Sleigh Ride Available Now and Other Things Happening

It’s release day for Sleigh Ride, book two in the Minnesota Christmas series!

SleighRide300

The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.

Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.

 

Buy links: SamhainAmazonAmazon UKBarnes & NobleKoboGoogle PlayiTunes

Goodreads

Excerpt

Book Page on Website

Book Page for Let It Snow (book one in the series)

 

Sleigh Ride Blog Tour horizontal

Follow the Sleigh Ride Book Tour to win prizes and find out behind-the-scenes information!

 


Other things happening

  • Let It Snow is also in paperback now, and you can get it anywhere paperbacks are sold. If they don’t have it in stock, ask them to order it!
  • I need to go in this week and make sure I don’t still have pneumonia via X-ray, but overall I’m better than I was. I feel much improved, though I have weird hunger/craving jags and get very very tired very very fast.
  • I finished the first draft of Lonely Hearts, Love Lessons #3 and will be turning it in to my editor by the end of the month. Baz and Elijah were a party to write, and I can’t wait for you to read them in August.
  • Fever Pitch, Love Lessons #2, has been nominated for at RT Magazine award! Some awesome company I’m keeping there.
  • I’m about to start working on Minnesota Christmas #3, Winter Wonderland. Paul will finally get his man, though of course it will be the last person he expects.
  • My daughter turns 13 this weekend, which means we’re having an epic slumber party, and I will be having a teenager.
  • Our new cats, Sam and Mitch, continue to live up to their fictional doubles. Sam is always in trouble, and Mitch needs a lot more love than he’d like you to know about.

That’s about all from me! I hope you enjoy Sleigh Ride. I’ll go back to writing more books for you to read later.

Sleigh Ride Blog Tour and Giveaway

Sleigh Ride Blog Tour horizontal

 

The Sleigh Ride blog tour starts soon! You can follow it here. You can also, throughout the blog tour, enter to win a special prize pack!

 

  • an ebook copy of Sleigh Ride (if you’ve already bought it by then, you can give it to a friend)
  • a signed paperback copy of Let It Snow
  • a copy of William’s Doll, a children’s story referenced in the novel
  • a cuddling moose figurine
  • a Minnesota flask for those cold winter nights

 

SR Giveaway_edited-2

 

To enter, go here starting December 8. Be sure to follow the blog tour for more prizes and background information about the story and the series. (Here’s my privacy policy for giveaways.)

Want to listen to the music I played while I wrote the novel? Check out this Spotify playlist.

 


 

SleighRide300SLEIGH RIDE

Coming November 11 from Samhain Publishing

Book Two of the Minnesota Christmas Series

 

The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.

Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.

 

Buy links: SamhainAmazonAmazon UKBarnes & NobleKoboGoogle PlayiTunes

Goodreads • Excerpt • Book Page on Website

Book Page for Let It Snow (book one in the series)

Update on IndieFirst Firehouse Books Gathering

Normally I would try to make these posts semi-entertaining, but honestly I don’t have it in me, so apologies. To cut to the chase, I need to cancel the November 29th event in Ames I wrote about here. I’ll send this exact blog post also to the newsletter and to the people who signed up on the Google Form. Reading onward is the reason why.

I’d intended to get serious about working on this event as soon as I got home from GRL, but I got sick. I’d felt a bit run down at the event, so I figured, con crud, okay, move on. Well, I never got better, and then Saturday it started to get hard to breathe. Late that evening I went to the ER and got diagnosed with pneumonia.

I’m doing better, but not much, and it’s clear it will be a bit before I’m ready to take the world by storm. I could maybe limp through and hope, but it’s a disservice to everyone involved. I’m going to try to do it instead in April of next year and with more notice/preparation.

Apologies to anyone eager to come.

Quick update on what I am doing, besides coughing my head off:

Sleigh Ride is out in a few weeks, and there’s a blog tour. You can check that out here. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I am finishing Lonely Hearts this month. I reread Love Lessons and Fever Pitch last week, and this weekend when I wasn’t having nebulizer treatments (and thinking of Kelly, as my not-very-usual asthma reared its head) I’ve been watching the entire oeuvre of Hayo Miyazaki films I and my library had in stock. I feel like my life should be a charming Japanese village, and I have a huge craving for noodles and rice. Sitting here at my desk to compose this, I’m thinking writing is going to happen in my chair downstairs on the laptop, as this is a little woozy-making, but writing will happen this week, and I’m not missing my end of November deadline.

What exactly I got sick from is unknown. I thought I had the flu but they said no. How I got pneumonia is unclear. It could be a delayed post-surgery thing, but I was active after, so it’s really hard to say. I got to my regular doctor here in a bit, and he might have more answers, but honestly I’ll take some good cough medicine. PONYO

Going to GRL? Challenge Randy Jansen to a Game.

In less than twenty-four hours, the family Cullinan will leave from Iowa and head to the GayRomLit Retreat in Bloomingdale, Illinois. We’ll arrive Wednesday night, and we’ll be leaving Saturday evening by seven at the latest so I can swing by and see my grandmother on Sunday afternoon, hopefully in her home, not the care center she’s currently recovering in.

You can find me anywhere at the retreat, and please come and say hi to me. In fact, I have a little game I’ll be playing with retreat-goers. This will be posted in my swag area, but in the meantime:

Let’s Play a Game

I’ll be playing this game at my signing table too as long as I don’t have a line at that moment–anytime you see the deck of cards, it’s fair game to play. If you’re not able to attend the retreat but are in the Chicago area, the Saturday afternoon signing is open to the public. Please stop by!

Seventeen

Last night, as I snuggled with Dan in bed, I thumbed out a chat with a friend having a hard moment and wanting, desperately, advice on a relationship crossroads. That in itself isn’t so unusual, but it’s worth noting the friend is a sophomore in college and I was on the cusp of my seventeenth wedding anniversary.

That contrast really echoed in me as I gave my fifty cents worth of thoughts, because he’s only a few years younger than I was when I met Dan. This friend is a lot like me too–we aren’t exactly two peas in a pod, but he’s filled with passion and idealism, and I have to say, twenty-two years have worn away some of my vigor and cracked my rose-colored glasses, but my heart has never left that state. He, thankfully, is so much smarter and well-balanced than I was at that age, so I live in hope with a few more years he’ll whiz right by me and he can be my sage advisor.

Last night it was my turn with the cup of knowledge, though, and the thing I kept circling back to was talking about how long-term relationships very quickly become sentient beings. This is true of platonic unions as well, of course. Relationships always start out as an ideal in our head: something about the person in front of us speaks to a need in our own hearts. And while the wild crush of first love is in bloom, the imperfections are washed away by endorphins and other exotic brain chemicals.

Eventually those fade, however, and that’s when the relationship becomes its own thing. Warts begin to appear. Problems arise. Deficiencies become cracks in the veneer and sometimes allow whole sections of our imagined ideal partner to fall away. When this long-term relationship is romantic, sex gets tangled in the mix, as do all our culturally imposed ideals of what the perfect partner is. Now is the grand moment, when we see not who we want to see, but who is truly in front of us.

If you keep going in a relationship, if you spin out not only months but years and then decades, the relationship as sentient being spins and twirls and digs in grooves until it weaves its own DNA. Draw back far enough to look at it and you see the dark whorl where you nearly broke apart, or the shadow where you were distant. During the first blush of partnering, you swore you would never have those moments. You would be the Hallmark couple, someday the cute wrinkled old people holding hands on a swing.

The truth of course is that every wrinkled old couple holding hands comes with eons of moments grand and disappointing. A long-term relationship is a life. It isn’t a game you win or lose, it is a joy and honor to be able to have, whether for a few months or for years. Every challenge and test is a chance to knit yourself closer or admit you should unravel. It’s a story, your story. It is beautiful and ugly and disappointing and strengthening and unexpected and comforting.

When I was young and I dreamed of a partner, I wanted so many things. Someone smart and witty and kind. Someone who would challenge me and lead me and protect me. Even I knew all the things I wanted was such a crazed set of ideals I never dared dream. When I met Dan, however, I remember feeling as if all those things came true and then more. I felt like I’d known him forever and we were predestined and everything.

Then time passed, and some of those pretty scales fell away. More and more all the time. I still can’t say who put them there–me, Dan, both of us, some divine relationship fairy–all I knew was that events would happen, good and bad, and I would see less of the man I’d imagined and more of the man I had. I loved him too. Sometimes I had to learn that love, because sometimes the true human beneath the ideal was a little rough. Sometimes it was thrilling to know only I could see that part of him, that this was a gift only a life partner could get. But sometimes those moments hit me when my own scales were falling away, and it was hard.

Dan and I have faced all manner of challenges in seventeen years, and the thing I’ve learned and re-learned is that the crises, the scale-falling moments are the ones where you weave a new rung in that DNA ladder of your relationship. At first it was the loss of ideals, then it was the challenge of adding a child, and now it is age. Gray hair. Weight gain. Health problems. Scales neither of us had thought much about, things that startle us and make us actively try to cut each other off. Because sometimes the wrenches life throws at us hit our heads, and they hurt. Sometimes we can’t even trust a partner of seventeen years to love us when this many scales fall away, because we’re realizing more and more each day underneath those glittering defenses we are tired, wrinkled, and unloveable.

This is the magic of seventeen: after this much time, after so much practice at the weaving of this relationship, now we reach out and draw each other back. Health problems render us feeling fat and gross and crazy? Come here, sweetheart. No, you don’t get to push me away. Don’t want me to touch you right now? That’s okay. I’ll sit right here and love you all the same. You seem like you could use a massage. How about you make a date with your friend? Why don’t you go buy a book or a record? Here, I got this cookie for you.

My job is to write love stories, of people falling in love. That first rush, those bubbling endorphins, that initial connection. And I do love that moment, never get tired of writing it. I enjoyed living it in my youth, of having that moment with Dan. I still fall in love with friends, still chase that new-relationship smell.

But after seventeen years of caretaking this relationship with my spouse, of peeling away layers and discovering disappointments and joys and strange new worlds, of quiet pleasures and crazy capers–nothing compares. I have someone who thinks I’m beautiful when I’m sweaty and stinky in a bathrobe. Who actually likes it when I get bitchy and ranty, I think even a little when it’s aimed at him. Who is patient when I am moody or weird. Who never turns down a hug or a snuggle. Someone who I want to see more than anyone else, someone who is home.

Seventeen years ago today I was putting on a frilly dress and getting ready to walk down an aisle. We have this silly idea when we get married that the walk down a row of chairs or benches is the real journey–certainly we’re the best dressed for that part. But I am still walking down that path. Just Dan and I for the most part now, and sometimes we’re not as great with the upkeep of the sidewalk as we should be. Except I would walk with this man over hot coals. Anywhere, everywhere, so long as the path doesn’t end.

I love you, Daniel Scott Cullinan. Thanks for seventeen great years. I want seventeen-and-seventy more.

wedding1 copy

Piles and Piles of Books: The Library Contest is Ready to Ship!

I’ve been waiting a month to do this post. Seriously. SO. EXCITED.

For my birthday this year, I curated a contest for libraries, and I invited authors to donate books in addition to the ones I was donating. But then I realized there were only ten libraries who entered, and I couldn’t pick just five. I put out a plea for more donations, and people responded like crazyreaders especially. I would say a good 75% of the donations are from readers alone. Here’s a list of who donated: authors, publishers, and readers. (And if in the chaos I missed you, please let me know, and I’ll add you!)

Here’s what they donated.

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Impressive, yes? Here’s how it looks divvied up.

Read More

Fever Pitch is Available Now

Fever Pitch Tour Banner_edited-1

Fever Pitch cover Heidi Cullinan

FEVER PITCH

AVAILABLE NOW from Samhain Publishing

Book Two of the Love Lessons Series

Sometimes you have to play love by ear.
Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.

Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.

Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.

All Romance Ebooks • Amazon • Amazon UK • Barnes & Noble • Kobo • Google Play • iTunes •

Goodreads • Excerpt

Book Page on Website • Book Page for Love Lessons (book one in the series)


 

Samhain’s Bookstore is down and will relaunch October 1. Samhain’s 30% off new release sale will extend by one week for this title. If you preordered Fever Pitch from Samhain and want it today, email  customerservice@samhainpublishing.com to have your ebook mailed directly to you. Otherwise, it will deliver as soon as the store is live again.

How to get your Samhain preorder for Fever Pitch tomorrow from the Samhain Store

If you placed a pre-order for Fever Pitch and really want the book tomorrow, email  customerservice@samhainpublishing.com and ask to have it hand delivered. Tell them your pre-order number if you have it, and tell them the format, though they likely have that available. If you’re not in a hurry, it should arrive on your device Wednesday, and regular purchases will be up then too.

Fever Pitch will be on sale an extra week because of the store changeover, so if you’re on the fence, you have an extra week to get the biggest savings.

If you placed a pre-order and REALLY REALLY had your heart set on reading when it downloaded at midnight, email me at heidi@heidicullinan.com and say HELP ME WALTER, tell me your preorder number and format, and we’ll talk.

Otherwise, the book is out tomorrow and all third party sites will proceed as usual.

getting in

 

FEVER PITCH

Coming September 30 from Samhain Publishing

Book Two of the Love Lessons Series
Sometimes you have to play love by ear.
Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.

Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.

Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.

Win Fever Pitch Early!

Fever Pitch Tour Banner_edited-1

I’m giving Fever Pitch ebooks away TONIGHT to TWO lucky winners!

To enter, go to this link (I can’t embed Rafflecopter, le sigh) and enter as many times as the system will let you. Tonight I’ll pick the two winners, email you your prize, and you’ll be reading before your friends are.

Stop reading this post, and go enter already!

#IndieFirst: Join Our Ames Event

via firehouse.org

On November 29, 2014, at Firehouse Books in Ames, Iowa, I’ll be hosting an #IndieFirst Author and Indie Bookseller Event.

This is all Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer’s fault, though I’ve been meaning to do a local event in central Iowa for some time. Right now all I know is that it’s being held at Firehouse Books in Ames, Iowa, on November 29. I’m assuming afternoon but honestly I’m not even that far into firm details. I will be there, and a lot of people are interested, but largely everything is still unfolding.

Did you read this and get very excited because you really, really want to come, either as a reader or an author*, or simply a local supporter? Fantastic. Fill out this form, an interest survey that will help me better plan and define the event. Also consider joining this mailing list, which will keep you up to date as details emerge. That list won’t be shared with any authors, or the bookstore, and you won’t be added to my author mailing list either. (This means, too, if you’re on MY mailing list, you need to join this one also to get information on the event.)

I’ll eventually put info on this blog and on flyers around town too, when I have more details. In the meantime, sign up for more news, fill out the inquiry form, and we’ll get this party started.

 

*I’m taking ALL interested inquiries for attending authors, but I’m leaving the final decision up to the bookstore owner, both in number and attendees. I can’t promise anyone a spot. This is a used bookstore also selling new releases, which means there are a lot of ordering and selling options. I’m especially interested in Iowa and very local authors at least stopping by, even if you only have ebook flats to share. This event is about showcasing independent booksellers, and hopefully we can toss a bit of money at a local charity as well.
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