Erotic Romantic Fiction

Posts tagged “new release

Final Guy

Yesterday I released Guys on the Bottom, the final book in the Guys Series trilogy. I’m thrilled with how Zach’s story played out, especially since I honestly thought I’d never write it. I tried several times to do so in the past two years since book two, Guys on the Side was released, but kept slamming into a wall and giving up. Zach was never supposed to be the most beloved character in the first two books, even for me. He was messy and immature and basically an out of control pain in the ass, so after several tries, I convinced myself his role could never go beyond providing conflict for the other Guys, and he just wasn’t someone who could carry his own book.

I’d received a surprising number of emails from readers after finishing the 2nd book, people wanting to know what became of Zach, because I left him in such a low place. My initial reaction was pretty much WHO CARES? It’s just Zach, he’s a pain in the ass, let him fade into oblivion. But never say never I guess. I didn’t plan to write a sequel to the first book Guys on Top either, but had fallen so in love with Corey the antagonist I just wanted to dive deeper into who he was. Zach? Not so much.

So what changed? Time passed, for both me and Zach. In my past attempts, I’d been trying to take up where I left off with Zach, and it wasn’t working. But the idea of catching up with him two years later was more appealing. As Duncan says in the third book, we all change. Circumstance and life experience and reflecting on the past. But it wouldn’t have been very interesting catching up with a new, happy successful Zach, would it? So I decided to find him at yet another low point in his life.

We’ve all been there, when you think you’re finally getting your shit together only to have the wind knocked out of you once again, having to start over. We’ve all felt abandoned and alone, struggling to find the energy to put in the effort once again. Dwindling bank accounts, shitty little apartments, emotional baggage, and the surety that nothing good will ever happen to you again.

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I found that finally, with the passage of time, I could reconnect with Zach, back at rock bottom and trying to crawl out of a hole again.

So while I never expected this series to become a trilogy, it felt totally right going into this third book. I was already comfortable with the side-guys and the characters I knew from the first two books. The setting of the Jamaica Plain neighborhood was like slipping on a comfy pair of old sweats, not only because of the first two books, but because I used to live there myself, for years. Going back to the pond for runs with Zach and Doug, the real locations along with fictional series hangouts like The Horse and Carriage, was so much fun, and once I started writing, it flowed faster than I could keep up with.

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So thus completes the Guys Series trilogy, Zach being the Final Guy. He’s found his happiness, and will hopefully stay out of trouble now. As for the rest of the guys, I’m going to imagine that big group of friends will continue to hang out until they’re old and crusty, giving each other shit but having each other’s back for the long haul.

As always, thanks to my readers, especially the ones who pushed for Zach’s story. You make it all worthwhile! And while I usually try not to let reader feedback influence my writing decisions, this time, I’m glad it did. Because Duncan and Zach were worth it.


NEW RELEASE!

Guys on the Bottom (Guys Book 3) is now available at Amazon and Smashwords.

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New Release

Trapped in Your Storm – The Village Book Three is now available on Amazon.

 

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Getting excited!

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TRAPPED IN YOUR STORM

Coming later this month! Trapped in Your Storm – The Village, Book 3.

Autumn has local DJ and disinformation agent Elliot Nicholson feeling renewed. He’s moved past the depression and anxiety that plagued him over the summer, and lately his job has been blessedly free of crisis. But for Elliot and his colleagues, nothing remains peaceful for long in Singing Bear Village. Baz, their outlandish ambassador, may be missing. Strange anomalies in the forest suggest something’s amiss with their neighbors under the mountain. And an online conspiracy theorist claims to know all the team’s secrets, and is threatening exposure. Thankfully, Elliot has Nolan, his loyal friend and teammate who’s always kept him grounded. But one night an innocent lark goes too far, and Elliot is knocked off-balance when Nolan starts looking at him in a different way.

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New Release – Deep in Your Shadows

New Release: Deep in Your Shadows (The Village Book 2) is now available on Amazon. Enjoy!

 

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Safe in Your Fire

Safe in Your Fire got a very cool five star review from Lovebytes Reviews

Check it out!

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Currently closing in on the end of The Village Book Two, ‘Deep in Your Shadows’ which will be released for early summer. Cover reveal coming soon!

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New Release – Safe in Your Fire

Safe in Your Fire is now available at Amazon!

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Welcome to The Village – A new gay romance series with a sci-fi twist from best selling author Darien Cox.

When asked to locate and interview an off-the-grid former child star for a magazine feature, novice journalist Rudy Sansone thinks he’s getting yet another demeaning assignment from his boss. But finding ‘Baby James’ Waterman proves to be a personal and professional challenge, as the elusive, hostile, and surprisingly sexy James is nothing that Rudy expected. But Rudy’s scrappy motivation to get the story at all costs plunges him into the mountain community of Singing Bear Village, where he senses strange and frightening secrets simmering beneath the surface. But what’s simmering between Rudy and his reluctant interview subject is something more carnal and heated, and his desire to be consumed by it clouds his judgement when warning bells urge him to flee the village and never look back.


Release the Beast!

It’s release day for my writing buddy Asha King’s book BEAST, the latest in the Midsummer Suspense tales – I was lucky to get to read this one early, and though there is a connecting thread, you don’t need to have read the prior books, this definitely works as a standalone too.

And damn, this Beauty and the Beast story ain’t no Disney tale! Mystery, murder, action, and kink, I’m awed at what Asha pulled off here. And now I get to interview her! Check out my Q&A with Asha below then hop on over to Amazon to grab a copy.

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Welcome back, Asha! Let’s start with an easy one. What made you decide to take on fairytales?

Funny you should ask that, Mr. Cox. 😉

I am actually quite fortunate to have a few good friends who are writers (my smut buddies), and many times they help inspire, or least encourage, ideas—for example, my books wouldn’t even exist without my good friend Aylia Ryvelt’s encouragement. I’d mentioned to one of them, who may or may not be my gracious host today, that I’d wanted to do interracial fairy tales, but had a lot on my plate.

The idea kept bugging me, so I decided to look at Amazon; lo and behold, there were interracial contemporary fairy tales for sale. I had the wind knocked out of my sails and felt quite saddened, as I was really looking forward to it.

And then you encouraged me to do it anyway. So I got pondering the idea and the great thing about fairy tales is that they don’t have to be fantasy or paranormal—they’re stories that work in any genre. Since I’ve found my own writing veering toward romantic suspense, that seemed the logical choice for genre, and then wasn’t encroaching on anyone else’s territory.

There’s a lot of danger and darkness you have your characters face that make the books more exciting. Do you have boundaries you want cross in a romance, or does anything go as long as it’s key to the storyline?

I go wherever the story needs to. Obviously there are certain expectations within romance I have to meet, like not killing the hero (though readers know that even that is something I will play with) but otherwise nothing is off the table.

Fairy tales also lend themselves well to darkness, as the original ones were quite dark. I’ve found as the Midsummer Suspense Tales continue, they’re getting darker and darker as we go. Cinders began with a sweeter relationship against a backdrop of dark abuse against the heroine. From there, the stories have developed quite an edge. Beast is the fourth book and the darkest yet, but I don’t think you can really do a retelling of a Stockholm Syndrome romance while keeping it sweet.

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How do you create the balance between toughness and vulnerability in your tough as nails heroes?

Ultimately I think it’s because non-vulnerable men do not appeal to me at all.

The whole “alpha/beta male” debate gets on my nerves because what most people have deemed “alpha” is actually “asshole”. An alpha, to me, is a man who takes care of his family—not a possessive brute out of the Stone Age but someone with emotional maturity and security who puts his loved ones ahead of his own needs. He will fight to protect them and he respects women.

So toughness + vulnerability is natural and super hot to me. Maddox in Bad Moon Rising being a virgin, for example, was sweet and beautiful and had no bearing on his strength. With Carter in The Book of Love, it’s clear he hasn’t been with anyone since his wife before the divorce during the love scenes, and his hands shake a little with nervousness—it’s incredibly endearing and that vulnerability doesn’t make him weak at all.

The heroes in the Midsummer Suspense Tales world often have their lives on the line for the women they love, and I think the sheer fact that they let another person mean so much to them is a sign of vulnerability.

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Your heroines, especially in the fairy tales, have suffered a lot in their past and been victims, yet they’re ultimately strong and independent. Is the intentional?

Absolutely, and probably not for the reason a lot of people think. There are a lot of books where the female characters have been through terrible things and it’s done for no reason other than the writer seems to think, “Everyone must have a shocking, traumatic background!”

While it’s true that strength can come out of trauma, for me it comes down to wanting to see that story told (no matter how many times I tell it). As a survivor of trauma, I like to see other stories of survivors. I like to be reminded of how resilient women are, how we can go through hell and come out the other side whole. To quote The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: “White dudes hold the record for creepy crimes—but females are strong as hell.” There is always a chance that someone who is reading one of my books has been through something terrible and if I can help remind them that survivors are strong and they deserve happiness, I’ve done my job.

That is also the really beautiful thing about the romance genre as a whole. Women—all women, no matter what they’ve survived—get their happily ever after. (Of course, so do men.)

Let’s talk about Beast specifically. This book ties to earlier Midsummer stories more than ever with Joseph mentioned in Beauty. Was this planned all along?

By the time I got to Beauty, I knew I’d be introducing future heroes and heroines from book to book—writing Cinders I knew immediately that Michael O’Hara would be the hero of Snow. But it wasn’t until the first draft of Beauty was written that I thought, hmm, maybe the villain’s son wasn’t dead—maybe he lived but went into hiding. I rewrote the epilogue to reveal he’d lived and knew by that point he absolutely had to be my “beast”. So generally with the Midsummer books, each story was planned two or three books ahead of time. The sixth (and likely final) one, Red, has actually been planned from the very beginning and I’m quite excited about who that “hero” is.

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Belle spends most of the book with no idea of what Joseph actually looks like, yet the sexual tension is still palpable and erotic. Was that particularly challenging?

I think it would’ve been if it was strictly her point of view, but thankfully Joseph had plenty of scenes to fill in visual information for the reader and strike a balance there. But writing erotic romance, we often get caught up in visual cues when there are four other senses to explore in detail that can be just as hot as seeing some washboard abs (if not more). The tale of Beauty and the Beast, at its core, is about falling in love with the person you find below the surface, so taking that one step further and having Belle blindfolded seemed natural to me.

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Did you worry at all about how Joseph would be received as a hero in a genre populated by visually stunning men?

I honestly go into every book assuming everyone will hate it—this is my fifteenth published book and it only took like three for me to realize people will not like them and be very vocal about it. So letting go of the worry about whether or not anyone would like Joseph was quite freeing for me as a writer. It allowed me to be entirely true to him as a character and not file down any of his sharp edges. Some will really respond to that while others won’t, and that’s cool. Personally, I dig a big, strong, broody, scarred hero.

And I suppose that worry pales in comparison to making your heroine take a job as a prostitute.

Yep! Another unfortunate fact of the romance world: women get flayed for the same behavior men display all the time. I’ll write a heroine who only has sex with the hero in the book, no signs of promiscuity, and she’ll be branded a slut while the hero isn’t. Double standards always apply, so while I didn’t think Joseph hiring a sex worker would seem like a big deal, certainly, having Belledona take the job—even just to investigate these crimes—is something that might not go over well. But at the end of the day this is fiction, it is fantasy, and characters do things you and I wouldn’t.  My job is to tell this story of two people who are very different and yet fit together, and how they find their way to one another.

And then make it really hot.

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What’s next for Midsummer? Obviously it cannot end here…

Not when there are more fairy tales to tell! Next on my plate is Gold. I’d wanted to do something with Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but there’s not really enough meat to that story, IMO. Then my mind wandered a little and I thought about Rumpelstiltskin/The Miller’s Daughter, spinning straw into gold, and the idea went from there. Gold is about the “baby bear” of a family who’s always had trouble with the law, and how he finds a hacker girl trying to escape the criminal underworld by hiding in a cabin he’s supposed to be preparing for summer tourists.

After that, the (probably) final book is Red, where Raina and her grandmother come face to face with a monstrous serial killer, and the only one standing between Raina and certain death is the equally dangerous hitman known as The Huntsman.

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Just six books, then?

The thing about fairy tales is that there are always more to draw on. A few years down the road I might try another trilogy of tales if inspiration strikes.

There’s always The Little Mermaid, after all…

Thanks for coming by, Asha, and congrats on the release of another great book. To check out Asha’s other books visit her author site, ashaking.com

 

 


New release day! Victim of Love

Victim of Love now available on Kindle.

Young lab scientist Olsen Westergard has worked long and hard to create order and stability in his life, and believes he’s finally content. But when he goes on a summer holiday trip with his friends, they try to rouse him from his customary caution, urging him to remedy his extended sexual dry spell. Their fumbled efforts to hook him up validate Olsen’s guess that he likely won’t meet the type of guy he’s looking for on this trip. Or rather, the type of guy he thinks he’s looking for.

But when a solo late night beach walk leads to a heated encounter with a drunken stranger, Olsen unexpectedly finds himself overwhelmed with turbulent desires—made worse when he later discovers the stranger’s surprising identity, and that ready or not, they’re about to get to know each other a whole lot better.

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