Stoker & Bash: The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Out Now!!!

Today’s the day! Stoker & Bash #2: The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree is out! And here is your one-stop shop for all the blog tour and release blitz details!

Tonight, don’t miss the Facebook Party I’m throwing with Sara Dobie Bauer to celebrate the releases of The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree and Escaping Solitude!

Halloween SHAREABLE2

Follow my Blog Tour:

October 31st — For the Love of Cults — The Novel Approach

November 1st — The Mystery Box — Joyfully Jay

November 6th — Writing Badass Women — Love Bytes

November 10th — Four Things I’m Loving Right Now — My Fiction Nook

And don’t forget about the big giveaways! Follow the release blitz and blog tour for your chance to win! Here’s the fine print…

Buy Links:

Universal Buy Link (i.e. Kobo, B&N, Apple, Tolino, Overdrive, Biblioteca)
S&B #1: Fangs of Scavo is discounted throughout the month of October! Only two days left!

 

Blurb:

When will She open Rebecca Northcote’s box?

Finding lost poodles and retrieving stolen baubles is not how DI Tim Stoker envisioned his partnership with his lover, Hieronymus Bash. So when the police commissioner’s son goes missing, he’s determined to help, no matter what secrets he has to keep, or from whom.

When a family member is kidnapped, Hiero moves heaven and earth to rescue them. Even if that means infiltrating the Daughters of Eden, a cult of wealthy widows devoted to the teachings of Rebecca Northcote and the mysterious contents of her box. The Daughters’ goodwill toward London’s fallen women has given them a saintly reputation, but Hiero has a nose for sniffing out a fraud. He will need to draw on some divine inspiration to rattle the pious Daughters.

Like weeds gnarling the roots of Eden’s fabled tree, Tim and Hiero’s cases intertwine. Serpents, secrets, and echoes from Hiero’s past lurk behind every branch. Giving in to temptation could bind them closer together—or sever their partnership forever.

 

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Author Interview: Lee Welch!!

Friends,

I am so excited to welcome author Lee Welch to the blog today. Her new paranormal, historical M/M romance Salt Magic, Skin Magic is, as the French say, my newest coup de coeur. Not only is it an incredible twist on the usual country house drama, it deftly combines folklore, a novel magic system, and Victorian tropes into a book that I defy you to put down. Not to mention two protagonists that will make you swoon and break your heart. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the talented Ms. Welch had to say.

SK: What inspired you to write Salt Magic, Skin Magic?

LW: A folktale, but if I tell you which one, it’ll be a huge spoiler, so I’ll tell you a story instead…

Originally, I planned to write a completely different book. It was going to be set in a dystopian future Antarctica (not Victorian England). It was a M/M romance between a monk and a charismatic meat-smuggler (in this future world, eating meat is illegal). There was no magic, though there was some pretty cool technology.

I loved this idea so much I was scared I wouldn’t do it justice because I hadn’t written anything for years. So, I decided to come up with another idea “just to practice on” – and that idea was Salt Magic Skin Magic. The MCs – Soren and John – quickly asserted themselves on the page and I realized my “practice idea” was actually going to be heaps of fun to write and worth putting effort into.

SK: The magic system used in the book is very unique. I would never have thought to imbue everyday things like pins and bricks with magical properties. How did you devise it?

LW: Traditionally, magical objects are quite common – think about lucky horseshoes or four-leaved clovers; think chalk pentagrams and bowls of blood. So, it wasn’t too big a leap to imagine a magician who works with other everyday things.

Also, John’s an industrial magician. His type of magic is considered ‘rather common’. It’s looked down upon by elite magicians who are more likely to conjure demons. I wanted John’s methods to reflect this hierarchy. Most people are careless with everyday things; if they lose a pin, they don’t care because they don’t value it.  Of course, John cherishing seemingly unimportant things is key to the plot.

SK: The world of the book is, in some ways, recognizable to fans of historical romance–the country house, the family hierarchy–but you turn a lot of that on its head by tying it in to local myths and folklore. What kind of research was involved in writing the book?

LW: I’ve had a lifetime of reading folklore. I didn’t have to research much of that.

What I did do was read LOTS and LOTS of Victorian history. I had to get the customs and everyday life right. I also had to know about the Crystal Palace and the people involved (such as Joseph Paxton and the Duke of Devonshire) because of course John would know them. It’s mainly backstory, but that kind of thing gives a book depth.

I also spent a lot of time checking etymology as I wrote to make sure I didn’t use any words or metaphors that wouldn’t have been used by people in 1851.

SK: At the heart of the book is the age-old push-pull of class differences. What’s the best thing, and the most challenging, about writing characters within these social restrictions?

LW: It was great fun writing characters from different classes because their experiences of life are so different. This means the metaphors that occur to them are different, their observations about life are different, and so on.

For example, Soren (an Oxford-educated aristocrat) sees a Savonnerie carpet and a rather fine painting by Lawrence. John (a magician and the son of an ironmonger) sees something he’ll need to roll back if he wants to put his salt down, and a picture of a beautiful woman.

SK: Like all the author interviews on the blog, I end with a fun question. Choosing from any of the characters in the published works you’ve written, with whom would you like to have a one-night stand, a long-term relationship, and an HEA?

LW: OMG! Do other authors really answer that question? My characters are taken (by each other). To imagine them with me feels absolutely transgressive. Soren would NEVER cheat on John. Or vice versa. Same with Alex and Joe in Mended with Gold. They’re together. They’re in love. To try to imagine myself having an HEA with Joe means that Alex would be alone somewhere. Alex would be sad. Oh, God, all the noes. I can’t contemplate it. I’m ignoring your question 😉

However, if I was to invite someone for dinner, I’d choose John from Salt Magic Skin Magic. He’s a spectacularly good listener and kind to hedgehogs (I like hedgehogs). We’d talk about magic, and life in Victorian London, and he could tell me what all my household objects are thinking.

 

Blurb:

Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray.

When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are altered.

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?

***

“Magic, folklore, dark deeds, and hot romance combine in this wildly enjoyable, inventive story set in a lovely alt-Victorian Gothic world. More please!”

—KJ Charles, RITA™-nominated author of THE MAGPIE LORD and SPECTRED ISLE

“Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch is the sort of book you want to read again the moment you reach the end. Beautifully written, with a romance that is by turns sweet and scorching, it belongs on the keeper shelf of any lover of paranormal historical.”

—Jordan L. Hawk, author of the WHYBORNE AND GRIFFIN and HEXWORLD series

***

Cover art: Simone: http://www.dreamarian.com/

Buy links

All links: https://books2read.com/u/b5rXzO

Separate links (if preferred):

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F8GLY4Y/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/salt-magic-skin-magic-lee-welch/

https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/salt-magic-skin-magic

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40722060-salt-magic-skin-magic

 

Author bio

Lee Welch lives on a hill in the windiest city in the world – Wellington, New Zealand. She shares the house with her partner, two kids and two cats. Hedgehogs visit occasionally, which makes her happy. Lee wrote her first novel (an unpublished pastiche of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) when she was seven and has been writing on-and-off ever since.  She studied ancient history at Auckland University and creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London.

By day, she works as an editor and business communications adviser for a large government department. By night, she writes mostly m/m romances, usually with magic in them. She likes crumbling mansions, cavernous libraries and most things with tentacles.

Contact information

Email: leewelchwriter@gmail.com

Website + newsletter sign up: www.leewelchwriter.com

Twitter: @leewelchwriter https://twitter.com/leewelchwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leewelchwriter/

Thanks so much, Lee, and best of luck with the book!

Selina

Author Interview with Sara Dobie Bauer!

Friends,

Today I’m welcoming romance author Sara Dobie Bauer to talk about the first book in her new paranormal romance series, Escaping Exile. I’ve had a chance to read the book, and I can tell you, it introduces two smouldering characters in Andrew, the man in exile of the title, and Edmund, who shipwrecks on the same small, cannibal-infested island. But the larger world of Victorian era New Orleans provides a backdrop and a promise for future instalments. But Sara herself is here to tell you more…

SK: What inspired you to write Escaping Exile?

SDB: Oh, my gosh, I wish I knew! I’m sure it grew from some smutty fantasy of mine: gay vampire meets shipwrecked sailor … and so it goes. I very rarely know where stories come from. Often, I’m inspired my music or my many muses, which include Benedict Cumberbatch, Timothee Chalamet, and Cillian Murphy. I love beaches, too, so maybe I was on a beach and thought, “Hmm, this looks like a good place for sex and cannibals.” Who knows?

SK: Your protagonist Andrew fits very nicely into the beguiling anti-hero mold. You strike an expert balance in terms of his misdeeds and the softer side of his character. What challenges did you face writing him? Did you worry he might turn some people off?

SDB: Andrew wasn’t challenging to write once I figured him out. Sure, on the surface he’s a bloodthirsty, murdering monster, but I opted for the “save the cat” method: presenting a decisive moment when the protagonist does something nice. Despite his deviant history, Andrew saves Edmund. Over the course of Escaping Exile, he protects Edmund and eventually falls in love with him. Andrew overcomes his past to become a hero—not to everyone but to the man he loves.

That said, there is one flashback scene involving an innocent young prostitute in New Orleans that worried me a little. I mean, Andrew is bad… but I believe he earns his redemption and eventual hero status. It’s up to the reader to decide!

SK: What’s your vampire origin story? What was the thing that sparked your fascination with them?

SDB: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I read it in sixth grade—which, looking back, was maybe a bit early and also revved up my teenage sexuality to critical mass. Despite Louis being the protagonist, I fell in love with bad boy Lestat: a lifelong pattern that I am certain has annoyed my parents to no end. In my defense, I married one of the good guys… as far as you know. (Wink.)

SK: Escaping Exile is the first book in a series. Can you give us a sneak peek of future instalments? Will they follow Andrew and Edward or other characters?

SDB: The love story of Andrew and Edmund is the focal point of the entire trilogy, as they both have a lot of developing and changing to do. They are not exactly morally upstanding men. They both doubt themselves and carry a lot of darkness in their pasts and presents. Together, they hope to make a bright future, but they have to first survive Victorian New Orleans and eventually London, while conquering some serious monsters—literal and metaphorical.

SK: As a fun final question, I always ask authors to pick which of their characters, from any of their works, they would have a one-night stand with, a long-term relationship with, and HEA with. What are your choices?

SDB: That is so damn difficult in Escaping Exile. Okay, lemme try…
One-night stand: Michelle
Long-term relationship: Andrew
HEA: Edmund (I’m very partial to my shipwrecked sailor.)

ABOUT ESCAPING EXILE:
Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream-but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?

BUY LINKS:
https://amzn.to/2LAMPWi
https://ninestarpress.com/product/escaping-exile/
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40958274-escaping-exile

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of the paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody series, among other sexy things. Learn more at http://SaraDobieBauer.com.

SARA DOBIE BAUER SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSaraDobieBauer/
https://twitter.com/saradobie
https://www.instagram.com/saradobiebauer/
https://saradobiebauer.tumblr.com/

In Wild Lemon Groves Cookbook: Secondi

In Italian restaurant, the main course is often divided in two. We covered Primi, the main pasta course, in my last cookbook post. Now we come to Secondi, better known as the meat course, i.e. the one a lot of people skip because they are already too full from the appetizers and pasta. But you really shouldn’t, since the simple but flavorful cooking techniques (baking, grilling) and the ripeness of the ingredients used on the Amalfi Coast is worth savoring.

Most of the big meals in my M/M contemporary romance, In Wild Lemon Groves, are inspired by dishes that I actually ate while in Amalfi, Italy. One such memorable evening is directly reproduced in the book. I’ll set the scene…

Two bottles of vino rosso and three sumptuous courses later, the laughter continued. Ceri had led them through a maze of back alleys to a picturesque square, with a small gated chapel at one end and a wood-faced trattoria at the other. Tables sprouted like toadstools in the center, corralled on three sides by ivy-woven trellises. Garlands of fairy lights competed with the glinting stars and the fat harvest moon above. Seb wouldn’t have been surprised if the waiter had twirled a wand and poofed their dinner into existence.

            He stifled a belch, scanned the detritus with a scavenger’s eye. The last spoonful of the lemon soufflé beckoned him like the arms of a new lover; even sated, he still craved more. From the luscious caprese salad to the fluffy paccheri stuffed with black truffles and burrata with seafood sauce to the grilled lamb with balsamic reduction, pillowy potatoes, and garlicky rapini, their orgy of food had ridden him hard and put him away wet.

Grilled Lamb with Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Lamb Chops on balsamic Sauce

Three marvelous ladies who I met on the trip brought me to the exact location described above, a hidden square behind a chapel with one amazing trattoria. We feasted on the most gorgeous lamb I’ve ever eaten, one of the three Secondi recipes I urge you to make for yourself to enjoy a taste of Italy. You can find a version of it here.

Baccala alla Napoletana

Baccala-alla-Napoletana-1200x800

I was familiar with baccala (cod) because my sister’s in-laws always serve it at Christmas. But their version is fried in a batter, calimari-style, which is the one I included in the book. Since writing In Wild Lemon Groves, I’ve discovered that the Amalfi version is a bit more like a seafood stew, and I think this enhances the fish beautifully. You can find an authentic recipe here.

Salt-Baked Fish

salt baked fish

One of the major feasts in In Wild Lemon Groves is when Andrea invites Seb and his three lady friends to his mother’s house for traditional Sunday night dinner. The showcase dish of that meal is a salt-crusted, baked sea bass–although you can use this application for many other kinds of fish. It’s quite the showstopper, and Andrea is rewarded with a romantic dance under the starlight and a tryst in the lemon groves. You can find a basic recipe here.

Next week, the final installment of the In Wild Lemon Groves Cookbook showcases Amalfi’s biggest food export, limoncello!

In Wild Lemon Groves is available in ebook and print formats:

Universal Buy Link

In Wild Lemon Groves Cookbook – Pasta

Even though pasta was first invented by the Chinese and brought to Italy by Marco Polo, it has become the country’s signature dish. Each region in Italy has their own iconic type of pasta and sauce. It’s definitely a bucket list ambition of mine to try them all, and I certainly ticked a few off the list on my trip to Amalfi and the surrounding islands.

Here are a few that get mentioned in my new contemporary M/M romance, In Wild Lemon Groves, since the characters, as they say, live to eat. In this second instalment of the ‘cookbook’ series of blog posts, I’m sharing a couple of my favorites. None of these are particularly challenging to make–indeed, that’s one of the attractions of pasta to a novice cook. It’s almost impossible to get it wrong!

 

seafood-spaghetti-bowl-web

Seafood Spaghetti

First off is the classic seafood pasta, which Seb enjoys a few times in the book, most notably on his melancholy day in Positano before one of the big turning points in his Italian adventure. Here’s a classic version by Anna Barnett.

 

PastaLemonSauce.jpg

Linguine with Lemon Cream Sauce

In an attempt to move on from his grief at losing husband Henry and ignore his growing attraction to Andrea, Seb spends the day at a swank hotel beach, where him and his lady friends enjoy linguine with lemon cream sauce with zucchini and bell peppers by the pool. One of the truly unique pasta experiences to be had in Amalfi because of their incredible lemon groves, this recipe from Delicious Italy may not taste exactly the same with your local lemons, but it’s still hella delicious. Don’t be shy to add extra veg to spice up the dish.

 

Genovese

Rigatoni Genovese

One of the first mentions of pasta in In Wild Lemon Groves comes on that first fateful car ride from the airport, where Seb meets Andrea for the first time. Inspired by the chauffeur who took me on the same wild ride–but who was no Andrea Sorrentino–Seb is given cards to the best local restaurants and told to try the pasta Genovese.

There are actually two kinds of Genovese, a pesto-based version native to Genoa and one they do in Naples, a beef and onion ragu. Here’s a recipe for the second version, from the blog Memori di Angelina.

So if you’re ever in the mood, enjoy a glass of Italian red, carb-load on one of these pastas, and read In Wild Lemon Groves, a romance that transports you to picturesque Amalfi, Italy!

Universal Buy Link

In Wild Lemon Groves Cookbook – Dolce

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Italy? The food, of course! When I was on my birthday trip to Amalfi that inspired my contemporary M/M romance In Wild Lemon Groves, I indulged to the max: pasta, pizza, gelato, and, of course, my beloved granita limone every day (sometimes twice).

To celebrate the recent release of In Wild Lemon Groves, and because there are so many food scenes in the book, I thought it would be fun to share some recipes based on the delectable meals that Seb eats alone, or shares with bello Andrea. If I could have made the book a scratch-and-sniff experience, or somehow had a box of Italian treats delivered with it, I would have, because everyone should get to experience authentic Italian cuisine at least once in their lives.

This is, fingers crossed, the next best thing, and I hope it inspires you to either get in the kitchen or seek out your local Italian bakery. And because Amalfi’s resident hunky chauffeur Andrea Sorrentino is a pretty sweet guy, we’re going to start with dessert!

Sfogliatelle

Sfogliatelle

Anyone who’s read In Wild Lemon Groves knows that one of the first things Seb samples–and fall in love with–in Amalfi is the sfogliatelle. A shell-like pastry filled with ricotta cream with a hint of orange or lemon, these babies are crunchy, creamy, perfect. Especially with an espresso.

You can find a recipe for sfogliatelle by the great Salvatore Elefante here.

torta-caprese

Torta Caprese

This delectable chocolate cake made from almond flour is Seb’s reward for working at Fabiana’s on the island Capri, a restaurant owned and operated by Andrea’s aunt. It also happens to be the cake I ask for every year for my birthday. Delizioso!

Here’s a video of the great Lidia Bastianich demonstrating how to make her version:

Gelato

What would a discussion of Italian desserts be without gelato? Omnipresent in Italy, I made a point of having one every day of my trip. My favorite was the torta caprese-flavored one–I mean, talk about decadent, smashing a cake into ice cream! Here is a photo of the double-scoop gelato I had on my last day…

2015-09-21 19.28.22

I was laughing as I was eating it because it looks like the Montreal Just for Laughs festival mascot Victor.

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Just me?

Feel like a food vacation of your own, but can’t afford a flight to Amalfi? Try out some of these recipes, or live vicariously by reading about Seb and Andrea’s adventures in In Wild Lemon Groves. 

Universal Buy Link

Next week – Pasta!

In Wild Lemon Groves, Out Today! Blog Tour Schedule and Giveaway!!

In Wild Lemon Groves is out today!

Follow the blog tour and win! I’m giving away: one signed copy of In Wild Lemon Groves; one signed copy of Stoker & Bash: The Fangs of Scavo, my M/M Victorian mystery romance; *and* a $25 USD gift certificate (or equivalent in your currency) to the vendor of your choice!

Three chances to win, an official excerpt of the book, five blog posts from me… won’t you join in the fun? Here’s the schedule. Links will be attached as the posts go live.

Feb 8th – The Novel Approach – Bella Italia

Feb 10th – Gay Book Reviews – When Real Life Turns Fictional

Feb 12th – M/M Good Book Reviews – Learning Haiku

Feb 14th – My Fiction Nook – Cinema Paradiso

Feb 16th – Love Bytes – Supporting Characters Always Have a Ball

And watch out for reviews at Hearts on Fire, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, Mirrigold, and Gay Book Reviews!

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?

Buy links:

Amazon ebook and print

Kobo

B&N

Books2Read Universal Buy Link

Libraries! The book is available on OverDrive and in print through Ingram and Create Space!

Bon voyage!

Selina