Monday, May 17, 2021

Chocolate For Breakfast = Adulting

One of my favorite things about being an adult is that I get to eat what I want. Of course, I have to pay for it, but I like that no one is around to tell me not to eat something, or that I should eat more or less of something else. And I indulge myself with chocolate for breakfast. 

Before you become one of those people who tells me that’s not breakfast, let me tell you that my chocolate for breakfast is a muffin, or rather, a half of a muffin, so that I don’t have to pay for my food choices quite as much. Muffins are perfectly acceptable for breakfast. Since muffins are just a grown-up way of saying mini cakes, I even eat mine with a knife and fork, because like I said, I’m a grown up (and civilized).


I had been getting my muffins at my local grocery store. I have a love/hate relationship with this place. They have a very limited selection of food and brands, and that was even before Covid. Their deli guy is super creepy—it got so bad I lodged a formal complaint against him. He no longer bothers me, but I no longer shop in the deli when he’s there. The people are super friendly, though. It’s five minutes from my house. And they have really nice flowers in the spring and fall—sometimes even better than my area nurseries. Plus, they had double chocolate muffins.


Until they didn’t. 


I ran out of my supply at home and during my weekly grocery trip, looked for more. They were out. Horrors! I had to settle for peach, which is yummy but tastes terrible with orange juice and has no chocolate in it. The next week they were out as well. I bought the chocolate chip, which was okay, but there wasn’t enough chocolate.


Finally, I decided to ask the grocery guy if they were getting any more. He said they were no longer carrying them. Confident I’d misheard—we were both wearing masks, there was background noise, and my hearing is bad without those things anyway—I said, “You’re no longer carrying them?”


“That’s what I said, didn’t I?”


Okay Mr. Rude Man. You must not have been warned about me (see my issue with the deli guy above, which most definitely was not about rudeness), but I was in too much shock/chocolate withdrawal to do anything but slink away.


Now what was I supposed to eat for breakfast? It’s the most important meal of the day, isn’t it? 


This is where my local friends are all going to tell me how much they hate shopping at this store and that I should simply shop at any of the other grocery stores in the area—we have lots. And I know they’re right, but here’s the thing. I hate grocery shopping. Even before Covid, I hated doing it. I know this store and where they keep things (until the next time someone who’s never grocery shopped before decides to rearrange it—clothing in the freezer aisle, anyone?). And a five-minute drive is way more appealing than a 15 or 20-minute one.


But you’d be amazed what I’ll do for chocolate. So after trying another store’s brand and hating it—who knew double chocolate muffins could be gross and not even taste like chocolate?—I found one in a grocery store that’s 20 minutes away. It’s not ideal. I’m probably going to get tired of driving there just for muffins. But they’re really good, and I’m not yet ready to give up my “chocolate for breakfast because I’m an adult” thing.



Monday, May 10, 2021

I'm On A Podcast

In my continuously evolving attempt to embarrass myself promote myself, I thought I’d let you know about my appearance on a podcast, airing today. 

One of the benefits of being on my publisher’s email loop is that authors are constantly talking about what they do to promote their books. And someone, I can’t remember who, announced they had been interviewed by a person who had a book podcast. So, when I was working on marketing promo for A Reckless Heart, I emailed the woman.


Amanda Owen is one of the hosts of Books on the Mic, a relatively new podcast about books and authors. She and her co-host, Cheryl, are friendly and eager to talk to fellow authors, so when I emailed them, they responded right away and set up a date for me to talk to them. 


They sent me information ahead of time, so I could prepare, and asked me to send them information about me and my book as well. Boy, do they do their research! They found out things about me I hadn’t even mentioned—apparently, when I tell interviewers I have a blog, I should expect them to read it. Who knew? 


We did the interview over Zoom, which was actually fun because I could talk to them and see their expressions, rather than just over the phone. And, you know, it forced me to put on makeup and look like a human, which is always good for when I eventually emerge into the real world once again. 


They asked me questions I had prepared for, and questions I didn’t expect. We had a long discussion about marketing, the bane of most authors’ existence. And it was really fun. I’d totally do it again.


After they did their editing magic, they sent me a link. As I responded to Amanda, “Oh no, now I actually have to listen to myself!” But hey, now you can, too!


There’s also a rafflecopter link for a chance to win a free copy of A Reckless Heart here:


Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Welcome, Gabbi Grey


Why m/m romance?


I didn’t start out writing gay romances.  My first novel (or attempt at a novel) was in my senior year of university.  I planned to write a book of literary short stories, but my professor insisted we tackle a novella or novel-length process.  I was a little miffed, but decided it couldn’t possibly be that difficult.  I tackled the project with vigor, planning to write the great Canadian novel.

What came out?  A romance.  I’d only just discovered Harlequin romances the year before and had zero understanding of the genre, but I had a knack for it.  My story was going to have a happy ending.  I completed my six chapters, got an ‘A’, and graduated with honors.

That book?  Not finished.  Not by a long shot.  I wrote all summer, and had a good thing going until I started grad school. Between my course work and assistant stage managing several projects, writing fell by the wayside.  That story has never left me.  The file type doesn’t exist anymore so I can’t retrieve what I wrote, but I have every intention of finishing the book.  Maggie and Josh deserve a happy ending.

For the next twenty years I dabbled.  I started a story here, wrote a scene there…just kept going.  In 2012 I finally knuckled down and finished my first book.  That lit a fire under me.

Knowing my book wasn’t good enough for publication, I sought out a freelance editor who has since become a good friend.  She suggested I expand my reading to include a couple of authors of gay romances.  I’d read a few for free on my e-reader, but I was moving into audiobooks, so I tried a few of her suggestions.

I was hooked.

Eventually I became a reviewer for a blog so I could get free audios in exchange for honest reviews.  A way to safely feed my addiction.

I had submitted a short story to The Wild Rose Press and they published it.  By joining the garden, I heard about the Deerbourne Inn project.  I hemmed and debated and plotted for almost ten months before I finally put forth a proposal. They accepted within twenty-four hours, and told me to go write the book.  I did.  My Past, Your Future is about a dead black Civil War solider and a history professor from Scotland.  Want to know how that works?  Both the book and audio are available.

While writing the book, I encountered Jared – the desk clerk at Deerbourne Inn.  He’s been in almost all the other books and I knew he deserved a happy ending.  With hubris, I knew I was the one who needed to do it.  Now, proposing to write a story involving such a beloved character required more finessing than my first story.  Fortunately, my editor believed in the story and she helped me navigate the process.  In short order, If Only for Today was completed.

This story is a bit different than my other romances (gay and otherwise).  This is a ‘sweet’ book.  No sex.  I dug deep into the emotional wounds and readers have expressed how much they enjoyed the subtle angst in the book.  There’s a happy ending, of course.  I’m hoping fans of the genre will appreciate the story and I’m hoping those who’ve never tried a gay romance will dabble their toe into this amazing subgenre.

Thank you, Jennifer, for hosting me and letting me ramble.


Jared Langford is a happy man. The desk clerk at the Deerbourne Inn knows everyone in his cozy town in Vermont. He is accepted and loved by the community, but he's missing someone special in his life.

Devastating news has brought journalist Xander Fortier to Willow Springs for some much-needed rest. He's photographed every major conflict in the world for the last ten years, but being stateside has forced him to reassess the solitary life he's been living.

Something in Xander's gruff demeanor calls to Jared's caring nature. Soon the men are spending time together, but Jared's kisses might not be enough to keep Xander from leaving. Can the men find a happily ever after if they only have today?


A soft knock brought Xander from his brooding. He rose and answered the door, belatedly realizing he should’ve put on a shirt. Oh well, at least he was wearing shorts. Usually he slept nude.

Jared was taller than he remembered, even though he barely reached Xander’s shoulders. His light-brown hair was close-cropped, and his blue eyes were wide. And they were staring. At Xander’s bare chest.

Is he…?


But maybe.

“Like what you see?”

His tongue darted out before a light blush settled high on Jared’s cheeks. Oh yeah, he’d been checking Xander out.

“Well, uh…” Jared held a bundle against his chest like a shield.

When he finally looked up to meet Xander’s gaze, the actual reason he was staring hit Xander square in the throat. “It’s no big deal.” Gruffer than he intended, but he didn’t want sympathy. Never that.

Jared nodded. “I would say it looks painful, but if you say it’s no big deal, I accept that. It is, after all, none of my business.” He indicated the room. “May I come in?”

Xander stood aside and let the young man in. And exactly how old was the guy? Older than a kid, but doubtful he’d seen thirty.

Scooting inside, Jared dropped his bundle on the bed. “I’ve brought a blanket that you can put under the sheet but over the mattress. That might soften things up a bit.” He put the blanket aside and indicated a pillow. “We keep a couple of very hard pillows in stock, but we don’t pull them out unless requested. It’s not much softer than a rock, but I suspect that won’t bother you.”


His eyes widened. “Sorry, nothing.”

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Gabbi lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black.




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Monday, May 3, 2021

Premature Announcement

You know that feeling you get when you find out about a surprise? Maybe one of your friends or relatives slip up. Maybe you manage to figure it out on your own, piecing actions and comments together like clues to solving a mystery. But however you figure it out, you learn about the surprise. What happens next? 

Well, something similar happened to me. Whenever I have a new book release, I submit an early copy to a variety of places, including literary industry magazines, in the hopes that they’ll review it. The reviews don’t make it out into the world of the average public necessarily, but they are seen by industry professionals, and if the reviews are positive, I post them. 


Several months ago, I submitted A Reckless Heart to one of those magazines. While they didn’t tell me they were reviewing it, I saw them “reading” it on Goodreads, so I was aware I’d get a review at some point. 


Yesterday, I received an email from the magazine’s marketing department, congratulating me on receiving the highest rating possible—not given out to everyone or every book—and asking me if I’d like to pay to advertise the book. Only problem is, I still haven’t gotten the latest issue of the magazine where the review appears, nor have I been alerted to the review.


That is due to happen today.


To say I’m thrilled with the rating is an understatement. I’ve never had one of my books receive this rating, and the opportunities this rating offers me are terrific. I can’t wait to show off the review to friends and readers. And yes, I will want to pay for advertising. 


But, um, I’d really like to see the review first! 


So in the meantime, I’ll keep checking my email and the magazine website for the May edition. When I get the review, I’ll shout it from the rooftops. And then I’d advertise! J