Guest Post: Liv Rancourt with Lost And Found

Greetings!

It’s not often we get an M/M historical set in swoon-worthy 1920s Paris, but my good friend Liv Rancourt has written a romance befitting such a worthy setting. I invited her to the blog to tell you all about it. Read on!

Thanks so much, Selina, for inviting me to your blog! I really appreciate the chance to share Lost & Found with your readers!

It’s been a while since I released a new book and while my promo skills were a little rusty, I’m finding my way. Self-publishing has so many moving parts it can feel like juggling plates with one almost always ready to crash.

I’m definitely going to need a vacation after this. 😊

And given that it’s the setting of Lost & Found, the top vacation spot on my list is Paris. Writing a book about a city I’ve never visited was either very brave or a fine example of questionable judgment. I love the idea of Paris, though, so visiting in my mind was better than nothing at all.

I did a lot of reading – the history of Paris, a book about Montmartre, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast – and I scrolled through tons of old photos. (You can check out my Pinterest page here. The page is under the story’s original name, L’Ami Mysterieux.) I could have done more research – I never watched Chocolat, for example, although it’s set in France at about the same period.

Ah well. I’ll save that for the sequel.

I also made a sincere effort to resuscitate my high school French. Duolingo and Babbel were my new best friends. I had a free hand with adding French phrases to the story and though I did my very best, my Parisian beta reader made a number (!!) of corrections.

Selina, someday I’m going to take you up on your offer to help me practice – for the next book! [SK note: Je suis à votre service, chérie.]

I love Paris because the whole place was designed with an eye to beauty and romance. Practicality was and is lower on the list. One of the main reasons I haven’t ever visited is that when I go, I’m going to want to stay for six months or a year, for long enough that I feel like part of the scene. I want to get to know the city’s nooks and crannies, the places that rarely make a tourist’s itinerary.

Until then, I’ll stick with the Paris in my mind. While I haven’t started the sequel yet, I have ideas for how it should go, so I know I’ll be back.

I hope you’ll visit with me! Lost & Found is on sale for $2.99 from now until the end of GRL on 10/20/19 at all ebook retailers, and it’s also available in paperback. Check out the excerpt here, and be sure and enter my rafflecopter giveaway for a $25 gift card. Happy reading!!

Buy Links

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Lost & Found Blurb

A dancer who cannot dance and a doctor who cannot heal must find in each other the strength to love.

History books will call it The Great War, but for Benjamin Holm, that is a misnomer. The war is a disaster, a calamity, and it leaves Benjamin profoundly wounded, his mind and memory shattered. A year after Armistice, still struggling to regain his mental faculties, he returns to Paris in search of his closest friend, Elias.

Benjamin meets Louis Donadieu, a striking and mysterious dance master. Though Louis is a difficult man to know, he offers to help Benjamin. Together they search the cabarets, salons, and art exhibits in the newly revitalized city on the brink of les années folles (the Crazy Years). Almost despite himself, Benjamin breaches Louis’s defenses, and the two men discover an unexpected passion.

As his memory slowly returns, Benjamin will need every ounce of courage he possesses to recover Elias’s story. He and Louis will need even more than that to lay claim to the love – and the future – they deserve.

About the Author

About Liv Rancourt
Liv Rancourt writes romance of all kinds. Because love is love, even with fangs.

Liv is a huge fan of paranormal romance and urban fantasy and loves history just as much, so her stories often feature vampires or magic or they’re set in the past…or all of the above. When Liv isn’t writing she takes care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether she’s at work or at home. Her husband is a soul of patience, her kids are her pride and joy, and her dogs – Trash Panda and The Boy Genius – are endlessly entertaining.

Liv can be found on-line at all hours of the day and night at her website (www.livrancourt.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/liv.rancourt), or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/LivRancourt). She also blogs monthly over at Spellbound Scribes (https://spellboundscribes.wordpress.com/). For sneak peeks and previews and other assorted freebies, go HERE to sign up for her mailing list or join the Facebook page she shares with her writing partner Irene Preston, After Hours with Liv & Irene. Fun stuff!

Giveaway

Below is the rafflecopter html for a $25 gift card. Giveaway ends 10/31/19.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1f1867a736/?fbclid=IwAR3Oa299I_mWmN7gn1PD9kaOmL6GmU4tT0W4dwf0zcvFD51IGQ4MrOFmWGo

Excerpt:

M. Richard was wise to have sent me straightaway. By the time I strolled down the Boulevard de Magenta to Le Marais, found the street and the shop, and had an extensive fitting, I barely made it home in time to meet Louis. I was putting the finishing touch on my tie—the Windsor knot gave me trouble—when he knocked on my door.

Bonjour, I’ll be…” All I could do was stare. Never a shabby dresser, tonight the exquisite cut of his suit made the most of his broad, lean body, and his precise hairstyle brought out the dramatic lines in his face. “One, um, one moment.”

I backed away, gesturing for him to come in. Even his cane had been replaced by an elegant black walking stick with a gold handle.

He paused a moment before responding to my request. “Double breasted? Where have you been hiding this? You look superb.”

I busied myself collecting my wallet, murmuring the name of the shop.

“In the Marais Quarter?” He spoke with a hint of amusement. “You traveled far.”

Collecting myself, I moved toward the door. “M. Richard sent me.”

He smirked. “Good thinking on his part.”

The evening was warm and clear, the memory of sunset only an aqua light in the western sky. In the half-light, I brought myself to broach the possible awkwardness between us. “I was surprised to hear from you.”

“I find myself drawn to your plight.”

“You do?”

Absolument.”

I couldn’t tell if he was laughing or not. “Regardless, I do appreciate the invitation.” We smiled at each other through the twilight. “Now, should I rely on you to speak for me?”

That earned me a raised eyebrow.

“My accent.”

Louis laughed. “My friend tells me that most of the other guests share your particular malady, so you’ll feel at home.”

At home? “Perhaps.”       

His chuckle dispelled what was left of my distress, and we walked on in comfortable silence. Navigating the narrow stairs to the Métro proved a challenge for Louis, so once we were on the platform, I took the initiative. “Someday, you should let me look at that.” I waved in the direction of his leg.

“Someday, I would like you to do more than just look.”

Louis met my surprise with bland amusement, though when it became apparent I was too flustered to respond, he changed the subject. “The train won’t come for a while. Tell me more about your friend Elias. I need to know the kind of man he is, to know whom I should talk to tonight.”

“What kind of man?” Looking to the past was safer than dealing with the gentleman standing next to me, so in the concrete cave, under the harsh fluorescent lights, I told him a story. “Elias is always up to something, you know? Like…” A particular memory made me smile. “Do you ski?”

Un peu.” He indicated a small distance with thumb and forefinger.

“Okay, so one night, he knocked on my window after I’d gone to bed. There was about three feet of snow on the ground, but the moon was out, and he wanted to ski.”

I’d dressed as quickly as possible. Outside, the air was so cold, ice crystals formed with every breath. “He followed me to the barn, where I saddled up our old gelding Rocky. Elias didn’t have skis of his own, so he grabbed mine and climbed up behind me on the horse. The moon was huge that night, and so bright we could see just fine.”

“We rode up along the ridge behind our house, four, maybe five miles until we got to the crest. Our plan was he should ski, and I’d ride down to meet him, and then we’d switch. Rocky was stable enough even for Elias to ride.”

His expression neutral, Louis nodded at me to continue. A rumble started from far off. The train must be coming.

“Well, what we didn’t figure was there was ice underneath the snow. Things had warmed up just enough to melt a little, then we’d had a hard freeze, followed by another dump of snow. Elias got himself buckled into the skis, and right as he’s about to take off, he hollers to the heavens.” And with the moon behind him, he’d looked like some forest spirit come to life. “That yell stirred things up, and the snow started sliding.”

The rumble grew, and a pinpoint of light appeared in the tunnel ahead of us. “He’d set off an avalanche.” Though miles and years away from that moment, my heart still skipped a beat. The noise of the train echoed the roar of the snow in my mind. “I thought, God, he’s done. He’ll be buried in snow, and I’ll never find him.

“I brought Rocky as close to the edge as I dared, but all I saw was snow and ice and torn-up trees. We raced down the ridge, faster than I’d ever seen that horse move, through the valley to the place where we usually met up. I figured Rocky and I would do better climbing up to find Elias rather than trying to get down from the top. And you know what?” Full of the one moment I’d never forget, I barely looked at Louis. “He skied up like nobody’s business. He’d stayed just ahead of the snow, said he’d never skied so fast in his life.” I looked toward the ceiling, blinking fast. Elias had made it, his face burned from the cold. His eyes, though. His eyes had been full of stars.

“Come.” Louis took my arm, leading me back to the present as much as onto the train. We fell silent, settling side by side on one of the wooden bench seats. When Louis spoke, the sound of his voice startled me.

“I think your friend has a very big soul.”

I kept my gaze fixed on the window, though all I could see was the gray cement wall of the tunnel. “Big soul? Yes.” And a bigger heart.

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TORONTO LGBTQ+ ROMANCE EVENT ON OCT 19TH!

Announcing the first ever LGBTQ+ romance event in Canada! Some fellow authors and I are having a signing/meet-and-greet in October in Toronto at Glad Day Bookshop and would love to see you there! Come for the great books, stay for the tasty beverages, snacks, prizes, and great conversation with authors like RJ Scott, Keira Andrews, Vicki Locey, Noah Steele, and Kat Cassidy

Details below! Check out our event page on Facebook for all the latest info!

Very excited to see you there!

Selina

Autism Awareness Blog Hop 2019 + Giveaway!!

Autism Fact:

Research demonstrates that job activities that encourage independence reduce autism symptoms and increase daily living skills.

Friends,

Welcome to the latest blog post on the sixth annual Autism Awareness Blog Hop, hosted by the wonderful RJ Scott. I don’t think there’s anyone in the world today who doesn’t have a friend or family member who is either on the autism spectrum or who supports someone close to them who is. My own dear mom used to run a Brownie troop for some autistic teens at our local school, and it was always a blast helping her out on free afternoons.  It’s an honor to be a part of something that endeavors to reduce the stigma surrounding autism and to generate donations for this very worthy cause.

The theme this year is childhood toys, which ties in nicely with some thoughts I’ve been having lately about storytelling and superheroes. A kind of origin story for myself as a writer, I guess. Watching Captain Marvel recently, I thought of how much I wish I could have seen a film like that when I was a nascent geek. But then I remembered that I did have my own version of Captain Marvel in She-Ra, Princess of Power.

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Though I started out playing with Star Wars action figures, I quickly graduated to She-Ra and her fantabulous, kick-ass friends. There was so much to love. She-Ra was both outspoken Princess Adora and a fearsome fighter with a secret badass identity. She flew around on a crystal Pegasus. She had a legion of friends with multicolored hair and cool powers — one had a peacock fan! One had butterfly wings! One had long twisty pink and lavender braids! One was cold as ice in shades of blue! (No, I don’t remember their names.)

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Some kids spent their afternoons outdoors. I could always be found in my bedroom, my imagination transforming every possible surface into some alien landscape against which my girl power dramas played out. There were epic battles — not stereotypical cat fights, but those of sheildmaidens who could smoke you with a roundhouse kick — betrayals, conquests, and adventure. The kind of tales a little girl seeking her very own heroine’s journey might tell herself in the privacy of her creative space. It’s where I learned to be a writer, where I learned to be me.

The stories we tell ourselves in childhood influence the adult we will become, which is why it’s so important that families with autistic children have the support they need to make sure their kids get a good start on learning to be themselves and have every chance to be independent adults. I hope you’ll consider a small donation, either to Autism Canada or RJ’s preferred charity, Lindengate.

To read all the posts and join the hop, here’s the master list.

And this wouldn’t be any fun at all without a giveaway! What was your favorite childhood toy? What inspired you to be a writer? Comment below to win a free copy of any one of my books! (Please include your email address in the comment.)

Much love,

Selina

Valentine’s Day Sale: In Wild Lemon Groves

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In Wild Lemon Groves is one year old today!

And to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the anniversary of the publication of my contemporary M/M romance, In Wild Lemon Groves is on sale for two weeks, from Feb 8th to Feb 22nd. If you’re in the mood to escape the mid-winter blahs, why not take a book vacation to Amalfi, Italy, with Seb and Andrea?

Buy links:

Amazon

Universal Buy Link

Here’s the blurb:

A telltale knock on a quiet winter night is a sound no husband wants to hear.

Sébastien Osaki has spent the past three years surviving the loss of his beloved Henry. When Seb lands in Amalfi, Italy, for their would-have-been tenth-anniversary trip, he’s haunted by the memory of the man he loved. Following Henry’s notebook leads him to some breathtaking coastal views but also right back to his despair. Seb’s there to get his groove back, not let the past wrong-foot him at every turn.

Enter Andrea Sorrentino, chauffeur, part-time pet whisperer, a Bernini statue in a soccer tee and tight shorts. From the moment Andrea picks Seb up from the airport, he knows just how to soothe Seb’s case of the sulks. But Seb isn’t sure he’s ready for Mr. Right Now, let alone a potential Mr. Right, in a part of the world where all roads lead back to Henry.

Can sun, sea, and eating your weight in pasta mend a tragedy-stricken heart? Will wine-soaked Amalfi nights and long walks through lemon groves work their magic on Seb’s wounded soul? Or will he slink back into the shell of his grief once his grand Italian adventure is over? 

Also wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has bought, shared, or shouted out any of my books this past year. You have made my dreams come true. I hope you’re celebrating the holiday with someone you love, even if that person is just you.

All my love,
Selina

Historical Romance and Queerness as Up For Debate

'Nathan Burgoine

I recently joined the RWA despite knowing full well it wouldn’t necessarily be a place I’d be welcome. I’m a queer writer of queer stories—including romance—and seeing some forward motion in the organization made me think perhaps it was time.

Or at the very least, it was time enough to try and get involved, rather than just watch warily.

It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to watch people debate your humanity. To see spirited discussion from “both sides” of an argument where one “side” espouses that the way you love doesn’t qualify as a happy-ever-after, or reading suggestions that judges should be able to opt-out of stories about people like you because they just can’t “connect” with them? Or—this was only the other day—doing a search for “queer writers” in a forum and finding the only use of the term coming from someone who catfished everyone into

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Five Authors Who Need to be on Your TBR List!

Happy New Year! 2018 was a big year for me on many fronts, which left very little time for reading. For that reason, I won’t be doing my normal Best Of list. But 2018 was a year where I discovered a lot of new (and sometimes new-to-me) authors. I also got back to reading a bit of YA thanks to some amazing recs. And I thought, what better way to round up the year than to share the wealth? So here are five authors who need to be on your TBR list!

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Alyssa Cole

Shameful, is what it is, that I had never read Alyssa Cole before now. But once I did, I understood all of the so-well-deserved acclaim. From her sparkling contemporary romances to her riveting dystopian trilogy to her heart-rending and uplifting Loyal League historical series (set during the Civil War), Ms. Cole does it all and does it best. She switches flawlessly from M/F to LGBTQ romance. She’s the kind of writer where the pairing doesn’t matter, you’re really there for her. If you’re not reading her, then you are seriously missing out on a major talent.

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Lee Welch

If I had made a Best Of list, Salt Magic Skin Magic would have definitely been on it. Rarely have I read a novel so assured, so impeccable, and so all-consuming. Combining folklore with historical romance is no mean feat, but Ms. Welch weaves both strands together flawlessly. She is already an auto-buy for me, and I cannot wait to see what she writes next.

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Maureen Johnson

With thanks to the lovely Moog Florin for indulging our mutual love of boarding school mysteries. A tweet of hers led me to discover Truly Devious, the new series by Maureen Johnson. After devouring book 1 only to learn there was no book 2 yet, I switched to her Shades of London series and consumed the first two adventures whole. It’s rare at this time in my life for me to get so involved in a book that I throw it across the room when I’m angry about an ending, but that’s exactly how I felt by the end of The Madness Underneath (though I did not toss my Kobo–I do have some instinct for self-preservation). Needless to say, any author who can inspired that kind of obsession/emotion is one you might want to check out.

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Sherri Thomas

The idea of a Lady Sherlock series is delectable to me, and so as soon as I heard of A Study in Scarlet Women, I downloaded the preview. Charlotte Holmes is a character as tremendous as her namesake, and one you will want to follow on many, many adventures. That this Sherlock has a love interest out of her reach, providing tons of simmering tension and heartbreaking misunderstandings, only improves on the original. And wait till you meet Watson! I am parceling out the next two volumes because writing as vibrant and plots as twisty as Ms. Thomas’ must be savored.

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Sara Dobie Bauer

The Escape trilogy (of which only the first two books are out) is that rare series that reinvents something familiar and nostalgic. My romance journey started with Lestat and Louis frolicking in Anne Rice’s Savage Garden. And in Ms. Bauer’s writing, I’ve found that world again. She brings to life the alluring velvet dark of late-1800s New Orleans, with a vampire even more sexy and vicious in her Andrew, and a tenderheart more magnetic and adventurous in her Edmund. These two blaze a path from exile to amour that you are desperate to follow. I can’t wait to see how it all ends.