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. 

COVID and me

 So, for those of you who weren't aware, my daughter and I contracted COVID.

From my 73 yo mother... because she and her co-workers in the small office where she works decided they were just a handful of people and all being "careful" so they didn't need to wear masks... and her boss came in sick and gave it to them all.  (Yes, I'm still quite salty about the fact.)

My mother quarantined after her boss's positive test, but got a false negative test and came out of quarantine to share the good news (and her illness.) Three days later, she had symptoms and a positive test.

I tested positive soon after.

The Wednesday before my positive test, I started getting what I thought was a sinus infection. I, and my doctor via virtual visit, was quite sure it was only a sinus infection. Sinus pain and pressure isn't a regular symptom of COVID. But then my mom's positive test sent me to get a test of my own, and lo and behold... COVID.

The first few days weren't terrible. The sinus pain and pressure, as stated. Sore throat. Congestion. Exhaustion. Terrible headaches.

But then the body aches hit. I started waking up every morning feeling like I'd been beaten. Particularly in my lower back. Dual-action Advil and a heating pad worked well enough for those... until the heat flashes hit and I started sweating like a pig... but no worries, the cold chills would be coming not long behind, followed later by another round of sweating. It went on like that for days.

Simply fixing myself a cup of hot tea and a piece of toast in the morning would wear me out and make me break out in a sweat.

Day 3 or 4, I lost my sense of taste and smell.

Those were the worst symptoms for days 5-6... but then the coughing really started to kick in. I spent days in coughing fits, to the point I ultimately damaged my throat from it. Breathing grew harder and harder by the day and sometime around day 9, I broke down crying, sure I was going to lose the ability to breathe. Thankfully, I remembered my inhaler and dug it out... and it helped me get some air into my lungs. The damned thing was expired, so I'd use two puffs for one and luckily it still had enough power to help me.

Days 9 and 10 were the worst for me. I couldn't speak... it simply took too much air that my lungs didn't have to give. I laid in my big chair and panted for air... dared not move because it took too much energy.

Then day 11 dawned and I was able to take a deep breath for the first time in days. I was still utterly exhausted, but it was a step in the right direction.

Today is day 12 and it's a little bit better than yesterday. I actually showered this morning and I can't tell you when the last day I did that was. I got one in around day 4-5, I think but the days just kind of blend together. I NEED to get out of this tomb of a house... so as soon as my daughter takes her own shower and gets dressed, we're going to take a ride. Not a long one, but enough to get TF out of here for a while. 

Just an FYI, we're allowed out of quarantine after 10 days since symptoms began and have no fever... we're past that point, so we won't be spreading disease. Plus, we only plan to ride, not stop anywhere.

Oh, and yesterday, I ate a piece of pineapple and I'm fairly sure I actually tasted it. Not 100% but there was definitely a bit of familiarity. It's been really odd, the loss of taste. I went to culinary school and I remember how much my chef instructors talked about "mouth feel" and how important that was. Certain foods had to have a certain level of satisfaction from the fat involved.You know how a creamy Mac and cheese feels really good on your tongue? Certain foods have to feel a certain way for us to truly enjoy them. I didn't realize just how important mouth feel was until I had no taste. As I ate certain foods, the feel of them in my mouth caused my brain to attempt to fill in the blanks, I think. There were moments I wasn't sure if I actually tasted something or the memory of what it tasted like was there. 

Of course, that's when I ate. I didn't really feel like eating much, and I still haven't had much food. In 12 days, I've lost 18 pounds. Silver lining? Meh, maybe.

So... hopefully in the coming days, things will start returning to somewhat normal. I'll continue to mask and avoid people, because there IS a small risk of re-infection and there's no way I'd wish to go through this again. Hopefully my sense of taste will continue to return and I'll feel stronger. My daughter's was thankfully milder than mine and she's only suffered half what I did. My mother is still in bed, but slowly recovering.

This bout of illness has, of course, delayed the new book. I hope to get back on it this week. I really wanted to release it this month, but it might have to be pushed to early March. We shall see how recovery goes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021


What if your life was a lie?

From the outside Jay’s life seems idyllic, a twenty-something, runs his family’s business with high disposable income and freedom. The reality, is Jay’s life is dictated by a bigoted, controlling, abusive father who insists Jay simply can’t be gay. Jay yearns for his own life with a dominant man, but it’s an out-of-reach pipe dream. When he meets trained Dom, Eric, the most Jay can hope for is the occasional one-night-stand or quick fling.

Eric has his heart set on Jay, and not only for more than one night. Jay is the type of sub Eric could easily spend the rest of his life with, fall in love with. While trying to navigate winning Jay’s love, Eric’s life is further complicated by chasing down a killer who may be something other than human.

When Jay is targeted, Eric wants only to protect him. Can he save Jay’s life and win his heart as well?

For a few more days you can still get For the Long Run for only $3.99! It is also available in Kindle Unlimited.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


Books, books and more books.

Because after all, that's what we're all about, isn't it? Reading, writing, editing, reviewing, critiquing and breathing good old books. Apart from doing all of this, we also have to market them to the public, entertain people with promotions and grow our author brand. It's a daunting task indeed.

That's why I wanted to share some of my 'trade' practices with you. I've found the following things make me far more productive and makes my life easier as I navigate the mire of building my own business as an author.


This was a gem of a find. I’d been searching for years for something that gave me this sort of functionality. The designers have built ‘The One App to Replace Them All’ – Tasks, Docs, Goals, and Chat. It’s multi function, including Process Management and Team Collaborations, and they update it with new features every week. I was using Trello, but Clickup is so much better. I am loving it.


If you’re like me, performing a number of job roles and needing to manage multiple email addresses, this is your app. It’s easy to use, easy to add different accounts without all that messy having to know your domain, the server number, user name, etc and all that techy stuff, and allows me to manage all my email accounts in one place. It also updates features regularly.

This assistance all means I have time to have yet another cup of coffee...


One of the best and most diverse author promotion sites out there. New features constantly added, their team very ready to respond to questions and all in all, I find this site invaluable in making my teasers, scheduling tweets, advertising, creating quality book mock-ups and gifs and a host of other features.  


This takes a bit of time to learn, but it produces amazing book trailers and videos, and is a go to resource for me. I’ve made some wonderful book trailers using this application.


This app allows me to create a goal driven entry for my Work in Progress (WIP) and map my progress, change it as circumstances change and have a method of seeing how productive I am (or aren’t). It’s my work productivity bible and without it, I’d be stuck.


A great source of free book mock ups and cover templates, along with a host of other features. Along with this is the Author Academy. For a fee, you can explore and use loads of material and advice related to the publishing world. Author Lab is brilliant too but a little expensive. I was lucky enough to get it when it was only $40, on a special offer. It gives me more time to do what I should be doing – writing. With coffee, of course...


I cannot tell you how much this app helps me when it comes to keeping track of my expenses, royalty statements and income. It’s another invaluable one. You create a specific tax year report, or expenses/income folder, email your receipts into the relevant one from your email account, and voila! It creates a report that can be downloaded as Excel or CSV, without you having to do any work. My accountant loves it – he has access to my account and all I do is let him know it’s all there and completed and he uses it to file my returns. If he wants to print something, he can, otherwise it’s all available for audit online.

HELLO WOOFY - an application with a rather unusual name 

There are a load of social media scheduling tools out there and I've used them all. I like to be able to create posts for future publishing, like to my Facebook Author Page, Twitter, Instagram accounts.

I've used Loomly, ContentStudio, Buffer, Hootsuite, TweetDeck - they all work but I wanted something a little different. I found Hello Woofy online and thought, hell, why not give a try.

I'm still working it out, as I'm fairly new myself but if what the promise all comes to be, I think I'll stick with it. It 

Disclaimer - I receive no commissions or bribes for any of the applications I've noted above lmao. I'm simply passing on my experiences. :) 

So there you have it. I hope this proves useful to you, I know they certainly make my life easier. So you’ll end up having more of what’s below to spoil yourself rotten…Me Time.