Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pride Promotion Presents Designated Bottoms Anthology by Katey Hawthorne, Kiernan Kelly, Sean Michael, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga, KC Wells, Shannon West and a Giveaway

Book Name: Designated Bottoms
Author Name: Katey Hawthorne, Kiernan Kelly, Sean Michael, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga, KC Wells, Shannon West
Author Bio:
BA Tortuga: Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy's Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she's not doing that, she's writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing porn sites in the name of research. BA's personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has responded to the call of the high desert mountains. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon- holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her at

Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys comic books, B-movies, loud music, Epiphones, and Bushmills. Find Katey at

Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex.
A full time author, Julia has been published by Torquere Press, Ellora's Cave, and Changeling Press. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at

Sean Michael: Often referred to as "Space Cowboy" and "Gangsta of Love" while still striving for the moniker of "Maurice," Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and persuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to "Chicago."
A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.
Barring any of that? He'll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.
Sean's available for interviews, by the way. He can always be talked into, well talking about himself. Find Sean at

Shannon West: Shannon West currently lives in the South with her husband and family. A lover and avid reader of M/M romances, she began writing them a few years ago and now has over forty short stories, novellas,and novels to her credit. Her series about wolf shifters, the Dark Hollows Series and the sci fi series, Love Slaves of the Alphas, produced sixteen bestsellers with four of them going to number one on the third party sites. She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013, a nominee for best sci fi series in the Love Romances Café and very honored to be named an All Romance ebooks top ten author for 2013. She writes BDSM and some ménage as well. She loves men and everything about them, and believes that love is love, no matter the gender. She mostly spends her days at the keyboard, trying to elude housework, which stalks her relentlessly.
Twitter: @shannonwest8

Kiernan Kelly: Kiernan Kelly lives in the wilds of the alligator-infested U.S. Southeast, slathered in SPF 45, drinking colorful tropical, hi-octane concoctions served by thong-clad cabana boys.
All right, the truth is that she spends her time locked in the dark recesses of her office, writing gay erotic romance while chained to a temperamental laptop, drinking coffee, and dreaming of thong-clad cabana boys.
To date, Kiernan has over a dozen novels in print and ebook, and a plethora of short stories in both formats.

KC Wells: Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C.Wells always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way.
K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings – writing about men in love was even hotter...
K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career.
The laptop still has no idea of what hit it... it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.
K.C. can be reached via email (, on Facebook ( or through comments at the K.C. Wells website ( K.C. loves to hear from readers.

Blurb: So, what happens when you get a bunch of m/m writers together on a panel at a steamy little convention called Authors After Dark in Savannah?
In this case, we all sat around with the readers who came to our panel and chattered and laughed like idiots, and we talked about what we liked to read and write. There was a lot of smutty puns, and it was all fun and games until someone uttered the fateful phrase, “Right, and every story has to have a designated bottom.”
The writer and editor in me both went, “ooooh”. And I said, “Hey, does anyone want in on an anthology for next year with this theme?”
Enough of the writers at that panel, and a few who weren’t, said yes, and Designated Bottoms was born. When I sent out the call, this is what I said.
You’ve heard about Designated Drivers? Well, what about a Designated Bottom? The theme is open to all m/m stories where one man is a designated bottom boy, Whether self-imposed or by the Dom/lover/alpha of the pack or simply (either true or not) by society. Feel free to play with burly bottoms who surprise the deceptively sweet top, or with the too-smart kid who's the pushy bottom to end all bottoms. BDSM is fine, but not mandatory. A bottom may simply like to catch instead of pitch. 
The stories I received delighted me. From a first-time cowboy and his new lover to a hardass Sergeant falling for a determined young soldier, from a hot gamer geek who doesn’t date to a sweet young thing on his first visit to a BDSM club, there’s something for everyone. There are princes and paupers, werekitties and strippers, and skinny twink-looking tops and big, gentle bottoms. They all left me fanning my hot cheeks and smiling at how the end result was two men in love, no matter how they got there.
The authors in Designated Bottoms have all reminded me why I fell in love with m/m as a genre damned near fifteen years ago, and of why I’m still writing, and publishing those stories today.
We’d like to dedicate this book to all the readers at Authors After Dark who thought this collection was a great idea, and to all the readers who keep us going every day by reading our books and letting us know they like them! I hope y’all love these stories as much as I do!


Twitter: @torquere
Cover Artist: Anne Squires
Publisher: Torquere Press Inc
Some men are bottoms by birth, others by choice. Whatever the reason, a designated bottom is someone who’s happy to surrender, to submit, or just catch instead of pitch!
In Czech Me Out, by BA Tortuga, Korde discovers what it’s like to fall for someone when food truck owner Josh takes on the cowboy virgin. Katey Hawthorne’s gamer grad student Paul doesn’t date. He keeps things strictly physical. So why is Sammy so important to him in The Mistell? Kitty shifter and stripper Aleks doesn’t mix business with pleasure, but he thinks Rafe might just be the master for him in Julia Talbot’s Faster Bobcat.
Sean Michael’s Peter isn’t sure about the club his friend takes him to, especially when Doms start hitting on him. Experienced Dom Rupert is happy to help, explaining about that Little Square of Cloth. In Sgt. Hardass, by Shannon West, recent ex-Army man Jake meets up with a man he has history with, and Chad isn’t sure he can explain himself and defuse Jake’s anger. In the Prince of Paupers by Kiernan Kelly, Prince Liam and longtime friend Deacon have to go back to Deacon’s Appalachian home, much to the prince’s dismay. And in Switching It Up by KC Wells, Jay knows he looks like a twink, but only hunky Dean understands that looks can be seriously deceptive.

From Czech Me Out by BA Tortuga
Josh had texted the fine cowboy as early as he felt comfortable doing it. He’d waited until nine. He figured it was gratifying that he got an immediate response.
 “Noon?” he’d sent, and when he got an affirmative, he’d send his address. Then he set about making lunch. 
He could tear that sweet body up, turn the Marlboro Man inside out and make Korde like it. He would soften the guy up with a few barbecue-filled potato skins... Barbecue, the redneck aphrodisiac. 
Josh grinned. He’d swayed more than one hot little cowboy with his special sauce and some crispy potatoes. Of course, he’d never asked one to come to his house before, and certainly hadn’t gotten so interested so damned fast. 
He’d never changed his sheets and made sure he was stocked with lube and rubbers, either. Not on a not-even-a-first-date. Lord. He was hopeful today, for sure. 
Hopeful, horny and... oh, man, he needed an ‘h’ word... 
The doorbell rang, saving him from having to be too creative. He told his cock to stay down for a bit and went to answer. 
Frack and Frick were yapping their damn fool heads off, wagging and bouncing. Silly mutts. “Y’all get down.”
 Josh opened the door a few inches. “You’re not afraid of dogs are you?” 
“Not even a bit.” Korde leaned down and gave scritches, easy as pie. 
Those two beagle-shepherd monstrosities went nuts, yodeling and wagging and begging.

Tour Dates: 7/30/14 

Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card
The Manic Monday REVIEW
4.5 smoking hot stars

Czech Me Out: an Austin Tale
by BA Tortuga

Korde is a virgin cowboy new to Austin. Killing time, he investigates the food trucks he’s heard about. There he meets Josh, one of the truck’s owners. Over lunch, Josh finds out Korde knows how to do tile work and things go from there.

There’s the usual humor one expects from BA Tortuga, lol. The dog’s names just killed me! The chemistry between Korde and Josh is instantaneous and so cute. Gawd, Korde is so cute. You just want to hug him. The story is charming with hot sex and a cowboy’s panic after having sex for the first time. I really enjoyed it, lol.

The Mistell
by Katey Hawthorne

Peter, an art history gamer grad student, doesn’t date. He keeps things strictly physical because he can’t find what he wants. So when he learns fellow gamer Sam lives close by, they agree to meet. Let the sparks fly, lol. The build up between these two is slow and intense. And there’s a reason the buildup is slow. Then a minor misunderstanding happens and things get derailed.

I had trouble getting into the beginning since I’m not a gamer. The lingo threw me. But I liked Peter, so I stuck with it. I’m glad I did. It’s a wonderful story.

Faster Bobcat
by Julia Talbot
Lynx shifter and stripper Aleks doesn’t mix business with pleasure. He doesn’t mix sex and shifters, either. But Rafe, another cat shifter, just may change his mind. Can he tempt Aleks? Can he be the master Aleks desires?

Okay, yay for cat shifters! And D/s. Already a check in my happy column. Aleks is another sweet bottom who’s a little insecure. Rafe is a smoking hot, strong shifter. Both men have hang-ups they need to work through. I got attached to these two characters quickly. There was a point I wanted to throttle Rafe, lol. This was my favorite of all the stories.

Little Square of Cloth
by Sean Michael

Thanks to an insensitive friend, Peter learns just what exactly that little square of cloth in his back pocket stands for. Okay, with friends like that, who needs enemies? Gawd! Peter was thrust out of the closet in a major way. He has interest in BDSM, but didn’t realize what he had just got thrust into.

My new favorite word: fuck a doodle doo! I’m in love, lol. This is Sean Michael, so there’s a smoking hot Top and a nervous, sweet bottom. Love me some D/s and oh yeah, spanking! Yes, I’m a Sean Michaels fan, lol. Really like this story.

Sergeant Hardass
by Shannon West

Jason, a recent ex-Army man, has been burned by someone. Now, all he’s interested in is some submission in the bedroom with no strings attached. Then Fate steps in and sucker punches Jason. There stands his ex. The history between the two men is explosive and dangerous. Will Chad be able to defuse Jake’s anger before things get too far?

I actually felt sorry for Jason as the story went on. The man’s had a rough time of it, and he’s angry. Can’t really blame him, even if he did act like an ass. I really enjoyed this story too. But then, I’m a Shannon West fan.

Prince of Paupers
by Kiernan Kelly

Prince Liam and longtime friend Deacon have to go back to Deacon’s Appalachian home, much to the prince’s dismay. It’s a trip Deacon is dreading. The days of poverty aren’t that far behind him and seeing it all again isn’t easy. In fact, things might even be worse than he remembers.

The prince cracked me up, lol. He was such a… *snort* prince. But his heart is gold, and he’s crazy about his best friend even if they are totally different. There was one character in this story I’d love to have strangled. Seriously. I live in a small town and this happens more than it should. (No, not saying what, lol.)

Switching it Up
by KC Wells

Don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s the whole point of this one. Jay is a twink, so of course he must bottom. Right? Then there’s Dean. Big, muscular, tall. So, of course, he must be a top. Right?  Oh, but looks can be deceiving. Jay is the top, and he likes big, strong men. Dean is the big, strong man, but he’s pure bottom.

They meet and sparks fly. A hook-up blows both men minds, but Jay gets cold feet and runs off first thing. Has he made a huge mistake?

This is a cute story I enjoyed. The sex was smoking hot and I really liked both characters. I think this was a good pick to end the anthology.

I have to say, I really liked this anthology as a whole. Usually there’s one or two stories I like and that’s it. That didn’t happen with this one. I enjoyed every story and have reread them already, lol.  Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this anthology.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wednesday Briefs - To Touch the Sky #3.2

Welcome to the Wednesday Briefs flash group (click to go to the site). The short stories have a maximum of a 1000 word count plus links at the bottom to the other flashers. If interested in joining us, drop me a line and I'll tell you how. :)

Prompts this week are:

“I’m trying to help out as much as possible.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“This looks pretty good.”
“I’m good, but not that good.”
“Teach that old dog new tricks!”
“Gotta crawl before you can walk.”
“I’ll give you a hand.”
“Well, that lit a fire under him/her.”
“Trust me.”
or have a character going to a concert
or use: sink, pan, ring
or have a character freaking out
or have a birdbath in your story
or use: cell phone, plants, shampoo
or use: laptop, remote, hat
or use: TV, paint, nail
or “Hey, watch those teeth!”
or “Haha, that’s not a meal, more like an orderve!”
or “You know something? You frighten me.”
or “Don’t look now, but I think something’s on fire...”

To Touch the Sky 3.2

Douglas choked on his beer. “Blunt, aren’t you?”
“No point in beating round the bush.”
“I heard that. Why don’t we spend some more time here and see if we got anything going on?”
Simon nodded his head. “Sounds like a plan.”
Simon enjoyed the conversation, and even admitted Douglas was someone he could not only date, but also be friends with since they shared so many interests. He was smart, and the longer they talked, the more Simon relaxed. Hell, if this thing didn’t work out, maybe he’d introduce Chip to Douglas.
After they finished their drinks, Douglas invited Simon to play a game of pool. With a devious smile, Simon accepted. He was no pool shark, but he was good. Maybe he could talk Douglas into a little bet to make things interesting. Simon patted Douglas on the ass and winked. From the corner of his eye he caught some guys over at the darts, frowning.
“Hey sexy, want to make a little bet on the game?”
Douglas beamed. “What do you have in mind?”
Simon watched as Douglas racked the balls. The way Douglas handled those smooth, round pool balls gave him hope and tightened his balls. “Um—”
“Well hello…” A dark-headed girl suddenly appeared, trailing her fingers across Simon’s shoulders.
Simon barely kept from flinching. Where had they come from? Before he could finish his thought, two more girls drifted over to their pool table. They were both pretty, and definitely on the make, but they were barking up the wrong tree. The red-haired one snuggled up to Douglas. Simon could hear Douglas stuttering. He wished he could help, but he was busy removing the dark-headed girl’s red-tipped claws currently trying to twist one of his nipples off. He needed to explain things and quickly.
This was why he preferred gay bars. At least the women there knew what was what. Simon caught her hand and held it away from his poor, abused nipple. “Oh, um, look, while I appreciate the nipple massage and all, you see, I’m—”
“Hey sweetheart, why don’t you join us? I got what you need right here.” A huge, blonde muscle-bound jock cupped his cock.
Simon was about to point out to the girls they’d have more success over there and thank the guy when he heard “fucking fags” from another one of the jocks. Forget thanking the guy. Now he wanted to throw a pool ball at the asshole. Apparently the jocks playing darts took offense that girls were coming on to him and Douglas.
The girls sniffed in distaste.
Simon raised an eyebrow at the jocks. “Really? Um, have you noticed there are as many gay couples here as straight? Did you somehow miss where you are?”
“Ain’t natural,” the third jock snarled.
“Jesus, spare me. How did I get so lucky to be singled out by the likes of you? I was minding my own business. Oh wait, I bet I know what the problem is. From what I’ve seen, you guys haven’t been doing so hot with the ladies.”
“Ah shit, Simon.” Douglas nervously looked at the jocks. “Don’t—”
“What? Don’t what? Stand up for myself? Point out the obvious? Talk to this single-celled organism in a jersey?” Simon tightened his grip on the pool stick. “This is obliviously a gay-friendly bar. If that asshole doesn’t like it, he can leave.”
The dark-headed girl piped up, sneering at the jocks. “A friend of mine warned me about you jerks. I’ve heard you’re not packing all that much, anyway.”
“Oh damn,” Douglas moaned, eyes wide as he frantically looked around. “Oh damn, damn, damn.”
She looked at Simon. “This guy though, he looks like he has plenty. Maybe he just needs the right kind of girl to show him what he’s missing.”
“Ah crap, it doesn’t work that way, honey.” Simon peeled her fingers off his body yet again. There were always those who thought all gay guys needed was the right girl to fuck, then they’d be cured.
“Fucking fag!”
“Shit!” Simon jerked away from the troublemaking girl, nearly knocking her off her feet.
“Hey!” she screeched.
“Gonna beat your faggoty ass.” The big, blond jock yelled, pushing his way toward Simon.
“Wow, you sure know the big words, don’t you? College teach you that, or did you learn it all on your own?” Simon snarked.
Another shout sounded.
“Oh shit.” That might not have been the best idea he’d ever had. When would he learn to keep his mouth shut? Simon gripped the pool cue as any thought of getting laid vanished.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Goddess Fish Presents Platonic by Kate Paddington and a Giveaway!

Kate will be awarding a $25 Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Barnes & Noble GC and a print edition of Bleeding Heart (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour.

The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

by Kate Paddington



Mark Savoy and Daniel O’Shea were high school sweethearts who had planned their forevers together. But when Mark goes to college in California rather than following Daniel to New York, he embarks on a decade-long search for independence, sexual confidence and love.

When Mark lands a job in New York and crosses Daniel’s path, they slowly rebuild their fractured friendship through texts and emails. If they finally agree to see each other, will they be able to keep it platonic? Or will the spark of a long-lost love reignite just as Daniel accepts a job overseas?

Platonic is a story of trials, growth, and knowing how to learn lessons from the past to build a future.



"Why did you ask me?” Daniel asks, genuinely curious.
“That’s unfair. I’ve been asking you all night why you came.”
Daniel holds his gaze. “You know that night in the bar, when I ran into you?” Mark tilts his head—he remembers. “You asked me to email you and your eyes were wide and pleading and there was no way I was going to be able to say no to you. I remember wondering if you used the same face on juries, to get your way in court. I guess what I’m saying is that I still don’t know how to say no to you. I still don’t know how anyone does.”
Time stops around them, stutters and then kicks back in when their eyes slip away from each other. Neither one of them knows what this is or what to do with it. Neither of them walked into this dinner tonight thinking “seduction” or “relationship” or “date” or anything like that. They were far too busy not thinking it.
“Did you want to say no?” Mark asks.
“Of course not. I wanted to come. Of course I did, Mark.” And then somehow they’re touching. Without giving it any conscious thought, Daniel has reached across the space between them and caught one of Mark’s hands in his.
The realization that they are touching comes slowly to Mark; his nerves feel sluggish, his brain has trouble processing the simplicity of the touch, just skin on skin, not intimate or unwelcome or leading to anything. But Daniel is touching him—and not briefly, not fleetingly, he’s holding on—and suddenly it all rushes back through Mark and he never, ever wants to let go.
Not ever. This is it. Daniel is it. He always was.
“You broke my heart.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kate Paddington wrote her first work of fan fiction at age 12. Today, at age 26, she has degrees in philosophy and chemistry, and is currently completing a PhD in biophysics. A native of Australia, she has published numerous academic papers as part of her research. Platonic is her first novel.


Buy link: 

Now, for the interview!

What's the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Not to choose science over my creativity and writing. That advice has kind of shaped my life for the last ten years. It came from my high school English teacher just before I graduated. She wrote me a note in the yearbook telling me that I didn’t have to choose science over the humanities, that I could pursue both. This was quite the counterpoint to what everyone else had been telling me which was to just keep doing science. Because of her I chose to study Philosophy and English as well as Chemistry during my undergraduate. All of which led me to writing fiction as well as making me a much better thinker and communicator. That lesson—that you don’t have to just be one thing, that you should do as much as you can, explore all the different things that make you happy—that was really important thing for me to learn.

Do you plan your stories and, if so, to what extent?

I think I do. I don’t like to start writing until I know exactly what I’m doing and I’m very resistive to officially beginning a big project until it’s all there in my head. Which isn’t to say that the characters don’t take over as soon as I get them where they’re supposed to be on the page. They change the story to suit themselves sometimes. But in general, yes, the plot and the big moments get planned out and then I just hit the keyboard and write until my fingers are numb!

Do you listen to music when you're writing?

Absolutely! I do most of my writing in my office or a lab at the university I work at or in my home and both are busy, loud places so I need something to block it all out with. I tend to listen to a lot of instrumental stuff so the lyrics don’t confuse me. I can go for anything ranging from Vivaldi and Mozart to more modern classical like The Piano Guys and Vitamin String Quartet. Movie soundtracks are also fantastic: anything by Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer. For Platonic, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata holds a special place and was actually mentioned in a book at one stage of drafting. The build of it and the repetition ring very true to the themes of the story.

If we could see your writing space, what would we see?

I have so many! Platonic actually got written while I was on a fortnight escape driving around Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. I stayed in a lot of little hotels with wonderful views of snow and trees and the sun. I’d just sit in my hotel bed or at the desk and type away. My usual writing areas are either my bed at home or my desks at university. Of course I’m meant to be writing science there but sometimes fiction distracts me. I have a desk in a fairly boring office but then I also have one in a blackout lab, which is where we run a bunch of high power lasers into microscopes and take pictures of the insides of cells. That can be a very cool place to write and pitch-black darkness is actually pretty conducive to focussing. So really, if you could see my writing space, you’d see variety, mess, weird science stuff… I make do.

Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?

I want to say Wicked and Elphaba because I love that musical and I think everyone feels a little bit like Elphaba but having thought about it, my life runs a lot closer to Legally Blonde. The university thing, the academic thing with all the intensity of study and trying to have fun at the same time, plus the kinds of prejudice and sexism in the musical are very familiar to me. I’m not Elle Woods though, no way on earth, I’m the really intense, overly-academic, loudly-opinionated law student Enid Hoopes.

Who are your favorite authors (in your same genre or not) and some of the best books you’ve ever read? What is your favorite book that you remember from childhood?

Neil Gaiman is definitely my favorite author at the moment. Obviously he’s not in the business of romantic erotica but his novels always feel fresh and new, they contain original ideas that I’ve never read or thought about, and that’s key for me picking up a book. Jane Austen is a close second. The first time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I rather hated the whole thing but I studied it in High School and completely changed me mind. As a kid, I had a huge soft spot for Roald Dahl and I still do. I’ll never tire of reading ‘Matilda’ because I always felt like that was how a story was meant to end.

Are you a romantic?

What’s a romantic? I always say no to this because I don’t believe in soul mates (even if both the protagonists in Platonic do!) and I am exceptionally pragmatic and logical. I mean, I’m doing a PhD in biophysics and I’ve got an undergraduate degree in philosophy, the two combine to make me think long and hard about these things. It all becomes math in my head which leaves no room for my being a romantic… That said, then I write the things I write and people tell me I am a romantic because I do believe love, romance and good sex are some of the very best experiences people can have, that these things can feel magical and wonderful and make a life worth living. So perhaps I’m a pragmatic romantic? Something like that? The book is certainly romantic!

Have you ever doubted yourself as a writer and if so, how did you overcome it?

Oh sure! Constantly! Let me take this question broadly and not just be specific to fiction writing though. I kind of got through high school and undergraduate without ever being heavily criticised in my writing. I wrote a lot of short stories and fanfiction during that time and that helped me improve. I read a lot and that also must have helped. When I started writing scientific articles, though, my co-authors (who were really just editors) crucified me. They highlighted massive slabs of text that they didn’t like. I was devastated the first time that happened because I thought I was a good writer—a good communicator—and I was being told my writing was bad. I got over that by realizing they were usually just making trouble and often by the time text had circled through three or four co-authors they’d collectively rewritten it back to what I wrote it as originally. Writing romance and sex is a weird thing to turn to having been doing that ‘professionally’ for four or five years but that whole time I was writing fanfiction and getting criticism on my writing. It makes me doubt myself but I usually just shrug my shoulders and get on with it. I write for me, I want to get better and will take on board anything constructive, but if people don’t like where I’m at they can go and write for themselves.

How do you come up with a title?

Platonic is the first novel I’ve had to title and I came up with it after I wrote the whole story, when I was very eager to share it with the world. I desperately searched my mind for a title and eventually ended up on Wikipedia looking at the entry on ‘soul mates’. This is how I approach difficulties: Wikipedia. Soul mates led me to Plato who was the man who kind of made the soul mates idea popular and I instantly remembered a bunch of Greek Philosophy I had studied. So, long story short, Plato wrote a symposium on love back in 380 B.C. and in it a bunch of old dudes argue about different sorts of love and it contains one of my favourite pieces of writing in Aristophane’s speech which was a bit ridiculous but also stupidly romantic because it was all about soul mates. So Plato and the use of the word ‘platonic’ to mean ‘of plato’ worked there. And of course my protagonists do plan to keep their relationship platonic in the contemporary sense. So… just layers and layers of nerdy, philosophical weirdness to name this novel.

If your “Muse” were an actual flesh and blood person, what would he/she look like?

I hate to admit to this but I suspect he’d look a lot like Patrick. In the book, Patrick is the catalyst for a lot of Mark’s growth and a good friend (and also a good lay). He’s very smart, very sharp, arrogant, selfish, obsessive, demanding—not all the things you’d want in a muse. But physically, he’s achingly attractive, Mark considers Patrick’s physique god-like and he’s not really overselling it. Patrick’s tall and broad in the shoulders, dark skin pulled tight over lean muscles everywhere. He has thick cupid’s bow lips and eyes that shine because he’s mischievous as well. Black short hair, sometimes facial hair, usually not, wonderful hands and well-groomed everything. Just stunning, really. He’d be a good muse to have around, actually, so long as he didn’t talk too much.

Which character caused you the most difficulty to write?

Daniel was the most difficult to write because the first person I let read the book actually sat me down and calmly told me that I shouldn’t write Daniel. What she meant was that the story was Mark’s and that all the writing I had done from Daniel’s point of view wasn’t really as good as it could be… from Mark’s point of view. She was right and while I was dismayed that I had to delete about a third of my words, it didn’t click immediately that not writing Daniel’s point of view would make it very difficult to write Daniel as a character that an audience would love and would want with Mark. Everything the audience sees of Daniel is through Mark’s eyes with the small exception of some email correspondence. So getting across his character, how he has changed in the decade after high school, why he deserves and is deserved by Mark, was very tricky. Luckily Mark does love Daniel and kind of always has and always will so there’s a lot to be learned about Daniel through him.

Where can your readers find you on the web?

You can find me at, plus all the usual social outlets: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and tumblr. And of course, you can find out more about Platonic (and purchase it) at

Thank you so much for the chance to chat to you guys today! This was really fun and I am super-excited to see what everyone thinks of my debut novel!

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