Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From Six Degrees of Agony, Here's a Little Taste of Christmas

*Re-post from Live Your Life, Buy The Book.




Hello everyone!

When Barb asked if I’d like to participate in Live Your Life Buy the Book’s Advent Calendar Event I immediately said yes. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I always want to celebrate. I didn’t write a Christmas story though, so I wasn’t quite sure what to present to you all. At the end I decided on a little snippet from the third installment in my “By Degrees” series. What you’re about to read takes place in the timeline of “Six Degrees of Agony” a few days before Christmas. Hope you enjoy it, and Happy Holidays!



December, 2009
Houston, Texas

“I think me and the twins went overboard decoratin’ the tree.”
Sam glanced at the gigantic Christmas tree in the corner of Mac’s family room. He made an honest effort to assess the amount of angels, stars and Santa Clauses before his attention was diverted by the sight of his boyfriend’s naked back. “Looks great to me,” he declared, not sure if he was referring to the Christmas tree or the play of muscles in motion as Mac repositioned the satin red bow topper.
“It has too many ornaments.”
Sam grabbed a can of whipped cream from the fridge and two saucers from the cupboard. After three months of hanging out at Mac’s place whenever possible he knew where Mac kept his stuff and never had trouble finding anything. He felt as much at home in Mac’s house in Houston as he did in the New York apartment and his own house, and he liked it.
“So?”
“So it looks like… I don’t know... It’s probably too much.”
Sam rested his elbows on the granite countertop and watched Mac take out a few ornaments.
“You’re right. There are too many ornaments. But the twins were over the moon with excitement, and you had a blast fondling and hanging those balls,” Sam quipped. “Who gives a shit if the thing would never win a Best Christmas Tree contest?”
Mac shot him a playful glare over his shoulder. “Why didn’t you say anythin’?”
Because Mac in dad mode was a thing of beauty, and Sam had been too busy enjoying his first full night with Mac, Austin, and Emma Rose to notice. Besides, the sense of rightness and belonging was so overwhelming that for a minute there—or an hour—Sam had been afraid of turning into a maudlin idiot if he dared open his mouth to say something ,even if he had noticed the ornament vomit.
“I thought excess was the order of the day,” he told Mac in a teasing tone, looking pointedly at the cookie sheets on the other side of the counter. “How many of those we baked and decorated again?”
Mac grinned. “You ate an entire batch by yourself.”
“That’s so not the point.” Sam opened a bag or marshmallows and rolled his shoulders. “My back still hurts from spending the afternoon helping you wrap a thousand presents. I could use a body rub.”
“I didn’t buy that many things and you don’t have to pretend you aren’t feelin’ emotional. It is a big day.”  
“Okay, so maybe it was five hundred boxes that we wrapped.” Sam wiggled his eyebrows and ignored Mac’s remark. He wasn’t surprised by it, though. He had never been able to hide his feelings from Mac. “Can I still get a body rub?”
And a body rub was all it would be, regardless of how badly Sam wanted to bury himself in Mac’s tightness and drive his crazy with pleasure for the rest of the night. Austin and Emma Rose were sleeping upstairs and there was no way in hell Sam would engage in any kind of sexual activity while he, Mac, and the kids were under the same roof.
Not when Mac was taking a huge risk by having a family night with his kids and boyfriend when he was still married to his kids’ mom.
Not when Amy could—and would—use anything at her disposal to drag things in Court.    
Mac chuckled, snapping Sam out of his thoughts, but he was frowning when he turned
to look at the boxes underneath the tree. “Do you think it’s too much?”
Sam’s voice was gentle when he said, “I counted fifteen presents per kid before giving up.” There was no denying Mac knew no limits when it came to giving stuff to his kids.
“That’s not too much,” Mac said with a shrug.
“That’s entirely too much,” Sam disagreed, and even though he didn’t want to open that particular can of worms, he found himself asking, “Are you trying to overcompensate for something?”
“No.”
“Liar.”
“I think you’re right.” Mac took one of the ornaments and put it back on the tree. “We had a great time decoratin’ it, and that’s the only thing that counts.”
Sam sighed at Mac’s blatant attempt to change the subject.
Mac walked over to the kitchen, pecked Sam on the lips, put several cookies on a plate, and kissed him again, this time on the back of his neck. “Is that cocoa about ready?”
Sam sighed again, but decided to let the subject go for the time being.
Not that he had an option.
“What’s your favorite Christmas memory?” Mac asked the second Sam entered the family room carrying two mugs of homemade cocoa topped with marshmallows and whipped cream.
He handed Mac one of the mugs and lowered himself slowly onto the extremely comfortable sofa before answering the question.
“The yearly four-hour roundtrip from Brooklyn to a farm tree in Monticello to cut our own Christmas tree,” he said, eyes fixed on the multi-colored twinkling lights of Mac’s tree.
No.
Their tree.
Mac had told him it was their tree; his, Sam’s, and the kids’.
“Family tradition?” Mac sat next to him and hooked one leg over Sam’s before taking a sip from his mug.
“I remember Dad would say to me and my sister, “It’s time to go get our Christmas tree,” year after year on the same date. December 1st.” He smiled and looked at Mac. “You know he was a cop and worked pretty irregular hours, so we hardly ever got to go on December 1st, but Sandy and I knew we wouldn’t have a long wait. Dad always cleared the first Saturday after December 1st to drive us to Monticello, come hell or high water, or even a blizzard, and we’d help choose and cut the biggest tree in the farm.”
“Sounds like lots of fun,” Mac said with a sweet smile.
“It was.” Sam returned the smile and rested his head on Mac’s shoulder. “They had a petting zoo and even sleighs for rides when the weather cooperated, then we’d drive back home and stay up until the tree was fully decorated.” He drank some of his hot cocoa before setting the mug on the coffee table. “By the end Dad couldn’t help much,” Sam added in a somber tone. “He was only in his sixties when he passed, but his arthritis had gotten so bad he couldn’t lift any weight in the warmest of days, let alone in the freezing cold, but we still went to Monticello every year to get our tree.” He sniffled and traced Mac’s thigh with his fingertips. “He passed away in May of 2004. I haven’t been back to the farm since December of 2003.”
“That’s a beautiful memory...” Mac sat his mug on the coffee table, took Sam’s hand in his, and kissed it tenderly. “My family never did anything so special... Hell, we never did anything at all. Christmas was all about entertaining influential acquaintances and talking them into donating money to Dad’s political campaigns. I was often left to the care of the maids.”
“I’m sorry, kitten.” Sam ran his fingers through Mac’s hair and pressed their foreheads together. “That must’ve sucked.”
“It doesn’t matter anymore.” Mac caressed Sam’s T-shirt covered chest as he added, “Next year I’d like you to drive us to that farm in Monticello to get our tree. It’s a beautiful tradition, and I want to revive it as soon as we can. We’ll ask Margaret if she’d like to come with us... and maybe Sandy, too.” He kissed Sam, then leaned back and looked him in the eye. “Sounds good?”
“Sounds wonderful,” Sam said with a huge smile.


   
   




Thursday, December 12, 2013

M/M Romance Group 2013 Member Choice Awards

Is that time of the year when the members of the MM Romance Group over at Goodreads vote for their favorite stories and I am thrilled to announce my work was nominated in a few categories. Here's the breakdown:


DISASTEROLOGY 101












SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION


















BY DEGREES





SAM and MAC





Thank you guys for reading my stories and if you feel like showing your love here's the link to vote!

<3 





Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rainbow Awards 2013



More than 150 judges read 400 books, give or take a few, and the Rainbow Award Winners are in.

I am thrilled to announce "Disasterology 101" took Third Place in the Best Contemporary Romance category and Seventh Place in the Best Gay Novel category.

This story means the world to me. It wasn't easy to write and it most certainly isn't an easy story to read. The message is not "all you need is love", or "love fixes everything", but one of courage and perseverance, and how sometimes it is worth it to bend over backwards for the person we love, even if others can't understand what we see in them or why would we bother.

Thanks to my friends (you know who you are) for holding my hand throughout research and development and thank you for the pep talks once the manuscript was out of my hands. Thanks to the reviewers for your encouraging first reactions and thoughts on the story. Thanks to all the readers that took a chance on Cedric and shared his journey. And thanks to Elisa Reviews and the Rainbow Awards team. This is awesome!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Atlanta Bound!

As you all know, I'm attending Gay Rom Lit once again. I am so excited to see all my friends and meet new ones that I can barely contain myself from jumping up and down. Also I am looking forward to the themed parties, as this is the first time we'll have a Black-Lit event, and a Masquerade Ball. I'm sure it'll rock!

Fun times aside, I'll also be doing some
author work. Look me up at the Rainbow Romance Writers Scrap-booking event, and the Featured Authors Book Signing Saturday afternoon. But Friday, bright and shiny, drink lots of coffee and come join me at my Q&A at nine in the morning.

If you have questions about my stories, my WIPs, or want to let me know how much you hate me for __________ (insert your biggest gripe related to any of my books), here's your chance! I can't wait to spend a little time with you all.  :-)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Heatstroke... Expanded

Hey guys,

As some of you know, Heatstroke is a story I wrote inspired by a picture and a prompt. Many of you love the story, as I do, and two years after releasing the original version I've added several scenes and commissioned a new cover for it. Wanted to know how Manny and Richard got back together? Wanted to see how it all played out with the family? Then you'll get your chance in a few more weeks, and the best part, it'll also be available in print. :-)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Capital Loss


Hey all!

As some of you may already know, I wrote a short story for the Love Has No Boundaries event held by the MM Romance Group over at Goodreads. I've been extremely busy, so I wasn't really planning on participating, but then I saw this letter:

Dear Author,
How did things get so bad? I thought I had it all, a great job that I loved, a wonderful home by the beach and you. All of that is gone now. I found out the hard way all you wanted from me was my money. You left me the minute you found out I lost my job and lost the money when the financial bubble burst. Now I have nothing, I feel like I’m nowhere, no one. I don’t feel like living anymore. Will anyone save me?


What can I say? It spoke to me, and I couldn't stop myself. 

Capital Loss, available as a free download, is my take on the prompt; a short story featuring Eduardo Acosta, a rather ambitious Wall Street investment banker, and Cole Miller, the man he loves.

Hope you enjoy it! 



 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"By Degrees" Giveaway

Hey, all!

Six Degrees of Separation got Five Sweet Peas and Recommended Read badge from Jules Lovestoread at Mrs Condit & Friends. Woot!! Stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win all the books in the series to date (if you've never read it) or a copy of Six Degrees of Separation if you have. :-)

Go. Now!

:-)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Drum Roll, Please!!

Six Degrees of Separation, the long anticipated sequel to Six Degrees of Lust,  had an early release. It is available at Amazon and All Romance Ebooks, and coming soon to Barnes & Noble.

Thank you so much to all my readers for supporting “By Degrees” and waiting oh-so-patiently for this new installment. It took a while, but I know you’ll like it. :-)

Happy Reading, SMac’ers!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Casting "By Degrees"

As you guys have surely noticed I tend to avoid having model faces on my book covers. I prefer readers form their own idea of  my characters' appearance without my influence or input on it. Of course that doesn't mean I don't have my own models, or that I don't get asked what Sam and Mac look like.  They also ask about they rest of the gang, and we all know there are plenty secondary characters in the "By Degrees" serial to fill up ten books. *g*

So in preparation of the release of Six Degrees of Separation I decided to host a Character Feature Week on the blog starting Monday. I'll give you a few stats and brief interviews with the members of the FBI's Team Yum, as well as the rest of the characters.  We'll kick off the week with SSA Samuel Shaughnessy, but in the meantime, here are their portraits. :-)





























Friday, August 16, 2013

Excerpt: Six Degrees of Separation



Chapter Six

September 4, 2009



He sat huddled in a corner of the basement, forehead resting on his knees, one arm wrapped around his bent legs, absently playing with the heavy pendant hanging from his neck.

The leather and stainless steel cross necklace was a birthday present from the hottest man he’d ever met. It wasn’t too expensive, but it was his most precious possession, as it represented a time when he’d been successful in his chosen profession, and enjoying the always exhilarating early stages of a new relationship. He’d been happy back then. Ready to settle down in a city he’d learned to love, and almost sure the guy in his life was The One.

Then everything had gone to hell in a hand basket.

He brought the cross up to his lips and kissed it softly, remembering the day he’d met his ray of sunshine, wondering if he’d been forgotten, and giving thanks for the memories they got to create prior to his abduction.

He didn’t know where he was, or how long he’d been here. He didn’t know if his family and friends were looking for him, or if they thought he was dead, like sometimes he wished he was. But those memories had kept him alive this long, and would be his final thoughts when he couldn’t go on.

No.

Not when.

Those lovely memories would be his final thoughts if he couldn’t go on.

At times it was easier to pretend he didn’t care whether he got rescued or not. He felt tired and physically ill, and didn’t hold out much hope for a brighter future. But he still prayed the police had gotten involved in his case and were doing everything in their power to find him. He needed a miracle. He wanted a second shot at life. 

He leaned his head against the wall, and listened to the scurrying of rodent feet and the water dripping from the sink faucet as he let his gaze wander around the space.

There was a tiny bathroom that needed cleaning, a pantry stocked with dry goods, and a small flat pillow and a dirty blanket on top of the cot where he slept. An easel, treated and untreated canvases and tubes of paint and brushes were carefully stored near the far wall. The exit to the staircase had been blocked with a steel door, and three out of four windows remained covered with wood panels most of the time. A few tube lanterns didn’t do much to illuminate the place.

He took a deep breath, and once again tried to remember everything he knew about his surroundings.

It was damp, dark, and getting colder every day. Not many noises outside. There was the occasional car driving by, but no kids playing around. That was it. All useless details that didn’t clue him in on the location of his prison, or how long he’d been in it. Then again, it didn’t matter. He didn’t have a way to get information to anyone. He knew that for a fact, as he’d yelled for help to no avail until his throat was raw.

“What if they are too late?” he wondered. “What if they don’t get here before he decides he has no more use for me? What if they can’t find me before I lose my soul? Do I really want to stay alive and do what I’ve been doing all this time, or should I put a stop to this madness?”

A noise outside the basement door snapped him out of his thoughts.

“Is anybody there?” He was weak and lethargic from lack of food, and the shackles around his ankles made it difficult to move, but after a few attempts he managed to get off the floor. “Hello?” He coughed and wheezed, but didn’t let his shortness of breath keep him from reaching the door. “Can you hear me?”

He rattled the door handle, and then pounded on the smooth surface until his temples throbbed and his shoulders started to shake from the effort. “Hello?” he called out again, this time in a lower voice. “Is anyone out there?”

He didn’t know how long he waited for a response he should have known would never come.

“Why are you doing this you sadistic mother fucker?” He’d been asking the same question for only God knew how long. “And I don’t want to hear another fucking word about lambs and wolves and whatever fucking punishment you think we queers have earned. I just wanna know who the hell you think you are, punishing us for being gay.”

He rattled the door handle one more time with the same result. “Please… somebody help me… Please…” He pressed his ear to the cold door, but the silence on the other side was deafening.

Had he been wrong thinking someone had walked past the door? Was he imagining things? Was the chronic exposure to turpentine affecting his mind as much as it had affected his respiratory tract?

Silent sobs racked through his body. “Is that you outside, you fucking asshole?” he asked when he could get his voice to work again.

Nothing.

Not a fucking word.

He bowed his head until his chin touched his chest, and moved his stringy hair away from his face. He looked at the ragged clothing clinging to his decimated body, and sniffed himself.

Sorrow. Guilt. Regret.

Death.

Those were the scents adhered to his skin.

He’d been an idiot to think there was a way out of this situation. That somehow he’d be able to reclaim his future, and build a life with the man he’d fallen in love with.

He gulped loudly, and straightened his back.

“I’m done with your sick games,” he announced calmly to the empty room. “You're either going to have to kill me or set me free, because I can’t do this anymore.” He took a few steps back and made a fist with his right hand. Then he swung forward with all the force and momentum he was able to gain, smashing his own hand against the door time and again. “Fuck!” He yelped, holding his now damaged hand against his stomach, silent tears falling down his cheeks. “Did you hear what I said, you son of a bitch?” he asked in a trembling, pain-stricken voice. “I can’t do this anymore.”


Coming August 30th, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Disasterology 101 Giveaway Winners!

So, randomly picked by one of my kiddos, the winners are Suzanne and Pointycat! Woot!


If you guys email me at taylor.v.donovan @ gmail.com and let me know which format you prefer I'll send the books right away. :-)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Disasterology 101: A Chance To Win and Book Tour Details


Hey, guys!

July 19th is fast approaching and as of today I'm officially touring. Woot! It's the first time I do it and I'm ubber excited to share this experience with you all :-)


But first.

Do you want to read Disasterology 101? Have it marked as to-be-released? Maybe you're on the fence about it? Well, here's your chance to win a free copy and be one of its first readers. Just leave me a comment about any experiences you've had with obsessive compulsive disorder and/or germaphobia, personal or otherwise, and I'll choose two winners on Friday July 12th, 11:59 EST.

Looking forward to hearing from you all :-)  


Bellow are the dates and sites I'll be stopping by. Join me to talk about the creating process, working with characters that aren't one hundred percent right in the head, giveaways, and we'll see what else! And if you want to read the first official review of Disasterology 101 and find out what Barb thought of it, please stop by  Live Your Life Buy The Book.


 


July 10th
Joyfully Jay


July 15th
We Love Kink



July 16th
You Gotta Read

July 17th
Mrs. Condit & Friends
 

July 18th
J.P. Barnaby
 

July 19th
Joyfully Jay

July 19th
The Pen Muse


Some sites are repeated because we have blog posts and reviews so for once, I am not just confused ;-)

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Reality of My Fiction

ARe Cafe is celebrating Pride Month with a series of blog posts and articles written by authors of LGBT romance. Today it was my turn, and here's the re-post for those of you who aren't members of ARe Cafe.



There’s nothing I like to do as much as getting lost in fictional worlds. Reading has been my version of heaven for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I was eleven that I discovered the romance genre. A battered Harlequin copy was mixed in with a bunch of magazines my aunt gave me. I read it and I was hooked. Two decades later I can still be found devouring a romance novel, but only when I’m not busy developing and writing my own stories. You see, I am what you could call an accidental author, but I’m not here to talk about that today. Instead I want to tell you why I chose to write gay romance.

I met my best friend when we were nine years old. I was drawn to him immediately. He was smart and funny and unique, and I remember all the kids wanted to hang out with him. By the time we turned fifteen he’d become one of the most handsome young men I've ever seen. He was gorgeous. He had looks and smarts, and he was still funny and unique. But he wasn't that popular anymore, because at some point along the line he'd become flamboyant and effeminate. In the 80s. In Macho-town, population: narrow-minded and chauvinistic.

The same kids that played with my best friend when we were younger beat him up for the first time when he was thirteen... and all the way through high school. There were times he was so bruised up I couldn't recognize him. The girls who had considered him top of the line boyfriend material took to calling him the most degrading, humiliating, hurtful names. And the boy who—had it not been for his sexual orientation—would've been prom king, tried to kill himself the night of our ninth grade graduation.

You'd think finding out a sweet human being tried to end his life as a result of their relentless bullying would make those kids stop. You'd think it would make them feel remorse, or shame, or disgust at themselves or something.

It didn't. 

They were still trying to beat him up by the time we made it to our senior year, and they were still calling him names. But they never touched him again. Not because that sweet, smart, unique and unapologetic flamboyant boy grew up to be 6'1 and ripped, but because he had dignity. He knew who he was, he owned it, and he didn't bow his head ever again after he tried to end his life. He was who he was, and people respected that. He taught me the meaning of “pride”.

I moved away over ten years ago, but my friend still lives in the same town and I've got to tell you, the population has not changed. But some people have. Enough to make things a little easier for little gay boys... enough that at our ten year high school reunion he got public apologies from all those students that should've been his friends. And you know what? Thirteen years after that reunion, most of them are.

When I write I think about my best friend, as well as all the gay brothers, cousins, and friends out there who are feeling isolated or in despair. In my opinion, the presence of gay romance is extremely important. It spreads a message of tolerance, acceptance and love in a time where a big chunk of society remains afraid of what they can't understand. Hopefully it'll also help people realize gays are meant to be here and, just like the rest of us, they have a right to love and be loved.

My best friend is the driving force behind my work. He’s the reason why I’m inclined to write realistic fiction, and only portray characters that represent real men. I feel compelled to honor him with a solid plot, and to explore the issues and situations that make it difficult for gay men to achieve happiness in their life.

I’ll always do my best to give my readers an enjoyable ride that will leave them emotionally invested, but I must warn you. Miracles never happen in the stories I write, and taking the easy way out is not an option. There's no "magic penis" that'll cure anything and everything, but there's a strong desire to be happy... and there's love.