Sunday, June 30, 2019

#PRIDE DAY POST: Perception by Serenity Snow

In honor of pride month, we've asked our LGBTQ+ authors what PRIDE means to them. Please welcome Serenity Snow to the blog today...

Even in today’s society being a lesbian still raises brows as much as being gay does. Curious stares abound and that’s okay, but hate is unacceptable. 
Love doesn’t come in colors—I don’t see color really which is one of the reasons I write interracial romance and why my characters are often neither black nor white. I’m neither. I’m Indian, black, and white. I see a rainbow rather than race, and I see the same when it comes to love. 
I think if two consenting adults find something special in each other, it’s no one’s right to contradict that. It’s as natural for two women or two men to love each other as it is for a man and a woman to love each other. Love doesn’t feel differently, act different, or hurt differently because it’s two people of the same sex. 
I know women who refuse to acknowledge their sexuality and live as unhappy straight women. They deny being lesbian for fear of losing family support, of losing religious support, and even friends.   
Criticism can be very difficult to deal with in sexuality and even more so than in other areas of life because it’s one of the points that society seem to agree is wrong or not right. Ironically, I don’t think the criticism is as much about the love as it is about the sex.
I think for a lot of straight people sex is an issue in so many ways and when you add two people of the same sex into the mix you add another layer that’s almost taboo. So much about sex is still dirty or unmentionable to people. 
Oral. Anal. To do or not to do and the very idea of gay people engaging in the taboos seem to terrify some people as if the planet will flip over. 
Course when people aren’t bringing in sex it’s the crutch of religion. My fave—god create Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. Well, hell, Steve didn’t bring up from nothingness. He got created too. It saddens me to hear people using faith as means to justify their own fear when sexuality doesn’t rub off. So, there’s no reason to attack someone for loving differently. 
I rarely incorporate issues with sexuality in my books but in the ones that I have, I take from my own life and experience with familial reactions to the gay family members. The cruel attempt to control and shape, or change, or shame into straightness, are things I’ve known. The rejection is kept to a minimum but it’s there in the cold stares and scrunched up faces as if there was a bad smell in the air. 
Where there are two consenting adults, I don’t see an issue. I think the love should bloom like a sunflower—big and beautiful. 

Law and Love, 1
Lucky Cane is a hotshot criminal defense attorney coming off a big win when her ex Caroline Woodland asks her for help. Lucky’s reluctant to be anywhere near the closeted lesbian she fell in love with during their brief fling, but something about Caroline won’t let her walk away.
Caroline knows Lucky is a threat to her safe way of life. Getting too close to her will tear her world apart, but Caroline is a social worker and she knows Lucky is the only person who can help an orphaned teenage-girl accused of murdering her mother.
Lucky is all set to pass the case off to avoid contact with Caroline. However, Lucky quickly realizes the teenager holds the answers to more than just one murder, but can she keep the girl alive and prevent Caroline from breaking her heart again?
Be Warned: f/f sex, sex toys

Buy Caroline's Heart here:

Friday, June 21, 2019

Happy National Selfie Day!

We asked our authors to take a selfie for National Selfie Day and they delivered! Here are just a few of the wonderful faces behind our smart and sexy romance...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Very Special New Release: The Tattoo Artist’s Mate by Doris O'Connor and Raven McAllan

Earlier this year our Evernight Family lost our beloved longtime author, Doris O'Connor. Please welcome Doris's best friend, Raven McAllan, as she talks about how she finished the story they started together...


I’m so happy—and incredibly sad—to be able to say that the last book the lovely Doris O’Connor had an input in is now out. I know that is a contradiction, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

The Tattoo Artist’s Mate.

This story was plotted out by the two of us, in my study a couple of years ago over a gin and tonic (or three) with lots of snorts and giggles. A page of notes on my lap top cryptically called ‘Ours J n D. Gaspar’. (J for Jo, my non-author name) As with a lot of other, must do, one day things, life got in the way, and it got put to one side. We talked about ‘oh we must write that one day,’ and got no further.

Until recently.

And in the worst of all circumstances.

As I’m sure most of you know, Doris lost her battle with cancer of an unknown primary earlier this year.

I feel part of me is missing. 

Try as I might I can’t find it. 

It’s so hard; she was the sister I’d never had. Both only children we clicked when we first met online in a group for aspiring writers, and even more so when we met in real life. We were, we decided sisters, under the sun.

Over the years we have nagged, encouraged, laughed and cried with each other.

The first time Doris was asked to add a certain sex scene into a story, it’s a wonder Skype didn’t crash the amount of words that went on. When I had to fathom out what a Regency Dom would use in a certain scene, ditto. We discussed out plots, where our books were set, and beta’d each other’s work. We called it ‘rediting’. I.e. red penning it, (or whatever color type we felt like using.) We were, we both admitted, each other’s harshest critic. Which was welcome. There was never any need to hold back on telling the truth, and yes sometimes it was harsh, but hey ho, we never held it against each other. It was always honest and what was needed.

My husband and I (I sound like the Queen here ;) ) were over the moon to be asked to be honorary grandparents to her youngest when he was born. Before long we were grandparents to all of Doris and Tony’s children. Fantastic. An honor we love.

However, I digress.

Back to Gaspar.

Around 4 years ago we wrote (again giggling in my study) a time slip story, The Duke’s Christmas Abductions, and it was great fun. But with both of us busy, the ‘we must do it again’ apart from that one page if notes, kept getting put back.

Fast forward to the end of last year. 

Doris went into hospital and was bored. I unearthed our notes, wrote my first bit and sent it to her, with a note. ‘Over to you.’

She laughed and added a bit. The ‘me a bit, her a bit’ went on until she couldn’t write any more. I promised her that as we had started it, I would finish it, and use our original ideas.

So I did. This is our joint story. 

I hope it works for you, and you enjoy it as much as we and then I enjoyed writing it. (If you can say that about something so bitter sweet. There were more than a few tears shed.)

I hope I’ve added what was needed to finish our joint story.

And I hope it’s what she would have wanted. (I haven’t had any shouting in my ears saying Jo, for goodness sake just do a, or b, already, so fingers crossed it is.)

The Tattoo Artist’s Mate 
by Doris O'Connor and Raven McAllan

Bare Alley Ink, 1
When Isla Campbell leaves her so-called Dom, she is determined never to sub again. All she wants is her tattoo removed and to live a quiet life with no dominant, or domineering men, in it.

Until she meets Gaspar MacDonald, tattoo artist and, unbeknownst to her, a bear shifter.

Isla calls to Gaspar in the most basic of ways—he knows she is his mate.

Now all he has to do is persuade Isla of that fact. Oh, and explain he’s a Dom, and a shifter, and that subbing for your Dom is not what she thought it was, but much better.

Will Isla ever trust him enough to discover if they have what would be the perfect match?
Be Warned: BDSM, spanking

Find The Tattoo Artist's Mate here:

Saturday, June 15, 2019

“Questioning” seems the core and the matter of the issue... by Katherine Wyerven #PrideMonth

In honor of pride month, we've asked our LGBTQ+ authors what PRIDE means to them. Please welcome Katherine Wyvern to the blog today.


When I was writing the first book in my loosely interconnected ”transgender trilogy”, Woman as a Foreign Language, I came across a beautiful quote by Eddie Redmayne, who had recently starred in The Danish Girl, and had suddenly become an advocate for transgender rights. He said, "If gender is on a spectrum, where one finds oneself is completely unique.” This is something that should be almost obvious, but is not. 

Whenever I see the rainbow flag proudly displayed, I think sometimes that the rainbow truly represents that spectrum, but also the divisions that still exist within the queer community, where much language is wasted in obsessively (and sometimes aggressively) labeling and subdividing people’s identities and sexual orientations.
The words themselves have such changeful meanings, that what two years ago could legitimately be called a “transgender trilogy” should now probably be relabeled a “genderqueer trilogy”. It’s confusing, disheartening and ultimately counterproductive when vocabulary gets ahead of the content in any discussion, but such is the queer world. 

My interest in writing genderqueer characters stems from my own gender confusion, for which I have no name and no label, except perhaps that rather beautiful umbrella term, “questioning”. 

“Questioning” seems the core and the matter of the issue to me. Questioning gender is just one more form of the quest of human beings all over the world to find their true place in the grand scheme of things, which is not necessary the place where fate has dumped us. 

This deep questioning of place and identity is a terrific premise for any story, if not for a person’s own peace of mind. It is also part of why I never wrote outright transsexual characters, and found much more interest in characters for whom gender exploration is not at all a one way street, and who don’t feel they are one thing or the other, but rather, truly, some changing, indefinable, nameless hue on a spectrum.

Incidentally, these are possibly the most numerous transgender group, and the one that finds the least expression and representation in the media. 

I found it most therapeutic to write a transgender story set in Victorian times, A Muse to Live For, exactly because of the lack of established language at the time to define this issue. It was liberating to know that I could avoid all labels because at the time there were no labels, and that I could freely explore both the ingenuity and the inadequacy of the language in dealing with such topics.  

It’s also my true experience of growing up with a genderqueer identity in a world (provincial Italy, thirty years ago) that had absolutely no concept of it, and where the discussion of this topic was not “taboo”, or “frowned upon”, or “loaded”, but simply “non-existent”. 

Pride month is a time of noise and extravagant colourful displays, but I do hope it comes with deep reflection. So many people both in the western world and in less democratic countries, still struggle in silence, sometimes in real physical danger, to find expression and legitimacy for their identities and orientations. Unless we extend our protection to these people, and lend them our voice for what they cannot say, our pride is and will remain pretty shallow. 

There are many LGBT rights organizations supporting human rights around the world. Consider celebrating pride month with a donation to one of these. 

"This is one of the most beautiful romances I've ever read."

London, 1884

An artist lives to create. When Nathaniel’s urge to paint died, so did his will to live.

Until the night he meets Gabrielle.

Gabrielle may be just a poor prostitute, but she has the beauty of a Pre-Raphaelite stunner and the otherworldly aura of a fallen angel. She also has a secret. Gabrielle is Gabriel, and when Gabriel’s dark past comes knocking and Gabrielle must abandon her new career as an artist’s model, Nathaniel’s whole world comes crashing down again.

Better to die than living without her love, and the breathtaking creative drive she brought him. But it’s dead easy to die for a woman. Any fool can die for love. To live for it, that takes altogether more courage, doggedness, and imagination.

A MUSE TO LIVE FOR is available here:

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Being LGBTQ+ doesn't look like you think it does.... by Erin M. Leaf

In honor of PRIDE MONTH, we've asked our LGBTQ+ authors to speak out about what PRIDE means to them. Please welcome Erin M. Leaf!


Being LGBTQ+ doesn't look like you think it does....

Hello readers! My latest book, His Beast Returns, features two guys who are destined to be together, and neither one of them looks or acts like anything remotely stereotypical when it comes to being gay. Russell is rugged and tough, and routinely startles people with his size. Tristan seems distant and cold, but that's only because he has to hide his empathic abilities. Neither man has been able to be truly themselves for most of their lives because of their circumstances. And that is an important point to understand: no LGBTQ+ person should be pressured into being one thing or another thing. No one should be expected to be anything except what they must be for the situation in which they find themselves living.

Growing up queer is never easy, even when you have a supportive family. Being in the closet or out of it is an individual choice that depends on where you are in your life. How you present yourself to the world is a choice. Temperament and safety and a zillion other things can dictate how you live and interact with your community. Survival sometimes trumps truth, and no one who hasn't experienced that kind of fear should judge someone who's lived it. 

Being open and proud also means understanding that life is a process, and acceptance comes in many different forms. Sometimes it takes a while to accept yourself. Sometimes it takes a while for someone else to accept you. This is a universal truth. And that's why being queer doesn't always look like you think it does. We are all just pushing forward through life, trying our best to love and be loved.

Book Blurb:

Tristan Marik fell in love when he was too young to understand that he wasn’t allowed happiness, particularly not with another boy. As the son of Edmond Marik, ruthless owner of Monolith Enterprises, he had an image to maintain. After his father threatened his boyfriend’s life, Tristan spent years pretending he'd never sworn a blood oath. But now, everything has changed. 

Russell Kelvin dreamed of the day he'd return to Tristan because he thought it would happen on his terms. He thought they’d be free to love. Instead, his ability to call his beast is the only thing that can keep Tristan alive when enemies want him dead. 

Fear keeps Tristan from fully trusting Russell’s intentions. Instinct keeps Russell by Tristan’s side, even in the face of doubt. But oaths made in blood never fade, and the drive of the beast is stronger than either of them realize.

Buy Links:

Chapter One Teaser-->

Russell Kelvin looked up at the building, one of the taller glass monoliths in midtown Manhattan, and gritted his teeth. The owner of the building had named it and his company aptly, for he couldn’t imagine a more forbidding tower of glass and steel. Monolith Enterprises owned the place, and Russell was here to step inside and back into the world of civilization after too long away. He hadn’t set foot in the States in ten years, and he hadn’t set eyes on Tristan Marik in even longer. His skin prickled with energy, and he swore he could taste electricity on the damned air, no matter how unlikely a scenario that was. He licked his lips, imagining Tristan’s cool green gaze. Everything else would be different about the man, but not the eyes. Never the eyes.
“You can do this,” he muttered to himself, like a madman. Only a crazy man would talk to himself in the middle of New York, but perhaps he wasmad, despite how wretchedly sober he felt. People walked around him as if he were also part monolith, and it was true he was taller than average, but it was also true that in the city, people had places to be and he was simply an immovable object in the way of everyone at this time of the morning. He thought maybe he should’ve shown up later that day, perhaps just before five, and then his sudden appearance would’ve been unremarkable, except, well, he wanted to be remarkable. Tristan needed him to be remarkable. That was the whole point of this homecoming, after all. He ran a hand through his dark hair, knowing that no matter how carefully he styled it, people would be looking at the rest of his body long before they noticed his face. He hadn’t bothered with a suit. It seemed pointless. He’d put on jeans and his boots and a black shirt, and if all of it showed his muscles just a little bit too well, so be it.
“You knew this was coming. You’ve known this was coming for over ten years now,” he murmured, exhaling almost before he began moving forward. He pushed open the glass doors. The moment he stepped inside the cool, hushed foyer, the people behind the reception desk looked up, polite smiles fading as they took him in. He wasn’t anything close to civilized, and this gleaming building wasn’t anything close to the wild lands where he’d been living. His mother would say that he was a beast set loose in a china shop, and she wouldn’t be too wrong. It was a pity she’d been dead since he was a child. She would’ve enjoyed this kind of homecoming. He would’ve enjoyed her enjoyment.
“Can I help you?” one of the women behind the gleaming desk stuttered, eyes riveted to his chest. A faint blush rose onto her cheekbones. The other woman’s dark skin hid any blush, but he felt her attention on him just the same.
Blonde. Grey eyes. Marlie, his brain supplied as he met the first woman’s gaze. He knew all the key employees here, even though they didn’t know him. “No, thanks. I’m good,” he said in a clipped voice, nerves getting the better of him. He could pretend to be civilized, but it would never feel comfortable. He glanced at the others. The woman on the far end didn’t even try to hide her curiosity. The man in the middle frowned faintly, sensing competition where there was none. Russell had no interest in the women, or even the man. “I know the way,” he said more gently, taking in the vaulted ceilings and columns.
Tristan’s father had built this place, but Tristan had his hands all over the design. And thatmeant Russell knew everything there was to know about the building, all of its secrets and deficiencies, not that anyone except Tristan had a clue about that. It was a pity the building was the only thing Tristan had control over for the past decade. Russell wouldn’t have had to stay away for so long if that hadn’t been the case. And now you’ve descended into self-pity, he thought, angry with himself. Just what Tristan doesn’t need.
Marlie stared at him, but he simply smiled as he strode past the large desk to the bank of elevators. “Wait! You can’t go up without a security pass,” she said, standing up. The man in the middle of the two women, as blond as Marlie, stood up, too. He looked less confused and more inclined to suspicion.
Hmm. Not completely stupid, then, Russell thought, not that it mattered. The man wouldn’t be a problem for him.
“She’s right,” the man said, holding the desk phone as if it were a weapon. “And you certainly can’t use that elevator. That’s the VIP lift.”
“There’s no need to call security, Jon,” Russell said, nodding at him. He ignored their whispers about his knowledge of their names. They’d find out the details soon enough. He lifted his hand and placed it on the palm scanner of the executive express elevator, the one that went directly up to the top three floors. The elevator Tristan used. The elevator Edmond Marik had used before his death a week ago. A moment later it beeped, and he tapped in the floor of the building he wanted onto the screen. The doors opened.
The woman at the far end paled. “How—”
Russell smiled, but he had too much to deal with right now to take the time to explain anything to her and the others. “It’s okay. I promise,” he told the trio, stepping inside. “I’m expected.”