Articles for the Month of March 2014

Logic Vs. Love

Emotions are not always rational. That’s pretty much a given. When you’re acting out of emotion, you aren’t necessarily listening to your brain.

When you’re in love, sometimes thinking isn’t such a good idea to begin with. It’s far too easy to come up with all the reasons love shouldn’t be happening. To talk yourself out of what might be the best thing to ever happen to you.

On the other hand, when you’re in love, it’s also far too easy to do something unwise because you’re following your heart instead of your brain.

I Heart Pink

I’m in a place right now where I’m trying to decide whether to do something. Logically, I know all the reasons it would be a bad idea. Emotionally, since love is a factor, I believe everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

Not that I’m all that great at being rational anyway. But at a time like this, my heart and mind at at total war with each other, and it’s hard to figure out which one to listen to.

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to choose between your heart and your head? How did it work out for you?

Teaser Thursday- Changing Planes

Changing Planes released in June 2013 from Loose Id. I just felt like sharing a snippet of it today. 

Changing Planes_200

Sunday night over pizza, fries, and soda from Oliver’s favorite takeout place, Colin said, “Tomorrow’s Monday.”

“Indeed it is.” He knew exactly what Colin was getting at but couldn’t resist teasing him a bit. They’d spent the afternoon skidding on the ice on the Frog Pond in Boston Common, pushing each other, sliding, and falling on their asses, and he wasn’t ready to let go of the easy fun they’d had to have a serious discussion. Not quite yet anyway.

“You have to work, and I might have a phone call to make.” Colin set his plate on the coffee table and leaned back in the corner of the couch, facing Oliver. “I know you probably aren’t in the mood to talk, but we need to, Oliver. I need to know what I’m doing tomorrow while you’re at work. Am I packing and making plans with my friends back in Sacramento to get me through until I manage to come out here again or you manage to go there?”

Oliver hadn’t believed he would get out of the conversation so easily. He just wished Colin would have let him finish eating first. He didn’t see why they had to discuss it anyway. They both knew what they wanted. Where they belonged. Over the weekend, Oliver had made peace with the idea of making Colin uproot himself. Colin didn’t seem to have any problem with it, and it was his life.

Having Colin in his apartment had only proven to Oliver they belonged together. Every time he woke up and saw Colin beside him in bed, he felt more at home than he ever had. Talking and laughing with Colin was like being with his best friend.

And the sex was boiling hot, which definitely didn’t hurt.

“What do you want to do?” He wasn’t going to let Colin put the whole thing on him. “You’re the one who’ll have to make the most changes if we’re going further with this.”

“And I’m the one who’s used to making changes, remember?” Colin hesitated. “You know what I want, Oliver. I don’t know why it happened so fast for us, but it’s right. You know it’s right. I wouldn’t be able to make the change immediately. Even if they have an opening on a Boston route, it would take time to get all the paperwork done, and get things rearranged. At least a couple of weeks, and that’s if I call in a favor.”

Oliver pretended to think about it, staring off into space, but he didn’t need to think, and he doubted Colin did either. “So the sooner you call them, the sooner you’ll be here for good.” For four days, they had been a true couple, and he didn’t want that to change. He doubted Colin did either.

“Call them,” he said finally. “Find out how soon they can move you. I’ll talk to my landlord. There shouldn’t be a problem with you moving in, but I’ll have to put your name on the lease. And I’ll have to rearrange the furniture to fit your stuff in, but that shouldn’t be a problem either.”

“Put down your plate.”

Oliver did, and Colin tackled him. He wrapped his arms tightly around Oliver, and knocked him back so they were lying down together. Oliver laughed, and Colin echoed it. Oliver didn’t remember ever being this happy, not even when Sophia had accepted his proposal. Colin was his. They would be together forever, or at least a long time, and Oliver wouldn’t be alone anymore. He would be with the man he loved.

Don’t Be Afraid

When there’s a change pending in our lives, it’s natural to be afraid of it. At least a little. Even if we’re embracing the change whole-heartedly, that doesn’t mean we aren’t a little scared about what it’s going to mean. The change might have been completely our decision, and we might be really excited about it, but still.

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And when we’ve set something up and believe it should work, and have schedules and plans and have told other people about them, letting go of that to make a change can seem even more frightening. What will people think of us? How dare we say we’re going to do something and then not do it?

In September, I made some big changes in my personal and writing lives. In December, I fine-tuned those changes and made even more.

Now I’m realizing that some of those changes aren’t working anymore. Or didn’t work right off the bat, even though I kept trying to make them go the way I wanted them to. Trying to make something work when it just plain isn’t, doesn’t make sense. It’s just frustrating and starts causing other things not to work either.

So it’s time to make more changes. And that’s kind of scary. But I know they’ll be for the best.

Special Guest Tea Cooper

Breathless Press author Tea Cooper is here today to share not one, but TWO new print books! Welcome!

Hi Karenna,

Thank you so much for the invitation to visit. I was reading some of your past blogs. The issue of branding fascinates me. It is something my butterfly brain has trouble accepting and something I know I must come to terms with.

When I wrote my first book I intended to write contemporary romance, but I got side tracked, largely because I was volunteering at the local museum! My second book became a historical romance. My next two books were Australian contemporaries, I would not be lured from my chosen path. Then, for some reason best known to no one, I wrote an fantasy/myth/legend!(I call it my little Greek novella – A WINNING STREAK). Another historical romance followed.

I decided branding wasn’t a problem – all my books were Australian romances (well, with the exception of my little Greek novella – A WINNING STREAK). Australian romance was my brand.

I wrote another Australian historical romance, same time period and setting as the first. This was good. I was becoming consistent until I was seduced by Australia in the 1920s and wrote JAZZ BABY, once again diluting my ‘brand’ even further!! I don’t know what possessed me! Then my publisher asked for a sequel … I now have two 1920s Australian romances releasing in 2014.

So when people say to me “What do genre do you write” I reply “Timeless romance … from the ocean to the outback” (well, with the exception of my little Greek novella A WINNING STREAK)!

I have actually managed my first successful, coherent piece of branding … all my Australian contemporary romances are available in print! My first step along the path … (well, except that TREE CHANGE is a coastal romance, THE PROTEA BOYS an outback romance and PASSIONFRUIT & POETRY a small town romance.)

Timeless romance … from the ocean to the outback!

What is your favourite genre? Do you read, or write one genre or are you seduced by butterflies and go off on a tangent?

Tree_Change Tea Cooper

TREE CHANGE by Téa Cooper.

Blurb:

An Australian coastal romance with a dash of suspense.

Forced to choose between the world she wants and the man she loves, Cassia opts for fame and fortune and leaves her heart behind.

Despite her success in the Sydney art world, Cassia yearns for the idyllic life she once lead with Jake in their shack over looking the Pacific Ocean. Seeking closure she returns and falls straight back into his arms, and out again equally quickly. Not only has he taken up with his brother’s wife, it seems they have a child.

Truth is, Jake’s living a lie, sworn to secrecy, and hamstrung by the debt he owes his estranged family. One glimpse of Cassia and he knows he cannot live without her. Her fey, artistic character and magical body possess his imagination and his heart.

Can he convince her to trust him long enough to save the crumbling remains of their relationship?

The_Protea_Boys Tea_Cooper

PROTEA BOYS by Tea Cooper

Georgie can run but she can’t hide from the man who stalks her dreams and throws her ordered life into a tailspin.

Emotional entanglement is not on Georgie Martin’s to do list. She has turned her back on her sophisticated Sydney lifestyle, determined to renovate her parents old flower farm and her shattered ego. However, the challenges prove more than she bargained for until a madcap scheme comes to fruition and the Protea Boys are born. The team of efficient, well-tapered six-packs solve her farming problems, but their leader presents a different kind of challenge—their first spark of attraction ignites a passion she cannot ignore.

Tom Morgan likes his women “pretty and entertaining,” not “efficient and driven,” but the threat of being co-opted as a wine waiter or worse, chef in his brother’s restaurant encourages him to take up what he sees as the highly amusing challenge of managing the Protea Boys. It is the perfect distraction while he waits for a new assignment—or so he thinks until he realizes he has found the one woman he cannot run away from.

Both books are available from Breathless Press:

There is a Giveaway currently running on Goodreads for a print copy of both TREE CHANGE and THE PROTEA BOYS!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tree Change by Téa Cooper

Tree Change

by Téa Cooper

Giveaway ends March 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

 

The Protea Boys by Téa Cooper

 

The Protea Boys

 

by Téa Cooper

 

Giveaway ends April 13, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

 

 

Enter to win

 

AUTHOR BIO:
Téa always knew one day she would write a novel. It probably started with a rather risqué story in the back of an exercise book at boarding school featuring the long suffering school gardener – not really the stuff romantic heroes were made of but it was before she knew any better.

Life and few heroes of her own showed her the error of her ways and with a baby under one arm, a husband and a half built house she entered a Mills and Boon competition. To her absolute earth shattering amazement she won second place – the prize was a bottle of perfume! Next time she determined she would do better.

But it was still the stuff of fantasy and her family, a herd of alpacas, a protea farm and teaching intervened until one day she decided it was time to do or die. No more procrastination. The characters and plots that had lived in her head for so long were clamoring to escape.

In August 2011 she got serious and joined Romance Writers Australia, entered the Harlequin Mills & Boon New Voices competition and to her horror wasn’t discovered. Not even a bottle of perfume this time. But in reality she had won. Procrastination was conquered and determination set in. It was time to get serious.

Since then she has published five novels, with two more to be released in 2014, and is currently working on a family To keep up with all of Téa’s news visit her website www.teacooperauthor.com where you will find links to her blog and social media pages.

 

 

Teaser Thursday- “Pervy Old Man”

This is from a yet-unpublished M/M paranormal short story. 

The Body 1

The lights went out completely, eliciting gasps and a couple shrieks from the crowd. When the lights came up again, a young man stood in the center of the stage.

His cowboy hat and emerald green shirt, with faded jeans and tooled leather boots, were nothing remarkable, but Ted’s eyes were drawn to him immediately. The man’s dark hair flopped adorably into one eye, and despite the distance Ted would have bet anything the man’s eyes were the same green as his shirt. Even if it wasn’t a probably color for human eyes.

Padraic’s movements on the stage made the other dancers look like clumsy amateurs. He was smooth, graceful, everything ninety percent of the men in the audience either wanted to be or wanted in their partner. From the small smile which played at the corners of his mouth, he knew exactly the effect he had.

Ted found himself pushing toward the stage without conscious decision. He had to see Padraic’s closer up. He needed to touch him. Touching was allowed if one was giving the dancers money. Ted reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet without stopping. He had a couple dollar bills inside. Those would do.

Of course, he wasn’t the only one who had gone to the stage. Everyone wanted to be closer to Padraic. Everyone wanted to touch him. Ted knew he was crazy to think the guy would even notice him, but when Padraic turned in his direction, he was sure he’d been seen.

The dancer, shedding his clothes as he went, altered his moves so he occasionally reached out to the men and few women on the floor in front of the stage. Hands held up crumpled cash, and the dancer took it all. His fingers brushed those of the crowd, but he didn’t allow any of them to touch him.

Ted’s hands itched to touch the man’s smooth, oiled skin. He pressed against the stage and held up one of the dollar bills.

Padraic’s smile grew and he stopped in front of Ted, still undulating but staying in one spot. And instead of taking the money from Ted’s hand, he lowered himself, bending his knees without losing the beat of the music, and motioned for Ted to put the money in the waist of his briefs.

Ted did, and when his hands touched Padraic’s bare skin, he thought he would die from pleasure. The man’s skin was pure satin.

Padraic swayed slowly while Ted, with shaking hands, slipped the dollar into his waistband. Then he took Ted’s hands and placed them on his brief-covered hips. Ted had never been much of a dancer, but he moved in perfect rhythm with Padraic. He looked up, barely daring to meet the other man’s gaze, and his cock grew even harder when he saw he’d been right about the color of those eyes.

“Dance with me,” Padraic mouthed. Or perhaps he spoke aloud. Ted couldn’t hear over the music.

Padraic suddenly jumped down from the stage and put his hands on Ted’s shoulders. Some of the other audience members grumbled and gasped, but Ted barely heard them. He was entirely focused now on the young man whose eyes drew him in. They moved so smoothly together, as if they had been made to dance with each other.

He forgot he didn’t know how to dance. Forgot how young the other man was. They were the same height, and he saw nothing except those brilliant green eyes.

The song shifted to something with more bass and a slower tempo. Padraic squeezed Ted’s shoulders and gracefully stepped back. “Thank you. You’re a wonderful dancer.”

He leaped back onto the stage, and Ted stumbled, feeling as if the breath had been taken from him. His heart pounded and his arousal rose to a level he hadn’t experienced in years.

He stepped backward, colliding with others as he scrambled away from the stage. He couldn’t believe what he’d done. Dancing with a stripper? Who does that?

A Serious Topic

For those of you who also follow my Jo Ramsey (YA pen name) blog, you’ll note that this is the same post that appears on that blog today. I apologize for the repetition. This is a subject I take very seriously, and I felt it warranted appearing on both blogs.

And this is potentially triggering… Please be warned, and if you are triggered by mentions of certain types of abuse, please do not read this post.

This is your chance to bail out if you need to. The serious stuff begins below the cat.

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If you’re still reading, I’m going to assume you won’t be triggered. Although since I’m also sometimes triggered by the topic of sexual abuse/assault, I can’t guarantee I won’t end up triggering myself.

I don’t know for sure what’s going on on YouTube, because other than posting on there and occasionally viewing videos that have been brought to my attention, I pretty much stay off that site. (It isn’t because I don’t like YouTube. It’s because I have a finite amount of time.)

But on Twitter yesterday, I found a link to an amazing post by Maureen Johnson. And that post included a link to an excellent Vlogbrothers video on the subject of consent and sexual abuse.

Statistics say that about 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be victims of some type of sexual abuse in their lifetime. I think the number is probably much higher, to be honest, because that doesn’t take into account things like being flashed by a random person when you’re walking down the street, or being groped on the subway, or having someone make sexually explicit, disturbing comments to you. And it doesn’t take into account the number of assaults and other incidents that are never reported because “No one will believe me” or “It wasn’t that serious” or “That made me uncomfortable, but I don’t think it was illegal.”

As Hank Green in the Vlogbrothers video states, and as I’ve stated in other posts, lack of “No” DOES NOT EQUAL YES. The only thing that means “yes” is “yes.” That addresses the issue of consent in a situation where one person is trying to persuade another person to have sex with them. If someone does not–or CANNOT– say “Yes,” the answer is always no. ALWAYS.

But it doesn’t address things like the random flasher. Or the subway groper. Or the child or young teen who doesn’t understand that they have options because the person who’s being sexual with them is an adult–maybe even someone they trust.

It doesn’t address the fact that in our society, there’s an expectation that girls in particular, though sometimes boys as well, will be treated in a sexual way, even if they’re too young to completely understand what sex is.

It doesn’t address the fact that it’s considered almost normal for a child or young teen to have someone making a sexual overture toward them, whether it’s asking them for sex or flashing them or making sexually suggestive comments.

All of those things suck. All human beings deserve to live in safety and dignity. No one deserves to be made to feel “dirty” or lesser because someone else can’t control their own impulses and desires.

NO ONE DESERVES IT. NOT ANYWHERE, NOT EVER.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of ANY type of sexual assault or abuse, please tell someone. Go to someone you trust. Go to the police. Call the RAINN hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to the RAINN website to access their online hotline.

You deserve help and hope, and you deserve to be heard.

Teaser Thursday- Tempeh for Two

Tempeh for Two is the final novel in my Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series, and is currently under contract with MLR Press. No release date has yet been set. 

Tobias gives up

 

When we finally broke for lunch, which would last two hours, I walked over to the Anax. “Honored Anax, may I have a visit with my mate, please?” The words tasted like sand, especially the “honored” part, but if I hoped for permission I had to play subservient.

He blinked at me as if he couldn’t quite see me. “And why would I allow that, Tobias? When I know full well you can speak with him through the mate bond as you please? You can conspire without even being in the same building, let alone the same room. And my guards are disturbed when you touch your so-called mate.”

His upper lip curled into a sneer. I clenched my fists. I had to respond from intellect, not emotion. He was trying to get a reaction from me. I didn’t know if he was truly prejudiced, though given his age and the times in which he’d been born it was possible, or if he simply wanted to see how far he could push before I broke.

I refused to break. “I am sorry if we’ve caused your guards any distress by touching each other’s fingers through the bars of the cell in which you hold Kyle. For him, as for all of us, touch is comforting.”

My tone stayed perfectly calm and level, and he didn’t like it a bit. “You don’t have to be near him to speak with him,” he said.

“No, Anax, but being near each other is comforting to both of us,” I replied. “If he must be confined, having visitors will help him remain calm. You know how it is for a wolf to be confined, particularly as the full moon draws near.”

The look he gave me was sheer hatred. Lowered eyebrows, twisted features, and a gleam that would have stabbed through me if he’d had such a power. “You know nothing of being confined.”

“I apologize if I’ve spoken out of line, Anax.” I did know how being confined felt, but arguing with him at this point wouldn’t have been wise. I wasn’t afraid of him. Even in an unfair fight, I would be able to defeat him. But I didn’t want it to come to that quite yet.

For several long seconds, he stared at me. I didn’t meet his gaze, because he would have seen it as a challenge, but I didn’t look away.

“Your apology is accepted.” He glanced around. Not all of the arkhons and alphas had left the room yet. I suspected that was why he held himself back. He didn’t care what he said or did to me, but he had to keep up appearances. “You may have ten minutes with your mate before your lunch. No more, because time will run short. You should have enough time to eat, shouldn’t you?”

“Yes, Anax.” He wasn’t doing me any favors, but he phrased it as if he were. Another piece of maintaining his control.

Inside me, sheer black fury obscured everything else. I gave absolutely no sign of it. I held onto it, though, rather than trying to push it away. This anger would be needed.

Thinking Too Much

Some of you may have seen me online lately talking about some stress going on in my household. It isn’t anything massive, but there are some rifts between my husband and my 15-year-old, and that’s making things hard for me.

Realistically, I should stay out of it and let them sort out their own dispute. Both of them have told me in the past that they prefer I not get involved if they’re having an argument or something. But that isn’t easy for me. My children are my second priority (after my own health, because if I’m not healthy I’m not much good to them), and when I see one of them having a problem, I want to solve it.

Family is also important to me, mainly because I don’t have much of a relationship with any of my family other than the kiddos and hubby, and I want to make that family work.

So I’ve been sitting with this conflict between them for several days now, because things aren’t getting resolved. I keep feeling like I should do something, but I haven’t because I know I need to let them figure it out. I know my fears of losing my family are not rational, and I know that they’ve had problems in the past and have always worked them out. I also know that my 15-year-old is a teenager, and that adds a whole other layer of stuff to her relationships and interactions with any of her parents.

Now I just need to convince my brain of that so I’ll stop thinking too much and worrying too much, and can concentrate on the writing!

Teaser Thursday- I Should Tell You

My new male/male contemporary romance novel I Should Tell You released Tuesday from Loose Id. On Monday, I posted a contest for a free PDF copy of the novel. 

I Should Tell You_200

 

It took him a few seconds to register that he’d thought the L word, and he wondered about it, but his brain wasn’t clear enough to figure out anything.

Meanwhile, Hunter had said something, and Mitch had completely missed it. He shook his head. Hunter sighed. “I said, because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get you out of my mind easily enough to tell you to go fuck yourself. And I’m a little too stubborn to give up on you anyway.”

“I don’ gettit.” Mitch’s words ran together even more now. He needed to sleep. His eyes drifted closed, and he tried to force them open again, but he wasn’t sure if he succeeded, or if he was just seeing outlines through his eyelids. That happened sometimes.

“I know you don’t.” Hunter’s voice was growing more distant. “I’ll explain in the morning. Get some sleep. I’m going to turn off the lights.”

“Wait. No.” This time Mitch did manage to open one eye. “Need li’ on. Mine.”

“You want me to leave the lamp on beside you?” Hunter said. Mitch nodded, and Hunter turned off his own lamp. “Okay. I’m shutting off the other lights though. We don’t need those on, right?”

Mitch nodded again. He just needed a little bit of light to keep the monsters away.

The second Hunter left the bed to switch off the other lights in the room, Mitch’s heart stopped. He was alone. “Stay.”

“I’m not leaving,” Hunter said. “Just shutting off the lights. See?” He killed the light in the bathroom, which left the room illuminated only by the small lamp hanging above Mitch’s nightstand. Then he got back into bed. “I’m right here, Mitch. I’m not leaving you.”

His voice was so gentle it brought tears to Mitch’s eyes. For a moment Mitch was afraid he would break down like a little baby. He couldn’t let that happen. Hunter would consider him weak and whiny, and then he would leave regardless of what he said.

“Hold me.” Mitch wasn’t sure he’d said it out loud. He hoped not. He hadn’t meant to.

But Hunter nodded and moved closer to him. “Solara said you don’t like to be touched.”

“I don’…” Mitch trailed off, trying to wrap his brain around what he was trying to say so he could get the words out. “Know y’ere.” He hoped Hunter would be able to translate the last as know you’re here, because that was as clearly as Mitch could say it.

“You want me to hold you so you know I haven’t left?” He held out one arm. “Come here. Can you sleep if I’m touching you?”

“Dunno.” He wondered how Hunter knew he’d had trouble sleeping in the past with someone else in the same bed. It must have just been part of the magic of Hunter.

“Let’s try,” Hunter said. “Put your head on my chest, and I’ll just keep one arm around you so you can move away if you need to.”

Mitch scooted closer to him. He’d never been able to sleep in the same bed with another person. Sometimes he couldn’t even sleep with someone else in the same room. It was impossible to know what they might do to him.

But Hunter wouldn’t do anything. Mitch couldn’t have said how he knew it, but he had absolutely no doubt. He rested his head on Hunter’s chest, and Hunter’s arm curled around his back. A strong arm. One belonging to the man who would fight all the nightmares. The man who would protect him.

“I’m right here,” Hunter murmured. “You can get up if you need to. I’m not going anywhere.”

The last few words trailed into fog and haze as Mitch gave up fighting the pills. His eyes closed by themselves, and he didn’t know anything more.

He had no nightmares.

Happy Release Week!

I have another novel releasing this week. Tomorrow, as a matter of fact. And I’m really excited!

I Should Tell You is a male/male contemporary romance very loosely inspired by the song “I Should Tell You” from the musical Rent. In my novel, Hunter Girard is a guitarist who is six years sober. He turned to alcohol as a teen to deal with an incident of abuse, and it took time and the support of his family for him to choose to stop drinking. Which means his choice to audition as a guitarist for show at a drag club may be an odd one, but he needs the extra money from the gig to be able to move away from his partying roommate.

Mitch Walters chose drag as a means of bringing out Starry Daye, the confident, “unbroken” person he wishes he could be. Throughout his childhood Mitch suffered at the hands of his father, while his mother pretended not to know anything was wrong. As a young adult he became involved in the drag scene, and he was gay bashed outside a club. Now, Mitch uses prescription painkillers to cope with his flashbacks and memories. With the help of his drag mother Solara Flare, Mitch is trying to kick the habit–but when he and Hunter become involved, Mitch doubts his ability to handle the relationship without the drugs.

I Should Tell You_200

Although the themes and content of I Should Tell You are very dark–and potentially triggering–the story is hopeful. True love doesn’t heal all wounds, but sometimes it can give someone the motivation to try to heal. Hunter and Mitch are just beginning their relationship, but their support of each other helps them both.

I Should Tell You is already up on the Loose Id website, and will be available for order tomorrow. And you have a chance to win a free PDF copy right here by posting a comment about one thing you have done for someone you love. I’ll draw the winner on Saturday, March 8 at noon.