Sunday, June 26, 2016

The 1st anniversary of Guitars and Cages + Writing with Dyslexia

To discourage a dream is to erase the potential of what could be. You never know what went into daring to strive for that one important goal, or what might be lost in giving up on it.

As I sit here on the one year anniversary of the release of Guitars and Cages, I’m reminded of how close it came to never being submitted. I’d been writing for years, little stories that sat in notebooks or on my computer, ones I co-wrote with friends and ones I’d worked on by myself and shared with only a handful of people. Being dyslexic, I’d been told many times over the course of my life that I should not pursue anything that involved writing, since I can’t spell well and struggled all through school to get a grasp on grammar, tenses and punctuation.

What sucked the most, though, was how much I loved reading and writing. Along with art and music, they were the things I loved the most in school and in life. I could spend quiet hours in my room losing myself in a book or writing poetry and never once feel alone or bored. My other love was animals, and I’d thought to be a marine biologist because I absolutely loved the ocean and sharks, but again, I was told over and over that I would never be able to pass the courses I needed to take, because I couldn’t learn to spell the words.
The sad part is, that proved true. Though I tried in college to take biology and loved the study of all different kinds of sciences, I quickly learned that with the points taken off on tests for not being able to spell the words, I would never graduate in any of those majors. It was disheartening to see the potential to spend my life doing something I loved diminished over and over by my inability to untangle letters. Add to it the fact that traveling the country with my band was quickly yanked off the table by my mother and I soon found myself wasting my 20s doing things I came to hate.

Looking back, I realize how stupid I was to let her convince me that she could take me to court and have them declare that I had to be under her directive until I was 21, but she was a social worker, and for most of my teens she accused me of doing drugs simply because I disliked conversation and loved being up in my attic alone with my art and music. Funny thing about that was that I never even smoked a joint until l was 18. I just loved creating things, and it was easier to create when no one was talking your ear off or peppering you with questions.

I was a fearless kid growing up. Diving off waterfalls, doing the mile and a half ocean swim, jumping off the tops of slides, tying ropes to trees and leaping off the roof of the house like Tarzan, but inside I felt inferior, because every test was a struggle and sometimes I felt like the butt of some cosmic joke when my mom would say “haven’t I told you a million times you don’t spell it like that?”

Yeah, she had, she still makes comments about how I never learned how to spell surprise since I would always spell it with a z. I remember that I’d get nervous and second guess, that I’d sometimes even talk myself out of the right answer or know the answer was ‘b’ and write ‘d’ instead. Then I got to go home and listen to them ask how I could screw it up in school when I had it right, verbally, when they’d quiz me at home. But verbally was easier, I could speak the right answer and not completely fuck it up.
Writing became as much a frustration as a joy, and for a while, I didn’t bother with anything longer than a song. Less words to screw up, and most of them I only shared with the band, we were all learning how to write lyrics so we were pretty much in the same boat.

Years later I got involved in writing as part of an online game, and for the first time in many years I was creating characters and designing the worlds in which they lived in. I was even sharing my stories with others in the group, grateful when they didn’t pick on me too much for butchering spellings or using close to, but not quite, the right word to describe something.

They were the ones who gave me the courage to seek out a writing workshop, and later, to take the bits and pieces of roleplays and flesh them out into the story that became Guitars and Cages. I have to admit, taking that story and sharing it on gayauthors.org was scary as hell. I expected to get laughed at, ignored, or worse, told to go back and take remedial English. Instead, I met people who actually offered to beta read and edit for me, who read my story and left comments, who offered advice, and who came to care about what was going to happen next and the characters themselves.

It was awe inspiring. Because of the people I met I actually found myself wanting to write more, wanting to share my stories with more people, and feeling, for the first time since I was a little kid, like I could actually achieve my childhood dream of being an actual published author.

Four books later and I am still in awe of the fact that I get to wake up each morning and do something I love. After working in jails, in hog confinements, in bars and kitchens, newspaper offices and retail merchandising, it’s nice to be able to do something that brings me joy and doesn’t leave me stressed out and wanting to pop a Xanax at the end of the day.  


Looking back, I know how easy it would have been to give up on the dream completely, to not even bother doing it for fun, to have spent my spare time on hobbies that might have been ‘easier’ for me to manage, or ‘more suitable.’ But the only thing that has ever suited me was being creative and I can’t wait to see what I come up with next. I hope you’ll enjoy it with me. 

Collars 'n Cuffs Anthology Blog Tour, Promo and Giveaway

Collar N Cuffs Tour Banner

Title: Collars ‘N’ Cuffs
Authors: Layla Dorine, Aimee Brissay, Lily Velden, Alina Popescu, Kassandra Lea, Carol Pedroso, Eddy LeFey, Asta Idonea
Genre: Gay Romance, BDSM
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Synopsis

How about a little bondage?

Does D/s get your motor running?

Do you enjoy a serving of pain to go with your pleasure?

Does your mouth water at the thought of clamps and cuffs and other naughty stuffs?

Then look no further!

The authors of Collars ‘N’ Cuffs have dripped wax on their keyboards, flogged their erotic bones, and whipped up their creative juices to bring you a collection of stories certain to enflame your imagination.

Collars N Cuffs Cover

Buy Links

Don’t miss the discounted buy prices valid until 48 hours after release!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/collars-n-cuffs-a-wayward-ink-publishing-anthology/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-collars039n039cuffsawaywardinkpublishinganthology-2057986-166.html
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Collars-Cuffs-Wayward-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01G984JB2/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Collars-Cuffs-Wayward-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01G984JB2/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Collars-Cuffs-Wayward-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01G984JB2/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/Collars-Cuffs-Wayward-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01G984JB2/

Book Trailer

Stories included

FORGED IN STEEL

Layla Dorine

The last thing Flint expected upon discovering a homeless young man rummaging through the dumpster behind his shop was a kindred spirit.

The last thing Trace expected to find in that dumpster was a home.

 

PLAYING IT SAFE

Aimee Brissay

To safe or not to safe?

That is the question.

 

ROOM TO PLAY

Lily Velden

Jack wanted to dabble in some light BDSM, looking for a little role play. A little role-reversal.

Rhys took to their games like a duck to water.

 

A TOUCH OF KINK

Alina Popescu

A moody and angry Tudor follows his friend, Radu, to the airport to pick up a client.

Despite Radu’s efforts, he’s still sulking over his boyfriend, Kahoni, not being able to fly over for his birthday.

But the airport only opens up the door to a stream of steamy surprises for Tudor. Will his mood improve?

Collars N Cuffs 3D Cover

LET’S DANCE IN SIN

Kassandra Lea

Samuel wants to play with his favorite toy and Flynn is only too willing to oblige.

But first, he has a little treat for his delectable angel.

 

NEW LOVE, NEW SIGHT

Carol Pedroso

Exiled and lonely, Sorl longs for home.

Kidnapped, blind, and scared, Unjarf seeks help of any kind.

When they meet can love bring rescue, hope, and most importantly new sight?

 

SWITCH

Eddy LeFey

Robert is floundering, trying to get his life back together.

Daniel offers to help, to teach Robert what it means to truly let go of control, in order to be able to seize it again.

Life truly is a…. switch.

 

HELL BOUND

Asta Idonea

When Taharial, angel of purity, descends to Hell to reprimand him, lust demon Asmodeus cannot resist having a little fun with his unwanted guest.

However, when he chains Taharial to his bed, events take a turn he didn’t expect.

Giveaway

Prize – 1 x $10 WIP Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Rainbow Snippets June 25th

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.


I would invite everyone to please come check out the Rainbow Snippets group, click on a link, read and comment on the writing available and get involved yourselves in this awesome exercise. The link to the group can be found HERE




This week, my snippet is taken from my new release Roadhouse Reds. I have to admit, I never set out to write about aliens crash landing in a cornfield or even aliens who were wondering around the planet not realizing that they weren’t really from earth. I’d intended Roadhouse Reds to be a romantic comedy, but the characters, and some wild daydreams changed the course of the story entirely. By the end, I found myself wanting to write more about these refugees who were hiding out on earth, how the events of Roadhouse Reds shape their relationships moving forward and if there were any repercussions coming for the events at the end of the book. There’s certainly plenty more stories to tell about all of them, so don’t be surprised if there isn’t a second book in a year or two.

Sagging against the pane, he ordered himself to get a grip, look at his hands again, and see for himself they were just normal human hands. It took a moment, and a few instances of calling himself a coward, but he looked front and back, turning them over, feeling like a raving lunatic with an overactive imagination.
Until his palm itched, fierce and steady, rapidly increasing in intensity until it burned and a perfect fireball sat cupped in his hand.
“Ohgodohgodohgod.”
“Jason!”
The door slammed open with a bang, and Jason shoved his hands behind his back, eyes wide, damn near hyperventilating.
“Jesus fuck, Jason! Didn’t you hear me calling you?” Dan bellowed.
“No I-I just—”
“You better not be high!”
“I’m not,” Jason squeaked, keeping his hands hidden, praying to God his shirt or the curtain wouldn’t go up in flames.

https://www.amazon.com/Roadhouse-Reds-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B01GKAY4RS/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1466874362&sr=1-2

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-roadhousereds-2055451-148.html


Friday, June 17, 2016

Rainbow Snippet June 18

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.


I would invite everyone to please come check out the Rainbow Snippets group, click on a link, read and comment on the writing available and get involved yourselves in this awesome exercise. The link to the group can be found HERE

This week, my snippet is taken from my new release Roadhouse Reds. The original idea behind Roadhouse Reds came from working in different diners, bars,  coffee shops and restaurants in my twenties. The atmosphere of the roadhouse is taken from my favorite bar and grill, while the inspiration for some of the staff was drawn from some of the folks I worked with. The crash of the alien ship in the cornfield near the roadhouse was inspired by a real life crash into a very different field, while the rest of the story came along much, much slower. In fact, the opening scene was written almost ten years before the end of the book. Makes me glad I never throw story notes away. I’m so grateful to the readers at gayauthors.org who encouraged me with their kind words and reviews during the creation of the story, and to Wayward Ink for seeing the potential in it, and taking a chance on sending it out into the world.


“Preacher Fisher thinks that it was Satanists, Petunia. What do you think of that?”

“Preacher Fisher thinks everything wrong in this town is because of Satanists or a cult. He’s got half the folks thinking they’re going to be murdered in their beds or sacrificed to the devil.”
“Well, not me, thank you very much. I sleep with my cross in one hand and my Colt .45 beneath my pillow.”
Jason about spilled the water when he heard that, his eyes sweeping over the weathered lady with the silver hair and steel-gray eyes.
“Don’t look so surprised, young man. Why when I was your age I could blast a bottle off a fence post two hundred feet away.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jason replied hastily.
“I can still hit the target when I go to the range. No, Lord, no one’s murdering me in my bed.”
“No, you’ll just shoot yourself in your sleep,” Petunia added.
“Least the Satanists won’t get me.”

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Rainbow Snippet June 11th 2016


Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.



I would invite everyone to please come check out the Rainbow Snippets group, click on a link, read and comment on the writing available and get involved yourselves in this awesome exercise. The link to the group can be found HERE

This week, my snippet is taken from my upcoming release Roadhouse Reds, which is currently available for Pre-Order through all major Ebook sellers. The official release date is June 17th. 


“You will sit still,” Bakari instructed as he easily pulled Jason back up the bed and slid his hand into his hair.
Jason flinched when Bakari’s fingers slid over the gash. Then his eyes fluttered closed at the coolness of the fingers and how good they felt against his overheated skin. Too good. He jerked away before he could get comfortable.
“Stop touching me,” Jason growled as he tried once more to get up from the bed. “Just… leave me alone. I don’t need any help.”
“The way you were bleeding all over the shower suggests otherwise,” Pandya shot back, pulling Jason back on the bed himself this time. “I think help is exactly what you need. In fact, everything about you suggests that help is what you have needed for a very long time.”


Roadhouse Reds Cover blurb: 
Born moments before his parents crashed landed on Earth, Jason was raised in foster care. As soon as he was old enough, he packed his backpack and hit the road. Just him and his bike.

Now a jaded young man, living above a roadhouse diner and bar with several other misfits, he struggles to understand friendships, relationships, and the bonds of family.

Unbeknownst to Jason, other refugees from the planet Altiss also made it safely to Earth. After discovering Jason living as a human, they seek to safeguard him and his fledgling abilities.

As Jason’s powers begin to manifest, his mate arrives on earth looking to claim him. Ano ki stalks Jason, seeking to gain his trust, and his proximity only intensifies Jason’s burgeoning magic.

Fearing they will be dragged back to the planet they fled, the refugees prepare to do battle. In Jason, they believe they may have what is needed to tip the scales in their favor.

Left with no choice but to accept his heritage and learn to fight, Jason struggles with some harsh lessons about love and trust amidst a backdrop of battle and betrayal.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Cover Reveal for Roadhouse Reds

I'm so excited to finally unveil the cover to my upcoming novel, Roadhouse Reds which is now available for pre-order and will be released on June 17th. 




ROADHOUSE REDS
LAYLA DORINE
Born moments before his parents crashed landed on Earth, Jason was raised in foster care. As soon as he was old enough, he packed his backpack and hit the road. Just him and his bike.
Now a jaded young man, living above a roadhouse diner and bar with several other misfits, he struggles to understand friendships, relationships, and the bonds of family.
Unbeknownst to Jason, other refugees from the planet Altiss also made it safely to Earth. After discovering Jason living as a human, they seek to safeguard him and his fledgling abilities.
As Jason’s powers begin to manifest, his mate arrives on earth looking to claim him. Ano ki stalks Jason, seeking to gain his trust, and his proximity only intensifies Jason’s burgeoning magic..
Fearing they will be dragged back to the planet they fled, the refugees prepare to do battle. In Jason, they believe they may have what is needed to tip the scales in their favor.

Left with no choice but to accept his heritage and learn to fight, Jason struggles with some harsh lessons about love and trust amidst a backdrop of battle and betrayal.














Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Spider Webs and Cover Art



On June 1st, my novella Spider Webs and Cover Art was released by MLR Press. I wrote it in response to their Take A Pause anthology call, which was designed to draw attention to semi-colon tattoos and their meaning. As soon as I read the call for submission I knew I had to write something, the subject was just too close, too personal. 

In high school I fell in love with music. I also fell in love with a green-eyed brunet who loved ripped jeans and tattered red Converse shoes. Every Saturday morning I went to my guitar lesson and when I was done I went to his house and shared with him what I learned, that way he could learn too. We had dreams you see, of forming a band, buying an old van and driving coast to coast, playing our music and seeing the country. We had dreams of campfires and songs filling the night, starry skies and making memories. 

In school we were given tan paper for working out math problems. These usually ended up being used for drawings, love notes, poetry and lyrics. He would slip them into my locker between classes, and I would slip them into his pockets when I hugged him in the hall. 25 years later I still have many of them in a keepsake box. They were beautiful then, they are even more beautiful to me now. 

But for all the beauty he created, there were moments of ugliness too, long jagged lines he carved into his flesh, names he called himself, times he beat his hands bloody on brick walls, or metal lockers. There were scary conversations on the telephones, tears, and a constant fear of losing him to his own actions. There were bloody blades wrapped in paper and left in my locker, or slipped through the mail slot of my apartment. There was poetry filled with darkness and lyrics that spoke of demons and death. 

Then one night I got the phone call that changed everything, because it was the night that he got sent away. I will always believe that as much as he hated that facility, it saved his life, and though the relationship between us changed in the years that he remained there, I would rather know that he is still playing his music and still filling the world with art and lyrics, than have had him stay and lost him a different way. 

Instead, we both lost someone else that was an important part of those days and those memories. We lost the smiling, laughing buddy who sat on the porch with me and listened to my fears. We lost the trusted friend that walked through the park with us, listening to lyrics and our hopes for the band. We lost the strong young man who was brave enough to get between my lover and the wall and stop him from hurting himself. We lost the beautiful soul who helped me pick my prom dress then escorted me when my fiancĂ© was locked away and unable to go. 

We lost him to a gun held in his own hand. To reasons we'd never know. To a pain we missed. To the darkness that insisted on claiming a life that year. 

It was for both of them and for me that I wrote Spider Webs and Cover Art. Because there is no forgetting those moments or those friendships or that loss. Because time might dull the pain but it never truly heals. Because each year I still cry for a life cut short and a dream that died, the soldier who never was, the friend who always will be forever seventeen and holding me in the one and only picture I have of us together. 

In a month I’ll get my own semi-colon tattoo and I will wear it on my wrist with pride, front and back, the way I have written Jace wearing it in my story, and like Jace, I hope there will be those who will ask me about it. 

There are days when it’s still as raw as when I found out. There are times when I still close my eyes and see his grave. In my teens I wore dragons for protection, one of the pieces is buried there, I’d hoped it would guard him on the other side.


There are moments when I want to know why, when I picture them both in my head and cry for different reasons. I know I will never understand it, that the peace I have made with it all, such that it is, will have to be enough, at least until I cross over too, and might have the chance to ask him. I'd like to believe that the ones we loved will be waiting wherever it is that dead souls go. 


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Rainbow Snippets June 4th



Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.



I would invite everyone to please come check out the Rainbow Snippets group, click on a link, read and comment on the writing available and get involved yourselves in this awesome exercise. The link to the group can be found HERE

Well my long road trip is over and I'm back home with stable internet. It wasn't as hard as I thought, going without, though I missed being able to do snippets and my freebie friday story. So here is a Snippet from my new Novella which was released on June First. Spider Webs and Cover Art from MLR Press. I'm sorry, more than 6 lines, I know. 

She laughed at that and just shook her head at him, “So then what does it mean?”
Jace glanced down at his wrist and the empty spot where the tattoo would go. A reminder never to cut there, a reminder never to hurt too much to tell someone he was in pain, a reminder of just how much it hurt to lose someone and be left wondering what you could have done to help and if you could have saved them.
“Hope,” Jace said at last, taking a deep breath and letting it out slow. “It’s an invitation, a conversation starter, a way to remember those who weren’t able to save themselves. It’s a reminder to look a little closer, ask questions, never forget that someone you love might be suffering from something that they don’t understand or aren’t able to share.”
“All that from a semi-colon?” she asked skeptically as she turned back to the screen.

“It made you ask, didn’t it?”