Tag Archives: Dreamspinner Press

“The Christmas Wager” is being re-released as a second edition!

the-christmas-wager
My  very first sale as a writer occurred in the summer of 2010. I’d written a Christmas Victorian, and I chose Dreamspinner Press to submit it to. Luckily for me, they bought it, and it was published that December.

It did moderately well, and has continued to sell a few copies every year around Christmas time, but there was a problem: my knowledge of the Victorian Era—and particularly British culture—was severely lacking. I’d written it as a sweet romance, before I began defining myself as an author who loves to really dig into my research and wallow around in it.

This put my first novel in a unique position—it was the only one of my published stories I couldn’t stand to re-read. The prose wasn’t utterly terrible, in my opinion, and I liked the story, but six years later, I’d come to know a few people from England, and I’d learned a bit more about the Victorian Era, so the mistakes I’d made now jumped out at me on every page.

The solution presented itself to me this past March, when a friend from Britain and I were having coffee and I mentioned how much I would love to go back and fix all of the problems in it, assuming that was even possible. She agreed to help.

Now, with her assistance, and the assistance of a wonderful editor, I now present the 2nd Edition of The Christmas Wager! It is currently available for pre-order, and will be released on December 14th.

The story is basically the same. I didn’t want to change that. It still follows Thomas and Andrew as they spend the Christmas holiday at the home of Thomas’s estranged father, Andrew still secretly in love with his close friend, and Thomas gradually coming to realize his feelings for Andrew.

What has changed are some surface details, such as names—since we discovered there is a real Duke of Barrington, Thomas is now Lord Thomas Pendleton, second son of the Duke of Branmoor. The way the family and servants addressed one another was driving British readers to distraction, so that has (I sincerely hope) been corrected. And much of the detail of the period has been corrected, as well as anachronisms and Americanisms (one of the biggest challenges for me) removed.

It was a much larger undertaking than I realized back in March. Just when I thought I had a handle on things, a new set of eyes would uncover more problems. But I am extremely happy with the end result.

The wonderful cover by Paul Richmond wasn’t changed at all. I still think it perfectly suits the story.

Blurb:

2nd Edition

Lord Thomas Pendleton, second son of the Duke of Branmoor, needs to discharge a debt to his friend Andrew Nash. In doing so, he must return to the family estate he fled six years earlier after refusing to marry the woman his father had chosen. To Thomas’s dismay, Branmoor Hall is no longer the joyful home he remembers from his childhood, and his four-year-old niece has no idea what Christmas is.

Determined to bring some seasonal cheer back to the gloomy estate, Thomas must confront his tyrannical father, salvage a brother lost in his own misery, and attempt to fight off his father’s machinations.

As Christmas Day draws near, Thomas and his friend Andrew begin to realize they are more than merely close friends… and those feelings are not only a threat to their social positions, but, in Victorian England, to their lives as well.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.

Excerpt:

“Your father seems to have mellowed a bit,” Andrew commented as they stood in the hallway outside his door.

“Don’t believe it for a second,” Thomas replied. “He never gives in. The old bugger is up to something.”

Andrew smiled at that. “Well, are you coming in, then?”

“I think I’ll have hot water brought up for a bath.” Thomas leaned his head wearily against the doorframe. “Would you care to join me for a brandy?”

Andrew laughed. “In the bath?”

“No,” Thomas replied with a tired smile, “that isn’t precisely what I meant.”

A short time later, Andrew was sitting in his dressing gown, sipping a brandy near the tub in Thomas’s room. This, too, had become a ritual with them, back at the University Club—one of them bathing while the other sat nearby, both of them enjoying one of their lengthy philosophical conversations.

Thomas didn’t appear to be feeling philosophical tonight. He sat in the water, steam billowing about him, sipping his own brandy and brooding. After his third glass, he was rather tipsy. “I really don’t see that we’ll have any attendance at the dance at all. It’s going to be an unqualified disaster.”

“We shall see,” Andrew replied. He was used to Thomas’s dark moods and knew not to take them overly seriously. “Have the invitations gone out yet?”

“No!” Thomas gestured dramatically with his snifter, splashing some brandy into the tub. “That’s part of the problem. Henrietta is still preparing them.”

“Who is Henrietta?” Andrew looked at him quizzically. “I thought your mother said she would take care of it.”

“She did take care of it, by ordering Henrietta to do it. She’s my mother’s personal secretary.”

“I see where your streak of industriousness comes from.”

Thomas smirked at him. “Are you disparaging my mother, you blackguard?”

“Of course not. I would never—”

Thomas staggered to his feet, dripping with water. He brandished his snifter at his friend like a weapon. “If I weren’t a bit drunk, and naked, I would call you out, you scoundrel.”

Andrew laughed, but he found the sight of Thomas’s naked crotch so near, and at eye level, extremely disconcerting. He set his glass down on the floor, then stood to take Thomas’s snifter out of his hand.

Thomas offered no resistance.

“Sit down, you fool,” Andrew said, “before you slip and break your neck.”

“The water is getting cold, at any rate.”

“Then let me help you out.” Andrew slipped his arms underneath Thomas’s armpits. Thomas wrapped his own arms around Andrew’s shoulders in a soaking-wet embrace, allowing his friend to half lift him out of the metal tub.

Andrew found Thomas’s towel and wrapped it around him before settling him on the chair he’d been using himself. Then he held out his arms, surveying the sodden arms of his dressing gown. “Well, that ends my evening. I think I shall retire to my room and crawl into a nice dry bed.”

Andrew wasn’t certain whether Thomas would find his way to bed, if he left, or simply fall asleep in the chair. So he helped his friend up again, made certain he was reasonably dry—at least so far as his sense of honor would allow—and then helped Thomas climb into his own bed. “There you go.”

“Andrew, you are the best friend a man could ever ask for.”

Andrew smiled, feeling self-conscious. “Everybody’s a bosom friend when you’re drunk.”

“I’m not that drunk,” Thomas protested. “And I mean it. You’re wonderful, and I adore you.”

That made Andrew even more uncomfortable. He smiled faintly and permitted himself a light brush of his fingers along Thomas’s forehead and cheek—to brush the hair out of his eyes, or so he told himself. “Sleep well.”

Then he went back to his room. He doubted he would sleep well. Not after that. Oh, why did Thomas have to be so prone to these bouts of melancholic affection? They made Andrew’s life agony.

 

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Filed under Christmas, Excerpt, gay, Historical, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, Romance, Victorian, Writing

Celebrate Dreamspinner Press’s eighth anniversary!

Year3and4_FBpostDreamspinner Press is celebrating its eighth year by having weekly sales. Last week, we had sales on all books by authors who joined DSP in its first and second years, and this week, we have 35% off all books by authors who joined in its third and fourth years.

And that would be me!

I published my first story with DSP (really my first story anywhere) in its fourth year, along with other fantastic authors like Victor J. Banis, J.P. Barnaby, Sue Brown, Kate Sherwood, Christopher Koehler, Rick R. Reed, Shelter Somerset, Eden Winters, Michael Halfhill, Sarah Madison, and… well, the list is huge!

And when you add in the authors from DSP’s third year, who are also on sale this week, it’s bigger than huge! (Whatever that would be. Giga-huge? Huge-normous?)

The entire list is on the home page at Dreamspinner.

So if you’re in the market for some terrific books at a 35% discount, head on over to Dreamspinner Press!

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“Screwups” gets its first review – 5 stars!

My new novel Screwups will be coming out on March 7th, and it’s already received a great 5-star review from Brandilyn at Prism Book Alliance!

Is that enough bolds and highlights?  Maybe I should add a couple more….

“The characters in the dorm are very real. I felt like I was back in college, myself. I was not in an “artistic” dorm, but I was in the “honors” dorm. Many of the characters were taken right from my own past. I had a Paul. I had a Danny and Jake. I wasn’t nearly as cool as Eva, but we can’t have everything. Even though I am not a gay male, I can certainly relate to some of the issues Jake is holding on to from high school. Everyone will find something to which to relate in Screwups, from the weekly D&D game to the Police Box to the characters surrounding the main couple.

. . .

These people aren’t perfect. There are no pretty ribbons and bows. There is no fairytale romance. What there is is slow and real, hurting, misunderstanding, over reacting, groveling, holding, kissing, loving, and hoping.”

Blurb:

In 1996, Jake Stewart is starting his third year at the University of New Hampshire. Even as a successful business major, he is absolutely miserable. Not only is Jake pursuing a field he hates when he’d rather study art, he is utterly terrified of what will happen if his father finds out he’s gay. When he finally gets up the courage to move into the creative arts dorm on campus, his new roommate, Danny, is openly gay—and there’s no denying the attraction between them. 

Danny Sullivan has been out since high school, and he appears comfortable with his sexuality. But something happened in Danny’s past—something that gives him nightmares he refuses to talk about. Unknown to Jake, the way he mistreated his friend, Tom Langois, when Tom came out to him in high school, is mild compared to the way someone very much like Jake treated Danny. 

It may be too late to fix the mess Jake made with Tom, but if Jake wants to be with Danny, he’s going to have to fix the mess made by another closeted jock he’s never even met.

Buy link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4756

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Filed under College, Contemporary, Drama, gay, New Release, Reviews, Romance

Saving Sonny James Road Trip Blog Tour: Why New Hampshire? Because I’m the author, that’s why!

Hello, I’m Lou Sylvre. Let me begin with a heartfelt thank you to Jamie Fessenden for sharing some blog space with me and my characters, Luki Vasquez and Sonny James. They just finished a rather terrible misadventure in France, which you can read about in my latest Vasquez and James series book (#4), Saving Sonny James, released by Dreamspinner Press on 10/18. The couple are on a road trip—a trans-Atlantic, other-world-visiting road trip, which I agreed to only because they consented to take me along, letting me observe and chronicle their travels from the backseat.

They started in Paris, because that’s where Saving Sonny James left them, took the Chunnel train to Ashford, in Kent, England, and another train to London. They had rather a nice time in London. Before an evening of amiable ravishment (yeah, sex) at their historic hotel, they dined with Brian Harrison, young friend and former agent of Luki’s security business, whose stint there included a tough job helping to rescue  Luki’s nephew in book 3, Finding Jackie. Brian is also the future love interest of the very same Jackie in at least one romance novel, but that’s yet to be—it’s incubating in my (Lou Sylvre’s) head while Jackie faces demons and comes of age.

Meanwhile, Luki and Sonny have just about had their fill of misadventure for a while, and they’re on vacation. Yesterday they checked in at the gate for their flight from Heathrow. Luki, of course, took charge as they stepped up to the desk.

“Luki Vasquez and Sonny James, with Vasquez Security, Chicago.”

Sonny mumbled under his breath but near enough Luki’s ear for his husband to hear and begin to be annoyed. “And employee of ATF, long arm of Uncle Sam.”

“Destination, sir?”

Sonny started to speak up… “New Y—”

But Luki interrupted, rather forcefully. “Providence.”

“Providence?” Sonny asked, looking perplexed and perhaps as though challenging Luki’s sanity.

“Yeah, baby. Providence. That’s the flight Jude booked for us.”

“Why?”

Luki sighed and rolled his eyes, turned to the desk agent, “Excuse me, maybe… ten seconds.”

“It’s first class,” he said to Sonny, exaggerating a patient tone.

“What happened to seeing the art museum, and Broadway, and—”

“Another time.”

“You didn’t even ask me.”

“Jude and I wanted to surprise you, but I guess I’ll have to ruin that, now. We’re picking up your Mustang in Providence!”

“How!”

“You know Jude,” Luki said, then in an aside to the desk agent, “She’s my admin, she can do anything.”

“So, Providence, then.” The airline employee and Sonny spoke almost in unison.

Luki nodded to the clerk and answered Sonny. “Yes. And from there we’re driving to New Hampshire.”

“New Hampshire… because?”

“I hear it’s beautiful there this time of year.” Luki stopped to show the young woman their passports and ID, and thanked her as he stepped away from the desk, their boarding passes in hand.  “And Ms. Sylvre wants us to pick her up there.”

“Why do we always do everything she tells us?”

Luki sighed again, heading into the men’s room. “We don’t, but sometimes we have to let her have her way.”

“I’ll ask again, why?”

“Sonny, she’s the author. That’s why. And I guess she has a friend there.”

“At least she’s nice,” Sonny said, looking thoughtful.

Luki made a wry face—more expressive than Sonny was used to. “Sometimes,” Luki said.

The flight to Providence was long, relatively  amiable, and uneventful. Smooth figurative seas continued as they got to the garage to pick up the ‘Stang and drove out of town. Sonny smiled as he negotiated the relatively uncluttered turnpike. Luki put on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and sang along in his sexy scratch, “…to keep me from getting to you, baby.” He was glancing through a paper from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“Hey look, baby!,” he said. “There’s a place in this town called Sonny’s tavern.”

“Whoopie.”

“Whoopie?”

“That’s what I said. What kind of place is it?”

“Well, let’s see. Hm. Says they’re having a honky-tonk jam tonight.”

“Perhaps we should steer clear. How about an art event?”

“Um… yeah. Here. It’s in Hampton… maybe that’s not far. An art walk with—no, never mind that already happened. But there’s something at the University… somebody made paintings based on somebody else’s poems. The artist is John Angelopolous, the poet somebody Simic. Art looks sort of surreal… Oh, wait, that was October 11th. Hm.”

NH autumn

“So,” Sonny offered. Maybe we should take a long drive in the woods. This part of the country reminds me of home.”

“Our home,” Luki said, very quietly.

Sonny took his eyes off the road while they waited for a traffic signal in the middle of nowhere to turn green. “Yes, husband. Our home. Always.” He offered his hand, and Luki entwined his own.

As they pulled away from the light, Sonny taking Luki’s hand along for the ride as he shifted gears, Luki cleared his throat. Still softly, he said, “I love you, Sonny Bly James.”

Sonny squeezed Luki’s hand and, being Sonny, said, “Yeah, you do, don’t you?”

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Luki Vasquez and his still newlywed husband are back home after pulling off a harrowing desert rescue of their teenage nephew Jackie. But the events of the last couple of years have begun to catch up with Luki—loving Sonny James and letting Sonny love him back has left gaps in his emotional armor. In the gunfight that secured Jackie’s rescue, Luki’s bullet killed a young guard, an innocent boy in Luki’s mind. In the grip of PTSD, memories, flashbacks, and nightmares consume him, and he falls into deep, almost vegetative depression.

Sonny devotes his days to helping Luki, putting his own career on hold, even passing up a European tour of galleries and schools—an opportunity that might never come again. But when Luki’s parasomnia turns his nightmares into real-world terror, it breaks the gridlock. Sonny realizes what he’s doing isn’t working, and he says yes to Europe. Enter Harold Breslin, a dangerously intelligent artist’s promoter and embezzler whose obsessive desire for Sonny is exceeded only by his narcissism. When Harold’s plan for Sonny turns poisonous, Luki must break free of PTSD and get to France fit and ready in time to save his husband’s life.

Buy Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4269

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Filed under Drama, gay, Guest Blogger, New Release, Romance