Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Preview

My attention was drawn to the beautiful dragons, and I traced them lightly with my fingers. “Have I told you how much I like these?”
“You might have mentioned it,” he replied gruffly.
“I wish I could have a tattoo, but it would get lost in a sea of freckles.”
“Why choose ink when you have a natural constellation of art?”
“Oh, please. My complexion is a muddied canvas compared to yours. I can’t even see your pores.”
“That doesn’t make yours any less beautiful. Colors are a big part of my life, and when I look at you, I see every variation of red imaginable. It would take me hours to replicate some of your shades.”
He was carding my hair with one hand and thumbing my face with the other. I’d never been studied with such intensity. Instead of feeling self-conscious, I was flattered beyond measure.
“Would you sit for me one day?” he asked. “I would love to capture you in pastels.”
“Hasn’t anyone ever told you how extraordinary you are?”
“Me?” I practically squeaked in shock. “I’ve always been the butt of jokes.”
“People can be so blind sometimes.”
“Or perhaps you’re seeing me with different eyes.”
 “Yes, a more critical artistic eye, which should underscore the sentiment. You’re very attractive.”
I kissed him then, overwhelmed by the praise. No one had ever given me such an ego boost.
“I’ll walk you to your apartment,” he said after we broke apart.
“There’s no need. I’ll take a cab.”
“Then I’ll ride in the cab with you.”
“Humor me, Niall. I want to make sure you’re safe.”
“If you insist.”
“I do.”
When we stepped out of his building, the streets were busy. It was eleven o’clock but early by Kowloon standards. People were still dining or clubbing, and it felt like a shame to cut our evening short.
“Let’s take the ferry,” I suggested. “Unless you want to hurry back.”
“There’s nothing pressing,” Gerard remarked. “I rather like the idea of having you for another thirty minutes.”

Third Son will be available for purchase on Monday, October 2.  30% off the price if you purchase at NineStar. Type PREORDER at checkout. Offer only good until the book releases.


NineStar Press:


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Third Son Blog Tour Schedule

Hi everyone! Here's the schedule of blogs that are participating on the tour. Read an exclusive excerpt at each stop and throw your name in the hat to win a giveaway.

October 2- Abbys 1-Click Book Blog
October 2- Southern Babes Book Blog

October 3- Dani's Book Reviews Blog
October 3- Happily Ever Chapter
October 3- Bayou Book Junkie

October 4- Zipper Rippers
October 4- Stories That Make You Smile

October 5- Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews
October 5- A Book Lover's Dream Book Blog

October 6- Love Bytes
October 6- Divine Magazine
October 6- The Novel Approach
October 6- Dawn's Reading Nook

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Preview: Inspiration Shots

This Friday I'd like to post more inspiration shots and a couple of teasers. One of my characters has dragon tattoos on both arms. When I was fleshing him out in my first draft I trolled the internet looking at a zillion images to find inspiration. Here's a few that caught my eye.

First Gerard sighting...

I was killing time before meeting my afternoon client, who owned a chain of hotels in Thailand. As part of the team in charge of his advertising, I was asked to appraise a series of murals created by a new artist, someone recommended by a friend of a friend. I wasn’t an art expert, but it was my job to know trends, and Gerard Sun was generating a lot of hype. As it happened, he caught my eye, hours before our face-to-face meeting. I almost swallowed my tongue when he climbed out of the pool, water sluicing down his chest past his well-toned abs and disappearing into black trunks that were plastered to his junk. He reminded me of Lee Byung-Hun, whom I’d fallen in lust with after seeing G. I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, only this guy was younger and way hotter. I had a thing for Asian men and Gerard was fucking gorgeous.

Another sighting...

I recognized Gerard immediately. He was in his usual getup: tight paint-splotched jeans, sleeveless black T, and a backward-facing ball cap keeping his shaggy chin-length hair out of his face. He rolled his shoulders as he scanned the room. The movement made the colorful dragon tats on both arms come to life. I couldn’t take my eyes off the amazing body art he’d designed, a tribute to his zodiac sign. The scales of the magnificent creatures seemed to move of their own accord as they climbed up his sinewy arms and wrapped around his neck. Honey-colored eyes zeroed in on mine, and I responded the way I always had in Gerard’s presence.

Third Son is now available for Pre-order. If you decide to purchase the novel at NineStar Press, you can get a 30% discount by typing in PREORDER at checkout.


NineStar Press:

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Preview: Third Son

Hi all! We made it to Friday and that means another sneak peek at my upcoming release. Third Son is a contemporary m/m novel set in Hong Kong.

Before you get started on the excerpt, I'd like to remind you about the 30% discount available at NineStar Press if you pre-order the novel. Once the book releases it goes back to full price. Type in PREORDER at checkout to get the discount. Here's the link:

I know some of you prefer Amazon's convenient one-click method and I totally get that. Here's the direct link to Third Son:

And we're off....

The gallery was crowded when I walked through the doors at six that evening. Gerard must have been on the lookout, because he was by my side in seconds. I almost didn’t recognize him in a suit. It was the first time since we met that he wasn’t in casual clothes. The who’s who of Hong Kong must have been in attendance if he wanted to make a good impression. He looked gorgeous, but I didn’t voice that out loud.
     “Thanks for coming, Niall,” he said, grabbing me in a bro hug. “I know you’d rather be somewhere else tonight.”
     “Actually, you’re wrong. Celebrating with you is exactly where I want to be right now.”
     Gerard smiled. “I’m glad.”
     He took my arm and we made a slow circuit of the gallery, stopping occasionally so he could respond to the many well-wishers. More than half of the artwork had a Sold sticker beside the title, and I imagined they’d be completely gone by the end of the night. This exhibit’s theme was Tanka boat people, the gypsies of the sea, according to the printed handout describing Gerard’s current pieces. The origins of these people could be traced back to the Tang Dynasty when local fishermen chose to escape war by settling on their vessels. The images showed typical family scenes in an atypical home. Toothless men sharing a meal with their younger, more virile counterparts, women washing their hair, breastfeeding, stir-frying vegetables in woks over hot coals, children playing with strings and buttons they’d turned into toys, piles of fish, some still leaping in the air, while others were gutted and ready for delivery.
     They were starkly realistic but tempered by the ink wash painting, his chosen medium for this particular exhibit. The goal was to capture the spirit of the subject beyond the actual image. Gerard had succeeded magnificently, and I would have gladly handed over a check to own a piece for myself if the timing had been better. With my future in doubt, I couldn’t afford to be impulsive. Although my job was secure, and the company had assured me that staying in Hong Kong was my choice, Minister Xiang Guo might refuse to work with anyone else. In truth, I was perfectly suited for this branch, and my transfer back to the States might not be forthcoming if the PRC held sway over the decision. I’d have to wait and see how this all played out before investing in expensive artwork.
     Gerard had promised dinner after the show, so I picked at the finger food and nursed my drink. At the gallery owner’s urging, he wandered away to schmooze potential buyers while I made another round of the room, going from painting to painting. Gerard was an extremely gifted and versatile artist. The murals we’d purchased for the Thailand project were oils and eerily futuristic, nothing at all like these meticulous inks that had an old-fashioned vibe. Minister Guo would be a fool to reject him because of finances.
     “I’ve been given permission to escape,” Gerard said quietly. He’d snuck up behind me and I spun around, startled by the mischievous smile on his face.
     “Don’t you enjoy meeting your buyers in person?” I asked. “Basking in the spotlight seems like the perfect reward for all your hard work.”
     “Not really,” Gerard replied. “I’d rather paint and have someone else do the promo.”
     “That’s refreshing,” I commented. “Most artists enjoy this part more.”
     “Do you know a lot of artists?”
     “I meant artistic types in general,” I said.
     He shook his head. “Not my thing, Are you ready to get out of here?”
     “Where are we going?” I asked. “I’m starving.”
     “You want fancy or down-to-earth good food.”
     “The latter,” I said. “I’m ready to dig into a mountain of crab and shrimp with my fingers.”         “Good deal,” Gerard said. “I know the perfect place.”
     His idea of perfect was the local version of a greasy spoon. We walked into the heart of Kowloon, getting farther away from the tourist traps and weaving through narrow alleys and backstreets. Gerard reached for my hand to help me circumnavigate puddles, and other undesirable droppings, and didn’t let go until we got to our destination. I probably should have untangled our meshed fingers, knowing the culture, but being with a man who cared about my well-being and wasn’t afraid to show it was a welcome change.
     After I came out to my parents in my sophomore year of high school, kisses and hugs just stopped. Maybe they figured if I was old enough to have sex with another guy, I wouldn’t need their affection. It was odd and painful, but at least they hadn’t disowned me, which was what I’d been expecting. Even now, after all these years, they continued to be reserved, preferring to shower me with cards and gifts instead of a pat on the back or a much-needed hug. I was so starved for open displays of affection, I soaked up Gerard’s attention.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Preview: Third Son

I'll be posting a short preview of Third Son every Friday until it releases on October 2.   Take advantage of the 30% discount by pre-ordering at NineStar Press. Link is posted at the end of the excerpt. 

Excerpt #1

To make sure I didn’t do something stupid like crawl back to Peter, I turned on my phone, ignoring the multiple missed calls, and pulled out Gerard’s card from where I’d tucked it away in my wallet. I sent a text, letting him know I’d be at the opening tomorrow and would like some private time to go over a proposal. It was almost midnight at this point, and I hadn’t expected a reply, so I was astounded when my phone rang. I thought it was Peter, but the caller ID said otherwise.
“Hey,” I said, accepting the call. “I didn’t think I’d hear from you until tomorrow. It’s late.”
“Not for me,” Gerard said. “I do my best work at night.”
“Good to know,” I murmured. “When do you go to bed?”
“Are you offering?”
I smiled ruefully. It was nice to know he was still interested after I’d been so rude the other night. “Don’t get too excited. It’s been a long day and I’d fall asleep the minute my head hit the pillow.”
“I’m encouraged that you’re even considering it.”
“Will wonders never cease,” I replied with a biting edge.
“If you had a fight with that piece of shit, I’ll be more than happy to provide whatever comfort you need.”
I felt guilty for a split second but shoved my righteous feelings away as quickly as they appeared. Gerard knew the score. If we ended up in bed again, it would be to our mutual advantage. There was nothing shady about the guy. He’d been honest with me from the beginning, and he was obviously still interested if he’d sought me out. I wondered what it would be like to date someone who wasn’t ashamed to be seen with me. I pushed those thoughts away. Already I was way ahead of myself, planning a future with Gerard when I hadn’t recovered from the sting of Peter’s rejection. Why did I need another man’s affection to validate me? And why on earth would I pick someone from the same culture whose family would hate everything about me? On the other hand, wasn’t a new love affair the best cure for a broken heart?
“It’s late,” I said, not bothering to address Gerard’s offer. “I’ll see you at the show tomorrow.”
“Let’s plan on dinner afterward,” Gerard suggested. “We can talk about your proposal.”
“Thank you.”
“My pleasure.”
My phone chimed again, and I saw a new text from Peter. I powered off immediately.
Before falling asleep, I revisited my time in Vegas where Gerard and I had first met. It was the day after I’d first noticed him. The owner of the hotel had invited my small group of coworkers to dinner, and we were waiting in the lobby when he appeared with my poolside wet dream by his side.
I couldn’t remember what we had for dinner, but I did recall Gerard’s delight when he learned I’d been schooled in Hong Kong and spoke his language. Gradually, we slipped into Cantonese to avoid the eavesdropping as he plied me with questions regarding the advertising company I represented and its goals. By the end of our meal, we had arrived at an understanding with regards to the business at hand. I was slightly buzzed on good wine, success, and Gerard’s engaging smile.
Someone suggested dancing and we piled into the first available limo. We were at the club in no time. The atmosphere was much like Pandora’s, and I moved away from the group hoping to find a willing partner, not realizing that Gerard followed closely behind.
He wrapped an arm around my waist, and we started to sway in time with the pulsating music that blared throughout the place. I was feeling no pain, hoping to have a good time and stop brooding over my long-distance relationship.
I had felt Gerard’s hands sliding down my ass and drawing me closer. His cock was rock hard and mine responded eagerly. For one mad moment, I thought I was with Peter. The similarities in body language were eerie, but when I stared into the honey-colored eyes, I saw the difference. Gerard looked at me like I was something precious, not a toy he could use and discard whenever the mood struck.
“Hey,” I said, under my breath.
“You’re a great dancer,” he said.
“I noticed you at the pool yesterday,” he admitted.
“Same here,” I said. “I especially liked your tats. Are they an original design?”
He nodded. “I’m a dragon.”
I broke into a wide grin. “So am I.”
Gerard looked pleased that a detailed explanation wasn’t going to be needed. We were both born in 1988, a Dragon year, per the Chinese Zodiac, and I already knew the significance. Children born under this sign were considered the luckiest of all, and good fortune was supposed to fall into our laps regardless of our chosen careers. James had clued me in years ago.
This particular dragon continued to stare at me appreciatively, and I couldn’t help responding. His dark hair framed his face in soft waves. I was close enough to smell the faint essence of sandalwood, lemon, and an underlying hint of paint, which made sense knowing what he did for a living. Gerard had a habit of pushing the silky strands behind his ears when they fell forward and blocked his view. I was accustomed to Peter’s meticulous, almost neurotic need to look perfectly put together at all times, but Gerard was far more natural and easygoing. His sex appeal went beyond the surface, and I’d been captivated.

Third Son is available for pre-order. Use the code PREORDER at checkout to get a 30% discount:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Third Son: Inspiration shots and pre-order link.

He didn't think coming home would be so...complicated.

American Niall Monroe returns to Hong Kong—a city he calls home—after being away for eight years. He hopes to finally find happiness with Peter Wei, his closeted lover of fourteen years, but is disappointed to find Peter has been put in an untenable position. He must marry and produce the long-awaited grandchild or get cut off by his millionaire father.

Gerard Sun, a talented artist, bursts back into Niall’s life after a one-night stand in Las Vegas. Circumstances force the men to deal with their attraction, especially when Niall’s firm considers Gerard to help promote tourism in the People’s Republic of China.

James, Peter’s younger brother, has been Niall’s best friend since they were schoolmates. He encourages Niall to ditch his brother and move on, until he finds out Niall is thinking of dating Gerard Sun.

Coming home seemed like a great idea until it wasn’t. Niall finds himself a stranger in a familiar landscape, slammed on multiple fronts by broken promises, jealousy, intrigue, unimaginable deceit, and undercurrents of evil. As his dreams quickly turn into nightmares, Niall reaches out to new allies for support.

Inspiration Shots

"One picture is worth ten thousand words."

This old Chinese proverb has served me well throughout my writing career. Sometimes my character is already fully formed and the inspiration shot is simply frosting on the cake. Other times, I'm just looking, hunting for something that might spark an idea.

Having said that, I'll admit that finding the perfect image for the characters in your head is harder than you might think. Ask the cover artists who have to bring a writer's vision to life. It's tough to find Mr. Right from a bunch of stock shots. And when you do, his image has usually been overused. I can remember when I was first published and searching high and low for good looking redheads. The choices were very limited. Since then, tastes have changed, and attractive models with red hair are easier to find. I suppose we can thank Prince Harry or Sam Heughan aka Jamie, the gorgeous lead in Outlander, for the shift in taste.

Natasha Snow, the cover artist for Third Son, created the perfect cover for my story. The image she used for my main character almost mirrors my inspiration shot shown below. To say I squeed when I saw her first draft would be a gross understatement. I couldn't be happier. Thank you, Natasha!

I'd like to present the inspiration shots I used when I was writing Third Son.  

Niall Monroe is the main character. He’s in his late twenties, a junior executive at an international advertising agency, and was born and raised in Hong Kong.    

Peter Wei has been Niall's secret lover for years. Heir to a banking fortune, Peter is under pressure to marry and produce the necessary heir.    

James Wei, Peter’s younger brother, is Niall’s best friend. They were schoolmates and inseparable until they graduated high school.  

Gerard Sun is the artist Niall meets in Las Vegas. His first glimpse of the guy is poolside.

Who could possibly resist those abs? Yowza... Thank you Lee Byung Hun for providing the necessary inspiration. 

Third Son is scheduled for release on October 2 and is now available for Pre-order. If you type PREORDER at checkout you'll get a 30% discount! This great deal ends once the book releases.

Don't forget to add Third Son to your Goodreads shelf.

Here's the link to NSP: