COVER REVEAL: A Summer’s Day–Shakespearean Anthology with a Twist!

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The Details:

Release Date… August 12th

(Amazing!) Cover Art… Jay Aheer, Simply Defined Art

Genre… M/M Mixed

Charity Anthology to benefit the It Gets Better Project

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The Works:

~ Coriolanus ~ The Tempest ~ Two Gentleman of Verona ~

~ Othello ~ Macbeth ~ Romeo & Juliet ~

~ The Taming of the Shrew ~ Twelfth Night ~ Much Ado About Nothing ~

~ Sonnet 130 ~ The Merchant of Venice ~

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The Authors:

Asta Idonea ~ Rory Ni Coilean ~ Dianne Hartsock ~

~ Rian Durant ~ M. LeAnne Phoenix ~ Louise Lyons ~

~ Nephy Hart ~ Rebecca Cohen ~ J.L. Merrow ~

~ Charlie Cochrane ~ Kathy Griffith ~ Phetra H. Novak ~

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The Lines:

From A Fine Line Between by Louise Lyons–

“Just like that? Suddenly you want to be friends?” His expression was wary.
“Hardly.” My lips twitched. “But since I saved your life, I suppose I can’t hate you that much.”

From A Hero’s Last Battle by Phetra H. Novak–

“I won’t deny that I find you very attractive, because I do. But I just wanted to talk to you and maybe get to know you a little bit better.” He tried with a smile. That worked, right?
“But you were not trying to get me into bed, is that what you are saying? I can’t be very attractive then, can I?” He could see Hero was teasing by the small smile on his lips and the twinkle in his eyes.
“How about later, we can have a try at the conversation first and then maybe, if that fails, we have no option but to take this to bed. You made me lose my breath the second I saw you.” Claudio admitted honestly…

From Deeper Than Did Ever Plummet Sound by Rory Ni Coilean–

“What did you just call him?”
Ah, the smile was back. Not quite at full wattage, but enough for Clarence to warm himself at. “One of my favorite non-Shakespearean epithets.”
“Worthy of inclusion in the canon.”
Clarence laughed, trying to make it sound like less of a bark than his laughter usually did. “Perhaps I’ll slip it into a rehearsal sometime.”
“I double dog dare you.”
And if I take your dare, what will you forfeit?

From If Music Be… by Charlie Cochrane–

“And I can’t arse you about any longer. You deserve the truth.”
The sound of the caretaker locking up nudged them into action. “Not here. Fancy a coffee at mine or is it too late?”
“Too late tonight or too late for us?”

From Kiss Me Kade by Nephy Hart–

“Let me go.” Raw panic thickened his tone and he pressed harder against the wall, prompting an involuntary yip.
“You’re not a prisoner,” Pete crooned, slowly drawing closer. “I don’t want to hurt you. I’ll never hurt you; not unless you want me to, and never more than you can bear. I want to take care of you, Kade.”

From Much Ado About Lady Macbeth by Rebecca Cohen–

David had never been shy about what he wanted. If it had been in his character, he’d still be a guttersnipe running through the dirty back streets. He’d taken his pleasure where it had been offered and now, as Jacob sat opposite, it was something other than his thirst that needed sating. He was sure he’d heard Jacob was not one to turn away a male suitor, but David had not seen the evidence with his own eyes. “I am sure there are ways I could lessen the pain.”
“Lessen my pain?” Jacob’s eyes went wide as he suddenly realised what David was implying. “What make you think I would accept such an offer?”

From Nothing Like The Sun by J. L. Merrow–

Sam paused, breathing hard, but didn’t let go of my hand. “That’s not what I see when I look at you. I don’t see you as you used to be—perfect skin, model features. I see you, scars and all. And I’m not going to give you all that shit about how your scars are beautiful because they’re yours, or they represent suffering overcome or any of that crap. I could never think your scars are beautiful. They hurt you. But what I see… What I see when I look at you is the man underneath. The man with the drive, the ambition to make it in a cut-throat world. The man who can shock me and make me laugh all in one bitchy sentence. I see you, Jerome. The man I love.”
I blinked hard. “That’s what I see when I look at you.” My voice cracked. It did that a lot, right after the fire. Smoke inhalation. I’d thought I was over it months ago. “The one who cheers me up when I’m down. The one who laughs at my jokes like he actually thinks they’re funny, and trust me, that’s a much rarer quality than mere good looks. That’s what I’ve always seen. But you—you deserve someone better than me. Someone whole.”

From The Devil and The Lion by Asta Idonea–

The question might have been ambiguous, but Aufidius knew what Martius was asking. “I lied not before when I told thee my rapt heart danced when I did see thee, for in my breast has raged a dual desire since first we met in combat. Ever have I longed both to slay thee and possess thee.”
Martius closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. “Good Aufidius, I could as easily speak in like manner of thee. I raised my blade against thee untold times in battle, yet never was it in pure enmity—save that owed by duty, in service of my country—but in the hope of conquering one I had godded.”

From The Merchant Of Venice Beach by Kathy Griffith–

Looking over at Bartholomew, he could see he was as nervous as an ice cube salesman in Phoenix. After walking toward him, Porsche held his hand out.
“I—tried to think of something that was, well, appropriate, Mr. Keller,” He said, almost stammering. Smiling, Porsche looked at his mothers’ last message.
“A man who thinks of others before himself is someone to be treasured.”

From Two Guys from Vancouver by Dianne Hartsock–

Silver looked startled, then gave him a genuine smile. “Are you asking me on a date, Valentine?”
Heat flushed through Val. “No!” he sputtered, then looked aside, knowing he’d reddened at Silver’s amused expression. “I mean, I know better. I’m sure you have lots of attractive men—”
Silver put fingers against Val’s lips to silence him. “I find you very attractive. Who’s been talking to you? I’ve wanted to run my fingers through your silky brown hair since we met, and I could drown in those deep chocolate eyes of yours.” He leaned forward and brushed his lips over Val’s, soft, smoky. His warm breath washed over Val’s cheeks, making him tremble. “Yes, I’ll go out with you, my sweet Valentine.”

From When I Love Thee Not by Rian Durant–

“He thinks I’m cheating on him.”
“You?!”
The shocked expression on Emilienne’s face made him laugh nervously. He nodded, wishing his lover knew him well enough to be shocked at the very thought of such a thing.
“What the… Jesus, Des, how did he… Pff, I can’t, seriously! You’re the only person I know who’d never do that and he—”

And because I can’t not use something Jay Aheer made for us to use… 🙂 Here’s my clip:

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Where to Shop for A Summer’s Day:

Amazon.com ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon AUS ~ Smashwords ~

O, Wilt Thou Leave Me So Unsatisfied?

Today, I’m posting a mere day ahead of time because I’ve so many things to attribute to my beloved Bard.

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First, a few stories to tell…

The first memories I have to centre on old Bill Shakespeare are from grade school when my parents acquired some cassette tapes of classical piano music. I fell in love with this version…

… and then, in seventh grade, I got to see the film version, starring Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting. I was hooked completely. My English teacher couldn’t teach me enough about this wonderful playwright who had ensnared my imagination!

In seventh grade, we covered Romeo & Juliet, Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and a bit of the Scottish play. I tried to wrap my brain around some of the others in my free time, but my 12-13 year old self wasn’t ready for it.

In tenth grade, we took almost a semester out to study the Bard, and during this time, we were able to watch multiple film versions of multiple plays AND my English teacher–Mrs. Mary Clarke–took us to the Richland High School production of Macbeth! They did a fabulous job with it, and to this day, when I read the beginning lines with the Three Witches, I get chills as I remember the first line coming from right behind me (I had an aisle seat) and the three working the crowd as they made their way to the stage. Also, in those few months, I would work with a friend of mine named Jennifer and we’d plan this crazy modern rendition of the Macduff/Macbeth fight scene and we’d practice it and take the whole class to the cafeteria to perform it… and I’d lose my nerve and remember all my lines, but chicken out on the footwork with the toy tommy gun. *blush*

It went better when we were studying Romeo & Juliet and our teacher asked that we pair up with a partner and do a scene from the play. My best friend and I did the scene while Romeo was hanging out with Mercutio and Benvolio, waiting on the Nurse to bring word. The banter was amazing, and our rehearsals on the phone leading up to our performance, was nothing short of involved. When I hear the word “pink,” I still mentally riposte, “Pink for flower,” and then hit back with, “Why then, my pump is well-flowered!” 😀

My senior year of high school, I decided I wanted to be an actress, and I auditioned for a Dallas acting studio, utilizing the monologue Lady Macbeth gives in Act I Scene V, lines 37-58.

”                                          Give him tending;
He brings great news.
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements.  Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty!  Make thick my blood;
Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th’ effect and it!  Come to my woman’s breasts
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief!  Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”

Great Glamis!  Worthy Cawdor!
Greater than both by the all-hail hereafter!
Thy letters have transported me beyond
The future in the instant.”

My second year of college, my irritating Creative Writing teacher, Ms. Cuyler Etheredge, was leading us through poetry… and of course, no-one does poetry like old Bill! While covering iambic pentameter, she had us write what she called responsive poetry. Still amazed by the above monologue, I wrote the following:

O!  Thy cloak of midnight slides in curls down thy
Small back as the evil curls upon thy lips;
The rails of thy arms raise gracefully to thy sister the
Moon!  Yea, Diana is thy mother, and the Furies thou
Hast called upon to eat at thy soul, to take the very
Contents of thine own soul; they art thy servants
And having arrived to darken to pitch that
Which thou callest thy heart, thou hast called them also
To sup on that which thou callest thine own kindnesses,
To get drunk on thy breasts stale wine!
My lady!  O, my queen!
Darest not this horrible deed!  Staineth not thy
Sweet hand; staineth not the soul of thy husband!
Thou doth plan for thine own purposes and care not
A wit for the king . . . care not for thy husband that shall
Be thy king; yea, even now thou knowest the darkness
Of the deed thou wouldst perform.
Sweet lady!
Hurry not to thy chambers; bescreenest thyself not from the
Very heavens that thou callest not upon.
Plan not this deed; I beg of thee.
Lady of Glamis thou art!  Lady of Cawdor
Thou shalt be!  Happier with these thou wilt be
Than toppling to thy death on thy flagstone steps, dear lady.

Part of the above poem appears as one of David Blackthorn’s in The Covenant. I’ve always been proud of that piece of artistry. I attribute my love of poetry and my use of poetry as a tool to suck out the bad emotions and record the really good times, to old Bill.

That same year, I fell in love with another author called James O’Barr, who wrote another tragedy centred around love: The Crow. Eric Draven’s love of Shelly Webster seemed so close to Romeo & Juliet, but it was so much darker… and so much madder that I fell head over feet for it. I immersed myself in the music of The Crow (O’Barr was a big fan of Joy Division and The Cure) and in Edgar Allan Poe, and of course, old Bill’s tragedies.

Enter 1996… and Baz Luhrmann… and Leo and Claire.

Romeo + Juliet

Ye gods, I loved that adaptation. It was flashy and perfect and somehow, it made Bill’s words seem normal-speak. I saw it in theatres so many times. I bought the soundtrack and the score– both of them! Of course, after seeing this in theatres, I went on a binge of film adaptations. I watch a ton of Branagh in those days.

Over and over, Bill haunts my words. As I wrote my own stories then and even now, references to Shakespeare seep into my writing. Characters who love him, obsess over him like I do.

The second novel I ever published, Butterflies are Free, was a nod to Romeo and Juliet in that my guys are star-crossed, and while they do say the three words, they also say, “R & J, my love,” to signify the depth of emotion they feel. Of course, The Covenant gives us David, who tells Jonathan that he ranks over The Bard.

Then, of course, there’s a famous long-running sci-fi show, aired on BBC since 1967, that when renewed in the early 2000’s did a show to include old Bill… and J.K. Rowling. 🙂 It was awesome. I loved it entirely.

And then… enter this wonderful idea to celebrate good old Bill, my Phai and Jen, and a story I tried to write a few years ago… and all of a sudden, I’m writing about Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Nothing has ever felt this good… nor this right. Truly, no-one has ever been able to sum up life in all its light and dark, quite the way he always has. Not for me.

To tie this up, especially since I have a big habit of running on at the mouth, I will end with one of his most iconic lines. Taken from Macbeth, Act V Scene V, lines 19-28:

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

Happy birthday, Bill. I’m so glad to have known you all these years.

LOVE IS AN OPEN ROAD: And O! The Heavens Tremble

LOR And O! The Heavens Tremble

PHOTO DESCRIPTION:
Four photographs― two black and white and two colour― of Dan Feuerriegel and Pana Hema-Taylor, aka Agron and Nasir on the Starz series Spartacus. In one, Dan and Pana are on a boat, bundled up in long-sleeve shirts and hoodies, asleep. Another shows them indoors and Pana and Dan standing close together, both men giving different hand signs― Pana gives a peace sign and Dan gives a rock’n’roll sign. The next photo shows Pana in a striped undershirt, a black tee-shirt over it, and a white scarf. His long hair is in braids, a purple ball cap stuffed on his head on which his sunglasses are perched. Again, Dan stands close, an arm around Pana, wearing a sweater and two necklaces, one a brown leather cord hidden under the sweater, the other a silver chain weighted down by some bauble. Bottom right-hand corner shows the two of them on the bow of a boat, Dan behind Pana, his outstretched arms and hands on top of Pana’s.

See the photos here

STORY LETTER:
Dear Author,

People often wonder how we ever became friends let alone lovers. We’re different in so many ways; we come from different cultures, different economic status, we have different interests, different heights, etc. However, we somehow managed to make it work and have fun learning about each other in the process.

Recently something happened that really brought our differences to the forefront. We have totally opposing views on the subject and it hurts that he can’t see the situation from my point of view. How can I make this stubborn man, whom I’ve fallen in love with, widen his narrow view?

Thank you!

Please no BDSM.

Sincerely,

mw138

STORY INFO:
Genre:
contemporary
Tags: abuse, dark, slave, HEA, action/suspense, established couple, captivity, non-explicit
Content Warnings: rape, violence
Word Count: 15,941

EVENT: Love is an Open Road

And O! The Heavens Tremble on Goodreads

LOVE IS AN OPEN ROAD: This We’ll Defend by Leona Windwalker

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One of my dear friends and a fellow writer at CoolDudes Publishing, Leona wrote for the 2015 Don’t Read in the Closet and her story is up on the site!!! It’s a beautiful story and it made me cry happy tears! THIS WE’LL DEFEND is a free story up at GoodReads and the download links will be live soon! If you’ve not read Leona Windwalker yet… why not? She is also the author of the New Beginnings series, Sol’s Solstice and Ben’s Beginning, of which both are amazing! 🙂

FINDING LOVE… The Blog Tour

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We have several stops already and I shall list them below for you in the order they went live:

13 JUNE

Carly’s Book Reviews
(also a place you can find the dates)

14 JUNE

BFD Book Blog

Divine Magazine

Fan Girl Moments and My Two Cents

Nic Starr

15 JUNE

I Dance with Words

16 JUNE

The Kimi-chan Experience

17 JUNE

M.A. Church

Tam’s Two Cents

Skye Jones Writes

VelvetPanic Heloise West

Because Two Men are Better Than One

Charlie Descoteaux Writes

18 JUNE

Nephy’s World

Bayou Book Junkie

Love Stories About Men

And remember, each purchase helps the Trevor Project, so get your copy today!

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IT’S OUT! IT’S OUT! IT’S OUT!!!!

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FINDING LOVE has finally released on Amazon! Click on the cover to go check it out! Publishing alongside these lovely ladies has been an immensely wonderful experience and I’m just so dang jazzed to release this book in Pride month! Remember that all proceeds from each sale go to help The Trevor Project! You get FIVE stories from FIVE authors for only $4.99 AND you get to help provide support to LGBTQ youth in crisis! 🙂 It doesn’t get much better than this!

Remember that this edition IS a limited edition and it will be gone before you know it! Get yours now!

RELEASING IN THE NEXT 24: FINDING LOVE

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On the right hand side of this blog post, you’ll see the cover and the GoodReads link to the charity anthology, FINDING LOVE! The five of us got together early on in December to make this happen– and all the proceeds go to The Trevor Project, which makes it an even better investment as each book sold helps out our LGBTQ youth. (As if five stories by five amazing writers wasn’t enough? Hahaha! 🙂 Seriously, publishing alongside these lovely ladies is ENOUGH for this author!!!)

As the author of one of these stories, I feel an immense amount of pride– one of the central themes of the stories– to be involved in such a wonderful cause. My story deals with loss of identity, a history of love deemed inappropriate rewritten. Yet even in this day and time, people are being, if you will, rewritten to fit in to society’s ideals. Ever-present in the media, our LGBT culture is being called unnatural, unhealthy, un-whatever they decide today, up to and including evil. For children and adults alike, this is damaging. I’m a gay woman and it took me travelling to the other side of the country to be able to be me and be me freely. Texas and my family’s Southern Baptist beliefs don’t allow for a lesbian to be left in peace. Hell, I remember a comment my uncle made a couple of years ago about one of my male cousins wearing a purple shirt. Apparently, purple is a “homo color” to him.

Yeah. That’s just one of the things I’d like for our youth to not have to face, and daily, organizations like The Trevor Project, It Gets Better, To Write Love On Her Arms, and many more; they fight to keep our youth alive. They fight to keep them filled with hope and dreams of a better tomorrow. Please… even if you don’t buy a book, donate. Donate what you can– your time, your money, your love and support… and help the youth of today FIND LOVE!

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