Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pride Promotions presents Nights Like These by Chris Scully

Book Name: Nights Like These

Author Name: Chris Scully

Author Bio:
CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada where she grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of a corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her creative escape in writing. Always searching for something different, she has discovered a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve.

Author Contact:

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Starting over sucks. At forty, Miles Koprowski thought he had life all figured out. He had a nice car, a hot young lover, and a cushy job… and then he didn’t. Call it fate, or karma, or a downturn in the market, but this opinionated cynic is now forced to play rent-a-cop in a dying office building in the burbs just to make ends meet. Throw in an unhinged ex, a coworker who hates him, and a hot new boss, and suddenly everything is uncertain.

Miles doesn’t plan on liking the night shift or becoming embroiled in a mystery that reawakens old passions and puts him in danger. And he certainly doesn’t plan on falling for the overbearing head of security, Colton Decker, former soldier and doting dad. But nights like these can change a man, make him start to believe there’s more to life than a high paying job and a warm body in his bed. With a thief on the loose and his new job in jeopardy, Miles will have to decide what’s truly important. He might discover things he never knew he wanted… as long as he makes it through the night.

Categories: Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going, dumb—” I managed to sputter before my mouth stopped working entirely and dropped open. The ability to speak, to think, deserted me at the first sight of the hunky stranger standing in front of me, his face contorted with apology as he tried to mop up my sodden jacket with a handful of napkins. He was a few inches taller than me—closer to six feet—and on the stocky side. His broad shoulders filled out a nicely tailored suit, and he projected an air of confidence that I’d never be able to pull off in a million years. He was clean-shaven too, with a dark buzz cut that made me long to run a hand over his head simply to feel the texture. And gorgeous. Did I happen to mention that?
In short, he was the kind of guy you’d want to be stranded with on a deserted island; the kind you could count on to save you. If you were so inclined. Me? I didn’t need saving.
A pair of friendly, light-colored eyes now stared back at me, bemused. Odd that his lips were moving, but no sound was coming out.
“What?” I asked, blinking back to attention. I couldn’t remember the last time anyone had literally made me speechless. Me, Miles Koprowski, who never met a silence he didn’t want to fill.
Hell, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d been on the receiving end of a full-body pat-down either. At least not so quickly. His hands were still drifting over my chest, wiping up the last drips of coffee, and the simple touch was doing alarming things to my heart rate.
“Are you okay?” he demanded. “Did you get burned?” Before I could react, he seized my wrist and held my hand up for inspection. Strong, lightly calloused fingers, I added to my mental list. Working hands. Dumbly, I looked down. The skin on the back of my right hand was red and stung like a son of a bitch, but it wasn’t blistering. I did flinch slightly when he skimmed his thumb over the sensitive area, but not from pain, more from the touch itself. My entire body lit up, as though I’d stuck a finger in an electrical socket. “It doesn’t look too bad. I think you’ll live. Put some aloe on it when you get home.”
“Doctor?” I croaked, because really, that would be too perfect.
“Nope. Just seen a lot of injuries.” His lips twitched with barely contained amusement. “Sorry to disappoint you.” Sense of humor, check.

Words: 69,000

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Rafflecopter Prize: E-book copy upon release

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Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

It’s a hazard of the job unfortunately. For someone like me, who’s an emotional writer anyway, writer’s block can quickly get out of control and send me into a downward spiral of anxiety where I lose all productivity. I’ve learned that the key is to avoid fixating on the blockage in the first place, so it doesn’t start to consume you. The more you focus on it, the more pressure you put on yourself, the bigger and scarier it gets. Above all else, keep on writing. Anything. Even if you have to delete it later. As soon as I find myself stuck, I’ll move on to another section or another scene. Or else I’ll turn my hand to editing. Most of the time, as soon as I stop thinking about it, the solution will pop out of nowhere. Right now, I’m struggling with an orphaned scene; it’s a great scene, but I can’t think of a way to transition to it, so I’m doing other revisions and hoping the answer will come to me.

If you have a great support system or writing community, another option is to ask for input from others. Sometimes it takes someone outside our head to show us the solution.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I applaud anyone who takes a leap and has the courage to put stuff out there. It is scary. But that’s only the beginning. First and foremost are the technical basics. I’m not even talking about punctuation and grammar here. I’m talking spelling and sentences that actually make sense. You can always apply proper punctuation and rules later, or your editor will help with it, but if you can’t figure out what the writer is saying, there is not much point. If English is not a writer’s first language, they should find someone they trust to help them with it.

In my opinion, the second most important element is character; a well-developed and interesting character will almost always compensate for other faults in style, plot etc. I can’t count the number of books I would normally have abandoned but have kept reading simply because of a character. In a competitive market, it’s important to look for ways to make your character unique, but even if a character is a cowboy or a rich businessman, he needs to be believable and have complex layers like a real person.

Closely linked to character is the element of “showing and telling”; knowing when to show and when to tell. It may be a cliché, but the more a writer can demonstrate what they want to convey, the more vivid the story becomes. This for me, is what takes good writing and makes it great.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Nights Like These is my first novel. I also have five published novellas (four with Dreamspinner) and one short story (also Dreamspinner), so I’m just at the beginning of my journey. Asking a writer to name his or her favorite is like asking a parent to name their favorite child. My stories are all my children; they each have their strengths and weaknesses, but I’m proud of them and love them for different reasons. They mark different phases of my life and evolution as an author.

What I will say, is that if I had to pick one story or book to represent me as an author (at this moment), or if I could only leave one behind as my legacy, it would be a novella I self-published called Touch Me (only on Amazon and Are). It’s a multi-layered erotic romance about a man who gives erotic massages after hours. It is so much bigger than its 20K words; it’s sensual and sweet and sad. From style to character, it is everything I want to be as an author. There is not a word of it I would change.

Where are you from and what do you love best about your hometown?

I am a fifth generation Torontonian. I didn’t fully appreciate Toronto until I left it. Growing up, I thought it was a sterile city with no history or culture, and I couldn’t wait to escape; what I didn’t understand until I got older and saw more of the world, is that our culture is many cultures. Now that I’m back in the city, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Of course it’s not perfect—it has the same problems of any other big city. But I love the diversity. I love that all my friends came from different places and different beliefs and that I grew up not seeing race or religion. I love that you can get on the subway dressed in costume and people barely blink an eye. I love that I can eat my way around the world without leaving home. I love that our city hotline offers information in 180 different languages. Diversity is an antidote to fear, hatred and intolerance.

Ebook or print? And why?

I think there’s a place for both. As many of us in this genre know, we wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for ebooks. Ebooks make non-mainstream stuff more accessible. I also love the convenience. It’s much easier to load up my Kindle when I travel than take up space in my suitcase. And it’s perfect for commuting on public transit.

However, I still love my print books. There is something about the experience of opening a book for the first time; the smell, the feel of the pages, the weight of it on your lap. And I love browsing bookshelves in the library or bookstore. Recent studies also show that we still absorb material better when it is in print form rather than electronic.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
[Spoiler alert]

So, Nights Like These was inspired by my own corporate layoff, and the last several months of my employment were spent plotting it out. In fact, it’s so closely inspired, right down to the layout of the office building and the idea of corporate art theft, that I spent my last couple of weeks on the job scoping out the place and putting myself in Miles’ and the thief’s shoes. If anyone was watching, they would have seen me studying the art and looking for security cameras and hiding places. When I came in in the morning, I would surreptitiously check out the front security desk to see how it was set up. I’d have to say that’s about the most “hands-on” I’ve ever gotten with research.

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

Given recent events, there seems to be a lot of interest in pen names lately and why authors choose them. Yes, I use a pen name. For me, it’s not about hiding or deceiving, it's about maintaining a semblance of privacy. In daily life I am a private person. I like to decide who I share things with. I don't have a personal Facebook account. I'm not on Twitter, or Instagram or any other social media platform. I am not a sharer. In fact, writing has forced me into these spheres where I would normally never venture. Like many other writers, I have a full-time job, and I prefer to keep that separate from my writing world.

When I first started reading this genre, it was standard practice for women to take men's or gender-neutral names. I guess I fell into that trap. But I didn't just pull one out of thin air; Chris is the short form of my middle name, and there was a period growing up when I would only answer to it. Scully is a family name.

While I do use a pen name, I have never tried to hide my sex—my bio clearly is written in the feminine. Any personal information I share is MINE—I don't make anything up. It's all boring ME. The only difference is the name I answer to.

What would we find under your bed?

Dust bunnies. And storage boxes full of things I don’t use but can’t get rid of.