Congratulations, Cristina C. You’ve won the Valentine’s Blog Hop prize! I’ll send an email from lou(dot)sylvre(at)gmail(dot)com to the address listed for your comment here, so we can arrange to get your ebook to you.
Thanks again to everyone who played, and I hope Valentine’s was sweet fun this year for all of you!
Welcome Zahra Owens, returning with this very worthwhile post. Readers, as always on the blog the cover images are links straight to the publisher’s online store. Some of you may remember that when Zahra visited last time, she gave us a very interesting interview. Here’s a link: Shapely Asses in the Saddle…
Did you cry too when you saw sex columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller talk about their childhood in the very first It Gets Better video? Did it move you to hear them talk frankly about the bullies and taunts and hard times of growing up ‘different’? You were not alone. Many videos followed, and a lot of people opened their hearts and recorded their own story. It became the It Gets Better Project.
That very first video moved me to write You Can’t Choose Your Family.I wanted to show a couple who’d been together for twenty years and still felt their love grow every day. I wanted to believe this kind of love was possible and Fran Galloway and Jay Molenski obliged by telling me their story.
Once the story was published, Fran and Jay kept bothering me to write how they got together. I don’t need an excuse to go back to the beginning of the nineties, so one evening, after reading about another slew of teenage suicides, I penned the beginning of You Can Choose Your Friends. Somehow, the rest of the story wrote itself.
During the editing process, I realized it was a true It Gets Better story. We already know that life works out for these guys but Fran especially went through hell in this prequel. Slowly the idea started to form that I wanted to make sure it did some good (besides give a few people a little bit of reading joy). I decided I wanted to give my royalties to the It Gets Better Project. With the help of Elizabeth North of Dreamspinner Press, I arranged for $1.20 to be donated for every single copy sold.
At the same time, I felt I had to record my story too.
I’m not a lesbian, although all my life people have seen me as such, and I was bullied accordingly. I’ve always been the weird one, the eccentric one, and on top of that I was a smart, but fat girl. Could they possibly find more reasons to ostracize me? Despite of the fact I was singled out already, I helped them along by standing up for the minorities in school. I hung out with the ‘freaks’, so slowly but surely, I started feeling quite at home being the Q in the LGBTQ.
The one thing I wanted to talk about in my video was that, for me, it didn’t get better overnight. It took a lot of time for me to grow into myself and, at 42, I’m still a work in progress. That doesn’t mean it’s a sad story. Because it does get better! You just have to give yourself time.
Yes, it’s time for me to give away an ebook copy of Delsyn’s Blues, the second book in the Vasquez & James M/M suspense/romance series. (A secret: if you haven’t read Loving Luki Vasquez, book one, you can choose that one instead if you win.) If you’d like to try for the prize, just leave me a comment below answering this question: If you could only choose one, which would it be? A kiss, a slow-dance, or a pair of dark Belgian chocolate truffles, which would you choose? (Evil question, I know. I’ll answer it, too, when I come back to name the winner!)
I’m very happy to have the opportunity to feature accomplished author Talia Carmichael this week on the blog. Scroll down for an interview and some entertaining excerpts. As always on this blog, the cover images are the buy links—just click and your at the store, in case you’re so inclined. I hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment and thanks for reading.
Bernie Jenkins knows longing for Tomas is futile. The strong, sexy man sees him as nothing but an obligation, a burden he took on out of pity. He even calls Bernie “kid.” Bernie knows all about burdens and how they can consume you, so he pushes away feelings for Tomas.
Tomas Rodriguez likes Bernie. He’s a buddy, a friend. No matter what anyone says, there is nothing going on between them… or so he believes until Bernie surprises him one night at a club. Tomas realizes there’s more to the clumsy geek than he ever knew, but being attracted to someone isn’t the same as acting on it. For that to change, Bernie will have to take a chance and allow Tomas into his heart.
Talia Carmichael is a romantic who believes that family, no matter if it is by blood or those you choose as family, is integral to who you are. She is an author who writes sexy stories in a variety of genres. She believes in creating stories that encompass all that falling in love or lust entails, from the highs of that first blush of attraction to the lows of not knowing if you can make your coming together as a couple work, and then finally to the acceptance of the reality of making a life together. It’s all about the journey.
Talia is a multi-published author with books available at Dreamspinner Press and Total-E-Bound. Among her books you’ll find contemporary, futuristic, fantasy, and paranormal settings with M/M and ménage themes that will have a happily-ever-after. Her books are passionate, intense, and real… to fill the craving.
LS: Talia, welcome to the blog! As you know, we’ve had a few obstacles arise as we tried to get to this point, and I’m very glad I’m able at last to ask you some questions and feature your work. Thank you for your patience and for being here.
TC:Yes we indeed did have a few but it all worked out. I’m happy to be there. Glad we are able to have this interview. Thanks for having me as a guest.
Q: Your bio is an intriguing paragraph, Talia—one that will certainly engender a question or two—but it doesn’t mention where you’re from or where you live and write. Many of the authors I’ve spoken too have said that their physical surroundings, whether staying the same over time or changing often, has lent some quality or content to their writing. Are you willing to share the geography in your life? Has it made a difference in the writing either directly, in voice or tone, or in some other way? A: I currently reside in New York. And yes it does affect my writing in that NY is indeed a melting pot of people, geography and things that fill you. I’ve been lucky enough to find people in NY who have become an extension of my already large family. We are close and spend lots of time together. This is portrayed in my books—the feel of family and friends who are family even if not by blood but by heart and soul.
Q: You said that your writing “encompasses all that falling in love or lust entails.” Wonderful pool of material, and judging by the bits I’ve read that’s an apt description. But under the romance umbrella you write in many sub-genres—you mention futuristic, fantasy, and paranormal. Do you find that addressing romance, “love and lust,” requires a different approach for these different types of stories, or is it more of a commonality? What genre do you find the easiest to write in? Which do you most enjoy? A: No I don’t find it needs a different approach. Even a being who is from the future, in fantasy or paranormal there is the one common thread they want to find love. Love is a complex thing that no one no matter how powerful can control. Maybe it will be instant they find their mate but still the road to getting to that happily ever after will be filled with the twists and turns of love. It can also be easy by just meeting eyes and know you are meant for each other. The wonderful thing is all about the journey easy and smooth or hard and difficult. Or anything in between. Love is wonderful to experience.
Q: You also write ménage themes. Is it more difficult to tease out the happy ever after when you’ve got more than two lovers involved? A: No it’s not. Again it comes back to love no matter how many it is about finding those you click with. Then coming together to make a life and find love to their happy ever after.
Q: The two books you’ve shared with us here, according to the blurbs, involve friends turning lovers, or something similar. Is that the basis for the Something in Common series? A: Although one of the books published so far is about, a friends to lovers theme that isn’t what the series is about. The basis for series is exactly what the series name states—it’s all about something in common. With the books published Detour is about a detour that causes a chance meeting between strangers. Sparks is about friends to lovers. The other books I have planned in series have the men meeting for a variety of reasons. They could be strangers, adversaries, friends or any number of things but all come back to thread of something in common.
For the Something in Common series I wrote a series blurb that’s on my site that says best what the series is about.
Something in Common—Series Blurb
When you first meet a person you might say “they are so not my type” or “we have nothing in common” yet as you get to know that person you can find that your differences are what makes your relationship work. That just that one common thing makes what you have together work. This series explores couples who might seem to have nothing in common and showcase that they do. Finding that other person that is for you is an adventure with twists and turns.
Embracing that “Something in Common” is exhilarating and can lead to a lifetime of love. This is what the Something in Common series is all about.
Q: Your characters seem richly drawn, and quite individualistic. In general, are your stories generated and driven by plot or by character? It there a typical way in which new ideas come to you? A: Thanks I do strive to make them real so you feel you know them. My books are drive by both. In my opinion there is not one without the other. Without a balance between plot or character the stories isn’t a full one. That’s just my opinion.
New ideas come to me by any numerous ways. I can see something and it will give me an idea. Or I could dream and have a new idea to pursue. I take in everything around me.
Q: Okay, I’m warning you ahead of time, Talia. This is my infamous question. Some writers enjoy answering it, some clearly don’t like having to choose. The rules: Whereas you can fudge a bit, you can’t cheat—you have to choose an overall favorite; and, these are essay questions, requiring explanation; and, this is intended to be subjective in the author’s own eyes—no fair telling what you think readers like. So, here they are. Who is the sexiest, Bernie or Thomas? Robert or Miguel? Out of all four? A: Uh huh not answering this. That is like trying to choose between who is your favorite child or niece/nephew, sibling, parent. Not a question I can answer in all honesty. I think it is best to leave it to the readers. (Note by LS: Talia is my first ever refusal on this question. I hope she doesn’t start a trend!)
Q: What’s coming up, Talia? Anything on the near horizon? More in the Something in Common series? Longer range plans? A: I have books in some of my series I started last year. Also this year I will be launching 2 new series set in the same towns as some of my previous series. They will feature a new set of characters and what is happening in their lives. There maybe a cross over between series here or there. Below is what I have confirmed as contracted so far. I’m awaiting a response on a few the submissions I have out to my various publishers. After the Fall—(The Right Choice #1) – April 9, 2012 Wicked Intentions—(Bonds of Justice #1) – June 18, 2012 Opposing Rhythms—(Impressions #3) – July 16, 2012 Long Hard Ride—(Prentiss #2) – August 6, 2012 Wicked Alliance—(Bonds of Justice #2) – September 3, 2012
Yes I do plan for there to be more Something in Common series coming. I’ve already completed book 3 and 4 is series. I’ve started book 5 because the characters wouldn’t stop talking to me. 🙂
My longer range plans are to just keep writing. There is no feeling like creating a story and putting it to paper.
LS: Thanks again for coming to the blog an letting me feature you and your work on sylvre.com. I hope you’ll come again. TC: Thanks so much for having me Lou. It was fun and I’d love to come back again.
“What makes you think I can’t dance?” Bernie’s tone was more curious than anything else.
Tomas wasn’t about to admit that, with Bernie being so clumsy, he didn’t expect much from him on the dance floor.
“Just a guess.” He shrugged.
“Assumption based on my less-than-gracefulness.” Bernie sounded amused.
Tomas didn’t answer. He led Bernie to a corner of the dance floor. It had enough space that he could teach Bernie to dance without making Bernie feel self-conscious. Tomas turned to him. Over Bernie’s shoulder, he noticed the men at the table had all moved closer to where they were. He frowned.
Robert and Alex were beside each other. Alex made a twirling motion of his fingers. Miguel, Alejandro, Malik, and Hector leaned next to each other, smirks on their faces. The rest of the poker crew were spread out around them, all staring. Bernie went to turn, but Tomas caught his hands, holding Bernie facing him. He didn’t want Bernie to get nervous. With the yahoos watching them, he would.
“So show me what you can do,” Tomas challenged him.
Bernie stiffened, his pale green eyes narrowing. His lips curled into a sly smile. Uneasiness gripped Tomas. Bernie started to move. Tomas’s mouth dropped open. The gracefulness of Bernie’s movements made it seem as if he didn’t have any bones in his body. Bernie rolled his hips. He exuded sex. Bernie partially lowered his lids over those captivating eyes. In a slow glide, he moved into Tomas’s body. The height of his lanky frame was a match of Tomas’s own six-foot-three, brawny body. A slender finger lifted Tomas’s chin, closing his mouth. Bernie leaned into the side of his face. His slightly curly, dark-brown hair brushed the side of Tomas’s face. Tomas stifled a shiver.
“Aren’t you going to dance?” Bernie’s soft voice sounded much more seductive than Tomas remembered.
Tomas gulped. Bernie’s hands slid around his waist and down his hips. He gripped Tomas and moved against his body. Shaking out of his stupor, Tomas shifted and moved with him. Bernie’s soft sigh tickled the side of Tomas’s face. Tomas’s cock went rock hard. Pulling back slightly, Tomas moaned as Bernie’s hands tightened on his hips, pulling him back against him. Giving in to his silent demand, Tomas moved against him. He felt the movement of Bernie’s cock. It was a delicious friction between them as they danced. The herbal scent of Bernie’s shampoo and soap surrounded them.
With a gulp, Tomas put his hands on Bernie’s shoulders. Through the cotton of his T-shirt against his fingertips, Tomas could feel the muscles in Bernie’s shoulders. It was startling to realize Bernie had muscles. He was so gangly, and wore such baggy clothes, that Tomas hadn’t even realized it. Bernie rolled his hips in a motion that made Tomas’s cock jerk and his balls go tight.
Jerking away, Tomas said in a hoarse tone, “Enough of the lesson, kid.”
“Not a kid. And thanks for the lesson.” Bernie smirked.
He walked away, a sway in his hips. His ass looked fuller in his baggy pants. Tomas licked his lips.
A hand shook him. Bernie swatted at it. The hand continued to shake him. Blearily, he opened his eyes and glared at Tomas.
“Why ya waking me? You said sleep, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Go away.” Bernie closed his eyes.
“You sure are mouthy for someone who’s sleeping. Now, up. We have plans.” Tomas sounded cheerful.
“No plans. Sleep,” Bernie moaned.
“Are you welshing on our bet?”
“I’m no welsher.” Bernie opened his eyes.
Absently, he noted Tomas was fully dressed as he stood by the side of the bed.
“Then get up and let’s go. I’m leaving in twenty minutes.
We’ll eat breakfast when we get there. Chop chop.” Tomas clapped his hands.
“Let me find a weapon, and I’ll be happy to chop you.” Bernie bared his teeth.
“You’re not usually this cranky in the morning.”
“I am when someone wakes me up in the middle of the night, then revs me up, then goes all gentlemanly,” he grumbled irritably, thinking of the night before.
Tomas pouted. “Try to do something good, and you get no appreciation.”
Bernie sat up, getting off the bed next to Tomas. Standing, he kissed him thoroughly. He licked inside his mouth and suckled his tongue. Pushing him away, Bernie sauntered to the bathroom. In the doorway, he glanced over his shoulder. Tomas was facing him with his arms crossed over his chest.
“That’s my appreciation. And later, I’ll fuck the gentleman out of you,” Bernie promised.
“We can do it now.” Tomas walked toward him.
“Oh, no. You got me up, so we’re going wherever the hell you plan on taking me.” Bernie stepped quickly into the bathroom, closing and locking the door.
“Open up, Bernie.” Tomas’s fist pounded on the door.
“No. I’m getting ready.” Bernie laughed.
He turned on the shower and got in. As he cleaned up, he noticed Tomas had stopped pounding. He heard a scraping sound. Turning off the water, he got out and grabbed a towel. Wrapping it around his body, he went to the door. Opening it, he looked at Tomas, and then at what he held in his hand.
“What were you doing?”
“Taking the door off the hinges.” Tomas didn’t even sound apologetic.
He threw down the power screwdriver and reached for him.
Robert Berkus’s steady academic life seemed to be an open road until the day he took a detour… right into Officer Miguel Rodriguez’s path. When Miguel helps the sexy professor change a flat tire, Robert is absolutely oblivious to Miguel’s interest. That suits Miguel just fine, though. He’s used to being the aggressor although it sure would be nice to get this sweet and staid college professor to make the first move.
When Robert gets his act in gear, the results prove explosive. Miguel wants Robert in his bed and in his life permanently, and Robert enthusiastically agrees—but they’ve already learned that life makes detours. Sometimes it takes love a little courage to arrive at its chosen destination.
“Just friends. He’s straight,” Robert said as he waited for Miguel to answer the door.
It was his ritual to repeat the reminder before he spent time with Miguel. In the last five weeks and four days they had spent together, sometimes it worked, while other times he couldn’t wait to go home and jerk off, imagining it was
Miguel touching him. It was pathetic, but he couldn’t seem to say no when Miguel asked him to do something. Since that first game, he and Alex had become regulars at the poker games. As Miguel had mentioned, the players changed based on each player’s schedule. From his count of people at the various games, there were about twenty or so of them who played. Alex had even offered his house to be added to the rotation once it was more livable. Robert couldn’t offer his place; it was too small. Although he, Alex, and sometimes Miguel went looking, he still couldn’t find a house he wanted.
In addition to those times, he and Miguel had been to many garage sales, picking up pieces for Miguel’s house. He had spent many weekends working on restoring the pieces with Miguel. Besides that, they had gone to the beach to surf, out to eat, to fairs, and lots of other outings. It was what he would imagine a romance would be: getting to know each other, spending time together, fun and camaraderie.
Too bad Miguel was straight and therefore off limits.
“Just frien—” Robert said as door opened.
He swallowed the rest of the words as he got a look at a glistening bare chest. Robert gulped. He licked his lips as water slid down sculpted muscle.
“Sorry. I’m not ready. I had to take a shower. I took longer sanding the wardrobe than I had planned.” Miguel’s voice was muffled.
Robert was grateful Miguel was toweling his hair, giving him time to compose himself. Miguel slung the towel over his neck.
“Come on in. I’ll be ready in a sec.” Miguel stepped back.
Robert entered, closing the door behind him, and walked deeper into the room. He stopped, whimpering, as Miguel turned and started to walk away. The shorts he wore hugged his ass perfectly. His thighs moved, flexing muscles.
Robert bit the side of his hand. His gaze traveled up, taking in the strong back, broad shoulders, thick neck, and slightly curly, damp hair. Miguel stopped and looked back at him.
Robert dropped his hand and took a step back. Hunger blazed in Miguel’s gaze. But that was impossible.
“When are you going to make a move? I’m tired of waiting.” Miguel’s voice was low and deep.
“Huh? What are you talking about?” Robert’s addled brain was on overload.
Miguel sighed and faced him. Involuntarily, Robert’s eyes dropped, and then his mouth fell open in shock. Miguel was hard, and from the look of it, his cock was huge. Robert licked his lips, then jerked his eyes away. Miguel was amused.
“Like what you see?” Miguel purred.
“God, yes.” Robert flushed as he realized what he’d said, and he rushed to correct it. “Umm… no… look….” He screamed, frustrated, yanking at his hair.
“I can think of better things to do with your mouth than scream,” Miguel growled.
Robert dropped his hands and gawked. Miguel smiled and lowered his gaze. He licked his lips and looked back up at Robert.
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