The Amazon Iowan

Blog of Author Heidi Cullinan


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The Fab Four Winners of the Win Tough Love Early Contest, and a Meditation on Anticipation

Well that was one hell of a good time.

When I started this contest yesterday morning, it was mostly a wild hair, but it turned out to be an incredibly good time, and I’ll totally be doing this again. Probably not every single book…though hey, maybe. I’m crazy that way. Next time I do it, I’ll give you more warning for sure.

First, though, let’s get to the winners. I’ve emailed them all, and hopefully they email me back quickly so they can claim their prize—if they don’t in 48 hours, I’ll re-pick, though by then the book will be for sale. (Feel THAT FACT.) Out of [x] winners, these are your champions.

  1. @lovesfabromance
  2. Lisa
  3.  ♥J ♥ – LoveMeSomethingYu(MM)y
  4. Crissy M

 

Congrats to all of you! Enjoy the thrill of having the book early. Feel free to brag and taunt your friends. You know they’d do the same to you if the tables were turned.

have your baby2

 

The thing I hadn’t counted on was how much fun you’d have (and how much fun I’d have watching) beating the drums and rooting for the next trigger level. The thing is, this is just a little over a day early, and all three books together cost less than a nice lunch. But that doesn’t matter, does it? It’s the lure of the chase. The thrill of maybe. The joy of anticipation.

While this has been going on, my husband’s friend Matt is undergoing Hulk Watch 2014: Dan gave him a grow-a-Hulk in a cage, and Matt has been beside himself for days on Twitter waiting for the green guy to bust free. There were heartbreaking decisions like do I go to bed? Should I go to dinner with my family, or watch for another crack? Every time there’s been remote progress (and sometimes just because it’s been hours and nothing has changed) Matt posts another photo. I’ve found myself looking forward to the tweets, not so much because I give a shit about Hulk entrapment, but because it’s fun seeing people excited.

Contests like this, I’m realizing, are more of the same. It’s not so much about the prize but the thrill of it might be me. And that thrill is only so much the greater because the odds are actually high it won’t be you. Except for four people, it was them. That’s the prize, not the book. Because this time, it was you, when you knew it shouldn’t really be.

I think that’s the joy of reading romance–we love watching two (or more) people find their this time, even against the odds. It reminds us not to give up, to believe, to hope, to try. Because it might not be us this time. But it always might be.

In my head Ethan is saying this is why he plays craps, and Randy is rolling his eyes. But I’ll point out Randy has a ring on his finger, and he’s leaning on Ethan’s sturdy shoulder. I think when he did play craps, he did pretty damn well.

Whether you’re an early winner, a loyal reader, or someone taking a chance on me for the first time—I hope when you read Tough Love it’s a risk you enjoyed taking. And I hope your payout is huge. ;)

 

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TOUGH LOVE

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Book Three of the Special Delivery Series

It takes a strong man to be this fabulous.

Crescencio “Chenco” Ortiz pulled himself up by his garter straps after his father’s will yanked the financial rug from under his spank-me pumps. He doesn’t need anyone, yet when Steve Vance steps into his life, the prospect of having a sexy leather daddy on tap begins to take on a certain appeal.

There’s a hitch when he learns Steve is friends with Mitch Tedsoe—the half-brother Chenco never knew except through his father’s twisted lies. Despite his reservations, soon Chenco is living his dreams, including a performing gig in Vegas. Now if only he could get Steve to see him as more than just a boy in need of saving.

Steve’s attraction to Chenco is overshadowed by too many demons, ones he knows his would-be lover is too young to slay. Yet as he gets to know the bright, determined young man whose drag act redefines fierce, Steve’s inner sadist trembles with need. He begins to realize Chenco’s relentless tough love might be the only thing that will finally set him free.

Warning: This story contains glamorous drag queens, exhibitionist secondary characters, and no-holds-barred BDSM play, including watersports. Readers advised they may well leave this novel feeling uncharacteristically fierce.

Buy links: SamhainAmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

Excerpt on Heidi’s website

 

Read about the rest of the series here.

 


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Win It Before You Can Buy It: EARLY Giveaway of Tough Love and the Special Delivery Series (also info about blog tours, buddy reads, and stuff.)

Boring stuff out of the way first. (Well, the buddy read is not boring! At all. But we all know you’re here because I said WIN TOUGH LOVE EARLY, OMG.)

Miles and the Magic Flute Blog Tour Signup is Live. Read this newsletter for info. Use this signup form to join. Join this newsletter to be the first to hear about the next blog tour campaign. Any blog can join, of any flavor or size.

Bad Boyfriend Buddy Read Happening Now, Plus Eli Wright is Taking Your Questions. KA too, but you know Eli’s going to bring it. Email assist@heidicullinan.com to get a username and join in the conversation, or lurk in the distance.

Tough Love will have a buddy read and character chat sometime next week, starting Wednesday. Details coming soon.

Now that we have that over with, the contest.

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postcard-4inx11in-h-front

Pre-Release Giveaway

Special Delivery, Double Blind, and Tough Love

Win all three books in the Special Delivery series in the ebook format of your choice. Prizes will be emailed Sunday, April 6, which means you can start reading and tease your friends about how you had it first by Sunday night. All three books are offered: you can decline the first two if you already have them, replace your first editions, or give them to a friend. Already pre-ordered Tough Love? Thank you! You can still read it early, then give away your won copy. I always support infecting your friends with my work.

Rules and disclaimers: 

This contest is void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 to enter. Only one entry per person. No purchase necessary. Contest open worldwide unless contest is illegal in your country. Contest winner will be chosen at random by online randomizer. Prize is as specified above.  This contest will open at the posting of this blog and close 11AM CST, Sunday April 6. To enter participants must fill out this Google document form. Winners will be announced within four hours of contest end by email and on Heidi Cullinan’s blog/social media accounts. The number of winners will be determined by the metrics stated below. If winners do not acknowledge receipt of winning email within 48 hours of announcement delivery, a new winner will be chosen. E-certificate will be delivered via email within 48 hours of winner acknowledging receipt of notification email. Use this form to enter the contest.

How many winners will there be?

Why, that depends on how many of you enter.

1-50 entrants: 1 winner

51-100 entrants: 2 winners

101-150 entrants: 3 winners

151-200 entrants: 4 winners

201 and above entrants: 5 winners

I’ll do my best to let you know on Facebook and Twitter and this public forum post how many entrants we’re at, but your best bet if you want more winners is to promote this contest. I’m not sure how the odds things works, if you’re better off having less entrants or what, but you have to admit it’s more fun if we’re all running around making an event of it. I would love to be handing out five winner packets, so here’s hoping.

Want to be more official about spreading the word/add a splash of color? Go here to the Special Delivery Series Press Kit to find images, blurbs, info, reviews, picture quotes, cover art, and more.

But you don’t have to pimp to enter. You can simply enter. Which you should do now. Ready? Set? GO.

 


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Coming Soon: Miles and the Magic Flute, Hero Reissued from Wilde City

One of the most common emails I get is, “Why can’t I buy Hero and Miles and the Magic Flute?” Now I can tell you that you can, and even when. Also, both books have shiny new covers:

MilesMagicFlute_cvr

Reissuing May 27, 2014

MILES AND THE MAGIC FLUTE

When unemployed Miles Larson retreats to his friend’s Minnesota pawnshop to lick his wounds, he discovers that a few notes on a magical instrument reveal an erotic fairyland where the sorrows weighing on his heart don’t exist at all.

Yet fantasy comes with a price, and soon Miles must chose a path. He can surrender his soul to the dreamlord to sustain his pleasure… or he can defeat the faerie and save the mysterious beast-man who promises love. Miles would chose love over pleasure in a heartbeat—if only to seize it he didn’t first have to acknowledge the pain inside.

Is Miles strong enough to learn that sometimes to find happiness, we must face down our sorrows?

This title has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
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Hero_cvr

Reissuing August 2014

HERO

Construction worker Hal Porter knows he’s nobody special. But when strange events draw him into a magical world, he becomes the only man who can free Morgan, a lonely, long-enchanted shape-shifter. Whether he feels he’s worthy or not, Hal is the hero Morgan has been waiting for.

However, Hal’s task becomes personal as he and Morgan fall in love. Now, to save Morgan and give himself the happily ever after he’s always longed for, Hal will need to do something far more daunting than face Morgan’s captor or finally come out of the closet…

He’ll have to believe in himself.

This title has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.

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Both books are being reissued from Wilde City, and I’ve loved working with them so far. Because they’re still getting started, you won’t be able to preorder either book just yet, and there will be a small delay from release to distribution to third party. As usual if you want to make sure you don’t miss it, sign up for my reader newsletter. I’ll let you know when the book goes on sale and when the third-party distribution has happened.

Speaking of newsletters: if you’re a blogger and you want to be in on this tour—or any blog tour I do—I’ll be debuting a new system for this tour. What I keep finding is that though I put out calls in my regular newsletter, blog, and social media, bloggers are so busy they don’t always see those calls and I’m always shoehorning people in after we get started. I don’t mind doing that, but I feel bad because sometimes it means people don’t get dates that work best for them. To that end, I’ve started a blogger-only newsletter. What will happen is when I’m ready to set up a blog tour, I’ll send out that newsletter. It will also go to social media, go out as a blog, but if you sign up for that newsletter it will go directly to your inbox. Within that newsletter will be a Google form where you can fill out what dates/kind of post you’re looking for and whether or not you need an ARC. The beauty of this system though is if you don’t want to participate in that particular book, you don’t have to do anything at all.

I’m not yet ready to set up the Miles tour, but I’ll probably do that in the next month or so. If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be the first to know when we’re scheduling.


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Double Blind Re-Releases Tuesday, and Randy and Ethan Will Be At Your Service.

Also in this post I’ll answer the oft-asked question, “Do I need to buy the book again? Is it different?”

But first I have to say thank you to everyone who has been posting in the comments of my blog for two different posts which were both essentially me losing my shit on the Internet. One, for the promotions thing–holy crapmonkeys, did I strike a nerve–and then of course for Sidney. Thank you very much for the hugs here there and everywhere about Sidney. He’s doing rather well, only on fluids right now, and loving that every time he asks for food I give it to him. I think he’s decided this is heaven. He hates the fluids but he’s learning to cope, and he looks better. I bought a snuggly blanket for him and I spread it on me whenever I’m sitting. I think he digs that I’ll boot anybody else so he can sit. The vet says basically he’ll die someday of a thromboembolism, which will happen with no warning. So we enjoy each day as they’re here, however many we get.

Now, let’s talk about Randy and Ethan.

Double Blind is out on Tuesday, March 4, and as I did with Special Delivery, I’ll have the heroes of the story on my forum for their own personal AMA. I’m going to do something a little different this time: I’m going to do both of them at the same time, which will be an interesting mental jujutsu for me, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’m also going to have it over two days and start it on Wednesday, March 5 at 6PM CST and run until Friday late afternoon, probably around 3PM. Obviously I will be in and out, but it’s a forum, so you can come back anytime. And you can go there now, get a login/username and leave a question for either one of them.

As I’m never shy to admit, Double Blind is the book of my heart. It was a whirlwind ride to write, I’ve loved it more every time I’ve reread or edited it, and it has my favorite character of mine, Randy. Not that I don’t love all my books or my characters, but he’s definitely my special guy. Which he knows, and that’s always made writing him fun but slightly dangerous. The story is erotic but not as much as Special Delivery. It’s smart, sassy, and full of highs and lows, and poker. There are winks and nods to my personal posse of NaNoWriMo authors who were with me as I wrote it—the demon statue was a challenge thrown down and accepted, with a bit of a cheeky tweak I’m not sure was appreciated. It was also the last book I wrote before I was published–I’d sold two, but no one had bought my book yet.

The question people have asked for both Special Delivery and Double Blind is “Do I need to buy the new one?” The worry is, is there new story in the reissue, something a reader would miss for not having. For Special Delivery the answer is no, nothing is new, and nothing at all is missing or changed except for tightening of prose. I think that book lost 10k, all of it fat and redundancy.

Double Blind doesn’t have any new material, but it has two distinct differences: it’s much tighter, much smoother—I cut 25k, and yes, there really was that much fat and redundancy, because the book was 140,000 words—and the reissue fixes a formatting problem many of you have written to me about. Did your copy of Double Blind have passages that looked like this?

flop

What, you might ask, is Aq9r8w? A mess. What that should read is this:

correct

The copyediting for Double Blind was a bitch and a half, because there were so many special terms and cases, including how to report the hands. I asked if we could use digital images, and in the PDF and paperback versions—the formats which sell the least—they work fine. Everywhere else got the weird alphabet soup, and I got a lot of letters and people asking what the hell that was supposed to mean. It made me crazy. Dreamspinner tried to fix it, but it didn’t seem to take, and it wasn’t fixed everywhere, and so I gave up.

Maybe the screwed up hand formatting doesn’t bug you. Maybe you love it when I overwrite and am way too wordy and you’re happy with your first edition. If so? You carry on. If you thought I could have used a little more red pen, a firmer hand, and/or were annoyed by the glitch mentioned above? Samhain Publishing has it on sale for the cheapest price going, and you can preorder. From what I hear once they get you in their system, you won’t want to leave, you’ll be so happy. If you want to try your hand at third party, Barnes and Noble and Amazon also have a preorder. iTunes probably has it too, but they also probably have me misfiled as the wrong person with only a third of my books showing, because that’s how they do business, apparently. The point is, buy it or don’t, as you wish.

I’m doing a lot of guest posts and interviews on the blog tour, which is back in the swing again. If you like the quote pic I used above and want to snag some for your own, you can find them here. The quotes were picked by the forum angels. They had about three times as many as I chose. Randy is apparently their spirit animal.

In short, I hope to see you somewhere in social media on the tour, or if not, you can just read/re-read the book, enjoy it, and that’s more than enough for me.

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DOUBLE BLIND

Book Two in the Special Delivery Series

Know when to show your hand…and when to hedge your bets.

Randy Jensen can’t stand to just sit by and watch as a mysterious man throws money away on the roulette wheel, especially since Randy’s got his own bet going as to the reason this guy is making every play like it’s his last day on earth. The man’s dark desperation hits Randy right in the gut. Half of him warns that getting involved is a sucker’s bet, and the other half scrambles for a reason—any reason—to save the man’s soul.

Ethan Ellison has no idea what he’s going to do with himself once his last dollar is gone—until Randy whirls into his life with a heart-stealing smile and a poker player’s gaze that sees too much. Randy draws Ethan into a series of wagers that leads to a scorching kiss by midnight, but he isn’t the only one with an interest in Ethan’s vulnerability. Soon they’re both taking risks that not only play fast and loose with the law, but with the biggest prize of all: their hearts.

Warning: This story contains high-stakes poker, gangsters with a weakness for kittens, foursomes, and kinky consensual sex.

Available March 4, 2014 from Samhain Publishing and wherever books are sold. This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.

SamhainAmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

Excerpt on Heidi’s website


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Would you like to see Fever Pitch’s cover?

Of course you would.

Fever Pitch cover Heidi Cullinan

Here’s what it looks like side by side with Love Lessons.

LLFP

SO MUCH HAPPY.

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Fever Pitch

Book Two of the Love Lessons Series

September 2, 2014 from Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

(This is the draft blurb, but it’ll give you an idea.)

Beneath the façade of his pretty, popular-boy exterior, Aaron Seavers is friendless, ruled by a rigid but largely absent father, and clueless about everything, especially where he should attend college in only eight weeks. When geeky-cute Giles rescues Aaron at a party, makes him laugh and guides him through his first gay experience, Aaron goes home confident of two things—his sexual orientation, and where he’s heading to school in the fall.

When Giles Mulder’s popular-boy dalliance appears at Saint Timothy orientation, memories of his hometown’s soul-crushing hazing threaten his hard-won college haven. All Giles wants to do is forget the past, play violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up…but Aaron’s smiles are distracting, and when he sings, hopes Giles thought he’d long-ago buried soar on arpeggios through his heart.

Through friends, roommate crises, parental interference and most of all through music, Aaron and Giles learn true love doesn’t happen at a fever pitch—it’s a rich, swelling cord ringing all the way to happily ever after.

Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella. Readers are advised they might well leave this novel with rediscovered inner strength and find themselves significantly buoyed by hope.


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Special Delivery Series Tour Is Coming

Nothing like the last minute, but here we go: Old Blue is on the road, coming to a blog near you. The schedule is below, and it’s incredibly long—thank you to all the bloggers who signed on to participate! If you’re not on this list and you want to be, as you can see there’s still a little room, so let me know and I’ll set you up.

You’ll get all kinds of posts on this tour: a lot of interviews, reviews, and some reminiscing especially during the first two months, as Special Delivery and Double Blind are re-releases. I’ll be doing things on this blog as well, so watch this space (if you don’t want to miss it, remember that WordPress lets you get blog post notifications), including some contests, some games, and hopefully some reader participation, including guest posts.

Which, speaking of: I started working on that project and then realized I had a book to finish, but as soon as that’s done I’m going to start actively looking for people to interview the boys, give their review of the books/reactions/whatever, help find trivia, and in general have some fun. I went round and round about where to do that, considering all the social media options, but I hated how FB could cut us off because they felt like it, I knew not everyone loves Goodreads, and I’m painfully aware of how much I hate Yahoo groups. To that end, I started a forum on my website, which you can see if you go here. I could set it up so you auto-sign on, but that means we will be inundated by spammers and possibly haters, so to avoid that I’ve set it up so you have to be added manually, most likely by my husband, who is monitoring the assist@heidicullinan.com email. All you have to do to join the forum is email that and tell him what username you want, and off you go. You can even change your username if you want once you get in, and you can add an avatar, whatever you like. Tell him too if you’re a reader or a blogger (you can be both) so he tags you for the right boards. Also, give him a few hours to add you, as he is sometimes living his secret identity of a mild-mannered hospital pharmacist or is busy being Superdad. Or he might be doing the dishes. He does a lot of dishes.

I don’t know how well the forum thing will work out, but it was the solution I could come up with.  If you’ve been on the forum for a while, now there’s a menu bar so you can get in easier, and a login on the side of the forum page. If you have any trouble email me or that assist email. If you have suggestions, email them too. For now you have to check the forum to see if anything’s updated, though I can change that if you like.

That’s also where I will be having Q&As, which I’ll announce on twitter, social media, etc, and probably here too. You can also sign up for my regular newsletter and the Special Delivery specific promotions one, which will probably only get notifications when I’m about to do things on the forum specific to fun and games.

Meanwhile, get ready for some blog posts! You can check back here to track the stops, and I’ll try to keep these updated as they go live, but if not poke around a bit on the blogs to find the posts. You might find something else you like to read too, while you’re there. There’s also a calendar on my website, which is slowly being updated to include blog tours, upcoming events, and release dates.

Special Delivery Series FB header_edited-1

SPECIAL DELIVERY SERIES BLOG TOUR

January 24: Boys in Our Books
January 25-26: Tara Lain
January 27: The Blogger Girls
January 29: Risqué Redhead Reads 
January 30: Fiction Vixen Post
January 31: Gay List Book Reviews

February 1: Sinfully Sexy 
February 3: Boy Meets Boy
February 4: Joyfully Jay Post
February 4: SPECIAL DELIVERY RELEASE DAY
February 4: Penny Reads Romance Spotlight
February 5: Sid Love Event
February 6: Novel Approach Event
February 7: Prism Book Alliance 
February 8: ZA Maxfield
February 10: Cup o’ Porn Spotlight
February 11: TT Kove 
February 12: Tipsy Bibliophile Event
February 13: 3 Chicks After Dark
February 14: Penny Reads Romance
February 24: The Blogger Girls
February 28: Sinfully Sexy

March 1: Gay List Book Reviews
March 2: Boy Meets Boy
March 3: Joyfully Jay
March 4: Book Reviews & More by Kathy
March 4: DOUBLE BLIND RELEASE DAY
March 5: Sid Love Event
March 6: Novel Approach Event
March 7: Prism Book Alliance
March 10: Cup o’ Porn Spotlight
March 11: Under the Covers Character Interview
March 12: TT Kove
March 13: 3 Chicks After Dark
March 14: Risqué Redhead Reads
March 31: The Blogger Girls

April 2: Boy Meets Boy
April 3: Penny Reads Romance
April 4: Tipsy Bibilophile Event
April 5: Sinfully Sexy Event
April 6: The Blogger Girls
April 6: Boy Meets Boy
April 7: Sid Love Event
April 8: TOUGH LOVE RELEASE DAY
April 8: Book Reviews & More by Kathy
April 9: Joyfully Jay
April 10: Novel Approach
April 11: Cup o’ Porn Spotlight
April 12: Prism Book Alliance
April 14: TT Kove
April 15: 3 Chicks After Dark
April 16: Risqué Redhead Reads

UPCOMING LIVE APPEARANCES

May 13-18: Romantic Times Book Convention (New Orleans, LA)


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Generalized Update and Last Call for the Special Delivery Whatever-It-Is

Catch-all blog post here. Largely I admit this is because I haven’t blogged much lately, partly because there is legitimate business, but MOSTLY because I just finished the big-ass edit of Fever Pitch and want to crow a bit. It’s between truck draft (I could get hit by a truck and you could still have a book, but it would be full of roadkill in the grill) and ready-to-send-to-editor draft. If I keeled over today, so long as someone explained to Dan how to export from Scrivener, somebody could clear up the last bits of snot and you could have a book. I need to read through one more time, scan for my Words To Edit, export and it’s off to my editor, my husband, and my lighthouse beta. (I told her she’d been my lighthouse while I read, when I got in the weeds I’d say, “what would she like?” and kept on.) Probably will send a version to the person it’s dedicated to–and then it’s done until Sasha sends it back and says, “Well, now.” Of course I am now required to fill out the blurb form, cover art sheet, and tip form. A book’s work is never done.

Speaking of book work. I have very bumblingly started arranging promo for the Special Delivery series releases. If you’re a blogger who wants in on it and I haven’t emailed, this would be a fantastic time. (Link on my website.) If I haven’t emailed you it’s nothing personal, it’s because way too much is going on.

Special Delivery Series FB header_edited-1

(Obligatory promo spam: Preorder Special Delivery, Double Blind, and Tough Love from your favorite retailer now.

Links available in the drop down menu for each book here.)

A reminder: if you’re NOT a blogger but want to play, you want to sign up to this newsletter, stat. Later today (or maybe tomorrow, depends on how organized I get and how fast) I will send out a newsletter to what I’m currently calling the “Special Delivery E-Street Team” but that is very much a placeholder. That will be task one, coming up with a better name. I have a private forum on my website, and we’re all going to hang out and chat over coffee/tea/Dirty Whiskey. The general premise is this:

  • I have three books out and I need to promote them, and yet
  • Two of these books are practically cult classics, because you all tweet/email me when you see blue semis/play poker, etc
  • I have heard the moaning and gnashing of teeth for the third one
  • I would rather have a party than write a thousand blog posts
  • It’s fun to play with Randy

I already have a decent pile of you, more than I really need, but I don’t want to leave anybody out who wants to play. What will happen is if you sign up for that newsletter I’ll have your email, and I can add you to the forum, where you can tell me how you want to play. You’ll help me with posts and games and contests, both the thinking of and managing depending on your skill level/time/interest. You don’t have to have read the first two books to do this. All you have to be is someone who reads the above and says, “Hell, yes!” and you’re in. It’s that easy. Come with a buddy. Stay home and get popcorn to watch–your call. This is so low pressure I can’t be bothered to detail how casual it is. Though once we get going it will be rare I add anyone, so it’s now or next time. I promise that it will be fun and you will be cared for, but if you don’t play you will survive comfortably to live another day.

I have this nagging feeling I’m forgetting something, but I can’t remember so I guess that’ll just be another blog post if it ever drifts back out of the slog. To close, though, if you’d like I’ll give you a sneak peek of Fever Pitch. And the collage because it’s pretty.

Also when we get to the promo for this book (September it’s out) somebody remind me to give you the soundtrack. Because it’s pretty awesome.

STOP READING NOW if you don’t want a teaser. I’m serious, shut your eyes…or scroll on.

Continue reading


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Blog Tour/ARC Request for Let It Snow

I’ve been meaning to do this for a week, which gives you an illustration of my life right now. So everything is normal.

If you are a blogger, professional reviewer, or a devoted fan itching to do ground work promotion for me, I would like to direct your attention to this form. The actual link, if you’d like to see that written out too, is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1kRlK0KvtCkpVcDRVZ61hN1jcYJsjPaz1B5cppOH0hKs/viewform.

I’m starting promotional work for my November 25 release, Let It Snow, a Christmas-themed gay romance. I had the assistance of the lovely Viviana for Love Lessons, which was wonderful and taught be a great deal, but for this book I’m a solo flyer. I list a variety of options for promotion, but I’m open to more. That form aggregates to a spreadsheet, and when I get back from GRL this will be my first priority. That also means though if you fill it out today or tomorrow I can probably at least open an initial conversation, but we won’t get gritty until the 21st.

Here’s the book cover, the blurb, etc. And preorder information of course.

LetItSnow72lg 2

 

book page, excerpt, Samhain, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads

The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota Northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot.

Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.

Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.

Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.

Available from Samhain Publishing, November 26, 2013

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Speaking of blog tours: if you’re simply wanting to read along at home, Love Lessons has a tour going on right now, and you can follow it here. There’s a stop every day, and a lot of them have interviews, if you’re into that kind of thing.

As a final footnote: health news. There is absolutely something big to the gluten thing, and I’ll keep on that. I remain hesitant to say it’s THE thing, but I continue to feel positive and much much more stable.


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From Atlanta With Love: GRLs Supporting Authors Have a Present for You, and Now So Do I

ETA: I’m expanding this contest until the swag packages arrive from Atlanta. So you can still enter, and spread the word if you’d like to.

The other day I was happily scrolling through Facebook when I discovered a post from K-Lee Klein, one of the supporting authors at GayRomLit. Look what they’re doing!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00019]

This is Cate Ashwood’s brainchild: she was trying to come up with swag, and since everything she’d ever heard or read said her work was her best advertisement (wise, and true), she set about making a sample booklet to be given out during the Supporting Author signing.  She asked around her fellow supporting authors, and this is the list of who took the bait:

  • Simone Anderson
  • Cate Ashwood
  • Heidi Belleau
  • Lex Chase
  • Jacob Z. Flores
  • M.C. Houle
  • A.J. Kelton
  • Venona Keyes
  • Pearl Love
  • Edmond Manning
  • Anna Martin
  • Rowan McAllister
  • S.A. McAuley
  • Madison Parker
  • Tali Spencer
  • Lily Velden
  • Lynley Wayne
Back Blurb:
Writing is a solitary activity, and yet authors would be useless without readers to devour the words they create.  GayRomLit brings the two together; a community made up of people with different tastes and styles, from all over the world, all with one thing in common: a passion for romance.
From science fiction to urban fantasy, from historical to paranormal to contemporary, enjoy an eclectic collection of stories and excerpts from eighteen of the supporting authors attending GayRomLit 2013 in Atlanta.
Here’s what Cate had to say when I asked her about it:
“Each author has at least one excerpt or story in the book, which ended up being 180 pages, and we’ll be giving them out to readers for free. L.C. Chase did the cover for us (and I think she did an absolutely fantastic job) and I’ve ordered 200 copies. They should be arriving at the Melia sometime before GRL, and I was hoping to have a pile in the swag room, a small stack with each of the participating authors.”
Here’s why I love this so much.
Cate’s right: putting the work out there is the best ad, because the hands-down best way to make sales is to get readers talking about you. I did all manner of promo and ads and work for Special Delivery at its release, which had absolutely zero effect. It wasn’t until readers began to pass it around that it took off. Which is why my biggest promotion is to be liberal with bloggers regarding ARCs (and why one of my firmest contract points now is that I’m with a publisher who provides them).  But what I love most about this is these authors actively taking advantage of their showcased opportunity.
The supporting author signing is Thursday morning: this is the time when attendees rove the swag room, hungry to make contacts and find authors. Rather than being lost in a sea of one hundred, the supporting authors are showcased at this time. Contact with them can be intimate and lengthy–these are the rising stars, authors with only a few books under their belts. I know a lot of these names already, and I can tell you, they’re people to watch.
These seventeen authors took their highlighted status and used it to make a gift to readers. Yes, it’s promotion, but it’s the best promotion: here we are. Try us out. I seriously love this so much I can’t even talk about it coherently.
I told them I’m totally down for a copy and I’m happy to boost their signal. I think they’re considering making it available electronically after the con, but in case they’re not, I’m going to try and let those of you who can’t attend still play along.
Leave a comment on this post to win one of three GayRomLit swag packs, with all the goodies I can find from the swag room, including three (signed, of course!) copies of this booklet. This is an international contest.
I’ll leave this contest open until the day I come back: October 20  the swag packages arrive from Atlanta, which will probably be around the 25 or 28th. After they arrive, I’ll pull names and mail them out. Now, if I can score a book or two, mine or otherwise, I will, but I can’t promise that. I’ll put some of my own stuff in there as far as swag, but the what exactly will be a surprise.
Authors, if you read this and want to hand me signed swag or something ready to ship, go ahead and plan on that. You don’t have to tell me, you can just get it to me there.
So long as you’re signed in to wordpress, you don’t have to leave your email, just your name. If you’re worried about making sure I have it, email me, though still leave your comment here because I’ll just random number generate it from the comments. Feel free to spread the word however you like.
Later this weekend I will do one more behind-the-scenes post for Love Lessons. It was due today, but I am still behind. In the meantime, check out these authors, and get yourself entered in the contest.


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Love Lessons: Mentors

I have now missed two behind-the-scenes posts in a row: my apologies. This is of course because of the aforementioned health crap. I’ve done sort-of updates on FB and twitter, but to recap: going vegan and gluten free has helped a lot but not, alas, magically solved everything. My legs are MUCH better. I could now pass most of their tests they did on me last Friday. However, my lower back is still slightly numb, and I’ve shifted gears into an intense, recurring vertigo. This is something I’ve had before, and it seems to stem from my skull wanting to align itself sideways. All it takes is a quick hammer from my chiropractor and it goes back…but it doesn’t stay. He showed me what my neck/skull is doing, how it’s pinching nerves, and yeah, it’s no wonder I can’t think. It makes me walk stupid, makes me feel foggy and disconnected, and sometimes makes me irrationally angry at nothing at all. Everything feels too loud, too intense, even when I’m able to intellectually acknowledge there’s no real threat.

Many, many, many of you have emailed, commented, FB messaged, tweeted— friends, family, and total strangers. I cannot express how much those messages have meant to me, and thank you very much. I’m utterly humbled by the staggering number of people who’ve offered to help feed me in Atlanta. Thank you so very, very much. A repeated theme is to suggest possible ailments, which I appreciate, though I want to assure you I have a crack team on the case beyond just these neurologists. My mother has made several vows to drag me by the ear to the Mayo clinic if they don’t give good answers Tuesday, and my close friend and former family doctor is also giving this attention. So don’t worry: we’ve got this. Or rather, my village has this.

Anyway. That’s the update. Now on to the long-overdue behind-the-scenes. Today is the story of the man behind the dedication to Love Lessons. In the book dedication all I did was say something vague about him being my anchor. This blog post is going to be the love letter I always wanted to write.

When I first showed up at Wartburg College in the fall of 1991, I was so beyond hot mess I don’t even know how to talk about it. My parents were in the middle of a divorce, several other things from high school had rolled to a crazy head, and basically I wandered around gormless. I had no idea what I was supposed to do or what I wanted to do. I felt empty, anxious, and terrified, and I had nowhere to take these feelings, nowhere to funnel them. I wanted to grow up, I wanted to get my head on straight, but I had no idea how to do it, and every attempt I made only made me flounder harder.

Then I met Dr. Scholtz.

I’d decided during my first semester I wanted to be an English major. For three seconds I wanted to be English Education, but then I realized I would take almost no literature courses, only psychology and “how to teach” courses, and I said no thanks. By the time all this came down, I was into my second semester, and when I had to get a new advisor, I immediately said I wanted Dr. Scholtz. I was taking Introduction to British Literature III, and there was just something about him that made everything in me want to sit and behave and learn. He was smart, he was quirky—irreverent in a way that made me laugh, made me feel heard and okay. But above all he challenged me, and that was exactly what I wanted.

He swears to this day he never said it to me, but this was the teacher who told me, for the first time in my life, “If you want to continue taking classes from me, you need to learn how to write.” For years and years and years everyone had effused over my writing, to the point that it had been a decade since anyone had pushed me to do better, to be clearer, to focus. No one would set a bar for me, so I kept dishing out the same sentimental crap that seemed to make everyone happy. Not Scholtz. He wanted me to work. To earn an A from him was something won by blood and sweat and more often than not, tears.

I earned many, many As from him.

I took every class he offered, and one memorable May Term, I took an independent study which meant for a few hours every afternoon we wrestled over critical theory together. But it wasn’t just teaching that Dr. Scholtz gave to me. I often went to the local church instead of the campus one, because I was a fussy traditionalist and didn’t like the way they fancied-up the service; this is where Scholtz and his family went too, and I often ended up sitting with them. I will admit now I always hoped it would work out that way, because it was just nice to sit with a happy, burgeoning family and feel okay. I babysat for a lot of professors, but for Dr. Scholtz I sometimes took the kids (all four) for free, sometimes for hours, just because it made me feel good.

My undergraduate years were a time of turmoil and chaos the like I had never seen before and haven’t experienced since. I felt the loneliest and frightened that I have ever felt during those years and in the years immediately following graduation. I felt foolish and stupid and terrified I would be found out, that any second everyone would realize the reason my life was so awful was because I was so awful. I didn’t want to be that person, but I couldn’t see a way out.

Dr. Scholtz was, in so many ways, my star, my way to find the right path again. When I didn’t know what family was anymore, I looked to his. When I forgot how to strive, how to reach for something greater than myself, I remembered how he made me work, good, meaningful work, and I applied it to my life. When I struggled with moral questions, I remembered the many million conversations in and out of class, about literature and about life. When I was sad, I remembered his laugh.

As I look back at who I was in my undergraduate years, I think I must have been more than a little scary. I’m not sure I would have the time for the hot mess that was Heidi Hoerschelman. She had to have required a great deal of patience. I know without question she was a great deal of work. Not once, though, did Dr. Scholtz make me feel a burden. Not even for one breath of one moment.

The title of the novel I dedicated to my most important mentor is Love Lessons. Because of what I write, because it is a romance, it’s easy to think that title refers to romantic love. It doesn’t, not to me. What I learned at Wartburg is what I tried to show Kelly and Walter learning: that love is not about sex, not about ideals. Love is about being there for people when they need you. Love isn’t about erasing pain but holding hands through it. Love is teaching, and love is patience.

Love is the lesson that Dr. Scholtz taught me.

Thank you, sir, for being a light when I needed it most. Thank you for listening, for redirecting. Thank you for teaching me what my gifts were and how to hone them. Thank you for teaching me about literature. Thank you for teaching me how to be a teacher better than my masters degree in education did. Thank you for arguing about Henry Fielding with me. Thank you for finding the Sonnet to Scholtz endearing and not crazy. Thank you for coming to my wedding and sending me all those Christmas cards. Thank you for teaching me about respect, about honor, about duty. About love.

Thank you for your patience, your kindness. Your love. It has shaped my life and my work.  I know for a fact that this novel can’t come close to honoring what you’ve meant to me. I’ll tell you now I never did get rid of that doubling of nouns and adjectives, and despite the fact that this novel is much tamer than my usual stuff, I’m sure you could still school me on the curtain of decency. I tried to work in the smashed extra sandwiches from the sack lunches, but it just didn’t work. They’re there in spirit, though.

Despite its flaws, I hope you find the novel…worthy. I hope you find Dr. Williams flattering, even though he swears more than you would. I hope you see what I’ve grown up to be as someone you can be proud of. Above all, I hope you understand how instrumental you were in my arrival here.

Thank you, Greg, forever and always.

Love, Heidi

Heidi and Dr. Scholtz May 1995

Heidi and Dr. Scholtz May 1995

 

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Love Lessons: Love doesn’t come with a syllabus.

Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus. Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.

Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view. As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.

Warning: This story contains lingering glances, milder than usual sexual content for this author, and a steamy dance-floor kiss. Story has no dairy or egg content, but may contain almonds.

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