment. Then hey, hope you enjoy those nightmares. For me, waking up sweaty and gasping in fear is not fun. Let’s face it, there are no safe words in nightmares. They don’t stop because you want them to stop!

But imagine if someone deliberately sent you a terrible nightmare, one so soul shattering that you know, unless you wake up, you will die? I know it’s been done before, but I attempted such a scenario in Canes and Scales: The Novel for the first time in my writing career— wait, I can’t say career, because you usually make money at a career— let’s just say writing adventure. I regard writing as a splendid adventure, and on days when I don’t have the time or energy to write, the lack of adventure impacts my mind. That is a true nightmare.

There I go, turning this around to be about me. But wait, I wrote the book— part of this needs to be about me.

Although nightmares play a large role in Canes and Scales: The Novel, the entire book is a dream come true— I always dreamed about expanding my first published novella into a novel. I never expected the story to transform into an epic fantasy! In this sweeping novel, Linden and Alasdaire suffer plenty of trauma, drama, evil elven deathspells, and danger.

They also experience an epic romance, supported by elven dream magic yet challenged dark Elven magic.

Here’s an example of when dark Elves send nightmares into their life. An Elven banespell sends Alasdaire into a deadly nightmare by casting his beloved Mother and his beloved Linden as enemies.

 

The BLURB:

 

Serpent Prince Linden of Ardaul is determined to drag his barbaric, power-hungry country into the modern age by encouraging learning, advances in the sciences, and tolerance. His insane brother Edward, the King, delights in making him pay for his efforts.

Long years of watching his back, fighting wars, and solving conflicts started by his cruel brother have taken a toll on Linden’s body and mind, and he needs a respite. When Linden meets an alluring young bed slave named Alasdaire, his weary heart responds. Alasdaire is an exotic mix of southern royal Totandian elf and human, and, although he’s also suffered hardship most of his life, his loving personality captivates the Prince.

Despite their differences, Alasdaire, canes—and Linden, scales—unite in body and soul, but their romance is nearly shattered by betrayal. When Linden becomes King, magical assassins, treachery, and threats plague them. They narrowly escape death more than once. The lovers must discover who wants them dead and more importantly, where they can turn for aid. Neither enemies nor allies are what they seem. Only time will tell who means to harm Linden and Alasdaire—the elves, the imprisoned Edward, or something even deadlier—and time is one thing they don’t have.

 

The EXCERPT:

 

Alasdaire

 

What a miserable place. Nothing but strange gray shapes surrounded me, gray accompanied by deeper, sinister grays. My body retained color; in fact, too much color met my startled stare. Bright blood seeped from the jagged fang marks rending my chest. My hands had turned black. Flexing my knuckles stabbed pain through my stressed skin. My aching legs barely moved me along a narrow path.

I did not belong in this horrible gray land. I belonged with my Linden.

Wait, Linden’s ugly serpent attack had thrust me into this lifeless domain. His love had faltered in its devotion, the emotion as false as my welcome at the palace of death. Why would a mighty king care about a bastard half-breed whore?

My breathing tightened, straining to push air from my lungs. I needed to focus. How could I think such a terrible thing about my lover? Magic had thrown me into this decayed realm—dangerous magic that tried to make me believe Linden wanted to harm me.

I refuted the lies. My voice cut through the cold mist swirling around me. “Linden loves me. Linden would never do anything to harm me. I need to find him again.”

I blinked in awe. My words forced my hands to assume their normal hue. The deep wounds in my chest had vanished. As I suspected, my negative emotions harmed me. Whoever attacked me sought to drive me to despair.

I refused to succumb. I needed to keep moving, keep seeking Linden. I crept forward. Suddenly a dismal swamp blocked my way on three sides. Noxious gas bubbled up from the dank water. I had no choice but to walk along a narrow path.

A small whitewashed cottage appeared through the tainted mist. The tidy red-tiled roof looked bright in the grayness. I moved closer, wondering what fresh anguish awaited me. Warm light spilled out from the diamond-paned windows. The door stood open, creating a golden rectangle against the grayness. The comforting sight reassured me.

Steps brought me to the open doorway. I gasped with delight. “Mother!”

Mother stood from tending the cheerful fire burning in the brick fireplace. As she smiled with equal delight, she held out her slim hands to me. Her smile looked comforting, soothing, and sweet—all the positive things I remembered about her from when she was alive.

“My precious son. Come, dear Alasdaire, be with me. Only I care about you. Only I love you. You do not belong with the treacherous Serpents. Come to me, Son. I have missed you. Come warm yourself and talk to me. I wish to hold you close.”

My mother spoke the truth to me. I walked forward three steps. I paused before I placed my foot onto the low stone step. Mother’s smile overwhelmed me. She held out her arms to welcome me into the warmth. She looked as beautiful and magical as I remembered her. Her precious smile made me tremble.

Mother stood in the doorway. “Come to me, Alasdaire. Come rest by the fire. My dear son, you look ready to collapse. Come in from the cold.”

Weariness plagued my body. I lifted my right arm up to her. “Mother.”

“Come to me, Son.”

I lifted my right knee up. My right foot hovered, close to stepping up into the cozy cottage.

Wait. Why didn’t her hands reach out to me past the doorframe? A sudden memory of an ancient shrine standing in the moonlight seared through my consciousness. A cool trickle snaked through my confusion. The tempting scene before me shimmered.

Reality roared free. This placed offered me no refuge.

I dropped my foot back to the ground. “Mother, please, come to me.”

Brief annoyance flickered over her lovely face. She beckoned to me. “Son, no, you need to enter to be with me. Come inside. Do you deny love for your mother?”

What painful words. “Never, Mother. I love you well, but I know when evil uses you against me.” I turned my back to her. My heart broke even more.

As I staggered away from the cottage, my mother’s lyrical voice begged me to come to her. “Alasdaire! The Serpent does not love you! Come back to me. Only I love you.”

I shook my head and kept moving away from her.

“No one loves you in your new world. The vile Serpent uses you as his whore.” Mother’s voice hoarsened. “I cannot believe my son would act so weak. You are weak! Only I can make you strong. Come back here! You know the Serpent only uses you. Your love for him betrays the elves!”

Echoes of the city elf’s rant teased me.

I started singing.

 

The birds sleep in their nests,

Mother knows what is best,

Hush, my little bird, rest,

Keep safe in our fine nest.

 

I used the simple lullaby to drown out Mother’s angry voice, a lullaby she had used to soothe me to sleep. As I sang, her threats snapped away from my hearing.

Rage filled my mind. How dare this foul magic use my mother against me? Who was doing this to me?

I stumbled forward, trying to avoid the sticky gray foliage twisting across the ground. The strange thick fog tried to halt my progress. The swirls and veils formed an oppressive web. I pushed forward, fearful of what would appear next.

******

Thanks for reading!

Canes and Scales: The Novel is avaliable at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Are and other outlets. Canes and Scales: The Novel

Who Is S.A. Garcia?

Forty years ago, I started writing gay male romance. Writing about men inserting tab A into slot B didn’t seem the norm for a suburban female teenager. Reading Gordon Merrick, John Rechy, and Larry Kramer helped me fill in the serious informational gaps. Yes, I read those informative books in my bedroom. No wonder.

As the years progressed, I continued writing gay male romance, although the stories progressed from scribbles in notebooks to hiding on the computer. I wrote fantasies, contemporaries, bodice rippers—my muse Diva Faboo refused to let this old lesbian write a F/F romance. Go figure. Someday!

I’m glad I kept the writing faith. I never thought anyone would published my novels. Imagine, my comedy An Elf for All Centuries (formerly from Silver Publishing; now in talks for a new home) was in the running for a few awards. What a thrill!

My life has turned into a fun quandary of too many stories hindered by my slow, two-fingered typing skills. I blunder onward into more trauma, drama, and humor. I just hope I can keep up with sexy men who insist on running off with the plots!

Along with Canes and Scales: the Novel, Dreamspinner is also home to my novellas, assorted short stories, short stand-alones and the M/M romdramedys (romance/ drama comedy) Cupid Knows Best and The Gospel According to Cher.

Love in the Shadows, my first attempt at mixing an M/M historical and contemporary with a touch of the supernatural, is at MLR Press.

You can find out more about me at my blog and website.

Facebook: S.A. Garcia

Twitter: SAGarcia_Writer

I’m very excited by the release of Project Fierce Chicago from Less Than Three Press and absolutely deighted that Dianne Hartock has agreed to answer some questions about it and about her writing process.

Welcome, Dianne, thanks for being here today.

Project Fierce is an excellent title, who came up with the idea for the anthology?

Isn’t this just an amazing title? Really catches one’s attention. It’s the name of the charity organization hoping to build a safe home for LGBTQ youth living on the streets of Chicago. Less Than Three Press has decided to raise money for this effort by putting out an anthology of stories donated by various authors. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Project Fierce Chicago.
Less Than Three Press is a strong rising presence in the LGBTQ romance community, a labor of love between three women who wanted to write and publish books, but wanted to do it their way—with other people who love what they do, for people who love to read great romance, with high-quality, well-edited stories that are also affordable, engaging, and always come with that famous happy end.

Can you tell me a bit about the project it is supporting?

Project Fierce Chicago will provide transitional housing for LGBTQ young people ages 18-25, for an initial term of one year. In addition to living space, food and hygiene products, residents will have access to services aimed at a successful transition to independence, including case management, professional and living skills training and educational support. These services will primarily be provided by dedicated volunteers.

PFC’s aim is to become a largely self-sustaining community through the maintenance of a community garden and an in-house workshop in which staff, volunteers and residents create daily living items such as soap, lotion and household cleaning products with natural ingredients. The house will also have a space in which to showcase the art and creative projects of residents and community members.

I understand your story is about a young man who is homeless, could you please tell me a little more about him?

Sammy is a darling, and one of the countless homeless GLBT youth surviving on the streets in Portland, Oregon. At fifteen he inadvertently came out to his parents, and instead of the support he’d hoped for, they sent him to live with his uncle. Unfortunately, the man was even less tolerant of his penchant for wearing women’s dresses. Rather than change to please his family, feeling unwanted and misunderstood, he ran away to find a better life.

He spent three months living under bridges, hungry and lonely, until he meets Tad, a young man who gives him a spot on his floor to sleep when he needs one and shows him that by flashing a bit of thigh and his pretty smile at the local businessmen, he could make enough money to keep his stomach full and maybe hide away a little for his own apartment. He doesn’t dare dream of attending college one day.

When this story opens, Sam has been on the streets for several years when one of his ‘regulars’ begins to take more than a business interest in him. For the first time Sammy dreams of more than a bleak lonely future, but does he dare hope that someone like him could find their happily ever after?

I know that you are working all the time. How is this story different from your other recent releases?

While all my stories are fiction, with SAMMY I paid extra attention to my facts. Homelessness is one of the sadder aspects of society and I wanted to make sure I portrayed Sam’s life as realistically as possible.

That’s not to say I don’t research my other stories. For my recently released novel THE SHED, the sequel to my psychological thriller ALEX, I had police procedure and Colorado state law and the schooling my hero Scott Reid needed as a certified counselor and mental health specialist. But from there I wandered into fiction. You see, Alex is a psychic who sometimes works with the police on murder investigations. Scott is his therapist. In this story I could I could tweak the facts a bit where in SAMMY I stuck with the reality of life on the streets.

In THE SHED, Alex is surrounded by a group of friends and professionals who believe in him, where that’s not always the case in real life and certainly not in Sam’s. But there is one thing all my stories have in common, a happy ending. Again, something that doesn’t always happen in reality but is a must with my stories.

I’m currently having problems balancing my work/life and writing commitments. Have you any advice?

Wish I had a secret recipe to share with you, but the answer is that I work hard at it. I’m up an hour early for work every day to get some writing time in, then try for two hours in the evening to write, promote, and the millions of tiny details involved with having a published story.

Sundays are for family and friends, and though I might get a little writing in, it’s mostly spent doing things with them. Oh, and every evening I spend with the family before I get to my writing.

Thursdays, my other day off, is strictly for writing. I need that day to just immerse myself in a story or I’d never get anything done! What it comes down to is that I love writing and so make time for it, wherever I can.

What next from the pen/typewriter/wordprocessor of Dianne Hartsock? Do you have WIP you can talk about?

I am currently and STILL working on my contemporary Christmas story. I say still because, though I’ve only been working on it since April, it seems to be taking me forever to make any progress. Lots of interruptions with other stories/editing/promoting/writing guest blogs, etc. But I’m almost caught up with my obligations and can really sink my teeth into it.

I’m really excited about this one. I’ve been rolling it around in my head for about a year now, waiting for the change to get started on it. I have it all plotted out, who my heroes are, are they naughty or nice? Who my wicked but lovely villain is and the terrible things he puts my men through. At the moment I have only one more big scene to write then my thrilling conclusion. Then I get to my favorite part, going back through it and fleshing out all the scenes. Looking forward to getting back into it.

Could we please have a short excerpt of your story SAMMY in Project Fierce?

A soft sob floated on the night air and plunged straight into John’s heart. He hurried over to Sam, then stood biting his lips, not sure what to say.

“What do you want?” Sammy’s voice sounded tired, rough with tears.

“Do you need help? Can I do anything?”

Sam raised his head, blue eyes shimmering at him through wet lashes. Recognition sparked in the beautiful depths, then they widened. “You.” Sam struggled to his feet, hugging his bare arms across his chest against the chill creeping up from the river. “Sorry, I have to cancel on you. I’m closed for the night. Try again tomorrow.”

He brushed past John and started down the bike path. John’s heart thumped painfully. “Sam?”

The young man stopped and swiveled abruptly. The lamplight caught his expression, a hint of fear, anger; the light clearly showing a cut lip and the dark swelling of a bruise on his ivory cheek. John clamped his lips shut on a murmur of pity, noting he held his left arm as if it hurt.

Helplessness swept through John. “Let me help you. I can make you a cup of coffee at least. And dinner, if you’re interested. I make a great spaghetti.”

Doubt crossed Sam’s pretty face and the end of his pink tongue nudged the cut on his lip, twisting John’s heart.

Impulsively, he touched Sam’s arm. “Did someone hurt you?”

Sam stared at his hand, not answering. John was grateful he didn’t yank his arm away. Finally Sam nodded.


Project Fierce

Nobody deserves to be without a home

In collaboration with several authors, Less Than Three Press offers up an anthology of stories about young people who find that home and family are not always where you expect to find them.

All proceeds from this charity anthology will be donated to Project Fierce Chicago.

Project Fierce Chicago’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing affirming, no-cost transitional housing and comprehensive support services to homeless LGBTQ young adults. PFC also aims to encourage community-building and civic engagement through cooperative living and youth leadership development.

LT3′s Project Fierce Chicago charity anthology includes 20 short stories from Aeris, Vicktor Alexander, Talya Andor, C.J. Anthony, Blaine D. Arden, Kayla Bain-Vrba, Sophie Bonaste, Kenzie Cade, Jana Denardo, Alessandra Ebulu, Dianne Hartsock, Leta Hutchins, Caitlin Ricci, Lor Rose, B. Snow, Rin Sparrow, Andrea Speed, Piper Vaughn, Layla M. Wier, and Xara X. Xanakas.

Pairings: M/M, F/F, genderqueer
Content: Contains no explicit content.

Buy link: Less Than Three Press: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=78&products_id=632

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