TheReadEye

"We read to know that we are not alone." — C.S. Lewis

Archive for the category “writing”

‘Hard Press’ is a new kind of novel for me

My latest novel, “Hard Press,” is releasing Aug. 18. And I think there will probably be some readers who will be surprised the same author wrote both “Catching Jaime” and “Hard Press.”

Most of my earlier works, including “Catching Jaime,” tend to be sweet romances. There are varying levels of sex in them — ranging from no sex (Rewriting His Love Life) to your typical, vanilla sex (Source of Protection, Winter Blom) — but none of them would be described as racy or sizzling hot. The stories are more about the romance, and sex is a natural part of the evolution of a relationship.

“Hard Press” stands out from the other novels in that regard.

julian quotesWhile there are elements of sweet romance in it, the characters aren’t all that sweet. Julian begins his journey as a “vain brat” (Elliott’s words, not … well, yes, they are mine, but you know what I mean). Elliott, who is stressed to the max due to his family situation, finds Julian’s submissive nature liberating — finally, he can take control of something — and comes off as pushy, and occasionally, like a bit of an asshole.

Somehow, it works for them both. So who was I to question it?

But of course I did.

Power play is not my favorite trope, and actually I debated quite a bit about whether to go that direction with the book, even with only mild themes of submission. It wouldn’t have been my first choice. Because, you see, it pushed me a bit out of my comfort zone.

But the characters were demanding it, from pretty much their first meeting. They weren’t cut out to be a sweet romance, and they weren’t going to let me dictate that.

When I started writing books, I thought it would be a good opportunity to create the stories I crave as a reader. That is maybe a little bit true. But the larger truth is that each book in Ashe Sentinel Connections is different, because the characters are different. And as it turns out, they’re the boss. Not me.

Each book takes on a life of its own, and it’s not entirely within my control.

And that’s how I happened to write a love story about a vain, rather unlikeable man and a stressed-out, aggressive man who both needed something the other had to offer.

In the end, I like to think they helped each other grow into better human beings, too. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

hardpressjpeg

About Hard Press

Julian has everything: good looks, flashy cars, a high-end condo. Until his girlfriend dumps him after a disastrous attempt to have a threesome. To top it off, he rear-ends a motorcycle and meets a pissed off biker who calls him on his shit. But there’s something about the man that hits his repressed buttons, and makes him want to finally pull his desires out into the light. But living up to the standards of an edgy but caring man proves a challenge.

Elliott feels like his world has spun off its axis, and if he can just get control of his life, he can breathe again. His parents’ deaths and his autistic brother’s need for a boarding school weigh heavily on him. When Julian hits his bike outside the news office where he works in the press room, he thinks the sultry man is a spoiled brat who knows nothing of real pain. But bringing him under control soothes something in Elliott’s soul — and Julian seems to need a steady hand, too.

Can these two very different men navigate the give-and-take of a relationship unlike any other they’ve experienced? For both of them, it will be a hard press.

Order now
Amazon
All Romance Ebooks
Barnes and Noble

Flash Fiction: Rooftop Rendezvous

rooftop

The sunset was gorgeous from the rooftop where Liam spread out refreshments on a blanket. The last rays gilded his auburn hair and lit up the golden flecks in his hazel eyes.

Harry couldn’t think of a more romantic setting to celebrate their lives together.

“Hungry?” Liam asked, looking up with a grin. “We’ve got gourmet selections once again.”

“Yum, count me in!”

Harry joined him, watching as Liam slathered peanut butter on soda crackers. It was a far cry from the exquisite duck confit Liam once prepared as the head chef of his own restaurant. But his hands still moved with the sureness of a man meant for the culinary arts.

Harry used to spend every spare minute of his shift at the restaurant watching Liam’s long fingers manipulate knives with astounding speed and skill. He came to life in the kitchen in a way that could not be replicated anywhere else, except perhaps when making love. His hands were very skilled there, too.

Harry never expected to experience the latter. As a busboy, he had been far beneath a head chef’s notice. But one night he’d turned, intent on sneaking a peek of the gorgeous chef, to find Liam watching him.

That moment changed his life.

They’d been together ever since, 11 years as of tonight.

Liam poured the last of the wine and raised his glass. “To us. Happy anniversary.”

Harry lifted his own. “Till death do us part. I wonder how many people bet we’d never keep that vow.”

Liam laughed, his eyes lighting up. “I love your sense of humor. Even now.” His voice faltered. “Especially now.”

Harry forced a smile. “Well, my looks wouldn’t have carried us 11 years.”

“Don’t be ridiculous! You’re still gorgeous. You’ll always be beautiful now.”

“There’s the silver lining,” Harry said softly, leaning in to kiss Liam. “We’ll be together to the end. Having a romantic night every night until …”

Liam nodded, his eyes misty. “Until.”

“I do miss your delicious dishes, though.”

 “That reminds me. I have a surprise for you.”

Liam skipped across the roof gracefully to snatch up his backpack.

Harry watched nervously as he neared the edge of the building. There was only ever going to be one way for their rooftop rendezvous to end, but it wasn’t time yet.

“I’ve got soup!” Liam exclaimed. “I’ve been saving it for a special occasion.”

He pulled out a can of stew, and then rummaged until he found a can opener. He lifted it to show Harry, and it slipped from his fingers.

“No!”

Liam leaned forward, and Harry’s heart lodged in his throat.

“Careful!”

He rushed across the roof, clutching Liam close though he was in no danger of falling.

Liam stared mournfully over the side of the building, where the can opener had disappeared.

The streets teemed with bodies in various stages of decomposition. They milled around buildings, scratching at the walls, seeking out entry. Soon, a window would break or a door would give, and then there’d be no putting it off any longer.

“You know, gay people might have been immune to the virus that created those things, but I’m still not sure we’re not the ones who are damned.”

Harry pulled him back from the ugly sight. “Come away, darling.”

“We’re out of food,” Liam said faintly.

“Then make love to me, Liam. Let’s have one more night,” Harry urged.

They sank down on the blanket, each touch saturated in both love and sorrow.

“Till death do us part,” Liam whispered, before Harry silenced him with a kiss.

Tonight, they would make love. And tomorrow …

If tomorrow came, they’d face it together.


Written by DJ Jamison. Read more flash fiction from other authors here.

Freebies and new release news

Winter BlomI’m so very far behind on updating the blog. I blame “Winter Blom” — getting that novella done before Christmas wore me out!

And because Winter Blom is to blame for my lethargy, I am offering it free through Amazon this weekend to make up for my absence in writing/blogging/reviewing. You name it, and I’m behind in it!

You can find “Winter Blom” here. It’s only free Jan. 23 and 24, so don’t miss your chance to grab it!

In  other news, I recently received a message from a reader asking if I had any projects in the works. As a matter of fact, I do. Too many — which isn’t helping my focus — but I’ve finally set my next publish date!

“Earning Edie,” my first m/f romance — and a spin-off from the Ashe Sentinel series featuring Nick Espinoza — will release April 1. You can pre-order it now here.

Earning Edie will be available through several online bookstores when it releases and unlike the other Ashe Sentinel stories, it is a full-length novel. I am still finishing edits, but I’m somewhere in the 88,000 word range at this point.

There will be sequels to this book, and I’m not totally abandoning my m/m following with this series. At least one of the sequels will be a m/m romance. So I hope you’ll give the Espinoza Boys series a chance if you enjoyed my other writing.

Here’s a summary of the book:

Earning Edie _newcoverNick Espinoza is consumed by two things: guilt and ambition. After making a mistake he can’t atone for, his desire for success as a newspaper columnist compromises his integrity. But the consequences of his actions may just be the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Edie Mason is disappointed but not surprised when her parents don’t show up for her high school graduation. But after she inadvertently criticizes them in the newspaper, thanks to an unethical newspaper columnist in a deadline crunch, she finds herself homeless. Even worse, her dreams of going to college are at risk. Edie’s days as a shrinking wallflower are coming to an end, however. Propelled by anger and desperation, she seeks out Nick Espinoza to give him a piece of her mind — and an ultimatum: He made her homeless, so he can offer up his home as a place to stay while she works nonstop to earn college tuition.

Pressured by management, Nick is desperate to win over the hearts of readers — and Edie Mason’s story is a perfect start. He isn’t prepared for the fall-out that follows, or for the lonely graduate to have so much spunk. Confronted by his mistakes, and consumed by guilt over his past, Nick finds himself opening his home — and his heart — to Edie. But can he ever come clean about his past and truly earn Edie’s trust without losing everything?

“Earning Edie” is the first of the Espinoza Boys series.

 

 

Let’s support authors in face of plagiarism

A screenshot of the Facebook post made by Ashley John, which quickly went viral with more than 200 shares.

A screenshot of the Facebook post made by Ashley John, which quickly went viral with more than 200 shares.

Lately, it seems like there’s been a plague of plagiarism in the m/m genre. And this week, I opened a can of worms on the latest plagiarist when I realized that “Under the Influence” by Addison Scott looked suspiciously similar to Ashley John’s “Saving Michael.”

A Facebook message later, my suspicions had been confirfmed, and Ashley John made a FB post about the plagiarism that quickly went viral (at least in m/m circles).

As it turns out, Addison Scott plagiarized all the books that were found under his/her name (reportedly about 11) in e-bookstores such as iBooks, Kobo and Oyster. Scott stayed away from Amazon, possibly to fly under the radar for as long as possible.

51qeH8IUrAL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This kind of wholesale plagiarism is extremely frustrating to authors who have been victimized. They’ve put many hours of writing — not to mention untold amounts of time brainstorming and agonizing — into a novel. I know, because I’m a writer. I don’t have the success of Ashley John, and so far I’ve only published novellas, but let me tell you: It’s tough. It takes a lot of time and energy. It takes courage to lay yourself out there and let people into the inner workings of your mind. And it’s an insult to all authors — those plagiarized and those of us pouring work into our own projects — when we see someone steal books and make money off someone else’s efforts.

But there’s a silver lining, I like to think. We can support the authors who have been plagiarized. We can help their sales surge. This won’t take away the wrong that’s been done, but perhaps we can help make up for some of the sales lost to the plagiarist, by creating an uptick in the original authors’ own sales and helping them gain a larger, faithful following.

I encourage you to buy books from these authors if you haven’t yet, to support them as they go through this experience — and to restore their faith in the goodness of people.

Here are some of the books that were plagiarized by Addison Scott:

“Saving Michael,” by Ashley John. Get it here

“Tied,” by E. Davies. Get it here

“Once a Marine,” by Cat Grant. Get it here

“Windfall,” by Amanda Young. Get it here

“Taking in Strays,” by Kracken. Get it here

“Winter’s Fire,” by Donya Lynne. Get it here

Please add on in the comments, if you know of other books so we can encourage readers to support the actual authors of these works.

DJ Jamison is the author of The Ashe Sentinel series, now available exclusively on Amazon. Click here to see her works.

In baseball and in writing, you have to keep swinging

I’m a fledgling Kansas City Royals baseball fan — and I’m a writer. So, naturally, as I watched the amazing comeback in Monday’s playoff game vs. The Astros, I found myself drawing parallels between baseball players and writers.

royalspic

Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Game 1 of the ALDS playoffs. Photo by Lucas Soltow

My husband, a more knowledgeable baseball fan than me, quoted a statistic that even great baseball players get a successful hit about 3 out of every 10 at-bats. “Baseball players have to be great at failing,” he said, with way too much enthusiasm for that statement. This was, of course, in response to my complaint that the Royals players often look like they shrug off strike-outs and failed hits. Why aren’t they cursing or crying, damn it? That’s what I would do!

My husband, in his vast baseball wisdom, told me that it comes down to perseverance (and perhaps a Goldfish-like memory of all those failures) to make a great baseball player. The same can be said of writers.

I cannot tell you how many pieces of writerly wisdom I’ve come across that hammer the same points home again and again: Don’t give up, and finish what you start. If there’s one piece of advice, above any other, that keeps me going, this is it. Perseverance.

When the Royals were down by 4 runs in the 7th inning, most of us thought the game was over. They’d lost. It was too late. But they didn’t give up. They persevered. They kept swinging, even when it seemed hopeless.

That’s what I want you to do. When you’re questioning your vision; when you’re disheartened or losing momentum on a work in progress; when you receive criticism or reviews that are hard on your heart, just know that it isn’t over until it’s over.

Keep swinging. Keep writing.

Post Navigation