promotion

Author Spotlight: A.F. Henley

Greetings from the end of the weekend, hope yours was fabulous! Tonight I have a new author spotlight. If you’re interested in being featured here, drop me a line at talya.andor at gmail.

This month’s feature is A.F. Henley, who can be found at Henley’s site, Goodreads, and Less Than Three Press. A.F. has an intriguing new book coming out this week, so I’m excited to have Henley visit this evening!

Here we have A.F., and thanks for stopping by.

Tell us about yourself, beyond the standard bio: any quirky habits, fun facts, or little-known anecdotes?

That’s a tough question to start with. Let’s see … bad stuff first. I have an unnatural aversion to far too many foods, an intense distrust for most things human, and a fierce desire to delete or hide nearly everything I write once I’ve completed it. As for the good things, I have a partner that I love with every bit of my being; I’m a non-judgemental vegetarian (yes, they do actually exist) who supports all things furry, winged, and scaled; and I’m great with numbers, on both the accounting and speculative level.

None of my habits are quirky, they are all nasty. I smoke. I drink way too much coffee and I have a very fond fascination with good white wine and flavoured vodka.

I love to dance like a complete moron.

Where’s your favourite place to write?

That would be, without doubt, my office. It’s in the far corner of our basement; it is dusty (my dust bunnies are my minions) and chaotic (no right-angles for me, thank you) and perfectly silent.

Music: a must, or a no-go?

That totally depends on what I’m doing. If I’m writing I need absolute silence. A squeaking chair or rattling vent whilst I trek the treacherous paths of literary greatness are the equivalent of Danny Torrance’s little flashing, howling fire engine and likely to get the same reaction. Any other time? Hell, yes. If I’m driving I have the music cranked. I swear you can hear my car approaching from blocks away.

What kind of stories do you like to write?
(Relationship, humor, historical?)

I like to write angst-free, smut-strong, irreverently-witty stories and poetry. I just don’t usually get to. My stories have a life of their own and they refuse to bend to my will. They also don’t seem to have a sub-genre that they’ve agreed to stick to. The one and only concession they’ve made with me is that they will always end well.

Do you prefer to write fiction to a prompt or call specification, or have an open field?

It doesn’t matter actually. The story will either find me or it won’t.

Any advice for writers who are getting started?

A week ago I would have said no. But as I was musing over another question I realised that I actually do have something intelligent to say on this. Pick a publisher that you can work with. Find someone that advertises the same kind of ideals that you have. Be comfortable with them before you ever press “send” for the first time. A new writer might be surprised how much you’re going to need to ask “just one more question” or send back another “whoops, I think I messed something up” email. The support I’ve received from Less Than Three Press has been fantastic. I can honestly say that they were my first choice and that they make the experience far better than what I’ve heard others deal with along the way.

Are there any tropes that you wish authors would retire, or fiction pet peeves?

I have a couple. Hair references as titles (epithets like “the blond”) frustrate me. I find the over-indulgence of sex instead of plot to be just plain lazy. But for the most part I can force myself to skip over things that I don’t like because I figure they have the right to write as they see fit.

What are your methods to relax and take a break from writing?

Honestly? I don’t. Not long-term anyway. Writing is my reprieve and if I couldn’t do it, I would lose my mind. Short of stepping away for a quick cigarette or to fill my glass, I’m good. Although at the end of the day I’m more than happy to pop open Skype and/or Livestream for some casual chatting. Oh … and Tumblr. Lots and lots and lots of Tumblr…

Thanks for spending time with us! What’s a title we should pick up from your catalogue?

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to be here.

As for recommendations, “Honour” is my new baby so I’m definitely devoting a lot of time to it. It’s a good novel (and I’m repeating myself with this statement but…), with a lot to say about respect and personal freedom, choices and compromise. It’s about recognizing love for what it really is: a hell-ton of work and compromise; but knowing at the end of the day that it’s the reason that you carry on and keep going. Because as hard as it might be to keep making things work true love is worth fighting for.

I’ll even make it easy for one of your readers to check it out. I’d like to offer your readers the opportunity to win a copy of Honour, in the ebook format of their choice. Anyone who leaves a comment is eligible, assuming they are of legal age and able to legally accept the work, and winners will be selected via a random number generator.

If I can be so bold, I’ll include this for those who are interested:

Honour
M/M Historical Romance
45,500 words

Recently docked after a voyage abroad, Emmett wants only to find a warm bed and good food, for himself and the cabin boy he’s taken into his care. Those plans are impeded, however, by an altercation in the streets—with a man he realizes too late is England’s heir to the throne, Prince Andrewe.

When the encounter unexpectedly leads to a position in the royal household attending the prince, Emmett is not certain what to think. On one hand, it’s a reliable income and ensures the safety of his charge. On the other, it’s neither the life Emmett knows, nor an environment that he’s comfortable in. Left to learn his lessons the hard way, Emmett spends his days contending with a spoiled, infuriating prince who leaves him in a constant tangle of emotions.

Then he begins to hear whispers of treason and must make a choice: defend Prince Andrewe, or betray him.

Available at: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=90&products_id=455

honour

Free Fiction; and it’s Manicure Monday!

First order of business: do you enjoy free fiction? This is not a trick question!

Shousetsu Bang Bang vol. 41 has got a deal for you … the latest volume’s theme is hookers and blackjack, all the inventive, incendiary, high stakes fine quality m/m fiction your heart could desire, and best of all?

No cover charge.

Step over and see where you’ll place your bets and enjoy everything the house has to offer.

I’ve been reading the Shousetsu Bang Bang stories for years, and they’ve got a number of talented regular contributors. So if you’re of a mind for some great free reading, there you go! And if m/m is not your cuppa, stay tuned for the f/f special theme edition around the corner.

Manicure Monday

Today I’m wearing Zoya Blaze, one of the lacquers I got from their New Year’s promotion.

IMG_20130225_074603_zpsd5262a00

It’s a gorgeous berry-red with an almost jelly texture, suffused with holographic micro-glitter that looks like sparkling red embers. I’m hoping the sun will come out some time this week so I can see the holo in all its glory.

And now I’ve given my knee a mild sprain, so I’ll be relaxing for the rest of the evening as I dig into continued edits on Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

My body says no

Check out my giveaway for a FREE ADVANCE PRINT COPY of From the Inside Out, shipped anywhere that accepts U.S. Mail. 🙂

This week I think I’ll make the pumpkin risotto with pine nuts that I was craving on Thursday, so as to use up the leftover pumpkin puree and make use of a lot of ingredients I already have on hand. I’m achy today, so I want something easy that won’t require a ton of prep work like food I’ve been making for the past few weeks.

Yesterday we went to a new restaurant, China Gourmet, across town and they were pretty good! My friend ordered a spring roll appetizer that we started out with, and that was light and crunchy, my girlfriend had a mushroom chicken dish that she just loved, and I had a sesame chicken that was a little weird (the sauce was not what I’m used to from sesame chicken) but still good. We’ll definitely be checking them out again. I’ve reached the last week of the Insanity workout and I’m getting to the point where I’m sore and achy, so I think my body’s ready for a break. Next month I’ll take it easy before I pick up another serious exercise challenge. But I’ll still be finding activities to keep my body active for at least thirty minutes a day.

It’s good to change things up once in a while, after all.

Most triumphantly, I finished “The Fall Guide” on Friday, and I’m excited to finish that off and submit it, and start my next story tomorrow. It’s going to be a huge change of pace; I’m going from contemporary m/m romance to fantasy fairy tale-esque f/f. They’re two very different styles but I’m eager to tackle the project. Like my body, it’s good for my writing style to change it up every so often.

Prose can be different for fantasy. With contemporary, it’s good to keep it clean and simple. With fantasy, you can be a little indulgent, and florid.

The Awesome Thing About Serial Subscriptions

I’ve had a Less Than Three serial subscription since last year, and it’s been a great way to get a look at a lot of different stories at a seriously bargain price.

The first Rocking Hard story made its debut last week, Centrifical by Sol Crafter (you can read the first chapter for free), and I wanted to give the serial subscription a plug for two reasons. My own Rocking Hard story, Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues, will start posting in May; and I just love my serial subscription.

There are five stories that LT3 has available through serial right now, and they’re a wide sampling of genres and writers. You’ve got everything from fairy tales to rock stars to politics and arranged marriage. Serials don’t typically get reviewed until they’re complete and available as ebooks, but I’ve got to say, I love what I’m reading now! You can read all the first chapters free on the Serials page, and check out membership rates – for the amount of fiction you end up getting, it’s a darned good deal.

If you end up signing up, you’ll get to read Courage Wolf that much sooner, too. 😉

That’s a good start to a Sunday! I’m off to have some yogurt and get my Core Cardio and Balance workout over with, so I can keep my to-do list down to something manageable.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I learned about The Next Big Thing Blog Hop a few weeks ago from Lacie Archer, who went on to answer her questions and tag me yesterday.

What’s a blog hop? Why, it’s something between a skip and a jump going from one place to the next, in this case to learn more about authors and their stories, and chain it along to the next talented author in the link.

Take a look at Lacie’s entry and come back to see my answers on the same theme!

Without further ado…

What is the working title of your next book?

I have a few that I’m working on right now: The More Plausible Evil, which is completed and awaiting edits from a friend, and The Fall Guide, which has two chapters yet to go. There’s also Appetite: A Cut Above, pending publication.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The More Plausible Evil came together for me as I was pondering ideas for a new submission call for Less Than Three Press. I wanted to do a different kind of vampire story, one with a unique twist and a different angle, and I think I found it.

The Fall Guide came together from my love of nail polish, haunting nail polish blogs, and my increased exposure to fashion trends because of it. I outlined it pretty simply, but the characters have really grown and flourished during the writing process and I’m so pleased with them.

For Appetite: A Cut Above, I’ll talk more about that during the blog tour that will accompany its release week.

What genre does your book fall under?

All three books fall under the general category of “m/m fiction” but The More Plausible Evil is definitely the supernatural sub-genre, specifically vampires. The Fall Guide is contemporary m/m romance. And Appetite: A Cut Above is definitely food porn. I mean. M/m contemporary romance with a side of food porn?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

That’s tough … there’s what I’d prefer for the casting, and what I think I could get. I think I’d pick Nicholas Hoult for Evan and Ezra Miller for Alastair. For The Fall Guide, I might choose Ben Whishaw for Eric, and a young Lenny Kravitz would be an awesome Devon.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The More Plausible Evil: During his confession pending the night before Evan’s execution, he reveals the details of a lifetime’s worth of killings that shed light on his motives, and brings forward the curious short-lived claim that a vampire is at the heart of his salvation.

The Fall Guide: A young male beauty blogger experiences failure to launch, and relies on the help of a smooth producer who happens to treat him better than his boyfriend does.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ll be submitting both The More Plausible Evil and The Fall Guide to Less Than Three Press, and Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest is already represented by Less Than Three. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The More Plausible Evil took me around twenty-five days, because I wrote it during Nanowrimo 2012. For The Fall Guide, I’ve been writing it in stages and I have two more chapters to go. I started it last … May? … and I hope to finish it in a week or less. Normally I can hammer out two chapters in a week, but I’ve been very busy this past year!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

When I’m plotting and writing, I don’t think of my stories in terms of genre conventions or other authors’ works. I can’t think of anything they are particularly comparable to because I’m trying to write something different. I write things I want to see that aren’t already there for me to read.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For The More Plausible Evil, definitely Less Than Three’s submission call—they wanted unrepentant vampires, so I brainstormed along those lines and found a twist unlikely to be covered by other authors. For The Fall Guide, it was very much inspired by my love of nail polish, at the core of it, and the storyline kind of grew organically from there. It’s surprised me in the growth I’ve seen with its main characters, and I totally love it. And for Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest, I’m going to cover that during its release blog hop. 🙂

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

As a reader, I value an engaging plot and interesting characters in addition to romantic and sexual elements of the story. That’s definitely the kind of story I strive to write: I want my readers wrapped up in the world I’ve created.

The More Plausible Evil has some unfolding mysteries to it, but at the heart of it, a couple of characters I hope you’ll enjoy. It’s a bit of spin on the concept of a ‘moral monster.’

The Fall Guide is a story that I’ve had so much fun writing—often after I’ve finished a session with it, I come away smiling and excited! Eric and Devon have become so much more than I penned from a simple outline, and I’ve loved presiding over their growth as characters and the way things have evolved. I can’t abide cheating in fiction or real life, so I set out to write a story where these two guys experienced a powerful attraction, and how that would turn out if Eric felt the same way about cheating as I do.

As for A Cut Above the Rest, it brings together my long-standing love affair with food, and my passion for lovely gents falling for each other. My goal was to bring out the sparks with a pair of competitive chefs who would drive each other to be the best they can be … and also, tantalize the readers with a world of tempting cuisine. First my beta reader, and now my editor, have outright said the story ought to come with a warning label because if you don’t eat before you read it, you will want to!

Next, hop on over to E.E. Ottoman’s “This Journey Without a Map” to learn what’s on tap with the continuance of the next big thing.

Cross-promotion from Summer Michaels

Hope everyone is having a lovely evening! I’m dropping in from my night of cuticle care and delicious homemade pizza to make sure you have an opportunity to see the Author Spotlight that the lovely Summer Michaels hosted on her blog! Check it out and give her blog some love, and get a sneak peek at Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest.

Later this week I’ll do a rundown of what to expect from the Bestiary Bundle 1, giveaway open now, and post about my latest novel, From the Inside Out.

Right now there’s a story calling my name. Have a great week.

Author Spotlight: Summer Michaels

Good evening and happy Friday, everyone! Today I have a brand new feature for you: the author spotlight! I’m hoping to do one of these a month, and I hope it takes off. If you are an author interested in doing a spotlight with me, drop me a line! Here or at talya.andor at gmail.

This month’s feature is Summer Michaels, who can be found on her Blogspot, Goodreads, and Less Than Three Press. I’m hosting an Author Spotlight with Summer today, and she’ll be hosting me over on hers come Monday.

Without further ado, take it away, Summer!

Tell us about yourself, beyond the standard bio: any quirky habits, fun facts, or little-known anecdotes?

Outside of the author role, I’m a mother of four. As a rule in our house, dinner MUST be danced for! A dinner doesn’t turn out well unless it is danced to. 😉 I can also talk the green off grass. You know the woman at the grocery store that doesn’t know, but still talks to you? Yeah, that’s me!

Where’s your favorite place to write?

I usually write in my kitchen. When I’m working on a story and get stuck, I fold the laundry or wash the dishes and come back to it. I also take a pen and notebook with me wherever I go. When I am stuck, staring at a white screen doesn’t help, pen and paper helps bring me focus.

Music: a must, or a no-go?

A must- When I’m writing, it’s Newton Faulkner! Just a musician and a guitar, simple but hits home with me. I also tend to enjoy artist who write their own music more.

No-go- I love all types of music, so I never rule anything out.

What kind of stories do you like to write? (Relationship, humor, historical?)

I tend to write based on relationships. Whether it’s a brother/sister, mom/son, or a partnership, I like to focus on all relationships. I want to crawl into my character and show them from all angles.

Do you prefer to write fiction to a prompt or call specification, or have an open field?

I write by the seat of my pants. I will get a glimpse of something that I see in my mind and HAVE to use in a story. I let that carry me. There have been some calls that have created new plot bunnies, but I mostly keep an open field.

Any advice for writers who are getting started?

Advice that I cannot stress enough would be to join/start a writing critique group. A good group to support and give advice when you need it is a MUST! Not everyone can pick up a pen and paper and be an author. It takes a lot of worry, tears, and rewrites. Having a cheerleading system makes the ups and downs sufferable.

Are there any tropes that you wish authors would retire, or fiction pet peeves?

I tend to stay away from stories based on sex. I want a little meat with my bone. I feel like I don’t get to know the characters as well in these types of stories. I don’t think it should be retired, some readers enjoy it. I just don’t happen to be one of them.

What are your methods to relax and take a break from writing?

When I am on a break from writing, I love to read! My Nook is loaded with books waiting for me to discover. Any recommendations are greatly welcomed!

Thanks for spending time with us! What’s a title we should pick up from your catalogue?

Thank you so much for having me! My current release is Substitute Heart by Less Than Three Press.

 photo SubstituteHeartsmall_zpsf11f29d1.jpg

Seven men in military dress blues stood at the top of the hill, their shoulders squared as they lifted M16 rifles and fired. I jerked as the first shots rang out loud. Deafening quiet followed. A2 casings fell to the ground beside the neatly polished black shoes.

Seven.

Fourteen.

Twenty-one.

I stared at the flag-draped coffin as tears slid down my face. I made no effort to wipe the damn things away. Only in this way could I show my grief. Only in this way could I show the man in the coffin that I loved him too. I wasn’t allowed to sit with the family, I wasn’t allowed to be presented the Stars and Stripes, and I was not thanked for the honor my loved one bestowed on this great nation.

So I let my tears fall.

Before Staff Sergeant Lane Foster left for Afghanistan, we said vows to proclaim our love and we exchanged rings. I didn’t need the state of Virginia to recognize our marriage. The statement of our love was more than enough. I looked down at the platinum band circling my third finger on my left hand. Slowly I grasped the matching band hanging around my neck. I wore it every day waiting for its rightful owner to reclaim it. Now it would never be returned to my husband. I gripped the necklace tighter. It was the only link I still had to Lane I could hold. I silently begged for this all to be a huge misunderstanding. Surely they had the wrong man. At any moment Lane was going to walk back in our lives and explain the unexplainable. I squeezed my burning eyes shut. Just keep breathing. Just keep breathing.

I opened my eyes to find eight soldiers removing the flag from the wooden coffin. Three soldiers on each side of Lane and one in the front and back. To the left, a bald man wearing a dark suit and purple tie eyed me. I could tell he was a soldier even out of uniform. He watched me, eyes moving from my face and again to the necklace. A slight nod of his head suggested he understood who I was. I doubted it. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell meant this bald soldier could never know how it felt to want to pull the man you love into your arms. To want to kiss him so bad, you ached. The nodding soldier would never understand the emptiness I now lived in. I wanted everyone to know of the love we shared, but I didn’t say a word. I knew I wanted to share only for myself. I was afraid our love was only a dream now. Does love still exist if only one person is still alive to remember it?

The crowd of family and friends came to say their final farewell. We live in the small town of Quantico which houses the largest Marine base in the world. When one of Prince William County’s own was laid to rest, mourners gathered in large numbers.

The United States flag was presented to Lane’s mother. She grasped it to her chest and hunched over. Her sopping cries silenced the other mourners. Lane’s father didn’t reach out for his wife. He pulled himself up and sat straighter in his chair, only to stare at the coffin. The minister invited everyone back to the church for a bereavement meal. One by one, those gathered returned to their cars and left without so much as backward glance.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t walk away from my husband. My feet felt like someone had cemented them to the cold concrete. If I left, Lane was gone forever. I couldn’t go on without him. I didn’t know how. He had always been the strong one in our relationship. I had gotten used to him coming and going on missions throughout the years. Having him gone forever was unbearable. I grabbed at my chest, willing my heart to slow down. I could feel a panic attack building.

I only snapped out of my stupor when the soldiers began to push Lane’s coffin out of the way. “Wait!” I yelled. My shoes echoed as I forced myself onward. Don’t take my husband, don’t take my life.

Editorial note: You can purchase Substitute Heart here through Less Than Three Press.

New Year’s Kisses Party

There’s an array of amazing fiction up for giveaway on Kay Berrisford’s blog, check it out for details! She and Tara Lain are hosting a New Year’s Kisses giveaway. Read excerpts, answer questions, and leave a comment to enter!

Speaking of giveaways, mine is still open until Jan 15, so check it out!

Happy New Year to all.

Here’s to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old;
Here’s to the things that are yet to come
And to the memories that we hold.

Award nomination and a giveaway!

It’s great to close out the year on a note like this.

Click the badge to take you to the poll, if you are so inclined (in case you forget, it’s under ‘Best Debut’)! I’m happy simply to be nominated; I didn’t expect it and it’s a really awesome thing for my first book, especially considering the company I’m keeping.

Next up: the long-promised giveaway.

Photobucket

I will send a signed copy of Signal to Noise anywhere, with a personalized greeting of your choice.

Rules for the giveaway:

1. The giveaway is open to sign up through Tuesday, January 15th at midnight Pacific time.
2. Sign up by commenting here on my blog entry. Include your name or a pseudonym, and your email so that I can contact you if you win. Your email needs to be accurate so that I can get in contact with you for a shipping address for the book!
3. You can get an extra “entry” by:
– Following my blog. (Let me know what your username is if it’s not obvious.)
– Following my Twitter, @TalyaAndor (again, let me know your username).
– Following my Tumblr, http://talya-andor.tumblr.com/ (just for good measure – yep, you guessed it, tell me your username).
– Edited to add another category: Goodreads! If you are following me as a fan on Goodreads, you get another entry. Annnnd you’d need to tell me your name on there too.

I will count your name once for a comment here, and an additional time for each follow.

On Wednesday after the sign-up closes, I’ll put names in a spreadsheet and give the number range to a Random Number generator which will choose the winner.

Thanks for reading, and happy New Year! Stay tuned for word on upcoming stories, and I’ve got stories to rec.

From the Inside Out officially available to purchase.

insideout400x600

Season’s greetings, everyone! I’m delighted to announce that my latest novel is available for purchase via the fabulous Less Than Three Press. As a little note of trivia, I officially began the first draft of From the Inside Out a little over nine years ago. As you can imagine, it’s satisfying, nerve-wracking, and incredibly exciting to finally share Soren and Tru’s journey with everyone. Order your nifty ebook copy today for $8.99. You can download the book in one of five different formats, so it’s pretty much compatible with everything under the sun.

I’m still working on figuring out the details for the signed author copy giveaway for Signal to Noise, so watch this space. That should be the next update.

Happy holidays to everyone who celebrates in some form or another. This season is best spent with loved ones, avoiding nasty weather, eating tasty meals (we’re currently cooking a New York roast), and of course curled up with a good book!

Coming soon: From the Inside Out

Photobucket

From the Inside Out is available now for pre-order! If you get it now, you get a sweet 15% discount. Treat yourself in advance of the holidays with a tale of young love, the struggles of coming out, and family dysfunction!

There’s new material and the story’s been given a bit of a facelift, so I’m looking forward to seeing what people think.

In other exciting news, Signal to Noise has been listed for Goodreads’ Best Book Debut of 2012! Take a look – I can barely believe my eyes. I don’t know how it happened, but wow, am I surprised and pleased!

Being buried under edits and now Christmas cards has left me with scant time to think about putting together a giveaway, but stay tuned while I plot my very first author-copy giveaway.