Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Upcoming release: Love Wins!

On December 12th, Love Wins will be released. Love Wins is an anthology of LGBT stories from Dreamspinner press.

With time comes healing, but Orlando and the LGBT community are still recovering from last June’s tragedy. To show our ongoing support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this second benefit anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we reaffirm that no matter the obstacle, love always wins.

This is all the more important considering recent political outcomes.

My story within the anthology is called "The Importance of Pride." Below are brief descriptions of all the stories you can look forward to when the book is released:

Abstract Heart by Lucie Archer
Nick spends nearly every lunch break at the modern art museum, hoping to catch a glimpse of docent Kris. Kris has noticed the cute guy hanging around the exhibits too but never manages to approach him. It will take a matchmaking security guard to bring these two introverts together.

Cats and Christmas Trees: Trouble Waiting to Happen by M.A. Church
What’s a half human to do when Christmas rolls around? Kirk tries ignores it, but his shifter mates Tal and Dolf, being sneaky kitties, persist in finding out what’s troubling him so they can make it better.

A Chance for Hope by Deja Black
In the aftermath of tragedy, freelance writer Brad Truscott is drawn to ease Paul Bachman’s grief. But will Paul ever be ready to take another chance on happiness?

Changing Things by Nicole Dennis
Despite his allergies, Ryan puts up with the two rescue cats his boyfriend, Seth, adores. But when an especially severe asthma attack sends Ryan to the hospital, Seth realizes something has to give—either his relationship with Ryan or his guardianship of Fili and Kili.

Especially in Orlando by Troy Storm
When bighearted mover Dalton is hired to haul away a hot young guy’s belongings after a breakup, he can’t help returning to see how the good-looking older man is dealing with the transition. George is happy to take Dalton up on his offer of solace. But then George’s ex, Peter—aka Mr. Prissy Pout—has second thoughts, and while George isn’t interested in taking him back, he and Dalton are willing to share their experience—and more.

Free to Love by Kris T. Bethke
Henry is tired of hiding their relationship, but Shane is afraid to risk losing his job and his parents by coming out as gay. When his worst fears prove true, Shane finds that life outside his parents’ repressive control is so much better than anything he could have imagined.

Happily Ever After, After All by L.A. Merrill
Once upon a time, Princess Aubergine dreamed of a fairy-tale wedding to the girl of her dreams. Things haven't exactly worked out that way. Locked in a tower for ten years, Aubergine managed to scare off all the princes coming to rescue her. Now it's up to her to do the rescuing—until a band of students from the local Ladies’ Academy happen upon her tower and devise a daring escape plan.

The Importance of Pride by Ravon Silvius
College history professor Patrick Levine is looking for a subject for a research proposal when he discovers his granduncle’s journal. To his shock, not only was Uncle Marty gay, but he’d been at the Stonewall riot in 1969. Will learning more about his uncle’s history help Patrick face his own fears about coming out?

The Insomniac Sommelier by Julie Lynn Hayes
Kirk Westmoreland dreams of owning his own restaurant someday, but for now he fights insomnia while working at family-owned Venezia with his control-freak older brother. After work he tries to de-stress at Sweeties, a small diner run by his sister and her wife. When Kirk meets the diner’s new server, Ashley, he ends up going home with him—to the best sleep he’s had in forever. If he can’t keep his life at Sweeties compartmentalized from his life at Venezia, Kirk will have to decide which one he’s willing to give up.

Looking for George by David C. Dawson
Betty’s innocent crush on actor George Clooney became something more when he saved her from a fall at the hotel she works at in London. When she discovers her Italian holiday trip will take her only a few miles from the actor’s summer villa… well, surely fate means for them to meet again.

Love Over Lotto by Jude Dunn
Craig Batson and Tom Rendelle have plenty of joy together but not so much money. Determined to improve their finances, Craig borrows a library book on the secrets of winning the lottery and empties their rainy-day fund to buy dozens of lottery tickets. Tom explodes when he finds out, leaving Craig to wonder if their love can survive.

More Than His Scars by Jana Denardo
Facing the anniversary of the day he lost his arm while serving in the Middle East, Aaron is understandably depressed. It’s up to his lover, Rhys, to plan a special day to help Aaron see how amazing he really is.

Overcoming Fear by Grace R. Duncan
In the year since a global pandemic ravaged their world, Duncan has done everything he can to ease Mark’s fears of losing him. When a minister and his wife seek out Mark for help, Duncan sees an opportunity to show Mark another level of commitment—if Mark will dare to take it.

Prevailing Zzz's by Tray Ellis
After eight months together, Greg wants Win to move in with him. But how can Win agree when Greg's snoring leaves him sleep-deprived and miserable?

Pushing Back Oblivion by Alicia Nordwell
Fighting a rapidly growing brain tumor, Cohen promises his partner, Jaime, that he’ll never give up. Through surgeries and setbacks, at times that promise and Jaime’s voice are all Cohen has to cling to.

Reluctant Valentine by Xenia Melzer
A best-selling thriller novelist, Dean writes romances as a relaxing hobby. But when writer’s block strikes, sexy handyman Morgan shows up to provide all the inspiration he needs.

Taking a Chance by Renee Stevens
Gabe and Toby work for the same company, Gabe in the US and Toby in London. After meeting at a convention, they spend nearly every moment of their time together, but when they both have to return home, their only option is to attempt a long-distance relationship.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Interview with Alicia Nordwell!

Today we have an interview with Alicia Nordewell!

Do you eat your fruits and vegetables?
Love them! I consume bananas at a ridiculous rate because otherwise I have muscle spasms. But I live with 2 carnivores who don’t eat anything green if they can help it, so it can be a real challenge for veggies sometimes.

What's your favorite room in your house? Do you plot or write there?
Whichever one my family isn’t? Some days I just want to be all alone, but if the kids don’t follow me around the dog or cats do. My dream house has a suite office with its own bathroom with a jetted tub just for me. I just have to hit it big with a book. Or the lotto. LOL

Do you have a favorite quote?
The imagination is infinite—it can encompass everything you want it to encompass, if you let it. Everything around us, either functional or decorative, once existed in someone’s imagination. Every building, every fixture, every vase, every road, every toaster. In fact, the world we live in is largely a manifestation of individual and collective imaginations applied to the tasks of altering preexisting reality. So the question becomes, How can you position yourself to dream well? ~ Jeff Vandermeer, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction

How much of the story is based on personal experience or is the story primarily research-based?
I’ve been to every place in the story, so that was all personal experience. I also like to hike and am an amateur photographer (each stop in this blog tour has a picture I took in the area) so that was me too. I did extensive research on the firefighters, though, as that’s not a field I’ve ever been in. I have been rescued by them during a car accident, though, so I know how important it is to say thank you for the work they do—often when they never see the people they rescue again. That’s drove Scottie’s character, even after Jax was an ass to him.

Can you sum up this story in one sentence?
I think my editor, Rose, did an excellent job with the end of the eBook blurb: They can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is one fire they don’t want to put out.


Nothing beats getting out of the concrete jungle and into the quiet of the forest. Website
designer Scottie Ness is taking a well-deserved vacation from the grindstone,
and he plans to spend it in the solitude of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National
Forest around Mt. Adams. He’s prepared for everything—except the lightning
storm that traps him in a wildfire.

The firefighter who rescues him sustains serious injuries and ends up in the hospital. Jax
Quintero might be abrasive, but the guy saved his life, and Scottie wants to
thank him. As they spend time together during Jax’s recovery and exploring the
state’s landmarks when he’s released from the hospital, Scottie discovers
there’s more to Jax than a smart-ass adrenaline junkie. Jax reassesses his
opinion of Scottie as an arrogant city boy who has no business in the
mountains. Though Jax’s wounds prevent them from taking things as far as they’d
like for a while, they can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is
one fire they don’t want to put out.






Chapter One

“WHAT EXOTIC tropical locale are you going to spend your vacation drunk in?” Carter
leaned back in his chair so he could see into Scottie’s cubicle. He smirked.
“Or are you hitting the casinos in Vegas to make your fortune and leave all of
us to toil away in the trenches alone?”

“Neither. Hiking and camping in the Gifford Pinchot around Mt. Adams.” Scottie adjusted a
line of code, and the website header widened. “I’m all set to go in the

“Seriously? You have a week off in August, and you’re going to waste it trudging through
the dirt and pine trees when you could be lounging on the beach somewhere?”
Carter shook his head. “Wouldn’t catch me doing that. Aren’t there bears and
cougars up there?”

Scottie shrugged one shoulder. “I might see a bear, if I’m lucky. Cougars are actually
pretty shy.”

“You want to see a bear?”

“It’d make a great picture.” The website he was working on needed to be visually
appealing on both computers and mobile devices, and he was having a hard time
focusing. “It’s Friday. Don’t you have some reason to duck out and start the
weekend early?”

“Nope. Miranda, Tark, and I are all going out for happy hour at Corrigan’s, but not
until six. Don’t try to change the subject. You know you can take pictures at
the beach, right? White sand, crystal blue water, and palm trees swaying in
front of the setting sun.”

a dozen. I like living in Washington because we have so many places where I can
take beautiful nature photos. Coastline, rivers, lakes, mountains, even the
desert, all within a few hours’ drive. Besides, I’m still paying off my student
loans. I don’t have money for expensive vacations.”

“Two words. Credit cards.”

Of course. Carter wore name-brand shoes with his fancy suits and never brought a
lunch, preferring to order takeout. He’d graduated a year before Scottie, so it
wasn’t like he made that much more money. “One word. Stupid.”

Carter rolled his eyes. “Whatever, man. When I take my week off next month, I’m going
to Hawaii. Hotel on the beach, coconut drinks, and chicks in bikinis. Any women
you come across in the campground will probably be covered in pitch and pine

“I’m not going to stay in the campgrounds. I’m hiking and camping off the trails,
and for the most part, I won’t see any people at all.”

A look of horror crossed Carter’s face. “Seriously?”

He nodded. “I used to go camping with my family all the time growing up. We’d
hike, fish, roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire. It’s peaceful.”

“Whatever, man. When you get munched on by a bear, can I get your chair?”

It was Scottie’s turn to roll his eyes. “I’m not going to get eaten by a bear, and
your chair is the same as mine. Why would you want it?”

“I spilled fish sauce on mine earlier this week, and now it smells funny.”

“Well you can’t have my chair, and I’ll notice if there’s a fish funk on mine when I
get back, so don’t even try to switch them. Don’t you have a project to finish?
I have to get this done before I leave.”

“Fine, fine.” Carter rolled back to his desk. “Have fun communing with wildlife.”

SCOTTIE ROLLED up his backpacking tent with an extra tarp and fastened it to the bottom
of his pack. His sleeping bag, a change of clothes, survival kit, portable
stove, water filter, and food fit inside. The rest of his camping gear was
piled along the wall, taking up most of the living room floor in his postage
stamp of an apartment. He plopped down on the couch with a beer and opened his

Using a red highlighter, he outlined the trails he planned to take and marked his
base camp as well as his possible overnight camping sites before printing out
two copies. Picking up a pen, Scottie scribbled his full name, the dates of his
trip, and what kind of vehicle he was driving on the back of one map. He’d drop
it off at the ranger station before he stopped in Trout Lake for some
sandwiches. No idea what they did to make them taste so great, but they were
way better than anything he could make. He’d have to stop by the ATM on the way
out of Vancouver to pick up some cash.

Now that he had all the nitty-gritty survival stuff out of the way, he had to get
his photography equipment in order. Scottie didn’t spend much money on himself,
but he had a nice Canon camera, lenses, a flexible tripod for his hiking pack,
and a bigger telescoping tripod in its own bag. Using a polishing cloth from
his cleaning kit, Scottie went over every piece of glass in his camera bag,
making sure all the lenses and filters were spotless. Photography might be just
a hobby, but he took pride in getting that one shot that made all the hard work
worth it.

He’d finished his beer by the time he had the last memory card and battery stowed,
and he waffled on what he wanted to do. He’d been up since six, worked a full
day, and finished getting all his camping gear ready to load in the morning,
but he wasn’t tired enough to go to bed. The weather report he checked promised
sunny days and clear nights—though it wouldn’t be nearly as warm around Mt.
Adams as it would be in Portland.

Author Bio:

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she's a MM romance author: "Why
gay fiction? Why write men when you're a woman?" and her answer is:
"Why the hell not!" Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare
creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one
day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started...
Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has
voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the
encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing
away, she's a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead
complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the
many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her
blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard,
or maybe hardly working, as an admin on under her online
nickname, Cia.

Social media:


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Thrall part 5

The lantern the hunter held in his hand illuminated the planes of his face and the red highlights in his brown hair. It was a gorgeous color in the firelight. “Perhaps I pegged you wrong, servant?” He shifted the lantern from one hand to the other, displaying the long gun he held strapped to his back as he rolled his shoulders. “Have you given up, and are here to hunt?”

            I frowned. “You cannot kill me with that at this range,” I said. “You can’t lift it to fire quickly enough.

            Johann raised both eyebrows. “Smart, for a servant.”

            My eyes narrowed. “Why are you following me? Bothering me, if I am just…mindless. Like the ones you murdered.”

            “I did not murder them. I put them to rest. They didn’t know it, but that was what they wanted.”

            I opened my mouth to protest, but the words stilled on my tongue. Instead I asked “How can you know that?”

            “I’ve killed creatures like you for over a decade.” I reappraised him. He was youthful looking, but his jaw was firm and his eyes held wisdom and a good deal of wariness. Twenty-five, at least. Older than I had been. “I’ve seen more vampires, and more of their servants, than you can imagine. All of the servants are mindless drones, intent on fulfilling their master’s orders and filling their stomachs with blood and nothing else.”

            If he was trying to offend me, it wasn’t working.

            “Now, servant. You came to this village. Why?” He shifted his weight, the wooden bridge creaking. His horse snorted, and I realized that the air was cold enough to make the beast’s breath visible.  “Tell me,” Johann urged, and he met my eyes.

            My gaze instantly shifted away, as it always had when other people had looked at me. I didn’t want them to see my eyes, how colorless they were, or how they had always looked red in the wrong light. Like a demon, they always said. You’ve birthed a demon, they had used to say, to my mother.

            And now I was one.

            “You are not like other servants I have met,” Johann said, breaking the silence. “So depending on your answer, I may not kill you.”

            Wariness, not fear, flashed through me. “You can’t kill me,” I said. “And no, I didn’t come here for blood.” Saying it brought saliva to my mouth, but it was true. “I have fed already. And my master had forbidden it.”

            “Human blood will make you powerful, you know,” Johann said.

            My fangs pricked my bottom lip. His scent blew on the wind, filling my nostrils, and his heart beat loud in my ears.

            I turned and darted into the forest, putting the man and the village at my back. I had fed. It was time to return to my master.

            “I’ll see you again, strange servant,” Johann said. He didn’t raise his voice. He knew I could hear him, no matter how quickly I moved away.


            The farther away I ran from the village, the more the memories and strange sensations they evoked faded. By the time I reached the castle, I once again let my mind wander, letting my senses inform me. Birds flying overhead, the soft gusts of wind against my skin, and the ever present pattering of paws and claws on stone.

            And moaning. My master had found another source of entertainment before retiring for the morning.

            I knew I would not escape the sounds. The woman’s moans, slow and slurred, permeated every inch of the castle. My master, of course, was silent. Or perhaps it was only because his fangs were probably in her neck while he took her.

            She would bleed out before the sun rose, another lady of the evening lost to the night. Perhaps that was why they had sent a hunter.

            It had taken them long enough. My master took a woman nearly every week.

            I navigated the winding halls, passing empty stone. Scuffs marked where a painting had hung once, and in one place letters cursing the King were scrawled near the floor. Dust caked the walls, and had I been human it would have cloyed my nose and lungs.

            The moaning slowed, and then was cut off with a gasp. In my mind, I imagined the form of my master, crouched over a writhing woman, his cock hard and body tense.

            The image became Johann, the hunter’s dark eyes smoldering as he grappled with me. His breath would be hot and warm against my cold skin.

            I stopped, the strongest flash yet of lust going through my body all at once. My cock twitched, and I steadied myself against the wall.

            Fighting confusion, I brought up the image again. Johann, naked, his cock firm and long, thick in my hands. His strong shoulders, his wide, muscular thighs, and how his body would feel against mine.

            Warmth I had not felt since being turned began to fill me once more. My mind, not my senses, began to sharpen with something I wanted, not desire for blood, and not something my master had ordered me to want. My fingers curled against the stone. I replayed the sound of Johann’s voice in my head.

            My cock began to harden, tenting the thin trousers I wore.

            Then my master’s voice boomed in my head, in my being, the way it did every morning. “Sleep.”

            The sun was rising.

            I grit my teeth as the heat and pleasure faded, swallowed up by the command. I hoped, as I lay down on the pallet in the windowless room of the castle with four empty pallets next to me, that I would dream this time.

Be sure to check out the other Wednesday Briefs this week!