Welcome to the Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Tour, where sixteen authors will do their best to make your winter brighter in January, February, March, and April. (Unless you’re south of the equator, and then we’ll just be jealous of your summer.) Every Wednesday will be a new stop on the tour (see schedule below). Be sure to leave a comment at each stop for up to sixteen chances at the grand prize: a $200 USD gift certificate to the e-retailer of your choice. Also keep an eye out for links to individual authors’ sites on their release dates for a chance to win some free books.
- January 18: Favorite Wintertime Activities (hosted by JosephineMyles)
- January 25: Join us for a January getaway (hosted by AndrewGrey)
- February 1: Winter in My Backyard (hosted by LouHarper)
- February 8: “If I could get away right now, I’d go to…” (hosted by EllisCarrington)
- February 15: Valentine’s Day (hosted by J.L. Merrow)
- February 22: Authors by the Fireside (hosted by KateMcMurray)
- February 29: Join us for a February getaway (hosted by Z.A. Maxfield)
- March 7: Things to Do in a Blizzard (hosted by S.A. Meade)
- March 14: St. Patrick’s Day (hosted by ClareLondon)
- March 21: Spring Break (hosted by BlaineArden)
- March 28: Join us for a March Getaway (hosted by TalesfromtheWritingCave)
- April 4: Favorite Winter Movies (hosted by StumblingOverChaos)
- April 11: Signs of Spring (hosted by J.P. Barnaby)
- April 18: Join us for an April Getaway (hosted by MarieSexton)
- April 25: Farewell (hosted by JoyfullyJay)
- April 30: Grand Prize Announcement (hosted by Heidi Cullinan)
Every week we’ll also let you know what books are recently released and about to be released, complete with links to giveaways. This week is full of them!
Coming Soon: J.P. Barnaby’s next Little Boy Lost book: Escape. Click here to enter to win an e-copy of not just that book but all the Little Boy Lost novels! Also available will be J.L. Merrow’s A Calling for Pleasure, which will be free from January 15th until Valentine’s Day!
To introduce ourselves, we’ll start with our own tips for beating the winter blues. Be sure to comment on this post and share your own winter blues-fighting tips for your first chance to win that grand prize.
Blaine D. Arden: I love winter, but when it’s storming outside my favourite thing is to curl up on the sofa with a fleece plaid and a cup of tea while watching a good film with my husband. Of course, I also love sleeping in on Sundays, lazying about in bed while the storm rages – we sleep in the attic — until, for once, the kids are up earlier than we are. And last but not least, playing board games or card games with my men. No TV, no computer, just old fashioned entertainment and competitiveness.
J.P. Barnaby: To beat the winter blues this year I’m training for the 2012 AIDSLifeCycle. It’s a 545-mile bike ride along the California coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I just keep thinking about the warm June sunshine on my face and how amazing those views of the ocean will be.
Lara Brukz: Another lover of winter, no blues here. Summer in the south keeps me inside more than winter does. When it actually gets cold enough I have my husband go chop up fire wood. I demand that we need extra wood just so I can watch his muscles flex as he is cutting. So getting busy in front of a nice blazing fire in the fireplace is an excellent way of beating my winter blues.
Ellis Carrington: Remember folks: when you’re alone in your kitchen, no one can see you dancing and singing into a spatula while you cook dinner. For me, beating the winter blues is all about movement. When you’re stuck indoors things get stagnant. Energies. Moods. So I get silly, and shake my white girl moneymaker like no one is watching. Hopefully, nobody is. I haven’t checked YouTube in awhile. I find whatever I can to make me laugh like watching stand up comedy or old episodes of Glee. And when I’m really feeling down, I cuddle up with some blankets and a mug of something hot, and I let a good romance novel carry me away. Gotta love that guaranteed happy ending, right?
Heidi Cullinan: Well, I’m an outlier because I love winter, but maybe that’s because I love our survival techniques so well. Winter at our house means watching a lot of TV with my husband and daughter, snuggling in chairs under blankets with cats draped all over me, and snuggling under the down comforter. That said, the bane of my existence in winter is cold toes. My solution? Two layers of socks, the top one fuzzy, and thick house slippers one size too large to accommodate the socks.
Andrew Grey: In order to break up the winter months, Dominic and I host a number of small dinner parties with friends. We both have a tendency to try to hibernate through the snow and cold, so hosting these small parties forces us to spruce up the house, get out the good china, and fill our home with some winter warmth and cheer. It’s also an excuse for Dominic to try new concoctions on people other than me.
Lou Harper: I live in Southern California where the traditional seasons don’t apply. Summer can break out at any time and you can have 80º weather in January, like we do now. However, colder, wetter conditions are still more likely, and the daylight hours are still miserably short. These conditions stimulate my underdeveloped domestic instincts and I get the urge to cook rustic dishes featuring pork, sausages, and sauerkraut. I also bake pies and rich bread puddings full of dried fruit pre-soaked in orange liquor. The sweet scents of baking are excellent to chase away those winter blues.
Clare London: I covet that familiar but always reliable winter warmer – chocolate! Seriously, I don’t think anything’s better than snuggling up on the couch, shoes off, with a cup of hot chocolate: the steam wafting up my nose and the warmth of the cup cradled in my palm. This is particularly special when I can hear the British rain sheeting down outside but I’m perfectly dry indoors, watching re-runs of my favourite movie, with the phone switched off and the curtains drawn shut. Bliss.
Kate McMurray: Is there anything better than snuggling under a blanket with a book, a cup of tea, and the cat? I love to bake, too, so my kitchen sees a lot of action in the winter. (You gotta have cookies and pie to go with that cup of hot tea!) I also relieve stress by knitting, so it’s nice when the cold weather rolls in and I can finally wear all the handknit sweaters and scarves I’ve accumulated over the years. Plus, my winter wardrobe is pretty cute if I do say so myself.
S.A. Meade: I’m another winter lover, having been deprived of proper winters for 8 years in south central Arizona. As long as I have fluffy slippers and warm sweaters I’m fine. Oh, yeah, and lots of cooking. I like to make hearty winter casseroles and pies. There’s nothing I like better than being all warm and comfortable while it’s pissing down with rain outside and I love watching it snow. I’ve never outgrown my love for snow even though the English just fall to pieces when there’s more than an inch or so on the ground.
J.L. Merrow: My favourite way of beating the winter blues? Well, here in Britain it’s more often wet and miserable than really cold. *Glances out of window* Yep, today is a case in point! I like to curl up on the sofa with a cup of herbal tea – I’m drinking cherry and cinnamon as I type this – and put on a favourite DVD. So here, chez Merrow, Mr Darcy has just confessed to Lizzie how ardently he desires and loves her. Sorry, mate—you’ve got another three episodes before she’ll love you back!
Josephine Myles: Much as I love snuggling up indoors with sheepskin slippers and a hot water bottle, the thing that really improves my mood is getting out and about. Our winter days in Britain are so short I need to soak up whatever meagre sunlight slips through the clouds and get some exercise into the bargain. Of course, the best bit of all is getting back home again for a cup of tea and a snifter of brandy!
Marie Sexton: My favorite tool for fighting the winter blues is my gas fireplace. I know. It seems lame. I used to have a “real” fireplace, which is much more respectable. The thing is, it was so much work! Getting wood, keeping the fire burning, cleaning out the ashes — frankly, it was a giant pain the ass. Now, all I have to do is turn the knob, and ta-da! Instant fire. It’s cozy and crackling and plenty warm. Add some thick socks, a cuddly blanket, and my laptop, and the winter blues can’t touch me!
Ethan Stone: I hate freezing weather. When it snows I don’t want to do anything but stay home in my warm and comfy home in front of my computer and write or chat or whatever. Its also my favorite time to watch marathons of whatever show I’m addicted to at the time–Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Wiseguy. Anti-social on a regular basis, I get even worse in the winter.
Damon Suede: Terrible confession: I LOVE winter. I’m a total cold weather nut because I grew up in the 100% humidity and crippling heat of the Texas Gulf. The one thing I don’t dig is the interruptions to my writing schedule caused by the theatre season. My cure is to become a complete hermit every time a major holiday hits. Christmas, New Years, even Valentines… I lock the door, hole up with my boyfriend to order takeout, writing all day and watching Austen & Dickens miniseries marathons all night while it’s beautiful and chilly outside.
What’s your tip for beating the winter blues?
Meet Our Authors
Blaine Arden is a purple haired, forty-something writer of gay romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies (the pointy eared ones), platform shoes, and the colors black, purple, and red, who sings her way through life. Born and raised in Zutphen, the Netherlands, Blaine spent many hours of her sheltered youth reading, day dreaming, making up stories, and acting them out with her Barbies. When not writing, reading, or at choir practice, Blaine has singing lessons and hopes to be in a band someday. Blaine can be found at blainedarden.com.
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Erotic fiction is more than just moans, grunts, and physical pleasure. To J.P. Barnaby, erotic fiction consists not only of the mechanics of physical love, but the complex characters and relationships that lead to those all-encompassing feelings of need and longing. Sex without context is merely sex—but sex coupled with attraction, with explosive repercussions—that is good erotic fiction. J.P. authors all different kinds of erotic fiction including gay, straight, male, female, BDSM, sweet, romantic, and dark.As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself. Find JP at her website and on Twitter.
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Lara Brukz is a sassy, smart mouthed Southern redhead who thinks about sex all the time. Lara didn’t dream of growing up to read mountains of books, let alone write. Numbers were always her thing. Then she needed some extreme excitement in her vanilla life. She started reading m/m romance and couldn’t put them down. Her best friend provided the motivation that brought her writing career to life. Now she writes romance beyond limits and loves every tap of the key. Still resides in the same small southern Arkansas town she grew up in. By day she juggles with numbers and by night she fiddles with words and all things male. That includes her luscious husband. Find Lara at larabrukz.com
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Ellis Carrington is a wild child who hates to color in the lines, but who lives and loves passionately. She can be found in and around the Washington D.C. area, swilling Starbucks and saying inappropriate things out loud in public. Her greatest loves are good friends, good music, and of course reading M/M romance.Find out more at EllisCarrington.com
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Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When she isn’t writing, Heidi enjoys knitting, reading, movies, TV shows on DVD, and all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Find Heidi on the Web: Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, and her website.
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Andrew Grey grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle,, Pennsylvania. You can find out more at www.andrewgreybooks.com , on facebook, twitter, or email him at email@example.com
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Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. Lou’s favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk. You can find Lout at http://louharper.com and http://louharper.blogspot.com.
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Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters. Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home. All the details of her books and free fiction are available at her website and blog.
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When Kate McMurray is not writing, she works as an editor with a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She has a BA in English lit that she’s still amazed translated into an actual career. Among other things, Kate is crafty (mostly knitting and sewing, but she also wields power tools), she plays the violin, and she is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. Visit her at www.katemcmurray.com.
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S.A.Meade lives in deepest Wiltshire and is pathetically happy to see rain after eight years in the desert of south central Arizona. She stumbled into writing m/m by accident when she realised that her historicals put agents to sleep. Since then she’s realised she’s addicted to the genre and keeps writing more dirty books. She loves cooking and eating what she cooks and shares her home with a patient husband and son and two heat-seeking cats.
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JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Find JL Merrow online at:www.jlmerrow.com
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English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes m/m erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it. Check out Jo’s website and blog at josephinemyles.com
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Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway. You can find out more about Marie at http://mariesexton.net/.
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Ethan Stone is a single father with a wonderful and aggravating teenage son. He’s always loved to write and one point thought journalism was his dream career. He spent several years trying to make himself believe that until he realized he needed to write because he wanted too not because he had to. He just wishes he could’ve figured that out before he earned a sizable debt with school loans. He’s always had plenty of stories in his head and even published several purely erotica shorts on the web. He assumed the stories in his head starring gay men would have to be relegated to the web. And then he discovered the wonderful world of M/M publishing. http://ethanjstone.com
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Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to M/M, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him atDamonSuede.com.