Thursday, July 20, 2017

Teasing on Thursday

Hey all!

I'm working really hard on coming out of the woods, so, in an attempt to be more present on social media as well as forthcoming with behind-the-scenes updates (i.e. work in progress), here's an excerpt from what's currently cooking in the TVD Story Pot. :-)

Series: Caribbean Tales
Setting: San Juan, Puerto Rico
 

Enjoy!






Noelia glanced at Cuca, then turned on the bench they were sitting on and gave Gael her full attention, dead giveaway she was about to get serious. “You’ve always been an overachiever, focused on your studies and plans for the future,” she said in a much lower voice, as is she was scared Cuca might off her if he heard her speaking negatively about him. “Don’t you want to be with someone as driven as yourself? Weren’t you listening when your mom warned you against guys that look like him?”

“See, that’s another difference between us.” Gael focused on Cuca, doing his best not to snap at her. “When it comes to guys, you always measure their worth from a potential relationship perspective, whereas I’m only interested in measuring their cocks and finding out how many times they can make me come.”

That wasn’t true, but he wasn’t ready for Noelia to know he had a mega crush on a guy she clearly didn’t approve of. Gael needed her to back off.

“I give up.” Noelia shook his head and sighed. “You’ve got to be the biggest horn dog in the world.”

That he was. The kind of overachiever with a carefully mapped out life that always made sure to have time for a hot guy.

“You know it.” He gave her a quick side hug, grateful she’d taken the hint, then went back to ogling Cuca. “He has such a mysterious aura around him.” Gael’s breath rushed in and out of his lungs, and butterflies fluttered in his stomach. He had it bad—there was no denying that, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t scared of feelings and emotions whether they were positive, hurtful, or worrisome. “I’m drawn to him like a moth to a flame.” And his knees wouldn’t stop wobbling, and his breath kept catching in his throat, and it was all he could do not to cross the promenade right now and say Hello.

Lord.

He truly hadn’t felt so damn giddy, confused, or exhilarated before.

No. Scratch that.

The first time he and Cuca had gotten past the not-so-casual glances and locked eyes, Gael’s mind had gone completely fuzzy. He’d been in the middle of his well-practiced narration of the history of one of San Juan’s forts and some of the battles fought there centuries ago, and he’d gotten so flustered, he’d almost swallowed his tongue. It had taken a great deal of effort to stammer his way through the rest of the tour, and by the time he finished retelling stories from ancient soldiers tasked with defending and protecting Spain’s most precious colony in the New World, he was a goner.

He was in lust.

He wanted to drag the guy to San Cristóbal’s dungeon and get it on.

“He doesn’t have a mysterious aura.” Noelia’s soft voice pulled him out of his thoughts. “He has a dangerous one.”

“Even better.” Gael sighed. “I’ve always had a thing for big bad alphas.”

“There’s a difference between bad boys and bad news, and that guy’s appearance screams trouble. He looks like he’s on guard. I don’t like it. Do yourself a favor and stay away from him. You don’t need that kind of complication.”

Gael gnawed his inner cheek. “Wonder how long he’ll stay there staring at the Master of the Master of the Seas—”

“Are you even listening to me?”

“—pretending he isn’t here to see me.”

“Well, he hasn’t tried to talk to you, so maybe he isn’t,” Noelia rationalized, something she did as often as Gael ignored her attempts to burst his bubbles. “Maybe the six times you’ve seen him around since your first encounter are pure coincidence. Maybe he truly is a dangerous stalker. Maybe he’s a homophobe who’s seen you on the news and wants to silence you by beating you up. Maybe—”

“He’s shy, or confused about his attraction to another guy, or freaked out, or afraid to take the next step, or being careful no one sees him,” Gael cut her off, throwing the rest of his piragua into a nearby trash can and wiping his hands on a napkin. “It could be so many things, but twenty bucks say he’s into me and trying to decide where to go from here.”

Or leaving it up to Gael.

It was a legitimate possibility.

Cuca had never approached him, but he’d gone out of his way to learn Gael’s schedule. He’d been showing up at his place of work for three weeks, and now he was standing there—glancing at him from under lowered lashes. Showing interest. Visibly anxious, yet determined. Waiting.

Yeah… If all that didn’t mean Cuca wanted to hook up, Gael would eat his gay card for lunch.

“Well, you don’t have a shy bone in your body, so how come you haven’t approached him and gotten things rolling?” Noelia narrowed her eyes. “Also, why are you so sure of what he’s experiencing? You’ve never talked to him. Are you a mind reader now?”

“I refrained from approaching him because watching him take baby steps toward me thrilled me to no end. That, and I didn’t want to scare him away with my trademark bluntness.” Gael didn’t know his name yet. He didn’t have a phone number or an email address he could use if the guy disappeared from his life. He’d been afraid coming on to Cuca too strong before securing a way to find him would be detrimental to Gael’s plan to get in his pants. But he wasn’t afrad anymore. “And no, I’m not a mind-reader—I’m just gay. Hard not to imagine what he might be going through when I’ve been there myself.”

“There, where?”
“Navigating the sexual orientation affirmation process we queers have to go through at one point or another.” Gael smiled at Cuca, which prompted the guy to glance around nervously, but then he stared at Gael, quickly licking his lips as he angled his long body toward him. “God, I’m so happy I rock at reading body language.”

“What are you talking about?”

Encouraged by Cuca’s inviting gestures, Gael asked, “How do I look?” 

Noelia surveyed him from head to toe, but she didn’t give him an ego boost like she was supposed to every time he asked that question. Instead, she moved closer to him, gripped his shoulders, and spoke in a steady low-pitched voice, as if she was trying to hypnotize him. “You look like a guy who knows better than to ignore his friend’s advice.”

Gael gave her an amused smile and chucked her under the chin. “Nice try.” He then patted his hair to make sure every black strand was in its place, brushed his eyebrows with his fingertips, and popped a mint into his mouth. “I’m going over there.”

He only had a few minutes before he had to get to work, but he was a firm believer in opportunity, and he’d waited long enough this morning. He’d shown Cuca that he was attracted to him, and given him what felt like a decade to decide if he wanted to scram. Now the time had come to initiate conversation, and it was clearly up to Gael, because when the mountain couldn’t bring himself to come to Muhammad, it was up to Muhammad to go to the mountain.

“You can’t.” Noelia grabbed his arm before he could move and pointed at the Master of the Seas. “Our cruisers are disembarking.”

Stepping back, Gael removed her hand from his arm and said, “This won’t take long,” then, shaking inside from anticipation, nerves, and yes, a healthy dose of apprehension as well—because what if Noelia was right—he went after the guy he wanted.

Five seconds later he almost choked on his mint as he realized he was screwed.

Up close and personal Cuca was a million times cuter.

“Are you an adult?” Gael blurted the instant he got close enough to smell his cologne. “Please tell me you’re old enough to buy sex toys and alcohol.”

The guy nodded slowly, amusement sparkling in his gorgeous eyes. “I’m eighteen.”

“Gracias a Dios.” Gael sighed in relief and quickly made the sign of the cross. Despite everything he’d said to Noelia, he had principles, morals, and hard limits. Doing baby gays was one of them. “I have two questions for you.”

Cuca stared at Gael with searing intensity as he levered his body away from the balustrade and straightened to his full height. “Let’s hear them.”

Ready to answer, Gael looked up and opened his mouth, then closed it again when his words jumbled together in his head, rendering him incapable of forming a coherent sentence.

He hadn’t expected Cuca to smell so good, or to have adorable freckles splattered across his cheeks and nose, or to sound so deep and commanding, and he certainly hadn’t expected to feel dwarfed by him.

Seriously, what the heck was that? At six-feet and 155 pounds, Gael wasn’t a small guy by any stretch of the imagination, but here he was, feeling totally…overpowered by Cuca, who was a mere couple of inches taller and hadn’t even touched him yet.

Mildly put, it was the most unsettlingly thrilling feeling in the world, and Gael loved it. Jesus, did he love it.

“Qué pasó, papi—cat got your tongue?” A knowing little smile stretched Cuca’s kissable lips. His sexy voice pushed Gael’s libido into overdrive. His demeanor proved this wasn’t his first rodeo with a gay man. “Ask your questions.”

Heart thudding wildly, Gael cleared his throat and rolled his shoulders. “Should I be flattered by your interest in me or should I be worried?”

“You’ve got nothing to worry about.” He watched Gael quietly for several moments, mesmerizing him with the look of naked hunger on his face and almost making him self-combust before dropping his gaze to Gael’s lips. “I’m harmless.”

“Is that so?” Gael brushed his shoulder against Cuca’s casually as he leaned over the balustrade—making sure physical contact was welcome before taking the plunge. “Because you look like you want to wreck my hole and fuck me senseless.”

“Among other things.” Pressing his back to the balustrade, Cuca propped his elbows on the concrete railing and watched him out of the corner of his eye. “Can I?”

Gael gulped. “The sooner the better.”

He was ready. He had a damn boner. He was so consumed by his desire for this guy, he didn’t care who he was, where he was from, or what he did for cash. Nothing mattered other than dragging him to the nearest surface and getting him horizontal.

Cuca’s eyes shone with predatory intent, and he made a harsh sound deep in his throat at Gael’s words. “What’s your other question?” he croaked, further confirming he was feeling Gael the same way Gael was feeling him.

“Can I have your number?” Cuca gave him a jerky headshake in response. Gael wasn’t surprised. Lots of queer guys were extremely cautious when it came to revealing their identity. “I take it you’re in the closet?”

“Most likely for life, so I’ve got to be careful.”

“You can trust me with your name.” Gael looked him in the eye, silently demanding honesty. He didn’t know why but he didn’t want for this guy to be a total stranger when he finally took him to bed. Learning that detail felt non-negotiable and extremely important. “Your real name.”

Cuca averted his gaze. A muscle jumped in his jaw as he studied the crowd and pondered what to do.

Moving swiftly, Gael blocked his line of vision and put out his hand. “I’m Gael.”

“I know.” His little smirk almost made Gael swoon. “I’m Damián.” His guttural voice and his all-around hotness consumed Gael as they shook hands. “You need to get to work.” He rubbed the inside of Gael’s wrist with his thumb before dropping his hand and stepping back.

Gael fisted his hand. His skin wouldn’t stop tingling from the electric buzz that had shot from Cuca’s fingertips to Gael’s chest. “What other things?” When Cuca tilted his head sideways in confusion, he explained, “You said among other things.”

“I noticed you like rosé.” Cuca smoothed out his jersey and scratched his chin, then looked him straight in the eyes and added, “I thought we could drive somewhere. Have some vino and get to know each other…providing you’re okay with playing it cool, of course.”

Palms damp, mouth dry, and heart pounding, Gael rasped, “I’d love that.”

“Great.” Cuca flashed him a blinding smile. “I’ll find you soon to let you know when.”
And just like that he was gone.

Jesus…

“What the heck was that?” Gael shook his head and swallowed hard. “How did I go from trying to schedule a hook up to agreeing to go on my first date with a guy?”

He’d been asked a few times, but he’d kept things simple since becoming sexually active at seventeen. Scratching the itch when in need and getting back to business as usual was his thing, mainly because it’d been damn easy to walk away every single time.

None of his sexual partners had knocked his socks off after a look or a conversation, or even a few rounds of sex. No one had gotten under his skin, and no one—not once—had made Gael feel like he’d die if he didn’t see him one more time.

But Cuca did.

There was no way in hell Gael wasn’t going out with him.

Friday, June 23, 2017

News and Updates

Hey all! Been a while since I last wrote a post. Hope you're all doing well. :-)

I'm here today to let you guys know what's shaking. Before I get into things, though, I want to thank *you* for reading this. As you are well aware, I've been inactive and out of the publishing game for a long time, and I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of you who have stuck around for my next release regardless of when that might be, or waited for me, and/or sent me emails wishing me well. Your patience and understanding mean the world to me.

And now for the announcements!

First up, GRL. Chicago 2014 was the last one I attended, and I'm super excited to return. Looking forward to reconnecting with all friends and meeting new ones. :-)

Second, self-publication. I love being hybrid. Some stories belong with my publisher, and some others, like the ones that exceed publisher's word count limits or deal with subjects I want to approach in a very specific way, belong to me. Those stories are gay romantic fiction. While the romance is front and center and there's a HEA, I've taken a very realistic approach to them. Simply put, my characters mess up, just like we do in real life, and deal with the issues the LGBTQ+ community has to deal with on a daily basis, but the stories are all about my characters falling in love, figuring things out, finding their way, and being happy.

Currently I have two series that are gay romantic fiction: 'Bylaws' and 'Caribbean Tales.' Hearsay' has already been published, and it is the first installment in a trilogy that's part of 'Bylaws.' Heavy Hitters, one of the books in the Caribbean Tales series, hasn't come out yet.

I've decided the rest of this year will be about these two series. 

In the next few months you'll see releases on both, but, instead of
seeing them published under 'TVD Books,' you'll see them published by 'Desecheo Press' which is my own publishing 'house' for my gay romantic fiction titles. Yay! I have a logo and everything, so watch out for it. :-)

And last but not least, 'By Degrees' and 'Six Degrees of Agony.'

I know the majority of you are tired of waiting for this book. I'm not going to rehash everything that's happened to me or the reasons it's been such a long time coming. Just know they were powerful reasons, and my priority is to give you a story I'm proud of and you're going to enjoy. Not to mention, I'm a firm believer everything happens for a reason so...

You may or may not know that writing an installment in my 'By Degrees' series is a rather complicated process. The ensemble cast and continued storylines make me feel like I'm writing four books at once, which in a way I am, and the timeline and intricate details and little pieces require all my attention. It takes a lot of work to weave that web. :-)

That's the reason I decided to dedicate the rest of the year to 'Bylaws' and 'Caribbean Tales.' I want to...well, get them out of the way so that I can then focus on 'By Degrees.' That means 'Six Degrees of Agony' will come out in early 2018, closely followed by the fourth installment. It is my goal to finish the series by mid-2019.

I know some of you will be disappointed after reading this. I wish I could be faster, or write ten books at the same time, but the ugly truth is I can't, so I need to be realistic in my approach to my writing. My stories are long, you guys, and they're involved. I need to give them time and I need to take measures to craft them the way I want to. :-)

Thank you all for being awesome, and I'll be seeing you soon. ;-)

Taylor
xoxo
  

Friday, December 16, 2016

By Degrees Signed Paperbacks Giveaway

Hey all!

Today I'm over at The Novel Approach helping celebrate their fifth blogiversary, and I showed up bearing presents! Stop by to congratulate them and also to enter my giveaway. It includes an Amazon gift card, ebooks, and two sets of signed second edition paperbacks of Six Degrees of Lust and Six Degrees of Separation. See you there!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Music Monday


So, on this crappy Monday I thought I'd try to lift my own spirit by sharing one of my favorite Puerto Rican Christmas traditions. This is a video of a "parranda" which is basically Christmas Carols on steroids. The "parrandas" get organized at someone's house, then a bunch of people (never less than twenty) who happen to play all kinds of instruments show up at somebody else's house not earlier than two in the morning and wake you the heck up. Then the party start, and people sing and sing while the "host" cooks traditional food for them, usually asopao de pollo, which is like a rice chicken soup. Awesome times! <3

#TVD #boricua #boricuastyle

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Six Degrees of Lust, Second Edition...

Tweaked, updated, longer, and better, coming at you from Dreamspinner Press on January 2, 2017.  Check it out!
Six Degrees of Lust
2nd Edition
By Degrees: Book One
New York City FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his immediate family and his job. After a marriage gone wrong, he has stuck to a firm rule when it comes to relationships: he doesn't have them. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable keeps him satisfied, especially now that he is in hot pursuit of a serial killer targeting gay men.
Former firefighter Machlan O'Bannon now manages a successful sports bar in Houston, and after years of waiting, he’s ready to stand up and be the man he always wanted to be: out, proud and drama-free. His politically-aligned family wants to keep him locked in the closet, but Mac just wants to meet the man of his dreams.
One man is as high strung as the other is laid back. A chance meeting brings them together, and one night of passion ignites a fire neither can fight. Their lives are not only miles apart, but as different as day and night. They don't want to get involved, but they might not be able to keep apart.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks...

Is a bit difficult when you've had the worst year of your adult life. I've been thinking about it and the only thing I was able to come up with was "life." I'm grateful for my daughters and for being alive. Not healthy, not in a good mental-space, definitely not in good spirits, but I'm alive, and that's the most important thing, right? It means I can keep working on myself...I can keep trying to get better. And that's great.

The year isn't over yet. Many things can happen in a little over a month, but you know what? I've decided to let 2016 go.

Looking back at the last eleven months makes me sad. There are so many things I wasn't able to accomplish—not as a woman, not as a friend, not as a professional, and last but not least, not as an author. Simply put, I completely sucked at everything day after day after day, and, as much as I'd like to, the fact is I can't turn back time. I can't change anything. And I can't keep stressing over all the things I was supposed to do but wasn't able to for one reason or another.  So this is it for me. I'm throwing in the towel on this year and using the remaining weeks to try to get to a point where I won't feel so disheartened anymore. Hopefully it will work. :-)

I'm sure no one reading this post will be surprised by this, but throwing the towel includes giving up on trying to publish anything in 2016. I can't. I don't want to. I'm a firm believer everything happens for a reason, and I'm convinced offering you guys a new story wasn't in the cards. So yeah, I'm not even going to try. I'm just going to start the new year with a bang.

Dreamspinners Press is releasing Six Degrees of Lust, Second Edition on January 2, 2017. That's good news for fans of my By Degrees series. It means Six Degrees of Agony will come out a few months after Lust. ;-)

As for Heavy Hitters...how does a late January, early February release sound? Is having back to back releases too much? What do you all think? Let me know. :-)

To those of you who have never stopped supporting me, and all the readers who have emailed me, messaged me, etc., etc., asking when I'll release some new material, I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You mean the world to me and your interest is the only reason I'm not giving up the writing gig. You all rock.

Have an amazing time with your families and friends on this special day. And take it from me—there's always something to be thankful for.

Love,

Taylor
xoxo








Thursday, June 9, 2016

TBT Post: Knocked Down By Homophobia

Hi all!

So, those of you who follow me know that Heavy Hitters was  scheduled to release well over a year ago. Then life happened, and it kept happening, to the point where I had to take a sabbatical to care for myself. While I was away, I decided to replace the story's gorgeous first cover with another gorgeous one, because the original reminded me of a painful period in my life and I wanted a clean slate. 

And here I am, months and months later, feeling better and ready to release this baby to the world. :-)

To celebrate the June 24th upcoming release, I decided to re-post a little piece I wrote a long time ago to promote the story. Hope you enjoy, and please, feel free to share your stories. I'll be giving away two copies to commenters I'll choose randomly. :-)




Knocked Down By Machismo


I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, a paradise in many ways. Tropical plants, rainforest, sunny beaches, transparent water, soft golden sand…. Do I sound like a tourism commercial yet? *g*

Down there people are friendly, family-oriented, and extremely lovable. They’re also mainly Catholic, and, to this date, ruled by machismo and gender roles. Men are expected to be brave and protect the honor of their families. They’re supposed to have excellent work ethic, be good providers, and live up to their responsibilities. Women, even if they have jobs outside the house, are expected to clean, cook, care for the children, and take orders from the husband. As simple as that. There’s little—if any—room for anything else.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Women are highly regarded.They rule the house and keep the family
united, but there’s no denying the patriarchal authority that exists in most every home. Dad says what’s allowed; he says when and how. In some cases he even subjugates his wife and resorts to domestic violence in order to prove his manhood. He wants his daughters to be like mom, and his sons to be little clones of himself. And I can tell you, not many dads are open-minded and accepting if one of their sons happens to have interests that are attributed to girls.

Such is the case with Julio Malavé, one of my main characters’ father. He’s belligerent on a good day, abusive on a regular basis, and he’s drunk most of the time. His mission in life is to make sure Santino becomes a boxing champion and behaves like a “real man,” and he has no qualms in destroying his son’s spirit in the process.

You see, coming out as gay wasn't really an option for many Puerto Rican boys. They faced discrimination, mockery, bullying, and downright abuse. A lot of times they’re killed for their sexual orientation. I wouldn’t say Puerto Rico isn’t a safe place for gay men. Hundreds of them are out and proud, but they are the exception, not the rule, and there’s a price to pay.

Heavy Hitters is a love story...a self-discovery story...self-acceptance story, and a reconciliation story with family, culture, and life. I hope you all join Luca and Santi in their journey through life. :-)


Do *you* have any experience with machismo? Any stories or opinions on the matter you’d like to share? Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Heavy Hitters. I’d love to “hear” your thoughts.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Music Monday

Hi all!

I give you DNA by Little Mix, one of the songs in my Official Heavy Hitters Playlist. Also, I'm obsessed with these girls. You need to check them out, especially their acapella stuff. So good! 

Enjoy!

 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Music Monday

Hi guys!

Today I give you Years and Years' "Take Shelter" because I've had a lot of pressure in the past few weeks and I'm tired and ready to do whatever I need to do in order to protect myself. :-)

Enjoy!

 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Music Monday

Hello, my beautiful followers. :-)

I want to share a huge favorite of mine for Music Monday, Troye Sivan and his Blue Neighborhood masterpiece. Today we have Wild, Part 1 of this heartbreaking Trilogy. 

I can't tell you guys how many times I played these tracks while working on Heavy Hitters. Childhood friendship, homophobia... domestic violence... the Blue Neighborhood Trilogy theme complimented my story arc so well, it often inspired me to keep on writing. And, let's just say, a story as long as Heavy Hitter's is required a LOT of pushing. :-)

Enjoy!