Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Tall, Dark and Deported

For those of you who don't know, Dreamspinner Press is introducing a new line of fluffy, fabulously trope-y romances called Dreamspun Desires. You know how I feel about sappy fluff, so I'm obviously over the moon about the idea.

I'm working on something for it now, and I'm ridiculously excited about possibly being part of the new line. You've met Crawford and Mateus in earlier posts, and now they're fake-married to keep Mateus in the country. Immigration doesn't just rubber stamp these marriages, though, and they are headed to Mateus's brother's house for the first home visit with the immigration agent. It's also Crawford's first introduction to Mateus's family. So no pressure. *g*

Tall, Dark and Deported

“My sister-in-law is going to eat you alive,” Mateus warned. “And my brother might progressive on his view of sexuality, but he's as Catholic as can be when it comes to marriage being a sacrament. He'd never forgive me for marrying you just for a Greencard. We're going to have to lie to them.”
Crawford found himself grinning at the prospect of continuing their sham of a marriage, which was bizarre. He just couldn’t help but feel at ease around Mateus, though, and the thought of meeting his family and seeing the orchard Mateus had talked so glowingly about was undeniably appealing. Even if it did mean forcing Mateus to be dishonest with them.
“I—does that bother you? We're too far in to go back, but we could come clean to the immigration agent and hire a lawyer for us. We could fight the deportation.”
Mateus laughed. “Crawford. Really? There's no chance of that working. That's the whole point of the home visit. If they found out our marriage was fake, I'd be arrested on the spot. So would you.”
“Well, we could keep it up for the visit, and then you could tell your brother we fought and are taking some time apart. Have a long separation and then divorce after he's able to hire you, and if immigration had a problem you could get a work visa then.”
Mateus pursed his lips. “There is absolutely zero chance of my family buying that story. They know me too well. You're exactly my type. I wouldn't let someone like you just walk away, especially not if I'd loved you enough to marry you.”
Crawford's throat tightened. “You'd fight for me?”

 Mateus seemed to realize what he'd said a second later. His face crumpled with concern, and he reached out and wrapped an arm around Crawford's shoulders. “Without question. You're an amazing man, Crawford. And Davis was an asshole for leaving you. I'm sorry.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday: cooking with King of the Kitchen

Photo credit: Brandon Witt
I'm back from GRL 2015 and the usual post-con slump has hit. It's hard coming back to reality after spending a week with so many amazing people. I loved catching up with old friends and making a bunch of new ones, too. There's really nothing like getting to be among your tribe, and that's exactly what GRL is for me. A week where no one looks at me askance when I say I write gay romance, and no one asks me when I'm going to write "real" books. (I usually tell them that my imaginary ones keep me more than busy enough on their own.*g*)

My reading from King of the Kitchen went really well. The audience was amazing and laughed in all the right places, which made me a lot more confident. And the King of the Kitchen T-shirts I made to give away were a big hit, too.

I'm sharing an excerpt from King of the Kitchen with you today because it's finally up for preorder everywhere. Yay! The book will be out on Nov. 6, and I'll be guest blogging during release week. You can find me on Joyfully Jay Nov. 3, GayList Book Reviews on Nov. 5, the Dreamspinner Press Facebook page on Nov. 7 (stay tuned for my chat time), Prism Book Alliance on Nov. 9, and the Novel Approach on Nov. 10.

King of the Kitchen, Dreamspinner Press, release date Nov. 6

Preorder links: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ARe, Kobo, Google Play

The kitchen was as hot as a sauna, and the bandanna Duncan had tied around his head had lost its ability to keep his forehead dry hours ago. His feet ached, his hands were chapped, and despite being surrounded by food, he hadn’t eaten since breakfast. It was long past the dinner hour, but the flurry of frenetic activity hadn’t slowed much at all. People were underfoot everywhere in the small space, bustling around with hot pans and large pots, and no matter which way he turned, Duncan ran the risk of toppling a precariously placed container.
It was perfect.
“Order in! Rancher’s omelet, no onions, no peppers, no potatoes, no meat.”
Duncan rolled his eyes, yanking the ticket out of John’s hand. “So basically they want a cheese omelet? You don’t think you could make it easier on us in here and just write down what they actually ordered?”
John grinned. “She ordered the rancher’s omelet, dude.”
“Without three quarters of what makes it the rancher’s omelet? Did you tell her she could order a cheese omelet and save $3.75?”
“I did, but she’s not the one paying, and she wanted to stick it to him.”
That startled a laugh out of Duncan. John motioned over his shoulder, toward a table, and Duncan leaned through the pass-through, trying to see the couple without being too obvious. He knocked over a battered pot in the process, making most of the diner’s customers look up. So much for subtle.
“Them,” John said, pointing toward a small table in front of the plate-glass windows near the entrance to the diner. The woman was tall and slender, with dark wavy hair cascading down her back. Her clothing and the purse hanging off the back of her chair screamed money, as did the suit on the man she was with. They weren’t the diner’s typical patrons by a long shot, but Duncan did have to concede she looked like the type of person who’d be a special order. When business was slow, he and some of the other kitchen staff passed the time by betting on whether the customers who walked in the door would be complicated. He was almost always right.
“What about him?” Duncan asked, jutting his chin toward the man she was with. He could only see him from behind, but from his immaculately cut hair and his ramrod straight posture—difficult in the rickety diner chairs, Duncan knew from personal experience—he looked like a special order as well.
Duncan looked down at the ticket, frowning as he tried to decipher John’s chicken scratch. No matter how many times the kitchen complained, John’s handwriting never improved. Duncan had worked at the restaurant on and off for more than ten years, and the only constant had been John and his atrocious handwriting. It was kind of comforting, in an extremely exasperating way.
“Seriously? Two eggs over easy, bacon, and whole wheat toast?”
Duncan looked from the ticket to the man, surprised. He peered at him, studying his shoulders and finding himself wishing he could see the mystery man’s face. Duncan’s culinary profiling rarely went astray. Intriguing.
“They’re cousins. It was his week to pick where they had dinner. I’m getting the feeling she’s less than pleased,” John said.
“Which is why she special-ordered something guaranteed to piss him off?”
“That’s just it, though. He didn’t get angry. He laughed and told her if she really wanted to pull one over on him, she should have ordered the eggs Benedict, since that’s the highest profit margin dish on the menu.”
Duncan furrowed his brow. It was true the eggs Benedict was the most expensive breakfast item on the menu, aside from the steak and eggs, but the dish was hardly ridiculously priced. None of the regulars ordered it, but that was more because they had traditional meat-and-potatoes palates.
Francie, the other waitstaff on duty at the moment, broke Duncan’s view of the man as she walked up to grab an order off the warmer, and Duncan shot John a mischievous grin before ducking back through the pass-through into the kitchen.
“Duncan,” John said, his voice holding a note of warning.
“Order in!” Duncan yelled, ignoring him completely.
Ten minutes later, Duncan got his wish when a plate clanked noisily on the pass-through. He looked up absently, about to scold John or Francie for being so harsh with the dishes, when he realized it wasn’t either of them. It was the man in the suit, and even scrunched up in irritation, his face was beautiful. He had a strong, straight nose and full lips—currently thinned in annoyance—and eyes the most interesting shade of blue Duncan had ever seen. He absolutely looked like someone who would special order, and Duncan found himself wishing even harder that he could puzzle him out.
“We didn’t order this.”
Duncan looked at the plate of eggs Benedict and smiled his dopiest grin, the one that never failed to get him free refills and phone numbers whenever he applied it. He’d sent the guy a free meal along with the breakfasts he and the woman had ordered—could he seriously be pissed about that?
“On the house. I heard you had a particular interest in them.”
The man blinked in confusion but seemed to recover quickly, anger clouding his features.
“If you wanted to impress me, you’d have to do a hell of a lot better than a plate of fatty ham and congealing hollandaise. We don’t serve eggs Benedict in our restaurants, Charlie,” he said, eyeing the name on Duncan’s chef’s whites with disdain and drawing it out like an insult, “and even if we did, I don’t appreciate having you encroach on my personal time with your pathetic attempt at a job interview.”
Duncan’s mouth hung open, and he wavered between outraged and completely confused. What was this guy talking about?
“Listen, buddy. I was only being friendly,” Duncan snapped, choosing to go with outraged. He left the plate in the pass-through, pointedly ignoring it—and the man—as he pulled a new ticket off the carousel. “Order in! One deluxe hamburger, one order of chicken tenders, one spinach frittata!”
He turned toward the kitchen to get started on the eggs but was pulled up short by a hand on his shoulder.
“You can’t talk to me like that, buddy.”
Duncan scowled. “Of course, sir. The customer is always right. Yes, the eggs Benedict was part of a convoluted plan of mine to apply for a job cooking for your, what?” He made a point of studying the gorgeous guy’s suit. “Office building? Hotel, maybe? I admit, it’s always been my life’s ambition to run a carving station at a Marriott buffet. How could you tell?”
The man gaped at him and would have responded, but the woman he was with—his cousin, John had said?—walked up behind him and unceremoniously placed her hand over his mouth.
“I apologize for Beck’s behavior. Charlie, is it?” Duncan nodded, figuring it was easier than correcting her. He was too busy watching as the man fumed silently behind her hand. “He’s a bit on edge at the moment, and he misread your intention in sending the plate. He’s used to having dishes we didn’t order sent over to our table when we go out, and it’s almost always a gesture followed by the chef coming out to ask a favor or chat him up.”
She leveled a look at Beck, her sculpted eyebrow arched in challenge as she removed her hand. He huffed ungraciously but didn’t resume yelling at Duncan, so Duncan was going to go ahead and call it a win.
“I apologize,” Beck bit out, the words sounding forced. “Please add the eggs Benedict to our check in recompense for the misunderstanding.”
Duncan was struck by a familiar pang of guilt. He could never hold a grudge against anyone. It was well known among his friends—and often taken advantage of. But he had sent the eggs over as a prank, and now he felt bad because he’d obviously ruined their meal. As he looked closer, he could see the designer suit was wrinkled, as if the poor guy had been wearing it all day, and dark circles smudged the skin under his brilliant blue eyes.
“No need,” Duncan said, lifting the untouched plate down from the pass-through and setting it aside. He and John were both off shift in twenty minutes; the dish wouldn’t go uneaten. He looked over at their table, noting that neither of them had touched their food. “I’d be happy to remake your meals. I’m sure they’ve gone cold by now.”
The man stared at him with an unreadable expression, but the woman chimed in.
“We’ve had a long day, and I don’t think we were that hungry anyway,” she said, smiling slightly. She slipped a business card on the pass-through. “I’m Lindsay. I realize you’re not looking for a job right now, but if you ever are, give me a call.”
Beck looked a bit sour at her parting words, but he followed her silently back to their table, pulled his wallet out, and dropped some cash on the table. Duncan watched them leave, Beck’s posture stiff and menacing until Lindsay wound an arm through his and leaned into him. He seemed to melt against her, his shoulders relaxing and his gait less abrupt as they walked down the sidewalk and out of sight.
Duncan looked down at the card on the pass-through, his eyes widening when he read it. Lindsay King, Assistant Producer, King of the Kitchen.
“Holy shit,” he muttered, staring at the empty sidewalk. The Kings were legends in the restaurant and culinary television worlds. Lindsay’s father, Christian, hosted what was widely considered the most popular cooking show on the air, and he had a huge stable of high-class restaurants as well. Duncan had been forced to listen to rants about the evil King empire practically every time he talked to his father.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On the way to GRL!

I know it's Wednesday, but I'm currently about to board a flight to sunny San Diego for GRL2015, so I don't have anything for you today. I promise to take lots of photos, which will probably be next week's #WIPWednesday, unless I get inspired on the plane and actually work on something. *g*

In the absence of words, please accept photos of hot guys reading from

Photo credit: Trablmaker

Photo credit: brutalmore

See you next week!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Up in the air with The Boyfriend

Photo credit: Peter Lee
A while back I introduced a snippet of The Boyfriend (which is a working title, terrible yet descriptive enough for me to keep it straight in my head with my other WIPs), and since it's what I've been working on in between edits for Some Assembly Required and Talk Turkey (and galleys for King of the Kitchen), I figured I'd post more from it this week.

In the first snippet I shared, we meet Crawford, a successful executive with an international hotel chain who married (and later divorced) a colleague who he now has to work closely with on a trip overseas. Today you get to meet Mateus, a Portuguese national in the States on a temporary visa.

This is their first meeting as they board a plane for Vancouver.

The man gave Mateus an expectant look, and it took a beat for Mateus to realize he was waiting for Mateus to slide out so he could take the window seat. Right.
Mateus obliged, trying hard not to notice how nice the man smelled as he slipped past him. It wasn't cologne, but something spicy and alluring all the same. Probably just the combination of the man's bodywash and own scent. It was intoxicating.
“So that's what your beef with the counter agent was, eh?” Mateus said casually as they got themselves buckled in.
The man looked up, his brow furrowed. “Excuse me?”
Mateus had the good grace to flush, but it didn't stop his mouth from running. “I saw you arguing at the counter in the terminal. You really wanted that window seat, I guess.”
The man bristled, his jawline going even sharper as he gritted his teeth. “Yes.”
Mateus let the silence hang between them for a few uncomfortable seconds, and the man caved just as Mateus had hoped he would.
“I don't normally make a habit of yelling at customer service agents,” he said, his tone a bit sheepish. Some of the rigor went out of his posture as he relaxed against the seat. “I've had a very bad few days, and I let my temper get the best of me. I apologized to her.”
Mateus was beyond amused. The man had been gorgeous and intimidating earlier, but now he was just adorable. “Well, it all worked out in the end.” He gave the man his most inviting smirk, pleased when he saw the faint beginnings of a blush stain his cheeks. Score yet another point for Mateus's gaydar. “I'm Mateus.”
“Crawford,” his seat mate replied.
“Well, Crawford-who-really-likes-windows, I'll let you get to it,” he said, nodding toward the attache at Crawford's feet.
Crawford seemed taken aback by Mateus's abrupt dismissal, which had Mateus grinning to himself as he took out something to read. He'd planned to spend the flight reading a bunch of trashy fiction, since he'd been immersed in nothing but research and journal articles for the last few months, but he didn't think he'd be able to concentrate enough to keep up with the plot, no matter how predictable it was.

 Just like he'd expected, Crawford had dug into his attache and pulled out a slim laptop. He was typing away, intent on the screen. The laser focus only made him more attractive. What would all that intensity feel like if it was centered on him, Mateus wondered. He'd assessed Crawford as uptight and repressed earlier, but after talking to him and seeing the adorable way he could make him blush, Mateus had changed his mind. Crawford was probably attentive and passionate in bed. Mateus's pulse jumped as he let his mind wander, picturing Crawford out of the delectable suit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lex Chase's Bayou Fairy Tale

Hello everyone! I'm Lex Chase and I want to thank Bru for having me here today on the Bayou Fairy Tale Blog Tour! Bayou is the sequel to Americana Fairy Tale and tells the tale of fuck-up fairy tale princess dude Taylor Hatfield and his true love a jackass redneck huntsman by the name of Corentin Devereaux. Together, they get into some pretty quirky shenanigans. From accidentally blowing up microwaves during sex, to accidentally driving off cliffs. These guys are real winners. Lemme tell ya. Bru and I are quirky folks, and we both wrote a book together about two ghosts that have a meet-cute in IKEA purgatory. It's called Some Assembly Required and Dreamspinner gave us money for it and it's coming out in February 2016. And we shouldn't be left without adult supervision. Locations are a big part of the Fairy Tales series, so I decided to share some of the local flavors of things to wet your appetite, try to recreate, and gain 20 pounds just by browsing.

The Whoopie Pie

Our story begins in Maine, and the iconic sweet of Maine is none other than the whoopie pie. A spongy chocolate cake with a sweet vanilla frosting in the middle. It's like a cupcake. But better. And they come in all sorts of wild flavors. Might I recommend the maple bacon flavor? Yes. That's a thing. And you can find it here!

Cafe au Lait

Aaaaaah. Let us chat about the New Orleans drink of choice the cafe au lait. It is a beautiful meld of half chicory coffee and half milk. And it is everything. I drink them like they're going out of style. If you've never had chicory coffee before, it's definitely different and has a hell of a strong flavor profile. Definitely doesn't taste burnt like that Starbucks garbage. Want to learn how to make the perfect cafe au lait? You can check it out here!


"Cafe au Lait and Beignets New Orleans" by Ed Johnson
Let's talk about these little wonders of the pastry world shall we? Beignets are these pillow-y soft morsels, coated in piles of confectioner's sugar. You can never have too much confectioner's sugar. Ever. Nothing screams New Orleans more than piping hot beignets straight from the fryer. Donuts will keep for a few days. Beignets do not. You need to eat them. Eat them now. Or you will regret it for the rest of your life. You can make beignets on your own. But I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a little magical kitchen fairy to help you out. The only and best place to get them is CafĂ© du Monde. So book your vacation now! You are sooooo welcome! So you tell me! What’s the first dish you cooked on your own? Could have been whenever. Childhood. College. For your first date. Or last date. How did it go? How did it turn out. Don’t forget to comment below and enter the giveaway!

Genre: Urban Fantasy Fairy Tale
  Series: The Screw-Up Princess and Skillful Huntsman Trilogy: Book Two (A Fairy Tales of the Open Road Novel)
  Length: Novel
  Published: October 19, 2015
  Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
  ISBN: 978-1-62798-499-7
  Buy: Paperback or eBook
  Blurb: Modern day fairy tale princess Taylor Hatfield has problems. One: he'’s a guy. Two: he’'s Sleeping Beauty, the most useless princess in existence. Throw in his true love, Corentin Devereaux, a huntsman descended from child-eating witches, and Taylor’s younger brother, Atticus—, this generation’'s Snow White— who tried to kill him. That didn'’t go so hot. For two years, Taylor and Corentin live their Happily Ever After. But Corentin’'s cursed to lose his memory every seven days, including his life with Taylor—, a painful reminder that he can'’t provide for the man he loves. Taylor insists Corentin has the strength to succeed, and when Taylor discovers a way to break the curse, he is more than willing to pay the cost. When an enchanted blizzard devastates Corentin’'s hometown of New Orleans, Taylor is convinced Atticus is to blame and grows desperate to find him amidst the Big Easy turned frozen wasteland. Corentin believes Taylor is chasing a ghost while he chases the ghosts of his own past. Old tensions scratch open scars, leaving both to wonder if they have each other’s best interests at heart. The clock is ticking until Corentin loses his memory, and the rabbit hole goes so deep they may never come out.

About the Author: madison_parker_MG_4269-WEBLex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We'’re all going to die, I'’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’'s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting. Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—, Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love. Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’'t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’'t be here if it wasn’'t for them and welcomes feedback.

 You can find in the Intarwebz here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram: Site:

I'm having a Down on the Bayou Giveaway where one lucky winner will walk away with a magical fairy tale prize pack! From Corentin's mini journal, to a delicious bottle of Disney's Snow White perfume, Lex Chase swag annnndddd.... This lovely necklace! US residents only please, but for International residents, you'll get a lovely 20 dollar Amazon Gift Card! Don't forget about the multiple ways to enter! Not only do you need to comment, you can tweet! Use the hashtag #BayouFairyTale! Or enter via Instagram!

Bayou Fairy Tale Tour Stops:

10/1 - Tali Spencer
10/3 - The Novel Approach
 10/5 - Gay List Book Reviews
 10/6 - Bru Baker
10/7 - Charlie Cochet's Purple Rose Teahouse
 10/8 - Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance
 10/10 - Aidee Ladnier
10/13 - Prism Book Alliance
 10/15 - C.S. Poe
 10/16 - Joyfully Jay
 10/17 - Bayou Fairy Tale Facebook Chat
10/19 - Bayou Fairy Tale Release Day!
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