Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Tuesday Teaser: A Barlow Lens


A Barlow Lens is a story told in two timelines. This teaser is from the present.

Wyatt turned when he heard movement behind him, expecting to see Lily had returned. It wasn’t Lily, and the person who now confronted him caused him to square his shoulders, straighten his spine, and sidestep so he was between the newcomer and Val. “Kevin,” Wyatt said. It was an effort to keep his tone cordial.

“Wyatt,” Kevin replied, voice tight. His gaze slid almost at once to Val, who’d turned away from the telescopes, taken a few steps toward them, and froze.

“This is Kevin Fells,” Wyatt said, turning far enough to look at Val. “Vladimir Mihalic, my fiancĂ©.”

Val stepped forward, held out his hand, and shot Wyatt a curious look. Clearly he caught the fact Wyatt introduced him as Vladimir not Val. He smiled at Kevin.

Kevin looked Val up and down, shrugged, and walked to the bar. He snatched a glass from the table and a bottle of whiskey from the bar. He poured more than a shot’s worth into the glass and downed it, then poured another one. Wyatt resisted the urge to shake his head. Kevin had already smelled of booze when he came in, and his eyes were bloodshot.

“So, my brother is barely cold in his grave and you get yourself a brand new boy toy.” Kevin’s voice was so cold Wyatt had to make a conscious effort not to shudder.

The smile slid off Val’s face. His arm dropped to his side. It took Wyatt a few seconds to recover and react. Closing the distance between them fast enough that Kevin wouldn’t have time to back away, Wyatt grabbed Kevin by one arm and pulled them together. He used a hard enough grip and jerked down with enough pressure Kevin gasped.

“You never even came to Jack’s funeral, and I’ll wager you don’t even know where his grave is,” Wyatt said in a low voice. “Don’t talk to me like I’m the one who did anything wrong. I’m the person who took care of him right to the end.”

“Hey, hey, don’t.” Val had one arm between them, pushing back against Wyatt’s chest. “It’s not worth it.”

Wyatt ignored Val. When Kevin tried yanking free, Wyatt tightened his hold. “Don’t you ever talk to him”—he dipped his head at Val—“like that again. Better not forget I know a helluva lot about you that Lily doesn’t, and I’m sure you never want her finding those facts out.” He let go of Kevin, giving him a shove, and stepped back at the same time.

“You can’t threaten me,” Kevin snarled.

“Funny, I think I just did,” Wyatt snapped back. “And that’s not a threat; it’s a promise.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tuesday Teaser

 My Tuesday Teaser today is from Strays, a scifi/romance.

More people were rushing at the shore from the vans, having shed their assault uniforms. Pierre let go and Daniel reached the water slapping on the shore as the diver surfaced, Kyle dangling from his arms, coughing and sputtering.

When his feet touched on the sand, Kyle stumbled away from the diver and at Daniel. Someone was shouting for blankets and dry clothes. Someone else was calling for one of the vans to be brought closer.

Grabbing Kyle’s arm, Daniel started yanking on his jacket and sweatshirt, pulling them off. “You need this stuff off now.”

“H-her-re, in fr-fr-front of every-bo-o-dy?” Kyle grinned but let Daniel tug his clothes off.

“Shut it! What the hell stupid thing were you thinking?” He looked around. “I need blankets over here now!”

Kyle’s teeth were chattering and the second he was stripped from the waist up, he wrapped both arms around his chest, hugging himself. His abs sucked inward, giving a concave look to his form, curving up in a smooth line to his expanding and contracting chest.

Pierre rushed up, Daniel’s gear slung over one arm. He must have gone back and retrieved it once Kyle was out of the water and Daniel in no danger of going in after him. “This kid of yours is a real trooper, Dan.”

“He’s not my—” Daniel turned to snap at him, but looked back and saw Kyle’s face. All of his anger flooding out of him, replaced by relief and a surge of pride. Daniel put his hand on the back of Kyle’s neck. “He sure is.” Giving Kyle’s neck a squeeze, he nodded at him. “You did good.”

Kyle grinned like a loon. Digging in his pocket, he pulled his hand out and extended it, palm up. “I- I- I- g-g-g-got-t it-t,” Kyle announced between the chattering of his teeth.

Strays is available on Amazon and is in Kindle Unlimited.

Monday, February 22, 2021

These are a Few of my Favorite Words

Hi-it's Mia Kerick here with a hopefully funny (and at least, quirky) post. It's my last week as GRRC's FEBRUARY FEATURED AUTHOR and I wanted to leave you with some food for thought...

A gay romance author’s favorite (and most avoided) words and terms.


I’m a word-sensitive person. My first realization of this came with awkward squirming and heavy facial sweating in seventh grade Health and Family Living (sex ed) class when Mr. Bert employed certain rather necessary words (puberty, menstruation, ejaculate, breasts) that I…uh, had a problem with. 

Worse was speaking such words aloud in a prepubescent public discussion of the birds and the bees. Singing these words was out of the question. Unfortunately, my middle school guitar teacher, Mr. Lindemann—in all his long-haired, hipster glory—insisted upon teaching me to strum along to “singable” songs. “Rock-a My Soul in the ____ of Abraham! Rock-a My Soul in the ____ of Abraham!” Bosom was on my no-no word list. Guitar lessons ended almost before they began.


Severe word-sensitivity scarred twelve-year-old Mia.



From there, the situation only got worse. By the time I was in high school, my word-sensitivity had blossomed into a full-fledged phobia. Nugget, tender, bulbous, moist (okay, I just cringed), ooze, putrid. You get the picture. Maybe it was the sound of a certain word or its shape in my mouth. Maybe it was the image conjured in my mind. These words just didn’t work for me. Oh, they didn’t work for high school-you, either? Maybe I wasn’t so unique, but let’s not disregard that I had a problem—it was a challenge to order chicken strips at fast food restaurants because both nuggets and tenders, especially moist ones, were forbidden from my language!

Interesting on-topic fact: one of my daughters shared my teenage aversion to certain words. She kept a notebook, in which she listed a collection of words that grossed her out. Gross. That’s another word I avoid like COVID-19.

Poor Tyler Gross…a nice boy with a sophomore year crush on me. He didn’t stand a chance. 

(FYI: ALL liquid-y words fall into the “most avoided” category. Dripping, soggy, juicy, damp. Blech.)


On the bright side, in adulthood my persistent word-sensitivity has produced some benefits. 


There are words and terms that make my romance writer’s soul sing. I probably should have led with this, huh? And where better to start than with coming undone? I can’t get enough of a character coming undone in response to the words or deeds of their beloved. Zippers and buttons and tiny little hooks coming undone ain’t so bad, either.


I’m majorly into unbridled* emotions in romance. I’ll take unrestrained, too, in a pinch. These words let me know the character is passionate. Maybe even wildly so. 


I’m partial to taut things. Muscles, cheeks (facial and …um, not facial). And other stuff. Hehehe.


In comparative descriptive terms, I’m cool with “like a gladiator.” I’ve watched Spartacus; I know what gladiators look like beneath their armor. 


I’m equally cool with “like a highlander.”

Outlander TV series. Jamie Fraser. Kilt. YUM. Enough said.


The word collide thrills me. So many things can collide in romance novels. Gazes, hearts, lips (hopefully not teeth), sometimes fists… and even lives. That last part was profound.


Other verbs that stir me: plunder and tumble. No explanation required. 

But quiver—nope, not so much.


Two-word terms that cause spine shivers: “fix you” (many would disagree, reminding me that you shouldn’t want to change the one you love, but it still makes the list) and “tortured hero.” Mmmmm. Variations on “perfect imperfections”is good, too. Thank you, John Legend.


And I can’t leave out broken. I write dark romance—almost all of my main characters are broken in one way or another.Damaged is an essential tool of the trade as well.


I’m not much into the wink, as far as gesture-words go. So short and clipped and precise. 

But a shrugbring it on. A shrug is just so complicated—the word, in itself, sounds cryptic, and it indicates that a character can’t commit his unbridled* (see above) passion to the verbal realm. And that’s just plain hot.


First, only, forever, and mineYes, please…

And even better: You. Are. Mine.  Did you hear me sigh?


As an avid romance reader, maybe you endure the highs and lows of word-sensitivity. (Shrug.) Maybe not. Let me know in the comments section. I’m all ears. (Not literally.)



My post is like an opposite mullet haircut. Party up front and business on the back end. Okay, now for the business part of my post.


I have a new release on March 3rdDead Sea is YA Coming of Age Gay Romance. It will make you think and wonder if only… and remember in that way YA books are known to do. It’s fiction in the truest sense—two characters meet their adult selves under some difficult circumstances. But it is also romance, which I wish Amazon.com would understand. I think I need to look at the categories again... LOL




Here’s the link and the blurb:Dead Sea

Standalone Coming of Age Stories

Kyle is a swaggering bully; Lenny strives to be invisible. 
Kyle has been left alone in the world; Lenny is the world’s biggest loner. 
When Kyle saves Lenny from drowning, their lives will never be the same.

After a brutal encounter with school bullies, Lenny swims out into the ocean, determined to let the current whisk him away. Next thing he knows the meanest kid in town is pulling him from the waves, promising to be his Dead Sea, and to never let him sink.

All Kyle wants is to get out of beach cleanup, is that too much to ask? So he goes for a swim, only to come upon the most epic “nobody” in the senior class drowning in a riptide. Lenny’s haunted gaze grips him, and Kyle makes the impulsive decision to save his life or die trying. And through this ordeal, Kyle and Lenny are transformed.

Kyle’s heroic act sets him on the straight and narrow, and he opens his heart to the young man he dragged from the ocean. Lenny changes too but is still unable to reveal the truth of his pain. While drowning in a sea of secrets, the reformed bully and wary victim fall in love. But staying afloat in the Dead Sea is not as simple as it seems.

Trigger Warning: Unsuccessful attempt to die by suicide of main character and further discussion of death by suicide


And it is on KU or is only $2.99


I’ve loved being GRRC’s featured author. I hope you downloaded The Red Sheet, which is another great example of YA Coming of Age Romance that gives you characters to root for while offering you food for thought. 

<3 Mia



Thursday, February 18, 2021

Winter Duet Release by Anne Barwell


Winter Duet, book 2 of my WWII Echoes Rising series is now available for on Amazon and in KU for the first time.


·         WWII

·         Action/Drama

·         Spies

·         Diverse Characters

·         Found Family

·         #mmromance


Who do you trust when no one is who they seem?


Germany 1944


Fleeing German physicist Dr Kristopher Lehrer and his lover, Resistance fighter Michel, are caught up in an Allied bombing campaign.  Separated from Michel after discovering an injured RAF pilot in the Black Forest, and pursued by the SS for the information he carries, Kristopher is frantic to reunite, unaware that Michel has been recruited by the Allies for a rescue mission.


Time is running out. The Gestapo is closing in. How can they decide who to trust, when the dagger pointed at Kristopher’s back could be wielded by a friend? 


Author’s note: This is the third edition of Winter Duet. The first and second editions were released by another publishing house.  This story has been re-edited, and uses UK spelling to reflect its setting.

Buy Link

Monday, February 15, 2021

Home and Family - The Latest in the Heart Home Family Series

Tomorrow, February 16, is the release of Home and Family.  This is the third story in the series.  And to celebrate, the first two stories, A Heart Back Home along with Heart and Home are on sale!  So there is plenty to get excited about.  I just love these stories.  They remind me of growing up in the country with all the animals.  

I thought I'd share an except that I hope you'll all enjoy!

Mark has worked on Clay and Dell’s farm for a year, and he’s now in charge of the care and feeding of their growing herd of goats. He’s worked hard to provide for himself and build a life of his own. But with the operation continuing to expand, additional help is needed.
Isaac lives in a self-sustaining, simple-life community a few miles up the road. He’s spent his life working and wondering what the outside world might be like. When his father requires him to earn outside money, he asks for a job at Clay and Dell’s farm.
What neither Mark nor Isaac expects is a friendship that quickly grows into something more. But their feelings for each other go against everything that Isaac has been taught, and acting on those feelings will mean leaving the only way of life he’s ever known.
Together, Isaac and Mark are going to need a great deal of strength to weather the storm that’s sure to head their way.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Hi,” a boy of about seven said from behind him, startling Isaac out of his thoughts. He carried a small shovel. “Poppy said I should help with the poop.” He scrunched his face and began shoveling the runway behind the goats to clean away their mess. “What’s your name? I’m Archie, and this is Gordon.”

“I’m Isaac.” He continued working, watching the boy to make sure he was okay. It seemed Archie knew what he was doing and had the mess cleared away pretty quickly, the dog following him wherever he went, his tail wagging.

“Poppy said you were starting today.” Archie finished wielding the shovel that was almost as big as he was and then reached into his pocket, pulled out a plastic bag, and gave each goat a treat.

“What are those?”

Archie grinned. “Goat cookies.” He handed one to Isaac, who looked it over and smelled it before tasting a corner. It was pretty good. “Daddy buys them for me. They’re really animal crackers for people. But I call them goat cookies.” He finished passing out his treats and cleaned up some more of the mess.

Working together, he and Archie finished up the milking process and sent the last of the goats back into their pasture. Then Isaac cleaned up the shed, hosing down the milking area.

“I see you know what you’re doing,” Clay said from the doorway.

“He does, Poppy. He even ate a goat cookie.” Archie grinned as he hurried over. “And the goats liked him. They didn’t try to bite him. Not once.” That seemed to be high praise.

“That’s really good.” Clay looked around. “You did a good job cleaning up too. We milk twice a day. The first time is about seven in the morning. So, if you really want the job, it’s yours.”

“Thank you, sir,” Isaac said

Clay smiled. Now come on inside. I have some supper on the table, and anyone who worked like you did is going to have an appetite.”

Isaac looked at the food his mother had sent. His father would probably be upset if he ate here, something about polluting their bodies with chemicals, but his mama had always said it was polite to accept when someone offered something. If it was sincere, his mama had told him, then folks can be insulted if you turn them down. Always say please, thank you, and never talk back.

“And you,” he turned to Archie. “Go inside and clean up good before dinner, and you’ll get an extra allowance for helping.”

Archie hurried away.

“You want me for both milkings?” Isaac asked.

“If you can,” Clay said.

Isaac had only been counting on helping with the one, but the extra work and money would be good. “I’ll be here,” he answered, and followed Clay to the house. He paused outside the back door. He wasn’t sure what to do in a house like this. Once inside, he took off his boots because the others seemed to and looked around. The kitchen was about as big as half their entire house, warm and filled with the scent of roasting beef. His belly rumbled, and Isaac tried to remember the last time there had been beef at home.

The community existed on what they raised or made. They prided themselves on being as self-sufficient as possible. One family raised chickens, a lot of them, sharing the eggs and the meat with everyone. They also had goats that they raised for milk. There were a few head of cattle, but they were milked as well. One family raised pigs for the meat. The community had huge gardens for vegetables, and an orchard of apples and pears that they canned and sold at a small roadside stand. The women baked bread and made other goods for the stand, but mostly they ate and existed off what they had at hand.

“Go ahead and wash up, and then you can sit right here,” Clay said, then turned back toward Isaac. “Where are you going?”

“I need to use the outhouse,” he explained.

“The bathroom is right through there and under the stairs. Archie can show you where it is,” Clay explained, and Archie grabbed his hand and led him through the comfortable living area, with sofas and big chairs, to the bathroom.

Isaac felt stupid. He knew what a bathroom was. He’d seen and used them when he was in town. But he never really gave much thought to having them in people’s houses. No one in the community had one. They used outhouses, and that was the way it was. Isaac used the toilet and then washed his hands, luxuriating in the running hot water. Once he had dried his hands, he returned to the kitchen, where the others had gathered.

They all watched him as he sat down, taking off his hat and placing it under his chair. Clay carved the meat and began serving. Isaac wondered if they were going to say a prayer like at home, and when they didn’t, he bowed his head and recited one of the things the preacher said at meals before silently saying his amen. He lifted his gaze just in time for Mark to pass him the potatoes, followed by a huge bowl of salad. He took some of each and sat quietly.

At home, meals were almost silent affairs, broken up only by his father, who might ask a few questions. So this meal, with everyone talking and smiling, was a bit foreign. Isaac didn’t know what to say, so he kept to himself, enjoying the hearty meal and the beef that tasted like heaven. He ate the piece he’d been given and finished off the rest of the food, then set his knife and fork on the side of his plate.

“Would you like some more?” Mark offered, handing him the bowl of potatoes.

For a second Isaac didn’t know how to react. “I don’t want to take anyone else’s share,” he said softly, color rising in his cheeks.