my books Category

Pieces

CH simple

Since Tuesday of this past week I’ve been meaning to write a blog post to say, “Hey, I have a new book out.” I have a newsletter whose single purpose is to do this, and I posted one of those, but I didn’t blog. Haven’t blogged much at all, you’ll notice, for quite some time. In fact the last blog was an announcement of the last book out. Tuesday came and went; I told myself I’d write a post Wednesday. On Wednesday night I promised I’d put the post together after I went to yoga, something else I’d been lax on attending to.

I went to yoga, and the center I go focuses on very spiritual yoga. Usually when I go I figure things out, and this Thursday was no exception. I figured out a lot about why I’d been dragging my feet over everything about this book, why I kept forgetting almost I even had a book coming out. How I was doing rather a poor job of talking about it. As I sat doing one-nostril breathing and swimming in the dangerously deep places my practice can take me, I finally understood what I’d been telling myself ever since I started that book, and once I left for home I quietly told myself I could take as much time to blog about it as I wanted to.

ForbiddenJenkinsThen today I started another book which came out Tuesday, one I’d been looking forward to and which others had told me was amazing. Beverly Jenkins’s Forbidden. I have admired Jenkins for a long time and had no small flutter when I was listed in the same article with her new book in the Washington Post. My friends and family were all impressed by the paper, but I was all about bragging getting to sit next to Ms. Jenkins. I tweeted that, and then she replied about getting to sit next to me, and I had to go lie down for a bit.

But today I finally had time to read the book. I began it while Anna was at the barn, and I already knew it was going to break me into bits. It was so lyrical and crisp and crafted. A dangerous book in that it made me feel a bit as if I had no business writing books if they weren’t going to be this good, except she would scold me for thinking that, so I decided I was just going to have to live up to her example as best I could. In the middle of reading, however, I paused to watch Beyoncé’s video for “Formation.” By the time I returned to my book I felt so raw and cut open I just gave in and let myself bleed.

Beyoncé’s video and Ms. Jenkins’s book both affected me in ways I didn’t expect, but both are powerful art, and art moves us in the way it wants to. At first the video in particular had me breathless and humbled by the artist’s grace, power, and beauty. I couldn’t stop watching it, and I felt a little awkward, because this video felt like such power, such, as I have seen so many write, black girl magic. I felt clumsy amidst grace and beauty and had already been half undone already by my reading.

But I couldn’t stop watching, and the music rang in my head. Then I went back to Forbidden, and I kept crying even though it wasn’t a crying of part of the book. Finally I stopped, sat with myself a minute, remembered yoga, and figured it out. I finished the book, cried a little more, and then came down here to write my post about my own damn book. Or rather, the post about why I was (and still am a bit) reluctant to talk about this book, something I had managed to hide even from myself.

I’m not sure why it took me eighteen months to figure out the correlation between having a major surgery ripping out three precious organs from my body and writing a steampunk where in the very first scene a soldier has more than half his body cut away because it was the only way he’d survive, but it did take me that long to suss it out. Just like it was a mystery to me why I got to the point in drafting the story where Johann had to face the knowledge of how much he’d been altered and how much it upset him, and I stopped writing for months and months until I couldn’t wait any longer and make my deadline. In fact, for the first time at that publisher, I moved my deadline. But no, during none of that time did I put two and two together and get four. I denied the existence of math. That’s my subconscious though, for you. Always ready so I can cut myself off at my own knees.

I’ve spent the better part of the last year and a half trying to process a loss I didn’t know I would really feel. I still don’t fully understand it. I think it upsets me so much because it comes in so many waves. It’s just never done. I very much like to identify my struggles, beat them within an inch of their lives, bury the carcass and move on. This is not a carcass I can bury, because it’s my own. I’m more than a little flustered as I admit I really don’t know how to function with something like this. I can’t ignore it, I can’t abandon  it. I can only carry it. I have to stop myself constantly from being annoyed with myself. I say things to myself like, “Why are you so upset? You know you’re still a woman, for crying out loud. You didn’t really want more children.”

Well, the last one is a little bit of a fib told to make myself feel better. I had, in fact, wanted more children, but since I was always sick and worn out, not wanting more seemed an easier thing. In fact there was a moment I thought I was pregnant, then burst into tears in the shower and whispered, “I can’t, I can’t, I’m sorry, I can’t.” Then knew in another day I was not, in fact, pregnant. I carried shame for that for years, and I still have sorrow, though I did nothing more than wish and whisper. I had wanted a lot of children. I’d wanted to be active and do all kinds of things. But I was decidedly not active, and I didn’t do a lot of things. I remember Anna drawing a picture once when she was young. I was on the couch. “Because you’re always tired.” It wasn’t meant to be cruel, but it made me sad. I look at her now, fourteen, and I think of how I didn’t play with her as much or do as much because I was tired. How I escaped into writing because it was being in my head, not my body. That will make me sad forever, and now if she wants to do something, I’ll throw over almost anything. It’s not playing horses like she wanted. But it’s what I can do now.

When I’m able, I acknowledge what I’m actually mourning is not organs or even children but life. It wasn’t as if I was in a coma for ten years, but it’s absolute those damn cysts bled life out of me. In another era they’d have taken it wholesale. My teenage daughter would grow up without me, and then she’d likely have been bit by it too. It’s a celebration that I’m here. It’s a gift. But it’s also a lot of loss, and a lot of pain.

People have long told me they admire how I fought (and still fight) chronic pain. They act as if I am a woman as powerful as Queen Bey in that video. I think that’s why that video got me so hard, because I watched and knew I was not her. I have never felt that powerful. I don’t know how to explain to people who haven’t been hit with heavy tar fingers trying to drag you down into hell that it was all running. There wasn’t any claiming. There was just desperation and dogged determination.

What there is now is quiet. Healing and quiet, and weeping. All the fucking time, the weeping. Over stories, over songs, over light in the damn trees. Because as I have been trying to say, I wasn’t claiming power. I was running. And now I don’t have to run. And I have time, finally, to feel all that pain. Or feel rather what it cost to fight it. Babies. Smiles. Laughter. School field trips. Sex. Happiness. Life. I didn’t let myself look at what I was spending because I knew it would hurt. What I didn’t know was that it would keep hurting for so long, that it would be so hard to stop carrying it around.

On Tuesday I released a book about a soldier being rescued by a surgeon and given new parts. They fall in love and have fantastic adventures on land and in sky. They have great sex and terrible peril and save each other in the end. They grieve and they triumph and they carry the day. I wrote the book to be all kinds of fun, and it seems people think that’s what it is. But I guess I wrote it also to begin the complicated, messy process of talking to myself about what it means to have loss. To have life taken away. To have that happen and still believe everything can be okay.

Beyoncé’s message is more complicated for me to process because I’m feeling like the bedraggled ugly girl sliding into the back of a beautiful theater hoping nobody notices me and will just let me listen. I don’t know why that’s what it makes me feel, but I’m going to confess it so I can keep talking about it. Because in the back of the theater what spoke to me was that female power. The way she moved and the way she just owned everything. I watched it with my neck hurting and my body too heavy and weight never coming off, my abdomen still numb and uncooperative after all this time, and I felt as I watched her I could be sexy too. I could be beautiful too. If I kept watching and letting her be queen, I could feel just a little bit of that too.

And then I finished Forbidden, a story about accepting self and loss and building things anew, and I healed a little more. I believed a little more. I fell in love with Eddy right along with Rhine, and when he looked at her with desire, I felt pretty too. Then I thought about my own book. It doesn’t heal in the same way because I wrote it, but your own books are handy for making yourself look at what you told yourself, accidentally or on purpose. In Clockwork Heart I told myself a man could be missing parts and given new ones and have a better life than the one he’d led before. That he could be desired and loved, not despite his missing pieces but for the man he was with his clockwork parts. Then I thought about how much fun the book truly had been to write, how proud I’d been of it even though it had been hard. And I healed a little bit more.

It has been very tough for me to write lately. I am writing, but everything is so incredibly slow and difficult. It’s because, I know, of that body I’m carrying around, which is not the shell of an enemy but the wreckage of myself. Bit by bit I’m putting new parts on, and I’m getting better at using them. It’s slower going than I’d like. Clockwork Heart is out and I have nothing for preorder. I don’t have another piece of fiction finished and on deck with a book just published, which is the first time that’s happened in a terribly long time.

What I have finally figured out, though, is that the only way to get to the writing part and the healing part is to cradle that poor self and feel sad about it, and angry about it, and lost and confused about it. This is, I can assure you, ten thousand times harder than shouldering very bad endometriosis without even knowing you have it.

This is also all a good reminder to me and anyone else who needs it that all stories and all art move us, and it doesn’t matter who is in the story or in the art. It’s very foolish and silly of me to feel unworthy of watching “Formation.” It’s art; it’s for whoever is moved by it. Just as Forbidden isn’t only for black people and Clockwork Heart isn’t only for gay men. I still feel in awe of Jenkins in particular because she’s so talented, and I’m very sure I’ll make a mess when I have the pleasure of meeting her, but I know that her story was absolutely for me. Just as any story I write, if it moves someone, is for them. Whoever they are.

We are all of us torn into pieces by the hazards of life. We are all praying for someone to help us put ourselves back together. Clockwork Heart was an attempt I made for myself and an offering for you, if you’d like to try it.

Honestly, I think you need to give Jenkins and Beyoncé some sampling too.

Valley High, I Call You—The Story of the Dedication to Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland, book three in the Minnesota Christmas series, is out tomorrow, November 10. There’s a tour and a giveaway you should check out. But what I want to tell you today is the story of Linda Lytle, the woman to whom the book is dedicated.

Linda and I in 1997

I met Linda in 1995 when I worked as overnight staff at a residential care center. The above photo is from 1997 when she and several other residents came to my bridal shower. I hadn’t worked there for quite some time, but Linda and many of her friends remained dear to my heart. Between the time I left Orchard Hill and this photo I’d done work with the younger generation of the care center residents’ peers, and on the whole, I learned firsthand why integration and advocacy are vital to the health and wellbeing of children and adults with special needs. What I learned more than anything, though, was that there would never be anyone on Earth as heartwarming and glorious as Linda Kay Lytle.

When Linda was born, it was common and in fact encouraged for parents to put their children with Downs syndrome into institutions and sever all ties with them. Linda’s mother, unable to have more children, refused. Grace was scolded by her doctor and warned everything that happened would be on her own head. Well, everything that happened was Linda grew up to be amazing.

You never met anyone as full of life and love and pure, unfiltered joy as Linda Kay. She knew so many crazy things, and had more opinions than the Supreme Court. She took deep pleasure in simple things like going for ice cream and made you happy to have those moments too. She was loyal to her friends and fierce to her enemies. She posed for photos like a boss.

Above all, though, she loved musicals, and she would break into song at any given moment. Usually you couldn’t understand what she was singing, and there was no key of any kind. Her favorite song, however, was “Bali Hai” from South Pacific.

I have to tell you, it was years before I knew the actual name of the song, and I think it was my husband who figured it out. Because she ran around Orchard Hill singing, very distinctly, “Valley High, I call you.” She would stick out her lips and say YOOOOUUUUU like something out of a cartoon, but we never dared laugh, because this was Linda’s heartfelt singing, and it was not to be mocked. She would put her hands over her heart, lean into your shoulder, and sing into your eyes as if she were on the Broadway stage. And I have to tell you, cartoon lips and all, I was always moved.

Linda went into residential living by request; she lived with Grace, but when she saw the other residents around town doing activities, she would burst into tears at not being allowed to join in. She went home often on weekends with her mother, and Grace was her fiercest advocate. There were many residents no one ever visited, but Linda’s mother made it clear if there was so much as a hair out of place on her daughter’s head, she’d be right there to ask you how that happened.

Grace’s most passionate wish was that Linda would pass away before she did, because she knew it would devastate her child to watch her pass away, and because there would be no one left to advocate for Linda. Linda’s mother did get her wish; I attended Linda’s funeral before we moved away from eastern Iowa, and Grace was able to pass on herself a few years later with an easy heart, at least on the matter of Linda.

I still think of Linda to this day, which is probably why she ended up in a book. Linda Kay Parks is one hundred percent Linda Kay Lytle. Many of the quips and quotes are hers, and the rest I could totally see her saying. And she would have absolutely loved being Kyle’s older sister.

I miss Linda, a great deal. I’m sad I didn’t go visit her more when I had the chance, and if she were here now I absolutely would do so. Whenever I think of her I’m filled with joy at the memory of our times together and sadness over the fact there will be no more new ones. But now she will live forever in a book.

I hope you love my fictional Linda as much as I love the Linda who inspired her. And Linda, wherever you are now, I hope you’re still singing “Valley High” at the top of your lungs and nowhere near on key.


WinterWonderland72lg

Finding Mr. Right can be a snow lot of fun.

Paul Jansen was the only one of his friends who wanted a relationship. Naturally, he’s the last single man standing. No gay man within a fifty-mile radius wants more than casual sex. No one, that is, except too-young, too-twinky Kyle Parks, who sends him suggestive texts and leaves X-rated snow sculptures on his front porch.

Kyle is tired of being the town’s resident Peter Pan. He’s twenty-five, not ten, and despite his effeminate appearance, he’s nothing but the boss in bed. He’s loved Paul since forever, and this Christmas, since they’re both working on the Winter Wonderland festival, he might finally get his chance for a holiday romance.

But Paul comes with baggage. His ultra-conservative family wants him paired up with a woman, not a man with Logan’s rainbow connection. When their anti-LGBT crusade spills beyond managing Paul’s love life and threatens the holiday festival, Kyle and Paul must fight for everyone’s happily ever after, including their own.

Warning: Contains erotic snow art, toppy twinks, and super-sweet holiday moments. Best savored with a mug of hot chocolate with a dash of spice.

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Virtual Signing Information: Expanded Edition

Heidi's full paperback library

This is an identical post to the first part of the newsletter sending out later today, but this one has more detailed information, particularly about shipping.


 

People ask me all the time how they get a signed copy of one of my books. Usually I have to say find me at a convention. This spring I had a virtual signing for Nowhere Ranch. This fall I’m having a virtual signing for Dance With Me, my latest release, and for all of my books.

How you participate in the virtual signing:

For Dance With Me and Nowhere Ranch:

Sign up at this link to receive an invoice. Nowhere Ranch is $14 and Dance With Me is $18. Shipping for just those two books is $5. (See shipping chart below for note about $20+ Patreons.) If you purchase books beyond these two, your shipping charges will be billed separately once we receive your other titles. (NOTE: The Dance With Me Patreon post has already been pinned.)

For books other than my self-published titles:

Purchase the books direct from the publisher(s) or a third party retailer of your choice. Record the titles you’ve purchased at this link and ship the books directly to this address:

 

Heidi Cullinan

RE: VIRTUAL SIGNING

POB 425

Ames, Iowa 50010

It’s vital you note the date you shipped your book(s) and from where they’re coming. Your book(s) will be in a sea of hundreds of others, and we want to be able to track your purchases.

For those of you purchasing books from overseas, I recommend going direct from a publisher, but you’re welcome to order from anywhere convenient for you. If you have trouble, email us.

Once we receive the titles you want signed, we’ll send you a PayPal invoice for your shipping. You can use the chart below to calculate an approximate rate. Pay your shipping invoice promptly in order to receive your signed books. Any books without shipping fees received by October 15 will be donated to local LGBT shelters & libraries.

You may start purchasing and shipping books at any time, but we will close the Google forms on October 1, meaning no more books will be accepted for the signing. The actual signing and shipping of the books will likely occur during the first two weeks of October.

If you place an order for self-published titles and titles produced by a publisher, you’ll need to fill out both Google forms. If before October 1 you decide you want more books signed, simply purchase/order them again. We won’t ship anything before October 1.

If you won a book in a Patreon contest, you will receive discounted shipping for that book. If you keep reading this stuff about Patreon and wonder what in the hell I’m talking about, or are feeling like you’re missing out, read this or join here.

Still have questions? Email assist@heidicullinan.com and fire away. Otherwise, start buying your books, and don’t forget to fill out those forms.

Need direct links for buying paperbacks? Find them on my book page. Need help figuring out how much shipping will cost you? Read on. 


 Virtual Signing Shipping Chart

Note: $20+ Patreons who had joined before the paperback post went up will automatically get Dance With Me and can add up to one additional book free shipping, discounted shipping for 3+ books.

These shipping fees are approximate. Media Mail and First Class include purchase of shipping materials. International shipping radically changes once you go over four pounds, because then you have to pay for Priority Mail. You’ll note some of the fees will be slightly higher than what you see on the stamp, particularly on media and first class mail. This is because I need to pay for packaging materials, and also because they discount me when I use click & ship, but they don’t always give me the clear discount when I’m trying to set things up. I am going to get a postage scale and give accurate shipping rates when I PayPal you for shipping.

 

US DOMESTIC SHIPPING

Media Mail

$5-10, depending on how many books shipped

Priority Mail

1-2 books       $5

3-4 books       $6

5-8 books       $12

9+ books        $18

 

CANADA

First Class Package

1 book                        $14USD

2 books           $18USD

3 books           $20USD

4 books           $23USD

5 books           $25USD

Priority Mail

6-8 books       $43USD

8+ books        $57USD

 

EUROPE & AUSTRALIA

First Class Package

1 book                        $18USD

2 books           $25USD

3 books           $28USD

4 books           $32USD

5 books           $38USD

Priority Mail

6-8 books       $63USD

8+ books        $80USD

Come Get In the Tesla: More About Heidi’s Patreon effort.

Red Winking Woman (Politely Naughty)

Last night I wrote this post which was basically me all caught up in fifty different things at once, and one of the side effects of writing it was that I also started a Patreon. You may or may not have heard of it, but the gist is you pick artists to support, you say, “I will pledge X per piece of art,” and then when they produce art it automatically goes to you. You can cap it so you don’t go broke. You can edit your pledge, you can cancel it. The creators have different levels, like $1 gets you X, $5 gets you Y, etc.

I had huge trepidation about starting this, and I’m still walking carefully, but I’m willing to give it a try. This is my Patreon page. It contains a rambling post about why I started it and what to expect and my suggestions for how to pledge if you intend to, and I’ll elaborate a little more here, then post this post on the site, so everything will get meta very fast.

Why I started it.

There are a lot of reasons, and the biggest one I can’t disclose the reason why. It’s a great story, and you’d love it if you knew it, but it would change the story a lot if you did, and wouldn’t be good for my family or anyone immediately involved, so the one thing you get to know, alas, is that when you hear me talking about my children it’s plural now, two instead of one, so I say “my daughters” and “my teenagers.” I love this new journey, but it’s thrown everything into chaos, especially money and creating story. There is also the health nonsense, which I thought maybe I had an answer to, and then this week it fell back into mess, and I am honestly trying not to think about it and playing “let’s ignore it and hope it goes away,” which will be a disaster, but I’m out of ideas and energy and this is as much as I can talk about it without getting all whack again, so we’re done.

But that leads into the biggest reason I was willing to try this, because regular, faster money sounds badass, but frankly I’m more psyched about the inner circle, rejuvenation thing. Because what I honestly really want from this trial is to be motivated to do a few smaller projects and get feedback from patrons and have some fun and try new things. Asking for money feels disgusting and I don’t want any part of it, but saying, “Hey, come on this weird trip with me and let’s see what happens” sounds like the fucking bomb.

I tried to structure the support levels to be a constant preorder and guaranteed best possible way to get all my stuff the fastest and in the coolest way possible. You can pledge as little as a dollar a story, cap it at a dollar a month, and still get all the short stuff I put out that month. Don’t feel sleazy about it either, because if enough people do it, it won’t matter. Don’t feel sleazy about switching your pledge level around when you know a novel is coming, or a novella. Don’t feel sleazy about pledging $20 and capping it at $20, or $5 and capping it at $5.  Or any level. Because that you would do that at all is cool, and I get it. Boy howdy, do I get it.

On my website I made a little  button for this, and I called it Tesla-Level Fans because I want this to feel like punching a ticket for a crazy bonus ride. If you really only want to buy novels and novellas from third party vendors, just pledge a dollar and get popcorn. And if you’re leery of Patreon or this feels weird, skip it. Yes, you’ll miss out on a little bit, but if you don’t care about that stuff, you’re not out anything. And honestly if this works the way I want, making story for the Tesla People will end up making story I can sell on the third party sites, so there you go.

The one thing this might be really good for, though, is if you’re someone who LOVES a signed paperback. Because I made the $20 level just that: you get every story, every kind, AND you get a paperback mailed to you, wherever you are. Which can only happen a handful of times a year, and it’s only for stuff I publish independently, but there will be more of that coming. And here’s the thing, you’ll know when that’s coming, and you can swap up when we get close.

If you want to just come hang out and see what I do, that’s totally okay. Seriously, zero pressure. This is just a wild hair. A trial. A ride. I just jacked Baz’s Tesla, and we’re going to see what we can do. All I know is today I feel better and less like I’m trying to swallow a watermelon while juggling expensive china and more like I really am sitting behind the fucking coolest car ever made.

If you feel like getting in the back seat, or the front, or standing out the moon roof, let’s do it. And hat tip: I’m currently sitting on the ebooks of Dance With Me‘s re-release, which I will be uploading this weekend to vendors (and then we have to wait for them to do whatever they do before they’re live), but will give to $5 and up patrons later today. And I think those will be sitting there in case you read this after I post them to Patreon. If not, we’ll take care of it. We’re all in this car together.

Buckle up.

Lonely Hearts Release Day & Party Information

Lonely Hearts is out today!

Lonely Hearts Cover Image

 

Book Three in the Love Lessons Series

Even hot messes need a happily ever after.

With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.

Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.

Warning: Contains sex in a Tesla, sex in a cupboard, sex under a piano, kinky role play, and a cappella RuPaul songs. Just a couple of boys groping, battling, then finally loving their way to becoming men.

RT BOOK REVIEWS TOP PICK!

Buy links: Samhain • All Romance Ebooks • Amazon US • Amazon UK • Google Play • iTunes • Kobo • Nook

Audiobook coming soon

Goodreads • Excerpt • Lonely Hearts Spotify Playlist


LH FB PARTY

Facebook Party, Today from 3-10PM CST

Come join us for a huge, prize-filled afternoon and evening full of fun, prizes, and more. Seventeen authors, some fabulous bloggers, and YOU. Come as you are, come when you can: all prize links will be open until 8AM August 12!

GUEST AUTHORS
Annabeth Albert • Keira Andrews • Jordan L. Hawk • Damon Suede • Laura Kaye • Kate McMurray • Marie Sexton • RG Alexander • Tere Michaels • Rayna Vause • Eden Bradley-Eve Berlin • Amy Lane • Amy Jo Cousins • Karen Stivali • Sarina White Bowen • A.m. Arthur

GUEST BLOGGERS
Joyfully Jay Reviews • Kris & Vik Book Therapy Cafe • Bike Book Reviews • Love Bytes Reviews • Enchantress Design & Promo • My Fiction Nook • Prism Book Alliance • Diverse Reader

And don’t forget the Lonely Hearts Blog Tour is still going strong, with lots of chances to win a copy of the book, and of course this grand prize Rafflecopter package!

LH GRAND PRIZE PIC_edited-1


Love Lessons is 99¢ for a limited time!

LoveLessons99c

Across all platforms, you can get the first book in the Love Lessons series or share it with a friend for only 99¢. Hurry, because this sale won’t last long!

Lonely Hearts Pre-Reading List, Badges, Tour, Party, and Grand Prize Giveaway

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It’s only eleven days until Lonely Hearts releases, and a lot is happening to celebrate!

Tour

The Lonely Hearts blog tour starts soon, and you’ll want to make sure you stop by each blog for inside information, contests, reviews, and more! Keep track of everything happening and watch for new blogs at this link.

Meme Badges

Do you like posting quote meme images and badges on your social media accounts? Want something to make your online review fancy? Check out the quotes, character images, and more at this link.

Facebook Party

Come join the Facebook party! It officially starts August 11 at 3pm CST, but you’ll notice there have been a lot of advance prizes already…and there’ll be more. A boatload of authors and all kinds of great prizes await! Join the event today.

Rafflecopter Grand Prize Pack

There’s a great Rafflecopter starting tomorrow, loaded with prizes!

Lonely Hearts Rafflecopter Prize Pack

A paper back of Lonely Hearts, a BluRay of Howl’s Moving Castle, a set of Black Butler playing cards, and a darling figure of Howl and Sophie which you might not know much about now, but you certainly will once you read the book. Enter today, and every day!

Not sure why some of those items are in the prize pack? Read on.


Pre-Reading Activities

Sissy That Walk Gif

Can’t wait for release day? Want to be completely in the know when you read the book? Nestle in and enjoy an advance course in pop-culture references you’ll find in the book. You don’t have to know about these things to enjoy Lonely Hearts, but if you love inside information, you’ve just hit the motherlode.

Spotify Playlist

Want to hear songs referenced in the story or set the mood using the music I used to write the novel? Plug in your headphones and listen away. 

Music Videos

 Don’t do Spotify? Love a good visual? Here are some YouTube videos and samples of some of the biggest songs from the book. Especially RuPaul!

Howl’s Moving Castle

Haven’t seen this movie? Get on that! It’s a great film, and it’s Baz and Elijah’s favorite too.

Spirited Away

Less referenced, but still awesome and well worth your time. In a lot of ways, this is the darker and more subliminal background for Baz and Elijah.

Black Butler

You can watch ALL the anime online, and on several other streaming services—and if you do watch even a little, a certain sexy role-play is going to get a WHOLE lot hotter.


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Lonely Hearts Cover Image

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Audiobook coming soon (performed by Iggy Toma)

Nowhere Ranch 99¢ eBook Sale, Nowhere Ranch Audio, Lonely Hearts Party & Tour, Short Health Update, RITAs on YouTube

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This is going to be a real hodgepodge of a post, so let’s get right to it. First, bizness.


 

Nowhere Ranch is available in audiobook.

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Narrated by our favorite, Iggy Toma, for sale/download at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

Are you a blogger? Check out this newsletter to get a review copy.

Are you a regular Joe, Jane, or Jae and want to win a copy? Then head on over to this Rafflecopter contest.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.


 

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Nowhere Ranch is on sale on Amazon for 99¢ for a limited time.

To celebrate the audiobook’s release, I’m putting Nowhere Ranch on sale for $0.99. All Amazon platforms, all countries. (It will be a different price depending on your currency, but it will be on sale!) Been putting off buying the new edition because you had the old one? Wanted to buy it for a friend? Just haven’t picked it up yet? Now’s your chance.

Tell your friends and neighbors! In fact, that’s part of the contest above.

Here’s the book blurb and a link to the excerpt.


We’re having a party!

On August 11, I’m having a Lonely Hearts release day party on Facebook. Lots of prizes, lots of guest authors. We’ve already started having a few contests. Come on over and join the fun!

Hate Facebook? There will be a blog tour with plenty of prizes too. Watch this space for more information!


Heidi’s health stuff

This is a quickie because everything is still up in the air. The short version is I went to Mayo, it was amazing, and now we’re in the “try this” phase. I go back in early August for an allergist appointment, a pain clinic appointment, and a follow up with my internal medicine doctor.

She thinks this is all an allergy or a virus. She has me back on gluten so they can check celiac, and while at first eating all the wheat I’ve missed was great, it consistently makes my throat sore, and my body ache, and me miserable. They’ve sent me vitamin D pills, and all sorts of other things, some of them too awkward to mention in a blog post. The bottom line is I have no news except that we’re trying stuff, which is good enough for me.


 

I’ll be signing books, and the RITAs ceremony will be on YouTube

I’ll be in New York July 21-26, for the Romance Writers of America convention. You can come see me Wednesday night, July 22, from 5:30-7:30 in the Westside Ballroom of the New York Marriott Marquis. I’ll have Carry the Ocean and Fever Pitch for sale. You can’t bring in outside books, but if you catch me in the hallway after with something special, I’ll sign it then. Maybe come tell me, though, so I know to wait for you!

The RITAs ceremony, where I’m up for an award with three other gay romance authors and the best and brightest of the romance world, will be on Saturday night, tickets only. BUT! You can watch from the comfort of your home or smartphone! Go to this YouTube channel at 8PM EST. My award will come much later, probably very close to 10PM EST.


This is the end of my news! Have a great day, and good luck with the contest!

 

 

 

Dance With Me Second Edition On Its Way, New Cover by @NathalieGray

Dance With Me second edition cover

Dance With Me is, according to Goodreads and my sales receipts, one of my most popular books. It got started as a story germ after I went to the gym for my physical therapy and couldn’t hear myself think over an aerobics class. I wrote it as I wrangled my own health and sobbed my way through writing the fictional Ed Maurer’s pain goals. Through this book, I’ve met a lot of readers who say it means a lot to them because they struggle with chronic pain too. Several of them have become close friends, one of them so close I’m adding her to the dedication page in the second edition.

The first edition of Dance With Me is still for sale for another month, and then it will go away for a brief period before returning, probably in September. Initially I’d wanted to do an immediate turnaround, but ironically enough the same health issues plaguing me when I first drafted it are bearing down on me now once more, with increasing intensity. I can’t get the edits and processing done in time for a late July turnaround. But rest assured the second edition is well underway.

As I did with Nowhere RanchDance With Me‘s second edition will be self-published. I want to do another direct-sale autographed print copy sale, but it might have to be dependent on my health. There will be audio, and it will be done by Iggy Toma.

People always ask me if there will be new content, or if they should buy the new version. As always, this is entirely up to you. If you’re into writing craft, buying the new one and viewing the versions side-by-side might be interesting, as I’m largely tightening prose and reducing overwriting. This means the story is the same, and if you loved the first one, you’ll love the second one and either notice no difference or only feel vaguely like it’s smoother and better written.

will, though, be tacking on a little coda at the end of the story. I haven’t yet decided if I want to do a scene from the wedding, write a short, or something else entirely. (Laurie and Ed’s first Christmas?) I’ll tell you right now, though, whatever I add I will post for free on my website. I’ll hide it a bit so people don’t accidentally spoil themselves, but I’ll share it with you, especially on my newsletter. That’s where you can go also to make sure you don’t miss the book’s release and any other pertinent information.

None of that is ready right now, alas. What is, however, is the new cover. It’s by Kanaxa, and of course, it’s utterly gorgeous.

Dance With Me second edition cover

Please do click on that and make it hella high-res. Please do also go to her website and hire her to do a cover of your own. And as for that aforementioned editing? You want Sasha Knight. I gush about her all the time, but let’s break it down. I’m going to pay two grand to re-edit a book you already love just the way it is because I want so much to work on this with Sasha and make it even better, even stronger, its dance even more elegant and wonderful. If that doesn’t convince you she’s the best editor ever, I don’t know what else I can tell you.

But if you’re a reader who has no need to hire anyone, feel free to gush about this beautiful cover in the comments, because Kanaxa will see them!🙂

Updates, Book Rec, Giveaway, & a Lonely Hearts Excerpt Because Apparently You’re All Searching This Blog For It

I came here to post a quick update and book rec because I get tired of seeing the last post is a recipe, and I really worried all these new followers are thinking I’m going to talk about food all the time. Truth: I don’t talk about any one thing all the time. Everything seems to cycle around eventually, but food is a side dish, not an entree.

Except when I went to the dashboard, it says everyone is coming to this blog to find a Lonely Hearts teaser? Which, okay. Sure. It’s actually at my website, but I’ll give you another little bit at the end of this post. So if you don’t want that, quit right after the book rec.

UPDATES

Well, my update sucks more than a bit. My health was on this gradual slump, despite my efforts to improve my diet (which honestly wasn’t horrible, but any port in a storm) and add exercise, and then this last week it frankly went utterly to shit. I’m in a very foul mood about it, and the fact that this week pretty much everyone and everything everywhere said, “Hey, could you–?” frankly I’m turning off the internet a lot. And not answering the phone. I’ve decided when you’re sick, you get to tell people to fuck off it you want, no explanation needed.

We are, though, exploring Green Chef. It’s a bit pricey, and I’m on the fence, but the food is good and Dan really enjoys how he can make this fancy dinner with all the stuff bought and prepped. We’ll probably do it at least twice a month for a bit.

I’m trying to finish Clockwork Heart, which is very much due and should have been easy to fix, but see the last paragraph. To motivate myself I’m having this weekly contest on my FB Fan Page, which you can play in again starting on either Sunday or Monday, whenever I get the week three post up.

I’m getting asked, like DAILY, if any other books are going to be in audio. For sure Nowhere Ranch is because I have it in production. It’s also going to be in French and Italian later this year. Dance With Me will get the same treatment once I have the rights back. And yes, that will be self-published too, coming out probably the same time as Lonely Hearts in August. Maybe a bit sooner. It all depends. As usual, watch this space and my newsletter for details. I’ll very likely have a pre-sale on Gumroad again and offer the paperbacks. It will be significantly cheaper on Gumroad for a few weeks, but once it goes up on third party, it’ll probably be $5.50, because it’s such a huge pain to change prices there, and last time I wasted a week fighting with Amazon. So, done with that nonsense.

Anyway, all my Samhain books are in the catalog to be produced in audio, and I’m told that should probably be happening? Everything there is licensed through Insatiable Press, so if you want to talk to the people in charge, that’s who. I’ve started forwarding and tagging everyone in charge when I get your emails/tweets/DMs, but feel free to go to the horses’ mouths, either Samhain or Insatiable. All I can do is tell my agent and the people at Samhain how much you’re all asking for more audio. And yes, I tell them you want Iggy only. I do too. I don’t get to pick that for the Samhain stuff, but for the self-pub, he’s for sure.

Another big question is “Are you going to write Paul’s story in the Christmas books?” Yes. I did, and it’s at the line editor. I’ve seen the cover, and it’s great. As soon as it’s approved, I’ll post it. The book will be out this Christmas, with preorders up probably sometime in June.

I think that’s about it. Oh, and I’m not going to be at RT. I thought I’d been pretty public about staying home this year except for RWA, but there seems to be a lot of surprise still. Nope, no RT, no GRL, no nothing except for RWA. Well, okay, and a one day thing August 15 in Chicago, but that’s honestly it.

Right, one last thing. I will probably do another virtual signing for Dance With Me paperbacks like I did with Nowhere Ranch. I can maybe work out something for other books, but I don’t resell books through other publishers because it’s a HUUUUGE pain in my ass. So what I might do is have a period of time where you can mail them to my post office box with a SASE or we’ll do the paypal thing for international, unless you can suss out an SASE. But that’s not for sure and definitely not yet.

BOOK REC

23420158I picked this book up the other day, and it’s utterly charming. Sweet, sexy, and makes you feel all gushy inside. It’s just a baby bit like my A Private Gentleman in the pairing (higher/lower class)but with 80% less angst. Which is lovely. If you like that swoopy sweet feeling, with a little bit of tension and some oh no but not much, this is what you want. Hard to find in historical, because usually the whole threat of death and all is a real downer. Not here. This is a delight, and you should read it. Also, set in Paris. PARIS. Come on. Buy it already.

Actually, here. I’ll buy it for you from Samhain. A flash giveaway. Log in via WordPress and say something in the comments like “I want in!” and Sunday evening I’ll pick a random winner. Open worldwide, void where prohibited, no purchase necessary, must be 18 or have parental permission, sponsored by me and not Bonnie Dee or Summer Devon and not Samhain. Contest will close by 4PM CST Sunday May 10. My privacy policy is here. It may take me until later Sunday or until Monday morning to pick a winner. If you don’t want to log in to WordPress (which gives me your email), then you need to leave an email address in the comment. If you don’t leave me some way to contact you, you will not be able to win. And if you win and don’t respond to my email in 24 hours, I’ll pick somebody else. Or I’ll just give up, and that’s sad because then nobody gets a free book.

LONELY HEARTS EXCERPT

So, there’s already one of these. It’s here.  But I’ll give you another one. Unless you can’t stand being teased. If you don’t like that, you need to stop reading right now. If you go past the cover image and the jump, it’s too late, and you have only yourself to blame.

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Read More

Carry the Ocean, Available Now

It’s release day! The book is out, the book is out!

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The Roosevelt, Book 1

Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.

As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.

Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.


 

Retailers: Samhain (ebook & paperback), All Romance Ebooks, Amazon US (ebookpaperback), Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble (Nook & paperback), Google PlayiTunesKobo

Add on Goodreads • Read Reviews • Excerpt

Carry the Ocean on Heidi’s Website

Carry the Ocean Spotify Playlist

Join Heidi’s Reader Newsletter

Join Heidi’s Blogger Newsletter


Want to learn more about the book and have a chance at a great grand prize? Follow the book tour. Want to read more about this and other news, and enter another contest? Read the latest newsletter, which if you aren’t subscribed but just missed this morning. Check out my Twitter or Facebook to hunt down a link and subscribe so you don’t miss the next one.

Do check out the Spotify playlist referenced above, because the soundtrack for this book is one of my favorites. I still pull it out long after the book has been finished.

I hope you like the book, if you choose to purchase it. It’s definitely one of my favorites that I’ve written. If you enjoy it and want to let me know, you can tell me on my Facebook wall, tweet at me, email me, leave a comment here, or set up some semaphore just outside of Ames.

That’s about all I have to say, I think. Emmet and Jeremey, over to you.