Defenseless Cover Reveal

I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and the day’s finally here. The cover for my new release, Defenseless, is up at Diverse Reader and you can enter to win a pre-release copy, one of three I’m giving away. The book will be released in September. Sooooooon.

Let me know what you think!

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Q&A Giveaway

I asked you, dear reader, to send me your questions, whether for me or for characters in my books, and one lucky commenter would win an advanced copy of my upcoming release, Reaping Havoc, before anyone else could buy it. You came through for me, so now it’s my turn. As promised, here are the answers you’re all dying to know.

theartistryofthebipolarbrain:
The blurb for this says Mitch didn’t want to be a reaper. What would he have wanted instead? Why would someone WANT to be a reaper?

AJ: Mitch would have made a great teacher. He has a natural curiosity about the world and is pretty eager to be a part of it. Also, because he’s a reaper, he has to keep to himself or risk people finding out about him because of odd behavioral quirks. This lends to him feeling starved for human contact, so though he is a solitary soul, if he didn’t have to be, I think he’d have quite a lot of friends and would be good with mentoring people.

 

Helena Stone:
I know this is not a fair question, but I’m going to ask it anyway because I’m evil that way 🙂
If you had to pick one of your characters as the one who most resembles you, or you poured most of yourself into, who would it be?

AJ: There are elements of my experiences in all my characters. It’s difficult to write a book without something personal leaking into their personalities. I try to keep this to a minimum to avoid all my characters sounding the same, but my sense of humor lurks in them, my hot temper, my sense of justice and right and wrong. There’s not one character who is me, or most resembles me because I specifically avoid letting that happen. If I had to pick one it would be Gavin. I identify with his fairness and sense of duty the most.

 

Tanya Prophet:
I was wondering…. how do you choose the covers for your books?

AJ: I like dramatic covers that don’t tend to be busy, that quickly focus the eye to one element, and the rest of the cover serves to highlight that element. With the Power Exchange series, it was the rope. For Queers, it was the piano. My last three titles, I’ve hired a fabulous graphic designer named Elizabeth Mackey, whose work is breathtaking (I’m not speaking only about the work she’s done for me, but also for Kate Aaron, Kade Boehme, George Weir, Russell Blake, BG Kring, Suzie O’Connell, Nick Russell, Holly Spaulding and so many more). She’s incredibly easy to work with, and even when I don’t have a concept, she manages to find a vein of visual inspiration in what the book is about and runs with it. When she has a few mockups to look at, I choose the one that speaks to me the most, and then we tweak the wording, placement of title/author, fonts and such. It’s a process, but in the end, it has to stand out in a page full of cover thumbnails.

 

El @ Just Love:
I recently re-read “Power Exchange”, so I hope it’s okay to ask about that. Did you draw inspiration from people you know in real life for any of the characters, especially Cole, Myah, and the rest of Gavin’s family? I realized in re-reading it that as much as I love Gavin and Ben’s relationship, I also love all of the characters who support Gavin!

AJ: Of course it’s okay to ask about Power Exchange. I tend to have an idea of what each character’s major traits will be like in my head as I’m plotting, like if they’re a wallflower, if they’re kind of loud and brash, if they’re good humored and laid back. Once I know that, I troll through celebrity photographs looking for visual inspiration for some of the characters, picking people who not only resemble what I see in my head for the characters’ physical traits, but who also carry themselves in a manner consistent with the personality I’m going for in a specific character. Once I have that in place, the character comes to life in my head, and even if it takes me a couple chapters to get fully in their heads, once that initial visual inspiration is made, they get a voice and a face and that’s when my imagination goes into overdrive.

 

Andrea M:
I understand why it would be difficult for Gavin and Ben to resume their relationship as it was before the attack. They were gradually introducing new elements but does Ben ever want to get back to what they had in the beginning and how would Gavin feel about that? And will we see them again? Please?

Ben: Every relationship goes through its evolution organically, and those experiences shape not only the people involved as individuals, but who they are as a couple. Gavin and I would not feel how we do about each other without the past we’ve had together. Going back to how things were at the beginning wouldn’t fit who we are today, warts and all. Would I wish Gavin hadn’t suffered as he did at the hands of the Breath Play Killer, or being targeted by Alex Dennan? Absolutely. I’d save him all the pain I could. But I cannot deny we are closer because of those experiences. When you hurt and learn you can rely on a loved one, that love deepens despite the pain. Or even because of it. So no, I like who we are now. Our marriage has been hard won, and we earned every drop of sweat we’ve put into it. I believe Gavin feels the same.

AJ: Ben and Gavin are always going to be very dear to me. They were my first foray into the world of m/m (for a novel), and as such, will always be old friends. I have, however, decided to leave them alone. They may have a cameo, or extremely secondary role in any book I might write from that world. If we see them again, it’ll be in a minimal amount. I have ideas about two other characters from the third book, Consent, in that series, however. It’s in the writing queue.

 

TJ:
We know Gavin’s family but next to nothing about Ben’s family or his past. Where was Ben born and what is a favorite childhood memory? One more if I may … have Ben and Gavin thought about having children?

Ben: I was born in Seattle and lived there until I left for college. My father was a neurosurgeon and my mother was a sculptor. She worked with police departments in the Pacific Northwest on facial reconstruction cases, as well as the statues and pottery she made for a landscaping company. They had resigned themselves to being childless after years of fertility treatments, so by the time I was born—and yes, I was a surprise to them—they were both older. My father spent years working on neurological treatments for patients with mental disorders, but when I was in high school, he retired. The last years I was home, they were a constant presence, and when I left for Washington University in St. Louis, they sold their home and moved here. While I was in graduate school, they spent time traveling all over the world. On one of these trips, their plane crashed. It was a mechanical malfunction resulting from negligence, and the families of the passengers each received a hefty settlement. My parents were well off to begin with, and I have no other relatives, so the lawsuit basically set me up for a few lifetimes. I knew my father had hopes for me getting a PhD, so the first thing I did was move into their home to care for it myself, and finish school. In a way, I feel it’s my legacy to them, becoming a doctor—albeit of a different kind—and in a way, carrying on my father’s work, while also working with the police as a consultant in honor of my mother.

They taught me about compassion and finding what moves you in life, and while I wish like hell I had more time with them, they did right by me. I can only hope I’m doing right by them, now.

A favorite memory. Hmmm. My mother tried to teach me to throw a pot. Just a bowl or something for a small flower, I don’t remember. I ended up actually launching this blob of clay off the wheel and smacking a tree plantar she had just finished but had yet to fire. She loved the starburst pattern on the side of her plantar so much she carved it out and ended up carving the rest of the plantar with a stellar pattern, painted and fired it, and planted an ornamental tree in it. It was my tree and we named it Sonny.

As for children, maybe in a few years Gavin and I will want them, but right now, he’s happy teaching criminology and playing with his nieces. We have an idea for a project that keeps getting more airtime in our conversations, and it has to do with kids, but not how you might be thinking. We’ll see if it pans out.

 

deidremeyrick:
Which character, of all you’ve written, scared you the most either during conception or through the writing process, and why?

AJ: That’s tough to answer because none of them really scared me. Surprised me, inspired me, made me laugh out loud, absolutely. But the worst one of them could do is go off the script and push me to write the story the way they wanted to go with it, and I find those moments to be the best part of writing. Pure creation. Sure, it might wreak havoc on my plot, but I find there are always better details from listening to the characters than trying to shoehorn them into my idea of where to go. Ben was notorious for throwing in a wrench now and then, but I generally fell in love with him more when he did it.

 

 

jennysmum2000:
Hi Ben and Gavin, do you keep in touch with McKnight, I’d love to see him again.

Gavin: We do keep in touch with him. There are some plans afoot…

 

And the winner of the advanced copy of Reaping Havoc is… *dramatic music* Andrea M. Andrea, I will email you for your format of choice. Thank you all so much for participating!

Ask Me Stuff (Giveaway)

*taps mic* Is this thing on? *clears throat*

Facebook does this thing where they show you what you posted on this day in previous years, and I find it kinda funny sometimes to look back and see what I’ve done. Last year tomorrow, I became a full time writer. So that’ll be fun to see.

Today, however, I saw a Q&A post I’d done for a review site interview and giveaway, and one of the questions was about Gavin’s mindset in the process of realizing he was a sub. Because I was already in Gavin’s head with having just released Consent the month prior, I answered as Gavin. Someone in the comments asked if other characters I’ve written would be available to answer questions, and I said of course.

So here’s your chance. I’m doing another Q&A. You can ask me stuff, or you can direct your questions to a character in one of my books if you’re so inclined. I’ll be happy to answer them (as myself or the character involved) in an upcoming post, as well as giveaway a copy of Reaping Havoc to one lucky commenter.

Reaping HavocNo one asked Mitch Seeker if he wanted to be a grim reaper. He didn’t sign up for the rumors, the lack of friends, or the erratic schedule. He doesn’t want to go through life watching people die. Especially not a man he loves. Mitch’s solution is simple—don’t fall in love. He’ll never have to explain why he doesn’t age or why he’s around death so often. Most of all, he will never be a widower.

But when his head is turned by world-class skier Nate Koehn, Mitch believes he may have the answer. If the soul attached to Nate is any indication, Mitch has found himself another reaper, in which case, his undeniable feelings don’t have to be suppressed. However, the spectral tag-a-long is only the beginning of Nate’s burdens. After a catastrophic loss, Nate is no stranger to grief and the hole it leaves behind.

The question they both must answer is loud and clear: is the pain of losing love worse than the pain of never having loved at all?

The Details: Reaping Havoc will be available Thursday, November 12 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and iTunes. I will accept questions until 8pm CDT Thursday, November 5th. Over the weekend, I will post the answers and choose the winner, who will receive the book before it’s available to the general public. Wanna be the first to read it? Ask me (or any of my characters) a question for a chance to win! Comment on this blog post with questions, or send them to my email address ajrosefiction@gmail.com. Either way gets you entered.

Comments are now closed.

Push Back Extended

Due to the configuration of some people’s paydays, we are extending the end date of the Push Back to May 5th. The #Pizza4Equality GoFundMe campaign ended yesterday, but there are plenty of LGBT charities who can benefit just as much. So please go here to read a freebie story I wrote and get yourself entered, whether by donation or sharing across social media to help spread the word!

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Calling All Readers

The push back begins today!

giveaway poster

We’ve gathered the biggest incentive we can, with 224 generous authors, bloggers, publishers, and allies offering incentives to entice you for two weeks, from April 18th to May 1st. All you have to do is click here and read, donate, and/or share across social media and leave us a comment to tell us how you’ve helped, and you’re entered to win.

But the real winners are the people helped by your generosity, the ones who need it most: LGBT homeless youth.

As an added bonus, I’ve written you a little story. But to read it, you have to click the link. What are you still doing here? Go! Donate! Win!

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Overwhelmed

The response to my call to action post for LGBT authors has been incredible, humbling, and overwhelming, to say the least. Kate and Meredith report feeling much the same astonishment from their posts on the fundraiser.

There are more than 200 very generous authors who’ve jumped in with both feet.

Due to the massive outpouring of support, we are at capacity and are moving the RSVP date for donors to today, April 9.

Authors, if you want to make a donation, this is your last chance. Please contact me at (ajrosefiction [at] gmail [dot] com), Kate Aaron (author [at] kateaaron [dot] com), or Meredith King (diversereader [at] yahoo [dot] com) by the end of the day to get involved.

Readers: get excited! We’ve got hundreds of authors, review blogs, and publishing houses all offering rewards to anyone prepared to donate a little bit of time or money to charity, so be sure to keep an eye on DiverseReader on the 18th April for your chance to take part.

Calling All LGBT Authors

You know what pisses me off?

People expecting me to tolerate them when they are intolerant of me. Being told that because I’m in a same-sex relationship, I’m somehow less than. That my voice matters less. That my choices hurt other people who literally have nothing to do with me, but their choice to minimize me is more important than my right to live in liberty and pursuing happiness.

I was born in the United States, land of the free. But I am not free.

I can’t go to every state in the country and have my soon-to-be marriage to a woman recognized. I can’t get a job anywhere in the country without checking first if I can be fired for being in love with my fiancée and willing to commit myself to her for the rest of my life.

And now, I can’t drive into the state of Indiana without fear that stopping for a bite to eat with my partner wouldn’t get me thrown out on my ass, legally. Well, until they put through an amendment saying it wasn’t okay to do so by business owners whose religious beliefs clash with my life.

In the wake of the passing of the Indiana Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, a fundraiser set up to support a family who own a pizza parlor and think it’s their “right” to refuse service to LGBT customers has raised almost $1 million.

Unfortunately, a pro-LGBT counter-fundraiser hasn’t got nearly the same traction. It’s one thing to tweet our outrage, or share a link on Facebook to an article. It’s another matter entirely to put our money where our mouths are. I think about whether or not I could walk into a business in Indiana (or any of the other 28 states considering such legislation without making LGBT people a protected class) and end up humiliated by being tossed out because I dared briefly hold Kate’s hand or otherwise make it obvious I’m in love with her.

Imagine that. Being told no, you’re not worthy of sitting at their tables, eating their food, no matter if you can pay for it, because the person sitting beside you is your partner and happens to have the same chromosomes as you. It would probably make a scene, right? It would definitely be enough to raise tempers. If my children were there, witnessing in action the active discrimination of their moms, my utter mortification would be complete.

What are we supposed to do, stay home? Not drive through this state and stop for a hotel room or gas? What if there’s a writer’s con there, a business reason for me to enter Indiana? It’s demoralizing, humiliating, and downright wrong that a country with religious freedom woven into the fabric of our constitution has places where they say it’s okay to use that religious freedom to beat a demographic of society down.

What does it say to our youth, who aren’t in their thirties and know how to stand up for themselves? It says sit down, shut up, and pretend to be our definition of acceptable or just go away.

THAT PISSES ME OFF.

So Kate Aaron, Meredith King, and I are gathering up as many authors as we can who write about love in whatever form it takes to take a stand as a collective community and try to counter the pizza place’s fundraiser. Together we can reach hundreds if not thousands of readers, and we’d like to offer them the chance to win an ebook if they donate $5 to a deserving LGBT charity or share charity links across their social networks.

We sent out a few very large PMs on Facebook to rally authors who want to shout love is love just as loudly as we are to our side in this. But one, those big PMs suck and to those who were cool about it anyway, thank you for being patient with us for the initial push on this. Two. We know we missed people, but we don’t want any author who is willing to join us in this effort to feel like they can’t. We want everybody who is able to hop on this wagon if you’re so inclined.

So what do you say? Can you spare a copy of an ebook (reader’s choice works best, but we know some authors have publisher restrictions) for a worthy winner as incentive for readers to donate? We need to hear back by Thursday, April 9th (to diversereader at yahoo dot com, author at kateaaron dot com, or ajrosefiction at gmail dot com), for a blog post going up on 18th April at http://diversereader.blogspot.com announcing the giveaway, the rules for readers, and the reason behind the fundraiser.

The day of the post, all we ask is that you share the post link on your various social media to alert your fans of the opportunity, and when the deadline for the giveaway passes, we’ll email you the name of your winner and their email so you can contact them about their prize. It’s easy, hosted in one place for readers to follow and enter, and will show that we mean business.

As of the writing of this blog post, we have 106 participating authors. ONE OH SIX. It seems like those we’ve been able to get in touch with are just as indignant as I am. Because we ARE ALL human beings, and no, I will not sit down, behave, and be someone else’s definition of acceptable when who I love hurts no one.

LGBT people aren’t going anywhere, and our allies have loud voices. Let’s use them.

*ETA, we’ve been contacted by some of the review site owners about adding in a gift card for the cost of a single book as incentive as well, and I’d like to say that’s awesome, if those sites are willing to do so. You’ll be emailed just as an author would to handle transfer of the prize to the winner, but we’d like to keep it to the cost of a book per gift card, so as to avoid a sort of lottery situation. Money for donations gets into potential legalities I’m not sure would help the cause. 

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Deadline: March 31st

Today and tomorrow are the last days to tweet or post* on Twitter, FB, G+, and Tumblr (don’t forget to tag me or I won’t see it) why you want to win signed paperback copies of the Power Exchange trilogy.** Five entries max per person. Good luck!

*Comments on this post, or on the links to this post via the various social media places I lurk don’t constitute an entry. New posts/tweets, or reblogs/shares DO constitute an entry as long as you say why you want to win.

**Available to US residents only, due to expense of shipping. There are, however, a few people who have entered from other countries who have a US proxy address to which I can send the books. If you have a friend willing to let me ship the books to them and a swap there isn’t difficult for you, that works for me.