Blog Tour: Charlie’s Hero by Nic Starr [Guest Post]

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GuestPost

Random Acts of Kindness

Charlie’s Hero is the first book in my ‘Heroes’ series. It features a paramedic named Josh. Josh does a number of things that make him a hero in Charlie’s eyes. Josh is kind, caring, and goes out of his way to help and support others.

I often come across stories of people helping others, especially with social media sharing the positive stories. It certainly makes my day to see the tales of people helping others, and brightening a stranger’s day.

There’s a term for this: Random Acts of Kindness.

Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if everyone did just one simple thing to help someone else each day? The beauty of a random act of kindness is it doesn’t need to be big and anyone can do it. It can be as simple as helping someone carry groceries, donating money to the needy, making someone a cup of coffee, or doing a chore. I know some of these things are just common courtesy, but we live in a world where people become self-absorbed and a little reminder every now and then doesn’t hurt.

Last week I was at my local shops and saw three primary school kids offer to help an older woman with her trolley. The shopping trolley was behaving in typical trolley fashion—which meant is was careening all over the place—but the lady had it pretty much under control. It put such a smile on my face to see the delight the little girls got from helping out and the smile on the lady’s face as she beamed at the children. Her wink to me, left no doubt she would have managed on her own, but she got pleasure out of allowing the girls to ‘help’.

I’d like to share a clip with you.

Click here to see a video showing a group of firefighters performing a random act of kindness. It reminds me a little of the scene in Charlie’s Hero where Josh rallies the troops to help out Charlie’s neighbour.

I wish you lots of random acts of kindness.

Nic xx

AboutTheBook

Title: Charlie’s Hero

Series: Heroes

Author: Nic Starr

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Length: 200 Pages

Release Date: June 17, 2015

Blurb: Schoolteacher Charlie Matthews returns to his hometown, looking to regain a sense of community, reconnect with friends, and settle down. It looks like his dreams have come true when paramedic Josh Campbell attends an accident at the school. It’s love at first sight, and a romance begins.

But Josh’s reluctance to come out to the brother who raised him, puts pressure on their fledgling relationship. While Charlie understands Josh’s concerns, he can’t help growing impatient. After all, Charlie came out years ago.

It’s not until Charlie confronts his own parents and realizes he hasn’t come to terms with their rejection that he fully understands what Josh has to lose. But Josh is Charlie’s hero, and Josh will do anything to prove to Charlie that to be part of a family, he doesn’t need his parents.

CommonExcerpt

HE WAS in love. Totally, wonderfully, head over heels in love. Love with a capital L, hell, love in full uppercase. All it took was one look, one simple glance, and he was a goner. Of course the object of his admiration was classically handsome—tall and athletic, glowing with good health. Bright eyes, wide smile, waves of shining hair tucked behind perfect ears. He was like all Charlie’s dreams come true, with golden skin hugging strong muscles that strained on long limbs. But even if Charlie hadn’t been attracted to the man’s spectacular good looks, there was no way to overlook his actions.

CharliesHeroORIG-final-01 (1)When Charlie first saw him, he was kneeling on the schoolyard ground, tending to a little girl who was lying prone on the soft-fall rubber surface under the play equipment. She was one of Charlie’s second graders. Her right leg, bent at a strange, unnatural angle, gave a big clue as to her injury. Charlie hoped the leg was the worst she was hurt.

An efficient auburn-haired paramedic was treating her injured leg while the gorgeous guy knelt by her head, hands on either side of her blonde curls, keeping her still. He whispered into her ear, the words obviously having a calming effect—the little girl stared intently up at him, the hitch in her breathing the only evidence of any distress. There was a gentleness to his touch, despite the large hands, and caring in his tone as he concentrated on his patient. How could Charlie not fall in love with this glorious combination of caring, masculine beauty?

“Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews.” The urgent high-pitched voice and persistent tugging on his hand drew his attention reluctantly away from the scene unfolding in the playground. Shit, he thought, what the hell am I doing just standing here staring when I should be taking care of the other children, who are no doubt worried and scared? Dropping to one knee and looking Jennifer in the eye, Charlie gave her his full attention. “What is it, Jenny?” he asked, knowing she was going to voice her worry about her small friend on the ground.

“Is Alison going to be all right, Mr. Matthews?” she asked in a low and quavering voice. He replied in a way he hoped would calm her fears, by keeping his voice even and low.

“She’ll be fine, Jenny. Her mummy and daddy will meet her at the hospital, and Miss Bryant is going to go stay with her until they get there. Alison is in very good hands. See those paramedics?” He pointed toward the action under the monkey bars, and she looked across at the small group on the ground and nodded gravely. “Well, they’re very good at their jobs. They’re going to take Alison to the hospital so the doctors can put a cast on her leg. I’m sure she’ll be back at school in no time.”

“But she won’t be able to play,” she whispered, obviously still worried for her friend.

“No, she won’t,” he admitted. “At least she won’t be able to run around for a while, but she will be able to draw and play board games. I know you love to draw, so maybe you can play with Alison to make her feel better. I bet you’ll be able to write your name on the cast too.”

At that, Jenny met his gaze and finally smiled. “Really!” she said with excitement. “That’d be totally cool!”

They looked up as the paramedics wheeled past with the gurney. Little Alison was tightly strapped aboard. She was lying still, no doubt in shock, and holding tightly to the hand of Charlie’s hero. He only glanced their way for a second, obviously reluctant to take his attention away from the little girl who needed him, but that was enough. Their gazes connected, his warm brown eyes seeming to look straight into Charlie’s soul. The surge of emotion that flooded through him took him by surprise. The paramedic blinked and the spell was broken. They moved swiftly past Jenny and Charlie, then loaded the gurney into the back of the ambulance.

Charlie stood frozen to the spot, still holding Jenny’s small hand in his, and watched the ambulance leave. Finally he took a deep breath, turned back to the schoolyard, and started to round up any children still in the playground.

“Come on, everyone,” he called. “It’s time to get back to class.”

As the last stragglers made their way into the single-story building that housed the small group of classrooms, he knew he would be spending the afternoon reassuring the children. He decided that making get-well cards for Alison would be the best way of distracting the group of second graders.

BuyLinks

DREAMSPINNER PRESS (eBook)

DREAMSPINNER PRESS (Paperback)

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

AMAZON AUSTRALIA

ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS

BARNES & NOBLES

KOBO

GOOGLE PLAY

AboutTheAuthor

Author PicNic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family-an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters-and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website & Blog: http://www.nicstarr.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nic-Starr/e/B00MAWRRQG/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicki.nicstar

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NicStarrAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicstar000

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nicstar000/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8139967.Nic_Starr

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TourScheduleJune 17:

Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews

Hearts on Fire

Gay.Guy.Reading And Friends

June 18:

A Celebration of Books

The Purple Rose Tea House

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

June 19:

Bayou Book Junkie

Prism Book Alliance

Because Two Men Are Better Than One

June 22:

Nessa’s Book Reviews

Diverse Reader

My Fiction Nook

June 23:

MM Good Book Reviews

Divine Magazine

Love Bytes Reviews

June 24:

Bike Book Reviews

The Novel Approach

Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings

June 25:

BFD Book Blog

Drops of Ink

Man2ManTastic

June 26:

Eyes on Books

Foxylutely Books

Gay Media Reviews

June 29:

Nautical Star Books

Louise Lyons

Sid Love Writes

June 30:

Rainbow Gold Reviews

Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

LeAnn’s Book Reviews

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Blog Tour: I’ll Still Be There by Keelan Ellis

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Guest Post

Why a pen name? I have thought about the fact that people who write genre fiction–especially romance and erotica, but not only that–tend to use pen names. The answer seems obvious, but it’s not a great one when you really think about it. The implication is that we use a pseudonym because there’s something embarrassing, or shameful, or even dangerous about doing this sort of writing under our real names. It says that we’re writing something that we can’t be proud to share with those who know us. Unfortunately, at this point, there is a lot of truth to that. Clearly, romance and erotica is something I enjoy, and that many other people do too, yet I wouldn’t want the parents of my kids’ friends to know about it. I wouldn’t want my mother (or heaven forbid my mother-in-law) to know about it. I don’t even share it with all of my friends–only those I think would understand. Still, I know that there’s nothing wrong with what I write. Sure, it makes me feel exposed when people I know read my erotic writing, but I think anything I’d write would make me feel exposed. The more I write, the more comfortable I feel with it, so maybe there will come a day when I’ll be happy to tell everyone about it. Everyone except my mother-in-law. Because that would be weird.

As far as my pen name goes, I thought about it for a long time. My parents told me that they chose my name because you can’t make a nickname out of it–they wanted me to be taken seriously in case I chose to be, I don’t know, a lawyer or an academic or something. It’s a fine name, which I’ve always been happy with, so when it came to choosing a pen name I wanted to honor in in some way, and I went with something that has a similar sound, the same ethnic origin, the same initials and the same number of syllables. I didn’t want something that sounded super romance-authory, because I don’t always write romance, and I didn’t want it to sound really fake, but I wanted it to be memora le. I wanted it to sound strong, like the name my parents chose for me.

About the Book

Title: I’ll Still Be There

Author: Keelan Ellis

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Length: 200 Pages/63,879 words

Release Date: 1st June, 2015

Blurb: The summer after high school, Eli Dunn and Jess Early explore an abandoned brothel in the rural Florida Panhandle. They’ve always kept their mutual attraction unspoken, but in an upstairs room at the end of the hall, everything changes. Suddenly, all the longing Eli and Jess have tried so hard to conceal bursts free, and passion like they’ve never experienced comes to light, along with the ghosts of Clay Bailey and Silas Denton, murdered owners of the brothel. And Clay and Silas have no problem possessing Eli and Jess in order to express their love for each other, without thought for the living.

Deeply disturbed by the experience, Eli and Jess part and try to get on with life as best they can. But after several years, Eli returns to Florida, only to find that Jess has made some questionable choices. These eventually lead him back to the abandoned house and a confrontation with Eli. Old scores are settled and Eli and Jess reunite. But Clay and Silas’s ghosts aren’t finished yet, for they’ve always believed in the power of open and honest love.

Excerpt

CoverArtOne of them, the dark one, looked up at him in alarm. “Elijah,” the man said, but that wasn’t his name, so he shook it off like it bothered him.

“It’s not right, it’s not decent, and you can’t have this.” His body was shaking, but he held the gun steady on the men in the bed. The part of him he couldn’t recognize anymore was clamoring at him, trying to remind him of something, but he couldn’t listen and didn’t want to. He was just too angry.

The other one—Clay, his name was—moved in front of the dark one and pushed him back. “Get the hell out of here, Brown,” he shouted. From behind him, the dark man…. Silas, cursed in surprise and pulled Clay back again, whispered something in his ear.

“It’s not fucking right!” he said again, and then with a pathetic sob, which made him sick, he said, “It’s not fair.”

“No,” Silas told him in a placating tone. “It’s not fair at all, but Clay and Silas didn’t make it like that. They didn’t do that to you.”

He couldn’t understand why he would say it like that, why he was talking about them like they were separate people, like they weren’t both sitting there in front of him, half-naked. “You shouldn’t get to do that!” he cried. “No one should. It’s sick. It’s terrible.”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you didn’t have love in your life. Everyone should have that. Clay and Silas, they just got lucky, and you didn’t. That’s—that’s not their fault.” He was sitting very still, his hand resting on Clay’s arm so he wouldn’t push forward again.

He still did not lower his weapon, though he could feel his mind faltering. He was no longer clear on who he wanted to kill, who he was angry with. Then he heard it again. “Elijah.” It was spoken very softly by the dark-haired man. He frowned at the men on the bed, who looked different now. He shook his head again, less sure now.

“Listen to me Elijah. I know you can hear me. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for ever bringing you here. It ruined everything, and I know it hurt you. It hurt me too, so much. I should have just told you that I… cared for you—that I wanted you. I know now that it would have been all right. I didn’t know it then. I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.”

Eli felt himself coming back, but the anger wasn’t dissipating. He was still staring at Jess, he could see it was Jess now, but the rage was still there. He did not lower the gun.

“I’m sorry for everything. I never, ever wanted to hurt you. Remember who you are, Elijah. Try to see me like you used to, when we were kids.”

Eli blinked a few times and then looked at his hand, holding the gun. He looked at Jess, and Shawn Kinney, on the tarp covering the filthy bed. His face went blank with horror, and he lowered the gun to his side, all of him shaking, unable to get a grip.

Jess got up and went to him, reaching down to gently pull the gun from his hand. He drew him in close, and Eli went, even though Shawn was right there, and even though things were still fucked up between them. He just needed it, and he knew Jess did too.

Shawn had gotten up and walked over to them. He put his hand on Jess’s arm. “Si?” he said, his face confused. He reached up and put a hand to Jess’s cheek.

Jess took hold of his hand and smiled softly at him. “No. I ain’t him anymore,” he said. “Go on, now.”

Shawn looked disappointed for a second, and then his eyes cleared. All at once he looked mortified, and quickly pulled his hand away from Jess’s face. Jess was still touching Eli on the waist and standing very close, and it occurred to him that they might want to cease any more physical contact until they were out of this room.

“Let’s go. We shouldn’t be here,” Jess said. He moved away from Eli and started pulling on his clothes, then glanced at Shawn, maybe to make sure he was with it enough to do the same. The boy looked nearly catatonic, but he began to mechanically get dressed after Jess handed him his jeans.

Buy Links

DSP Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6448

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Still-There-Keelan-Ellis-ebook/dp/B00Y7I78II

ARe Link: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-i039llstillbethere-1803717-145.html

About the Author

IMG_3609Keelan Ellis is a true crime enthusiast, a political junkie, and a comedy fan. Despite a compulsion to sometimes wallow in the depths of humanity’s corruption and sadness, she considers herself a romantic at heart. The stories she really connects with are about love that’s been twisted into hatred, and she believes that with honesty and forgiveness, love can overcome. Keelan loves good bourbon and classic country music, great television and well-prepared food, especially shared with like-minded people. She’s not a fan of parties and large groups of people, but there’s nothing she loves more than a long conversation with friends. Her favorite part of the writing process is the collaborative stage, hashing out plot and characters with smart and talented friends. It’s where she truly comes to understand the people she’s writing about, and often falls in love with them. With the support and encouragement–as well as some serious editing help–Keelan has found the writing niche she’s always searched for.

Author Links –

Website: http://keelanellis.blogspot.com/

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

Twitter: @KeelanEllisAuth

Tumblr: http://keelan-ellis.tumblr.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/43093604-keelan-ellis

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Tour Schedule

June 1: Queer Sci-Fi || Tempeste O’Riley

June 2: Garrett Leigh || Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

June 3: The Purple Rose Tea House || JP Barnaby

June 4: Drops of Ink || LeAnn’s Book Reviews

June 5: Evelyn Shepherd || Diverse Reader

June 8: Because Two Men Are Better Than One || Cherry Mischievous

June 9: My Fiction Nook || MM Good Book Reviews

June 10: A Celebration of Books || Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

June 11: Divine Magazine

June 12: BFD Book Blog || Sid Love Writes

June 15: Cate Ashwood’s Blog

June 16: Hearts on Fire

June 17: Love Bytes Reviews || Bayou Book Junkie

June 18: Emotion in Motion || Bike Book Reviews

June 19: Nessa’s Book Reviews || Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews

Michele M. Rakes’ Fourth and Long Blog Tour: Character Interview

acks, why did you not tell anyone what was going on when you were a kid?

The one time I told someone, they didn’t believe me, so best to keep my mouth shut. A word of a ten year old doesn’t hold as much weight as a man of Phelps stature.

What’s different now?

Jared and Irus. They need me to stand up to the bogeyman of my past. It’s time for me to stop being afraid of what people will say or what will happen to my career. The kids of my charity deserve someone strong to care for them. It’s gotta be me. Irus made me see that and I’ll never be able to adequately thank the man for the strength he gives me.

Do you feel you missed out on childhood?

Hell, I missed out on life. I cut myself off from all meaningful relationships. My life was sex and football. Sometimes in that order. A year ago, I would’ve never imagined there could be more.

Irus, how are you fitting into the new role as an out and proud gay football player?

First, I’m not a poster boy or anything. I’m a man, a husband, and a football player. I want to be recognized for my talents. Yes, I’m gay. Always have been—I just don’t want to hide anymore. I don’t think its healthy. I want to hold Jacks hand in public. I want to tell him how addicted I am to him. My job is to shut down wide receivers and I’m good at it, so I think that’s all people need to know. To me, a long career in football, a family that cares about me is important. I want to do right by Jared and Jacks. I’ve lead a blessed life and it keeps getting better.

There are people in the league opposed to gay players, how do you deal with them?

Jacks: Beat there ass on the field.

Irus: Or in a bar.

Jacks: That was one time.

Irus: Yeah, but everyone figured it’d be me doing the punching. Shocked the shit out of everyone when you nailed that asshat in the grill. Man, that guy was spewing the worst kind of hate—racist and sexist. Dude was big too. Thought he had you beat.

Jacks: There’ll always be someone who thinks they have a right to pound their opinion into you. I can’t fix what’s wrong with that, except to teach my children different. To show the world that two men can raise a good son or daughter. The league will learn by our example. So will other players, but I don’t expect them to make it easy. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

Since you brought up race, does the fact that you’re black and Jacks is white cause more grief than being gay?

Irus: Well, a few of my boys were surprised. Tay was a little hurt by it for some reason.

Jacks: That boy’s in the closet.

Irus: Taylor? No.

Jacks: My gaydar isn’t fucked like yours. Now, to answer the question of racism: I think when folks bring race into things, they’re already showing how ignorant they are—adding sexual slurs on to their brand of stupid makes them very ugly people. Good people will see that a mile away.

my-photo (2)

Title: Fourth and Long

Author: Michele M. Rakes

Length:Long Novel

ISBN:978-1-62300-870-3

Genre:LGBTTQ, Multicultural, Contemporary

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs

 

Blurb:

Irus Beaumont, cornerback for the Highlanders, has an issue with his nemesis: wideout for the Pirates, Jackson McCoy. Partly jealous over Jackson’s skill and ability to scrub coverage, Irus also struggles against an unbearable attraction to the receiver. Firmly ensconced in the closet, Irus also has a no football player rule, leaving his desires for Jackson unfulfilled. Anti-gay sentiment in the league keeps Irus closeted, even though he’d rather be out and proud. When Jackson McCoy suffers a gay bashing at the hands of his team mates after winning the national championship, he finds himself traded to the Highlanders. Spring training brings out Jackson’s competitive nature, eliciting the aggression of his new team’s cornerback, Irus Beaumont. In practice, Irus hurts Jackson badly. The injury places Jackson on the reserve roster. Jacks has plenty of time to contemplate his life, career, and his attraction to the sexy cornerback. Off to Orlando for the best rehab where guilt inspires Irus to call him every evening, Jackson can’t stop thinking about Irus, or what the season holds for his team.

Buy Links:

 

http://www.loose-id.com/fourth-and-long.html

http://www.amazon.com/Fourth-Long-Michele-M-Rakes-ebook/dp/B00UUR2IDU/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_2

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-fourthandlong-1764760-149.html

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fourth-and-long-michele-m-rakes/1121475906?ean=9781623008703

 

Author Bio

Michele Rakes Author Picture

Michele Micheal Rakes lives in a small town in the shadow of a big mountain. She works as a surgical technologist assisting in the removal of tonsils and testicles. She has three grown children, two psychotic Egyptian Mau’s, a husband with hair down to his ass, two Harley’s, and a ferret named Teeny Tiny Ferret Feet (husband insists her name Little Feet, we all know he’s wrong).

Links to reach Michele Rakes:

@MicheleRakes

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8295571.Michele_Micheal_Rakes

https://m.facebook.com/michelemichealrakes

https://www.facebook.com/michele.rakes.1

https://michelerakes.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/michele-micheal-rakes-author-page/

 

 

TOUR SHEDULE:

4/24/2015           Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

4/24/2015           Cia’s Stories     

 

4/25/2015           Love Bytes

4/25/2015           The Purple Rose Tea House 

 

4/26/2015           Gay Media Reviews

4/26/2015           Divine Magazine  

4/26/2015           Because Two Men Are Better Than One   

 

4/27/2015           Man2ManTastic.blogspot

4/27/2015           Gay.Guy.Reading and Friends

4/27/2015           The Novel Approach

 

4/28/2015           Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

4/28/2015           Two Chicks Obsessed with Books 

4/28/2015           Elisa -My reviews and Ramblings

 

4/29/2015        Bike Book Reviews 

4/29/2015         Drops of Ink

 

4/30/2015        Jill Prand

4/30/2015        MM Good Book Reviews    

 

5/1/2015         Bayou Book Junkie  

5/1/2015         BFD Book Blog

5/1/2015         Sid Love  

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