The Authors Speak *Bunch of Books* Giveaway begins: Win 9 ebooks from 9 authors!

We’ve set up a bunch of ways you can enter to win a bunch of books.
Get one backlist book from each of our nine regular bloggers. For more info about each author, check out their posts here on Authors Speak, or click on the menu tab above to go to the author’s personal blog.

  • Charley Descoteaux clouds-birds-library-425730_1280
  • Grace R. Duncan
  • Sarah Madison
  • Anne Barwell
  • Rebecca Cohen
  • Elizabeth Noble
  • Tempe O’Reilly
  • Lou Hoffmann
  • Lou Sylvre

Thanks for playing, and may luck be with you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why I Write




Has it been a month already? Well I guess it has. Welcome back for another of my posts on Authors Speak.

Last month I rambled on a bit about why I write what I write. This month I’ve chosen a broader topic: Why I write.

I probably should have led with that, sorry.

So, let’s delve into what drives a person (me) to spend a part of everyday working on creating a story, the type of story doesn’t matter, it’s the act of writing that matters. There are a number of reasons people begin writing. Some write as a hobby or as a stress reliever. Therapists recommend writing as part of recovery for many people. It’s a way to get feelings out of your head. Once I read of a method that advocated writing down what’s bothering you on paper and then burn the paper to clear away negative emotions.

Others (me) begin as children, making up stories about the world around them. It’s a way of correcting something gone wrong or to further explore a favorite book or television show. I didn’t learn until decades later that’s called fanfiction—more on that next month.

The great thing about writing is you don’t have to be good at it, you simply have to do it. I write because it’s something I love doing. These days I write with the goal of publishing, but that wasn’t always my motivation. Having your work published isn’t what makes one a writer.

What makes someone a writer is the drive to write.


There are people who keep what they write private for a number of reasons. You know what? That’s okay. We’re not required to share every little detail about ourselves with the world. I kept much of what I wrote very private for a long time. During school, before college, I was the girl who walked around with a notebook hidden in with my other books. I wrote down all sorts of stories and tried out different styles. When I wasn’t reading books to escape into a little fantasy world I was writing them.

I love to read and eventually discovered a sure fire way to find exactly the types of stories I want to read was to write them. It’s a simple concept, really. Now it’s a bonus to me that others seem to enjoy reading what I write as well.

When I was very young I lived with my grandparents. Today that’s not such an uncommon thing, but in the sixties being a child of divorced parents who lived with her grandparents was unique to say the least. My grandmother was very sick and I often had to stay home from school to care for her. She was mostly bedridden and slept a lot, so the dog and I were on our own. All my friends were in school and I never cared for game shows or soap operas.


There was no Netflix or digital books. Our house was filled with books, but more of them were for adults than a little girl. I had my own collection, but I’d read through them and often getting to a library to find other books wasn’t an option. Some days I really wasn’t in the mood to re-read, so I began to write. I wanted stories about adventure and space travel and horses, so I created them. Sometimes all in one story! That simple act allowed me to express myself and explore with my imagination. When I didn’t write, I went back and read my stories.

It was fun.

Eventually I learned what it was to be a published author and those were the people who created the books stored in our family room. I wanted to be one of those people. To me writing has never hard work, but something that seemed as natural as breathing. It’s my happy place after a day of dealing with the world.

So, to answer the question why I write? The answer is simple. I can’t not write.



Lou Hoffman has a RaffleCopter Give Away be sure to check it out!

The Power of Saying No in Order to Say Yes by Sarah Madison


I’m late getting here today. I’ve been out of town and, while I had the best of intentions as to writing this post in advance, I got caught up in all the post-vacation work stuff that occurs and barely managed to write this at all. But it’s just as well because my trip influenced my choice of topics here today.

I just got back from an annual vacation that my friends and I refer to as ‘Squee Weekend.’ It started seven years ago as a 3 day weekend among fandom friends and has evolved into a writers/crafting weeklong workshop with participants from all over the world. We still talk about our fandoms, but we also brainstorm over stories, share our love for other hobbies, such as journaling, or jewelry-making, and in general stay up half the night watching movies, talking, drinking wine, and eating too much. I look forward to going every year. It’s a place where I can let down my hair among friends—among tribe mates—and be myself for a few days. Every year the group gets bigger—and the lovely thing is we can all meet together for mass discussions or break down into smaller gatherings depending on what we might be interested in at that moment.

I always learn something new when I’m there: how to creatively decorate my bookmarks for con swag, for example, or the basics of podficcing. I’ll find out what fandoms my friends are in now and what stories I should be reading. One year I might learn how to put on winged eyeliner without looking like Bucky from The Winter Soldier. Another I might learn how to make charm bracelets or create a bullet journal or organize notebooks for my story ideas. I never fail to come home with more ideas for stories, either—the meeting of like minds is a fertile feeding ground for plot bunnies—so if I’d been feeling stale in my writing, I return to the keyboard refreshed and raring to go.

This time, however, my take-home lesson was something entirely different.

It came out of a random conversation. I don’t even remember what the original topic was, but I happened to mention I had a high school reunion coming up and I didn’t want to go.

“So don’t,” said one of my friends.

I grimaced. “I’ve already paid for the tickets and they were too pricey not to use.”

“That money is already spent,” said another friend. “Don’t compound the problem by investing in it further.”

“Yeah,” said the first person. “You’ve wasted that money. But don’t spend it AND be miserable to boot. Call it a loss and do something you’d rather do that evening.”

I confess, it was a bit of a new concept to me. The notion I could cut my losses without having to ‘get my money’s worth’ out of the price of the tickets already spent, that is. Granted, I’m bad about over-committing anyway. I have lots of Big Ideas and I want to implement them, and I frequently agree to things that sound good on paper but I wind up not having the time for it—or worse, I’m stressed by the number of things I promised I would do. This is especially true when it comes to my writing. I’ll agree to submit a story to this project, or sign up for that event, or participate in something I think will get my name out there and hopefully help me find more readers.

Over the years, I’ve gotten better about saying no to things I don’t want to do in the first place—and to not allow myself to be guilted into doing something I have no desire to do. But I’m still bad about over-committing to things that sound fun, or that I think would benefit me in some way.


One of the things I had to do this time at Squee Weekend was pick and choose which discussions and activities I wanted to participate in. It was hard because I wanted to do them all! But Squee has become so large we can’t do everything we’d like. As it was, the days flew by and it felt as though we’d barely scratched the surface of our activities. I came home with a better feeling of what was important to me (yes, spending a couple of hours posing action figures in ridiculous shots and taking pictures of them was something I wanted to do with my friends). As a matter of fact, I ended up going miles out of my way on the return trip because I missed an exit. I wound up in the WRONG STATE and added more than an hour to my driving time. Normally this would have stressed me to no end, but instead, I found myself pulling over at a scenic overlook to—yes, take pictures of actions figures against the backdrop.

I’m going to do more saying no to say yes. No to the reunion, but yes to a nice dinner with the BF. No to all the anthologies so I can work on the stories I really want to write. No to so much marketing and yes to finishing that next novel. No to writing half a dozen blog posts and hosting more people on my website and yes to walking the dogs in this lovely autumn weather.

Saying no because I don’t want to do a particular thing is sometimes hard for me to do. I was raised to be helpful and accommodating at all times. But saying no to doing something because there is something else I would rather do—that I can get behind.

Lou Hoffman is doing a Rafflecopter here, so check it out while you’re at it!

The Importance of Young Reviewers (also The Sun Child Chronicles News—cheap book, new book, giveaway)

Lou Hoffmann Icon-logo-squareHi! Lou Hoffmann here, apologizing. I missed my slated date for October by two days, but Charley doesn’t take the stage until 6 days from now, but I figure I can still slide in here with a few thoughts and some quick news.

First the “thoughts” (since I do have a couple today). Young readers writing reviews is a truly wonderful thing. I fairly recently became aware that sites exist on the web where students can share their reviews of what they’ve read, as well as connect with others and find out what others are reading and loving. A couple examples: Scholastic’s “Share What You’re Reading” section of their teacher resource, and Biblionasium—the latter with a great interface for young readers, inviting and easy to use. I know of only one sight, though, where authors can specifically ask for reviews from reviewers, and where the reviewers are encouraged to learn the art of the review—LitPick, it’s called, and their administrator, Tynea Lewis was recently named in ILA’s 30 under 30, recognizing her work there. Fellow YA author Michael J. Bowler told me about this site last year, and I quickly took advantage of what the site offers. You can post your book for review by any interested reader, or you can support the site’s work by purchasing a guaranteed or rapid review. (No, they don’t guarantee a good review, only that one of their student reviewers will indeed review it.) I have had The Sun Child Chronicles books reviewed by a student reviewer, and although the young reader, Nictaf, did indeed award five stars, the joy of reading evident in the words of the review is a far greater reward. That’s why I believe having young people review books is important—because it gets them reading, and reading is most fabulous. Nevertheless, I am proud of those five stars, and LitPick gave me a badge to show them off.

LitPick review of Key of Behliseth
LitPick review of Wraith Queen’s Veil

Now, about The Sun Child Chronicles…
In case you’ve missed it the ten million times I’ve already said it, Wraith Queen’s Veil releases this week, officially, on October 6th. I’ve got a blog tour going on, and I’ll post the schedule before I click out here today, but first some other news.

Today through Wednesday, Key of Behliseth is only 99 cents.

Yep. Book one for 99 cents today, book two release on Thursday. Pretty good set up, I hope you’ll agree. There will be other chances to save while the blog tour is going on, but, well… 99 cents, right?

Yes, I’m touring blogs. I hope to have some fun with the posts and maybe leak a few state (book-related) secrets along the way, and I also hope you’ll join me. Here’s the schedule. I reserve the right to switch up the blog topics, but this is how I think it will go for now. I’ll update with exact post links as they become available.

MM Good Book Reviews”: “Interview, Excerpt, and Giveaway”

Harmony Ink Press Microblog

C. Kennedy, Author blogspot: “The Beasts in Lucky’s Worlds: A loving look at the horrible, wonderful, treacherous, loyal, extraordinary non-humanoids in Lou Hoffmann’s The Sun Child Chronicles”

Divine Magazine: “Recommended Equipment: A Wizard, An Uncle, and a Faithful Horse”

Queer Sci-Fi—Sci Fi, Fantasy & Paranormal With a Bent Attitude: “Wraiths, Shifters, and a Ghost”

My Fiction Nook: “Familiar and Unfamiliar Places in Strange Worlds”

Prism Book Alliance: An author interview

The Novel Approach “An interview with Han Shieth and Henry George (a couple of badass characters)”

Drops of Ink: A different author interview.

C. Descoteaux Writes: “Why Bad Things Happen to Good Characters”

Emotion in Motion: “Character interview: Lucky and Rio (Yes, Virginia, there is a little romance in this fantasy)”

Rhys Ford: “How to Play the Game of Stars”

Rainbow Gold Reviews: “Blog Tour Finale: Why Magic? And Win a Signed Paperback Wraith Queen’s Veil!”

I also hope you’re feeling lucky (well at least luckier than Lucky, the series protagonist who has some tough times ahead) because a Rafflecopter giveaway is going on, with four pretty cool prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That’s it for my post this month on Authors Speak. Happy reading ’til we meet again!

The Protagonist’s Journey

Hi, it’s Anne Barwell and this month’s Authors Speak blog is also my blog post for the Virtual Fantasy Con I’m attending in October.

The organisers had a few interesting topics to choose from, but the protagonist’s journey appealed to me for several reasons. As with all the different genres I read, the thing that makes or breaks a story for me is the characters. Characters and their story is also a big part of the reason I write.

To quote one of my favourite authors—Ursula K. Le Guin: “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

Within the fantasy genre, a protagonist’s journey can take place on several levels. While they often journey to strange and new lands they haven’t been to before, there is also the potential for internal change. Sometimes the two don’t need to go hand in hand. A character can find new depths within themselves they didn’t know about simply because they view their surroundings in a new and different way. Or find a world within their own they didn’t know existed.

Finding those worlds, or rediscovering our own, is one of the reasons I love reading and writing urban and contemporary fantasy.

Imagine discovering that amongst the world you thought you knew, there are vampires, werewolves and the like. This is what happens to Ben, one of the protagonists, in Shades of Sepia. Although he leaves his native New Zealand, he doesn’t find himself in an alternate world but, shortly after arriving in the United States, discovers that not only are vampires and werewolves real, but most of the myths he’s read about them aren’t exactly true. These vampires walk in sunlight and hold down regular jobs. Ben needs to not just adjust to a different viewpoint of this world but soon finds himself a part of it.

Joss Whedon says that “you take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they are.”

That quote embodies the other reason I love the fantasy genre. It gives great opportunities to take people and throw them into situations where they have to find a part of themselves they didn’t know existed—or have tried to ignore—in order to survive.

Another world existing alongside our own is the theme behind portal fantasies. This subgenre uses the familiar as a stepping stone to take the protagonist on a journey to another world. I really enjoyed exploring this idea with my Hidden Places series, and took it one step further.

Tomas is a writer searching for the sequel to a book he’s sure exists. He’s miffed that the main characters in his favourite fantasy story didn’t get their happy ending. He meets Cathal and the lines between fantasy and reality are very quickly blurred with life imitating fiction. Or is it vice versa? Tomas is very much someone who keeps to himself at the beginning of the story. He’s been hurt a few too many times so he figures it’s safer if he doesn’t let anyone in. However, he’s soon forced into a situation where he needs to take a leap of faith, and find a part of himself he didn’t think existed in order to secure his own happy ending.

The protagonist’s journey can also result in a physical as well as an emotional change. High fantasy set in a land other than ours is a wonderful playground in which to explore that theme. In A Knight to Remember I wanted to play with the idea that not all heroes step onto the page knowing exactly what they’re doing. In the traditional quest story the hero often goes hunting for a relic and kills a magical beast such as a dragon along the way. This isn’t what happens to Aric, crown prince of Astria. His view of the world is quickly upset when he’s confronted by a dragon after he’s been told all his life they are extinct. Then he’s sent on a quest to find a sword, but isn’t told its purpose, just that it will save his kingdom. Where’s the fun of having something that comes with instructions? Finding the sword isn’t the end of his quest. Instead it raises far more questions than it answers. Aric—and his companion Denys—must find something hidden within themselves and learn to embrace it to save themselves and Astria. They’re only just embarking on their journey and I’m looking forward to writing the rest of it as the series progresses.

I love writing series as they provide a wonderful backdrop for a more complex storyline, and the opportunity to build upon the protagonist and his journey.

Who are your favourite protagonists in fantasy fiction, and what it is about their journey that draws you into their story?

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Dreamspinner Press Author Page:
DSP Publications Author Page:

No Two People Read the Same Book…

… or watch the same movie, or hear the same song, or see the same painting.

One of the things authors are usually told not to talk about is reviews. It’s generally considered acceptable to promote positive ones, and it’s fine to thank someone for a review—positive or negative.

However, complaining about a review is strictly verboten. I can see why, to a point, as we as authors do need to maintain a professional presence. Not always easy, considering we are real people with emotions and problems like everyone else. Sometimes bad reviews really hurt, and sometimes those bad reviews tear someone apart for the weirdest things.

I should make a point here, that there’s a difference between a “bad” review and a “negative” one. A negative review is just that, negative. The reader didn’t like it or the story wasn’t for them, but clearly they read the book, understood it, and their review was constructive. A bad review is one that shows the reader didn’t actually read the book or maybe tore it to shreds based on the author, rather than the story. We get these, quite a few of them in fact, and those are the reviews we most often want to talk about.

The thing we need to remember, however, is that reviews are personal. Any person who picks up a book and goes into a story, does so with an already preconceived idea. Maybe they’ve been cheated on and any perceived cheating in a story is an absolute no-no. Maybe they work in criminal justice and seeing things done wrong—the wrong language maybe—will make them cringe. I have my own things that will make me throw a book that others would look at me and go, “wut?”

On top of this, when we study English and literature in high school and college, we’re taught to read critically. For me, I’m able to set that aside for the most part when I read. But we’re taught to dismantle a story, look for the subtext, and dig into a character’s feelings and thought processes.

I was in the process of writing No Sacrifice when I got into an… interesting discussion with a beta. The main character was in the process of dealing with his bisexuality. He’d just had a dream of fucking his male costar and woke up in the middle of the dream. He goes out to the kitchen to get a drink and pulls out a carton of orange juice. My beta asked me if the orange juice was deliberate. I was completely confused for a moment. Deliberate about what? Then I realized she was talking about its consistency and I facepalmed. No, it could have been water or Coke or anything else like it. I did avoid milk—for color and consistency—but the orange juice was just orange juice.

Sometimes there is no subtext in something. Sometimes the curtains are just blue because we like that color. Sometimes orange juice is just a random drink.

But along with our personal experiences, we bring our education, and more, to a book. This easily works for movies, like it does books. I recently pointed out that even art—paintings—come with their own interpretations. What is a sad expression to one person could be thoughtful to another.

This is accurate for songs, as well. One of my all-time favorite songs is “Voodoo” from Godsmack.

Sully Erna, the lead singer and co-writer of the song, has stated the song was inspired by The Serpent and the Rainbow. The influence of witchcraft—Erna is Wiccan—was a big part of it. And yet, when I listen to the song, I don’t think about witchcraft—or the zombies in the video—or anything like it.

Voodoo makes me think of BDSM.

Yup. The lyrics at the beginning (and part of the chorus), in particular …

I’m not the one who’s so far away
When I feel the snake bite enter my veins
Never did I wanna be here again
And I don’t remember why I came

…remind me of submission. In this case the “snake bite” is the disapproval or disappointment of my Dom. It feels like poison in my veins. The idea that I’ve disappointed my Dom really does fill me. See, I’ll do it—disappoint. It happens because I’m human. But every time it happens, the “never did I wanna be here again” reminds me that I don’t, but that I will again and again.

But this is what I mean. This is clearly not what Erna intended when he wrote the song. However, it’s what I take away from it. I know some think about drugs when they hear it. Others simply take it for what he originally wrote it to mean.

We, as artists, writers, etc. can’t dictate what a reader takes from our books. We can’t control how they view the message (if there is one) or how we portray a character. All we can do is write the story that needs to be written and put it out in the world.

And keep it to ourselves when someone takes something from it we didn’t intend.


Voodoo ©1999 Republic Records/Universal Music Group. Written by Sully Erna and Robbie Merrill.

Hope (a Forbes Mates tale for the One Pulse Anthology), By Grace R. Duncan – Out Today!!

Part of the One Pulse Anthology, benefitting the victims and familes of the Orlando, Florida shooting

Published by Dreamspinner Press

Release date: September 19, 2016

574 pages (total for Anthology)

Cover artist: Paul Richmond



Miguel Garcia and Luis Rodriguez have been best friends all their lives. For the last year, they’ve been hiding the fact that they’re also destined mates. When Luis’s family finds out, they kick him out. Miguel’s family would keep them…except their alpha has been known to be downright violent against gay wolves.

With the help of Miguel’s mother, they set out to find a pack that will accept them. They run into more that a few obstacles before they end up in Denver, at the national wolf headquarters, meeting the alpha prime. They’re stunned to find, not only offers to join more than one pack, but that their struggle can shine light on a bigger problem–and make things better for LGBT wolves across the country.



Why I Write Part One


Hello, and welcome to another day on Author’s Speak. I’ve decided to spend some time talking about not only why I write, but why I write what I write.

Go ahead, say that ten times fast!

I thought I’d start with my chosen genre and branch out from there.

People ask why don’t you write serious/real books and how come romance? Some go a step farther and inquire why M/M romance or books with LGBTQ+ characters as leads?

Um…romance books are real and it’s a huge genre! There is something for everyone no matter if the characters are gay, straight or Martian.


Okay, I’m the first to admit most of my books aren’t serious in nature or horribly angsty, but not every book needs to be. More on the nitty gritty of that next month.

My initial response to why write LGBTQ+ characters, specifically gay men is simply: “I like it.” That’s sort of stating the obvious and doesn’t really offer much in the way of deep, thoughtful insight. However, I could almost see those reading my answer (the similar answers by other authors) sagely nodding their heads in agreement.

It’s like asking the reader, why do you read this genre? Gee, ‘cause they like it, silly, would be the universal answer. For me the real reason goes deeper.

Which brings me back to the question of why two men? Not two women or a man and woman?

Sooo….I’m out walking the dog one day, contemplating the affairs of my writing and while waiting on my cute canine companion to water some dead leaves I stumbled upon an epiphany about myself and why it is I enjoy reading and writing M/M romance. My answer goes much farther back to a time long before I became aware of gay romance or read that first story.


It’s because of my grandfather, who was, as far as I know, a completely straight, pretty conservative man. Interesting how things work out.

He also loved to read and watch television.

I was raised by this man, and lived in a predominantly male household. From the time I was a very little girl I was constantly telling a story and that evolved into writing them when I learned to string letters to words and words to sentences and sentences to paragraphs and…okay I can do this all day, you get the idea. As far back as I can remember this man told me I should be a writer.

Specifically, a mystery writer. That was his favorite genre.

circles-banner-926-173-whiteI’m sure M/M romance is not what he’d had in mind, but I think he’d be happy knowing I was being published and people were reading and enjoying my stories.

My grandfather was a huge fan of reading the mystery, the more suspense and action the better. Throw in some political intrigue and he thought it was perfect. I grew up surrounded by books, literally hundreds that were in a basement library he built by hand. He was a woodworker by hobby, much like Todd Ruger, one of the main characters of my Sentries series. All my grandfather’s favorite books had a common theme of two men, detectives or cops or whatever that were partners and friends. Men who cared deeply for one another.

Enter the male bonding theme, two men with a connection, deep love and respect for one another was presented to me when I was so young I couldn’t even read.

In fact, I was immersed in it.

Grandpa did more than read, he loved sports, but a physical problem kept him from being very active, so he watched television. Often while reading. Another habit from Grandpa, I often read or write while watching TV. For years I watched football, baseball and basketball with him. In between there were shows that were the staple of the television industry at the time, Combat, Five O’Clock HighRat PatrolGunsmokeBonanzaStar TrekBatman, the list goes on. They all had the commonality of men bonding, be they friends, fathers and sons, or brothers it didn’t matter. I was immersed from a very young age in stories where the central characters were men. Men who loved one another, even if it wasn’t in the romantic sense.


My favorite was Maverick. I’ll still watch that show when given the opportunity. Two brothers who every week found some mystery to solve, or wrong to put right or simply engaged in a good-guy/bad-guy chase down a deserted road and into a box canyon. From that show and those men I learned a love of a good (fictional of course) bar brawl, gun fight, chase, ghost story and an appreciation for taking a gamble in life. Times have changed and in the decades between Maverick and now there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of shows and books revolving around two men in some sort of close, loving relationship.

Okay, these guys weren’t in romantic relationships, but the groundwork for that next step was laid down and mapped out in my mind long ago and far away.

Is it really such a wonder that from there the leap to gay men and their close romantic relationships was made?

The main characters of my books are no different than the men of countless pieces of literature or viewing I grew up loving. They just have one more aspect to their lives and relationship: that of a soul bonded, mated, or married romantic couple. The heroes in my books have lovers as well as partners who are men. Men with a great deal of love and respect between them. Now, how could you not like that?

For women to read, write and enjoy all male romance isn’t so strange. So, here I am, many (we won’t discuss the actual number, but those of you who know the shows of which I speak can work it out I’m sure) years later, a woman whose first published novel was a paranormal action/adventure with a healthy dose of romance between two men.
It makes perfect sense really, when you think about it.

I, for one, couldn’t be happier or more proud that my first published novel revolves around a theme that I loved before I knew what it was: Men loving one another, how doesn’t matter. That my first novel, Marked Yours, and the books that have followed were not only about the close bond men share, but one that allows them to take that bonding into a romantic relationship.

To answer the question of why I wrote and published in the genre of M/M romance, well it’s simple really, it’s what I love, it’s what fascinates me and fires my imagination. It’s what I grew up learning to love and I want to offer a big thank you to those that created those books and shows then brought them to life for one little girl to appreciate the male bond.

From the brothers Maverick, Cartwright, Simon and Winchester, to the buddies Matt Dillon and Chester, Starsky and Hutch, Jim Ellison and Blair Sandberg, Peter Burke and Neal Caffery, and many others, I learned how deeply men bond and love one another and came to appreciate that bond. Mostly I owe them my heartfelt gratitude.

Really, is there any other genre steeped in such tradition for me, or that would feel so natural, to write in and explore? Was there ever a question of what would be the subject matter of my published novels? Hell, no!

There is plenty of action, love and general fighting of evil in all of my books.  

Until next month,

Happy Reading!




C. Descoteaux’s Safe House releases 9/19 from Dreamspinner Press—Sale and Giveaway!


The release date for Safe House, Buchanan House: Book Four, is coming soon! To celebrate, Dreamspinner has created a bundle sale—Pre-order Safe House and get Tiny House (Buchanan House: Book Three) for $0.99! The sale runs September 12 until release day—September 19!

This is a true series so to get the most out of it I recommend to read the books in order. With that in mind I’ve stocked a Rafflecopter with two chances to win the first book in the series, Buchanan House. Visit any stop on my tour between September 12th and October 1st to enter!


SafeHouseFS_v1Safe House (Buchanan House: Book Four) by Charley Descoteaux

It’s never too late for a new beginning…

Kyle Shimoda is an asshole magnet, has been for as long as he can remember. At forty-seven, he doesn’t see much chance for improving his luck in love. His friends who run Buchanan House, a gay retreat on the central Oregon coast, know he wants to find “someone nice” to settle down with, and they set him up with Officer Brandon Smith. Kyle has a turbulent history with law enforcement, but he can’t deny his attraction to the buff cop.

Brandon has been a police officer in Lincoln City almost since the day he graduated from high school over thirty years ago. He’s cultivated the facade of a serious, disciplined law enforcement officer, but beneath his overdeveloped chest beats the soft heart of a drama queen. A cancer scare shifts Bran’s focus from finding a serious relationship to having as much sex as he can—putting his goals squarely at odds with Kyle’s. If he can’t find the courage to be honest about his feelings for Kyle, the happiness they’ve both been searching for could slip through their fingers.


Read Chapter One at the Dreamspinner store to meet Kyle. Meet Brandon in the excerpt below.


Chapter Two

Brandon barely paid attention as he drove between the cemetery and the apartment he shared with two roommates. He’d hoped to find a voice mail from the doctor after the funeral, but no such luck. He did find one saying the new guy, Dylan, had called in sick, and Brandon was expected at work within the hour. He would have been happier to stay at the cemetery and talk with Paulie a little longer. And Kyle. Bran had met Kyle before, but they hadn’t spoken. He had noticed then how handsome Kyle was, and he was even more striking with his hair longer, framing his high cheekbones and full, sensuous mouth. His silky black hair looked so touchable.

This isn’t getting me to work any faster.

At least work will be a distraction.

He hurried home and changed into his uniform. His quick spot check in the bathroom mirror turned into a lingering appraisal. Brandon ran an open hand over his chest, not to smooth the impeccable fabric of his uniform shirt, but to reassure himself that nothing had changed. He grimaced at his reflection, thinking a little less gray and a little more brown in his hair might be a nice change.

Brandon shivered as he recalled the MRI he’d endured three days prior, which had revealed a suspicious lump in his chest. Forty-seven minutes in a tiny tube while the machine hummed and took pictures of his breast and lymph tissue. Just thinking about the way it had felt to lie there made him shiver—it was worse than the needle biopsy he’d had the following day. With every inhale his shoulders had brushed the walls of the tube on both sides, and less than halfway through he’d had to talk himself out of fleeing. He wasn’t a tall man—something that had bothered him throughout his life—but until that day he had taken pride in his body, in the bulk he’d cultivated without sacrificing speed or agility.

During that forty-seven minutes, he would have been happy to trade his broad shoulders for a smaller frame.

Since I’m making empty wishes, I might as well make one for a better-looking face. A face that could attract a handsome young guy like Kyle instead of scaring him half to death.

Bran’s stomach roiled at his own thoughts, and he resolved to not even think the word death again until—unless—he had to. He was tempted to forgo shaving the sandy brown stubble from his face but fell back on the habit, hoping for the comfort a routine could provide, and reached for his electric razor.

Everything seemed to be happening so fast. Less than a week ago he’d gone in for his yearly physical, and now he was waiting for the call that would tell him whether he needed to make another appointment for that week or next year. In the interim he’d been squeezed into a tube and had a biopsy. And relived the worst time in his life over and over, the time when he’d learned about his father’s diagnosis.


Pre-0rder Safe House at the Dreamspinner store and get Tiny House for $0.99! Sept. 12-19:


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Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.


Rattle Charley’s cages:

Dreamspinner Author Page:


Series: Buchanan House
Book Number: 4
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 19, 2016
Pages: 200
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase



Comparison will Kill Your Craft by Sarah Madison


An author friend of mine has been facing a crisis of confidence lately. Because of some of the conversations I’ve had with her, I’d already decided to make my monthly post here about the evils of comparing yourself to others, when I came across this post earlier today. My initial reaction was, ‘Darn it! Someone beat me to this.’ I thought the post very well done, and seriously considered changing my topic as a result.

Ironic, right? I was going to let an article on not comparing yourself to others prevent me from writing an article on not comparing yourself to others. What’s the first thing we say when we find out someone is writing a story with a similar plot to ours? We tell ourselves no one else can tell a story in the same way we can–that no two authors are going to tell the same tale, despite similarities in plots. And we go ahead and write our story anyway.

So that’s what I decided to do here, because while I think the author of the linked post makes some very good points, I think some were overlooked. The post talks about taking pride in your accomplishments (how many people successfully publish a book?) and concentrating on the things you can control rather on those you cannot. But when the little green monster of envy raises its head–take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Most of us feel that way too. We wonder why one person’s novel takes off and becomes a bestseller, while ours languishes unnoticed. Or we get a review that makes us think our writing is crap or a rejection letter that has us considering bagging the whole idea of writing.

Here’s my take on it. Comparison to others is one of the most crippling actions we make as creative people. We all do it–we can’t help it. It’s probably programmed into our genetic code–a flip-side to the part of us that categorizes people into groups of ‘us’ versus ‘not us.’ That’s not the healthiest behavior either, but we all seek our tribes. However, this same instinct to check out those around us and lump them into tribes, also has us assessing those within our tribes to determine their rankings. That’s really all it boils down to–but we often take this too far. Not only do we determine where others fall on the totem pole, but we want to know how everyone stacks up to us too.

Therein lies the problem.

I’ve written before that I think Facebook can make us depressed. We writers are taught we need to spend time on various social media outlets engaging with our audience. But in doing so, we also spend a lot of time on those same sites with our fellow authors, and I have to tell you, some days it’s tough seeing everyone else’s successes. As I said in my previous post, most days we haven’t lost 50 pounds, won the lottery, hit the top of the bestseller list, vacationed in Bali, or swum with a pod of dolphins while receiving an award for the best novel ever written. At the same time.

What we tend to forget is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like are frequently where we put forward our best face. None of us know what may or may not be going on in the lives of those we think have it so much better than we do. We might want to remember that when we are sure everyone else is more successful or a better writer than we are. What I think we also forget is in today’s world, we are constantly being bombarded with images of other’s success. We stack up these successes against our own and often decide we come up short.

I’d encourage you to remember this, however: when you are feeling down because everyone seems to be going to the latest convention when you can’t–when you are bummed because someone has released a new story to accolades–today that news belongs to your friends. But last week, or last month, it was you in the catbird seat. Remember? You just got back from a cool convention. And it wasn’t all that long ago that you launched your own book. Yes, it was a few weeks ago, but unless you’re a writing fiend who writes 24/7, you have no new book out. And you shouldn’t expect yourself to have one!


But I think that’s what social media does to us. Funny, isn’t it? Writers tend to be introverts. Social media gives us a chance to interact with fellow authors–our tribe mates–all over the world. But the same sites that bring us support and friendship place us in the position of making comparisons to others. That rush that comes from launching a new book, sharing new cover art, squeeing over reviews, taking pride in awards bestowed is addictive too. Like any addiction, it takes more and more for us to get our fix. It’s not enough to publish a book–now we need to break the bestseller lists. It’s not enough to be nominated, or get an honorable mention, we want to win awards. Anything less than a five-star review feels like a failure. Likewise, if it takes us a year to write a story when we know others who write several books in the same time, we’re sure we’re never going to keep an audience.

Well, believe me, it happens to me all the time. This is what I do to rein in those feelings of inadequacy.

  1. Spend less time on social media. Maybe it means taking a break for a while. Maybe it means limiting your time per day–make a post, share a post, congratulate a friend on their most recent success but then leave. Don’t get sucked into comparing your life, work, and perceived lack of success with anyone else.
  2. Give yourself credit for the success that you have. So you haven’t written 57 books in the last three years. If you’ve published a story at all, know that you’ve done more than most people who dream of being a writer. Celebrate all your successes–not just the big ones. (This applies to life in general too, you know)
  3. Read your best reviews. We all know we should avoid the bad ones, the ones that sting. But collect your best ones and put them in a folder so you can take them out on bad days and remember that at least once, you touched someone’s heart with your story. Likewise emails from fans. Someone took the time to tell you how much they liked your work. That counts for more than you realize. It’s everything.
  4. Read the bad reviews of your favorite books. Realize everyone gets slammed from time to time, and know that if someone can hate a book you think is sublime, there is no accounting for taste. You’re not going to please everyone all of the time.
  5. Write the next story. Put your heart and soul into it and write the best damn story you know how. Know that there will always be better and worse stories out there. Write the best story you can write at this moment in time with your current life experiences at hand. It doesn’t matter if you do it in a week or six years–write the best story you know how. The comparison you should be making is to the last story YOU wrote.