Friday, December 30, 2011

Andrea Speed - Story Behind the Josh of the Damned series

I love throwing the fantastic and the mundane together, so putting the mouth of hell and a convenience store side by side seemed like a natural thing to do. I love writing horror, and I love writing comedy, but I have to admit that the task of putting them together can be daunting and very tricky. Still, I love the Evil Dead movies, especially two and three, where they really embraced the humor of the films (the first was, as Joe Bob Briggs -or was it Stephen King? - said, “Spam in a cabin”, i.e. a slaughter-fest), and the end of three, where we see a brief snippet of Ash back at his assistant manager job at the S-Mart, could be looked at as inspiration for the overall Josh of the Damned series. After all, what would happen if Ash had to keep juggling his demon killing “job” with his mundane day job?

A key difference is Josh is no demon killer, nor is he an assistant manager. He’s much lower on the totem pole, and as much as I hate to use the term “slacker”, that’s exactly what Josh is. He works a terrible job that he knows is a terrible job, but it doesn’t require much from him, and since he has no real ambition, that suits him just fine. I’m not sure what my inspiration for Josh is, beyond  simply wondering what an employed drifter might be like. Someone who really doesn’t want responsibility, but needs a check. That’s Josh, who may own a cactus, but certainly not a pet. He’s probably lucky to feed himself most of the time. Like a rock in a river, he’s happy to let life just flow past and over him, except the circumstances at his little crap job force him to become more engaged with the world. A weird world full of zombies and lizard people, but anything less probably wouldn’t have shaken him from his natural torpor. Of course I’ve known people like that, and I have my only tendencies that way as well, but Josh doesn’t like confrontation so much, while I don’t mind at all. 

Even when you don’t want to, life changes, and it forces you to change as well. In a way, that’s what the Josh of the Damned series is all about. Josh doesn’t really want to change, but life is going to make him change, in the strangest (and hopefully funniest) way possible.

Here’s the blurb for Pretty Monsters:

Josh knew the night shift at the Quik-Mart would be full of freaks and geeks—and that was before the hell portal opened in the parking lot. Still, he likes to think he can roll with things. Sure, the zombies make a mess sometimes, but at least they never reach for anything more threatening than frozen burritos.
Besides, it’s not all lizard-monsters and the walking dead. There’s also the mysterious hottie with the sly red lips and a taste for sweets.
Josh has had the hots for Hot Guy since the moment he laid eyes on him, and it seems Hot Guy might be sweet on Josh too. Now if only Josh could figure out whether that’s a good thing, a bad thing, or something in between. After all, with a hell vortex just a stone’s throw away, Josh has learned to take nothing at face value—even if it’s a very, very pretty face.
This title is #1 of the Josh of the Damned series.

If you’d like to read an excerpt and purchase Pretty Monsters, click here.

The second in the series, Peek-A-Boo, is available for pre-sale at Riptide Publishing.

More About Andrea:

Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you - framed!) In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!

Where you can find Andrea:

Email address:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kari Gregg - Collared -- The Story Behind the Story

Collared -- The Story Behind the Story

I was raised in central West Virginia and I still go back several times each year to visit my family. Although my parents now live in the next county over (light years and entire universes away from my old stomping grounds), I still run into and hear from/about old friends occasionally. Collared came to be after I bumped into one of those friends. We'll call him Jack. That isn't his real name, but close enough.

Back in high school, Jack was brilliant. He was funny and fun to be around. A much heavier partier than I was (and I was no lightweight). We were bored kids stuck out in the country. We had to drive half an hour to get to a restaurant chain and another hour beyond that to see a movie. Of course we were going to get into trouble. And Jack was excellent at it. So good, in fact, that (like me) he managed to put his party on and maintain the high GPA that was his ticket out of the county and into civilization.

For Jack, though, the train derailed. Never use something that will end up using YOU, compadres. Jack got a powerful monkey on his back in college, dropped out, blew around the party-fest communes back home and finally settled in a shack deep in the woods -- deep enough to dissuade the cops from looking for his crops, if you see what I'm saying.

So anyway, I run into Jack many years (and several lifetimes later) and he's still the fun guy he always was, but wow, does he have a whole treasure trove of conspiracy theories. Really crazy stuff. I love the guy to death, though, and you know what? He's still brilliant. Nuckin futs, yeah, but brilliant. One of the many theories he'd cooked up was an elaborate scenario in which the government was doping the masses (that'd be you and me, pal) with hormones injected into our meat and bio-engineered crops. Whoa. Awesome.

But it got me to thinking...What if behavior could be modified by altering the food supply? What might that look like? How would we, as a society, respond? I thought about an old grade B horror flick in which animals went super-aggressive for some bizarre reason (scared the shit out of me as a 10yo) so I had an idea for what direction I'd go in (though dominance instead, not aggression of the homicidal bent). Then, weirdly enough, I thought about 911, how the horror and grief of that event provoked us (individually and nationally) to act impulsively and at times irrationally -- sometimes for the good and sometimes for the very, very bad.

From that soup of what if's, Collared was born. Everyone's brain chemistry is changing and that's causing us to act in extreme and (sometimes) irrational ways, both individually (for my characters) and as a nation (the political/legal environment). My heroes struggle with who they were, who they want to be and who they are becoming -- juxtaposed against the setting of a world in flux. Nothing makes sense, not how they feel, not how the new environment is coming into shape...It doesn't work. The world they live, breathe and move in does not work. It needs fixing and so do my characters. They're trying. They're fighting to adapt to the changes, to accept their new normal and to make that new normal better. They make mistakes. We, as a society, make mistakes too. But we never stop fighting to make life better. This is Connor's, Emmett's and David's story -- their struggle to find their balance, each other and a way to make a world gone mad work.

Here's the blurb:

Trans-Global IT director Connor Witt is a rare and prized anomaly: the aggression centers in his brain have been suppressed rather than stimulated by the mutated crops that so recently took over the world’s food supply. Bewildered by his physical changes and terrified of a world growing more and more predatory, Connor risks harassment and worse until Trans-Global CEO David Martin collars Connor to protect him against men like security consultant Emmett Drake. Men who stalk Connor as sweet, sexy prey. Men to whom the newly submissive Connor feels irresistibly drawn.
But David can’t be Connor’s master; David’s straight. He promises to find a worthy man, though. One willing to court and appreciate Connor as more than just some rich man’s toy.
While the world adapts to the biological disaster and new laws strip away Connor’s rights, David’s resolve to protect his boy slowly grows into something more. But can his new desires keep pace with Emmett’s determination to claim Connor?
One man offers safety; the other is a safer bet. Problem is, Connor’s never sure which is which. The one thing he does know? He wants them both.

Click the title to read an excerpt and purchase Collared.

Visit Kari's website for more information on all her work.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cat Grant and The Inspiration for Once a Marine

Hey, Jadette. Thanks for inviting me to blog here!

Once a Marine, my new release from Riptide Publishing, took a long time to gestate. I’d been wanting to write a m/m book with a DADT theme for a couple of years, but I had to wait for the policy to be officially repealed before I could see giving that kind of story a truly happy ending. So when President Obama signed the repeal into law right before Christmas in 2010, I rubbed my hands together and started brainstorming ideas.

As luck would have it, I’d also been following the awesome Rachel Maddow’s ongoing series of interview with service men and women discharged under DADT. Here interview with Army Captain Jonathan Hopkins struck a chord with me. When he told her he’d effectively put his personal life on hold for the better part of ten years because any relationship he had would have to be closeted, I knew I had the model for my Marine, Cole Hammond.

Then I had to come up with a worthy object for his affections – and I’ll admit, I didn’t look too far. I knew I wanted to set the story in a university town, so I picked Berkeley – because I HATE location research, and UC Berkeley is my alma mater, so I already know the town really well. And I made Marc Sullivan, Cole’s lover, a writer because I’d never written a book with a writer protag before. Basically, Marc is me if I were a thirty-year-old gay man. So once I had that down, I was good to go.

Writing the first draft took about a month, which is pretty fast, but I can normally knock it out quickly when I have the characters and the story firmly in mind. It was the editing that nearly killed me – in the best way possible. I’d never had developmental edits before, and needless to say, they were an eye-opener. But they helped kick-start my writing brain into overdrive, and by the time we were done, the book was a thousand percent better.

Many readers have commented on my choice to write the story in one 1st person POV (Marc) and one 3rd (Cole). Some have found Cole’s POV a bit distancing, which is exactly what I was aiming for. I wanted readers to get to know and slowly fall in love with Cole, the same way Marc does. Was I successful? That’s for readers to judge.

I had a great time researching and writing Once a Marine. It was a privilege to tell Cole and Marc’s story. I can only hope I’ve honored Cole’s sacrifice, the same sacrifice made by so many of our valiant service men and women, who can now serve openly, with dignity and honor.

Here's the blurb:

Love is a battlefield.
Discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, former Marine major Cole Hammond is struggling to find a new identity. But PTSD casts a pall on everything, and his hard-nosed, homophobic father can’t even bear to look him in the eye. To top it all off, he’s pretty sure he’s flunking out of law school.
Marc Sullivan is a kind, sensitive romance author-slash-waiter with a thing for men in uniform. Cole’s not wearing his anymore, but there’s no mistaking the warrior Marc meets in the diner one rainy afternoon. Cole’s sexy smile and Carolina drawl prove irresistible, but Marc’s played this game before, and he always loses. Once a Marine, always a Marine, and if there’s one thing Marc knows about such men, it’s that they all leave him in the end. It doesn’t help that Cole’s practically closeted in public, or that he refuses to seek treatment for his PTSD.
But like any good Marine, Cole’s willing to fight for what matters. And like the characters in Marc’s stories, he’s certain that if they try just hard enough, together they can find their own happily ever after.
Click the title to read an excerpt and purchase Once a Marine.

Visit my website for more information on my work.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Storm Grant Life Resembles Art

Life Resembles Art

Or sometimes, TV resembles something I’ve written.

Earlier this week, I was flipping channels and landed on a TV show featuring a de-fanged vampire. There was a horrible scene of blood dripping out of the blood-sucker’s mouth, and some really great camera shots showcasing big empty sockets where his canines had been. Make that “ex-blood-sucker”. Apparently in this show’s world-building, no canines = starving to death. They never grow back and without them, the vampire can’t feed.

I’d actually thought of this scenario a couple of years ago, only with 100% less death! In my world, there’s another body fluid on which a de-fanged vampire can survive. Happily.

I let this premise percolate in the back of my mind for a long time, then I started thinking “under what circumstances would a vampire lose his teeth?” followed by, “And how will I make this a sexy love story?” 

I made a few notes, opened my GMC* template, and then suddenly, I’d written an m/m romance about a vampire and his dentist. Don’t you just love it when that happens?

NOTE: *GMC = Goals, Motivation and Conflict, a fabulous book by Debra Dixon with a simple formula for writing character-driven fiction. I use this in conjunction with Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat story structure for plot-driven fiction. Together, they’re all you need to plan a book.

Here's the blurb:

No greater love has a vampire than for his dentist.
Deeply in debt to a loan shark, oversexed dentist Cary Drewel lives in fear of foreclosure and bodily harm. His new practice is missing one rather crucial element: patients. Which, terrifyingly enough, is the one thing his creditors also don’t have.
Pierce Sharpe, a powerful vampire with a drinking problem—or, more accurately, a problem drinking—can’t feed through the pain in his damaged eye teeth. In danger of losing his standing in the vampire community, Pierce seeks Cary's dental services. When Cary extracts his canines, Pierce must turn to other bodily fluids for sustenance.
Together, Cary and Pierce find a mutually pleasurable solution to both their problems. Turns out, though, there’s more to this dentist-patient relationship than simple suction, and what began with raw hunger from each of them might just end in love.
Click the title to read an excerpt and purchase Sucks and Blows.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Peter Hansen Story Behind First Watch

Tentacular History: An Overview

In "First Watch," my interwar novella, Earth is populated with at least two types of sentient creatures: humans, and Lovecraftian horrors from the depths. Both kinds of creature are historical, in that they remember and relate past events, and both kinds of creature are political, in that they make alliances and wage wars to enforce them. This is all well and good, except for one crucial flaw in my master plan: Human history and politics--at least, as I know them--are completely devoid of tentacle monsters.

Of course, human folklore has always had a place for things that go bump in the night, and our fairy tales are full of the things that live in darkness. For most of human history, this is exactly what my eldritch horrors were--night terrors, beasts that preyed on the unwary and feasted in plague-ridden streets. They gorged on those who died at sea and were thrown overboard; they passed like shadows between the moon and the earth on winter nights, and their eyes shone beyond the glow of the hearth fire. Their relationship with humans was purely predatory, and not in the least political. They were the stronger beasts, the more powerful and brutal, and they consumed us without a pang of remorse.

Along the Pacific rim, humans had been making alliances with and waging war on these creatures for centuries, but in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, tentacled beasties were more slow to emerge. As I envision it, two developments pushed the Atlantic Lovecraftian horrors out of the sky and the sea. The first was human incursion on their spaces, as signified by the 1858 completion of the transatlantic telegraph cable and the development of commercial flight in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The second, and perhaps the more pertinent, was the rise in deadly military campaigns during the nineteenth century; as scavengers, these creatures were drawn to our regiments of the dead and the dying. They began to understand as they never had before how delicate was the political balance between human factions ... and how tasty our casualties were, when the balance got tipped.

On the battlefields of nineteenth-century Prussia, Russia, Turkey, and Virginia, the soldiers and the camp-followers began to speak of creatures moving over the corpses, all mouths and rope-like limbs. They spoke of beasts like harpies spiraling over the thick smoke of battle, waiting for the smell of the dead to rise. Soldiers returned from the battlefield with marks like tattoos, but what of that? Soldiers returning homeward always had tattoos and scars that had never been there before. There were strange new men in business and in politics, pale-faced and smooth-cheeked, but what of that? One politician was as bad as another, and at least these were well-groomed.

The first photographs--and even a few early, uneven films--emerged during the Great War. No one could mistake what the images displayed, although naysayers claimed foul play and photographers searched for signs of tamper. The soldiers knew, though, beyond the faintest shadow of doubt.

They had seen the creatures moving in thick, gelatinous masses over the spent shells and the bodies of the wounded. They had heard their comrades screaming as they were eaten alive ... or worse, seen their comrades return to them with the rising sun, their newly-healed flesh marked with characters in an unknown language.

Here's a blurb from my book, First Watch, at Riptide Publishing:

What price would you pay to survive?
Do you want to live? In the darkness of a WWI battlefield, young Legionnaire Edouard Montreuil lies dying. As teeth nibble his flesh, a voice whispers, Do you want to live? Frightened and desperate, Edouard bargains his freedom for a second chance.
Aboard the Flèche, a grim submarine captained by the nightmare who granted Edouard new life, Edouard pays the price for his survival. Each night, he gives his body to his captain as the bells sound first watch. But surviving is not living, and as the days stretch into months beneath the waves, Edouard grows desperate for escape.
Can Edouard’s old comrade Farid Ruiz help him break this devil's bargain, or will Ruiz fall to the same fate, trapped beneath the waves at the mercy of a monster whose hunger knows no bounds? Edouard and Ruiz served together once before, and slept together too, but courage and passion failed to save them from the eldritch beasts who roamed the night. This time, the cost of failure is nothing so clean or simple as death, and the spoils of victory are not just life, but love.
To read an excerpt and to purchase First Watch, click here.

About Peter Hansen:

Peter Hansen is a teacher, writer, and former spelling bee champion who lives a stone's throw from the Erie Canal. He got his start in publishing with his college newspaper, where he was forced to write "I will not rake the muck" one hundred times on the chalkboard before they let him write editorials. With that gritty, real-world experience under his belt, he promptly turned to science fiction and fantasy. He spends his days teaching young writers about the pathetic fallacy, his evenings mainlining iced tea, and his nights building a time machine in his basement.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rhianon Etzweiler - A Blacker Than Black World

The cliché concept of an undead, immortal creature feeding on the blood of the living has been around for hundreds of years. It’s been done to death (pun intended) since the rampant legend of Vlad the Impaler birthed Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The idea that humans are no longer being the top of the food chain (or no longer alone in that position) is an underlying theme of a healthy number of dark fantasy and urban fantasy books. Whether it’s fae, werewolves, vampires, shifters, or some other equally extraordinary race of creatures that usurps Homo sapiens, most of the tropes have been explored to exhaustion.

With “Blacker Than Black,” I wanted to go a different direction—a little further off the beaten path than humans being reduced to whoring blood to the ruling vampires. And selling their soul to a demon was off the table; it leads down an inevitable road of religious connotations. That wasn’t the type of story I wanted to write.

What else does a person have to sell? When you strip away the trappings of beliefs, possessions and social status, where’s the common denominator? The answer is emotions. Personal energy, aura. No matter what you take from people, the chi is autonomous. It remains firmly theirs. They can feel whatever they wish, and it can’t be controlled or taken away.

I wanted to change that. And that’s when I hit on using energy vampires. We’ve all known them. Those people that seem to suck the positive, happy, upbeat energy out of you, just by being in close vicinity. When you get away from them, you feel exhausted and relieved. Sometimes it takes a while to recover, to pull your mood up out of the dark hole they sink you into.

These are the vampires. Within the laws of this reality, taking chi from another living being extends the lifespan of the recipient, while shortening the donor’s. Thus vampires become immortal beings, though not without cost. They’re still human, the result of genetic permutations over time that give rise to a new subspecies of humanity. Homo sapiens bows to Homo hirudo. The leech.

In Black’s world, the mundane are reduced to second-class citizens, permitted to exist and live their lives for the sole purpose of enriching the quality of the emotional base the vampires have available.
Much the same way a farmer who wants quality meat will feed a healthy, balanced diet to an animal intended for slaughter.

Some vampires love the taste of hope. Some prefer the tang of fear. Some find the bitter twist of hatred more palatable. Others abhor the forceful acquisition of emotional energy and insist their sources offer it freely. Don’t rape the cattle. They must walk willingly to the slaughterhouse.

And then there are the ones that practice abstinence. There’s always some, in every society…

Blurb from Blacker than Black: 
Apparently, my twin and I are two of York's most notorious criminals.  We've been Nightwalkers in the blue-light district since the vamps took over the world.  Don't know how many years it's been.  Long enough that a stream of fellow 'walkers have come and gone.  Most don't last long selling their chi.  End up face0down in the futter, or worse. 

For us, one night and one sale change everything.
Monsieur Garthelle is the first john to hunt me down. He calls me a chi thief in one breath and offers absolution—servitude—in the next. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I like living and breathing. Strange that such a powerful vamp would show leniency to a mere human. And something’s not right with the chi I took from him. It won’t go away.
Neither will he, and he’s forcing us to spy on his peers. Then a vamp turns up dead, and we go from playing eyes and ears to investigating a murder. This isn’t what I signed up for. All I ever wanted was to sell a little chi, maybe steal some in return. I should’ve kept my damn hands to myself.
This is my story. Look through my eyes.
To read an excerpt and purchase Blacker than Black, click here.
First Wave Winner's Choice:  Pick any one backlist book from Rachel Haimowitz, Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Brita Addams, or Cat Grant ("Frontlist" books, i.e. Riptide releases and newest non-riptide release, are excluded, as are the Courtland Chronicles.)

Find Rhianon:
Business contact:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Aleksandr Voinov Dark Soul series

Finally getting it right

It was Churchill who said the Americans could be always counted on to do the right thing … after they’ve exhausted all other possibilities.

That’s a bit how I feel about Dark Soul. The character of Silvio Spadaro has been with me for twenty years. Almost as long as I’ve been published. You can bet that I’ve tried before to write about him. Thing is, as mercurial as Silvio is on the page, he’s worse in my head. I’ve literally tried everything to get him into a story, but nothing really worked. Not the loosely-connected episodes I wrote about him when I “met” him, not the novel-length family drama where he’s about sixteen and as pretty as he’s deadly.

I’ve written about him when he was a coke-head, early-to-mid-thirties, fucked up and still deadly. I’ve written him dying of AIDS. I’ve written part of his story in a near-future cyberpunk world. I’ve considered putting him into the Italian Renaissance – the Borgia and Medici surely know how to deal with him – but I never really got a handle on him.

Part of the reason is pure vanity. Hey, here’s me, Mr. “I know how this shit works” Author, and I can’t get a bead on a mere character, a figment of my own imagination? Normally I at least get to a workable compromise with my characters, sometimes the Muse does exactly what he’s supposed to do.

The other part is the desire to share. Hey, if I enjoy this character so much – and for so long – readers surely will, too. At least some of them. The problem is that, to communicate Silvio to a brain outside my own, I need to get him on the page. Back to square one. Talking only gets me so far when I try to share – writing’s more than talking. It’s a mix of re-imagining, living inside the character and the scene, but above all, it can feel like drawing a magical circle and making some incorporeal force visible by sheer bloody-minded determination and just the right spell book.

Like anything else you summon and feed with (heart)blood, characters are temperamental. Silvio more than any other. Thankfully, he’s pretty vain himself. (Never tease him with his dyslexia, he’s REALLY touchy there, for example.) So he wanted out.

So when I read a short story sub call about gun kinks (Storm Moon Press’s “Weight of a Gun” anthology) I originally wrote the story for that. The only one of my characters who I knew would get off on gunplay was Silvio. Hey, short story, I can do that without tapping the whole character, right? Can I jackshit.

Once I’d opened the gate and invited him in, he wouldn’t stop being there, teasing me with versions of his life. Most importantly, in the last twenty years, I ‘ve grown enough as a writer to finally do him justice. It’s still not a novel, but this episodic format works. Finally. Last alternative available, but it finally works.
Here's the blurbs from the three available stories:

Stefano Marino is a made man, a happily married west coast mafia boss who travels east to await the death of a family patriarch. All the old hands have gathered—of course sharks will circle when there’s blood in the water—but it’s a new hand that draws Stefano’s eye.
Silvio “the Barracuda” Spadaro is protetto and heir to retired consigliere Gianbattista Falchi, and a made man in his own right. Among his underworld family, being gay is a capital crime, but the hypersexual—and pansexual—young killer has never much cared for rules. The only orders he follows are Battista’s, whether on the killing field or on his knees, eagerly submissive at Battista’s feet.
But Silvio has needs Battista can’t fill, and he’s cast his black-eyed gaze on Stefano. A fake break-in, an even faker attack, and Silvio is exactly where he wants to be: strung up at Stefano’s mercy, driving the older Mafioso toward urges he’s spent his whole life repressing. Stefano resists, but when the Russian mob invades his territory and forces him to seek aid, Gianbattista’s price brings Stefano face to face once more with Silvio—and his darkest desires.
This title is #1 of the Dark Soul series. Read an excerpt and purchase here.

The second volume in the Dark Soul series features the stories "Dark Whisper" and "Dark Night."
In "Dark Whisper," Gianbattista may have broken Silvio's heart and sent him off to the States, but he's still just a phone call away. When Silvio returns from a sex shop with a bag full of goodies, Gianbattista can't resist topping his boy one more time, even if they are 4,000 miles apart.
In "Dark Night," the Russian problem comes back to haunt Stefano, and when a dark encounter leaves him bloody and broken, Silvio knows just the right way to ease his pain.
This title is #2 of the Dark Soul series. Read an excerpt and purchase here.

In "Dark Lady I," as Silvio Spadaro plans to take on the Russian hit squad that kidnapped his boss, he decides the best way to deal with four extremely dangerous men is to become an even more dangerous woman.
In “Dark Lady II,” Stefano discovers yet another disturbing—and arousing—truth about Silvio and how easily Silvio uses a man’s weakness for his own ends.
“Dark Brother” brings another player to Stefano Marino’s household. Franco Spadaro has just been released from the French Foreign Legion and is catching up with his little brother. In the middle of a war, a skilled sniper comes in right on time—but two Spadaros might be more than Stefano can handle.
This title is #3 of the Dark Soul series. Read an excerpt and purchase here.

Visit Aleksandr's website.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Diane DeRicci and Together!

Hi Jadette!! Thank you so much for hosting me today on your blog. I have a special announcement for today and that is:

Today is my Christmas Release with MLR PRESS!!

TOGETHER is a menage that didn't start out with the intent of being a menage. The story begins with a friend of Isaac's past showing up on his doorstep on a late and freezing night. Shawn is doing his best to distance himself from some pretty bad going-ons at home and just needed a place to lick his wounds. What neither expected was to feel attraction for each other.

Then ... Da Da Da!!!  Enter Quinn. Okay, he's a cute, kind of goofy, twenty-something who melts for Isaac, except... Isaac is with Shawn. *Hands begin doing aircraft guiding signals to keep it all straight*

So if Isaac is with Shawn and Shawn is with Isaac, how does Quinn fit in?

Very nicely, by the end. LOL

Now, how did I end up writing this? Oh, that's a headbanger. There I was (use your imagination, this was June sometime), sitting all nice and quiet-like in the back of the classroom, when Laura--she's the head Mama at MLR--pops online and asks "Who'd like to do a Christmas story?"

Of course, me being the gogetter that I am (really it was a case of leaping in before reading the warnings) I raised my hand and shouted "Me! I'll do one!" all the way from the very back of the classroom. Just so I'd be heard of course.

So needless to say, I was committed. (Or just committable. That's always up for debate.) We had a deadline. (Oh crap!) Luckily, I made it with room to spare. I don't deal with deadlines well. I never know how the story will develop or if one of the characters will take a side vacation to Tahiti, leaving me and my muse high and dry until they get back. So, Moi + deadlines = bad idea.

But thankfully, TOGETHER came out no worse for wear, and the guys were all happy. (That's a Whew! on my scorecard, tyvm.)

Let me share a little bit of my Christmas release with you and your readers:

Holiday 2011 Release #28
Author Diana DeRicci
ISBN# 978-1-60820-502-8 (ebook) $5.99
Release Date December 2011
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz


Isaac arrived home not expecting to find anything but his warm bed waiting for him in the dead of winter. A nearly frozen friend from his past brought with him a bad break-up, old memories best left forgotten and one particular problem he hadn't anticipated. An attraction that he just wasn't ready for.  Not when faced with his friend's worst problems, it became a priority to help Shawn heal.

Shawn didn't know where to go when everything he'd been fighting for fell apart. Isaac was safe, far away from the worst reminders and lastly, the only person he could really trust. Shawn once had a crush on Isaac, but it was years ago before Isaac had left LA. A strong friendship had matured through the years since then, giving Shawn the strength to search for him now when he needed a friend.

Just when Isaac and Shawn are reaching a comfortable ground, challenges to their future bring decisions neither would have anticipated. Is Shawn still able to bend after a horrible break-up? Can Isaac trust after already being wounded by a previous lover?

Will either be able to accept that they could be stronger as three when they meet Quinn?

One thing they will learn is all things are possible together.


Pulling in front of his apartment Isaac didn’t see the movement of the person in the shadows by his door until he was out of his car. He squinted in the bad light, discerning the form quickly. “Shawn?” What on earth was he doing there?
“Thank God,” he whimpered. Shawn bounced from foot to foot. “Can I come in? It’s freaking cold out here.” He wrapped his arms around his body bringing his shoulders in, bouncing from foot to foot.
“No shit. Where’s your jacket?” The sweater he wore wasn’t nearly enough to battle the chill snaps of wind blasting around the apartments. He inserted the key and opened his apartment door, herding Shawn through first.
Isaac took his jacket off to wrap over Shawn, then led him to the couch. “Let me make you something hot, then you can tell me what happened.” Shawn’s teeth chattered and clacked as he nodded in answer.
The best Isaac could do was coffee, even at that late hour. Glancing toward the man on his couch, Shawn rocked with cold, shivering, to dig into Isaac’s jacket as if he wanted to crawl into it and its lingering warmth. Shawn’s ears and nose were bright red. It didn’t really matter how long he’d been there waiting, it had been long enough to cause himself harm.
Isaac wondered what had happened, and knew Shawn would fill him in as much as he could. Shawn was a friend of Jasen’s, Isaac’s ex. Isaac and Shawn had always got along fine, and had stayed in contact even after the split. He wondered why he was here instead of finding friends closer to home.
Carrying the mug to Shawn, he sat next to him on the couch. It was a wonder the man didn’t have icicles hanging off him. At least his shakes were slowing down. “Take slow sips until you begin to warm up,” he cautioned. Shawn only nodded, his eyes closing in bliss as he took the first drink. He didn’t even complain that it was straight black.
“I’m sorry for just showing up, Isaac,” he said, curled up tight beneath the jacket, bent over the coffee mug like he was guarding it. “I left Tam.”
Out of all the possibilities, that was the last he would have expected to hear. “What? Why?”
Shawn sipped again, blinking and taking slow breaths. “He’s doing drugs again.”
“Shit, Shawn, I’m sorry.” Isaac thought Tam got that out of his system after his stay in rehab. He was really sorry to hear that wasn’t the case. Knowing Shawn had been dealing with this made Isaac want to curl him against his chest and protect and comfort the other man.
Shawn shook his head, his lips pressed together firmly. “Don’t be. This time I followed him. I have proof, pictures on my cell.” Shawn stared between his hands, nowhere else. “I sent the information to his probation officer. I…” He swallowed, a hard dry sound. “He’s in jail now. I was gone before I even made that call.”
“Wow, Shawn.” That took guts. “Wait. How’d you get here from LA?”
“I had enough money on me for a bus. I need to go to the bank and clear all that up tomorrow. Make sure he’s off the account. I don’t care about the apartment. It was in his name, his stuff.”
“Damn, Shawn.”
“Isaac,” he croaked. He sipped at his coffee, determined to stay in control. “Can I stay here? I don’t have any place to go.” He ran a quivering hand beneath his nose.
“Of course you can,” he answered while rubbing circles over his back trying to calm the shakes out of Shawn.
Finally Shawn’s hunched shoulders relaxed, the weight of the world dragging him down, evaporating.
“Thanks.” Silence filled the apartment between them. “Jasen was a dick to you, Isaac,” he said softly. “I was sorry to see you leave LA.” He looked over his shoulder at a quiet Isaac. “I know John and Blake didn’t even think about it. They have their own world, but I missed you. You were a good friend.”
Seeing Shawn was close to exhausted tears, he replied, “Hey. We still are friends. You needed me. I’m here. Never doubt that.” He shook his shoulder lightly. “Tomorrow, things will look better. You won’t be freezing your nuts off for one.”

Diana has been writing full time sine 2004, with her first book published in 2006. She's been writing M/M for two years and has found a full-blown love for the male psyche. All her works can be found on her websites. (Mainstream and paranormal) (Erotic and Male/Male, and other works)

She lives in central Texas with her husband, son and one small, spunky chihuahua with a size complex.