I’ve been wanting to create swag for my readers that I can afford to make and distribute. So far I’ve come up with bookmarks (I’m considering printing, laminating, and mailing them). These can be customized with a readers favorite quote from a particular book or a quote could be chosen randomly. Above is a sample of how they’d be styled. As far as giveaway prizes go, I know this isn’t the fanciest thing, but is it something anyone would be interested in? And does anyone have any ideas for other affordable swag?
A Carlisles novel
Successful fashion model Denver Carlisle is finally living on his own. He’s got a new apartment, a neighbor who has a problem shutting his blinds, and a local bakery with an owner who makes his knees weak. It’s raining men, and Denver hasn’t gotten any in a long time. Going out on a limb, he asks Ethan Monahan out and resorts to a little exhibitionism for his neighbor. Only to be turned down by both. That’s a first.
Ethan Monahan runs his own bakery and has a new neighbor who walks around naked. The latter is a little too distracting. When his naked neighbor turns out to be none other than model Denver Carlisle—and the customer who asked him out—Ethan tries to make amends. In a purely friendly way.
Friendship leads to more, and both men find themselves in over their heads with emotions and compromises. Denver has trust issues that could span the Sahara, and Ethan is a product of the foster system with a chip on his shoulder and a serious wariness of those with money. There’s only one way to reconcile their issues: work together.
Dreamspinner Press / Cover Art by Garrett Leigh / Contemporary / 64k
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Closeted professional hockey player Eric Belanger is falling hard for an out-and-proud male model. He’s unable to resist Dorian’s charm and pushing personal boundaries he never thought he’d cross. But Dorian is the kind of guy who deserves someone who isn’t afraid to be himself. Eric’s fears about what coming out will do to his career clash with the future he hopes to build with Dorian. He knows he’ll eventually have to make a choice.
Dorian Carlisle knows better than to date a man who wants to keep him a secret, but there’s something about Eric he can’t ignore. So he’ll take the risk, and it’ll be all right, because this isn’t a forever romance. He’s happy to live in the moment. But somehow, at some point, feelings sneak up on him and he’s not okay anymore. At a breaking point, Dorian must also make a decision. Their time together will either be the start of something wonderful or nothing more than a happy memory.
Cover by Reese Dante / 75k words / Contemporary, sports / 3rd in the Carlisles Series
Somehow Dorian’s name got tossed into the ring for a winter clothing line spread in some sports magazine, and now he’s on a set in downtown New York City with five big, hulking hockey players. A few of whom are pretty damn hot, and the majority of whom aren’t American. He can admit he’s a sucker for an accent, and it’s a little distracting.
Jackson, his brother, flicks his nose. He stops staring at the tall European guy who’s talking to the tall French Canadian, who has his shirt off and an abdomen that Dorian would pay to be able to lick. He scrunches his face up at his brother, mimicking the judgey look being thrown his way. He can’t believe Jackson took this job. Isn’t it bad enough that he has to work with Denver—his twin—more often than not?
“What was that for?” he asks, gaze already trying to return to the guys. He can’t help it. He’s innately wired to appreciate beautiful things.
“I’m trying to do your makeup, and you’re making it difficult. Stop looking at the toys you can’t touch and look at me.” Jackson grabs his chin and tilts his head just so, wielding eyeliner in his other hand like it’s a weapon.
Dorian pouts, sticking his bottom lip way out. “You don’t know. I could touch them.” In my dreams.
Jackson gives him a stern look, which is ridiculous since he’s a year younger. Dorian should be the one giving the parental stare-downs. “Hands to yourself. Professional athletes are never a good idea. Now open your eyes wide and don’t blink.”
It takes a lot of self-control to not sneak glances at the hockey players while they get dressed and their makeup gets done. And well, he just doesn’t have that control. So he manages a peek or two. The whole process is a lot of clothes coming on and off, muscles flexing, watching stylists run their hands through gorgeous hair. It’s like being in a candy shop and getting told you can’t have anything. So not fair.
Dorian can list on the fingers of one hand the things he knows about sports, and all of it mostly has to do with what the balls look like and the overall purpose of them: score goals. It’s not that he’s not interested—well, okay, he is—but he just doesn’t have the attention span for it. He’s done jobs with plenty of athletes, both male and female, and their sports sound interesting enough when they talk to him about them. It just doesn’t translate to him watching it.
His lack of interest isn’t normally a problem, but athletes are a peculiar lot, and sometimes that makes working with them difficult. They have a hard time understanding the shoot isn’t about them. It’s about the photographer’s vision. The designer’s vision. It’s about serving a purpose. And then there are the times where it’s like they’re speaking a whole other language.
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This was sweet from start to finish. Rudy is adorably awkward in a way that I’m sure more than a few people can sympathize with, and Zac is his opposite. While on the surface it appears as if Rudy is doing more for Zac (providing him a family environment), Zac is doing just as much for Rudy whose self-esteem is definitely lacking. The two men compliment each other.
A Family For Christmas is a relatively quick feel-good holiday read that leaves a warm feeling in your stomach.
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press (self published)
Length: 44,000 words approx
Genre: Contemporary m/m romance, feelgood, heartwarming
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
Release Date: Friday 18th of November
Series info: This book is a standalone
Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.
Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.
Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.
It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretence makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.
Despite the protests of Chris and Marc, Dustin goes home with thirty minutes to spare before he needs to head to the arena for the game. He’ll play better if he gets to check on Chandler himself – not that Henrik’s snapchat of Chandler with a deer imposed over his slack face hadn’t been soothing.
Chandler’s still in bed when Dustin peeks his head around the doorframe. He’s a lump under the covers, only his mop of golden hair visible on the pillow. Dustin’s brain says to leave Chandler to his rest, while his heart urges him to crawl into the bed beside him.
“C’mere.” Chandler’s voice is rusty from disuse and slurred with sleep.
Dustin isn’t about to turn him down, though. He climbs in – still wearing his jeans and a shirt – and can’t help the noise of utter relief that leaves him when Chandler rolls, curling against Dustin’s side. He’s heat and firmness, slinging his arm over Dustin’s stomach to hold him in place. He’s buried his nose against Dustin’s neck, and he’s inhaling deeply, exhaling warm puffs of air across Dustin’s skin.
Carefully Dustin wriggles an arm free and gets his hand in Chandler’s hair, beginning to lightly – as gently as he can – massage Chandler’s scalp. It’s the first time he’s touched his head since the accident, terrified he’d somehow hurt him further. But Chandler melts under the touch, body going limp and satisfied rumbles shaking his chest.
“Missed you,” he says, lips grazing Dustin’s skin. Before Dustin can answer, Chandler starts to shake his head and then groans. Dustin resumes rubbing, making helpless shushing noises till Chandler calms again. Chandler’s eyelashes flutter against Dustin’s earlobe. “S’not the same.”
Dustin’s heart flutters quickly in his chest. “Yeah?” What does that even mean?
Chandler’s sigh is gusty. “Mhm.”
Dustin wants to demand Chandler explain himself, but Chandler’s breathing is already sliding into soft snores.
There’s something not quite right about being on the ice without Chandler during practice or warmups. Knowing that when he plays tonight, Chandler won’t be in the building or even watching at home. It feels like Dustin’s off balance. He keeps turning to chirp Chandler or to seek praise for a drill well done.
But Chandler’s not there. Concussions suck.
Chandler hasn’t left the house – has barely left their bed – in the week and a half since his hard head had done the unthinkable and betrayed him. He can’t handle lights or noise, and their conversations are relegated to low whispers of Dustin begging Chandler to eat, shower, and take his meds. When Chandler’s not sleeping, he’s a ball of misery. Dustin feels bad, really he does, but he’s at wits end. He’s doing everything he can, when he can, and it’s not enough.
Marc whacks him with his stick as Dustin skates by the goal. “Hey, come over and hang out after practice, yeah?”
Dustin skates back around and shakes his head, the straps of his helmet bouncing off his neck. He wants to, but…. “I can’t.” Someone needs to check on Chandler and make sure he’s alive.
“You can,” says Marc, stubborn to his core. “Henrik or one of the other guys can go keep Chandler company.” He pokes Dustin. “You look like shit. Consider this your intervention.”
“I don’t need an intervention.” He needs Chandler to magically become healthy overnight.
Chris skates up then, spraying ice over the two of them like the obnoxious otter he is. “Someone said intervention. We talking about turning that frown upside down, buttercup?” He slaps the palm of his glove to Dustin’s helmet and shakes him.
Dustin flails a little, trying to get away when Chris follows. He scrunches up his nose, warmed by their actions but not wanting to show it. He can’t encourage their being nosy, interfering shifters. He’d never have peace again. “I’m fine.”
“That’s something someone who wasn’t fine would say,” says Marc. “If you don’t want to consider that this is for you, look at it as us saying we miss you. Come give us attention.” He tries to hug Dustin, his catching glove glancing off Dustin’s shoulder and clipping the side of his head.
“You guys are awful,” says Dustin, really meaning that they’re the best in the world. “I’ll come over so you’ll shut up.”
Chris slaps his back. “Sweet. We’ll swim and barbecue. Steaks for all.” He frowns. “Unless you want fish. Today is about you. And pregame naps! We’ll do a cuddle pile.”
Dustin is definitely not choking up thinking about how lucky he is to have these two guys in his life. His eyes are watering cause he’s tired. That’s all. He’s been sleeping in a separate room from Chandler so he doesn’t disturb him, and it’s led to tossing and turning and not much sleeping.
He blinks quickly, trying to clear his vision and maintain his dignity. “Steak’s good.” His voice doesn’t crack. Not at all.
Bastien wraps his arms around James’s waist, notching his chin against his shoulder. When James leans back, Bastien widens his stance and takes his weight. James’s hands rest over his, cradling them to his stomach.
“It’s gorgeous,” says James, the words almost swallowed by the noise of the crowd around them, the awe almost concealed.
They’re looking at the Eiffel tower from their position on the bridge, standing steady in a sea of people all going somewhere. The merry-go-round spins, children and adults riding the ceramic animals in dizzying circles, the music spilling out into the night. It’s two minutes to eleven, and they’re waiting for the hour. The tower is going to brighten, lights sparkling and tap-dancing across the structure. Bastien has promised James that once he sees it, they’ll take a spin on the carousel.
Bastien tightens his arms, ducking his face to press a kiss to the cool skin of James’s neck. He smells like fresh air and a hint of salt, sweat from spending the last fourteen hours trekking the streets of Paris. “Je t’aime,” he says, lips grazing flesh. Three years they’ve been together now, and he never tires of letting James know.
James shivers beneath his touch, and his chest rises and falls with a low sigh. “Je t’aime mon cheri,” he returns, voice husky, twisting to press a kiss to Bastien’s cheek. His lips linger, warming Bastien.
The Eiffel Tower comes to life, splashing flashing lights across the dark sky.